Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Roofcrawling I (Random Table/Encounters)

Roofcrawling: Table I (D30)
  1. Loose tiles, Make Save or slide off of roof
  2. (1d4) Gargoyles
  3. You disturb a flock of pigeons, Make save or lose grip/footing
  4. (1d6) Thieves (30% on way back from heist, 30% trailing a potential victim other than your party, 40% trailing the party)
  5. A lone assassin on a tight schedule, enroute to target
  6. (2d4) Street Urchins hunting pigeons with make-shift slings
  7. Weak spot in roof, Make save or fall through to floor below
  8. Area under repairs (40% workers present, 40% scaffolding empty, 20% Aerial Critter has taken up residence in scaffolding)
  9. Hive of normal bees or wasps
  10. Birds nests. (30% chance of eggs, 30% hatchlings, 30% empty)
  11. Rooftop hermit with sea captain's spyglass
  12. Hole leads to crawlspace infested with bats, rats or other vermin
  13. Stagnant puddle, Save or chance of disease (cholera, etc.)
  14. Weak timberwork, riddled with normal termites or carpenter ants, Save or it crumbles and you fall
  15. Broken glass scattered to deter thieves, does 1d4 damage
  16. (1d4) giant spiders have webs anchored from the local chimneys, eaves and roof peaks
  17. Weather vane, worth 2d10 gp, with a 25% chance to be recognized
  18. Lightning rod, worth 4d20 gp, with 10% chance of being enchanted
  19. (1d4) Hunchbacks
  20. (1d6) Rooftopi armed with javelins.
  21. (1d2) Gargoyle eggs in seemingly abandoned nest...
  22. Tar paper surface bubbles up a bit upon contact inflicting 1d4 damage to anyone coming into contact with it. It is boiling hot due to a magical lens left lying here after some students attempt at a prank. (20% chance that it starts a fire while you're on the tar.)
  23. Roof tiles shift. There is a massive nest of carpenter ants all through this structure. (40% chance to fall through roof)
  24. An animated Hangman's Noose slithers across the roof before you like some hungry snake. It might reconsider you as a victim if you prefer to push the issue.
  25. A clandestine rooftop hot house has been set-up here, out of sight, in order to provide food to a band of scrawny-looking urchins or feral children. But who is their benefactor? And why?
  26. A foamy mass of discarded and still-wet chrysali dangle from the support structure. What kind of moths have a 5-6 foot wingspan?
  27. Hundreds of small bones litter the edges of the gutter. Some sort of rodents seem to be using this as a feeding-grounds...
  28. You find yourself looking at a group of adventurers about to break into a place through the roof-top skylights. Are they competitors, rivals or enemies? Do they spot you?
  29. Someone or something has been tending the deep, stagnant puddles atop this sagging old roof. Lots of squiggly-things squirm around in the filthy water...
  30. How about something really special? (See Special Rooftop Encounters Table).


  1. Relevant :)

    Wonderful ideas, and very true - "They never look up...".

  2. @Jennie: Thanks! Nope, people don't tend to look upwards. But then that's what makes running an adventure that keeps going up one level after another into a series of garrets, attics and other strange spaces so tempting and quite a bit different from the usual scrambling around in some hole in the dirt...

  3. See also: The Magician's Nephew, in the start of the book.

  4. Good essay!

    My problem with rooftop exploration in FRPGs has always been visualisation. It is very hard to convey the possibilities of 3d navigation in a way that makes sense to the players; even drawings help little. I can, and do run short scenes with rooftops and climbing in it (actually, I always try to make my adventures, even combats 3d), but entire open rooftop environments would be a problem.

    Which may be one of the reasons I developed my other hobby, level editing for the Thief computer games (and more recently its excellent Doom 3-based "forward clone", The Dark Mod) - all my missions so far have been heavily rooftop-oriented. It gives me an opportunity to live out those fantasies. :)

    See this link for images from Disorientation, a project I completed mid-2009, and which is my most successful work to capture that peculiar feeling of exploration so far:

  5. @C'nor: Yes. Good catch--I meant to include that, but ended up skipping it once I went with the Hitchcock/Argento stuff. The front-end of The Magician's Nephew does a nice job of giving you the feel of those crawlspaces and disused sections up above.

    There's also the dismal garret where Eric Zann lived, until he was taken away. And the apartments that served as a necro-fridgerator in Cool Air.

    Rooftops are interesting places to explore. Attics are always a good place to stash and to find forgotten trunks of old books (Diary of Alonzo Typer again), or who knows what magical or eldritch bric-a-brac.

  6. I have fond memories of the 1st edition Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay sample adventure that featured a little rooftop chase. And I employed a lot of rooftop shenanigans in my first Lankhmar campaign.

    Hmmm, I really need to work in more rooftop exploration in my current game...

  7. @Melan: Thanks! We're still kicking around some ideas for how to handle the hazards and navigation of multiple vertical levels. So far a system of multiple tables does okay, and a few sketches can help, but you're right in that it is darned difficult to properly visualize.

    Those images for Thief are really nice. You could definitely use those to show-not-tell some of the necessary details. This is for a mod to Doom3? We'd like to learn more! What's the best way to get started with making such mods? We were working on some things for Dungeon Siege, way back, but it died-out before we got too far with any of it. Is Thief still going, or have you moved on to something else?

  8. @Risus Monkey: Warhammer FRPG again. We really should have bought that way back when. Oh well. Maybe we can locate a cheap, used copy now. That game just keeps showing up...

    I was hoping to work out some way to develop a set of attic/garret and roof-top geomorphs. Maybe you might have some ideas, or perhaps Talysman might jump-in on such a thing as he seems to be working with 3-D graphics a bit...

  9. @Netherwerks: the images I linked are from my last Thief 2 mission; The Dark Mod is significantly more advanced in its visuals. If you are interested, and the wiki has a lot of information. You need a copy of Doom 3 to play (pretty cheap nowadays), but the mod is otherwise a completely reconstructed game - it even has its own dedicated editor.

    WRT getting involved in editing, creating 3d architecture always involves an amount of work, but there are ways for newbies to simplify the process, like detailed models and pre-built blocks of architecture. I have recently been working on a project that uses shortcuts to build terrain, and documented my progress here:

    I started 11 days ago, and today, I will be packaging the first beta version. Of course, learning the tools and getting a bit of practice to find your way around the editor takes time on its own, but you could probably turn out nice-looking set-pieces after a week or two of involvement.

    And yes, I have thought of creating player handouts with the editor; I am just not running a mediaeval-looking game. :)

  10. @Melan: Thanks for the information and insight. You've given us a few things to think about.

  11. @NetherWerks: Warhammer FRPG again. We really should have bought that way back when. Oh well. Maybe we can locate a cheap, used copy now. That game just keeps showing up...

    I've said this beofre and I'll say it again. Nothing beats the olfactory and tactile joy I get when I handle my first edition book. I don't don't know if any other RPG book has used similar inks or paper. A perfect match for the wonderfully gothic/weird illustrations.

    I was hoping to work out some way to develop a set of attic/garret and roof-top geomorphs. Maybe you might have some ideas, or perhaps Talysman might jump-in on such a thing as he seems to be working with 3-D graphics a bit...

    I have had urban geomorphs on my "to do" list for quite some time. I'd use the Dyson format, but change the scale. My biggest hitch had been deciding on how to alter my current style. I've done a few subterannean city tiles in my initial batch, but I'm undecided if that is how I'll approach things on the surface.

    Urban tiles need to provide interesting rooftop features, but they also need to give some sense of what is inside a building. Also, canals are key.

  12. oops, I think blogger may have ate my previous comment...

    What I was going to say is that WFRP 1e had a unique smell and texture that provided a nice accompaniment to the gothic-weird illustrations and grubby-medieval humor. Something about the paper and ink...

    But I digress...

    Urban Geomorphs have been on my "to do" list. I prototyped a few for the underground environment in my first 100 dungeon tiles but I think I'll try something different on the surface. The Dyson system of 2 connections per side is probably how I'd do it, but I might change the scale. I also need a way to incorporate canals and provide interesting rooftop features while still giving a sense of what might be in a given building.

  13. I once set my players on a rooftop chase in Dylath-Leen. One of the party had been bitten by a weretiger, and they lost track of full moons. He took off across the rooftops, and they eventually crashed into a sorcerer's garret, disrupting a summoning, and thereby making a long-term enemy.

  14. @Migellito: Dylath Leen sounds like a great deal of fun. Weretigers and Rooftops--that's a grrrreat combination...

  15. @Risus Monkey: We're hoping to get the back-log cleared-up so we can schedule some quality time to get some of our own geomorphs done once and for all. We'll probably adopt the Dyson Logos standard. A set of Urban/Rooftop/Attic/and Super-Scientific Megadungeon ones are planned and have some sketched-out elements on-hand, so it might not be too much longer...


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