Random Dungeon Drop Tables
I've run random dungeon competitions for ConTessa on G+ for the last two years. I create the random dungeon, put together a PDF, then give the PDFs to the GMs about a day before the game starts. Then, the GMs run groups of five through the same dungeon at the same time. Scoring is done on a room-by-room basis depending on what treasure you find, what you kill / overcome, etc...
I'm getting ready to run the third tournament for St. Valentine's day. For the first two, I used a compilation of about anywhere from 8-10 random tables I found out on the 'net. I used donjon to create the actual map, then the tables to describe it out, decide where traps were, what traps were, and how they worked, and to build all the encounters.
This year, I'm building the system for creating the dungeon from the ground up. With two years worth of experience, I now know what kind of variables I want to account for, and how I'm going about stocking the dungeon. Having just gotten Red & Pleasant Land, I was reminded about using drop tables to do a lot of these things fast. I like to add a lot of variables to this, so anything that speeds up the process is very welcome.
Today I had a kind of down day, so I spent some time prototyping some drop tables for developing the tournament dungeon. I'm sharing them early because I'm particularly pleased at the way everything's turning out, and I think it's going to make for a kind of cool plug 'n play random dungeon generator when I've worked out all the parts.
The first table I prototyped was the 'What's this room look like?' table. There are 30 squares there, each divided into 4 more squares, with gutters between them.
Here's how it works:
- The table doesn't determine which room goes where. I'm leaving that up to myself so that I can put rooms in appropriate places. For instance, so I don't put an auditorium in a teeny room. Instead, I'm writing down the descriptions for each room as they're rolled, then attaching them to the key later.
- The type of room is determined by the square the die land on (Barracks, Bedroom, Kitchen, etc...).
- I'm using the usual 7 polyhedrals, but one could certainly use different sets of dice to produce different sets of results.
- The tables are weighted so that the rarer things happen at bigger numbers, so a set of polyhedrals should have a mix, whereas a set of d6s should create a fairly mundane dungeon.
- For a truly epic dungeon, I could even have the dice explode.
- Each room has its own d4 table for 'extras'. These are things like decorative elements, NPCs, stuff you can do things with, those sorts of things. This is determined by which of the four quadrants of the square the die lands in.
- If the die lands between two quadrants, both extras are in the room.
- If the die lands in the gutter, that 'extra' has a chance to give the party a chance at something beneficial, like extra treasure or healing or something of that nature.
- On a one, there's a room trap. Roll on the trap tables.
- On the max number for that die type, there's a quest. Roll on the quest tables.
- For anything in-between, there's a 'you find something' table to roll on.
- There's also a global 'complications' table. Things like the room being upside down or under water or ransacked, or even pristine. That's determined by the number on the die.
- I want to only use each of these rooms once, so as I roll, I highlight used rooms. When I roll again, if I land on those rooms they get an additional 'extra', trap, quest, or what-have-you.
This should be infinitely reusable for all sorts of different types of dungeons / maps / adventure that need to be keyed. All I have to do is swap out the tables for tables appropriate to the theme of the game that I'm running.
I want to put this together in a more formal packet with printable things and forms to fill out and what not, along with the specific tables for this dungeon, but they're still in process. In the meantime, though, here's a PDF of the table I used for printing and keying purposes.
The second table that I've made uses the same grid to determine what the walls and floors are made of, what light is available in the room, what's on the walls and floors, and any wall/floor complications.
The third will be a different sized grid used to determine the status of the doors in the room. What types of doors they are, whether or not they're open, closed, stuck, and/or trapped.
Then, I've got some other things that have to do with the encounters in the room and the hallways. I haven't decided if they'll be conventional tables or drop tables, yet.
So far, this is shaping up to be the most detailed, most cohesive random dungeon tournament, yet. There's even a real backstory to the dungeon and why everything's there. I'm hoping I can then use this same method every 3 months or so to run another tournament. Because the world needs more dungeon tournaments.
It'll also be great for building up adventures for my Precious Dark game, so big bonus on a tool that can be used to do lots of different things.