Final Stages Now
Fairly straightforward post here with a shot of my desk as I keyed the final areas (103 locations in total) for Geir Loe Cyn-crul. That was last week? Time is fuzzy since I've begun my move process to the new house. You can see a portion of the Random Occurrence Table, (highlighted in green) which is the hex-crawly mechanic of the dungeon.
Since finishing the raw text, I've formatted using InDesign (seen above), added the maps, new items, monsters and spells. I've done a first pass at editing...though I'll be honest, editing is not my strong suit. I get it as clean as I can and release when I feel it's passable. I also added some handouts, including the partial map from the Occurrence Table and the full Throne Ritual that PCs can discover in room 21 (preventing instant death while approaching the Throne).
The last thing I added was a full combat roster for the blood-coven: something like 190 combatants. Tracking regeneration for that many trolls was going to be a headache, so I laid out all individuals by squad with HP tick-boxes. You can mark off acid and fire damage with pen and mark off all other damage with pencil. Also, no, I don't want to get into a fight about how troll regen works. ;)
The roster is there if you need it.
For Allan specifically, my method for making a module is to have an overall concept of a location with mood and threat-level in mind. I then start drawing the map, extrapolating on the fly how inhabitants might modify, defend, come & go, feed etc. If the dungeon is inhabited by its builders (very rare) it's going to be much different than if various factions have moved in and taken hold.
Geir Loe Cyn-crul is a mix of both: interlopers and new-construction.
I generally blast through the initial draft using word, each room is a number with notes like: "The Rod is here. Trap + Roper." That way I essentially have the whole module in synopsis form and it's easy to track details as I flesh it out.
I think it's important to underscore a dungeon's mood and hazards w/ repetition and with themes. This way it feels like a real place *and* players can learn as they go, getting a handle on how to deal with the place over time, which is both realistic and satisfying to players. IMO, it's less engaging to enter a "fun-house" style dungeon where EVERYTHING is weird and unpredictable. For most all-purpose dungeons, I think you want weird and unpredictable about 30-35% of the time. The rest should be decipherable with bread-and-butter caution & exploration-style play, lest players feel fatigued or beset by unfair hazards.
Geir Loe Cyn-crul offers plenty of puzzles IMO, and stuff to mess with...but it is, at its heart, hack and slash. This is not to say that parlay is useless, or that brains will not be required to win the day. It's just that this module devours resources and (hopefully) demands tactics to avoid TPK by forces that almost always greatly outnumber the PCs.
If that does not sound like your cup of tea, this dungeon is not for you!
Switching gears a bit, I've been thinking about this blog and realizing that I think I've covered the bases in my "How to play AD&D" series.
Along the way, I've been releasing content, both from old source material circa 1980's: (The Night Wolf Inn & The Mortuary Temple of Esma) as well as new material: (A Fabled City of Brass & Zjelwyin Fall).
As I'm now putting the finishing touches on Geir Loe Cyn-crul (which is also from the late 80's or early 90's) I've been struck by the reality that I'm publishing these supplements primarily for myself...as authentic reference books to my home campaign. It's just easier to reach for one of them off the shelf than to sort through scattered papers and ancient spiral notebooks.
Because this newest dungeon happens to have a direct link to the cellars of the Night Wolf Inn, I started to think that there's now a significant amount of real estate from my home game out in the public eye. So maybe I should start blogging about my setting? Provide additional maps and refs to cities, politics and so forth?
I mean, there might only be 3 people including myself that would care about this sort of content, but isn't that technically an audience?
Adummim is a world I conceived for role playing, then refactored for use in writing novels, and now again finds utility as my setting for role playing. The word Adummim is Hebrew, I think, and means "red spots". I like this because of the association with mortality and bleeding in general during adventures.
I'm not sure the gaming community needs another setting, but if people express interest, I'll likely turn the blog toward this aim as a way of finding a cohesive theme for continued posts.
Think on it, let me know, and in the meantime, here's another scribble I did for the module: