Is it really empty on 1–12 ?

I’ve never really cared for the fact that AD&D figures that 60% of dungeon rooms are empty, at least according to Appendix A: Random Dungeon Generation (DMG, pg 170-172). Sure, I could make my own table or use the percentages from B/X (my personal favorite), but I’m trying to play a mostly-BTB 1e game, and that means only using house rules or rules from other editions only when absolutely necessary.

So it dawned upon me tonight while rolling up some room contents that if the result “1-12 Empty” is re-rolled when it comes up and the second roll it kept, it comes out to about what I desire.

Here is how Table V. F.: Chamber or Room Contents (DMG, pg 171) looks:

DMG Chamber or Room Contents

This has roughly the same number of empty rooms as those populated with monsters (36% vs. 40%). Seems about right to me and I didn’t have to mess with anything. Plus, it knocks down the number of traps, which is just fine with me.

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7 Responses to Is it really empty on 1–12 ?

  1. The Bane says:

    IIRC, when I read over the random dungeon generation, I took it to mean, “After you have placed the inhabitants, all un-populated rooms would be rolled for.”

    But, It has been decades since I read it and I was never an “Advanced” fan. YMMV.


    • Kilgore says:

      Not that I’m aware of for AD&D. The 1981 Basic has exactly that direction, though:

      Special monsters should be first placed in the appropriate rooms along with special treasures. The remaining rooms can be stocked as the DM wishes.
      Basic D&D (1981), pg B52

      Obviously, I can do whatever I want. But I often like just rolling things up and going from there.

  2. The Bane says:

    That’s probably where I got it from… my memory is like marbles rolling around in a cobweb cloaked expanse of emptiness most of the time I am afraid.

    But, I like what you did and think, personally, that it was required. 60% seems way to high if you are starting with a blank slate IMHO.


  3. Roger GS says:

    Perhaps the reroll can be judged to involve an interesting feature in addition to whatever is found – altar, furniture, etc.?

    • Kilgore says:

      That’s a good idea. I’ve been trying to work out a way to specify when significant “dressing” is present.

      How about “On a re-roll, an ODD result indicates odd features.”?

      So I roll an 11. That indicates ‘Empty,’ but also a re-roll. The re-roll is 7. Still empty, but something unusual (odd) is present.

      • The Bane says:

        Kilgore, now that makes sense, or at least passes the common sense test for me. I could see 1-12 being devoid of monsters, but when half of those have something ‘odd’ in the room, that should add some form of suspense… is that deer skull on the wall just something ‘odd’ or is it a; Trick, Trap, Treasure, Monster, or even a ‘stairway’? The players don’t know what you rolled…

        Keep it coming!


        • Kilgore says:

          Yeah, it’s important to have ‘unusual things’ of no real significance so that players don’t know that there’s something special about every single unusual thing their PCs run into.

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