Thursday, May 19, 2011

Die-Drop Instadungeon + Continuing Adventures of Mandy, Zak & Raggi

Quick generator for when you need a dungeon now...

1. Print out a copy of this chart:(click to enlarge)2. Grab a number of dice (any standard dice) approximately equal to the number of interesting rooms you need in your dungeon.

3. Drop them on the chart:3. Grab a red marker and make a box around every square a die landed on, like so. Also: draw lines connecting these rooms.

4. For each place a die landed, that's a room (the lines you drew between them are empty corridors. If a die landed on a line, you may include both rooms or just pick one). To find out what's in a room, read what's under each die and then, using this table... what came up on the die sitting in that square.

(The chart with the squares is mostly environmental factors, the table with the dice is mostly inhabitants and encounters.)

So , for example, a d8 showing a 4 landed in the square that says "corpse in here" that would indicate there was a wizard and a corpse in that room.

Obviously: assume some standard corridor width, room shape, etc. since you are being lazy and generating this dungeon on the fly.

The results have not been designed to be too terribly creative--they were designed to be generic enough that they would fit a large number of need-a-dungeon-now situations yet specific enough not to leave you scratching your head trying to think of a situation or monster that'd fit a given result.

Untested. Playtest results welcome. I made the stuff for my own use so if you don't understand some of the shorthand on it, go ahead and ask. Or just write your own.


In other news, here's Me and Mandy Morbid and James Raggi talking on the radio about (first) Vornheim (second) LOTFP:Weird Fantasy and (Third) story games and story gamers and hedgehogs. James feels like he did a pretty good job saying what his game is about on there, if you're curious. Also, there's a promo code for a discount to buy our game stuff buried somewhere in all that audio.


  1. Cool chart and great idea! Must test it in my sessions. :D

  2. That's a very cool one! Thanks Zak \m/

  3. The new Fighting Fantasy rpg just came out, and there have been some happy murmurings about its dungeon generation system.

    What you've done there is -- independently -- come up with the same idea, but made it better.

    The Fighting Fantasy publishers are going to hate you. ;)

  4. Kick ass chart!!! I'll definitely be scoping this out and see how it works! Listened to podcast this morn, was pretty entertaining. You now have a mission... Watch old Hammer movies with Mandy:)

  5. Zak, you're always inspirational, but this is awesome!

    It's be a great submission to Fight On!'s Random Table Contest:

    Some really excellent prizes for winners...

  6. This is seriously awesome, except for the minor problems of lack of proper "empty rooms" and the fact that features are always positioned in the same place. Oh well, criticising is so easy. But seriously, drop-die charts are the awesome.

  7. Love the graph on the opposite page btw, that's another great idea :)

  8. @tsocjanth

    all the "connecting" rooms that you draw in are are empty.

    and, yes, the "half" of each room that is from the square grid is in the same position but the chances of ending up with the same result twice aren't good. and you can always spin the piece of paper around.

    plus, seriously, it generates a whole dungeon in one second--if you're going to re-use it enough that the results become familiar then just use photoshop or whatever to move them around a little.

  9. @kesher

    i definitely am excited about the contest and to see who wins but i think it'd be kinda piggy of me to enter myself. stuff on this blog gets enough attention already--i wanna know what else is out there.

  10. Well, as someone who's submitting a few tables to that contest, I appreciate that! :)

  11. I find the scatter not to be all that random depending on how you drop or roll the dice. Many times the d12 and d20s are rolling off the paper as well - even if dropped into the middle of the chart.

    If you construct a 10 x 10 chart, could one not roll 2d10s ( for x and y axis)to get a box. Then assign a 3rd value to the box which you then roll - e.g d6 or d20.

    This would take a few more rolls but the effect is similar and removes rolling bias such as aiming for the corner, or dropping the dice too low so they cluster in the middle.

    Maybe I am just anal.

  12. @anathematician

    It's very random if you don't have the chart memorized. if you do, then close your eyes. Or spin the chart a random number of degrees.

    NOW: constructing a 10x10 bix then finding the location of the box and then rolling completely defeats the purpose of this particular chart--that is, to generate the entire dungeon very fast during play.

    If you're willing to make multiple rolls and slow things down then there are a million other better dungeon generators that will work at that speed. And there's no need for a chart.

    Also, if dice fall off, just drop them back on--makes sense if you;re willing to roll more than once anyway.

    Good, slow random dungeon generators are a dime a dozen. This thing is slippy since it's built for speed.

  13. Understood. It is expedient, that is for sure.

  14. Oh this would be neat for Gigacrawler. Since the dungeon world is so vast using this to construct adventuring areas in a snap seems to be ideal.

    Are you familiar you Blame! by Tsutomu Nihei. I assume you are as Gigacrawler could be called Blame! the RPG as the scope and general idea are similar.

    If Not, I urge you to look into Blame! as it offers tons of Gigacrawler inspiration and its visuals are evocative of a vast, out of control dystopia, his eye amazingly cinematic and his hand is so precise.

  15. If your worried about the dice rolling off the table, just place the chart inside the box from one of your basic sets before dropping the dice onto it.

  16. I made a dungeon with this on Saturday, and it worked like a dream! I actually had FUN making a dungeon, which has been seeming more like a chore than anything else for awhile.

    I'll be posting about it here:

    with pictures, in the next day or two.

  17. Desert Scribe -

    That just makes it worse as you can aim for the corners or sides - imposing your will on the randomness. I have an idea. Maybe you make the graph and assign stickies to each square you can make the chart far more random and mitigating aiming.

  18. A little addition for the especially lazy could be room shape corresponds to the die in the room.
    Room has number of sides equal to the sides of the die, for d10 d12 d20 you could just use the shape of the die face.

  19. I am getting alot of use out of this idea.

  20. I just used this to generate a dungeon for the next game for my 13th level group. Weirdly, it fits the setting really well. Awesome stuff, Zak!