Masterless Dungeon Crawling by Zak Arntson
Inspired by Caleb Brumfield
Back to Games | Email Author
|Fungeon is roleplaying the ancient art of dungeon crawling, only without a gamemaster. During play, each Player creates Traps, Monsters and Treasure for your adventurous Fungeoneers to escape, fight and discover.|
To play Fungeon, you will need tons of dice, all of which must have the same number of
sides. Each Player needs one die which is distinguishable from
her others, most likely one of a different color. This is called the Thwack-O Die and is
discussed in the Narration section, below.
Fungeon also requires you to do a lot of scribbling, so everyone needs tons of scratch paper. If you are going to map out your adventures, graph paper is recommended.
Adventurers traipsing through the dungeons are called Fungeoneers. They are amazingly simple to
create, following three simple steps.
First, invent a name for your Fungeoneer.
Second, create a class. This can be any career, such as Warrior, Shadow Mage or Drazzorian Puddle Thumper.
Third, calculate your Level, Class Bonus and Hits. In a party of Fungeoneers, all should begin at the same Level (First, Second or Third Level is recommended). Your Class Bonus is half your Fungeoneer's Level (dropping fractions), and Hits are five times the Level. If your Fungeoneer ever reaches zero Hits, she dies.
Fungeon requires some math when creating rooms. To make your job easier you should
write down three values:
Party Min, this is the lowest Level of Fungeoneer in your party.
Party Max, the highest Level of Fungeoneer.
Party Total, add up all the Fungeoneer Levels.
|The Dungeon Entrance|
You know your Fungeoneers are about to enter a dungeon, but do you really what the
If you and the other Players cannot decide on where and what this dungeon is, everyone needs to
roll a die. Whoever rolls highest describes the entrance.
Remember that dungeons come in all varieties. The classic dungeon begins with a door, leading to successively deeper floors carved from stone. Other dungeon possibilities include:
A forest, where the thickness and depth into the woods replace the floors of a typical dungeon.
A tower, which is basically a dungeon that leads up instead of down.
An haunted necropolis, in which the danger increases the closer you get to the center.
In any case, the measurement of danger in a particular area of the dungeon is called the Dungeon Floor. All dungeon entrances should open onto a Floor equal to the Party Min.
Before your party enters a Room, you are considered to be in the Hallway. This is not always
a literal term: It is a time to catch your breath, perform any calculations needed and decide
who gets to do what in the next Room
First, anyone whose Fungeoneer died in the last Room must make a new one at a Level equal to the current Dungeon Floor minus one (minimum First Level).
Second, you should check to see if your Fungeoneer goes up a Level from Experience (see Experience, below).
Third, any Players with Fungeoneers suffering from Continuous Damage should make any rolls and apply their effects.
Last, each Player rolls to see what Category she gets to populate the Room. The highest-rolling Player gets first choice, and so on down to the lowest-rolling Player. A Player may receive more than one Category (if there are fewer Players than Categories). Conversely, a Player may not be able to pick any Category (if there are more Players than Categories). The Categories are:
Traps. This Player gets to describe the room and draw it on the map. She also receives points to create Traps for this Room. If the Party Min increased during hits Hallway, the Player is also required to place a Downward Stair (see Traps, below).
Monsters. Monsters in the Room are created by this Player with points.
Treasure. Points are given to the Player to fill this Room with Treasure.
You must spend all the points you are given.
When you create your Traps, your first duty is to describe the Room. Before anyone begins creating
anything, you should grab the map and draw out the room. Give any details you find appropriate. You
may add any features you like, doors, windows, stairs, cabinets, tables, etc.
As the creator of the Traps you must keep track of when and how the Traps are triggered, announcing sprung Traps and making Rolls as needed.
The only time you are required to add a feature is when the Party Min increases in the Hallway. When this happens, you must place a Downward Stair in the Room. This Stair leads to the next Dungeon Floor. The Stair does not need to be literal; it may be anything that represents progress into a more difficult area of the Dungeon.
Creating Traps is fairly easy. A single Trap has Annoy and Pain Dice, and is placed somewhere within the room. The Trap needs to be situated so it can somehow be triggered with a common action. Example actions include opening a door, searching a bed and walking across a footplate. There is no limit to the number of Traps placed in a room, so long as you have the points to spend.
Each Trap is required to deal one Type of damage. This can be anything the Player imagines, from fire to poison to arrows.
Discovering a Trap is simple. Players attempting to find a Trap makes an Annoy Roll against a number of dice equal to the Trap's point cost. Success means the Trap is found, but not triggered. Failure grants the Fungeoneer blissful ignorance.
When a Fungeoneer attempts to get past or accidentally stumbles into a Trap, her Player must make a successful Annoy Roll. Failure forces the Player to make a Pain Roll, with her Fungeoneer suffering the damage dealt. Unless a Trap has the Unlimited Use feature, it springs once. If more than one Fungeoneer triggers a Trap at the same time, the Players roll one die and add their Level. Whoever rolls highest has the dubious honor of avoiding the Trap.
Sneaky Fungeoneers may try to disarm a Trap. Disarming a Trap is just like triggering it, only Class Bonuses may apply (see Annoying Conflicts and Painful Conflicts, below).
You are given points equal to the Party Max plus the Dungeon Floor to create Traps for the Room.
When figuring the cost of a Trap, add up the points before any doubling. For example, a 2 Annoy/1 Pain Trap costs 2 points. Adding Unlimited Use would double that, for 4 points. Giving the Trap Universal Damage would double the cost again; the Trap now costs 8 points.
Below is an explanation of the Features you can buy:
Annoy Dice - The amount of dice for the Trap's Annoy Roll.
Pain Dice - The Trap's allotted dice for its Pain Roll.
Guards Treasure - Treasure found in the room is protected by the Trap. The Trap must be triggered, disarmed or sidestepped (i.e., successfully making an Annoy Roll) before the Treasure may be had.
Unlimited Use - This Trap can always be triggered no matter how many times it has already sprung.
Universal Damage - No matter what type of damage type the Trap uses, nobody can apply their Class Bonus or any magical protection against the Annoy or Damage Rolls.
Continuous Damage - If you trigger this Trap and fail your Annoy Roll, your Fungeoneer suffers from Continuous Damage. During each Hallway, you must reroll the Trap's Annoy Roll (and, if you fail, its Pain Roll). This damage only ends with a successful Annoy Roll, or a magical Treasure (see Treasures, below).
Monsters are the angry creatures who live in the Dungeon and tend to attack Fungeoneers on sight.
Creating Monsters may take some doing, but once you get used to the rules it should go smoothly.
If you create the Monsters for the Room, you get to control their actions. You are required
to have them attack the Players, hopefully in an intelligent way. Creating wimpy Monsters who pose
no threat to the Party would take the fun out of Fungeon!
Monsters often guard the Room's Treasure, and it is assumed that the Treasure is automatically found when the Monsters are killed unless the Trap has the Guard Treasure Feature.
Monsters receive any number Universal Damage attacks, each with Pain Dice equal to their Level. These can be things like claws, teeth, swords, clubs, telekinetic blasts, fire breath, and so on.
A Monster has Hits that work like a Fungeoneer's, only a Monster has three times its Level in Hits.
Special Abilities are another matter. You spend points to give a Monster a Special Ability with Annoy and Pain Dice. A Special Ability requires at least one point to be spent on Annoy Dice. In addition, you are required to give a Special Ability a Type. This Type can be anything, such as fire, psychic or acidic spew.
Using Special Abilities is described in Painful Conflicts, below.
You receive a number of points equal to the Party Total plus the Dungeon Floor to create Monsters in the Room.
You can create as many Monsters as you like, but you must spend a minimum of points equal to the Dungeon Floor on each Monster. Like Traps, you add up the point values before doubling. A Third Level Monster with Elemental Fire Breath 4 Annoy/2 Pain would cost 14 points: 3 points for Levels, 2 points for 4 Annoy Dice, 2 points for 2 Pain Dice, and double for Universal Damage (the Elemental Fire Breath ignores any protection from the fire Type).
Each Special Ability must be purchased separately. For example, a Monster with two Special Abilities, both with the Continuous Damage Feature would double the cost twice.
The features are described below:
Monster Levels - Each point increases the Monster's Level by one. This is used to calculate a Monster's Pain Dice for combat and its Hits.
Ability: Annoy Dice - A Special Ability requires at least one point spent here. The more Annoy Dice, the more likely a Fungeoneer will succumb to the Monster's Ability.
Ability: Pain Dice - If the Special Ability may harm the Fungeoneers, you must spend points on Pain Dice.
Ability: +1 Resist Die vs. Type - This Special Ability will grant a Monster resistance against a Type of attack. This Type must match at least one Fungeoneer's Combat Bonus or Magic attack Type. There is no honor in boosting a Monster's cost by giving it cold immunity when no Fungeoneers have Frost Blades.
Ability: Continuous Hold - A Fungeoneer who fails the Annoy Roll against this Monster's Special Ability may not act during the turn. Every turn after, during the Special Ability part of combat, the Fungeoneer must make another Annoy Roll or be unable to act. A single successful Annoy Roll will break the Continuous Hold.
Ability: Continuous Damage - This Feature functions similarly to the Trap Feature of the same name. At the beginning of every turn after failing the Annoy Roll, the Fungeoneer must make an successful Annoy Roll or make a Pain Roll to avoid damage.
Ability: Universal Damage - Purchase this Feature to grant a Special Ability Universal Damage. This Special Ability removes any dice granted from a Class Bonus or magic items.
Creating Treasure is always a gratifying job. These can be anything from sacks of gold to rare paintings
to valuable weapons. Treasure will be guarded by the Monsters in the Room unless the Player creating
the Traps has purchased the Guards Treasure Feature.
The difference between Mundane and Fancy Items is cosmetic except that only Fancy Items may be given Magical Features. That is, you must purchase the Fancy Item Feature before any Magic Features.
When creating a Magic Item with Annoy or Pain Dice, you must give it a Type. Annoy Dice give the Fungeoneer an edge to resist Traps or Special Abilities of the Item's Type. Pain Dice protect the Fungeoneer from harm that matches her Item's Type.
Treasure can be traded for other Treasure when the Party has left the Dungeon. For more rules on this, see In Town, below.
You receive points equal to the Party Min plus the Dungeon Floor to spend on Treasure.
Like Traps and Monsters, you add up all points spent before any doubling. For example, a Ring of Fire Protection +3 Pain would cost 16 points: 2 points (Fancy Item) doubled three times (a double for each +1 Pain Die).
The Features available for Treasure is described below.
Mundane Item - The Treasure is fairly simple, perhaps a sack of coins or a silver ring.
Fancy Item - Fancy Items are more ornate Treasures, such as a finely wrought golden tiara, or a bejeweled dagger. Only Fancy Items may be given Magic Features.
Increased Value - For every point spent on Increased Value, the Treasure's point cost goes up by a point. This Feature is provided for high quality Treasure that can be traded in Town. Solid gold statues, exquisite matching jewelry and decorative weapons are often given Increased Value.
Magic: Heal 1 Hit - Potions, salves, stones and other things are all Treasures that might heal wounded Fungeoneers. For each point spent, the Treasure heals a point of Hits. These Treasures can only be used once before running out of healing power. There is no sipping potions to heal a few Hits here and there! Remember that the Treasure must be a Fancy Item before receiving this Feature.
Magic: Annoy Dice - The Fungeoneer receives bonus Annoy Dice when facing a Trap or Monster with an affect of the same Type as the Treasure.
Magic: Pain Dice - When making Pain Rolls against Traps or Monsters of the same Type as the Treasure, the Fungeoneer receives bonus Pain Dice.
Magic: Universal Type - The Treasure's Magic grants bonus dice for and against any Type.
There are various reasons for rolling the dice, all resulting in some in-game effects. Whenever dice
are rolled, each Player must replace a regular die with her Thwack-O Die. This die is read normally with
the others for purposes of success and failure.
The magic begins when the results of the Rolls are described. Whoever rolled highest on her Thwack-O Die gets full narrative control of the situation. For Annoying Conflicts, a single description of the event works fine. Painful Conflicts, where everyone is dealing damage all over the place, can use tons of fun blow-by-blow narration.
When your Fungeoneers pile into a Room, Combat is a guaranteed result. Combat is dealt with in turns,
consisting of three steps.
First, anyone suffering from a Continuous Monster Feature (such as Continuous Hold) needs to make their Rolls and suffer any possible damage.
Second, each Monster may use its Special Ability. A Monster rolls its Level plus the Special Ability's Annoy and/or Pain Dice.
Third, everyone makes a Painful Conflict Roll.
If, at any time, a Fungeoneer or Monster reaches zero Hits, death occurs. If your Fungeoneer dies, you are out of the game until the party is next in the Hallway. All your Treasure is left behind for the other Fungeoneers to plunder.
When a Fungeoneer must avoid a Trap's effects or dodge a Monster's Special Ability, Annoying Conflicts
are often made. The Player who created the Trap or Monster rolls the Annoy Dice for that obstacle, and
picks the highest value rolled.
Any Players attempting to resist roll dice equal to their Level plus a possible Class Bonus, and
grabs their highest value rolled.
Whoever's value is lower than the Trap or Monster's highest value suffers the consequences. This is often a Painful Conflict, described in the next section.
A Fungeoneer's Class Bonus is granted if their Class is tied to the Annoying Conflict. A Fire Mage would receive her Class Bonus against a Flaming Column Trap, for example.
Always remember to include your Thwack-O Die in your Roll! Replace any regular die with the Thwack-O die. If you are rolling for both your Fungeoneer and a Trap or Monster (or all three), just stick your Thwack-O Die somewhere in one of the Rolls.
Painful Conflicts work differently from Annoying Conflicts. The Player who created the Trap or Monster rolls
the Pain Dice. Any Player with Fungeoneers involved roll a number of
dice equal to their Level plus a Class Bonus, if applicable. The dice for each Trap, Monster or Fungeoneer
Roll are lined up, highest to lowest.
The highest dice rolled are compared first. Whoever rolled the highest value gets to apply one point of damage to one other Fungeoneer's or Monster's Hits (Traps can only damage, they cannot be damaged). The second-highest dice are then compared, and damage is dealt.
If you run out of dice to compare to another Roll, the other Player considers your "empty die" as a roll of zero. This continues until no one has dice to compare (i.e., everyone has "empty dice").
Like the Annoy Rolls above, always replace one of your regular dice with the Thwack-O Die. Only roll one Thwack-O Die, even if you are making multiple Rolls this turn (for your Fungeoneer and your Trap, for example).
For every point of damage dealt to a Monster, your Fungeoneer receives a number of experience points equal to
that Monster's cost. For every successful Annoy Roll made against a Trap, your Fungeoneer gets
experience points equal to the Trap's cost.
Nobody gets experience points for Treasure. They are their own reward.
When the Party is in the Hallway, you can check to see if your Fungeoneer goes up a Level. If your Experience is equal to or greater than (2 ^ (Fungeoneer's Current Level - 1) * 10), your Fungeoneer's Level increases by one. In some cases, your Fungeoneer may go up several levels at once!
If your Fungeoneer goes up a Level, you recalculate your Class Bonus, maximum Hits (5 times your Level), and automatically Heal five hits per Level increase!
|Heading Back to Town|
If you head back to Town, you must retrace your steps through the Dungeon back to the Dungeon Entrance.
Before you reenter every Room each Player makes an Annoy Roll against the Dungeon Floor (someone must
volunteer to roll for the Dungeon). Anyone who fails receives points equal to the sum of their Fungeoneer's
Level and the current Dungeon Floor to
create a Wandering Monster.
Once back in Town, you can trade in your Treasure to create new Treasure for your Fungeoneer. The drawback to this method is that the Treasure you give up only gives you half the points to create new Treasure (rounding down). Your 11 point magical sword will only get you 5 points of Treasure in Town, for example.
During a game session (or one Dungeon), Hits may only be healed through purchasing Magical Treasure. This means visiting the Healer in town forces you to sell off some Treasure (a reason not to put all your Treasure in one massive item).
Many thanks to Mike Holmes for his extensive solo playtesting and wonderful suggestions!
Dan Hill gets a big thanks for introducing me to "Thwack-O" way back.
|This entire document and all contents is Copyright © 2001, by Zak Arntson. Permission to duplicate for personal use and captions for review purposes is granted. You must receive explicit permission from the author (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) to use this game and any portion therein for public use, such as publication or convention play.|
Back to Games | Email Author