Tuesday, 10 September 2019

[RFM] Basic Dungeon

Radio Free Magnamund back on the air with the low-resolution digital soundscapes of Basic Dungeon

Released on the infamous Heimat Der Katastrophe label, home of dungeon-synth legends Gnoll and Kobold, Basic Dungeon lurks in a dark cavern lost between a soundtrack to a home-brewed adventure game for the ZX Spectrum and a bedroom studio produced demo tape of 'Ambient Fantasy Soundscapes' advertised in the classified section in the back of White Dwarf magazine back in the days of yore when it was still a Dungeons & Dragons magazine.

Basic Dungeon follows in the dank and hollow footsteps of the TSR UK produced 1985 double vinyl  First Quest in binding ambient synthesiser music with specific cues and textual references to the Dungeons & Dragons game. Track titles such as 1D4 of Copper Coins, evoke game mechanics whilst sounding like something The Advisory Circle might sandwich between layers of samples from 1970s supernatural childrens television and Open University explanatory animation soundtracks.

The hauntological tangents are buried deep within the twisted confines of the megadungeon. 1 bit wizards summon ghosts of fantasy computer games that were never written, where incomplete text adventures lurk like grinning skeletal for...if loops of undeath. Memories of the witch haunted Grannies Garden cackle alongside mushroom addled orchestrated prog-horror of Goblin. Basic Dungeon successfully fuses both vintage analogue and lo-fi digital sounds to create epically minimal caverns of sound, spawning infinite unreleased sequels to Intellivision AD&D and it's pixel possessed ilk, punctuated with minimally animated low-res skulls floating over total party kills.

For your convenience and listening pleasure, the complete (?) Basic Dungeon back catalogue follows:

Tunnels & Treasures


Tunnels & Treasures II


Expansion Set Vol. 1: The Book of Spells


Tunnels & Treasures III


Expansion Set Vol. 2: Magic Items and Other Utilities


Perils In The Slums Scenario One: The Orcs Commune

While the limited edition cassette releases are all currently sold out, downloads can be purchased from their Bandcamp.

For other Radio Free Magnamund broadcasts on low-fi fantasy music see also:  Heroquest - ZX Spectrum / BoltThrower 8 bit ,/  BBC Micro 8 bit Dungeonsynth

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Düngen - generating random dungeons with Planström

Randomly generated dungeons are a great way to quickly build an improvised dungeon delving session or solo gaming activity for any Table Top Roleplaying Game or Dungeon Crawl Board Game.

Düngen is a very quick and easy to use random dungeon generator, build from Planström Dungeon Floor Plan System, and 100% compatible with Kosmoström Science Fiction Floor Plan System.

Düngen is designed to supplement a ruleset that covers combat and random encounters, such as Dungeons & Dragons, Fighting Fantasy, HeroQuest and is not a complete game in its own right.

Step Zero - Preparation

Firstly download and print Planström Dungeon Floorplans System Set 1 Alternatively if you prefer a Science Fiction setting, then consider using Kosmostrom Science Fiction Floorplans SystemDüngen also requires the use of a 4 sided dice or D4.

A recommended starter set may be:
  • 2 sheets of 1A Rooms 
  • 2 sheets of 1B Corridor 
  • 1 sheet of 1C Doors
Then cut these into various sized rectangles.

  • Corridors should be no wider than 2 squares, and no shorter than 5 squares.
  • Rooms should be a minimum of 3x3 squares.
  • Doors are individual 25mm x 12.5mm tiles. 
You will find Planström gives you a good variety of shapes and sizes.

Place the Rooms, Corridors and Doors into separate containers. [ZHU] Industries recommends the use of reclaimed vintage office folders for this purpose, but  Estelle 4 coloured 115 micron polypropylene cut-back sleeves or similar should also suffice should those not be readily available.

Different coloured transparent folders makes it easy to select the correct set of tiles when required. Once your Planström is prepared for use, and you have a 4 sided dice, you can begin to generate a Düngen.

Step One - Place a Room

Without looking into the container or trying to guess or feel which tile you may have, take one Room tile and place it in the centre of the table. If this is the first Room of the dungeon and you have Planström Floorplan System Set 2: Sheet 2B Stairs, to hand then you may add a spiral staircase in one corner to indicate the Düngen exit if you wish.

Step Two - Place Doors

Now it is time to discover how many Doors the room has.

Roll and drop one D4 (4 sided dice) onto the middle of the Room tile.

  1. The number indicates how many Doors this Room has. 
  2. The corners of the base triangle point to where the Doors should be located along each wall.

Take the required number of Doors from the sleeve, and place them on the outside of the Room tile as indicated by the dice position. On the roll of a 4, choose one opposing side to indicate the location of the 4th Door, always favouring the wall opposite the entrance. On the roll is a 1 there is only a single entrance door.

In the example above, a 2 was rolled, so two doors were placed as indicated by the dice.

Planström Dungeon Floorplan System: Set 1 provides you with several varieties of Doors: 

  • Open
  • Weak Wooden Door
  • Strong Wooden Door
  • Solid Metal Door
  • Portcullis
These may be given appropriate rules using your chosen Role Playing Game or dungeon crawl rules. If your prefered system is lacking such a feature, each type can be assigned a target number from 1-6 which must be rolled under in order to open successfully.

Step Three - Encountering the space

Once a Player Character enters the Room or has line of sight into the Room, it is time to decide what is in the Room. Your preferred rules-set may already have a system for determining this, however a simple system for determining the contents in a room is provided here for your convenience:

Roll a D4 with the following results:

  1. Empty. The room is empty - although any rules for searching for hidden features may still apply.
  2. Furnished: If you have a copy of Planström Floorplan System Set 2: Furniture and Stairs randomly take an item of dungeon furniture and place it in the room. Look out for exciting and useful descriptions of Dungeon Furniture in a future [ZHU] Industries product. Otherwise use the random treasure / item / trap from the ruleset you are using.
  3. Inhabited.  Use the random monster rules from whatever ruleset you are using.
  4. Inhabited & Furnished. Use both 2 & 3 above.
In our example, we rolled a 3, and then determined that the room was inhabited by an Orc using the Wandering Monsters rules form Fighting Fantasy, represented by a vintage 1980s Citadel ME51 Orc of the Red Eye miniature.

Our stoutharted Dwarven adventurer, Forrin Wokeupinashed, represented here by a vintage 1980s ME-82  'The Hobbit' Personalities Thorin Oakenshield miniature  enters the Room. Combat ensues, and was resolved using the Fighting Fantasy rules.

Forrin eventually defeats the Orc, and pockets 4 Gold Pieces (determined using the Treasure tables from Fighting Fantasy: Out of the Pit) . Forrin then moves to the door and using the Fighting Fantasy door rules, opened the portcullis, and exited the Room.

Step Four: Place a Corridor

Once a Player Character has managed to open a Door, and is about to exit a Room, select Corridor tile at random. This should usually be placed pointing away from the Room, with the short edge connecting to the Door. However, if the Düngen has sprawled towards the edge of the table, the Corridor may be placed parallel to the door, near the mid-point of the long edge.

Step Five: Place Doors

As with a Room, a D4 is thrown to determine how many Doors there are and where they are located. A Corridor will naturally always have one Door, so a roll of 1 means the Corridor only has a single additional door immediately opposite the entry door. 

Dice Drop on Corridor
Any number greater than one will have the doors position indicated by the corners of the D4.

In our example Forrin roles a 3, so 3 doors are picked and placed as so:

Placing the Doors

Once any Corridor rules have been applied, and any Door obstacles resolved, we return to Step One: Placing a Room, placing the Room as centrally as possible.

Resolving Spatial Conflicts

As a Düngen is being randomly generated, doubtless tiles. If a selected Room or Corridor cannot be fitted into the open space, select another Room or Corridor tile until one is found that can. Be sure to shuffle when placing these tiles back into their containers.

Occasionally no available Room or Corridor will fit into a given space. Some suggestions follow:

  • Place the Corridor parallel to the Door.
  • Cut down a Room or Corridor tile to fit.
  • Consider the Door a cupboard, place an Open Door behind it.
  • Door is a teleporting Portal
  • Door leads to a collapsed or caved-in section.
In order to avoid conflicts and overlaps in the first place:

  • Whenever possible, place Doors on walls opposite from already constructed areas.
  • Allow Doors to reconnect to old Rooms and Corridors as Secret Doors that have been found.
  • Allow Corridors to have blocked ends

Saving the Düngen

Düngen: The Adventure Never Ends
Once a game session is finished, you can simply photograph (#düngen #planström) or draw the resulting layout on a sheet of graph paper in order to record it. Once recorded you will be able to recreate the Düngen layout and continue the adventure in a future session. Alternatively you may consider that Ike Eyah the Mad Wizard who controls the Düngen has fallen asleep and his magical architecture rearranges itself every time a group of vagabond adventurers seek to defeat his forbidden domain.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Rogue Milkshake

Some rules for deploying Weaponised Dairy Based Beverages in Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader.

Milkshake 40K

Milkshake costs 5PV. I don't know if that Milkshake is worth 5PV, but it's pretty good.

Some Milkshake orientated scenarios you might like to consider include:

  • The 'delivery' of a Milkshake to a corrupt planetary governor attempting a meta-political coup. 
  • Dealing with the fall-out of a Milkshake used in hasty self-defence against an Ogryn Leader.
  • A Milkshake in a yard as a mission objective for all the Ork Boyz to capture. 

Once an Imperial Commander has developed a taste for Jadeberry flavoured Grox milk, what next? There is always the danger of Milkshake escalation to consider. Perhaps Ice Cream Cones could be the next step up in the Dairy Arms Race. For the lactose intolerant, maybe other snack and fast food based weapons could be developed - unexpectedly popping an empty inflated bag of potato crisps as a sonic weapon that causes Panic, or opening very shaken up cans of fizzy pop. In the grim dark future there is only the limit of your imagination.

Although I hadn't really intended to do anything with it, Jason of Rogue Heresy  and Colin of The Leadpile were both enthused about the Milkshake 40k concept and requested a T-Shirt based on the Rogue Trader style artwork, so here it is!

Rogue Milkshake T-Shirt

Rogue Milkshake t-shirt available now from the Spreadshirt Zhu Shop in 19 flavours, including Orange and Asphalt, for a special introductory price of £15.99 - get them while they are fresh!