Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Dungeon Roller -- Tranforming Random Tables into Tabletop Fun

In March of 2012, Paul Hughes of blog of holding launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund his illustrated rendition of the old "random dungeon" charts from the original Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide. The Kickstarter was successful and raised close to $28,000. The additional funds allowed Hughes the time to create rules for a quick and easy Dungeon Crawl board game based on the poster and to begin work on a flash based version of the game called Dungeon Robber that would be hosted on the web and free to play for anyone who wanted to experience a narrative "rogue-like."

That game is now available and it is everything one could hope for from such a game. Players begin with very limited choices of career...they can only be Dungeon Robbers. New character classes, items, and the ability to recruit henchmen are unlocked with the successful retirement of past Dungeon Robbers. Do you want to be able to purchase food, and thus be able to heal at certain spots in the dungeon? Then you need to have a character retire as a Yeoman. Do you want to hire henchmen? Then some lucky sap needs to adventure long enough to become an innkeeper.

The game is tough and quite arbitrary due to its random nature, but it is fun in the classic Ken St. Andre way. Life is cheap and death is just around the corner. Going down a level in a dungeon is almost certain suicide unless you're of high enough level. Game play is similar to older text based games like Zork, but the results of the interface are more akin to playing a game of Dungeon Hack or another rogue-like. The game is good fun and I recommend playing the game on the website (just click the image above). If you like the game as much as I do just buy a copy of the poster and make sure that Paul gets a couple of ducats for his trouble.

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