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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Endless Dungeons

by Ken Newquist / April 11, 2014
Random map example from Dave's Mapper
An example of a random map created using Dave's Mapper.

Dungeons are the cornerstone of the fantasy RPGs. Even as games become more story-driven, even when we give up slaying the dragon in exchange for founding a kingdom, the lure of the dungeons is still there. This page is dedicated to dungeons in all their impossible glory.

Have an addition? Email it to us at nuketown@gmail.com.

Art & Posters

Walkthrough Maps

Wizards of the Coast published a bunch of cartoon walkthrough maps inspired by the classic dungeon crawls of old. These include a hapless adventuring party working their way through the illustrated threats of the Tomb of Horrors, Ravenloft, and others. I'd love to get one or two of these as posters for my game room:

Illustrated DMG Dungeon Generator

The Advanced Dungeon Master's Guide was a treasure trove of gaming goodness, but it also contained the key to hours of game masterly-fun: the random dungeon generation tables. As a kid all I needed was some graph paper, dice, the DMG, and a rainy afternoon and I was good to go.

Bag of Holding created an illustrated version of that table that would be an excellent addition to any gaming room. They also have an illustrated Random Monster Generator poster to stock your newly-created dungeon.

Games

Dungeon Robber

The Paul at Blog of Holding turned his Random Dungeon Generator map into a addictive dungeon crawling game called "Dungeon Robber". You start off as a penniless, weapon-less, equipment-less 1st level dungeon robber. Survive long enough and you can eventually roll up clerics, fighters, and other base classes.

Random Generators

Drawing dungeons by hand is great fun, but sometimes you need a little inspiration. And sometimes you need the whole thing generated for you with the click of a button. All of the generators below will create a map for you; some will also stock it with room descriptions and monsters.

Donjon's d20 Random Dungeon Generator

Creates and stocks dungeons ranging from Level 1 (low heroic) to Level 20 (High Paragon). You can choose a motif (vermin, undead, arcane, elemental, etc.), a style (classic blue, sandstone, steampunk, gamma, etc.), and a variety of grids. It also lets you choose different room layouts, types of doors, types of corridors and even how many dead-ends your dungeon has. The final output includes descriptions for each room as well as notes about the monsters appearing it.

Myth Weavers Dungeon Generator

Based on Jamis Buck's original dungeon generator, its less robust than the Donjon generator but will still yield a nice-looking dungeon with room descriptions, monsters, and treasure.

Dyson's Random Morph Map

If you want the aesthetic appeal of a hand-drawn map without having to actually draw the map, check out Dyson's Random Morph Map. It uses Dyson Logos' Geomorph Maps to quickly create a tiled map that looks like it was ripped from your sketch book. Dungeon stocking not included; you'll need to fill it with descriptions, monsters, and treasure yourself.

Dizzy Dragon's Geomorphic Dungeon Adventure Generator

Dizzy's dungeon generator also uses art created using Dyson Logos's dungeon art. It uses dungeon dressings from 1st Edition D&D (though you can disable these), encounter generators based on Moldvay Basic D&D, Moldvay/Cook Basic/Expert D&D, and Pathfinder, and customizable encounter levels. It creates a clean, nice looking dungeon map, and can also be used to create overland wilderness hex maps based on D&D 1st Edition Wilderness rules.

Dave's Mapper

Take every dungeon map set available on the internet, mash them up into a single dungeon generator, and you've got Dave's Mapper. The dozen-odd art styles are all used simultaneously, which makes for an uneven hodgepodge.

For best results, I like generating a map, finding an art style I like, favoriting it and then using that style to re-generate a new map. Dungeoneers can choose dungeons, caverns, dungeon/cave hybrids, and side-views. You can also create cities, villages, and starships using the tool. It even gives you some minor editing capabilities -- you can select individual tiles and then rotate, swap, replace with a random title or delete in favor of a dungeon entrance.

WotC's D&D Dungeon Generator

This is Wizards of the Coast's take on a random adventure/dungeon generator. It's ancient -- it's copyright is from 2006 -- but it still works. The tool is packed with options, including customizable D&D 3E monster sources such as Monster Manuals 1 through 4, Fiend Folio, Expanded Psionics Handbook, and Lords of Madness. You can tell it how long hallways should be, how big the dungeons should be, how many secret doors and portcullises you want, whether it should be black and white or color, and whether you want grid lines.

The randomly-generated adventure can have a a level (1 through 20), a theme (generic, sewer, crypt), DM details, intro text, features text, tramps summaries, adventure hooks and wandering monsters. It is forever stuck at 0.1.12 Beta, but it does work surprisingly well.

Tools

I prefer to hand-draw my dungeons, but there ae a number of computer-assisted mapping tools on the market.

Dungeonographer

Dungeonographer is a Java-based dungeon drawing app that should run well on Linux, Mac, and Windows operating systems. It lets you draw dungeons using different art sets, will randomly generate dungeons and room descriptions, one-page dungeon output (with the room key flowing around the map), and battle map output. You can try it for free by visiting their website.

Dungeon Designer 3

Dungeon Designer 3 is the dungeon-themed add on for Campaign Cartographer 3. If you're good with CAD, and/or you already know Campaign Cartographer, it's worth getting. If not, be prepared to take the time to learn how to use CC3. Personally I've gotten great results from CC3, and the program has gotten easier to use with each version. That's not to say it's easy to use, but it is worth the time you put into it.