Classic Dungeons and Dragons and Old School Gaming

D&D etc.

"Heir to a crumbling summit: to a sea of nettles: to an empire of rust: to rituals' footprints ankle-deep in stone."

-Mervyn Peake

"...and that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be banana shaped."

-Sir Bedevere in Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

BX Dungeon Generation - Improved!

I'm a big fan of generating Dungeons in the manner described in the Moldvay Basic book pages 51-52. I use it to get the DM juices flowing. After  drawing the map and rolling for each room I'll work it over, moving and changing things, adding details. It's really quick, and because the room table is simple enough I can do it without referencing the book. There's one problem though: the process screeches to a halt with Treasure generation. All of a sudden it goes from a quick and easy roll to a bunch of percentile rolls just to figure out what other rolls I need to make.  I've started experimenting instead with this system that uses just one roll of a D20 and one or two D6 rolls.

I use a Silver standard, so if your using the old gold standard multiply by 10.  In the table below D6X or D20 X means the dice is exploding, on a roll of 6 or 20 re-roll and add the result.

D20 : GP
x10 GP

2-5: -

Magic/Map/Gems (re-roll D6)
D6X Gems worth D20X x10GP

The way I use this is to roll once per level of the dungeon for all monsters and unguarded treasure. The results are swingy enough that not differentiating between one monster or the other or between guarded and unguarded treasure doesn't bother me at all. Your mileage may vary of course. Also, as I add detail the nature of the treasure is defined. Sometimes a bag of gold is just a bag of gold, but as often as not it's actually furnishings or other objects the the PCs may miss as treasure. This along with moving things around as necessary once the basics are generated makes for what feels to me like a realistic Dungeon, but with variation that I might not arrive at if I was just making things up without the random rolls.

Usually after the rooms are keyed I go back and add doors as I feel necessary, but I think door placement could also benefit from a simple random system. I'm going to try this:

Between each room roll 1D6:
1: open
2: shut
3: stuck
4: locked
5: blocked
6: secret

This, like the room table is simple enough I can remember it without the book. The results will be varied and details can be filled in making each door as unique as necessary. Generally speaking here is how I would define the results:
Open: either an open doorway, an arch, or a door that has been left ajar.
Shut: a door that is shut but not locked. Could also be a curtain or screen.
Stuck: a door that must be forced open, usually a 2/6 will do the trick.
Locked: only a trained thief will have much of a chance at opening these without force.
Blocked: there used to be a door here but it has been bricked over or the tunnel has collapsed.. It would take quite a bit of work to make this passable again.
Secret: good old secret doors. There needs to be some kind of tell to give the PCs a clue that the door is here. In some locations they may have to declare that they are carefully examining the area just to find the Tell, in others it may be out in the open.

Trapped isn't on here. When a trap is rolled for a room it may actually be on a door into the room. I have some ideas for traps tables but as far as I'm concerned the best simplest way to randomly determine traps is the Dismal Depths Traps Table.

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