Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Dungeon Generation

Doom's E1M1 as an isometric dungeon
map because I needed a picture of
a dungeon.
Part 2
Part 3

I've just finished reading the B in BECMI. The last four pages of the Dungeon Master's Rulebook have been probably the most helpful. This would be the "Creating Dungeons" chapter. A few bits at the beginning about common plots/hooks to use as an excuse to draw on graph paper, roll dice, kill monsters, take their stuff. A short section on what makes a good or bad dungeon, but it is pretty vague and not at all practically useful.

Then you get a step-by-step guide on how to build a dungeon from scratch. Lists and methods and numbers and tables and succinct idea springboards. It is all for simple dungeons that we've played a hundred times...but it is still good and useful stuff.

So I've gone and put it in to random D12 tables so that I can poop out a dungeon and ignore all the advice about how you should carefully place everything in the name of good game design. Whatever, Mentzer. I thought this was oldschool. Stop trying to Dragonlance my Emergent Gameplay.


1)    D12 - # OF LEVELS

Simple. You can either roll a D12 to determine the number of levels, or if you prefer you can just pick a number. Add more dice for megadungeons I guess?

2)    D12+3 - # OF ROOMS PER LEVEL

Roll this for each level to determine how many rooms are on that level. I picked D12+3 because I prefer to make smaller dungeons, but if you're the type that likes to fill an entire sheet of graph paper with rooms then add more dice to the roll. 
A room in this case is any area that isn't a corridor. If you like, you can roll another D12 (with whatever modifier you want) to determine number of corridors. Think of it like rolling a character 3d6 down the line. You build a dungeon with what you're given.

3)    D12+1 x10ft - AREA OF ROOM

For each room, roll a D12+1 twice. Multiply results by 10. First dice is length (east-west), second is width (north-south). This will give you rectangular room areas between 20x20-130x130ft. If you rolled for corridors, you could also roll once to determine the length of a corridor (and if you wanted to go overboard you could roll a d12 to determine angle of said corridor as per o'clock).
So arrange your collection of rooms (and corridors), using the order in which you rolled them as a rough idea of sequence (or place them however is most pleasing to you).
Then draw your map, using the placed rooms as a layout guide. You can be boring and just stick a bunch of rectangular rooms on the paper, but really the idea here is to give you rough areas or "sectors" you can draw individual rooms of any shape in.


1-2   -    Empty
3-4   -    Empty, w/Treasure*
5     -    Trap
6     -    Trap, w/Treasure
7-8   -    Monster
9-10  -    Monster, w/Treasure**
11-12 -    Special

Roll on this table for each room to determine what is in it. This ratio I guess is different to the standard "lots of empty rooms" method, but that is fine by me. I like smaller dungeons with more buttons to push and things to do. Tweak the table as you see fit.
Empty rooms aren't necessarily empty. They just don't have anything in them that is a treasure, trap, monster or special. Mundane stuff. Empty rooms with treasure indicates a usually hidden or locked away treasure.
Monster w/treasure indicates a monster lair.
You can roll this for corridors too if you like, just ignore treasure, as you don't usually find treasure sitting around in thoroughfares.

5)    D12 - TRAPS

1     -    Blade
2     -    Creature
3     -    Darts
4     -    Explosion
5     -    Falling Object
6     -    Fog
7     -    Illusion
8     -    Light
9     -    Pit
10    -    Poison Gas
11    -    Poison Needle
12    -    Reroll twice and combine 2 traps.

If you rolled a trap, then roll on this to determine the kind of trap. I don't think I need to go in to what each one means as it is all the standard stuff from the rulebook. Up to you to decide how to make it all work.

6)    D12 - SPECIAL

1     -    Alarm
2     -    Illusion
3     -    Map Change
4     -    Movement
5     -    Pool
6     -    Sounds
7     -    Statue
8     -    Transportation
9     -    Trick Monster
10-12 -    Weird Thing

If you rolled Special, then roll on this to determine what kind of special. Again, this is straight from the rulebook.  Though some of this might warrant a separate post to discuss.

Speaking of separate posts, Tables 7&8 (monsters and treasure) will be posts in and of themselves, as I wish to discuss them more in depth and do some MATH. And after those, I intend to do another post where I use these to generate a dungeon that hopefully won't suck to prove that I haven't just wasted my time.

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