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.
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Art & Posters
Jason Thompson created a series 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. Originally published on Wizards of the Coast’s website, you can now buy print copies through Thompson’s online store. I’d love to get one or two of these as posters for my game room:
- Walkthrough Map: S1 The Tomb of Horrors
- Walkthrough Map: S2 White Plume Mountain
- Walkthrough Map: S3 Barrier Peaks
- Walkthrough Map: S4 The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth
- Walkthrough Map: A1: Slave Pits of the Undercity
- Walkthrough Map: X1: Isle of Dread
- Walkthrough Map: 16: Ravenloft
- Triablity: Mapping and Stocking Your Dungeon Using Randomly Generated Dungeons
- Twenty Sided: Dungeons That Make Sense
- Stack Exchange: Dungeon Design
- Darkshire: Dungeon Mapping
- Gnome Stew: The Dungeon Crawl Checklist
- Antherwyck House Games Blog: Exquisite Corpse Dungeon
- Antherwyck House Games Blog: Exquisite Corpse Dungeon 2
- Gothridge: Maps
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.
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.
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.
I prefer to hand-draw my dungeons, but there ae a number of computer-assisted mapping tools on the market.
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.