Dungeon Royale


I have thrown together rules for a game I’m calling Dungeon Royale. It’s based off a game we played at GenCon. We had an opportunity to have Zak S run a game for us drunken heathens. There were seven of us, so instead of Demon City, he ran this dungeon game where we all played 1st level D&D characters on two separate teams attempting to kill each other in a battle royale inside this dungeon of geomorphs that he drew as we went.

Each team started on one side of the table and navigated the dungeon toward the enemy team, encountering various traps, monsters, and occasionally some loot. And, a pig. Then, eventually, we started finding the other team and murdering each others’ characters. It was a raucous time — doubly raucous because of the immense amount of bourbon we were drinking — and a fucking blast.

I’ve been thinking about that game since I returned home and now I want to run it for our upcoming local convention. So, I threw together a more formulaic version for myself, with the goal to be attempting to contain most everything on index cards. 

Dungeon Royale PDF
Click image to download the full PDF. Includes character sheets & basic rules.

The basic rules are as follows: 

The game is played in turns. Each turn alternates between teams; a player from team one gets a turn, then a player from team two, then the next player from team one, and so on until each player on each team has taken a turn.

On their turn, a player may perform one action. Actions are typically: open a door and move into the next room; attack or cast a spell; use a class ability (pick a lock, search for traps, turn undead, etc.); bash a door or chest; negotiate with another character or a monster. DM may call for a save to avoid harm. Saves are roll 1d20 under relevant stat.

The team with the highest score wins when the game ends. The game ends when all original characters from one team have been killed (or otherwise removed from the game) or time runs out. Score is calculated as follows; 1 point per treasure carried at the end of the game and 1 point per death of original characters on opposing team. 

When your original character dies, you can roll up a new one to continue playing, but that new one doesn’t count for points for the other team if it dies.

Dungeon Royale - Basic Rules

Zak let us pick any class we wanted, but I distilled it down to the basic four classes so there was some uniformity if I run it as a tournament. The character sheet needed to be super simple and fit on an index card. And, I tried to put most of the rules needed on the card.

The Fighter character index card.

For deeper explanations of the abilities and what magical items do, I can just explain that to the players. Here’s an overview. 

The goal was to make everyone awesome but super simple to explain and play. No rolls are needed for an ability to succeed. Most just happen, but cost turns. For example, a thief can always pick the lock. It just costs their turn. There are no saving throws for wizard spells. They just happen. 

I’m pretty sure Zak was just making up content on the fly, but I wanted to develop an impartial method for stocking the dungeon. So, I used the old Moldvay Basic tables for inspiration and threw together some tables. 

All HD are 1d6, but Fighters roll hit points with advantage and Wizards with disadvantage. All attacks do 1d6 damage, ala OD&D. There are only two types of armor: gambeson and breastplate. Shields ignore damage rolls of 1 or 2. All saving throws (including skill checks) are roll d20 under stat. Wizard spells don’t permit a save, but some magical traps do. 

Let me know if you try it out or come play it with me at Nerdlouvia.

About the author

Michael Pfaff

It's pronounced P-aff -- the first 'f' is silent. I live in Louisville. I like games and reading about games. I hope to write about gaming stuff here.

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By Michael Pfaff

Michael Pfaff

It's pronounced P-aff -- the first 'f' is silent. I live in Louisville. I like games and reading about games. I hope to write about gaming stuff here.


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