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Thursday, February 13, 2014

RDG: Generating Extensive Dungeons

Continuing with my musings on random dungeon generators, I thought I’d look at Beedo’s blog post this time around. Beedo has a different goal than Alexis: prepping megadungeons, instead of solitaire play. He settles on the idea of random dungeon generation to fill in the details of the map and the room key as quickly as possible. We’re mostly talking about reducing the tedium of a very large task, although we also want to avoid tedious output. We don’t want the dungeon map or room key to be too monotonous.

The zone approach mentioned in the previous RDG post would help, but you have to think of the process differently. Instead of rolling as you enter each zone, and possibly having zones change back and forth without much rhyme or reason, you start at the top conceptual level – broad megazones. Say you have a ten level dungeon in the works. For each level, roll 2d6, 2d4, or 2d6/2, depending on how “mega” you want your megadungeon. That’s the number of megazones. Roll 2d4 or 1d6 for each megazone: that’s the number of zones. Each zone has the same zone type as the megazone it is in, so you may have a cluster of Cavernous Lairs, or Ruins+Tribes. Instead of rolling once on the zone-appropriate subtables for each megazone, roll for each zone.

This may be a little hard to see, since I haven’t actually offered any example subtables. I’m imagining there’d be at least one structural subtable for each structure type (Caverns, Warrens/Mazes, Tomb, Ruins, Fort, others.) Possibly a separate subtable or set of subtables to create the structure of the “focal room”, which wouldn’t be a plain, ordinary structure, but might have an unusual shape, multiple height levels, pillars, obstacles, or unusual exits.

Then, you’d have subtables for room types, which basically determine the possible furnishings of the generic rooms in the zone, For example, a Tribe area might have sleeping chambers, storage areas, feeding areas, training areas, guardposts, prisoner areas, etc. Each zone would have two or three room types, rolled randomly.

Then, you have subtables for various monster types: vermin, domestic, guard, wild beast, monstrous beast, humanoid, human, superhuman, cursed (modifies one of the other types.) Each kind of zone will have two or three kinds of vermin, one or two other mid-range creatures, and a primary type and possibly secondary type, based on the area type (Lair, Cursed, Hideout, Tribal, etc.) So, four to seven monster varieties in any given zone. You build your stocking table and wandering monster table from those monsters.

You’d have a couple other subtables for things like traps, hazards, treasure and miscellaneous minor features. These would round out the area.

Now, if you use a source like Dave’s Mapper to snag some random geomorphs, you can use those as your “focal point” in a zone and then use a plainer tunnel/room generator to fill in the miscellaneous rooms around the focal point. As long as your tunnel/room generator is pretty quick, this will let you fill in an entire level map for a megadungeon in a reasonable amount of time. All that’s left is rolling for room types, rolling for occupants, rolling for traps, and rolling for treasures.

Next time, I will probably address some ideas about rolling up the structures.
Written with StackEdit.

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