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Monday, June 24, 2019

Confessions of a Reverse Dungeon GM

The Monsters have Unionised and are willing to let Adventurers ransack the place unless management improves workers' conditions and pay. See, Monsters can't go into town for essential services, becoming dependent upon the Owner of the Dungeon to provide fodder, healthcare, ongoing education, childcare, etc.

Since most Dungeon Owners and their despotic Mangers at best neglect their Monsters, and at worst abandon them to the mercies of Reaction Chart Old School (drop loot and food to avoid combat) or Kill-'Em-All Hack-n-Slashers (who don't even get a name until 3rd level), it has become increasingly necessary for monsters to band together despite natural antipathies brought about over competition for resources (Monster on Monster crime has been an under reported aspect of Commercially Operated Dungeons for decades, if not centuries).

Is it any wonder that while many Adventurers have become softer-hearted, and some Monsters have found a soapbox from which to decry their oppression (workplace injury rates for Monsters do not take into account wounds or fatalities caused by Adventurers), Dungeon Owners are switching to a Monstrous Dungeon model, where a living macroorganism (Giant Mimic disguised as a Dungeon) is purchased from Skunkwork Wizardry sites and replaces the need for construction crews and Monster employees. The Dungeon-Monster simply grows as it is fed, with the occasional stocking of trinkets is performed by off-site service contract personnel (often Humanoid, or even Demi-Human or Human veterans unable to adjust to commoner life after all of the killing).

Dungeon Politics is a complex, multi-sided issue, but one thing is certain, Dungeon Owners are getting something out of the cycle which cannot easily be sussed out; if it isn't money, what is the draw?

Thursday, June 20, 2019

James Mishler Games' Recent Labyrinth Lord Products

Overdue review:

James Mishler has been kind enough to furnish me with a pdf copy of three of his new products designed for Labyrinth Lord (and Advanced Edition), although these will be of benefit to all other Old School groups.






The Quick Start Character Race & Class Sheets By-the-Book are a condensed chargen guide for each of the three components, to be printed out, and handed to the player, providing them with all of the essential information to create their new character.

In combination with the Advanced Labyrinth Lord Character Record Sheet, the Quick-Start sheets provide everything necessary to determine stat minima, bonuses, special abilities, class features, as well as Hit Dice, Hit Points, and, required XP for 2nd level.  The time savings alone justify the existence of the Quick-Start sheets; don't underestimate their usefulness to veteran players; after all, starting PCs are easy to lose even when run by experienced old hands.

For the LabyLord, the Adventure Record Sheets keeps track of essential data used in each session:

Session Party Members
Locations Explored
NPCs Encountered
Information Learned
Monsters Killed
Treasures Won
Henchmen & Hirelings
Division of Spoils & XP
Mysteries & Loose Ends
Character Adventure Record
Labyrinth Lord Adventure Log
(Marching Order, Light tracker, Monster details)

The only criticism I have of the LL Record Sheets is that the individual Attribute abbreviations (Str, Dex, etc.) are not included, forcing LabyLords to rely on notoriously dodgy handwriting in a small space to track scores for those secret rolls.  We strive to avoid the, 'What is Zarbur's Wisdom score', situation which alerts players to character peril.  Perhaps James will be able to revise this one facet, or, I'll get over it.