Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Fantasy Dungeon Crawl

A couple of posts on TMP (this and this) have got me thinking about fantasy dungeon crawls.

Currently, my go-to game when I want a quick and easy dungeon crawl game has been Dungeon, but it has its limitations. I've been toying with the idea of creating my own game and yesterday, inspired by the posts on TMP, I jotted down a few notes.

Before I put down these notes, I should first set out the parameters of the game I'm thinking about.

  • Cooperative - players are working together in a single party rather than competing to be first to achieve a certain goal.
  • Short - players should be able to complete a game in an hour or so.
  • Easy Prep - one of the banes of my attempts at running an RPG with my wife is my lack of time to plan out adventures. I'd prefer something that can be whipped together at a moment's notice.
  • Not Too Random - although I want quick and easy, I'd also like to be able to put together adventures with a somewhat coherent theme rather than an utterly random collection of encounters. Some possibilities include a goblin's lair or an evil temple (I'm sure I could come up with some others with a little thought).
  • No GM - once the game starts, I want to play a character, and still be somewhat surprised by the encounters.
  • Simple, but not too simple, combat - Dungeon's single die roll is too simple, but I don't want D&D 3.5 either. The players should be able to finish an encounter in 5 minutes or so.
  • D6s only - a current bias of mine. I don't want to fiddle with different dice; I want to rely on the good, old, standard six-sided die.
  • Character advancement - I'd like characters to be able to get better, and take on more powerful monsters, over multiple game sessions.
  • Not dependent on a lot of materials - Jotting notes on paper is fine. I don't want the game to require a lot of materials. For example, if I need to make cards, the game will probably never get created. Therefore, tables are fine.
  • Distinct character classes - Warrior, cleric, thief, wizard (plus my favorite, the paladin, and my wife's favorite, the druid).

There are probably more requirements in the back of my mind, but these are the ones I can come up with on the spot.

Some idea so far:

  • Task resolution: Roll 2D6 >= a target number
  • Skills include Fight, Shoot, Defend, Magic, Faith (for cleric miracles), Sneak, and Defend
    • Players will have bonuses to the skills. For example, Warriors will have a bonus to Fight rolls while Wizards have a bonus to Magic rolls.
    • As characters progress, they gain more bonuses.
  • Each player starts with a Health of 3 (can take 3 wounds). Monsters will have between 1 and ?? Health.
  • Monsters will not roll to attack. Instead, if a monster attacks a character, the player will simply make a Defend roll. Succeed and the monster misses; fail and the monster hits and causes a wound.
    • More powerful monsters will have a modifier making it harder for the character to pass the Defend roll.
This is what I have so far. It's basically the system I am using for my Castle Death-inspired solo role-playing adventures.

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