Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Classic Runequest Dungeon Format
Each room description is organized as follows:
INITIAL DIE ROLLS: This determines the occupants of the room. Most Chaosium dungeons were living places, with the inhabitants moving between rooms, catching up on the latest news, going for a meal or sleeping. So the initial die rolls would determine where the inhabitants were. Most GMs that I knew did these in advance to work out what the inhabitants were doing. Earlier rolls took priority, so a monster/NPC could not be in two places. Occasionally, the roll would have some special happening in them (for instance a room that had spirits in it might have the spirit attack someone the instant they set foot in the room, but would otherwise be peaceable until attacked).
FIRST GLANCE: This told the players what they knew about the room the first instant they set foot, like dimensions, obvious features and, in a cave for instance, what sort of rock the room was carved out of.
CLOSER LOOKS: This would include all the significant elements of the room beyond a first glance, some of which, it was noted, could be misleading or unimportant - and boy, did people fall for those.
EXITS: By listing the exits from the room, it was easy for a GM to keep the players informed without drawing a map for them or anything. Several of the Chaosium dungeons were mapping challenges. They would also note where any keys were located.
HIDDEN SPOTS: Chaosium Runequest 2 had a specific skill for Spot Hidden items. This section also indicated how long it would take for one person to search the area, and also the chances of a Found Item being there (I'll come on to Found Items later).
TRAPS: Being old school, traps were common in Chaosium dungeons. This section would describe the trap in full, including any mechanics and how to circumvent it.
DENIZENS: Whatever monsters or NPCs live in the room, if they aren;t of the meandering type normally favored.
TREASURE: What it says on the tin.
MISCELLANEOUS NOTES: Anything that didn't fit in elsewhere went here.
As said, I think this format worked really well. I'm currently designing a MRQ2 dungeon - which I don't do very often - and I'm using this format, remembering The Alexandrian's excellent description tips too. So I've added a section under closer looks simply called "Three Senses and Two Cool Things."