Friday, March 28, 2014

Encounters

How the encounter button works is that it will roll for the type of encounter, and then fill out that encounter using a number of other methods. The odds for the encounter types, out of a d20 roll, are: 1-9 empty, 10-15 monster, 16-17 monster with treasure, 18 treasure, 19 trick, 20 special. Empty encounter types only have a location description. Monster type encounters have a location descriptor and a monster, with associated difficulty, archetype, morale, purpose, reaction, and some junk. Monster with treasure encounters have a location, monster, and a hoard of treasure. Treasure encounters are simply a location with a hoard of treasure. Trick encounters are puzzles or intrigue in a location. Special encounters rounds out the types by drawing from a list of specific, odd, and/or random dungeon occurrences. Each of these locations have a chance to have the signs of a trap 20% of the time, with only a quarter of those trap signs being related to an actual trap (when outdoors, the "trap" is split 50-50 with natural hazards).

To give a better idea of this program in use, I will generate some encounter rolls and show how I weave them into a cohesive encounter.

1. Level 1, 4 players, outdoors

Location] Roadside.
[Monster] Level 1 undead {Morale: zealous  Purpose: alliance  Reaction: evaluate, defensively
[Junk] Chickens (0.6)
-In marching through the wilderness, you stumble on a haphazard dirt road. The road weaves out of sight into the underbrush in both directions. 

If the player should try to follow the road through the underbrush, they will find a freshly turned pair of human zombies as they lunge out for a bite. The zombies seem well fed and are quicker and tougher than normal zombies (I choose to ignore the purpose since I have decided that they are mindless undead). Looking through the underbrush will reveal a number of mostly empty, bloodied chicken cages. A few terrified chickens are still alive. Players could choose to scan the underbrush before following the road, which would mean not being surprised by the undead. They could also choose to ignore the road and go around it.


2. Level 1, 4 players, outdoors

[Location] Small thicket.
[Hazard] 1. Weird precipitation 2.Weird precipitation 3.Dark clouds:
Walking through the forest, the players encounter a pretty thick area of undergrowth and nettles that covers most of the path forward. Despite a lack of rain recently, the thicket is very wet and the soil is a deep black from water. The clouds overhead have darkened noticeably. 

Now, none of these signs relates to any actual hazard and ignoring them means nothing in this case, as does asking about what they mean. If asked about any of these more specifically, I would inquire of the players if they want to try and recall some lore (with a roll if they cannot relate it to a character trait or skill) or examine the area, both options can cost time and  run a risk of a random encounters and wasting time. I would reveal then that the signs are simply a coincidence of a localized rain cloud or nearby spring.

3. Level 3, 5 players, indoors

[Location] Waiting room
Stepping into this room from the stone hallway, you find a pleasant room. Well lit by torches placed along the wall, this room holds a few small wooden seats, a couch, and an empty bookcase.

This room is just an empty room, but could very easily contain something. Having empty rooms forces the players out of the lazy habit of assuming every room has something important, they have to be more scrupulous with their time. Asking about specific items in this room can quickly reveal that nothing particular is happening in this room. More thorough searching counts against them in terms of wandering monster rolls and time. 

4. Level 3, 3 players, indoors

[Location] Empty room
[Monster] Level 9 plant acting oddly {Morale: fanatical  Purpose: travel  Reaction: evaluate, defensively
[Junk] 50 SP (5.0)
                  -Doublet (0.0)
                  -Writ of Passage (5.0)
[Treasure] Sturdy wood chest
                  -1 zoological text (2651.0)
             Steel war chest
                  -Box (2651.0)
                  -Hemp (40.0)
             Ceramic urn
                  -Polished goblet (2651.0)
This glass sliding door opens up into a dank, dark room that is empty except for black marks on the floor and wall in the corner. 

Players investigating this room or the black marks are attacked by a very deadly cave vine that has disguised itself with stone camouflage. The black marks are part of its camouflage, but investigating where it was hiding will reveal a small cache hiding the treasure listed. The treasure is a small wood chest containing a zoological text of the surrounding wildlife created by a recent explorer, with hand-drawn pictures in the text. It also has a small, locked, steel war-chest with a jeweled ivory ring-box with some hemp for packaging. Lastly, a ceramic urn contains a polished goblet of a fine make. (I chose to ignore the purpose and reaction for this plant, but travel could be an interesting purpose for a plant to have...) Asking about the black marks from a distance ( a wise move as it could easily be the signs of a flame trap) will reveal that it the marks are odd and allow a roll against seeing the assassin vine. The immobile vine will be much easier to deal with or ignore if the players are cautious in their approach.

5. Level 10, 6 players, outdoors

[Location] Lost homestead.
[Hazard] 1.Dark clouds:
               A deadly sulfur geyser threatens this location
Pushing aside some underbrush, you see a small homestead. Rusted tools litter the dried earth around the home, with even weeds struggling to survive. The door hangs off kilter, while thick clouds linger overhead.

This lost homestead was abandoned when the ground started spewing out sulfur at intermittent intervals. The furniture and goods not already removed are heavily damaged. Asking about the clouds reveals that they hang particularly low and are yellowish in tint. Going near or into the homestead exposes players to the highly sulfuric air and geysers of sulfur as their weight disturbs the grounds. With the right means, this could be a good source of sulfur for an enterprising player.


I will be doing a few more of these for the other buttons I use the most often, to give you an idea of how this program can be a useful tool for your game.

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