Marmoreal Tomb Campaign Starter is quite a mouthful.
The Marmoreal Tomb Campaign Starter is Ernest Gary Gygax, Jr.’s project to bring his Hobby Shop Dungeon campaign setting into print/publication. The origins of the setting began in 1978 when Ernie was working in the Lake Geneva Dungeon Hobby Shop as a clerk. The project is a product of GP Adventures, a partnership between E.G.G. Jr. and Benoist Poiré.
The initial funding goal of $20,000 was hit in under two days. Three additional stretch goals have been hit since then including an expanded crypt map, cover art by Jeff Easley and a science fiction customization pack featuring James Spawn (of White Star fame). The next stretch goal, if hit, will feature rules conversion for both Dungeons and Dragons 5E and Pathfinder.
I was digging through a couple of boxes and came across my copy of Gamma World 1st Edition. Sadly, it is not the original boxed set just a copy of the rules. I believe I picked it up in the 1990’s on a shopping spree. Leafing through the book, it remains a very playable game but not one I was ever interested in running back at the height of my gaming.
Gamma World, like many other games of the TSR era, has been through many permutations. At least 7 editions have been published to date with varying degrees of acceptance. The 1st edition was released in 1978 and penned by James M. Ward and Gary Jaquet.
Gamma World features one of the first post apocalyptic frameworks in the RPG world. The book references the year 2471 as the start of the experience while referring back to events from 2309-2322 — the Shadow Years. The Shadow Years depict a time of violent social unrest that lead to the destruction of the civilization as it was known. It isn’t hard to imagine how the late 1960’s and early 1970’s could have influenced that portrait of the world. The exact downfall of the world is not stated. Hints of nuclear and bio-warfare are present but no specifics in the roughly 1 page introduction of the game setting.
While I tend to not write generators for recent systems without publisher support, I decided to take a whirl at the 5E system. Mostly, I just wanted to see what the “modern” take on a classic system included or avoided.
My normal process was used for the Random 5E Treasure Generator. It’s simple, straight forward and does not yet contain anything beyond the simple charts.
5E vs 1E/2E Random Treasure
I’ve seen a few comments that suggest the fifth edition is low on magic. I disagree to a point. For individual treasure, there is no chance of finding a magical item. Absolutely zero. Why? I’d wager they intend for such treasure to be found via hoards rather than a wandering orc or two. You can always choose to use a hoard (aka lair treasure from elder editions) over the individual metric if monsters are migrating from one locale to another. For hoards (the 5E equivalent of lairs), you almost always get magic items.
The tables themselves are repetitious. Probably to the point of algorithmically generated. The same set of art/gems values repeat in patterns of 4 along with use of a particular magic table at a proscribed rate. Rinse, tweak occurrences, and toss it back out into a table. Very systematic. The variability works out but it sure looks dull in comparison to the 1E hand-crafted, best guess treasure charts of old.
Gone are the percent chances for a particular item type. The 5th edition tables give you magic as proscribed by a specific table at least 64% of the time when rolling a treasure hoard. For higher challenge ratings, the odds get better in increments (0-4:64%/5-10:72/11-16:84/17+:98). Automatic magic above a certain percentage certainly doesn’t appear to be magic sparse. Thousands of rolls later, I’d say its close to the originals with far fewer die rolls.
It is a far simpler system. No need to look up odd treasure types and roll die. It’s quite simply just a new, arbitrary choice based on Challenge. Same as the old arbitrary choice of treasure type, spun down to use less brain cells. Except the classic treasure types allowed a far better, albeit confusing, fidelity of treasure by creature.
Gems/Art confuse me in the 5E system. If someone wants to detail the exact nature of those items, would it not be likely they would also want to vary the value? When I didn’t have automated tools, I ignored both. Now that I have them, I’m more prone to use them for value variability over type variability. The specific values seem far more useful based on something special rather than generic labels. That’s a failure in 1E, 2E and 5E across the board. At least 1E has random variability. I may add that into the 5E Generator, just because I can.
5E doesn’t have a chance for special items — sentient or artifacts. Logically they claim those should always be planned. I understand that sentiment. On the flip side, sometimes I just roll dice against sentient/artifact tables to spur my imagination. Likewise, if I happen upon an artifact roll, I can just as easily replace that with a map / note / book on the artifact to key interest rather than the item itself.
Oh yeah, maps, totally eliminated. Apparently no one uses them anymore. (I jest). As treasure, they just don’t exist magical or not. They may have been phased out in earlier editions. I used them sparingly; far less than they occurred as random treasure. To see them gone entirely is odd.
What really annoys me is spell scrolls: 1 spell / scroll. Talk about dull. When I played mages in prior editions, I loved scrolls to up my spell knowledge. That and opponents spell books. Those were beyond gold. Perhaps now I just need to poke the elevator button of my level to obtain knowledge.
Alas, the 1E NPC Generator has had a bug for a few months. It was low on the priority list to fix. The problem turned out to be infinite recursion due to random choices. I added alternate resolution mechanisms to the class selection when the chosen race could never meet any class/racial minimums.
The new paths allow for alternate race selection, attribute swapping, attribute bumping (capped to less than 3 additional points) when the attribute sum is less than average across the board, and finally to just bail and roll new stats and start the process over. I need to refactor the entire approach. For now, the generator cannot just exhaust the available memory attempting to fit a square peg into a hexagonal hole.
The generator needs more time on the development slate. I’ll try to work it more this month to expand the capabilities and correct some errors in the design in the coming months. The twisting turns of chargen in 1E make coding a nightmare of edge case handling.
Returning to the list of magic items, many new (then) classic (now) items were introduced in the Greyhawk supplement. Here they are in puzzled format.
Greyhawk tossed out too many new creatures to fit in a single puzzle. The rest can be found below.
The Greyhawk supplement introduced some now classic creatures. What was new? Search below for the answers.