Here’s my take on a randomized dungeon procedure.

Here’s my take on a randomized dungeon procedure.

Here’s my take on a randomized dungeon procedure. As much as I love Perilous Wilds, there’s almost too much material in it! I wanted something that was more player-facing, quicker to use, and a little bit less random. I’m sure others have done similarly before, how well have they worked?

24 thoughts on “Here’s my take on a randomized dungeon procedure.”

  1. Here’s mine, I also wanted a much simpler move to use when wandering through areas of the dungeon between actual points of interest. I use INT because it represents the mental capacity needed to remember/navigate your way through a maze-like path, and also because of the dilemma of not wanting to make a squishy character take point. They can also gain a +1 to this if they burn some adventuring gear to make a map.

    When you wander the [catacombs/tunnels/maze/labyrinth/etc.], whoever is taking point rolls +INT (and takes the brunt of any danger). On a 10+ select two, on a 7-9 select one. On a miss, take +1 Lost in addition to what the GM says.

    – You make a discovery

    – You avoid stumbling into a danger

    – Take -1 Lost, and find the way out if at 0 Lost

    The “Lost” represents how deeply they get into the dungeon without a clear way back to a known point.

  2. Peter J I bet you could simplify this a lot.

    For example, I’m not really feeling the Progress mechanic. I bet you could get something really similar by just making Discoveries, and on every Discovery you roll d6 and skip ones that have already been used. Dungeons of different sizes could have different tables, or use smaller dice for bigger dungeons and larger dice for smaller dungeons. Have the “heart or master of the dungeon” but the last Discovery.

    Seed the results with “themed areas” that result in zooming in and having the party actually explore (and Discern Realities and Spout Lore) in detail.

    Dangers could present themselves when you roll doubles, or just on a 6-.

  3. Dion Kurczek that looks a lot like the “navigate the labyrinth” move, which I’ve used to good effect. You can still use the “theme” idea from PW too

  4. Jeremy Strandberg I like that different-sized dice mechanic, but that puts me down to two choices on the main move itself.

    The question foremost in my mind is how often should threats turn up? I worry somewhat about predictability; if the players know that every roll will present some kind of threat, they’ll get suspicious of traps when they find an empty room.

    Likewise, how would you go about “seeding” the dungeon with unique areas?

  5. Dion Kurczek I’m familiar with this version, though I wanted the roll to be based on preparation, and not bias high INT characters. The Wizard may not be thrilled about always getting pushed into the leadership position, especially if they’re taking the brunt of the failure.

  6. Regarding “seeding,” I was thinking that you’d just add things to the discovery table like:

    [] A room or location that exemplifies one of the dungeon’s themes

    [] Something that reveals the source of a theme

    [] A clue to the origin/purpose of the dungeon

    [] Insight into who or whatever created the dungeon

    [] Evidence as to what caused the dungeon’s collapse or fall into ruins

    Other things that jump to my mind that you might want on the list:

    [] Evidence of someone who has explored this place before you

    [] Someone out of place: a visitor, a prisoner, a spy, etc.

    [] Useful information about the wider world (the location of another dungeon, for example, or the weakness of a foe, etc.)

  7. I’m not really following, though, what you’re going for with the core move. It appears to be determining any or all of the following:

    * how well you keep your bearings

    * how prepared you are for danger

    * how much/little attention you are drawing

    * whether you find something interesting

    * whether anything dangerous finds you

    And that’s determined by your ability to see, whether you’ve been in this unknown area before (how does that work?), and whether you have a map.

    That feels like a lot of disconnected stuff to me, and inputs don’t necessarily match the outputs. E.g. If I’m carrying a torch in the dark places beneath the earth, it seems like I’d be more likely to have something stalk or ambush me, not less.

    I feel like the killer tech here is the list of semi-vague discoveries, randomly rolled and crossed off as you encounter each one. I’d focus on making that shine and forgo a single navigation/exploration move. Instead, just the list & rolls to determine what you find/encounter… and then, like, just play Dungeon World.

  8. Well, just rolling a stat isn’t my first choice, since that would naturally push characters who have high amounts of that stat into a leadership position, whether they wanted to or not. (Maybe I’m burnt out, but metagame thinking is a recurring bane of mine.)

    I went with the choices I did because I wanted to reflect a sense of preparedness. If you know what you’re getting yourself into, you’re less likely to wander into trouble.

    But let’s try going with just a list then. If we go with a list of encounters, ideally it would represent some sort of escalating tension. The more high-tension options would be near the bottom of the list, and smaller dungeons would reach the end quicker, spending less time on those high-tension choices. How best to do this? I worry that just going with a larger die for a small dungeon would still hit too many of those later entries, when escalating tension doesn’t make as much sense.

  9. Yeah, fine tuning the list is definitely tricky. There are a few ways I could see doing it.

    One way that jumps to mind is: make the list longer, like ~50 entries. Seed things like “themed areas” and “clues to origins” and whatnot liberally and evenly throughout. Sprinkle a little treasure towards the beginning, more treasure towards the middle, sweet lootz towards the end.

    Put things towards the beginning that are related to the “entrance” (someone else has entered behind you, someone has been here before you, signs of a threat nesting here or using it as a base of operations). Put things towards the end that relate to the “plot” of the dungeon (cause of its ruination, original purpose, vault, boss monsters, factions, etc.).

    Also, maybe include entries that indicate stuff like:

    * Passage of time/resource consumption (torches running low, getting hungry,

    * Obstacles/challenges (need to dig through/climb over/risk losing your way/pick locks/etc.).

    * Events (originally thinking cave-ins, earthquakes, fights between monsters/inhabitants, etc…. but maybe tone it down?)

    * Increasing danger (like, going “down a level” in a dungeon)

    Then, instead of rolling (e.g) 1d8 and counting the empties, roll 1d6 and count from the check furthest down. So, first roll is a 4, they encounter whatever option 4 is. Second roll is a 3, they encounter whatever option 7 is. Third roll is a 6, they get option 13.

    If there are 50 choices on the list, a small dungeon (d12) would involve 7-8 discoveries on average. A medium dungeon (d8) would involve ~11. A large dungeon (d4) would involve ~20 discoveries.

    Then… oooh… maybe each time they explore, they’d roll 2 dice of the same size. One would be the Discovery Die, the other would be the Hazard Die. They’d have to choose which was which. A high roll on the Discovery Die makes more progress, and a high roll on the Hazard Die = less problematic encounters. Off the top of my head, the Hazard Die could look something like:

    1 Monsters!

    2 Trap, hazard, dangerous obstacle

    3 The Grind (torches sputtering out, , chance of getting lost, etc.)

    4+ Nothing of note

    Maybe something happens on doubles? Like an event?

    No idea if any of this would work, but maybe it’ll jog some thoughts for you?

  10. I think starting from the check furthest down would work, though if you’re rolling dice of different sizes, then the Hazard Die effect gets a little skewed. Huge dungeons, where you’re rolling smaller dice, would be much more likely to have monsters, while smaller dungeons would be much less likely. Could be an encounter on an odd number, that would be a constant rate.

  11. Yeah, that’s actually somewhat intentional: larger dungeons would be way more dangerous and thrumming with, well, danger. And if you roll one high die and one low die, you can choose safety at the expense of progress.

    But I’m not at all sure that the hazard die is a good idea. You might even be able to make a single die do double-duty, like you suggest. Either odd/even, or something like “1-3 = no encounter, 4+ = encounter” (which would make bigger dungeons emptier and smaller dungeons more packed with danger).

  12. Alright, let’s try it both ways.

    This first link is mostly just a revision of what I’ve been working on previously. I limited the list to 21, since you won’t always be making progress on every move.

    This one is a much longer list, with just one die to roll on every exploration. I’ve incorporated more things, and included a greater amount of detail to fill up the list to a healthy 40.

    Personally, I still like the former more, since it creates more interesting choices for the players and adds a bit of risk to dungeon delving. But different strokes and all.

    A third possibility would be to just say: “Make a dungeon move”. After a certain amount of moves, you’re at the end. That would be very quick and dirty.

  13. Sorry for the long post. My attempt, then my explanation:

    When you observe the dungeon around you and describe how you lead the expedition forward, roll +Relevant Stat (+any bonuses the GM gives you for appropriate or innovative approaches and/or use of equipment and supplies. )

    10+ You progress safely, and find a Discovery from the GM’s list.

    7-9 You make progress with difficulty.

    Choose one:

    * You encounter a Danger from the GM’s prepared list, but you get the drop on it.

    * You find a Discovery in combination with a Danger (GMs choice whether prepared or random, and whether you get the drop on it or not.)

    6- Mark XP. GM makes a Dungeon Move.

    GM Dungeon Moves:

    * A Move from a prepared Danger from your list.

    * A Move from an ad-libbed Danger (see Perilous Wilds).

    * Any other GM Move.

    Explanatory notes:

    -Use guidance for “relevant stat” as per Defy Danger.

    -The “+ any Bonuses the GM gives you” part is optional. (I have a house rule that allows this in general on all Moves.)

    -Assumes that the GM prepares a list of Dangers within the Dungeon. This is akin to the written Encounters within a pre-written adventure. I.e. Monsters, Traps, Dangerous puzzles etc.

    If desired the final Danger should be the “boss battle” or other end point of the adventure plot within the dungeon.

    These should be more interesting and more dangerous than the ad-libbed “random encounter” Dangers.

    The idea is that all or at least most of these will be encountered by the adventurers in order to complete the dungeon.

    -Assumes that the GM can also ad-lib additional Dangers as needed. This is akin to a Random Encounter table. If needed she can generate something from the tables in Perilous Wilds, roll or choose from Peter J’s general Dungeon Moves in the final link of his last post above (thanks!), or prepare a custom table of Random Encounters that can be rolled on as required.

    The point of these “random encounter” Dangers is to make life more difficult for the characters if encountered, but they won’t really miss much of interest if they manage to avoid them.

    -Assumes the GM also prepares a list of Discoveries which are beneficial, possibly beneficial, or neutral-but-interesting things or encounters.

    The more Discoveries the bigger the dungeon.

    The dungeon can only be considered “completed” once all Discoveries have been found.

    The penultimate item on the Discoveries list is to inform the players that their characters come to the realisation that they believe they have found all the beneficial things in this dungeon.

    The final item on the Discoveries list is a safe passage to exit the dungeon.

    -If the players wish to exit the dungeon before they find all Discoveries then you should probably handle this as one or more Defy Danger rolls depending on the fictional situation.

    [v2 here on gdocs:]

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