Making Dungeons

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About How to Host a Dungeon

How to Host a Dungeon is a solo game of dungeon creation where you build a dungeon through its history from the dawn of time.

In each age of How to Host a Dungeon, different forces drive how your dungeon evolves. In the Age of Civilization, Dwarves may build their first underground cities, or Dark Elves may build their slave pits deep beneath the surface. In the Age of Monsters, orcs, goblins, dragons, and beasts compete with one another for food and treasure while raiding the surface kingdoms and enduring invasions of adventurers. In the Age of Villainy, an arch villain seeks to conquer the world using the mature dungeon as its base of operations.

When you complete your game, you have a dungeon history and map suitable for a dungeon crawling role-playing game or just your own enjoyment.


click to see larger image See Greengoats YouTube animation of a game!

The Archive

Here's a Sampling of How to Host a Dungeon Maps and other files. You can also browse these in the HTHAD Flickr Gallery.

Click here for the first printing FAQ and errata (PDF).

Larry Lade's Castle Albion

Playtest 1: Demise of the Liche Lord

The first test was entertaining, featuring feuding dwarves and a very wealthy minotaur. This game had a very balanced economy with several Dwarf colonies, large predators, and goblin tribes vying for territory.

Dungeon log from playtest 1

Image 1 |  Image 2 |  Image 3 |  Image 4 |  Image 5 |  Image 6 |  Image 7
First playtest converted into classic level map style

Cloud Lake Dungeon

Jason Morningstar sent me this awesomely artful dungeon full of water and magma:

Cloud Lake Dungeon

Selentic's Dungeon: The Dragon Pit

Selentic was awesome enough to try this game out right after I posted it. Here are the results:

The Dragon Pit Map

Link to Selentic's Dragon Pit Post

Playtest 2: Slime and Circumstance

This was the first playtest with the advanced rules. A huge green slime devoured the bulk of the monsters, including an ogre, an adventuring party, and an entire goblin tribe. The slimes are weak at first, but if they get lucky, they can become dominant. In this game the Mind Flayers took control of the dungeon and went on to conquer the world. The game went on very long, but the central goblin tribe managed to survive the entire monster phase.

Slime and Circumstance Dungeon Map | Second playtest drawn up as a regular dungeon map

Playtest 3: The Haunted Mountain

For this playtest I played around with the rules a bit and put the map into a mountain, which turned out to be quite easy. A huge tribe of Kobolds survived being surrounded by predators in this game. No Dwarves or other lawful creatures made an appearance, and several large treasures were never uncovered.

Haunted Mountain Dungeon Map 

The Dungeon Master's Lair

In this game I tried out the new Dungeon Master arch villain, with pleasant results. I ended up with a nice dungeon containing several varied areas. The highlight of the duneon was a large, successful Dwarven colony that built an alliance with the surface kingdoms, only to be enslaved by the Dungeon Master and put to work mining ore to pay for his huge Orc armies. In the end, the Dungeon Master triumphed, conquering the kingdom with his irresistible armies.

The Drow civilization disappares after a war with the primitive humans.
The Dwarves link up with the surface kingdoms.
The final map. Note the extensive caverns created for the Dungeon Master's orc armies.

Braindump Game

Chris Chalafant of Braindump ran a game using a big chalkboard instead of paper. The results were pretty cool. Here's his blog post on the game, and some photos of the dungeon.
Chris' Dungeon Map

Kalman Farago Dungeon

Kalman Farago ran a game using Photoshop instead of paper, with cool results. You can read more about his game on the Dragonsfoot forums. Also read the logs here (MS Word doc).
Kalman's Dungeon

How to Host a Dungeon on Photoshop

Wydraz made this very cool template for hosting a dungeon electronically. You should be able to combine this with Photoshop layers, or just use some other image editing program. Thanks Wydraz!
Also, check out the Dungeon of Akudun that Wydraz created using his template.

The Brief Reign of Kezek the Mighty

Screen_monkey posted an AP report of his game over on RPG.net--with images! It's well worth checking out. One cool thing he did was to name his dwarven treasures, using a different color bead to track them through history as they changed hands multiple times.

You Might Also Like

For the Love of Dungeons is a book of 12 evocative hand-drawn dungeon maps for any dungeon crawl game.

More Dungeon Resources

Solo Dungeoneering

Nethack: the greatest ever solo dungeon game (IMHO)
Dwarf Fortress a rogue-like Dwarf sim and procedural world
The Temple of Roguelike
Deathmaze at Board Game Geek
Dungeon Bash at Board Game Geek
Mage Knigh: Pyramid Solataire
Fighting Fantasy Books
Tunnels and Trolls
Madcentral's Dungeonworld PBEM
Pages of Wizardry Maps and Resources
Greg Costikyan's game Deathmaze is available as a free download from Board Game Geek
Raiders of the Ruins of Kanthe a roguelike pen and paper game by John Laviolette, as well as Depths of Kanthe

Dungeon Generators

Jame's highly detailed generators for Tunnels & Trolls and Labyrinth Lord Jamis Buck Dungeon Generator
Demonweb Dungeon Generator
Irony Games Dungeon Generator
Myth Weavers Dungeon Generator
Abulafia: all manner of random generators for games
Greywulf's Sodoku Dungeon Generator

Dungeon Mapping

Free Online Graph Paper PDF Generator
Fantasy Mapmaker: a fantasy map blog
Strange Maps: a blog about the nooks, crannies, and limits of cartography
The World's Largest Dungeon with PDF download
RPG Map a Week Archive at Wizards of the Coast
Classic Maps, including Keep on the Borderlands
A beautiful hand-drawn map of Zork I
Megadungeon mapping, an article on the theory of dungeon design.
An awesome dungeon designed by a five year old
My Flickr Portfolio (because I draw maps)
Classic Dungeon Cross Sections on Jeff's Gameblog

Dungeon Crawling RPGs

Dungeons and Dragons
The Tom Moldvay edition Basic D&D: in my opinion the best edition of D&D for quick simple dungeon crawling (with lots of character death), a major inspiration for How to Host a Dungeon. It still shows up on Ebay from time to time. See my actual play report Ziggurat of the Dwarf Lords
Tunnels and Trolls
Labyrinth Lords: an open source re-make of basic edition D&D, ideal for dungeon crawling RPG play.
Donjon, the indie RPG of dungeon crawling goodness.
Dragonsfoot Forums

Contact Me

Email me your dungeon and I'll post it.
Or just send me any cool dungeon map you've made.


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