Appendix N Part 2 - GamesAppendix N Part 2 - Games

In the last post I talked about some of the fiction that has had an impact on A Dungeon Game. Today I want to talk about some of the other games that have influenced its design.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, 2nd Edition

2nd Edition is the game that got me started with RPGs, back in 1994 with the release of the First Quest beginner box set. For many years I’ve toyed with writing my own retroclone of it, and that’s probably something that’s still on the cards in the future.

Although AD&D 2e is a much more complex game than A Dungeon Game it’s very much in the DNA. All of the underlying maths of ADG is pulled from 2e. The XP thresholds were originally identical to the 2e Wizard advancement, though they’ve been tweaked as I’ve worked on the game. All the underlying maths from my treasure tables comes from spending far too long analysing D&D’s treasure tables to figure out their underlying logic. Most of the monsters in the bestiary are conversions of 2e monsters.

The Vanilla Game

Jared Sinclair’s Vanilla Game was my go-to OSR system before I wrote A Dungeon Game, so it’s no surprise that it ended up informing the design of the game. A Dragon Game, the progenitor of A Dungeon Game, used a basic roll under system. Once I introduced armour classes I needed a way for armour to be meaningful, and since I’d been playing a lot of Vanilla Game I was immediately drawn to the roll between” mechanism there. I also really love how all the monster stats are derived from their hit dice.

For a long time the light rules in ADG used a variation on Logan Knight’s Light Check, revised to use just six-sided dice. I still really like that system on paper but in play it made for a lot of bookkeeping and rolling for players. I realised that the more I ran the game, the more I was scrapping those rules and running light in the same way that Vanilla Game does it. Eventually I realised that the game text should reflect the way that I run it, so I adopted those rules (with a slight variation to add a light saving throw when the light source is threatened).


The original version of ADG lifted the spell system from Bastards. whole-cloth. Two source words combined in whatever way you feel like” really resonates with me and I’ve had a lot of fun playing Bastards.. A Dragon Game was intentionally very sparse and this system fit it perfectly.

In growing it to a larger system in A Dungeon Game I’ve expanded on this base, adding different spell types as well as scrolls, and I’m currently writing a supplement that introduces spells with fixed/pre-determined effects for players who aren’t comfortable coming up with spell effects on the fly, but the Bastards. core is still there at the heart of it all.

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