Dungeon Adventuring


Sequence of Play Per Turn

  1. Wandering monsters: The referee makes checks as applicable.
  2. Actions: The party decides what action to take (e.g. moving, searching, listening, entering rooms).
  3. Description: The referee describes what happens. If monsters are encountered, follow the procedure described in Encounters.
  4. End of turn: The referee updates time records, with special attention to light sources, spell durations, and the party’s need to rest.


Dungeons often have many doors, some secret and others obvious. Many are locked and many are stuck.

Secret Doors

Secret doors can only be spotted if characters are specifically looking for them. See Searching.

Locked Doors

Locks may be picked by a character proficient with lock picks or opened by magic.

Stuck Doors

Forcing: The chance of forcing open a stuck door depends on the character’s Strength (see Ability Scores).

Surprise: A failed attempt to force open a door eliminates any possibility of surprise (see Encounters) that the party may have against any monsters on the other side of the door.

Doors Swinging Shut

Doors opened by adventurers (by whatever means) are likely to swing shut after they pass. To prevent this, doors may be held open using iron spikes or other wedges.

Monsters and Doors

Monsters that live in the dungeon can usually open doors (even stuck doors), unless they are blocked, magically closed, or wedged shut with spikes.

Listening at Doors

Chance of success: PCs have a 1-in-6 chance of detecting subtle sounds beyond a door. (Some types of adventurers may have an increased chance of success.)

Referee rolls: The referee should always roll for the character listening so that the player never knows if the roll failed or if there simply is no sound behind the door.

One chance: This attempt may only be made one time at any door by a character.

Silent monsters: Some monsters, such as undead, do not make any noise.


Exploring the unknown: When exploring unknown areas of a dungeon, characters can move their movement rate in feet per turn. This (very slow!) rate of movement takes account for the fact that PCs are exploring, watching their footing, mapping, and trying to be quiet and avoid obstacles.

In familiar areas: When PCs are moving through dungeon areas with which they are familiar, the referee may allow them to move at a faster rate. For example, the referee might allow PCs to move at three times their base movement rate per turn, when moving through familiar areas.


Frequency of rest: Characters must rest for one turn every hour in the dungeon.

Penalty for not resting: If characters press on without resting, they suffer a penalty of –1 to hit and damage rolls until they have rested for one turn.


Dungeons often include hidden features such as secret doors and traps. Adventurers can spot these by searching.

Area: The player must declare the particular 10’ × 10’ area to be searched.

Time: Searching takes one turn.

Chance of success: If a character is searching in the right location, there is a base 1-in-6 chance of finding a secret door or room trap. (Some types of adventurers may have an increased chance.)

Referee rolls: The referee should always roll for the character searching, so that the player never knows if the roll failed or if there are simply no hidden features in the area searched.

One chance: Each character can only make one attempt to search an area.


There are two kinds of traps:

  • Treasure traps: Small traps placed on an item, to prevent it being tampered with or stolen (e.g. a poison needle on a chest or lock).
  • Room traps: Large traps that are designed to affect anyone who enters a certain area (e.g. a pit that opens in the floor when walked over).

Triggering Traps

Each trap is triggered by a specific action (e.g. opening a door or walking over a particular area).

Chance of triggering: Every time a character makes an action that could trigger a trap, there is a 2-in-6 chance of the trap being sprung.

Trap damage: Damage inflicted by a triggered trap is usually automatic, without an attack roll.

Monsters: Monsters may be able to bypass traps without risk, if the referee wishes.

Searching for Traps

Room traps: Adventurers may choose to search a 10’ × 10’ area for room traps. If the search succeeds, the trap is discovered. See Searching.

Treasure traps: Most adventurers do not have the requisite knowledge of subtle mechanisms to locate small traps such as poisoned needles. (Some types of adventurers may have this ability, as noted in their class description.)

Wandering Monsters

Frequency: A check is typically rolled once every two turns in the dungeon.

Chance: The typical chance of encountering a wandering monster is 1-in-6.

Distance: Wandering monsters are encountered 2d6 × 10 feet away, moving in the direction of the party.