Dungeon Robber rules ready to download

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!

Play Yourself

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?


9 Responses to “Dungeon Robber rules ready to download”

  1. Bobby says:

    I’ve been going through it, and it looks like a lot of fun!

    I noticed something that looks like a typo:
    “Being pursued: If you’re fleeing from a monster, you need to
    see if you can open a door in one attempt. Roll a d6 (adding 1
    if you have high strength). If you get 5 or more, you can duck
    through the door. On a 5 or 6, you can’t open the door. You
    must stand and fight the monster until one of you are

    It seems to me if a 5 or more means I can duck through, then a 5 or 6 must not mean I can’t open the door. Should the “5 or 6” be “1 or 2”? Or should it be “less than 5”?

  2. paul says:

    Right! That’s errata #1: on a 1-4, you can’t open the door and must fight the monster.

  3. Michael (Gronan) Mornard says:

    “What would you do if you – you yourself – found yourself at the dark entrance of a D&D dungeon?”

    Crap in my pants. Next question?

  4. John M says:

    When I first printed the character sheets I thought there was something wrong with the printer ! Turns out that no, the lines are just too faint. A simple fix.

    On the Robber board the “Odd Happening” for Side Passage is d10 chart. Everywhere else on board and in rules it’s a d20 chart.

    -Stairs –
    When encountered, as opposed to those in rooms 1 and 10, do you just move the level counter ? IE I if I take stairs that go down 2 levels from lvl 1 room 3, I would be room 3 on level 3 ?
    What happens when I find stairs that go up while on the first level ? Is it just another exit ? Does the answer change if I find the up 1 then down 2 stairs ?

    And finally I present V (he was #5 ;), Mayor of Hamlettown !

    Wearing plate mail and wielding his sword and shield he ventured forth many a time into the dungeon. Treasures he sold to gain his station : 2 coats of chaimail, another sword, a dagger, a +1 dagger, 2 healing potions(1 other had to be traded to the temple for healing), 14 Fire Beetle glads, 3000cp, 2000sp, 2250ep, 750gp, 200pp, 5 1st lvl gems

    -V’s Final Foray-
    After being critically hit by a skeleton then hit for another 5, for the first time in his life he decided to flee ! Nearing the exit V entered a room with a wandering Fire Beetle. Trapped between it and the skeleton he had no choice but to fight. Turning to the skeleton he began the dance of battle. It continued with shielded blows and wide swings until finally his sword struck true. A 7 ! The skeleton slain. Emboldened he turned to the beetle. More misses. Then raising it’s head and spewing forth fire the beetle rolled 16. Rolling a 3 for damage, V is slain.

    But WAIT ! What is that high stat ? Dex ? Why that would be the +1 ac needed to turn a hit into a near miss ! Renewed vigor, a mighty swing, slain is the fire beetle.
    Recognizing that the streak had run it’s course he began wandering back towards the exit. With luck he reached the stairs up without further incident. Using the treasure he returned with to become mayor, V wisely decided to hang up his gear and retire.

    The End… ? Yes, the end. Next level takes way too many xp.

  5. John M says:

    Forgot to mention that V also kept a whip and holy symbol…

    Previous 4 were in order :

    Killed by a Fire Beetle after exploring into Dungeon Room 3.
    Failed the saving throw on a poison arrow trap on level 1 after making it back from an elevator room ride from 2 to 6.
    Ambushed by a piercer.
    Killed by a hobgoblin he tried to parley.

    Questions I forgot :
    If ambushed or failed sneak/parley, does the monster continue to go first in subsequent rounds ?
    Parley or parlay ? E is talks, A is verb for improving your position. I assume you wanted E…

    How does backtracking work in unexplored levels ? IE Elevator to 6, take the stairs up to 5 I’m not lost anymore. Backtrack through uncharted territory to the stairs up ?

    Any chance of you giving us an example run ?

  6. paul says:

    Hey John,

    This is great feedback! I loved the description of V’s adventures.

    Answers to questions:
    >When encountered, as opposed to those in rooms 1 and 10, do you just move the level counter ? IE I if I take stairs that go down 2 levels from lvl 1 room 3, I would be room 3 on level 3 ?

    Somewhere in the rules I think it says you roll d10 to determine your new room when you encounter stairs, but I actually like your idea better (just moving the level counter). I think I’ll change it to that.

    When you go upstairs from level 1, you go outside. I hadn’t thought about “up one and down two”, that probably cous use a note in the rules clarification section. I’d say that you find yourself outside, right next to a new set of stairs that goes down to level 2. You can either go back to town or go to level 2.

    >If ambushed or failed sneak/parley, does the monster continue to go first in subsequent rounds ?

    Yes – after the monster attacks, you go next, and you continue to alternate. I guess a better way to put it would be to change “monster goes first” to “you lose your attack in round 1”.

    >How does backtracking work in unexplored levels?

    Although it doesn’t really make sense, I’d say that, when you go upstairs, you alre no longer lost, even if (as is the case with an elevator) you haven’t actually been to that level. It’s easier than keeping track of the levels you’ve been on. I’ll make a note to that effect. (The first version of the game was more complicated, and I’ve been removing features that need to be tracked: hopefully that trend will continue in the next version.)

    Doing an example run sounds fun! Maybe I’ll do that.

  7. Jason! says:


    My guy, Eric, wandered down to level three, got lost on level 2, and finally managed to stagger out with 1700 GP (value) and a holy symbol.

    When you backtrack successfully, do you roll for the Discovery Phase again, such that there might now be a chamber or a dead end where I came in previously? Or is it just “Ok, you’re somewhere you’ve been before”?

    When you come back to the dungeon a subsequent time, do you get to keep your sack?


  8. King Paul says:

    Oil Flasks and 10ft pole are overpowered. Monsters need to attack all classes as they retreat.

    Dungeon robber is the only class that is actually attacked from behind while fleeing, so his ability is useful, and would probably be the best ability in the game if other classes did not just automatically avoid attacks after choosing retreat, and oil flasks did not have a 100% chance of ending pursuit.

    Oil flasks mean that no monster ever successfully pursues a player after retreating, at higher levels, a stack of a dozen oil flasks trivializes most fights.

    10ft pole and wisdom bonus are basically mandatory on advanced mode, “Beat a four” (30% chance of NOT eating the effect of the trap) becomes 50% chance of not eating it with the pole, and 92% chance of not eating it when stacked with the wisdom bonus. One good way to fix this is to make 10ft poles automatically “drop” if you attempt to run away from a monster, and instead of giving a bonus to trap saves, have the 10ft pole “consumed” by a failed saving throw (oil and cinders fall from the ceiling, missing you, ruining your 10ft pole)

    All classes should get their 7th hit point early, dungeon robber, fighter, and cleric are much better than thief/wizard because of this, the 7th base hit point is the most important base hit point, start everyone at 6hp and give +1 at level one, then have the “slower hp advancement” for thief/wizard kick in. There are too many scenarios where the player takes ‘1d6’ damage to go through 10k xp before being able to risk a d6 without the fear of a one-shot.

  9. King Paul says:

    Also, forcing doors, “1” or “2” after the first “1” or “2” should summon a monster, forcing doors is the lowest risk activity, because it is a 2:1 ratio of entry into a chamber/passage vs summoned monster, so the “failure” rolls have no consequence. If the probability of attracting a wandering monster increases after the first attempt at the door, an increased strength score becomes much more valuable.

    I’m working on an adaptation of these rules for 5E, I love this game.

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