Here are the beta rules for Dungeon Robber, the solo board game played on the Random Dungeon Generator poster. (If you don’t have a poster, buy one now!)
I’d describe Dungeon Robber as the next evolution of D&D. It’s important because it has an open playtest, and tons of optional “modules” for changing the game experience. Wow! Download it now!
Play it! Test it! Send feedback to me, paul, at blog of holding!
One of my favorite of the optional Dungeon Robber rules is “Play Yourself” mode, where you stat yourself up by answering a series of highly scientific questions (do you have all your wisdom teeth? Then you have high Wisdom!) and, unprepared as you are, enter the dungeon. I like it because it speaks to one of the central D&D fantasies.
What would you do if you – you yourself – found yourself at the dark entrance of a D&D dungeon?
Smart money’s on turning around and going home. But if I were feeling bold, I might take a sword from the skeletal hand of a dead guardian (not that I know how to use a sword), light a torch, and creep into the quiet labyrinth. I wouldn’t be looking to explore the whole thing. I’d just be looking to see if I could find a souvenir: a nice statue, or a few gold coins. Guys, gold is selling at $1600 per ounce now. That means a single gold piece is worth about $600 (or $3000 if it’s one of those big 1e ten-to-a-pound coins). Even the faded tapestries that D&D parties routinely ignore are probably worth something, or at least would look nice in my Brooklyn apartment.
With every room I entered, I’d be pressing my luck, because I, Paul, am no match for even a level 1 monster. The first time I saw a kobold’s whisker, I’d flee – and hope I remembered the way out.
Of course, this isn’t how D&D does dungeoncrawls. D&D takes all of the scary trappings of a haunted house – monsters, vampires, traps – and lets you and your well-armed friends punch them in the face. It’s like you’re a squad from a World War II movie that wandered into a horror film.
Dungeon Robber is a fear-drenched, cowardly, haunted house, press-your-luck dungeoncrawl. It uses lightly-abstracted D&D rules, with more emphasis on the OD&D fleeing rules than on combat. In an RPG, the level of rule detail lets you know what you should be doing. In OD&D, there’s a lot of rules about fleeing: your chances for losing pursuit by turning corners, passing through doors, and dropping food are specified. In Dungeon Robber, I tried to preserve those rules.
Dungeon Robber is a board game, so you can win or lose. You win if you retire alive and rich. If you retire richer than someone else, you’re more of a winner than they are. But really, if you survive your plunge into the dungeon, however brief, you’ve won.
Let me know about your experiences playing Dungeon Robber! Did you emerge with a handful of silver pieces? Were you killed by a rat? Did you retire with enough money to buy a kingdom?