Sunday, September 24, 2017

1E Wilderness Encounters 4.0


Recently in my Isolde-Delta campaign, the players were traveling north towards the fabled "Ruins of the Moathouse" and a couple random encounters were called for. During the rolls, I realized I had missed a section on my Wilderness Encounters table, namely individual buildings/structures. I just updated the tables to include results like:

Herder's Hut
Cave Complex
Gypsy Wagon
Burning Ship

Additionally, the entry Structure appears on most of the charts and a sub-table was added into the appendix. If this result is called for/chosen, roll d100 on the new chart for results like:

Single House (with sub-table)
Fortified Building (with sub-table and entries like Small Keep and Motte & Bailey).

These entries are included to give the players more options for encounters that will add Landmark results to the world map, and hopefully entice the players to feel a bit more like Lewis & Clarke, or perhaps Abbot & Costello.

Updated link is in the Downloads Archive, and below for simplicity:


Thursday, August 10, 2017

1E Wilderness Encounters 3.0


To follow on the heels of the recently posted 1E Random Wilderness Caves PDF, I've updated the 1E Wilderness Encounter document to version 3.0.Subtle changes include:

Added a few more items like Dens, Waterfalls, Hamlets, Villages and Thorpes to various tables.
Added a new entry for Cave Complex, Den and Grotto in the appendix.
Added "See Random Wilderness Caves" to Caves (Complex, Narrow, Shallow), Den and Grotto

Largest changes:
Re-formatted from landscape to portrait view (for easier printing and viewing at table).
Document size dropped from 15 to 14 pages.

A couple images follow:

A new Dropbox link is available in the Downloads section, and below: 


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

1E Random Wilderness Caves

I’m very proud of the work I’ve done to improve my own micro-sandbox design philosophy over the last 40 years. For some time I’ve been working on a document entitled Random Wilderness Encounters, refining and expanding (where needed) and when an update is finished, post it to the blog. One of the areas that I’ve been keenly focusing on is a deeper more vibrant appendix that includes plenty of inspiration when the players discover a unique feature in my world.

Typically when it’s time for a random wilderness encounter a player rolls 4D6. If an encounter is rolled (a number is predetermined for that session in advance) I then have a player roll 4D100 and using my tables, piece together an encounter/place of interest based on those results. Scattered throughout the random terrain tables are results like:

Cave, Narrow*
Cave, Shallow*
Cave, Sea*
Rock Shelter*
*50% this feature houses a lair.

The appendix doesn’t include enough information so I decided to create a set of tables to give a quick visual method to identify what exactly these results might look like. In play testing, each is a simple drawing that gives the basic layout of a cave. Some include stairs (shown in grey), while others include stalagmites/stalactites, outcroppings, ledges, ponds and streams. Other than including a 10’ grid for size, explicit details like ledge height and depth of water have been avoided. Imagination, feed the fire.

The document contains six (6) tables with 20 random cave layouts. A sample follows:

A link is now in the Downloads Archive:


Saturday, July 8, 2017

Castle of the Bloated One: Feral's Urn

February 29, 1976 Original Concept

Egypt has mesmerized me forever. From the first time I read the story of King Tut's tomb and saw images of the Canopic Jars, my imagination ran wild. I laid out a "run" of sorts, a dungeon with a single entrance, filled with a few routes that meandered around a single common feature. Later, when I had the opportunity to travel and see Tut's exhibit in person, I immediately focused on the jars again, and when I had the opportunity, added the finishing touches.

Presented below is Feral's Urn:


Castle of the Bloated One: Hallowed Ground

April 9, 1978 Original Concept

Forever, or so it seems, I've had a particular fondness for dungeons that combined traditional hallways and caverns together. Level One and Two contain some of the earliest recollection of actively infusing that design into my growing neurosis. Perhaps Luray Caverns had something to do with it, or maybe its simply the dwarf sitting at the controls in my brain pining for bedrock above his head. Speaking of, does anyone know of a good Dwarven psychiatrist?

In any case, I present, Hallowed Ground:


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Castle of the Bloated One: Tribute

April 3, 1978 Original Concept

This project sat partially finished for thirty years, collecting dust and waiting for a revisit. I had envisioned a five level complex, with approximately ten to twenty chambers/rooms per floor. A central entrance led downwards to an ancient ruin, forgotten to the ages but just waiting for the right circumstance to activate.

March 4, 2008 Revisit

Gary Gygax's passing affected me deeply and when I found this layout, realized it would be a fitting ode to a dear friend. Thus, Tribute is presented below:

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Castle of the Bloated One: Iszac's End

March 12, 1978 Original Concept

Directly west of the Castle of the Bloated One is the Crestfallen Mountains, a large scallop that runs for some 250 miles. Iszak Morshow, an enterprising gnome, had been exploring new territory in the range. One day while fishing in a mountain stream he realized there was an opening and being a gnome quickly decided to investigate. He discovered a large cave complex that contained everything essential to develop a thriving business, namely minerals, water, and privacy. Over the next two years he built a successful business, harvesting ore and trading it for information. Every few months, like clockwork, he shows up in town selling rare rock statues, drinks a few pints and disappears just as quickly.

Thus presented below is Iszac's End:


Updated Dropbox links

I've received a couple emails in regards to the links on the blog being invalid. So today I've updated all the links from Dropbox, and added a Dungeon Age pdf for enterprising Dm's looking for more detail on the age of a complex.



Saturday, February 11, 2017

Castle of the Bloated One - Scarab's Heart: Level 10

January 31, 1977 Original Concept

After I laid everything out on common brown table paper (with a hand drawn grid), it suddenly dawned on me the direction this level would take, and more importantly what role it would play in my growing campaign. Like my original Isolde-Delta map, this level went through so many changes I had to continually redraw on new paper. Thus, Level 10 was the first level I originally laid out, but didn't really have a fully fleshed out idea of what, or rather who would live there till about six months later.

I envisioned a burrow of sorts with beetles, lots of beetles and two rather large set pieces around a central theme. Scarab's Heart finishes off The Castle of the Bloated One's Main dungeon complex.

Edit: The original I uploaded had a hidden burrows and shadow layer on the Sun Temple.