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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Central Casting: Dungeons

I've been trying out Central Casting: Dungeons, finally, to see how it compares to other random dungeon techniques. So far, I think you wouldn't want to use it for a megadungeon-style dungeon, but for smaller, more focused dungeons, it does a very good job. It has two flaws that I have run into:
  1. It may be too focused, because it concentrates heavily on dungeon features that "make sense". As a player, I wouldn't want to play a very long sequence of by-the-book Central Casting-created dungeons, because architectural features will tend to be very much the same.
  2. Traps are entirely up to the dungeon designer; there's very little detail supplied. This may be a plus in some cases, but if you're looking for trap ideas, you won't really find them here.
I also have some problems with what may be typos or missing sections. There's at least one reference to a table that doesn't exist, and the corridor mapping system uses these terms:
  • corridor branches left/right, continues ahead;
  • corridor turns left/right;
  • corridor turns left/right, continues ahead.
I thought "branching", at first, meant a side passage, but then I ran into the turns and continues ahead entry; because there's an entry for a simple turn, I'm not sure what that last one is supposed to mean. A section explaining the types would have been nice.


  1. The only thing I could think of would be that Branching is a more-than-90-degree angle goin in partly the same direction as the corridor is currently going, like a fork in the road.

    Turns would be at right angles or less.

    This is all assuming that back the way you came is 0 degrees and forward is 180 degrees.

    I've heard the Central Casting books are pretty good though, nice to hear about the dungeon one.

  2. I agree with Neko-kun. Branching would be at an angle of say 30 to 60 degrees off of your present direction. Think tree branches.

  3. I've used this book for years. It's one of my favorites for random dungeon systems. It does have similar architectural features that get repeated, but the same could be said for any dungeon system I've seen. I like the dressing and detail you get with this, though.

    As to your question about branching or turning, they both produce a side hallway to the current direction. There's no real specification of what angle they deviate from the current direction of travel, but I normally assume 90 degrees. It makes the dungeon very square, but easy to map.

  4. The angle thing occurred to me, but the "branch" results pop up so often, I wouldn't want to us that as the predominate interpretation.

    I haven't used this interpretation yet, but I've decided to interpret it as a zig-zag: turn left or right for ten feet, then turn back.