If Dungeons Offer Riches, Why Don’t the Authorities Loot Them?

In the course of the 70s, the debates that raged within the pages of fantasy sport fanzines largely matched the gaming subjects argued on Fb and Reddit at present. For instance, forty-some years in the past, avid gamers debated if dungeon masters ought to break the principles for the sake of story.

However now we have forgotten some arguments that raged in locations like Alarums & Excursions. Immediately’s put up revisits an attention-grabbing debate that now appears as contentious as angels on pinheads.

First, some background. The unique Dungeons & Dragons guidelines advocate 20 gamers as a really perfect quantity for a marketing campaign, though the textual content says one referee can deal with as many as 50 gamers. In fact, 50 D&D gamers in all probability by no means crowded a basement without delay. Smaller events shaped from the accessible gamers and mounted treasure hunts into the large dungeons that dominated play. On the peak of the  Blackmoor and Greyhawk campaigns run by D&D co-designers Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, such classes ran a number of occasions every week.

As an alternative of speaking a couple of dungeon grasp’s marketing campaign or sport world, most avid gamers talked a couple of DM’s dungeon, as a result of that’s what they performed. (See When Megadungeons Dominated Dungeons & Dragons.) Energetic gamers took characters from one DM’s dungeon to a different. So long as DMs performed in comparable types, that labored. (Early fanzines included a lot speak about dealing with PCs coming from incorrectly run dungeons, however nobody agreed on, say, the proper ratio of casualties to treasure.)

Widespread dungeons noticed numerous site visitors from twenty or extra gamers, every with a group of characters at completely different ranges, some recuperating from damage. Avid gamers began to note that these dungeons resembled vacationer points of interest that drew crowds hoping a couple of dangers would result in a fast rating, very like Las Vegas.

Dave Arneson and his group noticed how a lot his dungeon resembled a vacationer entice they usually exaggerated it. The elves who managed the positioning of Blackmoor dungeon created a faire on the entrance boasting “lots of of fabulous offers (some price what you pay for!)” The elves constructed turnstiles on the dungeon entrance and charged 1 gp admission.  “You may also signal the Adventurers Guide, which will get you a real ‘I Visited Blackmoor Dungeon’ button whenever you come out the principle entrance. No winners but.”

Within the First Fantasy Marketing campaign (1977), Arneson described the doorway to his dungeon.

After the second destruction of Blackmoor Fortress, the EIves had been made liable for the care and safety of the realm and it’s protection. Our
Elf participant took various steps to do that:

  1. They’ve arrange a barricade on the foot of the hill resulting in the Fortress that forces every entrant to cross a check of Purity (typically anti-Vampire), together with a drink of Holy Water for every (offered at cut price price by the Church of the Information of Life run by Bishop Carr).
  2. Making it by way of that, the would-be adventures enter the Fortress the place the Elves have arrange a fantastic honest that fills the courtyard. There are  lots of of fabulous offers (some price what you pay for!) and a few shady varieties (cutpurses and the like). This lets the Decide wheel and take care of the gamers to empty their purses and make them surprise what’s going on.
  3. There are actually turnstiles into the Dungeon (1 GP admission in addition to taking an Elven Tour (since canceled when the 2 Dwarves let Fang out of his field) (see hooked up quick tout pattern). You may also signal the Adventurers Guide, which will get you a real “I Visited Blackmoor Dungeon” Button whenever you come out the principle entrance. No winners but.
  4. Every of the common exit/entrances from the Dungeon are closely guarded by Elves armed with Holy Water Hoses, and different anti-Evil charms plus an Elven Prince and two Elven Lords! So, in the event you can attain a door and are nonetheless good, the pursuit will break off and the Elves allow you to in.

Different DMs handled dungeons as vacationer points of interest, though with much less silliness.  Within the Forgotten Realms, a well-known tavern referred to as the Yawning Portal monetizes the principle entrance into the Undermountain dungeon. The innkeeper “Durnan fees adventurers 1 gp every to descend into the nicely, whether or not they choose to make use of the rope or not. The return journey additionally prices a chunk of gold, despatched up in a bucket upfront.”

The controversy got here when sport masters puzzled how authorities would react to the closely trafficked dungeons that made houses to monsters and sources of treasure.

Arduin Grimoire Quantity IX Finish Conflict

Ed Simbalist and Wilf Backhaus, the creators of Chivalry & Sorcery (1978), favored adventures outdoors dungeons. They imagined a society that eradicated dungeons. “A big focus of ‘evil’ will appeal to the Church and would possibly deliver down a ‘Campaign’ towards it. A big focus of loot will appeal to the King, a personage all the time in want of cash. Neither is it doable to maintain such a dungeon complicated secret for lengthy. Myths and legends about such a spot and what’s to be present in it quickly grow to be frequent information.”

In the meantime, Dave Hargrave beloved dungeons. Web page 1 of The Arduin Grimoire Quantity IX contains the subject, “Dungeons and why the authorities don’t shut them down,” which counters the opinion voiced in C&S.

These days, few campaigns run within the model that made Blackmoor appear to be Six Flags, so few surprise why the Lords of Waterdeep by no means ship their troops into Undermountain for coin. But when anybody asks, a few of Dave Hargrave’s factors appear believable.

Dungeons and Why the Authorities Don’t Shut Them Down by Dave Hargrave

I’m certain the query of why native authorities don’t simply run troops into the “dungeons” of the land has come up once in a while. I imply, what could possibly be a extra clever and logical methodology to take care of the creature-ridden insanity and free magik of those locations? Listed here are a couple of causes to moist your urge for food on why they don’t simply do this.

  1. With such a big contingent of troops away from their stations, it will be simple to assault the dominion straight since there could be fewer defenders to face.
  2. It will be too simple for a “dangerous man” related to such a spot to entice the troopers within the dungeon, maybe sealing them away eternally. This straight pertains to level one above.
  3. With the excessive casualties of this sort of motion, quickly there could be few prepared to affix the consistently thinning ranks of the military, it doesn’t matter what the value. Most males will not be fools in the case of dying for no good trigger. Once more, this straight pertains to level # 1.
  4. The troops mucking about in one among these locations may open some outdated gate or trigger some superior and horrible bane to return forth upon the land, thus turning the individuals towards the idiot who triggered such a calamity.
  5. The “dungeons” act as a continuing “honey pot” that ensnares the extra adventurous (learn that as bother makers) and any loot they handle to deliver out, is, after all, taxable. A hell of so much cheaper technique to earn a living.
  6. With such a spot to draw undesirable issues, it’s simpler to concentrate on simply what nasty beings are about. You don’t need to go hacking concerning the darkish and dreary countryside; you understand the place all of the uglies are hiding.

There are nonetheless different causes, however I hope I’ve made my level. It simply isn’t price all the danger for a king to ship his troops into such a multitude.

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