This post recounts a 5-minute solo play on a work break using James Hron's Dungeon Builder, which is tricky to use but a very cool format. For rules I used Nate Treme's Tunnel Goons.
Dungeon BuilderI've described Tunnel Goons in a previous entry. Dungeon Builder is an idea generator. You have a two-level map with dungeon rooms. In each of the rooms is a series of three single-digit numbers, e.g. 211 or 332. Sometimes you see 2--. In the pamphlet is a number of tables with three columns of words each. The numbers in the rooms reference which table to roll on and the position of the number says which column. So 211 means roll for a word in the first column of table 2, then roll on table 1 for a word in the second column and one from the third column of the same table. 2-- means roll once and read all three words straight across, using table 2. Clever, huh?
Dive 1My Goons character is Kravdraa (aardvark backwards): HP 10, Brute 0, Skulker 1, Erudite 2. Carrying: dagger, pizza, midnight blue robe
Underlined stuff was generated randomly.
Kravdraa enters The Grisly Halls of Hell. Snooping around he found a loose stone and pried it free. Upon doing so, however, a poison viper jumped out and bit him (DC 5, rolled a 2, 2 damage, HP 08). Behind the stone was a spellbook.
Taking the left hand door from there, Kravdraa found himself in a courtyard with a strange tree. It's sappy red bark (bloodbark) made Kravdraa uneasy, but just as he decided not to go further into the room, the tree reached for him with it's suddenly animate, leafless branches (vampire, unstable)! Kravdraa tried to evade, but was trapped. (DC 12, rolled a 4, HP now 0).
The tree hugged K to its bark and slowly drank his blood over several days like a delicious milkshake, converting him into a sapling slave.
Dive 2Oops. Maybe I had better add some reaction rolls. Take two.
Tabmow (see what I did there?): HP 10, Brute 1, Skulker 1, Erudite 1. Carrying: mace, leather jack, torch.
Revisits the Grisly Halls of Hell! (I didn't re-roll the name.) In the first room, a sneaky outlaw with a bow was hiding. Tabmow failed to see him, but the outlaw turned out to be friendly. (Reaction roll.) He was scared of this place and decided to team up with Tabmow.
They take a right, down a short hall and enter a room in which a unicorn is being overshadowed by a spooky illusion! Tabmow suspects it is an illusion and tries to scatter it with his will but fails. The spooky illusion reaches for the outlaw and the outlaw's heart freezes in his chest, instantly killing him. This makes Tabmow mad and a fight ensues in which Tabmow drives off the illusion but takes damage (HP now 8).
Tabmow sets the unicorn free and heads toward the entrance with the beautiful beast in tow (reaction 8), but Tabmow gets there by a different path/door. This was unfortunate as Tabmow and Uni ran into a nightmarish "hollow" wizard. The wizard was contemplating reality and didn't become immediately aggressive, but he did tell them to "Turn back!" -- and they did, because this guy looked tough. (He was.)
Going back the way they came however, they were blocked by a set of precious undead teeth – floating fangs of pure gold – chattering madly at them as they danced around the room just out of reach! Tabmow and the unicorn charged the choppers and made short work of them to escape.
FindingsTunnel Goons is quick and fun, but very swingy when it comes to combat. Probably needs more hit points or something. It's very easy to die in 2 failed rolls. I guess, when you think about it, your character is a DC 7, because when you roll 2d6 you would do/take damage 50% of the time against another DC 7, right? You'd be evenly matched. So rating "easy" as an 8 might be a stretch. That's probably average difficulty because you will usually have at least a +1 at your disposal. Easy should be more like 5 or 6. To Nate's credit, it's hard to set difficulty standards because you don't know how liberal people will be with adding +s from their inventory. If the average bonus is something like +3, then his DCs would be spot on.
Dungeon Builder is a cool start to something better, but a bit rough in its current form. I felt like the columns of text were missing some sort of underlying structure (like adjective, threat-noun, twist) that would have made the results a bit more meaningful and easier to interpret.