Dungeon Stocking 101

All through this series, I have been sharing my planning regarding Escape From Zanzer’s Dungeon, as presented in the Easy To Master “Black Box” Dungeons and Dragons Game, that was released in the 1990’s. The key thing about this boxed set was that the adventure served as a tutorial for the Dungeons and Dragons game, using a series of Dragon Cards that first teaches the new GM the rules, who can then teach those rules to their players.

The first seven sections of the Dragon Cards focused on teaching the actual rules of the game, from character creation and classes, through to combat and encounters. Each of these lessons were reinforced through the adventure itself, mainly in the first three parts.

However, the Dragon Cards were about more than just teaching the GM the rules of the game to teach their players. It also focused on teaching the GM how to be a good GM, and how to do several GM-only tasks. The most important of these tasks is designing and creating adventures.

Empty Rooms, Empty Game

Over on the left side of the map of Zanzer’s Dungeon, there is a small complex of five rooms (24 – 28) that have been left empty. These rooms are intended as a space where the GM can follow the final Dragon Cards to stock a dungeon, before they get to the task of creating their own full adventures.

Random stocking of dungeons is a great way to create encounters quickly, but often lacks the cohesion of a more planned adventure. This is why it’s often wise to create a cohesive core of an adventure, and then use random stocking to fill out the remaining areas of the adventure. The Dungeon Cards demonstrated this by showing how they created the adventure Escape From Zanzer’s Dungeon, and then presenting the partially designed adventure Stonefast for the GM to continue to practice on as a suitable follow up adventure.

Ultimately, random stocking of dungeons is a useful tool for the GM to get to learn how to create new adventures quickly, as it often emulates similar board games which often use randomness as a means to quickly generate encounters, such as Warhammer Quest, Advanced Heroquest, and the Dungeons and Dragons Adventure Boardgames.

Stocking Up

So, let’s get to stocking our five rooms. The first stage of stocking each room is to decide what sort of contents can be found within. This can be done by rolling 1d6 and comparing the following table:

1d6 Roll   Contents    Treasure
1-2        Empty       10% Chance
3          Trap        35% Chance
4-5        Monster     50% Chance
6          Special     Nil

So, let’s get some rolls for our rooms: 1, 2, 6, 2, 2. This gives us the following for our rooms so far:

Room    Roll    Contents
24      1       Empty
25      2       Empty
26      6       Special
27      2       Empty
28      2       Empty

These results seem somewhat, meh, as four of the five rooms are empty, but the fifth holds something special. One of the privileges of being GM is that we can change results we don’t like – we don’t have to be slaves to random results that we don’t find fun. With an over abundance of empty rooms, we can, and probably should, consider changing some of the Empty results to something else.

Since we are supposed to be learning how to stock a dungeon with all sorts of different rooms, we should probably consider changing Room 25 to a Trap, and Room 27 to a Monster. This not only suits the map, but means that the two rooms leading into the complex are empty.

Room   Contents
24     Empty
25     Trap
26     Special
27     Monster
28     Empty

That looks like a more suitable complex to explore, and now we can move on to determining the actual contents of each room.

The Empty rooms are just that – empty. They contain some details to explore, like dusty furniture, rubble, or just an empty room that has yet to be assigned a function. So, for now, we can leave them – so we can focus on Rooms 25, 26, and 27.

Monsters, Monsters, and Monsters, Oh My!

Room 27 is the next easiest to deal with, as it contains a monster encounter for the PCs to fight. The players would be used to this sort of encounter, but how do we choose which monster to include?

The easiest option is to roll on the wandering monster tables. There’s the main table in the back of the rulebook, as well as the wandering table we have already created and have been using for our dungeon. So, let’s start there – we can roll once on each table, and then see which is more suitable for our room.

So, rolling 1d20 on the main table, we get a 15 – 1d10 Skeletons. Whilst this could be a reasonable encounter, we have to ask ourselves if we really want to include more undead in this adventure. We know Zanzer has already used zombies, so skeletons are not totally out of the question here.

Alternatively, rolling 1d8 on our own wandering monster table gives us 2 – 1d6 Hobgoblins. We know that there are plenty of hobgoblins in Zanzer’s dungeon, having encountered more than a few, so this also seems like a reasonable option.

Considering the map, Room 27 is a long room, so most likely a barracks or mess hall. As such, the hobgoblins make a much better choice for the room. Rolling 1d6, we determine that there are 2 Hobgoblins in the room.

We now have the following rooms for our complex, including choosing the monster for our Monster room in Room 27:

Room    Contents
24      Empty
25      Trap
26      Special
27      Monster (2 Hobgoblins)
28      Empty

It’s worth noting that even though we only have a single room with one dedicated monster encounter, there’s still the possibility of encountering wandering monsters in this complex.

Treasured Encounters

If you recall, on the table for random stocking a dungeon, each type of room has a chance for including treasure. Empty rooms might not neccessarily be empty, if a precious bauble or a forgotten cache of coins can be found.

It’s worth noting that Special rooms don’t have a chance for any treasure. This is because the features of the room are often special enough that there is no need to reward the PCs with potential treasure.

So, dealing with the rest of the rooms, we can see that Empty rooms have a 10% chance of including treasure. With two Empty rooms, we roll 23% and 15%, indicating that neither room includes any treasure – they are truly empty.

The Trap room has a 35% chance of treasure. If the room includes treasure, the trap often focuses on protecting the treasure, so let’s see if the room includes treasure or not. With a roll of 73%, the Trap room doesn’t include any treasure.

The Monster room has a 50% chance of treasure. With a roll of 24%, we see that Room 27 does include some treasure. This gives us a chance to look at how to determine random treasures.

Room   Contents                 Treasure
24     Empty                    No
25     Trap                     No
26     Special                  No
27     Monster (2 Hobgoblins)   Yes
28     Empty                    No

Since Zanzer Tem is the special monster of the dungeon, the Hobgoblins in Room 27 will have a smaller treasure of their own, rather than a Lair treasure. Looking under Hobgoblins, this gives us Treasure Type Q – which is 3d6 silver pieces per monster. Rolling 3d6, we discover that the Hobgoblins each have 12 silver pieces.

This gives us the following for our rooms so far.

Room  Contents                 Treasure
24    Empty                    No
25    Trap                     No
26    Special                  No
27    Monster (2 Hobgoblins)   Yes (12 sp each)
28    Empty                    No

With All The Trappings

With three of our five rooms defined, it’s time to tackle with Room 25 and 26. Room 25 is a Trap room. Looking at our map, we can see that there’s a small opening to Room 26. So, without any treasure in Room 25, the most obvious thing to protect is the entrance to Room 26.

There’s no random table to determine what sort of trap should be placed in a given room. Instead, the GM should always carefully place a trap by determining what the trap maker is trying to achieve.

In Room 25, have decided that the trap maker is trying to prevent or delay entry into Room 26. We know that Zanzer Tem is the creator of this dungeon, and as such, he may use a combination of physical and magical traps.

Looking back to when we were trying to decide what monsters our rooms would include, we toyed with the idea of facing 1d10 skeletons. We already know that Zanzer Tem uses undead servants, so why don’t we revisit that idea here?

Let’s go with this idea – in Room 25, once any character who isn’t Zanzer Tem approaches the passage to Room 26, a magical trap is triggered which animates 6 skeletons in Room 25 to try and delay any intruders. It also serves to deter anybody leaving from Room 26, which will be useful when we deal with that room later.

As a trap, we should include the possibility for the trap to be spotted and/or disarmed. In this case, whilst it’s unlikely that any PC will have the ability to disarm the magical trap, we should include some sort of warning glyph that can be spotted protecting the opening. We can go with a simple DC of 15 to spot the subtle writing around the opening.

That Special Something

Time for our final room – Room 26. We now know that it’s protected by a magical trap that summons skeletons whenever someone other than Zanzer attempts to enter or leave. So what could he be protecting? His spellbooks? A special prisoner? Maybe even a consort of some kind?

How about we go with a combination of these options? Although we saw Zanzer’s bedroom earlier in the adventure, we only met Gorgo – Zanzer’s manservant. We also know that Zanzer knows and uses charm person so perhaps he has a charmed consort in here, for when he wishes to “relax”.

The Dragon Cards introduced an elf maiden called Adelle into the choose your own adventure that was used to teach the rules to the GM. Adelle doesn’t feature in the adventure at all, which is a shame given that here statistics are included on the back of Dragon Card 36.

We can change that by including Adelle here as Zanzer’s charmed consort. Because she is charmed, Adelle doesn’t attempt to flee the room, but this doesn’t mean that the PCs won’t decide to try and rescue her – especially if they realise that she has been charmed.

What’s interesting here is that in the basic Dungeons and Dragons game, demihumans like dwarves, elves, and halflings were considered classes as well as races. While dwarves and halflings operated a lot like fighters with some special skills, elves had the ability to fight like fighters and cast spells like mages, as well as having their own skills.

We can tweak the idea of the elf class to include a new class – the spellsword. This class will serve as a reward for the players, as should they rescue Adelle, not only will Adelle join the party stable for future adventures, but if the players create new characters, they can choose Spellsword as a new class for their characters.

As an added bonus, Adelle comes with her own spellbook which contains the hold portal and detect magic spells.

So all together, we now have the following for our complex:

Room    Room Type   Contents                        Treasure
24      Empty       Empty                           No
25      Trap        Summons 6 Skeletons             No
26      Special     Charmed Elf Maiden (Adelle)     No
27      Monster     2 Hobgoblins                    Yes (12 sp each)
28      Empty       Empty                           No

The Final Details

We have sorted out the meat of our complex, so it’s time to flesh out the rooms with a few details. For ease, we will just define what each room is, so that we can create some simple details when we describe the room.

Looking back at our map, Room 24 is a long hallway, so we will go with that for Room 24. Room 25, our Trap room, is a simple antechamber, but let’s include another visual for the trap, by noting the piles of bones in the corner of the room. Room 26 had been defined as a bedroom for Adelle. Room 27 would work well as a mess hall. Finally, Room 28 could be a simple pantry, used for storage.

These simple decisions means we can make note of the following details:

Room      Description    Details
24        Hallway        None
25        Antechamber    Bone Piles
26        Bedroom        Bed & Wardrobe
27        Mess Hall      Tables & Chairs
28        Pantry         Barrels and Crates

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Off To Kill Some Ogres We Go!

There’s something good about getting back into the saddle, and after a significant break from gaming, we finally got back into it last week. The party regrouped after the set backs they experienced with the Green Slime in the previous session, but not without a serious phobia of the colour green. This was evidenced when the party briefly considered exploring the room with the green crystal, before deciding that it was the trigger for some form of magical death laser, and closing the door once again.

Instead, the party headed back to explore the doors they passed on the way to the conveyor rooms. Within, they found two more ogres, this time overseeing four prisoners that were shackled and forced to mine iron from the walls. Pike took the lead, whilst Dent opted to sneak around behind the two ogres and fire arrows from behind.

This strategy worked well, but not without it’s own hazards, as Pike was nearly taken out by one of the ogres after leaving herself open from slaughtering the others. Nuggin was quick to act, however, and rapidly assisted the fallen fighter by pouring a healing potion down her throat and bringing Pike back from the brink of death.

After killing the ogres, the party regrouped, and then decided to try and follow the missing dwarves. Returning to the conveyor room, they headed through the door they presumed the dwarves fled through, to discover a short passage that led into a tight tunnel. Following through, the tunnel emerged into another short passage. As they exited the tunnel, however, the party came across a patrol of goblins coming towards them.

The party were quick to act, taking the fight to them, and scaring them off quickly. Dent took one out with an arrow, and Nuggin put three more to sleep. Shaken by the display of power, the remaining two goblins decided to cut their losses, and fleeing back the way they came. The party quickly mopped up the sleeping goblins, and then steeled themselves to follow the fleeing goblins into the unknown.

Enter the Gungeon – Escape From Zanzer’s Dungeon Session 7

First up, an apology for anyone following this blog. Personal issues have means that I have been unable to update either this blog, or the game that it is based on. As it stands, this is going to be a very brief summary of Session 7, which took place over a month ago.

The party, which consisted of Pike, Dent, Fura, and Nuggin, decided to progress further into the dungeon. They continued down the passageway, until they came to a couple of doors opposite an opening in the wall. Creeping closer, the party discovered that the opening led to a chamber where six dwarves were chained to a conveyor belt breaking up rocks, watched over by two ogres.

Dent proposed a cunning plan – they could set up an ambush in the passage and lure the two ogres into a fight between Dent and Pike. Pike readily agreed, and they moved into position. Both Dent and Pike took potshots at the ogres and lured them into the trap, before mowing them down, to the cheers of the dwarves.

Upon releasing the dwarves, the party agreed to follow them to the exit, ready to escape Zanzer’s Dungeon at last. However, around the corner, they found another junction, which opened into a similar room with a conveyor belt, although this time, the room was abandoned and covered in dust and cobwebs.

In the centre of the room, Dent spotted something shiny, and throwing caution to the wind, he rushed over to grab it. As he bent over to pick up the object, he felt something sticky drop on him from the ceiling, followed by an intense burning. Looking in horror, the party realised they had encountered some sort of green slime, which had dropped on Dent.

Dent panicked, and the party struggled to get rid of the slime as it ate through his armour and clothes. In the end, whilst feeling totally unprepared to take on this green slime, they managed to burn the substance off Dent, although in doing so, he was left naked and embarrased, but the hardest blow was that Dent had also lost all his precious “shinies”.

Disheartened, the rest of the party took a shaken Dent back to where the others were camped, naked except for some of the toughened conveyor belt fabric wrapped around him to preserve what was left of his dignity.

In the confusion with the green slime, the released Dwarves had fled, heading further into the darkness of the complex. Without their guidance, the party would have to find their own way out of the dungeon, but at least Dent was still alive…

Escaping the Dungeon

Following the players actions last session, the party seems set to continue anti-clockwise, into the final part of Zanzer’s Dungeon. As such, it’s time to prepare for the final conflict that will see them escape at last, as well as uncover a tantalising clue to a future adventure.

The eastern half of the complex contains the last few stocked rooms of the dungeon, including the small mine itself, and a final encounter with Zanzer Tem. All this is covered in five rooms, even though only four of those rooms contain actual encounters.

We also have the wandering monster list from last session to help fill out the session. This is useful as we can use it to put a stumbling block in the way of the party should they take the detour around the complex that eventually leads them to Room 28, which is part of the unstocked dungeon left for GMs to fill in as they learn how to generate adventures. If the party decides to explore this area at some point in the future, it can always be stocked as needed prior to that session.

Finally, the details for Room 23 remain unused, as does the side complex of Rooms 20 to 22, so the party can always head back and explore these areas. The wandering monster trick can be used to stall the players from exploring Area 24 until we have stocked that area of the dungeon, so even if the party decides to backtrack, or even decides to swap active parties, we are covered for the session.

Session Outline

Let’s take a quick look at how the session should progress. As always, player pacing and decision making will affect this, buta simple plan is as follows:

First, the party has the option of exploring the simple mining cavern that is Room 30. Since Room 30 is behind closed doors, the party may wish to bypass this room entirely.

The party then is faced with a choice between Room 31 and 32, with two very different challenges within. Both are long conveyer rooms, but only Room 31 is active. If the party deals with Room 30, they are given a clue to avoid the deadlier Room 32, which contains a green slime. As Room 32 is the further of the two conveyer rooms, even if the PCs bypass Room 30, they are much more likely to encounter Room 31 than Room 32, since both rooms are open chambers and the PCs will have to pass the entrance to Room 31 first.

Beyond Rooms 31 and 32, we have a complex of tunnels which lead to Room 33, and the final encounter with Zanzer Tem. It’s here that the PCs can find the means to escape the dungeon through a trapdoor in the ceiling. They get to pass the door to Room 34, with the locked trapdoor leading to Stonefast, but chances are that they will take part in the final conflict with Zanzer Tem before they get the chance to do so.

As mentioned above, the PCs might take a wrong turn from leaving Room 31, so instead of encountering Room 32 or 33, they end up travelling along the back way to Room 28.  We can always use a random encounter here, if we haven’t used one already. There are some interesting tactical challenges that can be used here – the back way consists of a long corridor with a tight, roughly hewn section in the middle of it. This can easily be used to restrict ranged combat, or to encourage the party to go elsewhere in the dungeon.

All together, we have four potential encounters in this session, in rooms 30, 31, 32, and 33. We also have room for a single random encounter, but chances are that there will be enough fighting to avoid this if the party sticks with the planned encounters. The party should only need to encounter one of Rooms 31 and 32, so we can count both rooms as a single encounter for pacing purposes, which is useful for us as the climactic battle with Zanzer Tem can be quite complex, and therefore might be considered two encounters for such purposes.

It’s worth noting that the players might decide that the final encounter with Zanzer Tem should be deferred until later, after they have explored more of the dungeon. In this case, they might not only explore both Room 31 and Room 32, but also consider backtracking to explore the areas they missed out on. So it doesn’t really matter if the party doesn’t make it to Room 33 and the final encounter in this session – there’s still plenty to explore!

The Mine and the Belt Rooms

Room 30 is the mine, and contains two ogres and four prisoners. The prisoners won’t help the party fight, they are too weak, but will recommend that the party enters Room 31 disguised, and avoid Room 32 because of the “jelly”.

Room 31 contains an active conveyer belt, and consists of six dwarves guarded by another two ogres. The dwarves are chained to the belt, but will attack the ogres that come near them. If freed, the Dwarves will join the party as NPCs in their bid for freedom, but only if they head to Room 33 and try to escape the dungeon. Otherwise, they will bid the PCs farewell and seek their own escape, unless the PCs direct them to where the other PCs are resting. If the Dwarves leave, they will ultimately get lost in Zanzer’s Dungeon, probably heading to room 28, or finding some other secret way out, but could be used as a wandering monster encounter later in the adventure.

Room 32 contains an idle conveyer belt. Hiding within the room, on the ceiling, is a green slime, which drops on the first character who steps 4 or more squares into the room, requiring a DC 12 Reflex save to avoid.

Green slime is a deadly encounter for those who do not know how to handle it – green slime that has fallen on a character can only be burnt off, with half of the burning damage going to the PC, and half to the slime. Luckily, the PCs are likely to have access to torches at this point, but even the 6 points of burning damage required to save a victim can kill those on low health. Of course, a character who is killed can be raised, where as a character who is turned into green slime cannot, and only high level magic, beyond the reach of the players in the campaign right now, can bring them back.

It should be noted that if the PCs fight the green slime, the green slime will attack, but only needs to touch the PCs to cling to them. As such, green slime ignores all bonuses from armour when rolling to attack, but will begin to dissolve the armour. The green slime doesn’t ignore shield bonuses, but if the PC would only avoid being hit by the shield bonus, then the green slime will stick to and dissolve the shield, but the PC has the chance to drop the shield and escape. The green slime will also stick to any weapons used to attack the slime, but like a shield, these weapons can be dropped to allow the PC to escape. Remember that only fire damage can hurt a green slime, and therefore only those characters using torches are going to be effective in combat.

Showdown

In Room 33, the PCs will encounter Zanzer Tem, and four of his bugbear guards. When Zanzer hears the PCs coming, he will cast a darkness spell over the area, so without the help of the Dwarves, the PCs are likely to be at a disadvantage in this combat unless they managed to retrieve a light spell to counter the darkness.

Zanzer will have used all of his spells at this time, but he does have a scroll with the spells web, shield, and magic missile on it. Zanzer Tem will use these spells in combat. Once Zanzer is out of spells, he will attempt to escape, but if forced into melee, Zanzer will attack using his dagger if he is cornered.

There will be no quarter for Zanzer Tem in The Vale, so unless he can flee to safety, he fights to the death. If Zanzer does manage to escape, he will hide in the wilderness and possibly become a recurring villain for the PCs to encounter, maybe used as a wandering encounter to harass the party later in the campaign. Zanzer Tem might even seek to reclaim his dungeon if the PCs don’t secure it, and use it as a base to continue to harass the area – which might be important if the PCs seek to return and explore Stonefast at a later date.

Speaking of Stonefast, Room 34 has a single feature – a locked trapdoor leading to Stonefast. The PCs can seek to return to explore Stonefast at a later date, but the campaign itself will continue in another direction, as the Patriarch of Haven will seek to send the party off to explore other dungeons as issues arise. These additional adventures will seek to expand the party stable, and give the players something to do whilst their previous PCs recover from their expeditions.

For now, this room serves to tease the PCs with the presence of Stonefast, a lost Dwarven hold, to explore in the future. The PCs shouldn’t be able to open the lock, even with a knock spell. Likewise, breaking open the trapdoor isn’t an option because of it’s quality. Only when they find the key, which the party will find when you are ready for them to explore Stonefast, will they be able to enter. This will hopefully motivate the players to stay in the region of the Vale rather than deciding that they need to explore out further afield for adventure.

The Future

The final encounter with Zanzer Tem will end the adventure Escape From Zanzer’s Dungeon, leaving only a little bit of clean up for the party to do if they want to finish exploring the rest of the complex. It’s important to engage with the players and see what they want to do, because they might be keen to escape from the dungeon and move on to further adventures, especially if they seem to want to explore Stonefast.

The party will get to travel to Haven, the main town in the Vale. Here, they will set up a more permanent base, so from now on, their party stable will only be available once they return to town between expeditions. As such, the PCs will have to learn to prepare for an entire adventure, not just a single session, before being able to change characters.

The PCs from Escape From Zanzer’s Dungeon is likely to need to rest after escaping the dungeon, even if they are at full hit points. They will need time to recover from the ordeal of imprisonment, as well as learn from their experiences. They may have gained enough experience to gain a level, but until they get time to reflect upon this, they will not gain any further abilities.

As such, this is an ideal time to say goodbye to these PCs for the time being, and move on to another adventure with another set of PCs. This time, however, these are pre-generated characters, and so the players will spend more time adventuring and less time creating these characters, as they explore the Crypt of the Smoke Dragon with Graywulf, Stardancer, Delavan, and Zanthar Rex…

 

Meanwhile… – Escape From Zanzer’s Dungeon Session 6

After a brief disruption, we resumed playing Escape From Zazner’s Dungeon last week, as the party explores beyond Zanzer’s Kitchen trying to find the way out. The planning for this session can be found here, but be warned that there are significant spoilers within, as unfortunately, that’s not how the session went.

Upon their return, Sian and Ouro were concerned about what happened to the rock python from the previous session, and whether or not the rest of the stable of PCs would encounter it should they return to the active party. There was also a hint of greed in their voice as they talked about picking up the missing four bags of gold that they had missed out on.

Having determined that only 12 hours had gone past since escaping their cells and splitting the party, which saw Hector return to camp and send Nuggin out for adventure, both players decided that they wanted to bring the rest of the party up to Room 14 (the room with the trapped door).

I decided to run this as a meanwhile session, speeding through the encounters, so the focus was on generating the abilities and selecting classes and equipment for the three remaining PCs in the stable – Barab, Fura, and Jala.

Ouro created Barab to be a bit of a tank, making him into a fighter with 18 Constitution, thus giving him a whopping 10 hp to start with (remember, we saw all characters start with a basic value of 6 hp plus Constitution modifier), who was kitted out with chainmail, a greatsword, and a longbow.

In addition, Ouro created Jala to become a mage, which meant that she could only use a dagger. He opted to give her 18 Dexterity and 15 Charisma, leaving her with an Intelligence of 13. As such, she’s not necessarily a good mage, but with a +4 bonus to AC and a high Charisma, she might make a good enchantress in the future.

Sian opted to play Hector, leaving her with the task of generating Fura the scullery maid. She decided that Fura would become a rogue, so with leather armour, shortsword, and shortbow later, she was ready and waiting, her keen 18 Wisdom giving her a +4 bonus to will saves and surprise checks, backed up with a 15 Dexterity. However, with a Strength of 8, it’s clear that Fura won’t be going toe-to-toe very often.

This party then hastily traveled to the room with the snake and the gold, helping each other across the pit left exposed from previously. There were no other encounters for them, as the first party had pretty much disposed of everything beforehand.

It was here that the party grabbed the last four bags of gold remaining. They noticed that the trapdoor (from which the snake had previously come from, but the new party didn’t know this) was closed, so they quickly moved passed it without disturbing the shaken inhabitant cowering and hissing within.

There was some dismay when Ouro and Sian realised that this was the only possible encounter for this new party, and that they had spent half the session creating characters that they weren’t going to use. This may have gone into Sian’s decision to continue adventuring with Fura rather than Carok, so after some minor book keeping – literally, as Nuggin gave Jala some of the training spellbooks he hadn’t used yet – Fura prepared herself with Pike, Dent, and Nuggin to continue forth.

Fura and Dent opened the door from Zanzer’s Kitchen, into the long corridor, and were somewhat perplexed to find a mysterious pouch in the middle of the hallway. After some deliberations Fura eventually picked it up for herself.

Dent opened the door to Room 20, and upon seeing the glowing crystal sphere, promptly shut it again and encouraged the party not to go that way. Instead, Dent led the way down the corridor, explored some of the junction, before heading left (anti-clockwise) through the doors.

Upon opening the door from Room 29, I pulled out my random encounter for the session, to stop them from going any further. Just as the door opened, a single gnoll turned the corner and challenged them.

Nuggin reacted quickly, casting his sleep spell, forgetting that the entire party was also in range. However, luck was with the players as the entire party made their Will saving throws to resist the spell, but the unfortunate gnoll didn’t. After collapsing in a heap, Dent and Fura slaughtered the creature.

We ended the session at that point following that bit of gratuitous murder. Although the session was basically wasted on seemingly pointless character generation, followed by skipping virtually all of the planned encounters for the session, everyone still had fun, and my tactic with using a wandering monster to stall the players from further exploration seemed to work.

It may seem like my planning for the previous session was wasted, but those encounters are still there, and still waiting to be explored should the party decide to return and explore the rest of the complex. However, for now, it seems the party are intent on continuing anti-clockwise, in their continued attempts to Escape From Zanzer’s Dungeon…