Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Card based dungeon delving

OK, so I wanted something simple to use for my dungeon delving with Steinhoff/Risus. In fact I didn't really want any choice either so you won't find any multiple exits or t-junctions here just a linear passage from entry to objective or dead end.

It is not very original as it references Ricardo's Fantalonia blog and the THW blog.

OK, you start with a shuffled pack of cards Jokers left in, but one Ace pulled out for now.

Roll 1d6 and put this to one side, this is an indication of the possible size of the dungeon.

Take the d6+2 cards and then add the Ace to the bottom, so if I rolled 3 I would take five cards and the Ace, this is the Dungeon Hand.

Now deal out the top card, if it is a numbered black suit it is a Corridor. Roll another 1d6 and if this exceeds the card's value you need to determine an event. Use whatever system you want for this event. If it is equal to the card value you have encountered a trap. Lower and it is nothing.

If however it was a numbered red card it is a Room, roll another d6 and if it is lower than the card value you have an event, equal is a trap as before and in excess nothing.

If it is a Joker then you have reached a Dead end and cannot continue. This dungeon reveals nothing.

If it is a picture card then you have encountered Stairs, take another d6 cards and put add them at the top of the Dungeon Hand. So I would take another 3 cards, the die remains static.

The picture cards have separate values of Jack 3, Queen 4 and King 5. Black and red as before, so a black King would need a 6 for an event etc.

Finally, you are after Aces, anytime you turn over an Ace you have reached the dungeon's objective, again determined however you  want.

For my part I am using the tables from the Risus Companion for the events and objective, The Random Bad Thing and Adventure Matrix to be precise.

As an added option when you roll the event die, if you get an even number then it is a combat or physical encounter, and if it is odd a mental or social one.

OK, so after the jump is a worked example, using my above options.

I start by rolling a 4, this means I begin with 6 cards and the Ace.

My first card is the 3 of Diamonds indicating a room, I roll a die, getting 6, meaning that the room is empty. I explore on with the 5 of Spades revealing a corridor, a roll of 5 indicates a trap!

A roll and consultation reveals Suffocated. Suddenly gas starts seeping out of previosuly unseen gratings, coughing and choking Steinhoff easily sees it off, see flatulence can teach you something!

The next card is the 4 of Hearts, this time occupied (rolled 3)! He sees off the gobbos and stumbles into the next (9 of Diamonds, roll of 4) room, where he sees (chafed!) a gobbo with an iritating problem.

Once that is dealt with he enters another room (7 of Diamonds and 2) with more gobbos (robbed)!

Steinhoff senses he is near the end, but then stumbles across stairs! King of Spades and a 4 for no event. I now add 4 more cards to the Dungeon Hand, and I was so close!

This time it is the 3 of Hearts, and a roll of 2 indicates more trouble (exhausted), there has been a cave in in front of the only exit, there's nothing for it but moving all the stones so he can make his way on.

However all he sees is more stairs! King of Spades and 1 for no event. I now grab another 4 cards, the top of which is 10 of Spades, just a long corridor leading around a corner to another corridor (8 of Clubs). Another bend reveals yet more corridor (2 of Spades and 3, annoyed) with the entrance to a maze. I hope this dungeon is worth it!

Finally coming out the maze is (6 of Diamonds and 4, exploited) a room with rabid slaves in it! Steinhoff eventually contiunes on to be met by (black Joker) an impassable submerged corridor.

With nothing for it he curses all the way back to the surface.

Until next time Steve


  1. Nice take on the card dungeon.

  2. Interesting. I am noting this and hope to give it a try one of these days. Thanks!

  3. Very nice! I like the die roll for dungeon size, must try that on a future dungeon exploration.