Designing the Dungeon Adventure Generator

Dungeon Adventure is the most complex generator I have written for the Campaign Logger game mastering tool so far.

Before the actual dungeon is created, the generator starts by setting down some variables in the background. Note that the following is the order in which these variables are set, which is not the same order in which they are presented in the output.

Motif
This is the general theme of the dungeon that the Game Master can use as an inspiration when fleshing out the details. Ideally the motif should show throughout the dungeon to give the adventure a distinct atmosphere. The motif can vary from a simple vermin-infested pit to a more challenging infernal portal.

Goal
The goal is simply to aim which the adventurers are trying to achieve in the adventure. In the initial version of the generator, the goal can be either fighting, capturing, rescuing or escaping.

The goal can have an effect on the adventure’s title, as it also randomly sets related  goaldescription and symbol variables that may be used in the title. If the goal is for example fighting, one possible value for goaldescription is “bring me the head of” and similarly the symbol value for the same result would be “blood”. These results could produce adventure titles like “Bring me the Head of the Dark Wizard” or “The Blood of the Hulking Colossus”.

Difficulty
For now the difficulty level is random, but maybe some day it will be possible to choose this via a user-selectable parameter. The difficulty levels are apprentice, journeyman, master, adept and legend.

Villain
The villain is randomized based on the difficulty level. Apprentice-level villains are mostly ordinary humans like cultists and madmen, while legendary villains can be ancient wyrms or demon lords.

Macguffin
A macguffin is a plot device that draws the characters into the adventure. The macguffin may not even have a real purpose for solving the adventure, it is just something that puts things in motion.

Treasure
Currently treasure generation is completely random, although it could well be connected to the difficulty level. The treasure also has a complication that hopefully gives the adventure ending an interesting twist.

Complication
A complication is a factor that affects the whole dungeon – something that creates an additional element of danger or complexity to the adventure.

Scenes
The adventure starts with a hook, continues with a number of action and development scenes and finishes with a finale and a resolution. All of these phases alternate between action and development variants. This means that plot development will always be followed with action, and vice versa. This formula is based on Flint Dille’s beat chart concepts as utilized in Mike Pondsmith’s “Dream Park: The Roleplaying Game” (R. Talsorian Games 1992), as well as Hollywood script formulas.

The Door Dilemma
The room descriptions also list exits, although I’m not sure how useful this is. As the rooms are random, the exits may not always make sense if you draw a map. Therefore the listed exits should be considered only as suggestions.

Maybe some day we will have support for variable matrices and the dungeons can be actually mapped with logical connections between the rooms…

Duration
In the end, the generator also produces an extremely crude estimate of the scenario’s duration. This is based on purely on the number of the generated scenes. The value varies between 90 and 240 minutes.

Published by

evesala

My mission is to create a library of universally useful random generators for role-players and Game Masters.

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