Procedurally-generated dungeons

Two of my favourite OSR products are my home printed copies of Gardens of Ynn and Stygian Library, two adventures which generate maze-like journeys through otherworldly settings on the fly. Roll dice to find out what the next ‘room’ is and contains, and the deeper into the ‘dungeon’ you go the stranger the things you come across. The GM also discovers the adventure as the session goes on.

It does entail a lot of flicking backwards and forwards between tables on quite a few different pages, so when running the Stygian Library for a group of 5e players, I found it best to slip printed sheets into a display book for quick flipping. This was also when I first learned the value of stick-on tabs.

There are some excellent online generators available at the Technical Grimoire but when I next ran through the Library, something had gone awry with its generator.

So I set about pulling the text from the PDF and sticking it into Inspiration Pad Pro, a programme which generates results from a text document. It enables the use of nested tables – if your roll on the main table requires a roll on another table, it will do it all for you in the same action. You can also input data which it uses to affect its results or which tables it rolls on. Handy for rolling results based on how many steps into the dungeon you’ve gone.

I’ve not yet come across a limit to how much data it can spit out, so one click of a button gives pretty much all the info you’d get from using the book.

It worked well at the virtual table we played at, and outputs results which are very easy to copy down into Word for future reference.

I have now done the same with a recent purchase: Ruins of the Undercity, which advertises itself as a GM-less dungeon for 1+ players. This point in human history seems as good a time as any to put it to the test.

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