Froghole Dungeon Part One

Author: DHBoggs / Labels:

Around March of 2013 I began a "by the book"campaign dungeon project as an outgrowth of the "Setting up a Proper Dungeon" article published in issue.

The idea was to use only the random tables in OD&D, and to use random maps generated from a mishmash of dungeon geomorphs (the intent was to have an artist I knew from the ski resort I worked at redraw the whole thing once numbers, stairs, and other changes were finalized, but now I will just release as is).

To generate the monsters and treasure I used dice, for the most part, but for the especially tedious task of rolling gems and jewelry I used a computer program.  Anyone who has ever attempted to roll up a by the book dungeon using dice will certainly know how incredibly time consuming it can be. 

The monsters were hand picked from lists made according to the number of Hit Dice, and I tried to pick them according to a theme chosen for the level.  Because my monster lists were not much expanded beyond the monsters of the original game, there wasn't always a whole lot of choice, but for the most part it was doable. 

The backstory of the dungeon was entirely flexible and could be changed without a whole lot of fuss.  I settled on a placement withing the Great Swamp of Blackmoor and the following story:

"Three thousand five hundred and forty four years before the founding of the Great Empire, the first magnificent civilization of the Northern Marches died a grisly death. For a millennium a highly intelligent and delicate amphibious race, the Groda, had raised wonderous stone spires, ziggurats, and cities surrounding broad plazas, throughout the great swamp of Mil. 

They had developed magnificent magics, arts and architecture, but their greatness became their downfall, as they began to reach out, seeking new territories and colonies, the discovered something else, a plague which ran through the populace like wildfire, killing millions. 

They had long attracted the attention of dark and sinister forces, the Baledraugs, who sensing their weakness, began to attack them. One by one the Grodian cities toppled. The Groda turned to dark magics to try to save themselves. They bred new warrior races, the Sar-Aigu and the Gator men, to fight the Baledraugs, but these new servants were easily corrupted, and often as not turned on their masters. The Groda soon were no more.

Their cities crumbled, leaving only the occasional ruin poking out of the fetid swamp.  Most of their underground structures have likewise collapsed.  The old faded map in your hands, however, claims that one such great dungeon remains intact, carved into a low jutting hill of black rock somewhere deep in the swamp."

Deep in the swamp lies many a mystery. Ancient ruins, barely visible rising from the muck and covered in verdure, surround a low hill. In a broad opening on the hill, a strange pyramid like ruins seem to guard a passage leading into darkness.....

From time to time between other postings, I'll share what I created for this dungeon.  Next up will be Level 1 maps and key, and maybe a bit about the swamp itself.


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Game Archaeologist/Anthropologist, Scholar, Historic Preservation Analyst, and a rural American father of three.
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