It's about this pearl of wisdom. The more noise players make, the higher is the probability to get caught in the dungeon. Obviously derived from another system without random encounter tables, but easy enough adapted to the D&D-System of your choice. I never was that much for random encounter tables (wandering Monsters is a different thingy alltogether), mostly because it's to abstract as a subsystem (not connected to a dungeons features or ecology). With this cute little subsystem a dungeons powerstructure has a direct impact on the players actions just by using what is already there. But judge for yourselves:
Direct consequences to the players actions and capabilities
Next time I want to know if the players get into trouble for being noisy, I'll do it like this:
10 (basic assumption) + Thiefs Level + Precautions the party has taken - Monster HD - Incidents/Features => 0 or less = Encounter (and reset to starting threatlevel minus number under zero)
For groups of monsters the highest hd-value counts, individual Monsters have their own threatlevel in an area. And yeah, that way the Lich or Dragon in the dungeon might already know that you're around if you're too weak or sloppy, but that can't be a surprise.
Precautions (ideas so far, not a complete list):
- Silenced Armour gives party +1
- Time spent observing an area (+1 for 2 hours observation, etc.)
- Using dungeon features as an advantage (disguises, safe rooms, etc., apply ad hoc)
Incidents/Features (much easier, but still not complete):
- - 1 for every round of noisy fighting
- - 1 for kicking in a door
- - 5 for hacking down a door
- - 1 for loud noises, whatever the reason (screaming like a girl, arguing, singing, you name it)
- - 1 for triggering a trap
- - 1 for leaving bodies behind (dead hirelings/PCs, whatever)
... that's it so far. Accumulate the points and as soon as you reach zero, a Monster will take action against the intruders.
So now they know you're around...
And that's the most important thing a DM needs to know. That's when he can plan ahead or act (sometimes only by knowing how the group intends to approach the dungeon!) according to the Monsters level of intelligence and/or organisation (see reaction tables and whatever tool about the Monsters mo is available).
The other important thing is to let the players know this subsystem is at work. They might not know the Threatlevel, but they will know that there are severe consequences for being loud in a dungeon:
Don't know how regularly I'll be able to post in the future, but if I think it's something of value, I'll bring it online. Cheers folks!