Dungeon Change Chart

I’m really into OSR gaming at the moment, which means I’ve been reading a lot about how to create dungeons and keep them fresh. One of the things that is often mentioned is that dungeons are not static, they are working eco-systems that change and evolve as time passes, this can pose a potential problem for a GM. Some times when your PCs are re-visiting a dungeon, events in the campaign make it obvious was it likely to have changed in the area.

For example: Last time the heroes visiting the bandits lair they killed most of them, this has lead to the lair being abandoned and it is now colonised by natural creatures who moved in after the bandits departed.

However–at other times–there’s not an obvious change that could have occurred, but you don’t want the dungeon to feel static and unchanging, as though it only exists for the few brief moments when the PCs decide to grab their lanterns and venture into the dark depths. To help with this I’ve created a simple D6 roll table.

How to use the table

When the PCs return to a dungeon and a significant period of time 1 has passed, make a roll on the table to see what changes have occurred, these changes don’t specify specific creatures or areas affected by tunnel collapses and flooding but are intending to serve as a springboard to the GM’s imagination.

Dungeon Change Chart

  1. The exact length of the time interval is left to the GM, but generally if more than a few days have passed since the PCs have visited the dungeon then you should make a roll. If they’ve been away for a really long period then you may wish to make multiple rolls. 

Ending on an (almost) TPK

All joking aside my RPGs tend not to be that lethal when it comes to character deaths if I am perfectly honest, this is normally due to a mixture of factors, including me erring on the side of caution when it comes to creating encounters and also because I mostly play in systems that are slightly more heroic in scope rather than gritty, low-power settings and systems where death is a constant companion. However for the first time the other day I very nearly had a TPK in my regular Star Wars game, with only one of the four player characters escaping to fight another day. Continue reading