Friday, August 17, 2018

Updated Dungeon Fantasy Naturalism

This is an update to an update, with a new list that updates an old one. Getting all this so far? I've added monsters GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 14: Psi (because I just plum forgot the first time) and Hall of Judgment (because it wasn't yet out). See the earlier posts for stuff this post won't cover.

More little guys

I took another look at the small Mundane humanoids to try to get them to 4d×10 since that’s the same average as 2d×20, then found that I was cutting their numbers short. Heh. Either I was going with 4d×15, which had my preferred die spread, or 2d×30, which is easier to multiply in your head. I went with the latter.


I just took bunch of monsters from the Monster Manual and checked to see how frequent their leaders show up. It turns out that about 1-in-17, on average are somehow tougher than the average humanoid. For the humans I used (Cavemen, Tribesmen, Nomads), it was much more often, about 1-in-13; for demi-humans (Dwarves, Elves, Gnomes, Halflings), it was about 1-in-30.

Truthfully, I'd just call the whole matter as 1-in-20 being the lowest level of leaders. In GURPS terms, this means giving +1 to ST/DX/HT, +2 to skills based on those attributes (which includes the attribute increase), and +1 to skills based on other attributes. The next level up of leader-types happen about 1-in-40 (1-in-42, to be precise), so give half the number of the first leader types +2 ST/DX/HT, +4 to all skills based on them, +1 to IQ, and +2 to skills based on it (including its sub-attributes of Will and Per). Then half again, and again until you get to one.

So, a tribe of 240 orcs (or orc combatants) would have 12 leaders of the first level, 6 of the second, 3 of the third, and 1 of the fourth. The last one is the big chief. He (or she) +8 to all his physical skills and +4 to physical attributes, and +4 to mental skills and +2 to IQ.

Spellcasters come up at about 1-in-36 among the few that had them listed; I'd just say there's as many spellcasters as second-level of leaders, or 1-in-40. I didn't differentiate between clerics and magic-abusers; call it 50/50. Have them as often as lower-level leaders for races with racial Magery, like elves. Their IQ and Magery or Power Investiture go up at the same rate as the physical stats of the leaders, while their physical stats go up at the rate of the mental stats of the leaders. Likewise, their rates of mental skill increase and physical increase are swapped. Have Energy Reserve go up like a mental skill, so 2 every level.

(I check the AD&D 2e Monstrous Manual to see how it meted out spellcasters for humanoids, and orcs are 1 in 100, goblins are “rare,” “may be one or more” with a tribe for kobolds, none listed for gnolls and hobgoblins. Bo-ring.)

Thus, the tribe of 240 orcs will have 6 of the lowest level of spellcasters (who still get +1 to IQ and Magery, and Energy Reserve 2), 3 of the next level, and 1 of the third. She (or he) of the third level has +3 to IQ, Magery or Power Investiture 3, Energy Reserve 6, +6 to mental skills, +1 to ST/DX/HT, and +3 to physical skills.


Now, for the other part of Gygaxian naturalism that shows up in number appearing, non-combatants.

Have a number of “females” equal to the number of “males.” Let's try this again. Have another of non-combatant adults equal to the number of combatant adults. Some women will fight, and there will be some crippled and elderly men among the non-fighters. Anyways, there's some variation in the Monster Manual, but I'd leave that aside. A human-like species will have human-like distributions of the sexes, which means 50/50. If they’re not human-like, then all the adults fight or get an ad hoc treatment for sexual dimorphism. Seems easiest.

For children, however, I can see some variation. For settled humans, yeah, about a third of them will be children, so set them equal to the number of combatants. Hunter/gatherer societies have fewer children since they need to move often, so they will have half of that. (Gygax, incidentally, gets this right. Tribesmen, who are somewhat settled, have children at 100% of males, while Cavemen, who are not, have children at 50% of males.) If they're bigger than humans, halve this again. Longer-lived races will have even fewer children. The exact ratio would be up to the GM. I'd halve the numbers for those who live a bit longer, like Halflings (they're 60% in AD&D; also, their lower rate of children implies wealth), and quarter it for much longer, like Dwarves and Gnomes (which matches AD&D). Elves, who are nearly undying, are at 5% in AD&D, which works as well as anything.

Treasure strategies

Something with this release that I'm blatantly ripping off from Adventurer Conqueror King System (ACKS) is how monster gets its treasure. Basically, it gives three strategies for how monsters get treasure.

The first is Incidentals. These monsters don't use money or see the worth of it, but do like shiny things. They might have a little money or trade goods that fell from their victims, but most of their hoard's worth is in things that caught their eye (or however they see), like gems and jewelry. The magic items they have may or may not be handy to the monster; they do not try to find items, so whatever they have is random.

The second is Hoarders. Hoarders also like shiny things, but will also try to get money and trade goods. They're the monsters most likely to have gold. Still, most of their hoards' worth will be in high-impact shiny things, and they often ignore low-worth, high-weight items like copper farthings. The magic items they have are also often high-worth and low-weight, like scrolls and potions.

The third is Raiders. Of the three types, Raiders are the ones who have economies, though some Hoarders do as well. As such, they have lots of low-worth/high-weight items like copper and trade goods, but not much in the way of shiny things. Raiders, unlike most other monsters, also have pocket change. Much like Hoarders, Raiders like magic items that are useful to them, especially potions and armaments.

For a few monsters, like Dwarves, Gnomes, and Halflings, I made a mixed type that is mostly Hoarder, but has the magic item distribution and pocket change of Raiders. They like their shiny, but do seek to get magic items they can use to whack others in the head. I couldn’t wrap my brain around the idea that dwarves would go for scrolls over weapons, hence the need.

How I assigned them:

Construct, Elemental: No treasure for you!
Animal, Dire Animal, Giant Animal, Hybrid, Plant, Slime: Incidental.
Demon, Divine Servitor, Elder Thing, Faerie: Hoarder.
Mundane: Raider unless bigger than SM 0, in which case Hoarder. If the race is smaller than SM +1 and has racial Curious, Greed, or Kleptomania, it's a Hoarder, but has pocket change and magic items like a Raider.

Pocket change

I did a quick analysis of pocket change for monsters in AD&D, and truthfully, it doesn’t vary all that much, other than centaurs, who bear gems with them. Again, I quote Leo Bloom: “Where do you keep your wallet?”

Leaving aside that, I just said that Raiders (and Hoarders who have Raider magic items) have 1d of copper in their pocket for every 4d of lair treasure before the multiplication sign. I called (2d-1)×1,000 to be 1d-3 and 3d×1,000 to be 1d-1. A few lone humans from Hall of Judgment got 3d×10 as pocket change instead of normal treasure. Since one is the bandit chief, I have no regrets. So that's the “Change” column.

Trade goods and ornaments

Oh, I do love to steal freely from ACKS. The treasure is a big part of why. I’ll show you the elf lair treasure from Lairs & Encounters:
The fastness’s treasure is spread throughout its grounds. The great hall (H) is furnished with 12 wall-mounted horns and antlers (250gp, 25st total), and six table sets of terracotta dishware (100gp, 5st each) for guests. The pantry (P) holds 8 barrels of preserved fish (5gp, 5st each), 3 barrels of dwarven beer (10gp, 8st each), 20 bricks of salt (7sp, 3⁄6st each), 5 gallons of olive oil (2gp, 3⁄6st each), 80 bottles of fine ArgollĂ«an wine (5gp, 1 st per 5), and 7 bags of mountain tea (75gp, 5st each). The workshops (W) contain four-tenths of a cord of hardwood logs (5gp, 8st each), 36 rolls of soft wool (10gp, 4st each), 5 jars of weld and woad dye (50gp, 5st each), 32 iron ingots (1gp, 3/6st each), 17 bundles of fur pelts (15gp, 3st each), and 9 jars of lamp oil (20gp, 5st each).
The throne room (1) is bedecked with 5 wool tapestries depicting pastoral scenes (5gp, 7st each), 6 blown-glass orbs (120gp each) hung from the ceiling, and a pair of polished silver sword stands (500gp each) for Mornya’s blades. The armory (6) holds 2 crates of elven arms and armor (225gp, 5st each), and a set of 12 locked ironbound chests (2000 coin per chest) holding 14,500cp, 11,500sp, 3,000ep, and 1,000gp. (Mornya and Caoimhin have keys.) Each elf also has 70cp and 38sp on his person or in his quarters (yielding a total of 27,000cp, 19,000sp, 3,000ep, and 1,000gp in the fastness). The library (7) contains a collection of 54 elven manuscripts (150gp, 3⁄6st each), mostly in Old ArgollĂ«an, including a rare commentary on Aedon Lann’s Book of Nine Arrows. Also kept in the library is a birch bark treasure map to a colossal statue in the Waste (see the Wraith lair, below). A poem, in Elven, on the map reads “Two great emeralds on the statue lie / Guarded by those who refuse to die.” The map’s destination is 11-20 hexes distant from the Elf lair. Though not Lawful, Mornya is a sworn foe of undead, and on a Friendly reaction roll she may offer adventurers the map if they pledge to destroy the undead that guard its treasure.

Now that, my friend(s), is a treasure hoard worth looting. It has money, true, but that’s not the interesting stuff. Killing Legolas and friends and getting the wine, the silver sword stands, the terracotta dishes … you talk about that for years.

(The magic items of the elves are spread among the elves. Buy the book if you want to see.)

So, I made sure there was a space in the treasure hoards for trade goods and shiny doodads that aren’t straight jewelry, which I call “ornaments.” The ornaments' worth always came out equal to the jewelry, which was not my plan; you can spread out the wealth between the two as you see fit, as they're akin. I have some draft notes on how to handle the trade goods, based on ACKS, GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 8: Treasure Tables, GURPS Low-Tech, and especially the article “Eidetic Memory: Medieval Sea Trade” from Pyramid 3/87: Low-Tech III. I don’t think what I have is ready for prime-time, but I’m willing to share on an ad hoc basis or maybe a work in progress.

One thing to keep in mind with all non-monetary treasure is that in Dungeon Fantasy, it fetches a rate based on the Wealth level of the seller. So for those delvers with Average Wealth, they get 40% of the list cost. Thus, wealthy delvers will get more out of going for high worth, low weight items like gems, jewelry, and ornaments. Even the trade goods, which are heavy, will be a bigger reward for wealthy delvers, since they're more likely to have the resources to bear them away. Poorer delvers won't get as much from going for doodads, so are wise to stick to money.

1 comment:

  1. I have to say, I love this information and your other recent posts along these lines. I also really liked your comment in another post about using the old OD&D books and other materials because that's what you have. I've been doing a lot of work myself recently converting old D&D 3.0 monsters to GURPS because, well, those are the books I have.

    The bit about how to figure out how much treasure is appropriate for different kinds of monsters is particularly valuable for me since there isn't much in the way of guidance about this in the currently available GURPS material. I really appreciate you the taking the time to put this together! It's very helpful!!