Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Shameless Ripoff: The Crypt of Laun Phien

It's no secret that Djekspek is pretty a damn impressive designer.  Check out a few of his one page dungeons over on Devian Tart and you'll see.  Look at this thing - it's beautiful.  Or this one - that just begs to be stocked and run.  Even with nothing in them, his dungeons have more character than most network sitcoms.

While poking through past winners of the One Page Dungeon contest, I stumbled on to his brilliant little dungeon called the Temple of Laun Phien.  It incorporates clever rotating floorplans in a way that makes sense but should baffle players just long enough.

As usual click it to big it.  Because me no am smart, me build
physical map with card stock so me can rotate dungeon
as game is played.
It's brilliant idea, but flawed.  You see how that middle drum rotates opposite the two outer drums?  That means you get an effective 90-degree rotation and you limit the number of permutations the dungeon can have. It also means the hallway in the central drum will never line up with the hallways in the middle circle.  Much as I love this dungeon, it also misses out on a couple of other features that I think should be important.  To remedy these concerns, I've shamelessly stolen the basic concept and built my own Temple of Laun Phien.

Also remember that I'm a big fan of real time clocks to up tension in games, so my Crypt rotates every 10 minutes in real time.  The clock provides a big clue for the players that something hinky is going on here.

First big difference here is that the inner ring is locked in place.  The inner ring rotates one way and the outer ring another.  That fixes the problem of inaccessible areas.  It also keeps the the three labelled rooms, the ones that most vary from Djekspek's original version, locked in place.  This also means that clever players can escape if they find that straight hallway and just wait up to 80 minutes for it to swing around.  That's okay - that's clever play and should be encouraged.

A - Entrance and Warning
Players have to fully commit every time they enter the Crypt.  The first room in a bare room with a single lever in the back wall and a warning carved into the wall to 'abandon hope' effect.  This forces the players to take action and pull that lever for a trip around the fun house. That's kind of important because it means that the dungeon is always open when they get there, and it gives everyone a concrete start time for the countdown to rotation.

B - Control Room
Once they realize what's going on, the characters should have at least a little control over the rotation.  This room does just that.  It contains two levers.  Pulling one rotates the drums and resets the timer to 10 minutes.        The other lever controls which way the rings rotate.  You could use these levers to pick which hallway you want to exit, but since this room only faces the outer ring that doesn't get you much closer to the central crypt.  This might seem like it gives them power, but it really just complicates things by giving them one more variable to have to deal with.

C - Power Supply
This might be the most dangerous room in the dungeon.  It houses the clacking and wheezing and buzzing machine of brass and copper and glass that taps into the aethaer to power the whole dungeon.  Break this and you're stuck here...possibly forever.  Hope you've got a dwarf or a tinker with you then.

Anywho, that's my take on the Temple of Laun Phien.  Can't wait to inflict it on my players.

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