Friday, February 23, 2018

Treasure for Dungeon Fantasy from AD&D

I took a bit of a break from schoolwork the other day and tallied up the lair treasure for every monster in the AD&D Monster Manual, using the worth of each treasure type in this post.

Why that Monster Manual? Well, I own a copy, which isn’t unusual in of itself (I own the core Monster Manual for every edition other than 3.0 and 4, and I’m including the Rules Cyclopedia and Monsters & Treasure). This version is the work of one man, Gary Gygax, and presumably this means we have the nearest to a consistent old school vision in it. It doesn’t key treasure to the Encounter Level or Challenge Rating, which were always prone to error, and instead uses those ugly user unfriendly letter codes.

Anyways, once I typed it up, I analyzed it. I added the Creature Type from the D&D Monster Manual 3.5, wanting to see if there were trends in the data. And there were, and I’m going to apply what I learned to GURPS Dungeon Fantasy, to give guidelines for treasure for it, by monster class. This is to help me assign treasure to monster lairs that are not in D&D.

Keep in mind that this is lair treasure, not personal treasure, and you have to keep in mind how many of that monster makes a lair. Men are rich, but there’s 100-200 in an average lair, and that’s just the combatants. Many of these monsters also have entries for noncombatant women (the sexism in gaming shines through 40 years later) and young. If you have a gang of 10 bandits, there’s no way they should have the full treasure listed.

You also should keep in mind how tough the monster is. These tallies come from the mean treasure worth of those monsters with treasure. If you’re granting loot to demon lords, you should give them twofold these numbers.

I'm leaving out individual treasure. Just use the guideline on p. 49 of GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Adventure 1: Mirror of the Fire Demon, which is (2d-2) × $5 in coins. You can lower it to (1d-1) × $1 for the kobolds.

Also, I'm using the conversion of an AD&D gold piece being worth $1 in GURPS. I'm pretty sure +Peter V. Dell'Orto came up with that. My numbers for each treasure type comes from a forum post on Dragonsfoot; another gives the average value of things like gems, jewelry, and magic items, letting me convert magic item XP to actual items.

Animal. These guys usually don’t have treasure. The exception is if they’re bigger than SM 0 and live in the water, like sharks and whales. If so, they might have treasure—sharks may be near loot that fell off of delvers they ate, and whales may have swallowed loot along with delvers. There isn’t much rhyme or reason as to which underwater monsters have loot, but if one should have some, give it (8d-7) × $1,000 in loot and 1d-3 magic items.

Construct. No treasure. No exceptions. Whoever made them or owns them might have some, but constructs always have Wealth (Dead Broke).

Dire Animal. In D&D terms, these guys are the dumber Magical Beasts, with the smarter ones, like blink dogs, being either Faerie or Mundane. These guys often do have treasure, and they tend to be smarter and have slightly more numbers than the ones who don’t have any. Give them (2d-2) × $1,000 in loot and 1d-3 magic items.

Demon. Oh boy, are these guys loaded. Well, some of them. The big mass of Demons have little to no loot, so don’t be awarding hordes to doomchildren. (AKA “demon dolls” to my players. Incidentally, something related to my game of a couple of weeks ago that I forgot to put in the log is that Roman, one of the players, tried mapping, and threw in the towel after about two rooms when he tried to follow all the twists and turns my wife put in there. She was proud when I told her.)

Anyways, back to loot. A Demon with loot should not be Bestial or have Slave Mentality and have at least IQ 7. They’re going to be at least as big as a man (excepting imps and quasits, who honestly shouldn’t have any loot, much like constructs, since they’re typically serving someone); leave out the foot soldiers of evil. Give them (10d-7) × $1,000 in loot and 1d magic items.

Oh, and counting imps as Demons—I find this whole Blood War to be meaningless background for 99.9% of all D&D games. Demons and Devils are evil, come from another plane, and we can kill them. That they don’t like each other is interesting but hardly important to the key thing, which is killing them, saving the innocents, and taking their stuff. (The demons’ stuff, that is. Maybe the stuff of the innocents too; we’ll get to humans in a bit.) Seriously, you all spend too much ink on this crap.

Divine Servitor: They usually will have bosses, but if they are showing up on their off-time, treat them the same as Demons: (10d-7) × $1,000 in loot and 1d magic items.

Elder Thing. Befitting what they are, these guys defy classification. For the most part, the dumb ones shouldn’t have loot; give it to their bosses. (Many low-level Aberrations in AD&D, like rust monsters and carrion crawlers, do have treasure, likely to reward low-level delvers, but these aren’t Elder Things in Dungeon Fantasy.) Give them (12d-9) × $1,000 in loot and 1d-1 magic items.

Elemental. The standard elementals, being typically summoned, do not have treasure. Their mightier counterparts will have some unless they’re air elementals (Roger De Bris: "I don't know about tonight. I'm supposed to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia, but I think I look more like Tugboat Annie. What do you think, Mr. Bloom?” Leo Bloom: "Where do you keep your wallet?”) For those who can hold loot (Princess Leia: “The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers”), they will have (6d-6) × $1,000 and 1d-4 magic items.

Faerie. Faerie always have loot. D&D might be a little tighter with the definition of Fey than Dungeon Fantasy is with Faerie; there aren’t many published examples. For example, I’d call unicorns Faerie, but D&D calls them Magical Beasts, much as it deems harpies Monstrous Humanoids whereas Dungeon Fantasy calls them Faerie. Medusae in D&D are also Monstrous Humanoids, but are Mundane in Dungeon Fantasy. I get it, it’s a judgment call. Regardless, give them (6d-7) × $1,000 in loot and 1d-3 magic items.

Giant Animal. These guys sometimes have treasure, if they’re especially big (like a roc) or nasty. The anomaly for this are giant rats, which have treasure type C, even though they’re just giant rats. I think this was a way to get loot to low-level parties who were likely to have some trouble with giant rats, and they do have an average number in lair of 27.5, which is a lot for Giant Animals, so that’s not too far from fair. But anyways, if you give Giant Animals loot, give them (1d-1) × $1,000 in loot and 1d-5 magic items.

Hybrid. Treat them the same as Dire Animals: (2d-2) × $1,000 in loot and 1d-3 magic items. D&D doesn’t differentiate, and for these purposes, I don’t see why we should either.

Mundane. For published Dungeon Fantasy monsters, these are really four classes:

  • Sapient humanoids who use tools, like men, elves, orcs, hill giants, and reptile men.
  • Lycanthropes or other shapeshifters who are sapient humanoids who can magically change into the shape of something else, like werewolves. EDIT: I guess we could extend this to magical Monstrous Humanoids like medusae too.
  • Dragons and
  • Stuff that doesn’t fit elsewhere, of which the Rock Mite is the one published example I could find. I’m gonna skip them.

Taking these one at a time, we can split the sapient humanoids further into men, demihumans, humanoids, and giants. All of them have loot:

  • Men have big lairs (mean is 126) and big loot to match: (10d-3) × $1,000 in loot and 1d-4 magic items.
  • Demihumans, which I define as being good or neutral guys you’re not normally supposed to kill (my sample is dwarves, elves, gnomes, halflings, and mermen, all but the last being normal player character races), have (8d-4) × $1,000 in loot and 1d-3 magic items.
  • Humanoids are the guys you’re supposed to kill and are man-sized or smaller, and have (5d-5) × $1,000 in loot and 1d-4 magic items. Note that some humanoids, like bugbears and lizard men, don’t have the 100+ populations of other sapient humanoids that are man-sized or smaller; lower loot for them. Keep it up for the more magical ones like medusae, however, even though they have small lairs.
  • Lastly, giants, who will have SM +1 and a small number in lair, so this includes ogres and trolls. These guys have (3d-3) × $1,000 in loot and 1d-3 magic items.

Lycanthropes and the magical Monstrous Humanoids have small lairs, typically under 20, and have (3d-2) × $1,000 in loot and 1d-3 magic items. The werebear, which is wealthy, might be skewing this upwards. EDIT: Now that I include the Monstrous Humanoids, the werebear stops being an outlier, with the earlier figure still just as good.

Dragons are the leaders in loot other than demon lords. Give them (3d-1) × $10,000 in loot and 2d-2 magic items. This is for the tough guys. For wussies like pseudo-dragons and white dragons, tithe the loot and give them 1d-3 magic items.

Plant. Another monster class with few published examples in Dungeon Fantasy. Most will be mindless and thus have no loot. The ones who have intelligence should have (1d-1) × $1,000 in loot and 1d-3 magic items.

Slime. Oddly, two AD&D Oozes, the gelatinous cube and the slithering tracker, do have loot. So, for the smart ones, I’d make them about the same as intelligent Plants: (1d-1) × $1,000 in loot and 1d-5 magic items.

Spirit and Undead. We’ll treat them together, since D&D does and there aren’t many Spirits anyways. The guys who are pure minions, like skeletons and zombies, have no loot, so don’t grant loot to anything with Bestial or Slave Mentality. As for the others, grant them (3d-3) × $1,000 in loot and 1d-3 magic items. Liches should have threefold loot. Oddly, their magic item XP is 1,110, which indicates a lone item (1d-3), which seems low; I’d interpret the treasure type A as rolling that 30% chance for a magic item three times.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Game log 10 February 2018: Don't poke the pudding!

Dramatis personae

Xóran, fox-man scout
Kim, thief
Mayhem, short barbarian
Ash, squire
Áttikos, holy warrior of the sun god
Grymalkus, whiny cleric of the war god
Caleb, wizard
Kôštē, cleric of the farming goddess

Quid occurrit

As they walked through the halls, they chatted among themselves as to how to handle the "demon dolls." They thought a shield wall would be best.

They walked back to the room where they had fled from the pudding, and sure enough, they had a chance to put this to work as there was a doomchild there. After the first volley of arrows and fireballs, the little doomchild bum-rushed them.

Mayhem stepped out from behind the shield wall, grabbed the doomchild, and tossed him back to whence it came. Its ass burst open as it landed, making it go boom well away from the heroes. Doomchild handled.

After Kôštē patched up Mayhem's booboo from the doomchild's knife, they pushed onward. After winding through a few rooms and Kim not finding any secret doors in any dead ends, they found themselves looking at five doomchildren.

The opening volley all missed, and sure enough, the doomchildren bum-rushed them again. This time, they all missed, and were now before the shield wall. Ash took a poke (Defensive Attack) from behind the wall, and … kaboom! It hurt, but the shields did take some of the damage.

After some more patching up—Mayhem especially took some bone fragments—they rested for a bit, letting Kôštē get back some oomph. They pushed farther inside, looking for the stairs to lead them down to the Workdesk of Doom or whatever it was, with Kim always looking for hidden doors. After a turn to the north, they ran into six big rats. The rats, however, did little but get a lone tooth on Áttikos, while Mayhem and Caleb (with Acid Jet) each took out a rat and Ash took out two before the not-so-little buggers fled.

So, back to wandering. In one room, which had a rotten drapery in its doorway, six striges flew inside. They must not have been hungry, since they flew back out, squawking.

Mayhem squawked back.

Kim's hunt for hidden doors did pay off not long after this. A big wooden chest was in the corner, but Kim's hand went through the chest as if it were air. Caleb looked at it, and found that the chest was truly three feet to the left of where it seemed to be. Kim figured out how to open the chest, and found 90 copper and 50 silver inside. Grymalkus told her not to take the loot. "It's a tomb! It's burial treasure! We're not grave robbers!"

Mayhem, however, said, "Yeah, we are."

After taking the loot, they wound through even more twists and turns, then stopped at a door. Kim listened at the door, and heard a gurgle behind it. After some chatter, she kicked open the door, and behind it was a grey pudding, much like the one they had seen before.

Mayhem and Xóran wanted no part of this. "Stay away from dookie!" yelled Mayhem. Xóran thought the "whelp" (Grymalkus) should handle this if he wanted to fight it, and ate some snake jerky. As always, Kôštē hung back with them, both because she didn't think fighting the pudding was worth it, and because she wanted to be ready if the pudding hurt someone.

The pudding could withstand their blows, but had a hard time landing blows itself. Caleb's Create Steam on the pudding did slowly sap it of some health, but he ducked back after a few spells. Ash did the most harm, leading Mayhem, while digging in his pack to make a Molotov cocktail, to yell, "Mom, he's poking the pudding!"

At last, however, the pudding landed a blow on Attikos, who fell right away. Caleb scorched it with Acid Jet, but the pudding moved onto Attikos and at that time, Xóran and Mayhem knew they had to help out. They helped Ash wail on it, while Caleb, again trying to hit it with Acid Jet, lost his footing, and stumbled past it trying to keep standing and wound up scorched in his own Create Steam. The pudding smacked Kim, who somehow stayed standing, but had to stagger back a few yards. Xóran tried to grab Attikos from under the pudding but couldn't win a test of strength with the pudding. It was looking bad, and then …

The pudding blinked out.

Stunned from their sudden luck, they healed up, and luckily the striges, which flew past again, weren't hungry.

Res aliae

Did I give them three points or four points? Well, to tell the truth, in all this time since the session I kinda lost track myself. But, considering that I'm the game master and can kill characters for no good reason, you gotta ask yourself one question: "Did he give three points or four?" Well, how many, punk?

The striges kept getting good reactions to the party, being as that they weren't in their lair room. I interpreted that as having eaten. No, I'm not trying to be kind; they could have taken them out easily.

The fight with the pudding was one that only happened the way it happened because folks were playing more than one character. (Well, other than Steph playing Mayhem only.) I'm pretty sure Roman would have had Xóran jump into the fight earlier had he only been playing Xóran, as doing nothing is boring.

Anyways, as Kim had made her Hearing roll and, as the pudding wasn't trying to be quiet, she heard something. As the murderhoboes weren't trying to be quiet, it heard them, and tried to time its coming to the material world with them showing up, but, having only IQ 4 (which is brilliant among slimes, remember), timed it wrong as the gang talked about goodness knows what before opening the door. So it wasn't quite as deadly as it could have been, seeing as that everyone always got defense rolls and, with skill 14 to strike, it wasn't making any Deceptive Attacks. It kept taking damage, but Damage Reduction and high

I do now see Kromm’s comment about how the grey pudding could have taken Attikos with it to the astral plane (I was thinking it had to kill him first), but Joe wasn’t there and so Roman was running Attikos, so I wouldn’t have pulled that on someone not there. But now it’s out there for next time, so don't put missing players' characters in the way of grey puddings. Or your own, for that matter.

I might write an easy overview of GURPS combat for my players, especially Steph, who is having trouble with the whole second-by-second nature. She wasn't happy about taking range penalties at 10 yards, as Mayhem hadn't aimed.