Monday, December 10, 2012

Dungeon Generator Updated: Now with More Reasonable Room Sizes!

Late last week, after becoming dissatisfied with the sprawling nature of the hallways and the rather over-sized rooms (an experience Jeff from Saxe-Bearstein also had), I revised the most recent version of my dungeon generator. I did some testing last night and it definitely appears to work better. I'll continue to test it tonight, but thought I'd release it into the wild as well.

Please give it a try and let me know if you find any weirdness!

No Budget No Frills Pencil and Paper Dungeon Generator 

ver 4.1

Tools needed:

  • an ordinary deck of playing cards, jokers removed
  • d4, d6, d8, d10
  • graph paper and pencil/pen or electronic equivalents

  • Shuffle your deck of cards
  • Place your starting room with more than one exit on your graph paper
  • Draw a card
    • Ace = Stairs up or Exit in X squares (player's choice or roll 1d6. 1-3 Stairs, 4-6 Exit)
    • 2 = Stairs down or Exit in X squares (player's choice or roll 1d6. 1-3 Stairs, 4-6 Exit)
    • 3 = Straight Hallway for X squares w/ Trap (Roll 1d6. 1-3= pit trap, 4-6 other trap)
    • 4 = Straight Hallway for X squares
    • 5 = 4-way Intersection in X squares
    • 6 = Turn Right in X squares
    • 7 = Turn Left in X squares
    • 8 = T-intersection in X squares
    • 9 = Room(draw a door and then proceed to room generator)
    • 10 = Room (draw a door and then proceed to room generator)
    • Jack = Room (draw a door and then proceed to room generator)
    • Queen = Dead end in X squares or Draw Again(player's choice)
    • King = Reshuffle deck and draw again
I've had equally good results ignoring the King, waiting until all 4 Kings are drawn to reshuffle, and with using every King as a reshuffle trigger. 

  • Add the indicated item to your map (for rooms see the Room Generator).
    • Where it says "X squares", roll the appropriate die:
      • Hearts = d10
      • Diamonds = d8
      • Spades = d6
      • Clubs = d4
    •  Keep in mind that you may need to be creative or fudge it a bit if there isn't room or you run into the edge of the paper.
  • If playing solo, resolve any encounters.
  • Repeat
Room Generator
  • Roll the die specified, and then modify according to the Room Dimensions Modifier below:
    • If room card is Hearts then d10 x d10 squares
    • If room card is Diamonds then d8 x d8 squares
    • If room card is Spades then d6 x d6 squares
    • If room card is Clubs then d4 x d4 squares
Room Dimension Modifier
  • If the values of both room dice are equal, do nothing.
  • If one value is odd and one is even, divide the larger value in half and round it up. 
  • If both values are even or both values are odd, divide both in half and round up.
Additional Room Exits: 
  • Roll 1d4. Subtract 1 from the result. This is how many additional exits are in the room. Place randomly or wherever makes sense given the dungeon's layout.
Room Content
(or use the room content generator included with the rules you are using)

  • Roll 1d6:1-2 Monster
    • 3 Trap
    • 4 Weird/Unusual Stuff (talking statues, magic fountains,etc.)
    • 5-6 Empty 
Secret Doors
When rooms and/or corridors abut without a means of passing between them, you may check for a secret door.
  • Roll 1d6. On a 1 there is a secret door.
  • Roll 1d6 again:
    • 1 - One-way, in the direction you're going
    • 2 - 5 Both directions
    • 6 - One-way, opposite the direction you're going.


  1. I've been playing around with this just to see what kinds of dungeons I come up with, no actual party or combat or anything. Just what the cards and dice give me according to your writeup here. I also tried a couple of minor changes to see how they might affect things. Just simple stuff like sizes, how many cards give you rooms, and the like.
    Using things as written here I got a lot of long hallways, with some twists and turns. Tried making Queens also give you rooms and ended up with a much denser dungeon roomwise (kings = deadend and left the jokers in to signal a reshuffle). Of course some of the difference had to be the random draw of the cards. (I did reshuffle between "games") Even so, it was fun just to fiddle around with this idea of yours. Thanks!

    Now I just need to settle on some rules and make up some encounter tables to suit my taste.

  2. Hello,

    First let me say that I love your system. I have made some changes that I thought I would tell you about.

    Frist when you draw a queen roll a d6. on a 1-3 it dead ends, and a 4-6 you get an odd shaped room. My chart for odd shaped rooms is

    1. circle
    2. Oval
    3. Hexagon
    4. Octagon
    5. Trapezoid
    6. Triangle
    7. Rhombus
    8. pentagon
    9. Cave
    10. Semi circle

    In any room I roll a d6. On a 1 place a secret door. Keep doing this until you do not roll a 1.

    When you draw a 3 or 4 you check each side of the corridor end for secret doors.

    Exits in/ out of a room are a passage 1-3 or door 4-6

  3. Hi,
    A credited French translation here:
    Thanks a lot for that!

  4. Dumb question but when you say "4-way Intersection in X squares" and X = 7, should each "leg" of the intersection be 7 squares? So basically I end up with two long 15x1 legs intersecting?

  5. Hello there! I have 3.0 version of the dungeon generator and I have to say that I found it very enjoyable and useful. I use it in my No-DM runs. Thank you!