A Really Simple Dungeon Crawl: Necromancer's Crypt

Here's another play report for one of the games Melissa and I are working on, which for now we're just calling A Really Simple Dungeon Crawl.

It's a rules-lite "dungeon crawler" role-playing game more geared towards kids. Originally I'd intended for it to serve as a kind of gateway game into something more...I dunno, mechanically complex, but the people that have looked at the alpha draft really dig it, so who knows: maybe I'll expand on it later with a kind of "advanced" version.

I decided to break out my Dwarven Forge tiles for the first time in months (they're a pain to setup), and instead of my D&D or Reaper minis went with Super Dungeon Explore; I think they better fit the tone, and I wanted to try out undead anyway as a change of pace from the lizardfolk I'd been using for the first few playtests.

This was largely another combat stress test, though there were several instances where skills were used to pick a lock, climb over rubble, and sneak around.

I mainly wanted to see how far a party could go before having to leave the dungeon, because I'm trying to avoid having a cleric/healer class that spams healing "magic" to keep the party going: I want players to be able to pick whatever they want, without having to resort to specific builds, items, and/or houserules to get by.

Melissa was able to clear all but one room before she had to leave (due to both characters only having one wound left), which included four encounters of gradually increasing difficulty. I think this is great given that she did it with only two melee characters, and I don't even have any encounter guidelines in place, yet.

Design Notes
Here's a preview of part of the character sheet:

Originally I wanted to go with a tri-fold layout, but even at 6" x 9" everything fits on one side, including all of the talents that a class can choose from (up to 10th-level, anyway). I dunno, I guess I could put in a section for a character illustration, maps, notes, etc. My overall goal is to have most if not all of what you need on one panel.

Here's another sneak peek, this time at a variety of skeletal monsters:

The above examples show the entire stat block for each monster. The main difference from what I showed in the previous play report (aside from the Speed addition), is that I've changed how some special abilities are mechanically represented. Like, instead of the skeleton getting +2 Defense against slashing and piercing weapons, you instead add 1d6 to your Attack Pool if you're using a blunt weapon.

Skeletons are an example of a "minion" type monster: they're easy to hit and avoid (especially with a blunt weapon), and only need one hit to take out. Skeleton warriors are slightly souped up in every regard, but if you've got a blunt weapon they're still easier to pulverize. Death knights are more dangerous not because of a boosted static Attack or Defense, but because blunt weapons offer no advantage, they require three hits to destroy, and their Attack value is unpredictable.

Image Dump

And the fighter bites the dust.
The rogue legs it, loses the skeletons, and loops back around to take out the necromancer.
She didn't have the Backstab talent, but she did have a flaming longsword.


  1. Nice system and pics. The stats on the sheets remind me of Savage Worlds, a system that is relatively easy for kids from 10 up to grasp.

    1. I've never played Savage Worlds: do you think what I'm doing is too similar? Do you think it's missing something that makes Savage Worlds work?

    2. Savage Worlds uses the same mechanic of assigning dice to stats and skills and then adding them up, other than that its not that similar.

    3. Do you keep stacking dice for more advantages? Do you add them ALL up if you have more than two?

    4. No, there is a link between the die-type used for attributes and the die-type used for the linked skill, but this is more for character creation and development. In game the PC generally makes a one-die roll (with appropriate modifiers) to determine the success of any given action.
      Check out the SW-lite rules download (shouldn't be too hard to Google) if you want to see how they do it.

    5. @MikePage: Oooh, didn't know they had a free download. Thanks, I'll check it out! :-D


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