Wednesday 16 January 2013

Random Dungeon 'Fluff' Generator

The aim of these random tables in to help you generate a description for your dungeon room, but critically one that does not generate the room for you.

Ideally this is best used by creating a simple room - defining a few key elements you need to have in order for the logic of your game not fall over i.e., if the PC's are exploring a barracks so some beds chests and all important doors will be everything you need - then let the tables do the rest.
Many random dungeon room table's I've seen attempt to dramatically impact upon the encounter inside the room, or even generate it entirely - which is fine if i'm out of ideas for a room, but they tend to break the 'logic' or narrative cohesiveness of the dungeon if i've part created or there is a specific theme/enemy etc that the players are up against.

Table 1 - Sense of Scale:

D12          Description
1               "You see a claustrophobic enclosed room.."
2               "The walls in this room lean dangerously inwards and is.."
3               "A large vaulted ceiling and spacious room greets you that is.."
4               "Clever use of architecture gives a hollow feeling to a room that is.."
5               "You enter a deep warren like space.."
6               "The walls close in around this forgotten nook.."
7               "A broad subterranean anteroom opens up before you.."
8               "Echoes ring off the looming walls towering over a room that is.."
9               "This expansive cavern opens up before you, you see it is.."
10              "You see a cramped oubliette like room, .."
11              "The room feels oppressive and stifling and is .."
12              "The generous proportions make this room feel very large you see it is.."

Table 2 - Decorative Feature

D12          Description
1               "littered with shapelessly heaped piled of tattered parchment."
2               "strewn with discarded and broken ancient armour of an alien aspect, "
3               "decorated with an intricate and masterful fresco, chipped and faded over the 
                 hundreds of years since its creation"
4               "transformed by the gradual encroachment of nature, with plant life forcing its
                 way through the walls and floor. "
5               "lined with deep gouges, raking across the stone of the chambers walls"
6               "illuminated by subterranean fungi, bathing the room in a rainbow of colours."
7               "a decrepit laboratory with few lingering remnants of its former purpose."
8               "a shadow of its former self, all grandeur has faded and only broken flagstones
                 and ruined walls remain."
9               "a scene of utter horror, deep brown stains pattern the walls with a grizzly
10              "meticulous in its upkeep, clearly this is a place that has been cared for to the
                 highest standard"
11              "a place that has been used for some time as a sleeping chamber by the foul
                 inhabitants of this place."
12              "a mosaic of engraved stonework, its craftsmanship beyond anything of the
                 current age."

Table 3 - Atmosphere

Choose one or two of the following:
If choosing more than one add 'and' to the beginning of the next roll and a comma to the following Roll.

D8           Description
1               "The gentle creaking and groaning of the whole structure appears louder here.."
2               "The stark absence of sound here is unnerving, even your movements and
                 breathing appear quieter here.."
3               "The reek of dungeon and eons of built up filth assaults your nostrils.."
4               "The gentle hint of perfume or some sweet smelling incense hangs in the air…"
5               "A deep foreboding feeling hangs ominously over the room.."
6               "An aura of sanctity and revered holiness emanates from the room.."
7               "You notice the temperature takes on a bitter chill as you move across the cold
                 stone floor.."
8               "The air becomes noticeably more humid here, the walls even appear gently
                 warm to the touch…"

Table 4 - Further Decorative Feature

If you have rolled multiple times on the atmosphere chart replace 'and/as' with a comma

D8            Description
1               "and you notice the hard chiseled masonry, cutting hard and sharp rough squares
                 across the walls and floor."
2               "and a series of thick intricately woven rugs carpet the floor"
3               "and a series of shallow alcoves line the room, each with primitive depictions of
                 bestial deities carved from the stone."
4               "and you notice the dimly painted magical glyphs on the floor, their patterns
                 disrupted and broken from age"
5               "as you look around you see delicate bronze tilling creating a border around the
                 otherwise featureless walls"
6               "and you feel the gaze of a series of hideously craven faces carve from the grey
                 soft rock walls"
7               "and you see the floor of the room alive with insects and other small harmless
                 life that can thrive in a place such as this"
8               "and you notice large swathes of dust motes floating idly in the still air"

Add Room Specifics

These are the 'hard wired' elements in your dungeon, such as windows, doors and other psychical features that  the players need to know about. These are often informed by the map that you have provided your players.

You may want to split these Room specifics up, inserting one after every roll - so as not to overload the players with details in one solid sentence when reading aloud the text.

"There is a heavy oak door to the south, and three long benches in the centre. Rotten tapestries hang from the walls depicting a savage battle scene"

Final Example

"The bleak darkness parts as you enter a room that is littered with piles of tattered parchment. There is a heavy oak door to the south, and three long benches in the centre. The gentle creaking and groaning of the whole structure appears louder here and a deep foreboding feeling hangs ominously over the room, you notice the hard chiseled masonry cutting hard and sharp rough squares across the walls and floor.  Rotten tapestries hang from the walls depicting a savage battle scene."

Mixing and Matching

Feel free to roll multiple times on a table even if it isn't stipulated that you do so, the randomness supports a mix and match approach - just remember that you may need to tweak the grammar in order to make the sentences flow nicely. 

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