Monday, October 12, 2009

Review: Engineering Dungeons

Engineering Dungeons is a 28 page supplement published by Troll Lord Games for Castles & Crusades can easily be used for any fantasy system. There are no stat blocks or system specific mechanics that need converting. I originally bought it on Amazon and did not read the description. I bought it for the title alone. From the title I thought it was going to be a philosophical approach towards constructing dungeons. I thought I would get a lecture on different approaches, stereotypes and the various ecologies. Something like a college seminar with a tweed clad professor discussing the historical significance of the construction of dungeons. Nope. It's a tech school. From the first pages they slam a hammer and saw in your hand and tell you to start building. No talk. Just do.

Engineering Dungeons is full of tables. I'm not kidding. Full of them. One of the first tables you will see is why the dungeon was originally constructed and who built it. Then you go from table to table. Roll and roll some more.

Here is an example of what I rolled of the who, the why and the where. I'll highlight the things I rolled. Giants dug out a massive coal mine six centuries ago to forge their massive weapons six centuries ago. Now the massive fortification is ruins. No one is sure where the single entrance of the mine is. Scholars say it is hidden on the outside of the ruins.

The next set of tables let you built your dungeon such as traps, lock difficulty and treasure. There are tables for NPCs and dragons and many other possible inhabitants. The randomness makes some interesting combinations.

There is no substitute for a GMs imagination, but Engineering Dungeons is a helpful addition to any fantasy gamer's bookshelf. If you are GM who builds their own dungeons this supplement is for you. I think the $9.95 price tag for the PDF is too high, but the $9.95 price tag for the printed version is spot on.


  1. Hmmm, I would have expected a philosophical discourse too. Thanks for the review, I will weigh whether or not to pick up this supplement.

  2. I reviewed this on my blog several months ago. I agree with your conclusion--it read like an engineering technical report. I liked it, but I did think it was short on creativity and inspiration.

  3. Hmm... sounds like it might be worth investing in the print edition. Thank you for the review!