Help support TMP

"Free dungeoncrawl rules .. looking for feedback" Topic

29 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Dungeoncrawls Message Board

Back to the Playtest Message Board

Back to the Fantasy Discussion Message Board

Action Log

31 May 2006 7:24 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Crossposted to Dungeoncrawls board

3,373 hits since 8 Mar 2006
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

caver1 Inactive Member08 Mar 2006 4:17 p.m. PST

I have updated them yet again, and they continue to improve (in my opinion anyway)

PDF link

They have a sort of slapstick feel to them, and are intended to be fun, not overly serious.
I am always looking to fine tune them, and correct areas of confusion, so feel free to contact me and tell me what I'm doing wrong.

Personal logo Gungnir Supporting Member of TMP08 Mar 2006 10:40 p.m. PST

Thanks, Caver1, these might work very well with my homebrewn dungeons – link

I will definetely give them a try.

Tex Refund Inactive Member09 Mar 2006 6:33 a.m. PST

I had a very quick look at the rules and they look enormously entertaining! Well written and funny when funny is what we need. I shall read on —-

Cosmotiger Inactive Member09 Mar 2006 8:48 a.m. PST

My four-year old son and I played our first game last week, using the previous "edition" of the rules. We used one party of adventurers, I took care of moving both sides and doing the math, and he rolled dice. The party got wiped out by brigands and gargoyles before they even got to the first door or treasure chest, but we had fun.

caver1 Inactive Member09 Mar 2006 11:17 a.m. PST

cosmotiger – I am glad to hear you enjoyed it – but I am sad to hear you got wiped out. I do strive to keep things reasonably balanced, but sometimes the dice of fate are nasty.

The last time I played, I encountered a lich mere moments after entering, and it became a near thing pitting my clerics banish attack against him, since none of my party had any magical weapons yet, I had very limited ability to damage him. He targeted and took down my mage quickly, so I was pretty much hosed. Still had fun though.

Gungnir and Mexican Jack's other Hat – I think you may find that just reading thru 'em is a hoot – that was intentional. At the core I believe I have a very functional combat system, but since it is different from what everyone expects, I have tried to keep my rationalizations and reasonings humerous, in order to maintain the readers interest.

One of the main points that confuses people from the start is the "who's running the game?" question. The fact that no one is actually in charge, and all players are equal means there are a lot of random rolls to determine when/if encounters occur, and what they might be when they do. Getting that to work in a feasible manner, and in such a way where it isn't going to be the exact same encounter over and over has been a large part of the development process with this.

This release is actually about the 8th or 9th revision over the course of 3 years, and I think it is finally really coming together…

Although I am kicking around another upgrade incorporating and underworld mass transit system patterned around portals/gates – sort of a way to ensure the characters actually have the opportunity to explore as much of the underworld as possible.

And, I have been kicking around the idea of having a "trekkie" style "away team" as one of the higher level random encounters, but I don't really want the players getting their hands on high tech weapons, and if there isn't actually some sort of reward for surviving an encounter, then whats the point of having it in play.

so that is still be kicked around in the back of my brain…

but anyway, please feel free to hit me with suggestions and feedback.
I can't promise I will actually incorporate your ideas, or substantially alter the way I develope this, but I will at least listen to your ideas.

Thanks much!
caver1 (Steven Daggs)

caver1 Inactive Member14 Mar 2006 10:12 a.m. PST

some minor FAQ updates just posted.
same link as above.

caver1 Inactive Member18 Apr 2006 9:22 p.m. PST

another update – now there are pictures!
And some rules clarifications, and rules for an underworld mass transit system.
Have fun!

caver1 Inactive Member18 Apr 2006 9:23 p.m. PST

another update – now there are pictures!
And some rules clarifications, and rules for an underworld mass transit system.
Have fun!

(same pdf link as before)

Personal logo Spooner6 Supporting Member of TMP14 Jul 2006 8:45 a.m. PST

These look pretty cool. My better half enjoys dungeon crawls so I will have to set up a monster list of what creatures I have and give this game a shot with her. Though from looking at the magic item list the fighter has the fewest magic weapons to use vs. other classes. Not counting "Usable by everyone" the fighter only has two weapons while the cleric has three and the archer has three. Not a big deal but just something I noticed.


thedrake26 Jul 2006 8:04 p.m. PST


My son and I are trying out the original dungeoncrawl rules posted back in 2004 (the 7 page version) as a way for him to play with his Flying Buffalo Adventure+Monster dice as well as him learning how to play wargames.So far we are using your rules for most of the action but I am leaving some of the decisions up to my son (such as what actions to take next,what dice to roll for encounters,etc.)Thanks for posting these as my son and I are having a really great time together.

Hope to try out the current version myself solo as I like how you have improved them over the original.


brambledemon Inactive Member28 Jul 2006 10:32 a.m. PST

Do you have a website? How come you haven't tried to sell the game as PDF? Drop me an email at:


caver1 Inactive Member28 Jul 2006 7:17 p.m. PST

ooh boy, been away abit, and missed some questions …

lets see …
Chris (spooner1) about weapons balance .. well, when making up the tables, I went about it in sort of a haphazard manner – aka, I added some stuff,and dropped some stuff in order to get the tables to be reaonable dice rolls. I didn't want to go over the top and have pages and pages of detailed magical goodies lists, nor did I plan out a balanced allotment of goodies for each character type.

I was mainly interested in providing a range of commonly encounter magical commodities (while maintaining that crucial element of humor) that the party might conceivably encounter.

That being said, as this continues to be a work in progress, and not a completed project, I may revisit that concept in a future revision.

Thank you for bringing it up, as this is exactly the sort of feedback I am looking for.

And it goes without saying, that if you wish to add an item or two into your house rules version, feel free. You may need to tweak the table a bit, if you want to leave it as a d20 roll, or you could roll a d10 and d12 and subtract 1 to get a random # from 1 to 21. (which is sort of why my current lists are straight single die rolls, although I suppose I could make 'em percentile instead … hmm, more to think about.)

MD (thedrake)
Please feel free to tweak 'em as much as necessary in order to keep your son interested and enjoying it. I fondly remember the 7 page version of the rules, everything seemed so much simpler then, but then everybody wanted clarification … just kidding, it has been a fun trip growing the rules over the years, and I am very satisfied with how they are developing.

Playing solo is definitely possible, but let me tell you how I do it, which works well for me.
Play 2 parties.
Even though you are the only player, it will still give it a "competitive" feel. Sort of the "this party vs that party" and even though you will control the critters combatting both parties (and naturally, you will play the critters evily vs each party) it allows the dice of fate to determine the outcome, and has the side benefit of ensuring that the turn based format works.


Patrick (brambledemon)
Strangely, even though I have been an IT profesional for 15+ years, I do not have a website. I have just never gotten around to it. I do intend to evetually format this into a saleable product, but I don't think its to that point yet, and in the meantime, I am just trying to encourage as much feedback and playtesting as I can, which is why the pdf is currently free.

I may always provide a free downloadable pdf, and only charge for a self-published hardcopy version. I haven't actually decided yet.

I do know that I would not feel right in charging people to download something that I continue to tweak and alter, as then they could feel that they either paid for an incomplete version, or decide to hold off on trying the game until after it's officially "complete" (and I am still not sure when that will be.)

Since the game is essentially unplayable without a "dungeon" of some kind, I may decide not to sell it unless I package it with generic interchangable dungeon tiles.

Until I nail down future plans, I am pretty much going to continue to play with it, tweak it as seems appropriate, and have fun with it. And of course, post updates as they occur – which is pretty sporatic at best.

As a side note, I have started kicking around a sci fi version – sort of a mix of Serenity/Firefly + Old School Star Wars, plus a wee bit of the trekian 'verse and a healthy mix of generic sci fi cliche's thrown in.
I am currently calling it "Blast'em!"
It will play in a similar turn based format as dungeoncrawl, but the mechanics of a predominately ranged effect combat system will be a bit different.
I will post a link to those rules when they are ready.

I will drop a line to you Patrick, but I wanted to provide an answer here as well, since the question was asked here.

As always, thank you everyone for your interest and comments.

thedrake27 Aug 2006 3:08 p.m. PST


Downloaded the full-blown version to try out myself,probably will introduce it a little at a time to my son as he will want to see more stuff.Love the basic version as an introductory game,for both myself and my boy!

Thanks a lot for making your rules available to all.


MightyCthulhu14 Nov 2006 6:02 a.m. PST

I d/l these the othger day and I'm still reading throgh them. So far I really like what I see! I hope I can get my group to try them. One of our guys has a huge collection of D&D minis. We may have to make an expanded monster roster… :)

MightyCthulhu14 Nov 2006 9:40 a.m. PST

Loved reading the game. Here are a few "expanded" classes:

Paladin AV:5 DV:5 WND:3 Spec: Heal Others (As Cleric but only heals 1 wound) Items: As Cleric

Scout AV:2 DV:2 WND:2 Spec: +2" Move, Reserve Move like Thief. Items: As Thief

caver1 Inactive Member15 Nov 2006 9:38 a.m. PST

MC – Glad you are enjoying the read thru!

I hope playing it is as much fun as the read.
I would suggest playing it with the standard character sets originally, but once you get a feel for it, go ahead and add "house rules" characters as you see fit.

I think I would drop the paladin to 2 wnds in stead of 3, so that he becomes more of mix between fighter and cleric, instead of fighter with cleric add ons.
This keeps the fighter as the pure "brick" who does nothing but fight, but allows the paladin to be a more martial version of the cleric – or kind of a mix of the two base classes.

The scout idea is interesting… is he intended to have the thiefs lockpicking and back stabbing abilities, or will he be just a be a point man? Maybe he could have a short bow – say a 12" av4d6 version instead of the archers 18" av5d8 ?

Definitely some interesting ideas here, just the sort of thing to bounce around a playing session. Please keep me updated as the dice roll and you encounter questions and or ideas.

and most importantly, Have Fun!


SeattleGamer26 Nov 2006 3:07 p.m. PST

Caver said "Since the game is essentially unplayable without a "dungeon" of some kind, I may decide not to sell it unless I package it with generic interchangable dungeon tiles. "

So what do you envision? A stack of various tiles (corridors, corners, rooms, etc) that you toss out and arrange as you want and then start playing? Or the same, but with cards (or charts/tables/something) so the dungeon unfolds as you go (something like Warhammer Quest)? A random element, so you don't know what's behind the next door until you open it?

caver1 Inactive Member26 Nov 2006 6:34 p.m. PST

Good question. I advise in the rules various options that could be used for dungeon creation – things like printed paper tiles, or lego walls, or custom built tiles like DwarvenForge's stuff, or a build your own format like HirstArts molds.

Any of these options make the game playable, and to me, the build it yourself option is a large portion of the fun. If I every do polish the package up into a saleable format, I will probably pair it up with tiles and standup counters for doors, chests and the like, so that the whole thing can be used in conjunction with players mini's from other games.

Part of the philosophy of the game is that everybody is a player, and nobody knows what will happen at any encounter or event until the dice roll. I really like having players run their own party and control the critter encounters for one of the other players, instead of having a group of players up against a single individual controlling all of the events and encounters. I am trying to put this out there as an alternative to the standard cliche of a game master vs players format.

I see it as a group of friends getting together and laying out the dungeon tiles into somewhat randomized but interesting setup, and then stocking it with suficient doors, chests and other items of potential calamity to make it interesting, and then randomly determine where each party will enter.

Since nobody knows beforehand where their party will enter, or what any of the encounters will be till they are encountered, it is not as if anyone developed an advantage during the open setup of the dungeon enviroment.

I do advise that the whole of the playing area be laid out prior to the start of the game, as opposed to randomly creating new passages and rooms as the game is underway. There is too high a likelyhood of "fantasy physics" occuring if passages are placed after play has commenced. I would want to avoid the dice indicating that a corridor suddenly occupies the same location that a previously explored room did, or having the dice indicate that you should place a "T" intersection when you have already run out of that type of tile. Or even better, the dice tell me that this passage has to leave the table edge …

I prefer to have the players set something up, and then play on it as it stands. It is entirely possible that one player might set something up ahead of time, but this can still allow for a free for all playing area where each player controls their own destiny (roll against fate…) instead of the guy who set the dungeon up being responsible for "running" the game as well.

here are some photos taken by a player at one of my event's and you can see the ad hoc mix of dungeon tiles in use.

I hope this admittedly long post has helped answer your questions.

Roll the dice, have fun.

SeattleGamer26 Nov 2006 10:09 p.m. PST

Thanks for that!

I've enjoyed reading the rules – well done! – and will be giving these a shot soon. I'm trying to get a handle on dungeon size. I see your recommended encounters are critters, containers and doors. So far, so good.

But will a dungeon of half a dozen chambers, connected by hallways and junctions, maybe a chasm to cross, be enough for a 2-3 hour game? Is that way too small?

Like I said, trying to get a handle on the size so I can figure out about how much terrain I will need to have a set-up that's playable in say, 3 hours.

My first trial run will be solo, so just one party of five. I'm just wondering if you've played enough games to have even a rough "rule of thumb" of "x" numbers of chambers (assuming they are spread out a bit and connected by passageways) per single player.

I'd hate to take the time to make and set-up a huge table of rooms and corridors and entry points, and have three buddies show up to play, and the four of us barely survive a few chambers each before it's time to wrap it up.

Nor do I wanna lay out a dozen rooms and we all end up meeting in the middle in 30 minutes : )

Thanks again!


caver1 Inactive Member27 Nov 2006 12:08 p.m. PST


A half dozen rooms and a decent amount of connecting passageway, with doors and random encounter tokens placed in reasonable abundance, should certainly suffice for a couple to 3 hours of play.

if you were to have 6 rooms butting right up to one another so as to have scarcely any corridors, wth only one possible encounter per room, then things might be a tad unexciting.

The thing to remember is that not all encounter tokens actually result in an encounter. So if you have a chest in a room, and fate decrees that it is empty, then that room was sort of a quick and done disappointment. If you spread potential encounter focuses liberally, you are more likely to run out of time before you run out of stuff to do.

Also remember that each player gets "hindrance" tokens, so if it looks like a player is having too easy a run, the other players can contribute tokens to liven things up a bit.

Some of the alternative games could also liven things up with a smaller dungeon playing the capture the flag varient would certainly work.

Let me know how it works for you.


SeattleGamer28 Nov 2006 7:27 p.m. PST

Thanks for that (and the email). I'll let you know how it goes!

MightyCthulhu01 Jul 2007 5:57 p.m. PST

After reading the rules again I realized that it isn't entirely clear how inter-party combat works.

When 2 rival parties meet up can they enter combat aainst each other if they so choose?

If so, do they only act on their own turn? Do they both act on each other's turn? Do they both act on the turn of the player who was active when they encountered each other?

I'm curious to hear your take on this.

caver1 Inactive Member04 Jul 2007 10:12 p.m. PST

Pretty much each party acts on its own turn, … and on their opponents turn (as that party's opponent), assuming combat is underway.

It's a game, ralative timing is sort of .. uncertain. So if two parties are out of site of one another, it is no big deal if one group of adventurers is sort of in a temporal limbo when it isn't actively their turn. But if they are engaged in melee, then it would be sort of silly to assume one group would hold still to be beaten on, merely because it wasn't actually their turn.

Basically run it as you would any other multiturn combat, but instead of one of the players controlling a randomly determined critter (or critters) each opposing force is controlled by their normal player.

So, if for example we have a 4 player game, and players 2 and 4 get into a tussle. Play will proceed clockwise as normal, with each player getting their standard turn. When player 2 has a turn, player 4 will effectively get a bonus turn, and vice versa. But this is only so long as they are engaged in combat, or still within line of sight while one side tries to escape the other. If a player succeeds in breaking of this inter party combat by getting out of line of sight, then the combat ends, and the turn cycle continues as normal.

If 2 players happen to peacefully encounter each other's parties, then they do not get an "extra" turn merely for being in line of sight. That mechanic is reserved as a necessary contrivance designed to keep people from trouncing each other just because they think they ought not be able to fight back.

Assume if you will that any player's characters that are within line of sight of non combative members of other players parties are merely milling about checking out the sights while they wait for the rest of their party to get their act in gear.

For the most part, I feel it is reasonable enough to follow a pattern where in "things only happen to my party on my turn" but – if someone is about to whomp you with a big sword, you retain the right to whomp'em back.

Standing around taking a beating just because it isn't technically your turn .. well, that just doesn't work for me.

Thats my philosophy.

Its sort of why I really don't like games where characters or squads can get killed before they have been "activated".

I hope that helps.

caver (Steven Daggs)

ps. sooner or later I am going to post my "Blast'Em!!" Rules which are sort of a sci fi version of "DungeonCrawl" which works in a similar way, and has a similar irreverent take on the genre.

Lerchey Inactive Member01 Aug 2007 9:09 a.m. PST

These look fun. I might dig out a bunch of my old RPG minis out and give them a shot with my son and girlfriend. :)


MightyCthulhu10 Dec 2007 6:23 a.m. PST

I finally pickup up some Dwarven Forge last week and gave the rules a a quick solo run through. They are a lot of fun. I'm thinking of making some iconographic character sheets for the game so I can run it for my kids. (10, 6 and 5 yrs old.)

Does anyone have suggestions for where I can find some decent icons to represent character attributes? Melee Attack, Ranged Attack, Defense, Movement? I was thinking of using a sword, bow, shield and boot. I'm not a great artist and it would be nice to find something instead of falling back on my own skills.

Thanks for making these rules caver!

MightyCthulhu22 Jan 2008 11:00 a.m. PST

Finally played game. We had a great time. I altered the rules a bit to allow for co-op play. We had 4 young players who are brand new to gaming with us. The Rules worked Remarkably well.


Roadkill Inactive Member21 May 2008 6:20 p.m. PST

This game looks really good, hope I can give it a go soon

Personal logo Brigadier Supporting Member of TMP29 Mar 2009 5:16 p.m. PST

Got to play these rules at RECRUITS! It was a fun game.

caver1 Inactive Member15 Sep 2009 10:32 a.m. PST

Ok, this is not an update per se, more of procedural change.
The following links to a zipped file of encounter cards, critter cards, and goodie cards.


warning, the file is over 4 mbs.
The cards are formatted for 11 x 17 paper, and when cut and folded will fit into standard "sportscard style card protectors" so that they can be easily shuffled.

The intent is for these to replace the tedious tables as they exist now.
Obviously, some basic changes will need to be done to the basic rules to indicate card usage, but it is pretty much common sense.

As always, these are a work in progress, so typos are to be anticipated.

Hopefully, these will streamline things a bit.

Steven Daggs, aka caver1

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.