Factory-Hall of the Iron Shaman (Part 2)

Part 1


Last time, some random table rolls gave me the idea for a dungeon about an infectious entity who makes Faustian deals in order to amass iron golem-like minions. This time, the dungeon itself needs some shaping.


Before I make any decisions about it, I know that I want to have something cool in there. To that end, I can try to set my subconscious roiling with a random entry from The Dungeon Alphabet:


P is for Pools”: Pool is of an odd color: 6 – Orange


It certainly seems fitting to have a rust-colored pool in the Factory-Hall of the Iron Shaman. Aside from the pool itself, this is also a good reminder that the iron golems should have signs of corrosion and wear. Robots in fiction are often too pristine; having them wear out and break down leans harder into a certain mockery of life that appeals to me.


As mentioned in my recent post about Scarlet Heroes, I want to use the solo dungeon adventure framework in that system as a foundation for creating this dungeon. Thus, the first thing to do is to roll on the table of dungeon types:


(9, 2): Academy > Demon-ruled school


The headmaster of this “academy” is obviously the Iron Shaman, but this does add the interesting tidbit that the Iron Shaman is a sort of teacher. Given that the Shaman’s melee attacks can spread a transmogrifying curse, those who’ve been transformed are likely its students. They go out to act on its behalf, finding deals to bring in more victims. The iron golems are merely automaton slaves, then, serving until they fall into such disrepair that they get melted down and reforged into something useful.


This is giving me some further thoughts about the creatures, but this post is supposed to focus on the dungeon, so I’ll put those on hold for the future.


For the size, I want something in the area of 8-12 rooms because I’m a fan of modular little dungeons (and, frankly, because I’ve never tried to make a one-page dungeon before), so I’ll pick the 1d10+5 locations entry and roll to get 10.


I’d said last time that I want this to be a low-level adventure, but I’m a fan of having variety in the combat difficulty of a dungeon, so I can roll on the dungeon threat adjustment table to see how to tilt things:


(8): The danger is roughly as anticipated. The Threat is equal to the PC’s level.


Well, that’s not very useful here. Given the small size of the dungeon, I think it makes sense to lean on the high side for tuning the encounter difficulty, so aiming to compare against a party of level 3 PCs seems like a reasonable place to start.


For the sake of it, let me also do a random roll on the table of common dungeon inhabitants. I don’t think this dungeon will be large enough to support much variety without feeling crowded, but maybe the result can give me some inspiration for how the inhabitants I have planned might act:


(2, 2): Minion > Spearman


That term brings ancient phalanxes to my mind, so perhaps the iron golems should tend to operate in tight formations with strict discipline? Or perhaps an encounter with the students can feature the golems forming a defensive wall that the students prod over with their facsimiles of the Iron Shaman’s extra arms? Food for thought, in any case.


On to generating the rooms themselves. I can use the methods found in Scarlet Heroes to get a first pass at it:

  1. Stables (includes feature)

  2. Vault (empty)

  3. Memorial hall (includes treasure and feature)

  4. Secure cell (includes Iron Shaman and hidden treasure)

  5. Crafter’s workroom (includes hazard)

  6. Courtyard garden (includes encounter and hidden treasure)

  7. Monument (empty)

  8. Divination room (includes encounter)

  9. Lecture hall (empty)

  10. Kitchen (includes hidden treasure and feature)

That seems to be a generous set of results, with four rooms having treasures and only three rooms having encounters. Still, let me go through generating the details of each room’s contents before making any changes.

  1. Stables (includes feature)

  2. Nature of the feature: A dangerous intruder or beast who has entered the site.

  3. Creature motivation: Feed on the inhabitants or simply kill them.

  4. Vault (empty)

  5. Memorial hall (includes treasure and feature)

  6. Treasure found: Standard treasure trove for whatever encounter is present.

  7. Nature of the feature: A dangerous intruder or beast who has entered the site.

  8. Creature motivation: Scout the site for an outside power.

  9. Secure cell (includes Iron Shaman and hidden treasure)

  10. Encounter found: The Iron Shaman

  11. Treasure found: One tenth of the C-type trove appropriate to the place.

  12. Crafter’s workroom (includes hazard)

  13. Hazard found: Triggered danger. If Encounter there, save or Td6 dmg.

  14. Courtyard garden (includes encounter and hidden treasure)

  15. Encounter found: 1d6+T hit dice worth of Minions and Elites, with a 50% chance of T hit dice worth of guard beasts or allies.

  16. Treasure found: One tenth of the C-type trove appropriate to the place.

  17. Monument (empty)

  18. Divination room (includes encounter)

  19. Encounter found: 2d4 hit dice of Minions plus 2*T hit dice worth of Elites, Mages, or Boss enemies

  20. Lecture hall (empty)

  21. Kitchen (includes hidden treasure and feature)

  22. Treasure found: One tenth of the C-type trove appropriate to the place.

  23. Nature of the feature: A piece of artwork; even odds of original or stolen

  24. Inanimate feature quality: Worth Td6x100 gp, but will encumber you

Oh, how the tables have turned. The dungeon now has two “dangerous” interlopers, and one of the encounters rolled on the high end of the possible results.


As for the three treasure troves, if I give even odds for each C-type trove to turn up, the table on p. 82 yields: Mage’s Concealed Cache in room 4, Minor Hidden Treasure in room 6, and Large Sinister Tomb in room 10. I’m tempted to switch around the treasures for rooms 6 and 10 because having the most valuable treasure in the dungeon be hidden in a kitchen seems odd, but I should resist and instead use that oddity to explain something about the dungeon.


That feels like a good place to pause for now. In all honestly, the dungeon contents aren’t thrilling me as much as I’d hoped, but maybe that’ll come with fleshing out more of the details. Next time, I’ll take a second look over those results, develop some actual geometry, and make some choices about the two “dangerous” interlopers in this dungeon.


Part 3

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