|All illustrations by Russ Nicholson, Rest In Peace.|
I just read this interesting post from Goblin Punch about changing the random encounter roll.
The core design goals are:
1. To provide time pressure.
- Entering a new room (exploring it and seeing what's there at a basic level)
- Completing a full search of a room with the entire party (finding all secrets, traps and treasure)
- Completing 1 normal combat
- Doing something that makes a lot of noise (eg kicking down a door)
- Completing a short rest
- Moving through 3 rooms that have already been explored
- Anything that takes around ten minutes
Beauty and Terror
- The evil forces accomplish a critical part of their plans. The lovecraftian entity is summoned. The hostages are killed. The ancient relic is lost forever. The rival party got to the treasure first and stole it.
- This is a good default option. Think about what your factions want and have them achieve a major part of it when the tower falls.
- A terrifying monster ambushes the party.
- This is a great option for situations like the giant in Deep Carbon Observatory or the giant in The Waking of Willowby Hall. It should not be just a normal monster encounter, but an unstoppable beast that's way above their level.
- The dungeon undergoes a horrific metamorphosis. The environment changes and shifts in a fundamental and awful way. The earth shakes, rocks fall and damage you, your path to the exit is blocked off, mouths form in the rock. The Underworld is hungry.
- A great example of when to use this would be the Tower of Soot from The Estate. The players are climbing up a chimney. When the tower falls, the fireplace is lit and the whole dungeon catches fire.
- Morale fails. Your hirelings riot or turn on you and attack. Try using this table for hireling freakouts if you need inspiration.
- Your body fails. The corrupting magic energies of this place distort your mind and body. A carnivorous hunger falls upon you and you need to eat someone now. One of you is possessed by an ancient spirit.
Leaving the dungeon
Thoughts on Random Encounters in general
"8 orcs appear, they immediately see you and attack, you cannot hide, they cannot be reasoned with, roll for initiative."
Haunted Houses. Empty Sewers. Abandoned amusement parks. These are the Low Reality Zones. Away from human influence, they warp and bend and grow carnivorous. The further you get from human culture, the more strange you become. Your body and your mind slowly expands and mutates and fractures in on itself.
This elite special ops unit is trained to contain hyper-real objects and persons. The world is mostly fake, so any object that is 70% real or more can cause extreme damage to the fabric of the universe. In the presence of these hyper-real objects, fictional concepts begin to break down. The fundamental storytelling instinct that humans use in order to understand and interpret the universe begins to disintegrate. Reality Exposure begins to set in.
In the first stage of Reality Exposure, subjects begin losing their understanding of basic fictional concepts - like The Economy, or Nationality.
In advanced stages they no longer understand more important concepts like Truth, Beauty, Love, or Human Connection.
In the terminal stage, they completely lose the concept of the "Human Being". They are no longer a Human - just a collection of organs, flesh and brain matter. The exposure continues until finally they lose even that. They become nothing but molecules, randomly vibrating through space.