What I’ve Been Up To
Mainly, discovering that my guess was correct: coming up with 120 rumors, even with variations on the same rumor to pad it out, is hard, hard work. Next session, expect more rumor rolls. Well, everybody aside from TKotBO. The only news he ever gets to hear is the Good News, as told in the Holy Gospel of Mighty Saturn. (Those who keep the Blood Oath don’t hold with that namby-pamby soft-on-demons stuff you get from the Mighty Book of Holy Saturn, after all.)
In between attacks of brain-melt, I’ve been adding to my “little black book”, my own personal GURPS Monster Manual. Back when I was originally getting organized for the DF game, I found the list of published creatures. I took that list, and threw out anything that didn’t immediately work for a hack-and-slash fantasy game (“Alien Invader”, “Romantic Vampire”), or that came from a book I didn’t have access to. That left me with a shorter list, which became my initial population. I went through the books, fiddled around with GCA where necessary, and gathered full DF-style stat blocks for them all. All those stat blocks went into a big OpenOffice document, in alphabetical order. Since then, when I’ve run across new monsters — like when I picked up GURPS Zombies — I’ve picked out the ones I’ve liked, and added them to the list. The idea is, I can keep all my stats in one place, so I don’t find myself scrambling to find the right PDF, and so I can make little modifications to my official, approved version of the stats.
I’ve done a wee bit of work on stocking the dungeon, as well. There are different levels of focus in my documentation. The first level, the place where the party’s been mostly hanging out, from the big stone head to the edge of the Great Bridge, I’ve got notes on top of notes on top of notes. They’ve looted some of these rooms more than once, it seems.
Then, there’s the next section, the part that they’ve barely even got a look at. They’ve seen the rooms that the orcs used to hold, on the far side of and overlooking the Great Bridge, but they know they saw closed doors in those rooms, and they’ve seen hallways that they’ve never gone down. Furthermore, to get to those rooms, one leaves the Great Bridge, follows a wide hallway, turns right onto a stairway off the main hallway, and then ascends to a level some twenty feet higher than the surface of the Bridge. It is worth noting that the big hallway continues on.
There’s an area that starts at the far end of the Great Bridge, which I’ve got fully stocked. If you gathered all the maps together, there’s probably eight or nine sheet-of-graph-paper equivalents.
Then there’s another section, beyond that, of about the same size, that I’ve got roughed out. A while back, I got bored enough to make random stocking rolls for several hundred rooms — just “Monster, no treasure” or “Trap, treasure” or “Empty”. Or the notorious “Special”. Since then, I’ve grouped those random rolls into areas of “turf” within the dungeon: rooms that are held by a particular force. I’ve got some notes on maybe 2/3 of those areas, aiming towards an idea of what faction holds that turf. If the party were to somehow teleport themselves into this region, I could probably fake my way through a session with those notes. The treasure would be awful bland, though.
Past that region, I’ve got a couple of pages of nothing-but-map, some vague notes, and at least one arrow pointing off the edge of the map. The arrow’s labeled “Here be monsters” or something similar.
What I’ve been working on, specifically, is turning that “2/3” in the roughed-out area into a “100%”. All part of the rumor effort, really. I’ve got references to things scattered from one end of the dungeon to the other. The two lines of work converge on each other. If I note that a couple of rooms are a lair of Romantic Vampires, I can put down a rumor pointing towards sparkling undead.
Which is not to say that all the rumors are the pure, unvarnished truth. There’s a lot of them that are filtered through the storyteller, or that only have part of the story. I haven’t put in any outright lies (“Bree yark!”) but there’s quite a few items that have a certain slant to ’em…