Exploring the themes for Warlock of Firetop Mountain, and creating tables for parts before. Namely preparation and approaching the mountain.
Rebuilding an Adventure Using Random Tables
I'm taking apart the Fighting Fantasy adventure Warlock of Firetop Mountain and reconstructing it as a similar adventure using random tables. I'll be using the tables to play solo, in Warlock! at Firetop Mountain (using the Warlock! RPG)
In the first part I looked at the why to rebuild the adventure gamebook in random tables, and the creatures, non-player characters, areas, items and treasures of the adventure.
Creating adventures using random tables isn't an exact science. I've seen a couple of other titles that do it, and built the D&D adventures Ghost Fields, Isle of the Oracle and Spider Woods using them in 5e. And explored it in a couple of other articles.
Having the random tables is useful for generating ideas as a GM in a traditional game, and for solo play. Either rolling for results or picking the ideas you like.
Most adventures have a theme or two. But Warlock of Firetop Mountain isn't particularly strong on themes, being a dungeon crawl from the early 80's.
The ones I've chosen for the rebuild, taken from Warlock of Firetop Mountain, are...
- Fire. The clue is in the name of the adventure! There are a couple of creatures that breathe fire, a spell of fire to counter dragon breath, a magical candle and the warlock can use blue flames to attack. Then there is the fire atop the mountain, and the lantern that the adventurer carries to light up the darkness.
- Arcane. The Warlock uses powerful magic, and a few other npcs are spellcasters. Magic items litter the complex, alongside magical creatures, traps and enchantments in the maze. The power of the warlock is said to power much of the enchantments and effects in the dungeon.
- Dwarves. There are signs that there were more dwarves here in the past. A group of dwarves gambling in the maze, one dwarf prisoner with possibly more, and dwarven animated tools. It also fits the theme of a dungeon in a mountain!
- Sacred. There are a number of holy places and objects in the complex, including a healing fountain, a resting place a bow against undead, holy water and a silver crucifix. Then there is an altar, which was part of a temple before a curse was laid on the area by the warlock. There are also a few silver items, which are useful against undead in the adventure.
The other theme included Chance (gambling, adventure, wagers, randomness), but the others are stronger.
Themes in the Random Tables
Each random table in the adventure will have entries using the themes. Normally two entries per table, but sometimes one. This makes it easier to get ideas for the tables, allows for a more coherent / themed adventure and also allows the tables to be re-used, making a quite different adventure.
They can also be totally ignored when using the tables.
The entries using the themes will have labels of ARC for Arcane, DWA for dwarves, FIR for Fire and SAC for Sacred.
The remake of Warlock of Firetop Mountain will have a different name. But retains the elements of structure.
- It's an adventure set in a dungeon in a red-topped mountain.
- It has rumours of a powerful spellcaster and their treasure.
- There is the approach from a settlement a couple days journey,
- the Outer Chambers with sentries and strange rooms,
- the Underground River bearing a curse of some kind.
- the final maze with a final guardian before the Warlock (or equivalent) and their treasure (which may not be a treasure chest).
- there are keys to the treasure through the adventure
- several magic items and effects
- a fair amount of typical fantasy creatures.
Mountain Dungeon Overview
This sets out an alternate vision of Firetop Mountain. To use only theme roll a d4, and to use two use 1d6+4
|1d10||The mountain is...|
|1||a former dwarf settlement, overrun by a powerful Sorcerer and their minions. In the fringes of Charhollow Crag, a few are dwarves are said to remain. Theme - Dwarves [DWA]|
|2||Dragons's Needle, a former academy of magic, said to be contain some kind of nexus of arcane power. It is guarded by a Magus who betrayed their former companions. Theme - Arcane [ARC]|
|3||a place of elemental power known as Firestorm Spire . A Pyromancer and their servants guard its secrets. Theme - Fire [FIR]|
|4||the holy place of a mountain deity. The halls of Brightblaze Mountain are ruled by a Witch, and await someone to restore them to their former glory. Theme - Sacred [SAC]|
|5||a volcano, contained by arcane magics that produce the glow atop the Towering Inferno. Its magics are under the control of a proud Wizard. Themes - Fire [FIR], Arcane [ARC]|
|6||a haunted place, ruled over by a ghostly Priest. Runekeeper's Pyre was once a dwarven temple, but now bears a curse waiting to be lifted. Themes - Dwarves [DWA], Sacred [SAC]|
|7||the holy site of a fire god, where pilgrims would come for many years. But then a Warlock appeared at Fire Cap, driving out the acolytes and priests. Themes - Fire [FIR], Sacred [SAC]|
|8||famed as a place of learning on runes and artifice among dwarvenkind. But the dwarf Loremaster no longer welcomes visitors to Torchwood Bluff, with some saying they were possessed. Themes - Arcane [ARC], Dwarves [DWA]|
|9||a sacred sanctuary where magic was a thing to be celebrated. Now Runescorch Rock has fallen under the influence of an undead Magician, with the fates of its acolytes unknown. Themes -Arcane [ARC], Sacred [SAC]|
|10||Skyridge Forge, a place of dwarven artifice and metal craftwork. It has long since fallen into ruin under the control of a mysterious Alchemist. Themes - Dwarves [DWA], Fire [FIR]|
Keys of the Treasure
There is a treasure, whether it be a spellbook and protected chest, a library of arcane knowledge, powerful magic items or a dwarven vault.
And there are keys for the treasure scattered around the mountain.
But what form do these keys take...?
|1d10||The keys are...|
|1-2||large iron keys, each bearing a dwarven rune. [DWA]|
|3-4||made of red stone, which sometimes flare with light and fire [FIR]|
|5-6||made of glowing crystal, each bearing some kind of minor magic. [ARC]|
|7-8||made of bone, all from a revered martyr [SAC]|
|9-10||in a variety of materials and forms, each bearing a number...|
That's the themes and initial overview done.
Next few will be weekly articles with Approaching the Mountain, Outer Chambers, Underground River and the Mountain's Maze (and final showdown).