User:Marasmusine/504 Dungeons

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I was recently reading about the board game "504", in which you choose 3 different game modules and combine them into a unique game. I am wondering if that framework could be used to create a D&D dungeon, particularly for experimental solo play.

A dungeon has a set of three rules: I, II and III. A module describes a mechanic or theme and plugs into I, II or III.

  • Rule I describes the dungeon's win state, fail state and how you can spend resources to progress towards your goal.
  • Rule II describes how you gain resources
  • Rule III adds a minor mechanic that adds a twist.

Dungeon Concepts[edit]

Map[edit]

Maps are drawn on square paper. The dungeon is divided into 64 zones in an 8 by 8 grid. Each zone is a chamber, passageway, or combination of both, like a normal dungeon geotile. Rule I determines the map structure. The map might be wholly pre-generated at the start of the game, or partially pre-generated with other zones filled in as you progress.

Maps might include:

  • Chambers. 8 zones are pre-generated as chambers (rooms with an exit in each direction). The entrance and exit is centre-bottom. Other zones are determined randomly.
  • Ascent. The path through the dungeon zig-zags through every zone like a snakes-and-ladders board. Zones are pre-generated as a hallway.
  • Court. Only the outermost zones are used, forming a loop. Zones are pre-generated as a hallway.
  • Castle. As court, but concentric loops are formed. The rules provide some way of moving to different loops.
  • Unmapped. Only the starting tile is known.

Each map has pre-determined zones marked for use by each module (for example, a TC zone is a location for a treasure chest if that module is used).

Chambers[edit]

When a chamber is entered for the first time, roll 1d6 to determine its contents (in addition to contents placed there by modules).

  • 1-3. Empty
  • 4. Monster (easy encounter)
  • 5. Trap (minor setback)
  • 6. Monster and Trap as above.

Victory Points[edit]

The goal is to score as many Victory Points as possible, as determined by rule I. In general, a module will give a maximum of 8 VP. At the end of the game, this translates to experience points or other reward for the player, or a benefit for the next game.

Resources[edit]

Resources are found in the dungeon, as determined by rule II. What they actually represent depends on module I, which describes how resources can be used. They are effectively quest items, and are not transferred over to the next game.

Threat[edit]

Threat is the way the dungeon forces the player to progress by moving the game towards a fail state. A 1d6 threat roll is made after each exploration turn (10 minutes). Results 1 to 3 are determined by Rule I; results 4 to 5 are determined by rule II; result 6 is determined by rule III.

Fail states might be the player being reduced to 0 hit points, or some variation of running out of time (item not found, location not reached, villain achieving power).

NPC[edit]

Some modules include an NPC. This might be a primary antagonist, a thief, or someone who must be interacted with. The NPC is represented on the map with a pawn and may move between exploration phases. A dungeon only ever has one NPC: if several modules refer to an NPC, that NPC has all the qualities described in those modules.

Modules[edit]

Treasure Chests (TC)[edit]

In Treasure Chests, certain zones contain a treasure chest.

Treasure Chest

A treasure chest always contains a minor treasure rolled on the individual treasure table (DMG) with the appropriate CR. In addition, roll 1d6 to determine other contents when it is opened.

  • 1) Monster (With Slayer module). One or more Tiny creatures within the chest, or a mimic (average encounter); otherwise empty.
  • 2) Tool (with Tools module); otherwise empty.
  • 3) Lair treasure (DMG) of the appropriate CR.
  • 4) 2 VP (TC-I) or Resource (TC-II, TC-III)
  • 5) 2 VP (TC-I) or Resource (TC-III, TC-III)
  • 6) 4 VP (TC-I) or Resource (TC-III, TC-III)
NPC

In TC-I and TC-II, the dungeon has contains an NPC who functions as a thief, initially located in the zone opposite the player. If the NPC moves into a zone with a treasure chest, the chest contents are determined and collected by the NPC. By default the NPC is evasive, and will attempt to avoid detection by stealth and if engaged in combat will flee.

  • Slayer Module: The NPC is also a monster who will readily engage in combat. If the NPC is defeated, one treasure it collected is dropped.
Rule I
  • Map: Chambers
  • Setup: The map has six "TC zones" numbered 1 to 6. Note that each TC zone has a treasure chest.
  • Goal: The heroes have been tasked to locate a specific set of treasures. Each VP represents one part of a unique set of art objects, rare eggs, pages of a diary, or suchlike.
  • Threat: Move the NPC two zones towards the nearest treasure chest. The thief does not reveal zones, but cannot move through walls in revealed zones.
  • Resource Spend: Resources can be used as follows. The cost of the option is shown in parenthesis.
    • Hidden Treasure (4 or 8). A hero makes an DC 15 or DC 10 Investigation check. On a success, choose one of the entries on the Treasure Chest table and choose one empty treasure chest to place it in. Each entry on the table can only be chosen once in this way.
    • Clue (2). Determine the contents of an unopened treasure chest.
    • Distract (2 or 4). A hero makes a DC 15 or DC 10 Deception check. On a success, move the thief 2 zones in any direction.
    • Map (1). Reveal one zone.
  • Game End: The heroes may end the expedition at any time. Assume that the NPC or other thieves take the contents of the remaining treasure chests. The heroes receive half the reward for scoring 4 to 7 VP; or the full reward for 8 VP.
Rule II
  • Setup: The map has six "TC zones" numbered 1 to 6. Note that each TC zone has a treasure chest.
  • Resource Gain: A treasure chest may contain resources as shown in the Treasure Chest table.
Rule III
  • Setup: On the map, note that "TC zone" 1 has a treasure chest.

Slayer[edit]

This module adds tougher monsters to fight. There are six monster encounters:

    • Three worth 1 VP or Resources, with a CR equal to party level - 1.
    • Two worth 2 VP or Resources, with a CR equal to party level.
    • One worth 3 VP or Resources, with a CR equal to party level + 1.
Rule I
  • Map: Chambers
  • Setup: The map has six "S zones" numbered 1 to 6. Note that each S zone has a monster encounter, although you initially do not know which encounter is in which zone.
  • Goal: The heroes have been tasked to kill the six monsters.
  • Threat:
  • Resource Spend: Resources can be used as follows. The cost of the option is shown in parenthesis.
    • Clue (2). Choose one unrevealed monster encounter. Reveal that monster encounter, learning what monster it is and its VP worth.
    • Map (1). Reveal one zone.
  • Game End: The heroes may end the expedition at any time. Assume that at the end of the expedition, it is too late to resolve whatever problems the monsters were causing. The heroes receive half the reward for scoring 4 to 7 VP; or the full reward for 8 VP.


Tools[edit]

This module adds challenge locations that can be resolved with combinations of tools.

Ascent[edit]

This module requires the heroes to reach a specific location.

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