Writing, Family and More
This past weekend, I played some more Dungeons and Dragons with the boys. For Christmas, my wife picked up the Dungeon Master’s Guide for me, and while reading through some sections, I liked the looks of the random dungeon section. I don’t really have time to put an elaborate story together for the kids at the moment, so getting something more than just a piece-meal story was better for my enjoyment and I hoped for theirs.
One thing though – rolling a random dungeon requires patience (which the boys do not always have) and some amount of thinking.
The opening room rolled up to be an 80 ft x 40 ft room with pillars down the middle of it. I immediately had ideas of a giant’s castle or a dwarf’s life’s work, and rolled on the “purpose” table to find that it was actually a training room. Hmm – strange for the opening room, but let’s roll with it.
Off of this room are four passages and two doors. I didn’t have any graph paper, so I sketched it out roughly on the scrap paper I was using – near the top of the page. Bad idea of course because all of the exits from the room led somewhere, and off the page wasn’t going to work too well…
Each passage required 2+ rolls depending on how far it went, where it branched off and where it ended. In addition, I was supposed to roll on the size of the hall. Conveniently, I didn’t have to roll some super-long corridors – all of them ended after 3 rolls or less – and each of them ended in a “chamber” – which required another two sets of rolls – one for the size and one for the number of exits. Four corridors, and six chambers off of them (two of the passages branched). I rolled for the number of exits from the first chamber and received the maximum number (which was 6 off of the 40ft x 60ft trapezoid…) and decided that I needed to find a reasonable end to this…
So each of the chambers were going to be dead-ends, one door mercifully ended at a chamber and the other one was a false trapped door. I rolled a purpose for each of the remaining seven chambers (deciding on a few that I felt would make more sense aesthetically), and I was already up to ~40 rolls. I didn’t bother with the “chamber state” rolls, as by this point I had already decided this was some abandoned sanctuary of a recluse who was slightly crazy.
This brought me to the “contents” section. These were fun to get because I ended up with two “dominant inhabitants” – which gave me some of the story for it since they were both “seeking an item.” So now, my treasure-hunting heroes are seeking out something, only to find that two other factions are already there hunting for the same thing. However, the place wasn’t too big and the opening room was listed as a “random creature” – which didn’t work too well with my factions. Until I decided that the factions were not particularly strong or brave and the “random creature” was something that had effectively trapped the factions in their respective sections because they were unable to take it on themselves.
Another fifteen or twenty rolls later and I had the framework done, so I pulled out a few critters and decided where the sought-after item would be (conveniently enough – hidden behind a secret door…) and then sat down with the kids. The only piece that was left was how to get them there, but I came up with that on the spot.
All told, I put less work into the random dungeon than I had in previous adventure-making ventures, but it was still the better part of an hour or two to get it all set up. The boys played through a couple of encounters this past weekend, but we still have plenty to go.
So random dungeons… fun to roll up, but maybe not so practical if you are in a rush (I wonder how big it would have gotten had I rolled it “fairly”…).
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