I recently discovered that Inspiration Pad Pro can incorporate images into its output. This would be an ideal way to simplify one aspect which had proved one of the clunkier sides of generdaating solo dungeon crawling – corridor and room layouts.
Running the Ruins of the Undercity’s spatial directions through IPP had worked well enough to put together usable maps, but I still found myself spending a bit longer than I’d like interpreting the text for mapping purposes.
I’ve enjoyed working my way through some dungeons using 4 Against Darkness‘ rules, but it always felt a tad too board game-y for my liking, and its dungeon layout generation – rolling a d66 and finding the relevant map segment – resulted in quite a lot of flipping backwards and forwards through the same pages.
With IPP such strenuous trials are over – I used Gridmapper to reproduce 4AD’s map segments and added a few of my own.
The dungeon depth can be adjusted which some treasure hauls and what creatures an adventuring party might encounter – using the encounter tables from Old School Essentials – and there’s another drop down menu to determine what the party finds when they open a door or press on down a corridor with random chances for there to be additional contents, creatures, treasure, traps or any combination of the four. Search the room for the chance to find hidden treasure or a secret door, at the risk of bumping into some wandering inhabitants.
I’ve kept the room and corridor descriptions from the Ruins of the Undercity which provides decent flavour for each area, and factional interplay and interesting encounters come from activity tables currently being put out at a remarkable rate on d4 Caltrops‘ blog – these are the creative prompts which make the exercise more than just rolling dice for a hack and slash.
I’ve been running through a couple of sessions with Off-White Cube which is relatively forgiving as far as games based off the older D&D versions go, but it only takes one ambitious step too far into a room for the party disappear under of swarm of gribblies (usually undead).
This is the furthest I’ve been able to get with a starting party of six characters:
They’d found a decent amount of gold, but that’s a very inefficient treasure with a limited carrying capacity, and they met their end trying to find more easily-carried valuables.
I have come across Disciples of Bone & Shadow which provides a good framework for a wilderness hexcrawl with crawlable dungeons dotted around it, so now there’s scope for turning these occasional forays with some expendable characters into a longer running campaign. More incentive to keep characters safe if there’s somewhere to which they can retreat.