|Starting with a blank slate|
In the first part of this series, I did build the overall map of the Hypogea. In the second part, I touched on building a map key; but some of the maps results need even more detail; i.e. for shrines you need to determine the subtype (chthonic or deific), and for catacombs, you can roll multiple levels with many rooms. This post is about that:
I got two catacombs; one smaller one with but two levels and very little rooms (the photos illustrating this blog post are from the smaller catacomb). Catacombs with few levels usually are not totally overrun with high level undead, but there's enough variance for surprising exceptions.
The basics of building these maps are the same as with the Hypogea maps: You roll a number of dice, and connect them; only the number of dice amounts to a die roll, and the connections are predetermined by the dice you roll on the sheet of paper. The procedure is similar enough, but different enough to show it's relationship to other Chthonotron tables, but has it's own personality for lack of a better word.
|Placing the clusters|
OK, creating random maps is easy, and the procedure could easily be automated (but I'm too lazy to do so, and going through the procedure manually also has some appeal, as it allows you to think about the outcome while you generate it). The remaining task is — just as with the Hypogean Maps — how to make sense of the generated catacombs and make them fit into the larger picture. If you roll a large number of unimportant piles of corpses is this a mass grave left behind by cephalopod incursions, or if we have room after room with sealed crypts, maybe the contents was meant to be locked away? For the players, there is only one way to find out, through play; they pay for that luxury with the risk of losing their characters to a randomly appearing high level undead though.
|The first level|
|By Marcelo Braga, CC-BY 2.0|
Room #2 is littered with bones, so things aren't as orderly anymore. Maybe parts were pulled, maybe someone decided to make a stand here, or a recent incursion deeper into the catacombs failed.
Room #3 is a nice and orderly grave with corpses in shrouds. These are some random dead people, who so far have not been called to duty.
Room #4 is the first series of crypts (I made it available both from room 2 and 3 during an attempt of artistic freedom). One of the crypts is filled with a bunch of corpses, as we know from crypt searching in old computer text games. It's always funny when the room is suddenly swarmed by a huge bunch of opponents. But there are also some more important people here, and since they are sealed away in crypts, they also have a bit more treasure. So while it's more risky to open crypts, it's usually also worth it (if you survive).
Room #5 is a bunch of sealed crypts, as denoted by the double line where it connects to the other rooms. It also has an Altar, which tells us that this is a dangerous place, but with the correctly supplied sacrifice, any perpetrators may placate the deities protecting it. You shouldn't break open any of the crypts though. Unless you like lots of pain, and lots of treasure.
|By Kenyh Cevarom CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons|
So, the traps. I quote: In addition to horrible deadly traps (for example, pits, spiked pits, spiked pits with asps, spiked pits with undead asps) to deter tomb raiders ... These are only five entries, but they're well done, and at least I know I will need to go back and figure out what the business is with the undead asps ...