Adventure Design


  1. Map the unknown
  2. Scout enemy outpost
  3. Pacify area for future development
  4. Destroy enemy threat
  5. Visit lost shrine (recover relic, remove curse, etc.)
  6. Complete quest
  7. Escape enemies
  8. Rescue prisoners
  9. Cross/close/open magic portal
  10. Locate the lost (lost expedition, lost ancient race, etc.)


  1. Crypt, tomb, or necropolis
  2. Temple or shrine (possibly ancient or lost)
  3. City, town, or outpost
  4. Castle, keep, or tower
  5. Caves, cavern, sinkhole, ravine
  6. Mine, sewers, chthonic settlement

Random Dungeon Room Stocking

After thoughtfully placing unique monsters and treasures, the referee may stock the remainder of a large dungeon area using the following table.

d12 Room Contents
1–3 Empty
4 Trick/trap (no treasure)
5–7 Monster (no treasure)
8–10 Treasure & Monster
11 Treasure & trick/trap
12 Treasure (concealed/hidden)

Traps and Tricks

Make deadly traps obvious. What the trap does and its trigger beg investigation, but telegraph its presence to the players. Foreshadow a room that fills with poison gas, for example, with an acrid smell and faint hissing noise; players who fail to cautiously pursue those hints (or retreat from the room) can’t complain about a save-or-die roll after they turn the dogging wheel on the opposite door, to find both doors sealed and green steam gushing from nozzles in the ceiling.

Make gotcha traps — poison needles in door knobs or faux floors that drop characters into pits without warning — inflict only minor damage or temporary penalties, like 1–3 hp damage or double-vision for a day (-1 to hit).

Tricks differ from traps in that they befuddle players rather than harming characters. Tricks might be as simple as a false door, or as sophisticated as an imperceptibly revolving room that opens onto different hallways depending on its orientation. Tricks include puzzles, riddles, and nonsense, like a sliding tile game built into a dungeon floor that the characters must arrange to show a picture of an open door, or a verse inscribed on a wall that the players complete by following the rhyme scheme.

Experience Awards

Labyrinth Lord normally awards one experience point for gold piece looted, plus some XP for monsters killed, divided between the player characters.

Instead, we award XP only for recovered treasure (1 gp = 1 XP)

Reward the following types of things:

Design adventures and place treasures in a way that rewards characters every time they do one of the above things.

Multiply the award value below by the number of characters (or ×5 if we don’t know the number of characters in advance):

Lvl Each XP/GP Award
1 182
2 182
3 304
4 487
5 735
6 1086
7 1608
8 2375
9 2178
10 2445
11+ 2472

Wandering Monster List-Making List

  1. Traveling: 1. Elsewhere on current level 2. Level above 3. Level below 4. Surface 5. Very secret passage 6. By magic
  2. Escorting: 1. Slaves 2. Enemy captives 3. Friendly VIP 4. Criminals 5. Livestock 6. Diplomatic mission
  3. Delivering: 1. News (individual notification) 2. News (proclamation) 3. Flyering 4. Tribute (paying) 5. Tribute (collecting) 6. Foodstuffs 7. Threats 8. Weapons 9. Intelligence/maps 10. Raw material (ore, clay, wool, hides, dyes, lumber, bones/antlers, plant fiber)
  4. Patrolling/hunting: 1. Searching for intruders 2. Searching for lost fellows 3. Hunting food 4. Sport hunting
  5. Raiding: 1. Property on same level 2. Property on level above 3. Property on level below 4. Freeing of friendly captives 5. Kidnapping enemies 6. Counting coup, pulling pranks, or making mischief
  6. Labor: 1. Decorating 2. Structural repairs (doors, beams, bridges, stairs) 3. Setting/fixing traps 4. Demolition/renovation 5. Mining 6. Harvesting 7. Cleaning 8. Crafting 9. Cooking 10. Brewing
  7. Fighting: 1. Enemy from same level 2. Enemy from level above 3. Enemy from level below 4. Among themselves
  8. Socializing: 1. Race 2. Boxing/wresting 3. Sacrifice 4. Wedding 5. Initiation 6. Funeral 7. Parade 8. Dance 9. Wake 10. Parlor game 11. Negotiation 12. Performance 13. Consecration 14. Commemoration 15. Worship 16. Coronation/award 17. Vote 18. Carnival/circus 19. Bacchanal 20. Trial/execution

Adventure Checklist

When planning a session, especially a short adventure or lair-type dungeon, consider including the following elements:

Setting up a Megadungeon

The type of “lair” dungeons seen in adventure modules is composed of one or two dozen rooms spread over one to three vertical levels, and occupied by a handful of different monster types. A megadungeon, on the other hand, descends at least ten levels deep — each level more perilous than the one above it — with dozens or hundreds of rooms per level occupied by numerous monster factions. Such a dungeon acts as the centerpiece of a whole campaign. Player characters venture from the safety of town week after week to plumb the dungeon’s depths.