It's been two years since I've blogged about rumors. Time to do so again!
I've been stocking my megadungeon using a "keystone treasures" idea. There are certain extremely valuable items of treasure in the dungeon, and some known magic items as well. Rumors about these treasures are easy to come by. The idea is that by giving rumors of these sorts of treasures, it gives players some goals to shoot for when exploring.
I've also now got lists for the first two levels plus the outer works that provide rumors about monsters, traps, tricks, and red herrings and a few outright lies (but hopefully lies that still lead to interesting locations in the dungeon).
Now I've thought up a new wrinkle: Class Specific Rumor Tables.
Or if using AD&D, Basic Fantasy, or LL AEC, Class Specific and Race Specific Rumor Tables.
I'm thinking of sorting out all the rumors into areas of knowledge. Magic-Users are more likely to learn about what sorts of magic items there are down there (and what sorts of spells could be learned, or spellcasting monsters abound).
Clerics learn about relics and shrines, undead, and holy magic items.
Fighters mostly learn about monsters and magical arms.
Thieves learn about tricks and traps and what monsters are likely to have treasures.
Dwarves and Halflings get a mix of Fighter and Thief rumors. Elves get a mix of Fighter and Magic-User rumors. There would likely be some demi-human specific rumors on their tables as well.
Also, I can then break down rumors about keystone treasures into groups. The Adventurer's Guild and the Thieves' Guild can tell you about most monetary keystone treasures. The old hedge wizard or the alchemist can tell you about wands/staves/rods and miscellaneous magics. The old arms-master can tell about most magic weapons and armors. The priests at the temple (or the druids in the grove) can tell about holy relic treasures. Things like that.
This would give players a bit more of a reason to play a variety of classes (get more rumors), as well as give everyone a reason to be adventuring.
Also, one more idea - every henchman or man at arms hired knows one random rumor. Another reason to hire help!