Dungeon Tolls

Rogue Legacy Screenshot - There was 200 gold in this room!Courtney runs a game on Saturday mornings called Numenhalla. It’s quite good. Good enough that I drag myself out of bed at 5:40 am on a Saturday to play in it.

Though, I confess, I’ve been late more often than I’ve been on time.

There are many reasons why I love playing in Numenhalla. The fact that Courtney is my bro is high on that list, as is my awestruck reverence for Mad Bill Danger. But more than anything else, I love Numenhalla because it is, by a titanic margin, the most polished & unique game I have ever played in.

Among its many unique traits (though it may only be unique to me, as Numenhalla is my first “Megadungeon”) is that nothing really exists outside of the dungeon. I’ve been told to think of the town outside as a menu screen. Play doesn’t happen there. We can manage our affairs in town, but once we enter the dungeon, we cannot return to town until we’re ready to end the game. It’s a fascinating way to play. Something I wouldn’t mind experimenting with myself someday.

On a completely unrelated note, I recently purchased a fantastic Indie game called Rogue Legacy. It’s a side scrolling action game with gameplay similar to the better among the Castlevania games. There are many facets to it which make it interesting and unique, and I recommend it if you enjoy those types of games. Perhaps my favorite aspect of the game is the way they handle gold.

When you enter the Rogue Legacy dungeon for the first time, you have 0 gold. You fight, and jump, and claw your way through as much of the dungeon as you can, killing monsters and stealing the gold coins they drop. Eventually, inevitably, you die, and the game ends. But then you get to make a new character. This new character is the son or daughter of your previous character, and they’ve inherited all of the gold you gathered in your previous run! They can spend it on gear and upgrades which will be passed down through all the (hundreds) of generations your family is sure to have.

Once this new character has spent all the gold they can, and are ready to enter the dungeon, they are greeted by Charon. He demands a toll of you before he will allow you to enter the dungeon: every unspent coin you have. Once you’ve been reduced back to 0 gold, he will allow you to enter the dungeon. A dungeon which has been completely randomized since your last visit.

I’d be curious to see how this mechanic would work if used in a tabletop game. The party may plunge the depths of the dungeon, gather their treasure, and return to the surface. But they may not hoard their gold! Any gold unspent before returning to the dungeon is taken as a toll. (Or, perhaps more in character, wasted away on booze). Of course, the prices of items in town would need to be adjusted accordingly, but that wouldn’t be hard.

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