Monday, 28 May 2012

S is for Sandbox Part IV: A Sample Minor Adventure Site (3): Hermitage and Temple 1

Well, a lot has happened since the last “S is for Sandbox” column, including the advent of the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG, which has become my favourite published role-playing game of all time.  This isn’t a major problem, but, going forward, I am going to be using that system in my examples.

The DCC RPG assumes that characters begin as 0-level nobodies, and the party of adventurers is whosoever survives the “0-level funnel” that is the initial adventuring session.  For this purpose, I am assuming that the party has already gone through the funnel, and consists of either 1st level characters or a mix of 1st and 0-level characters.  The temple will therefore be designed under the assumption that it will be introduced at such low levels, and probably explored initially between 1st and 3rd level.

Let’s see how the new ruleset changes the work we’ve already done.  I’m not going to go back over the wilderness area – by the time this series is done, you should be able to do that yourself without any difficulty if you want to use this region – except where it is important to ongoing development.

1005: Outbuildings:  This is the site of the Hermitage.  The outbuildings include the hermit’s quarters, a common area for guests (including a stable as part of the common area).  The cellar beneath the hermit’s quarters includes a secret area wherein treasure from bandits, goblins, and pirates may be hidden.

The hermit is a 6th level thief.  This level was chosen so as to allow interaction with starting PCs, where the hermit will not be instantly overwhelmed, while at the same time making it possible for the PCs to defeat him later.  Besides which, living alone in the (near) wilds as he does, the hermit will need some class level “oomph”!

Now, we can be pretty sure that the hermit is no longer 6th level in DCC.  Instead, this is probably a 2nd or 3rd level thief, and following the general rule of each DCC level being equivalent of 2 levels in most similar game systems, I am of the opinion that he should be 3rd.  Based on the description of the Thief in the DCC core rules, we can also assume that he is Lawful.  Appendixes S and T help us to give him a name:  Llulch the Psalmist.  You will note that I chose a clerical title, rather than one indicated for a thief, because our thief is disguised as a hermit.

The rulebook suggests not worrying too much about “correct” NPC stats.  We don’t have to fully develop a 3rd level Thief to create our rogue.  In fact, we probably want something between the bandit hero stats and a fully developed thief.  To wit:

Llulch the Psalmist: Init +4; Atk staff +2 melee (1d4); AC 16; HD 2d8; Hp 5; MV 30’; Act 1d20; SP Luck (13, 1d5), Crit 1d14/II, Thief skills (Backstab +5, Sneak +5, Hide +7, Disguise +2); SV Fort +3, Ref +3, Will +1; AL L.

1204: Temple:  This is the ruined temple, beneath which the dungeon lies.  We might as well start calling this the Dungeon of the Skull, because that will be its most important feature.  Within the temple, there is an area that allows our hermit to mimic a cleric, effectively giving him access to a limited amount of curative magic each day.

In fact, let us make this a temple of Hermes (as the patron of thieves, healers, and magic, it seems appropriate).

This remains very much as it was, except that the hermit will have more limited healing, in accordance with the general DCC rules, and that healing will be based on both alignment and Hit Die.  We should also consider a bit more about Hermes, and the potential ways to use this temple within the DCC game:

  • As a patron of Thieves and Healers both, we should declare Hermes Neutral.  Magic is also certainly not Lawful by nature. 
  • “Quest for It”:  As a God of Healing, we should seed the temple or the dungeon with the means to gain exception healing, as an adventure or a quest.  This can be tied in with the Skull, in that the Skull can be the means by which PCs can learn how said quests can be performed.  The Skull, of course, is also working on her own agenda of being freed and restored.
  • “God of Magic”:  There should be at least one, and as many as three to five, spells that can potentially be learned through the temple and the dungeon beneath.  Moreover, Hermes would make an excellent patron, and we should fully develop him as such.

1404: Goblin Cave:  When goblins visit the hermitage, they stay here.  As a result, there is goblin graffiti on the walls, carvings on the table, etc., that hints at what the hermit really is.  Unknown to the hermit, the goblins have begun mining here, trying to break into the Dungeon of the Skull.

When we were working with Labyrinth Lord, a goblin was a goblin was a goblin.  This isn't a bad thing, and works well for that system, but Dungeon Crawl Classics is a different animal.  Using the DCC RPG, we should strive to make these unique humanoids that are derived from the basic goblin.  Luckily, the DCC core book gives us charts to help with this.

Our “goblins” will be yellow, and will fight with two weapons.  The book suggests longsword and dagger, but we’ll leave what the weapons are open for the moment.  They are also bald and speak a racial language other than “goblin”….a random roll as per Thief in Appendix L suggested “Gnoll”, but for fun, let’s have them speak the dwarven language, as though they are degenerate dwarves.  Our details will progress from this assumption.  For example, they can fight with hand axe and dagger.  Their mining also makes sense in terms of dwarvishness as well as goblinness.  Although they are bald, we can allow them full beards.


  1. This is fantastic stuff, Raven. Same with your series of gods posted to the forums. I'll chime in there, as well, with my praise.

    It is an interesting predicament: Your stuff is so good, I find myself trying to *not* read it, for fear of unconsciously cribbing ... there's no higher praise in my book. :)


  2. From the author of Doom of the Savage Kings and Sailors on a Starless Sea, that is high praise indeed!

  3. D'oh! My real response should have been: Tell Joseph Goodman to hire me! lol