White Valley of Slaughter - A Generated Dungeon

We bring dungeon generators from our recent articles to create a sample dungeon adventure. Starting with inspiration and questions, we move onto answer those questions and fill out the details.

What We Have

We have looked at dungeon generators, starting with names and inspirations for dungeons and ways to map them before moving onto names and maps for caves.

We then filled in the details with dungeon rooms and general features.

We will use the name and inspiration generators to start off some ideas, and bring these together with two dungeon maps, one with rooms and another with caves. The room generators will give us material to place and round it off with with the features generators.

Dungeon Name

A dungeon name gives a certain expectation, so looking at choices from this ENWorld OGRE generator I picked out the "The White Valley of Slaughter".

We know the location of the dungeon is in a valley and some questions arise

  • Is the valley a mountain valley or some sort of ravine?
  • Why is it white? Clouds? White Flowers? Chalk? White Stone?
  • Does the slaughter component refer to an ancient battlefield, a dark ritual or the regular killing of some type of beast?

Initial Ideas

For inspiration I turned to Abilafia's Fourth Page - Dungeon generator, producing

  • History (Purpose): This was once a hero's tomb.
  • Denizen (Hermit): The wraith wants only release.
  • Trial (Hazard): The bridge has seen much better days.
  • Secret (Cache): There's something gleaming in the armoury.

Knowing that I wanted both caves and rooms I split the dungeon into two, with the first part a natural caves and the second a hero's tomb. In the first part I would put the wraith of the hero seeking release and place a bridge between the two sections. Somewhere in the tomb we would have an armoury, possibly with the key to the wraith's release.

Tying back to the name the hero may well be from an ancient battle.

Wanting some more guidance I looked at the Fantasy Name Dungeon Descriptions

Further Inspiration

This turned up an Initial Room

"A tall pair of granite doors in a somber grove marks the entrance to this dungeon. Beyond the pair of granite doors lies a scanty, shady room. It's covered in crawling insects, puddles of water and dead vermin. Your torch allows you to see a broken statue part of a fountain, long lost and claimed by time itself."

I'm thinking a pair of granite doors leading into the caves, possibly as an alternative entrance to the original way in. Next we have insects and vermin to populate the caves and a fountain which may have the statue of our hero and could we a place to locate the wraith.

Next we have a Deeper Room

Further ahead are two paths, but the left is a dead end. Its twisted trail leads passed lost treasuries, unknown rooms and armories and soon you enter a crumbled area. There's a huge skeleton in the center, along with dozens of human skeletons. What happened in this place?

Here we come into the dungeon rooms, indicating ancient treasures and armours placed to honour the hero. The skeletons could be ancient defenders, servants of the hero or the remains of defilers. The huge skeleton could be that of the hero itself or maybe a beast that served it.

Answering the question of what happened here could be key to the story of the dungeon.

And then a Mystery Room

You press onwards, deeper into the dungeon's mysteries. You pass various passages, each with their own twists, turns and destinations. You eventually make it to what is likely the final room. A vast metal door blocks your path. Ash and soot is all over it, somehow untouched by time and the elements. You step closer to inspect it and.. wait.. did the door just change its appearance?

This sounds like it should be the tomb of the hero, or maybe some other secret hidden in the shadow of the tomb. Ash and soot point to offerings burnt by the door or some sort of attack on it. And the last bit points to some sort of deception or puzzle around the door.

Who is the Hero?

This brings us to the question of who the hero was. And why their wraith is in the caves. Maybe....

  • An ancient warrior whose rest has been disturbed, or placed to protect whatever is in the metal room.
  • A giant (the skeleton), possibly enchanted or cursed to protect their own tomb
  • A metal golem (in the room of metal), separated from the wraith until one day of need

More Questions

Here you've seen how to use generators to get initial ideas and them add some detail to them. Next we look at answering the questions we have raised.

Leave a comment with questions you would ask and ideas for answering them.