Abyssal Eruption

News of the Dungeoneer RPG trickles out slower than molasses in winter. I do try, at the very least, to post something once per month here.

Most of the cards I have previewed have been for Hero players. In this installment I wanted to preview a card for Dungeonlords. This is a particularly nasty one that your players really will not be happy to see come into play. A tad expensive at 5 Peril, it more than makes up for its cost if you have multiple Demons in play, especially against a band of snotty Heroes who think because they are now "epic" level that few challenges can withstand their awesomness.
Note that cards are subject to change from now until publication. But this one has proven to be pretty solid in gameplay, though a tad limited since it only works for demons currently.

Character Sheet Sampler

With each revision the Character Sheets having gotten simpler, tighter, and more refined. We've boiled the game down to its essence without losing any verisimilitude. This has been one of the most difficult parts to design. Creating a Character is now 3 Steps:
  1. Deal a Character Sheet to each player. (analogous to "class")
  2. Deal 1 Culture card to each player. (somewhat analogous to "race")
  3. Deal 1 Calling card to each player. (vaguely analogous to "alignment")


Here is a sample of some of the Character Sheets that will be included in the set:

I'm particularly happy with the way all your stats are tracked on a single bar at the top of the sheet where it is easy for everyone to see. Peril, Glory, Melee, Magic, Speed, Life - all on 1 tracker.

Happy Birthday Atlas Games!

Atlas games took a chance on me, an unknown game designer, and a quirky little game called Dungeoneer. I'm so grateful for their support. And now it is Atlas Games' 20th anniversary. John Nephew, owner of Atlas Games, is celebrating by offering you, the people who make it possible to stay in business, a special birthday gift. Follow this link for details, only available to the first 250 people.

Solo Dungeoneer?

There have been a number of solo rules variants created over the years for Dungeoneer. A version that I favor is posted in the Optional Rules that have been available on the Atlas Games website nearly since they began publishing the game.

Dungeoneer player Robert Oleson has posted a solo Dungeoneer game he recently played using his own custom solo rules, based on this version by Donovan, which are inspired in part on the optional rules, and rely on the Number Reference Rules (which have proven to be the best and most coherent set of Dungeoneer rules so far).

Check out his excellent play-by-play session here.

Thinking of archiving and moving the Dungeoneer forum

Back in the heyday the Dungeoneer forums had as many as 40 or so visitors a day, and dozens of posts. Now the forums have become a museum where new players glean information, but few posts are made any more.

I've backed up all the data on that forum and am considering taking the old forum down, maybe using a free alternative forum. Once the Dungeoneer RPG is published I expect there will be a need for a dedicated forum.

We've made the big time

Dungeoneer now has a Wikipedia page.

It's a bit sparse at the moment, hopefully it will grow with time. Still, nothing beats the entries on Boardgamegeek.com

Melee Attribute

One of the important translations from the card game to an RPG is to establish the basic abilities of the character. In traditional roleplaying games these are strength, intelligence, wisdom, etc. each with specific game values. Dungeoneer RPG uses a very similar, simplified version of these by converting Melee, Magic, and Speed into basic attributes for the character.

Melee represents physical strength, combat ability, and overall physical prowess of your Hero. It is a combination of brute muscle strength, combat ability and resistance to physical harm.  Melee is used in Tests which represent entanglement, poisoning, grappling, or other feats of strength, constitution and fortitude.  Melee is used in any kind of physical combat. Coming out ahead in a trade of sword blows, hitting a target with a thrown rock, or getting the timing right to deliver a swift kick to the tender parts of your enemy’s body all rely upon Melee. Many of the challenges you will face will be based on Melee. Paladins and Warriors rely on Melee.

Dungeoneer Anime Style?

Dungeoneer fan Christopher Stone-Bush (Hyvemind) made 6 new heroes for Dungeoneer based on a popular Anime title.



The Dungeoneer RPG has six core classes, we've already looked at the Warrior. This week we take a look at the multi-talented, lyrical, Bard. In Dungeoneer the Bard fulfills the roll of team support member. Not as powerful in combat or magic as other classes, the Bard works best in a team where she can encourage the other members to greatness.

You are a wandering minstrel and keeper of lore. Your music can inspire allies and destroy the morale of enemies. Your singing voice is attuned so that it can influence the fields of magic that permeate the world. This gives you some spell casting ability.

Bards are multi-talented performers, adventurers, and dabblers in magic.  They study the oral histories of cultures, through song and tales. They have a broad range of skills ranging the spectrum from common thievery to the hidden knowledge of arcane lore.  You may not be as powerful in battle as others, but your many abilities make you handy in many situations. 

Lyric: a chosen ally gets +1 to all attacks this turn.
Battle Hymn: all allies get either +1 Melee or +1 Magic this turn.
Symphony: at the end of each combat round, all allies recover 1 Life. A symphony lasts the duration of the encounter.
Academy: you establish a music school that attracts followers to your style of music, these followers are extremely loyal to you.

Empire of the Domains mini-game

One of the things I miss from the early days of playing role-playing games is the sense that your hero was becoming important in the world. I don't mean just saving the world or traveling to other dimensions and slaying demi-gods. We played for the goal of your character eventually becoming "name level" and earning a castle and land to rule.

Another thing I enjoy is when your character can make a permanent change in the world. Once an evil tyrant was deposed that nation would be changed by the leader who replaced the tyrant, or sometimes that replacement leader would be you! This is often referred to as an "end game", and it seems that fantasy RPG's have very much lost their end game. Nowadays it's all about gaining levels and getting more powerful stuff. Cool things to be sure! But where is the satisfaction of completing a campaign? Maybe in this day and age it is too hard for a majority to keep their gaming group together long enough to play through a whole campaign. Or maybe rpg's are so fun nobody wants the campaign to end. Whatever the reasons I think there is room for this style of play to return.

With the Dungeoneer RPG being able to have a regular meeting time is less of an obstacle. Much like how a boardgame is played in 1 session, Dungeoneer RPG can be played in a single session, or generally as few as 2-3. But still maintaining the satisfaction of a campaign. This makes the end game an imperative.

The end game for Dungeoneer RPG is a little mini-wargame called "Empire of the Domains". Your heroes accomplish world domination one nation at a time by defeating evil tyrants, slaying horrible beasts, even by leading armies to victory. Eventually your hero will be a king, a clan leader, or rule a wizard's guild. This progress is tracked on the world map where the side your heroes choose will slowly take over the world one region at a time as you succeed in your adventures. These sides can be classic good, neutrality, or evil, or whatever factions your gaming group chooses to come up with.

Upon achieving 10th level your hero will join the immortal ranks of great heroes before him or her, and the world will be forever changed.

Dungeoneer RPG layout

First I want to thank all of those who send emails encouraging me to complete the Dungeoneer RPG. You don't know how much your emails mean to me. If you have any Dungeoneer questions don't hesitate to ask: tldenmark at gmail dot com

Dungeoneer fan Michael Klein asks "Hello, I am writing to inquire about whether or not the Dungeoneer RPG project was still alive."

Thank you Michael for your question. It is an important one. The Dungeoneer RPG has been in development at least since 1995, and a beta version was available for a few years through Lulu.com. It is no wonder that 5 years later Dungeoneer fans may wonder if a published RPG will ever be released.

Each Dungeoneer expansion I have ever made has been a bit like giving birth, okay, that's hyperbole. But, creating 55 or so unique pieces of art in addition to a well designed card set that is fun is no easy task. But, I've complained enough about the challenges of game design on this here blog. You want results, not excuses!

With each Dungeoneer set I like to convince myself that I am increasing the quality of the design and art. And the RPG is the ultimate expression of that philosophy. Is that true though? It is easy as an artist and designer to sit here in the shelter of my studio and tell myself I'm making this better than any Dungeoneer set, but I know when this is published the various forums and blogs will tell me the truth whether I have succeeded in making a compelling game experience or not (Den of the Wererats, great job Thomas! Epic: Call of the Lich Lord, not so much. At least you redeemed yourself with Wrath of the Serpent Goddess.).

I love designing and illustrating this game. I love it so much that I keep spending more time creating art, designing, and laying out pages. But eventually it has to get out the door and to the printing press or all the work is for naught. So I want to say emphatically that yes I intend to publish this game. I don't have any illusions about revolutionizing the industry or making a hit game, this is simply a labor of love and all I hope for is that others have fun playing it.

So, to give this post something substantial, worth your precious time to peruse, here is a layout test I recently did. This is the chapter heading for Character Races in the Player's Guide. Enjoy.