Friday, August 5, 2011

Random Humans and Their Lairs

In the D&D Draft it tells us this. “Castles: Castles can be specified on the map, or may appear much like wandering monsters, …".

Two of the entries in the random Humans table for CoZ  ought to be immediately familiar to OD&D players: Bandits and Nomads.  The “monster descriptions” haven’t been published yet so you’ll just have to take my word at the moment for what is there. 

The Nomad entry incorporates Buccaneers and dervishes (as raiders) in addition to the new label of Drifter, and the Bandit entry has a sub category of rebels.  These granularities allow for different circumstances.  Even so, all of these are built off their familiar FFC/3lbb counterparts and are pretty standard fare.

But there are two other human encounters listed in the CoZ table that aren’t easily found in the traditional monster manual.   First, lets look at “angry mob”.  Angry mob is none other than the quirky “angry villager rule” of OD&D.  In OD&D, encounters with angry villagers of near unstoppable frenzy are suggested as a method for punishing unruly players.  Rather than have it come up never or only at the whim of a capricious DM, I thought it made most sense to allow angry villagers as a possible random encounter.  Arnesons version in his manuscript expands a bit on what is already in the 3lBBs in terms of their ferocity and resilience and I weave that into CoZ.

The next possible encounter is that of Retainers – that is to say, armed courtiers of some lord or leader of some kind, who may or may not be present.

You won’t find “retainers” in the OD&D monster lists; but then again you will find plenty about them in the Underworld and Wilderness section on Castles.  Retainers, as presented in the CoZ “monster” description are modeled on the rather extensive rules for randomly generating castle inhabitants.  The “inhabitants” are the retainers.

Why would I turn “castle inhabitants” into a wandering monster?

 Immediately after you generate your monster for the Hex, you generate its lair.  It is therefore entirely possible to generate a group of retainers (or bandits, or an angry mob) who live in or have occupied a castle, a cave, or some other structure.

So, by incorporating both angry mob and retainers in the lists, Champions of ZED takes two of the more quirky and interesting encounter types in OD&D and seamlessly embeds them into the map generation rules in a way that allows a great deal of variety in how they might actually play out.

Next, a closer look at lairs and the ideas behind them.

1 comment:

  1. This is an elegant mechanic, and you've made me very curious about Arneson's draft.