Dragons & Dungeons 5E - Myth-Weavers


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Dragons & Dungeons 5E

Dragons & Dungeons 5E

Concept: Imagine a game of D&D where the player(s) control a character that is the Master of a Dungeon (A MD, for short). I've been inspired by this idea enough to at least try planning it out. Just to see where it goes. At this point the idea is not where it can be played. Though, there's no telling how quickly things can go.

Overview: These mechanics are still in development. I am looking for thoughts, advice, criticisms, etc. The MD will have a certain pool of power to draw from. Two actually: Gold and Experience. They can use these limited resources to empower themselves, their traps, their monsters, and expand the actual layout and territory of their Dungeon. With this, they'll have to run and manage their dungeon.

Experience and Gold: Power attracts power. The goal of running a dungeon is to attract adventurers to kill or capture. Living creatures contain within them a certain power. Soul, arcana, spirit, ki, will, sentience, even pure existence. Many have a different name for it, but it's all essentially the same. MDs have come to know this power as Experience. As an MD, you can collect Exp from adventurers who are felled within your dungeon, which you can in turn use to make you and your dungeon stronger. To a lesser extent, gold will also fill this same role, since adventurers will often carry expensive equipment, rare magical items, and perhaps even valuable knowledge. You can bait adventurers with the promise of loot, or you can threaten civilization and use fear to force heroes to come after you. Monsters and minions killed by adventurers will add to their own experience, but you can get it back by killing them.

Territory: You can only obtain Experience from deaths that occur within your dungeon. This is because a very complex and intricate ritual is work there. You will need to maintain and expand the power of this ritual, to expand your territory.

Dungeon Core: The DC is the centerpiece of your dungeon's territory ritual and thus the source of your dungeon's power. As such, it sets the difficulty of challenge that your dungeon will be able to impose. The player will get to choose one of several different types of DCs to build their dungeon around. Each one will have their own drawbacks and advantages. As long as your DC is safe, even death might not be a problem for you.
Dragon Egg: A DC that will eventually hatch into a baby Dragon, once you have gathered enough Experience and Gold. It can be your god, your pet, or even your next body. The egg and dragon cannot leave the dungeon until it has reached adulthood.

Vessel: The Vessel is you. You are the heart of your dungeon, which means you can always access and manage the powers you've obtained. Furthermore, by exposing yourself to such incredible amounts of power, you yourself are made stronger as a result. Your own personal experience is equal to the total amount your dungeon has collected, allowing you to focus the regularly collected experience on just the dungeon itself and your monster minions. However, as the heart of the dungeon, leaving it would mean death. Thus, you must expand your territory to the entire world and beyond. It also means that if you die for any reason, your dungeon dies with you. [You essentially earn twice as much experience, though that extra experience must be spent on leveling up your character. However, you will not be able to use the Dungeon's power to resurrect (unless you're player character can resurrect them self) or leave your territory.]

Artifact: A catalyst, implement, or weapon or other wondrous item acts as the source of your power. It is an item of legendary power, and it will grow in power by investing experience and gold to it. As the DC, it cannot be taken from the Dungeon without destroying both. [You start the game with a Legendary magic item. By investing gold and experience, you can add the effects of other magical items to it, and it will always only count as being attuned to one item.]

Work of Art: A detailed and intricate magical symbol for a detailed and intricate ritual. The magical symbol is one of the basic cornerstones of manipulating magic. This core takes those basic principles to the logical extreme. It acts as a satellite especially attuned to arcana, granting it's master great powers over magic. The symbol is massive and as a result, it cannot be moved. It's location must be defended at all costs. [Grants a bonus to the spellcasting ability of the MD and all their minions, as long as they are within the Dungeon's territory. This bonus starts at +2 and can be raised by investing gold into the symbol and experience into the one crafting the symbol (which would be the MD). Other arcana based bonuses can be developed with this DC.]
Culture: There is a certain culture to dungeon craft. Your minions will work as your personal army. In exchange, they will live in your dungeon and can sustain themselves with the natural runoff of Experience emanates from your DC. As with any community, relationships come into play. Drow don't get along with Duergar, but they both want the best underground living quarters. Goblins are filthy and no one wants to be around them or considered weaker than them. Your squad of drow archers will be offended if you have goblins living on the same floor. Ghosts and undeads make most living creatures uncomfortable. Vampires demand copious amounts of off time and lavish living conditions. Many monsters are reckless and difficult to control. Obtaining allies will not be a simple investment of gold and experience. You must first obtain the right to invest gold and experience into creatures, either through negotiation or subjugation. Almost everyone will lose respect for you, if you personally go and greet every level 1 adventurer to arrive at your dungeon. As you build your dungeon, you can decide the style. It can be anything from a network of caves and caverns with specific magic symbols painted onto the walls, to an elaborate estate perfect to house your throne room.

Balance: As the MD, you take control of your minions during battle. You either order sentient creatures about, or control them through the power of your DC. There is a limit to how much your MD can manage in any given situation. You'll have to divide up your forces accordingly, to get the most out of your minions. Beyond that, the frequently of visits your dungeon receives will also increase. Injured and fatigued minions will need down time, so it's a good idea to always have monsters in reserve to replace those who can no longer fight. You and your dungeon's reputation will affect what kind of adventurers you'll attract and how often they arrive. If you become too infamous, you could find yourself under siege by the king's men. Letting adventurers 'defeat' your dungeon by setting up prizes to claim, villains to thwart, princesses to rescue, and other such clever ploys can significantly lower or even reset your infamy levels. Letting adventurers escape with loot can raise your dungeon's renown, attracting treasure hunters instead of heroes out for blood. However, the most powerful adventurers are often heroes questing for the greater good. Killing these powerful heroes is the fastest way to gain more power. Be careful about inviting other villains into your dungeon, intending for them to act as your fall guy. They can betray you just as much as you can betray them.

Experience, gold, renown, and fame must be carefully managed. All for the sake of power.

Unless you go out of your way to attract special attention right away (like kidnapping a princess or killing a rich merchant), then you can expect your first visitors to be a party of four level 1 adventurers.

Starting your Dungeon: The player(s) will start with a level 1 character at 0 personal experience, and regular starting equipment or gold. You start with no reputation.

You'll start with a ten room dungeon. Each room must be adjacent to another, or one floor above or bellow one another. There will be four entrances to the dungeon that must be defended. One on each of the cardinal directions of North, South, East, and West. This is an important component of the Dungeon Ritual needed to setup your Territory. Each room can be up 100 squares large. These entrances must also be on or lead to ground level. The shape of these rooms do not have to be squares, as long as the size of the floor plan is within the limit. Each room is one story tall. The first room can be placed above ground level, or can be one floor bellow ground level. Rooms can be combined to make one room at twice the size. Expanding your dungeon will require you to invest gold and experience to create new rooms around existing ones.

You can choose your location. It can be almost anywhere. You choose to be based in the farthest reaches of untamed lands, or in the middle of a huge city, as long as your four entrances lead to ground level. You could even be right underneath the king's throne room. As long as they meet the requirements, you can re-purpose existing buildings as rooms of your dungeon.

Additionally, you will start with 1000 experience stored in your Dungeon Core and 1000 gold in your treasury. You can use this gold and experience to upgrade yourself, your dungeon, and/or hire minions.

You will start the game with one beginner culture of creatures that you have the right to hire minions from.

Furthermore, you will have the benefits of your chosen Dungeon Core.

Acquiring Minions: Acquiring minions is quite involved, but essential unless you intend to defend your dungeon alone.

First off, you need access to their culture, and that means getting them to live in your dungeon. First off, you must earn the right to become their master. This is usually done through RP and often requires at least a skill challenge. At times, it will require battle.

Second, your dungeon must meet the culture's needs. Most monsters can sustain themselves just by being around a properly setup Dungeon Core. However, many monsters still want to eat, even if they don't need to. For some, it is the only joy in their life aside from glorious battle. Others require certain living space amenities and other comforts of home. This might mean devoting one or more of your rooms into a kitchen or bathroom. Remember, the uptight Drow won't want to bathe in the same room that goblins use to clean their filthy selves. If you can call that cleaning. Low level monsters can have their needs ignored if they are subjugated. Please raise your baby goblins with care. Remember, you want these peoples to willingly die for you if needed.

Finally, after you have access to their culture, you must hire or train some of them to become your loyal soldiers. Each creature has an amount of experience that they will award to regular players who defeat them. This is the cost to hire one of these creatures as a minion. Monsters that give 0 exp have a cost of 5 exp to hire. You will also have to use your gold to equip them with weapons and armor, if applicable.

You will start the game with access to one beginner culture of creatures that you can hire. Choose one CR 0 creature. This is the starter creature culture that you can hire from.

Setting Traps: Traps are a dungeon maker's bread and butter. Traps can be categorized into three tiers of severity: Setback, Dangerous, and Deadly. These three tiers affect the Save DC, attack modifier, and the damage they can potentially deal. Traps also fall into ranges of levels that can increase these as well. The tier and level range of a trap determine the cost to buy it.

Traps intended for adventurers Level 1 to 4 cost 100 gold. They take an hour to setup.

Traps intended for level 5 to 10 cost 500 gold. They take a day to setup.

Traps intended for level 11 to 16 cost 1000 gold. They take a week to setup.

Traps intended for level 17 to 20 cost 2000 gold. They take a month to setup.

A Setback trap is bought at regular price and take the regular amount of time to build, Dangerous traps cost 1.5 times as much time and gold, and Deadly traps cost twice as much time and gold.

Traps do not cost experience to build. However, the MD's total personal experience must exceed the cost of gold to buy a trap. A level 1 MD with 0 experience cannot build a trap. An MD with 100 experience can build as many Setback traps intended for Level 1 to 4 adventurers as they can afford.

Expanding your Dungeon: Expanding your territory takes experience, while building rooms costs gold. You can build rooms outside your territory, but kills inside these rooms do not count as being within your dungeon. The opposite is also true. Kills within your territory, but not within a proper ritual approved dungeon room, will count as being within your dungeon, and your DC will not be able to absorb the power form the life slain.

The costs for expanding territory increases exponentially. Building rooms is analogous to building structures as in the DM manual, with slight changes.

Your Dungeon Core and You: Gold can be used to buy or craft yourself equipment, as normal.

Kills that you earn inside your dungeon will have all experience go to your Dungeon Core. Kills you earn outside of your Dungeon will go towards your MD's personal experience.

Experience gathered by your Dungeon Core can be used to level yourself up by performing a certain ritual within the presence of the Core. Infusing experience takes time spent concentrating on the Core. Eight hours with the Core will raise your MD's personal experience up 100 experience points. During this time you cannot exert any effort or perform extraneous activity. If you require sleep, you must be asleep for this time period, if you can enter a trance or similar state, you can use that instead. One does not age during this ritual. It is not unusual for a MD to lock themselves away in the bottom of their dungeon and sleep for ages. Experience infused into your MD will be lost by your Dungeon Core. Thus it cannot be used for other things, like hiring minions and such.

MDs who die within their dungeon will have their infamy reset, but their personal experience will also be reset to 0. Assuming the DC was not also destroyed, the DC will trap the MD's soul on the mortal plane. The MD can then be reborn into a new body. They must pay 10 gold (for materials) to have a new body built. This new body will have a personal experience of 0, and thus Experience must be infused into the body to level it up to suite your needs.

The Vessel Dungeon Core is an exception to many of these rules. A Vessel needs not spend time in any down state, and immediately has access to the bonus experience collected by the DC. However, a Vessel can choose to spend time performing the infusion ritual to take more experience from the Dungeon Core and invest it in themselves.

Upgrading your Dungeon Core: Each Dungeon Core's benefits can be strengthened, and new benefits can be unlocked. Their various weaknesses can be mitigated as well. This will cost a mixture of gold and experience and is different for each one.

A call those interested: If this has tickled your fancy, and you'd like to help build up this idea, why don't you try creating a MD and their dungeon. This isn't game planning quite yet, so I can't promise you a game, but it will help me develop the idea and dungeon building system I'm trying to setup here. Who knows? I might fall in love with your character and dungeon concept, and might choose you to try out the idea- assuming the idea gets fleshed out enough. I'm willing to answer any questions and listen to any advice and criticism. So please, lets begin the dialogue.

Well, I would not run this in D&D. Take a look at Fate Core, and specifically the Atomic Robo system/setting. That has explicit rules for running a setting/place/home base using the same rules (skills & aspects & stunts) as the characters. Then you just set the players as being all-powerful beings within the realm of their particular dungeon.

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