Room Contents

While stocking a dungeon for my recent 1e game with my son and brother, I noticed that AD&D has a lot of empty rooms. According to the legendary Appendix A: Random Dungeon Generation in the DMG, 60% of chambers and rooms are empty. This seems excessively sparse. Compare the B/X system with the AD&D:

1981 B/X D&D (page B52):
 CONTENTS              TREASURE?
1d6 Result       1d6 Monster Trap  Empty
1-2 Monster       1   Yes    Yes    Yes
 3  Trap          2   Yes    Yes    No
 4  Special       3   Yes    No     No
5-6 Empty        4-6  No     No     No 

AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide (pg 171):
 d20  Contents
 1-12 Empty
13-14 Monster only
15-17 Monster and treasure
  18  Special
  19  Trick/Trap
  20  Treasure

I used the heck out of Appendix A back in the day, but I do recall being frustrated with the frequency of empty rooms. I usually put some dungeon dressing into otherwise empty areas, but it still drives me nuts when I roll four or five empty rooms in a row.

Something else I’ve wondered about when it comes to dungeon stocking is whether it makes more sense to roll each room or to simply assign the “proper” number of each type of room to a level. For instance, an ongoing adventure I’m running for my son involves a large randomly-populated dungeon called ‘Osgorr’s Labyrinth.’ I’m rolling each room on the Labyrinth Lord tables (which are adapted from B/X) as a bit of an experiment to see what I come up with randomly “by the book.” But I’m considering taking the next level and assigning the various types per the percentages.

For instance, a 12-room level may get a list like this:

 1. Monster with treasure
 2. Monster with treasure
 3. Monster with treasure
 4. Monster only
 5. Trap with treasure
 6. Trap only
 7. Special
 8. Special
 9. Empty with treasure
10. Empty
11. Empty
12. Empty

Then, once I’ve designated the number of rooms of each type, I could roll randomly for each room’s specific contents. Then I could plop them into the map as desired. This would assure the correct ratio of each type of content per the rules and would head off the wackiness that sometimes results from a string of similar rooms.

At one point I rolled like four or five ‘Special’ rooms in a row. How special can they be, at that point?

I think I’ll try this for at least one level of Osgorr’s Labyrinth.

By comparison, a 12-room level suing the AD&D numbers would have seven empty rooms and three monsters. One thing I must say about the preponderance of empty rooms by the AD&D system, though: If my brother and son had run into any more monsters or traps than they did, I don’t think they would have got out alive. Traps are only in 5% of AD&D areas, while they make up over 16% of B/X encounters. If this seems terribly trap-intense, remember that in B/X only one-third (2-in-6) of traps actually spring. So the number of traps which end up “attacking” the party is about on par with AD&D.

What do you guys think about all this? Is it cool to have more than half the rooms more-or-less empty, perhaps with some dressing? Is the B/X ratio about right? Should each room be rolled individually? Or should the ratio be used to fill them and rolls only used to keep things from getting too predictable?

Yes, I know it’s my game and I can do whatever works best for us. I’m interested in what others think.

UPDATE: Somewhere I lost the last line of the B/X table. I put it back in. Sorry.

Also, for comparison, here is the table in Labyrinth Lord:

Roll d00  Contents  Treasure 
01-30     Empty       15% 
31-60     Monster     50% 
61-75     Trap        30% 
76-00     Unique    Variable 

Roughly the same as B/X, as would be expected.

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