In stepped Scott Casper to remind me of the "Greyhawk Construction Company" from the earliest days of D&D-dom (thanks, Scott!). Mentioned in a two-part short story by Jake Jaquet called "Search for the Hidden Chamber" in The Dragon #1 and #2, the GHCC apparently started sprouting up in dungeons all across the gaming world, warning adventurers off of places where the DM wished them not to go, or as a blanket excuse for changes in the dungeon from one session to another. I can't find any references to Gary Gygax actually using the GHCC in his own dungeon, but if some sharp-eyed reader knows of one, I'd love to see it.
Now *this* is a gimmick that I think fits the zany and sometimes anachronistic nature of Castle Greyhawk! It's so obviously a meta-gaming device that it works, in my humble opinion, much better than something that attempts a level of versimilitude, as does the Curse of Fog and Frogs (which, for example, won't fool anyone for a second when it is seen blocking the entrance to a level of the dungeon that hasn't been released yet, so why bother to try to pretend it's anything but a DM's device? Have some fun with it!). I humbly offer it as an alternative, or addition, to the Curse of Fog and Frogs (or for use anywhere, for that matter).
The DM should, of course, use the GHCC whenever he or she deems that a given section of the dungeon should remain inaccessible, or, perhaps, as a signal to long-term players that something is no longer the way it was. The signs of the GHCC being at work, or recently having been at work, can vary:
- Yellow construction tape with black stripes. The tape reads "Greyhawk Construction Company - DO NOT CROSS" in Common, and is easily broken or cut.
- 1d4 black and white striped barricades, of wooden construction (like a sawhorse), each with a yellow flashing light atop it. They bear the notation "Greyhawk Construction Co., Ltd." The flashing lights stop working if moved more than 30'.
- 1d4 orange and white striped barrels, with the letters "Gh.C.C." stenciled on them in black.
- 1d6 orange cones made of some durable but flexible substance.
- A yellow diamond-shaped sign with a black stylized figure on it with a shovel. If examined closely, the figure doesn't look like it was quite designed to depict a human, but it is impossible to put one's finger on how.
- A combination of 2 of the above. Roll twice more, ignoring and re-rolling on a 6.
- When they go past the warning, the party is immediately teleported back into the same corridor/room they came from, going in the other direction. If this is in a fairly nondescript corridor, they could go quite a while before figuring out they are actually retracing their steps. If the barricade blocks a staircase, PCs will find themselves emerging at the top/bottom of the stairs they thought they were going up/down, and possibly will think themselves on another dungeon level.
- The obstruction blocks the way. Trying to move it causes 2d6 magical electrical damage to the person touching it, no saving throw. If they persist, the PCs encounter another GHCC barricade 20' in.
- A plain brick wall (especially effective if they are trying to go through a door).
- An apparent cave-in.
- A traffic control orc stands in the way. He is a typical orc, but entirely non-threatening. He wears a bright yellow helmet and carries a large octagonal sign on a pole with the word "STOP" in common. If the PCs kill the orc or otherwise bypass him, they will encounter another GHCC barricade 20' further in. Re-roll everything, ignoring and re-rolling a 5 on this table. The orc will not converse with the PCs.
- PCs enter the Construction Site (see below).
There is no treasure to be had in the Construction Site, and the DM is encouraged to have fun with it as an encounter to befuddle the PCs; a steam whistle will blow, and all the orcs will stop their work and produce lunchboxes, etc. If they dawdle in the place, it should be demonstrated to the PCs that construction sites are dangerous places; beams fall from seemingly great heights, wrecking balls swing out of nowhere, red-hot rivets get driven into armor, etc. With each such "accident", the Foreman would naturally shout at the PCs, telling them not to be so clumsy, to get out of the way, pointing the way to the door, etc. If the PCs persist in staying, no rest can take place in the Construction Site due to the constant noise, and thus no healing or memorizing of spells can take place. In any event, after 1d8 hours, the PCs will hear a shrill steam whistle and find themselves suddenly back where they started, at the GHCC barricade. In short, being in the Construction Site should not be able to be turned into an advantage for the PCs. Be creative. Be evil.
If they attempt to re-enter the Construction Site, the PCs will find their way blocked by solid stone.