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View Full Version : DM Help The Restocking Dungeon(s)



hymer
2016-04-25, 04:20 AM
The genre is fantasy. I'm trying to come up with some locations, which could be raided in traditional 'PCs enter Dungeon to Kill and Loot' style, but which could be expected to get restocked with monsters and treasure in a relatively short time frame. Even if completely cleared one session, there should be reason to expect a fresh crew complement and lootable goods not long after.

My first thought was an orc outpost manned by expendable goblin troops. Their main purpose is to keep an eye on, say, a nearby road, and send back word. The orcs need not care particularly about losing a couple of dozen goblins every now and again, and may send the occasional disgraced orc to command this place as a punishment.

A different approach could be an area, say a cave, which has a very thin border to a different plane. As a consequence, it tends to fill up with outsiders that fell through; say, elementals that are unhappy with all this prime material, and who will tend to take it out on any local inhabitant they encounter.

The main problem with these suggestions is treasure. The goblins and outsiders might have some sort of personal treasure, but their presence being incidental in one case and expendable in another, they would also tend to be low on goods - perhaps rather lower than would make for enough of a reason why PCs would voluntarily return here.

Any ideas, suggestions, thoughts, etc. are very welcome. Thanks!

RazorChain
2016-04-25, 04:30 AM
Well this happens when dungeons get cleared. Rumors spread among the monster population that a dank dungeon has just been depopulated and they move in with all their treasures that they have taken from ill fated travelers and adventures. The housing market is bad and prices rising so this should just take couple of weeks...or even days if it is a famous little hellhole.

This gives adventurers the ample opportunity to raid the dungeon anew or it awaits new, fresh heroes when the other ones get tired of repetition. Ever wondered why the PCs never stumble upon a looted dungeon? This is why.

RazorChain
2016-04-25, 04:40 AM
Which brings me to the next question. Who are the real monsters? The peaceful denizens of the dungeon or the capitalistic entrepreneurs that raid the dungeon and kill everything for exotic items, money and power?


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hn1VxaMEjRU

TeChameleon
2016-04-25, 05:13 AM
If you don't mind a little (highly entertaining, in my semi-humble opinion) reading, one of the best implementations of the idea I've ever seen starts here (http://comic.nodwick.com/?comic=2009-10-01) (the storyline is called 'Dungeon Crawl' in the 'Nodwick' tab on www.nodwick.com if the 'here' link is acting up for some reason). It also takes care of the treasure problem rather neatly, although it restocking again kind of depends on whether or not your players catch on to what's really going on... and whether or not they care, I guess :smallamused:

Brief synopsis- an ambitious and unscrupulous Lord with access to some interesting alchemical substances- basically baleful polymorph in powder form, along with a sort of berserking-gas- kidnaps inconvenient nobility for a price. Then he takes over a low-level dungeon, polymorphs the captured nobility into various monsters to stock it, gasses them to go berserk/think they actually are monsters, and waits until adventurers turn up to murder them all, disposing of them untraceably.

Slipperychicken
2016-04-25, 08:07 AM
It's simple. First or second time the PCs visit, the monsters don't expect a complete slaughter, so they kept some valuables there. Once those are looted, the monsters realize it's not a safe place, so they keep their stuff elsewhere. The reinforcements at the outpost carry little more than their equipment and some pocket change, as their most valued possessions were left in a place that's considered more secure.

PallentisLunam
2016-04-25, 08:39 AM
My 2 cents is that while the inhabitants probably wouldn't bring in new treasure each time, somebody probably would be willing to pay the PCs a bounty or similar fee each time to clear it out.

Jay R
2016-04-25, 08:56 AM
If you clear out a cave deep in a forest, pretty soon some animal or other will move in. Similarly, an abandoned castle with dungeons won't stay uninhabited for long.

But if it's been cleared out, and intelligent monsters know it, then they won't move in with their treasure. They are more likely to move further away.

So in general, dungeons are non re-usable. Turn the idea around. If a raiding party swoops down on a village and razes it, taking all possible loot, would people think that was a good place to re-settle? Not for a long time. (Actually, my idea of a dungeon is a castle that was sacked long ago by people who never found the secret entrance to the dungeons below. So it's been a safe place for dark monsters to hide for centuries, with the old wizard's secrets still buried safe.)


On the other hand, I once designed the top ten levels of a dungeon complex on the basic idea of Moria. The first ten levels were delved by dwarves, until they opened up a tunnel to the underworld. Dark creatures have poured into it from below, escaping the even greater terrors beneath them. There could be an long stream of potential escaped slaves running away - but they wouldn't have much treasure.

RazorChain
2016-04-25, 09:08 AM
If you clear out a cave deep in a forest, pretty soon some animal or other will move in. Similarly, an abandoned castle with dungeons won't stay uninhabited for long.

But if it's been cleared out, and intelligent monsters know it, then they won't move in with their treasure. They are more likely to move further away.

So in general, dungeons are non re-usable. Turn the idea around. If a raiding party swoops down on a village and razes it, taking all possible loot, would people think that was a good place to re-settle? Not for a long time. (Actually, my idea of a dungeon is a castle that was sacked long ago by people who never found the secret entrance to the dungeons below. So it's been a safe place for dark monsters to hide for centuries, with the old wizard's secrets still buried safe.)


On the other hand, I once designed the top ten levels of a dungeon complex on the basic idea of Moria. The first ten levels were delved by dwarves, until they opened up a tunnel to the underworld. Dark creatures have poured into it from below, escaping the even greater terrors beneath them. There could be an long stream of potential escaped slaves running away - but they wouldn't have much treasure.

In my games the players don't bother razing the dungeons, they are mostly in it for the pillaging part.

hymer
2016-04-25, 09:18 AM
My 2 cents is that while the inhabitants probably wouldn't bring in new treasure each time, somebody probably would be willing to pay the PCs a bounty or similar fee each time to clear it out.

While more pushing the PCs towards the dungeon than pulling them, it is the sort of thing I'm looking for. Thanks!

PallentisLunam
2016-04-25, 09:20 AM
While more pushing the PCs towards the dungeon than pulling them, it is the sort of thing I'm looking for. Thanks!

What's the distinction?

hymer
2016-04-25, 09:29 AM
What's the distinction?

I mean someone outside pushing the PCs towards the dungeon rather than the PCs finding their reasons in the cold, dead hands (and trapped coffers) of their foes - being pulled.

Edit: This leads me to thinking that there could be resources in or on these adventure sites. This would also explain why monsters are willing to take the chance and populate.

PallentisLunam
2016-04-25, 10:12 AM
I mean someone outside pushing the PCs towards the dungeon rather than the PCs finding their reasons in the cold, dead hands (and trapped coffers) of their foes - being pulled.

Edit: This leads me to thinking that there could be resources in or on these adventure sites. This would also explain why monsters are willing to take the chance and populate.

Well alot of treasure for intelligent creatures is gear. If, for example, the orcs really want to hold the outpost they will send stronger better equipped troops rather than just the same poor weak goblins.

It's also possible that the dungeon is an important link in a supply chain, therefore it can't be abandoned and should usually have some amount of treasure (either from raids or trade or whatever) moving through it.

Knaight
2016-04-25, 11:20 AM
Fortresses and similar make a lot of sense here. As a rule, they're built on areas that have some value to control, so somebody is always going to want it. If the group eyeing it but never attacking because it's occupied by an enemy (and, being a fortress, provides said enemy with a pretty big advantage in an armed conflict) sees it get wiped out by some third party, that's pretty much an invitation to move in.

The outpost is an example of that. It's a secured area that can be used to monitor an important route, so someone is going to consistently want it. Fortifications at narrow passes are similar, fortifications at areas that provide a lot of territory control and vision (e.g. hill tops of big hills) are similar, so on and so forth. Something like a tomb, not so much.

GameMaster_Phil
2016-04-25, 12:00 PM
If the dungeon itself is large enough, all sorts of monsters might move in.

If it is a holy site to some dark god, it won't get abandoned so easily. If there is a certain immobile objective like a magic fountain of whatever effect, it will be valuable and needs to be secured again. If the dungeon contains a mine of some sort of valuable mineral, it will get restocked ASAP.

Just some ideas.

Keltest
2016-04-25, 12:09 PM
Castles and fortresses tend to be good targets for this, especially if theyre controlled by some evil organization like the Zhentarim or something. Theyre usually in strategic or important areas so that someone, somewhere will find value in occupying them. Maybe one week its bandits, the next its Zhents, and the week after that a bunch of trolls wandered in and ate all the bodies the party left in their wake. Graveyards also work if you want a less organized group. Random undead can always be found there, and the raw materials attract necromancers and their minions. If you wanted to be really clever, you could combine the two and have the soldiers or bandits or whoever they killed last week rise as undead and go after them for revenge.

Jay R
2016-04-25, 04:50 PM
An idea that goes all the way back to original D&D:

First you clear out an area of all threats. Then you settle it - build a keep, hire soldiers, bring in farmers, and set yourself up as a nobleman. You are then defending the land from the monsters and armies that try to take it from you.

In a recent AD&D game, the party defeated a mid-level cleric holding an old fortress in Devon. My PC then became the Earl of Devon, and started trading with the neighbors, and mining the former dungeons.

Traab
2016-04-25, 05:08 PM
Rival factions of bad guys, each thinking they are superior. Lets say the goblins hold this fortress. They currently are in charge of looting the countryside because they have the best stronghold. The adventurers come in and wipe them out, taking all their ill gotten gains for themselves. Now the orcs, who have been stuck unable to defeat the gobbos for all this time swoop in and claim the castle before the other factions can, dark elves, some necromantic cult, whoever. Now its their turn. They start robbing travelers, raiding the other enemy groups, and establishing their control over the region. The adventurers can come back and wipe THEM out, once again taking all their stuff and whatever they have stolen. Now its the turn of the third faction. Each faction "knows" they are superior to those other losers, so they have no problem bringing new loot with them and stealing even more. "Greedy goblins. Too worried about treasure to protect themselves." "Stupid orcs, thinking brute strength would be enough" "Weak drow, thinking cleverness is enough to protect them."

Madbox
2016-04-25, 08:42 PM
If a location has strategic value, people will fight over it for centuries. A fortress along a major trade route would not sit empty for long. Furthermore, a well-defended fortress is would be tricky to take with an army, but might be infiltrated by a small group, thus explaining why a proper army doesn't take care of the resident orc horde.

Another possibility is a site with religious significance to a hostile group. If it's sacred ground to goblins, then they will keep coming back no matter what you do.

Jay R
2016-04-26, 04:41 PM
What's the point of re-stocking it? The PCs already have it mapped, the traps have been broken, and the secret doors discovered. I prefer (as a player or a DM) to move on and finds another fun location to explore.

Keltest
2016-04-26, 04:47 PM
What's the point of re-stocking it? The PCs already have it mapped, the traps have been broken, and the secret doors discovered. I prefer (as a player or a DM) to move on and finds another fun location to explore.

It can be interesting to go back to an old location and see how much its changed since you cleared it out. Actually being familiar with a place when you start to clean it up can be a nice change of pace too. And sometimes its just nice to have a nice restocking pile of treasure you can go and claim in an emergency.

Jay R
2016-04-26, 07:24 PM
In that case I recommend restocking it from below. A new kobold or goblin tunnel broke into the bottom level.

Traab
2016-04-26, 07:24 PM
It can be interesting to go back to an old location and see how much its changed since you cleared it out. Actually being familiar with a place when you start to clean it up can be a nice change of pace too. And sometimes its just nice to have a nice restocking pile of treasure you can go and claim in an emergency.

Or, in the case of something like what I suggested, there would be changes to the dungeon depending on who is occupying it. Like if a bunch of drow took over, you could expect to see hallways blocked, new traps everywhere, plenty of ambush points, etc.