I’m feeling a bit under the weather this week, so no 28 Months Later this weekend. My fallback option is the Savage Dungeons thread and solo dungeoneering, but in honesty I’m not feeling up to that either; so I shall just generate a dungeon for comparative purposes – the plan is to do one for each generator I have, then pick the best one for the continuing solo dungeon crawls. (In way, this is a kind of review, I suppose.) You can look here for the sort of dungeon Warhammer Quest creates; here is a basic example from Dungeon Bash, which was written by The Other Game Company for D&D 3.5. I would link to the TOGC website, but it seems to be down at the moment.
I decide to generate a basic dungeon for 1st level characters; this means simple room shapes and no fixtures and fittings. An initial % roll of 87 determines that the mission is Scattered Symbols; the party has to find three quest items and retrieve them from the dungeon, with a reward of 700 gp for so doing. I won’t work through the detail of dicing up the dungeon, but here is the map that resulted, rendered in Dungeon Crafter 1.41. Just generating the dungeon took me about half an hour, so a two hour exploration session seems quite feasible.
- One skeleton, guarding (possibly wearing?) a suit of leather armour and 300 gp.
- First symbol. (In this mission all large rooms generated are “Quest Rooms” and contain one symbol each. Quest Rooms in DB are where the mission objectives are, and usually they cannot have exits, but in this mission they can.) The symbol is guarded by one 2nd level hobgoblin fighter and one 1st level goblin rogue.
- Basic arrow trap. 350 gp.
- One dire rat. 280 gp.
- One dire rat. 350 gp.
- Second symbol. Guarded by one 1st level orc cleric, and two 1st level orc barbarians. 260 gp.
- Third symbol. Guarded by one 2nd level hobgoblin fighter and one 1st level goblin rogue. 280 gp. We’re done, but I press on and see what’s behind the exit, and discover a small room with no further exits.
- One zombie. 190 gp.
As you can see, Dungeon Bash generates boxy dungeons with no diagonal corridors or strange-shaped rooms. The advanced options bring in slightly odder room shapes and random bits of debris. I’m OK with that, because I have never got the hang of mapping diagonal corridors. The system also lends itself well to play with modular dungeon tiles. However, each dungeon is a single level – no stairs or chutes here. That would be easy to change, though, by adding a couple more entries into the random generation tables.
I have generated many dozens of dungeons with DB, and after a while they do become a bit repetitive. Some of them are really small; it’s possible to generate one which has only one room. Others are great sprawling affairs which lurch off the graph paper in all directions. The average one is about the number of encounters you need to go up a level, and I expect that is by design.
Since this dungeon was mostly rooms, the random encounter tracker didn’t really come into play; DB does this quite cleverly, with the chance of an encounter gradually rising until combat occurs, at which point the noise draws more and more opponents, but once combat ends, the chance drops way down as the fighting is assumed to have collected everyone in the vicinity.
Other things that DB does well are the NPC encounters (none of which came out this time) and the pregenerated statblocks for PCs, NPCs and monsters – I thought it was worth getting for those alone. There was talk of expansions for city and wilderness adventures, but that discussion has gone quiet since D&D 4e came out. I’m hopeful that they will still see the light of day eventually.