I wanted to make a procedural mystery RPG template – it didn’t go that well. To make myself feel better, and to test the idea, I applied the bones of the idea to an existing procedural mystery, and in the end in effect got this:
Background – Battleships dungeon
In the past, I had an idea for making a quick dungeon using the Battleships board game as a template for a Grid-Crawl. A pdf version of my Battleships dungeon can be found here: Link
In essence, you can make a two level 20 room dungeon/network that would have the connectivity that looked something like this:
But in reality, it is generated (and looks) like this (red and green pegs are white pegs):
New idea – Procedural mystery game / NPC social network
More recently, I wondered if this method could be adapted to make a procedural mystery game, or a procedural NPC (anti)social network.
I wondered if the first grid could be used to connect 10 spaces or people, and the second grid used to provide information about those spaces or people.
That is, the first grid would define the interconnectivity of the 10 spaces/people (as per my Battleships Dungeon idea). But, the second grid would be used to define if the space/person has a resource/clue (e.g. white peg) or has/is a threat (red peg), or some other social element. The position of the peg could be used to define the magnitude of the clue/threat etc.
The specific project I had in mind got bogged down …
Applying the concept to the setup of the Scenic Dunnsmouth village
I then realised that the LotFP module Scenic Dunnsmouth is a kind of mystery and is procedural. So I wondered if I could adapt my idea to capture that subject-matter.
Due to the specific nature of the module, I had to add some extra granularity to the procedural method. The idea I originally had in mind was far simpler.
Of course, this method using the Battleships game can never faithfully reproduce all the aspect of the original, for example the D4 used to set the threat level in the original makes the original more swingish than this Battleships-based method. This could be replicated better, but that’s going too far down the rabbit hole!
For example, I did think about adding the extra requirement that the peg in the church needed to be in a middle hole for it to be infected, to better reflect the probability in the original (but again, this is probably going too far).
Anyway, here is my adapation of the Scenic Dunnsmouth village set up using the Battleships game:
Using the Battleships Board game to setup the Scenic Dunnsmouth village
A more readable pdf version of ‘Battleship Scenic Dunnsmouth’ with expanded examples can be found here: Link
- Two ‘Battleships’ board game 10 × 10 grids
- A good handful of roughly 50:50 mixture of red and white pegs
- Scenic Dunnsmouth; Lamentations of the Flame Princess Module LFP 0015
Lefthand Grid (LHG)
1. Place the 5 ships on the 10 × 10 grid as per the standard ‘Battleships’ rules
2. Add a random peg in each column, but avoiding the ships
3. Add a random peg in each ship
Righthand Grid (RHG)
4. Place the 5 ships on the board as per the standard ‘Battleships’ rules
5. Add a random peg in each column, no need to avoid the ships this time
Interpretation – the village
- Time Cube pg 8 – the peg in the 5-hole ship
- Church pg 17 – the peg in the 4-hole ship (if the peg is red = church is infected)
- “Red Kicker” pg 20 – the peg in the 1st 3-hole ship if placed horizontally; otherwise it’s a home* (or is absent)
to work out the “red kicker roll” take 6 and add the modifier below:
if a white peg is in the 1st hole = +1; 2nd hole = +2; 3rd hole = +3;
if it’s a red peg, the modifier is doubled (essentially this equates to a D6+6), i.e.:
- “Black kicker” pg 20 – as per the “Red Kicker” but using the peg in the 2nd 3-hole ship
- Boat house pg 18 – the peg in the 2-hole ship; nearest home defines the suit of the ace as per normal rules
- Homes – the pegs not in ships (if the peg is red = home is infected)
- ‘Dunnsmouth Dice Score’ pg 10 – this equates to 90 minus 5 per red pegs in the LHG
- To find out who is living in each home, look in the same column but on the RHG
- The ‘card number’ is the row number corresponding to where the peg is, i.e. C = 3 and E = 5 etc.
… however, if the peg is in a ship, then this is overruled and it’s a royal card where:
Jack = peg in a 3-hole ship
Queen = peg in a 4-hole ship
King = peg in a 5-hole ship
- If the peg is red, the ‘card’ is a red suit, if the peg is white the ‘card’ is a black suit
- If the sum of the two numbers (assuming C = 3 etc.) is odd, then it’s a pointy suit (diamonds or spades) if even, it’s a roundy suit (hearts or clubs)
- * = if there are two homes in the same column on the LHG (due to one or more of the “Kickers” being homes) then the procedure for assigning a card number/suit is as above, but the reference numbers are with reference to the LHG and not the RHG (i.e. to avoid repeats) – or this home is derelict.
- If a duplicate home is obtained, then this corresponds to a “black joker”, “red joker”, “rules” and then “advertisement” cards pg 91; or the home is derelict; or move the card number up/down 1 unit
- Spider pg 12 will be located as per the standard rules; HD equal to number of LHS red pegs
- Uncle Ivanovik pg 14 will be located are as per the standard rules and will be infected if his peg is red
– His level will equate to the position of the peg in the LHG 5-hole ship (counting left to right or top to bottom); +1 if not infected
– He will be doing an activity equating to the summing of the position of the peg in the 4-hole and 2-hole ships (counting left to right or top to bottom); -1 if infected
- Magda p16 will be located as per the standard rules and will be infected if her peg is red
– Her level is the number of LHG white pegs divided by 3 and rounded; and -1 if infected
Scenic Dunnsmouth Map
If redrawn (but there is no need to), then the Scenic Dunnsmouth village would look something like this:
SDN: 90 – (6 × 5) = 60 yellow/orange = infected
Magda’s level: (9/3)-1 = 2
Uncle I’s Level: 3+1 = 4; and is doing activity: 2+1+1 = 4
Again, a more readable pdf version of ‘Battleship Scenic Dunnsmouth’ with expanded examples can be found here: Link