Friday, October 17, 2014

D&D Rules Comparison 16

Stocking the Dungeon

Generally similar to D&D74 except as noted below.

The difference between a monsters’ level and a dungeon level should usually be no more than 2. (p68)

(This statement apparently replaces the dungeon Monster Determination by Dungeon Level Matrix and monster level lists of D&D74)

Room Contents table:
Treasure Chance

Rooms with monsters and treasure together indicate a lair and should be filled with full numbers of monster and treasure. (p116)
Special indicates unusual things which in and of themselves are harmless, if left alone.  Examples given include alarms, shifting walls, magical pools, sound effects and so forth.

Create a wandering monster list for each level consisting of 1-10 monsters of no more than 2 levels (HD) above or below the dungeon level.

Discussion: It is curious that the general approach to stocking the dungeon is the same, but hard to know if that's because TSR inc., didn't utilize the process much or because they though Gygax got it mostly right the first time.  My guess is on the former.  

What has changed is quite interesting, however.

First, unlike in D&D74, there is no  random table for treasure by dungeon level as there is on page 7 of         The Underworld and Wilderness Adventure booklet.  Treasures in D&D94 are either determined by the treasure type tables or hand picked by the Dungeon Master.  If it is a treasure and monster together then the treasure is a lair treasure chosen by the treasure type table.  While I'm happy to see it clarified in D&D94 that lair treasures are indeed expected in dungeon lairs, not also having a random treasure by level table leaves off the interesting possibility of monsters not knowing that there is a hidden treasure in their domicile. More problematic however is D&D94's encouragment of sometimes hand picking the treasure, because few DM's understand the frequencies at which treasure, and especially magic items should appear in a campaign.

Second, as mentioned above, D&D94 has no equivalent to the "Monster Determination and Monster Level Matrix".  This D&D74 table's results lead to subtables of specific monsters of varying strengths, each subtable getting tougher than the previous (discussed at length in my "Setting up a Proper Dungeon" article).  Frankly, the method offered by D&D94  (level = HD +/- 2) is much more practical and flexible than the D&D74 tables, with the caveat that it does not leave a method for the occasional wildcard monster.  
Third, the room table contents table shown above is quite different from anything in D&D74, particularly in percentage chances.  Note there is an equal chance (16.7%) of a room being empty, trapped, or having a "special".  Traps and specials are given no particular chance in D&D74, being things a DM is expected to add or not based on the nature of the level.  Some levels might have lots of traps and/or specials and others none, and that is how it should be.  Such things should not be predictable in some fixed percentage.

This section ends the D&D94 booklet.  Next post I will give a brief conclusion and a document of  D&D94 house rules for D&D74 players.

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