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d30 Random Cavern Tunnel Generator

d30 Random Cavern Tunnel Generator

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GM: "The cavern tunnel extends another 100 yards down."

Player: "Is that down as in a slope down, or just further away from the way we came in?"

GM: "Further in..... the tunnel drops 20 foot as well."

Player: "Overall, or is that just a dip in one spot?"

There is only so much prep a GM can do before a game and no amount of prep in the world will prevent the players from asking smart questions at dumb times. It doesn't help that we usually play this game sitting around a table, mapping (maybe) on paper....we're used to thinking 2 dimensional to begin with and written adventures rarely, if ever, take natural slopes into account when describing tunnels and caves. No, we tend to think of them as two-dimensional corridors and rooms.

This d30 Random Canvern Tunnel Generator isn't the end-all problem solver for GMs, but it can go a long way to resolving issues on the fly or fleshing out a more realistic  set of tunnels between caverns. This is NOT a generator to flip over to and roll without taking a moment to read everything first, but if you take the appropriate level of prep time with basic should be good to go.

The 1st d30 roll determines not only whether the party is ascending or descending, but overall how steep the ascent/descent is and what equipment/skill checks might be needed to make the climb. This is accomplished by using the same die result for both tables 1a and 1b. A little more flavor text can be accomplished by rolls on tables 2 & 3 to determine how many individual up/down slopes and just how far up the ceiling of the tunnel is above.

Personal Note: The way I use this particular d30 table is to decide before hand what consititues a "level" of tunnels/caverns for a particular delve. Let's say, for the sake of interest that I decide that each level of my cave system is 500' in depth. I'll use the d30 table here to keep track of how deep the party is moving and if I note they are approaching the upper or lower limits of that "level" then I'll reverse directions as needed to keep them at the depth they need to be. I only require one skill check per 100 yard interval instead of one per slope indicated on Table 2.

As far as requiring a d30 die to use this tabe: I've had poor ratings on d30 tables in the past because they required the use of a d30, which is kind of the whole point in the 1st place. I don't begrudge those that don't (yet) have a d30, but I'm trying to show some love to this clunky die I picked up as a young player in the 80's. Thanks to games like Dungeon Crawl Classics, the d30 is making a bit of a comeback.

In a pinch you could substitute the d30 rolls with other dice.You could use a d3 or d6 to determine which sub-table table to use and then a d10 to get the specific result. This kind of goes against the idea of using d30 tables, but there you go. I'd suggest picking up a d30 from the likes of Koplow or Crystal Caste, but if you can get your hands on an older Gamescience it!

Unfortunately the old Order of the d30 G+ community, is dead (like all G+ communities), but there is still a lot of love for this old die on the interwebs. I'd start with the New Big Dragon Games Unlimited blog Save vs. Dragon.

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Customer avatar
5E Solo G December 14, 2019 10:37 pm UTC
Doesn't generate caverns and passages (as the name suggests), only deals with the elevation of caverns. I can see some usefulness for these four tables, but perhaps as part of a larger product.
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File Last Updated:
July 21, 2019
This title was added to our catalog on July 21, 2019.