Wow, just improvised a lair for a tribe of cyborg bears, the party picked up a potion, a suit of magical armor and a magical shield (both of which they unwittingly gave to their henchmen - I love sandbox games.)
I have to say, the ACKS rules managed to do something that hasn’t been easy to pull off since 0e. I was able to take a single monster entry and improvise a whole dungeon’s worth of adventure. It did so by providing just the right amount of material in the monster entries. Let me explain.
The party, 2 PCs, 4-5 Henchmen and 20 mercenaries are travelling through the mountains. I roll on my Mountain wandering monster table for an evening check and get ‘Ogre’. Now, previously, I had reskinned some ogres on the fly to fit thematically with a sci-fantasy cave system as semi-intelligent cyborg bears, so I kept that idea and attacked the party with the ‘bears’.
Now, ACKS monster entries have two entries for ‘number encountered’, one for Dungeons and one for Wilderness. The entry for Ogre reads as follows:
Dungeon Enc: Gang (1d6) / Lair (1 warband)
Wilderness Enc: Warband (1d3 gangs) / Village (1d10 warbands)
Treasure Type: L (per warband) and special
The party got very lucky. I rolled a 1d3 for the number of gangs of Ogres they were attacked by and got: 1 gang of 3 (1d6) Ogres.
This even though it’s small, entitles them to Treasure Type L. Now, L treasure is a lot (these guys are only 2nd level), I rolled up 5000sp (my game’s on a silver standard), 3 100sp gems, 900sp worth of jewelery, 1 ‘armor’, 1 ‘potion’, 1 ‘any’. The armor entry was magic armor AND magic shield: Now, I can’t just give all of that to the party for killing 3 ogres with 20 mercenaries, so I figured that the other two warbands are in the lair, taking care of business back home. Roll 2d6 more ogres and I get 5. 5 more Ogres and a lair full of traps and other nasties sounds about right for that much stuff.
Now, I need a lair. I have a bunch of small dungeons of 15 or so rooms just lying around unkeyed, so I grabbed one of those and the amazing +Tim Ballew’s Dungeon Words pdf (available for free here: http://www.risusmonkey.com/2011/02/dungeonwords.html) and rolled 1d12+1d20 every time the party entered a new room. I kept track of how much time they spent doing what and whenever a wandering monster was called for, I rolled on the ACKS generic dungeon level 2 wandering monster chart. I used that chart to populate 1/3 of the rooms real quick too, leaving room for my 5 cyborg bears.
BAM! A whole evening’s adventure with nothing but a wandering monster chart for wilderness, one for a dungeon, the ACKS rulebook and Dungeon Words combined with an old dungeon map that I never got around to using until tonight. And it was all spurred on by having two number encountered entries in the monster listing. AWESOME.
If anyone’s interested in following me, I’m +Roger Burgess on G+, my avatar is a picture of a shocked-looking Pip-boy.