How To Host A Dungeon: The Great Spider Civilisation

Posted by: Jason Silverain / Category: , , , , ,

The Great Spider Civilisation designed by Zak Arntson at Harlekin-Maus is the first of several homebrew civilizations created for How to Host A Dungeon which I will be highlighting. It was actually this civilization which inspired me to create my own Kobold civilisation back in 2012 which I posted last month.
The following rules are written in a style that requires reference to the either the available free version of the rules or the full ruleset for use.

Great Spiders are horse-sized intelligent creatures with sharp intellects alien to our own. They reside in vast murky forests and prey upon wildlife, hapless travellers, and each other. The most cunning join the Great Burrow beneath the surface world, a maze of tunnels and webbed chambers ruled by their Queen Mother.

Draw Great Spider tunnels and chambers in black. Great Spiders prefer to reuse rooms for lairs and larders, burrowing only when necessary or constructing new chambers from the Great Spider Burrowing table. If you don't have a cave complex, roll any die across your map and create one as described in the Primordial Age rules.

Pick a spot on the surface above the cave complex and draw a finger-wide forest. Now draw a tunnel connecting the forest to those tunnels. The caverns' primordial beasts are your first Great Spiders, and each cave is now a lair. Expand each cavern by a bead in size.
Each lair is two beads in size, and consists of a web and larder. Each Great Spider is represented by a . A  is either captured prey (in a larder) or Great Spider Treasure. You may want to represent larder  with white d6's to save space, setting the die's face to the number of . When tallying the current population, add up all Great Spider , including the Queen Mother. No lair may hold more than 5  except the Royal Larder, which may hold up to 10.
Make up a name for your Great Spider Civilisation which reflects its arrogant, predatory nature.
The Age of Spiders ends if all spiders are wiped out, the only living spider is the Queen Mother, or the Web of Worlds is opened.

The Great Spider Year

At the end of each season, any unclaimed lair loses all . This includes the Royal Larder.

Spring: In spring, Egg sacs burst and prey multiplies. If the population is less than 8, subtract the current population from a d8 (with a minimum result of one). If the Great Burrow contains a Chamber of Countless Eyes, roll a 2d8 instead. This is the number of new Great Spiders who survived to adulthood. Fill empty rooms first, then draw any new lairs required, connected to the Great Burrow by a tunnel at least 1 thumb long. Place 1  and 1  in each newly-claimed lair.

Summer: In summer, Great Spiders hunt. For each Great Spider other than the Queen Mother roll a d6 on the Great Spider Hunting table. The Queen Mother does not hunt; her ravenous appetite removes d6  from the Royal Larder (it's okay to reduce her larder to zero).

Great Spider Hunting Results
Gone hungry. If there is a  in the Great Spider's larder, remove it. If there isn't, the Great Spider attempts to eat one of her sisters. Pick the closest Great Spider (including the Queen Mother) and attack using the Voracious Appetite rules above.

Good hunting. If there is less than 1  in the the Great Spider's lair, add one.

Superb hunting. If there is less than 2  to the Great Spider's larder, add two.

Hunt befitting a Queen. If there is less than 3  to the Great Spider's larder, add three.

Fall: In fall, Great Spiders burrow. First, the countless spiderlings expand their haunt. Enlarge an existing Spiderling Haunt or create a new one as described in Great Spider Burrowing, below.

Next, find the first entry equal to or less than the current population on the Great Spider Burrowing table that hasn't yet been burrowed. Draw the new chamber and connect it to an existing tunnel. Opening the Web is a special activity which can be performed multiple times and does not create new chambers. Great Spider Treasures are always crafted of weird materials (typically silk, chitin and bone) and serve equally weird purposes.

Great Spider Burrowing

Spiderling Haunt: A mazelike series of chambers where spiderlings fight for survival. To begin the Haunt, draw a tunnel leading from the surface forest to a convoluted series of chambers taking up about a half-finger in length. All expansions or newly-added chambers are a bead in size.

Midden: This is where the Great Spiders toss the remainders of their meals and molted carapaces. A finger from the nearest chamber, draw a pit 2 beads high and 1 bead wide.

Weaving Chamber: A web-choked chamber in which to study web magics and plot against each other. Draw a large chamber a finger in length and a thumb high. Place 1  in this chamber; this is a Great Spider Treasure.

Queen Mother's Lair: Draw a large chamber 1 finger in length and a 1 bead high. This is the Queen Mother's Throne Chamber. Also draw a Royal Larder of at least 2 beads in size connected to the Lair. Place 1  in the Lair; this is a Great Spider Treasure.

Chamber of Countless Eyes: Great Spiders glean knowledge beyond this world in this room. Draw an ornate room 1 finger-length wide and a thumb tall. Place 1  in the Lair; this is a Great Spider Treasure. During spring, the d8 roll for population increases to a 2d8 as Great Spiders from the world over gather to learn at the Great Burrow.
Web of Worlds: A weird sphere holding a vast eldritch web that spans between worlds. Draw a round room a half-finger in diameter, connected to the Great Spider Civilisation by a tunnel at least a finger in length. During the Age of Monsters, whenever wandering monsters appear, one of those monsters is placed in this room and is an extra-planar equivalent of the rolled monster.

Opening the Web: The Great Spiders' weird studies stretch their Web of Worlds across unseeable vistas. If the Great Burrow has a Web of Worlds, place 1  on it. If the  equals or exceeds the population, end the Spider Age. The Web has opened and each spider either travels beyond the stars, or remains behind, afraid and bitter.

Winter: In winter, The Queen Mother collects her tribute while her sisters plot. Skip this season if the Queen Mother's Lair has not yet been burrowed.

If there is a Queen Mother, each spider removes 1 non-treasure  from her larder (if available) and places it into the Royal Larder. Following tribute, the Great Spider with the most  attacks the Queen Mother using the Voracious Appetites rules below. Every new Queen Mother should receive an appropriately sinister and spidery name. If there is a tie for most , two random contenders fight, hoping to challenge the Queen Mother next winter.
If there is no Queen Mother, the Great Spider with the largest larder moves herself and the  in her larder into the Queen's Lair and Royal Larder.
In either case above, if there is ever a tie for largest larder, randomly pick two of these spiders to fight.

Voracious Appetites: Whenever a Great Spider attacks another, each spider rolls a d6 and adds the number of , including treasures, in her larder. The Queen Mother receives an additional +2. The loser is devoured and her  removed. If the newly-unoccupied lair has a larger larder than the winner's, the winner may move into the lair. A new Queen Mother always moves into the Queen's Chamber, adding her own WB to the Royal Larder. In the case of a tie, both spiders are killed.

End of the Spider Age

For every Great Spider  on the map, excepting the Queen, roll a d6. On a roll of 1-4, remove it. Those that remain are giant spiders as described in Wandering Monsters. If the Queen is still alive, the  remains as a spider queen alpha predator, too cemented in her dominance of this world to leave for others. She uses the web rules as per giant spider Wandering Monsters.
All Great Spider Treasures remain. For every larder, roll a d6. If the roll is less than or equal to the , remove all but 1 , otherwise remove all . Also add 1  to the Spiderling Haunt area, Midden and Royal Larder. These  are unnoticed loot from long-dead prey. Now proceed to the Great Disaster.

For further posts on How To Host A Dungeon:

The Original Game Review
Here is my very own Kobold Rules.
Dsyon Logos Muck Dweller Civilisation 

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More Payday Shenanigans with Haxmonster.

Posted by: Jason Silverain / Category: , ,

So I mentioned yesterday that I had seen an old gaming buddy of mine called Haxmonster for the first time in ages and we ended recording a game of Payday 2 for his Youtube Channel.

We I wasn't expecting to see him again so soon but we made the best of it first of all warming up with a little silliness on a Armoured Transport Raid.

I will confess the allure of the light machine gun did make me somewhat careless but it was a good bit of fun and chatter with us discussing video games and the design choices of Payday 2 dlc.

Having had a little refresher we decided on a blind run on the Forest Bomb Heist and I was pleasantly surprised to find it was one of the best designed levels I've played in a while and was of my better performances today. 

Finally with our bloodlust sated we decided to try to be a little more subtle and try our hand at a stealth mission.

I hope you guys found those fun to watch, I will confess I did get slightly sidetracked and droned on a little at points.

Finally the How To Host A Dungeon Post will be up on the 10th.

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So I'm in a Youtube video...

Posted by: Jason Silverain / Category: , ,

I found myself online with an old friend Haxmonster for the first time in ages the other day and ended up recording a few Payday 2 videos for his Youtube Channel.

No script, no practice and no sense in some sentences, I must admit I was rather nervous since it was the first I've been recorded for Youtube video. In addition it has been a long time since I had played Payday 2 so I was running around a little clueless here.

Hopefully we'll not have too long before our next game and you'll be able to see us in some of our more chaotic moments.

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“I have a dream” or more accurately described as “My brain goes to strange places when I'm ill”.

Posted by: Jason Silverain / Category: , , , , , , ,

Good evening everyone, for some reason I'm possessed to write this post now at near 00:30am but you can't accuse me of been slack on getting my posts done this month.  

Ladies and Gentlemen I have a dream.

However this is not a dream of equality and friendship, no this is a dream brought on by light dozing sleep patterns, ear infection created nausea, moments of fever, prescribed medication and most likely some suppressed anxiety.

Ladies and Gentlemen I have a dream to create a horror based fantasy campaign in Basic Roleplaying (BRP).

Now this has hit some snags from the start, first of all I've never Dmed Basic Roleplaying and most of my group have never played it either but my choice to run the game in this system is due to the following three factors:

  1. Other roleplaying systems such as Dungeons and Dragons and Pathfinder traditionally tend to empower the hero's so even monsters that in lore and roleplay terms a character should be scared of soon become hardly challenging to the typical adventurer. I want to shake up the party a little a draw us back from this, I want pull us away from been well oiled murder machines or the perfect diplomat (other known as diplomancers in my group ) and get a little more human and vulnerable.

  1. Basic Roleplaying has an inbuilt sanity system which is relatively simple and saves me from having to create an experimental system or using the Tome of Horror Corruption/Taint Systems. It also has the additional effect of having a reputation for destroying characters thanks to Call Of Cthulhu and this will give me additional groundwork for setting the campaign mood.

  1. We've had access to the Basic Roleplaying Book and Fantasy 1 for a few years now and not yet used it and I want to make my friend feel that it was not a wasted purchase, in addition the system is rather more flexible for ad-libbing character stats than most of the D20 systems I traditionally play.

The other issues I'm facing include the fact that the Basic Roleplaying book is a huge unwieldy beast which is a pain to flick through and that its supplement isn't much better and is missing a context page and appendix, I have taken measures and downloaded the quick start guide but I suspect a lot of photocopying is still in order.

Whilst looking for online support for BRP I have notice it it seems to lack any central wiki and that it only has a minor presence online other than BRP Central and I'm not particularly willing to sign up to the forum as I'm in the middle of reducing my existing accounts online as it is after 15 years on not doing so.

I've managed to avoid getting side tracked in map design thanks to Adroit-Tellurian's post on the map making SubReddit as the city of Bromwich is ideal for my needs so now I can focus on the encounters for the game.

While this will be horror themed and will lend heavily from inspirations such as Darkest Dungeon I am planning on making it rather a traditional dungeon crawl style adventure (though initially the party will have to make their way through a contested haunted city) and I've plans for various sub objectives so the party has a little free roaming if they so wish.

So why am I posting this? Well the two people in my group I would traditionally brain storm with are quite likely to be players so I don't want to spoil the surprise so I'm turning to the online community of my fellow roleplayers for suggestions or heck if you feel like you've got a few NPCs you don't mind going crazy or encounters you think would be appropriate I would be very grateful to see them.

Finally this months post should be the last of the How To Host A Dungeon Series for now though I would like to return to it and craft a few more alternative rules beyond civilisations in the future.
So next month I've got a number of possible topics to turn to, ranging from Green Text Stories of my groups current online game and its hijinks, a overview on how to run a monstrous/evil campaign since that was popular in the FAQ and I've also been delving into the more casual side of gaming so a series of short reviews is in the works.

By the way if you've not seen the FAQ page yet please feel free to check it out and post more questions in the comments. 

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