Skip to Content

Zelda Style Dungeon Crawl?

2 replies [Last post]
Joined: 02/16/2014

After reading some old posts, I had the general idea for a dungeon crawl. I've always wanted to make a cool dungeon crawl, but I've always been stumped on mechanics, etc.

What if you did a dungeon crawl Zelda style? In otherwords, have multiple levels per dungeon. Each level would have a few tiles, with different rooms and puzzles. After completing a level, you'd advance to the next level, and keep going till you fight the boss.

-Fun, unique combat system
-Persistent upgrades/levels? How would this work? It'd be really cool!
-Class system or classless? Should I have a bunch of unique classes, with abilities, or should it be like Link, where you mostly just get better gear. I normally would prefer a class system, but I don't know if it would work really well in this system. I guess with the Link style, you could have a bunch of random cool loot with awesome effects.

I would REALLY appreciate input and ideas! Thanks a lot!

Link to main inspiration:

Joined: 07/03/2013
I've seen a few...

I've seen a few in my travels throughout boardgamia. The Order of the Stick adventure game kind of did this, as do games like Betrayal at the House on the Hill, and others. However, games like this haven't been over done, so seeing another in the works wouldn't kill the genre by any stretch.

The trick would be puzzles: how do you keep the combination obscure from new and experienced players alike? You could have one player that plays as the dungeon, or have the player split into two teams that decide how dungeons are made and simultaneously try to defeat the other team's dungeon, and that could allow you to have replayability without a ton of expansions. Instead, have symbols on a tile (like at a switch and at a door) correlate to other things in the dungeon, and the players can figure out the rest.

Some Random Dude
Joined: 01/30/2014

If you're just looking for generic puzzles to put in, and not dungeon specific ones that would rely on a separate player designing and implementing them, then I suggest looking at Mansions of Madness' puzzle system.

Basically, when you come up to a locked door, etc. in that game, a group of tiles are placed beside the board. These tiles could be a "slide puzzle" set-up, or it will be a center tile with different symbols on each side, and tiles coming off of those symbols. Then, players are allowed to rotate, swap, or discard-and-draw tiles a number of times equal to a particular character stat (in this case, Lore). It rewards players who actually play the game, and doesn't necessarily make the better characters win the game for you. It is also not an "unsolvable" puzzle, since you can always exchange a bad piece for a new one.


Also, when I think of all my time playing Zelda games, there are two core themes of each dungeon besides the puzzles: unique bosses/final bosses, and unique dungeon-specific loot. The bosses could be random if you'd like, or maybe random from a subset of bosses. Perhaps, they roll a die at the beginning of the dungeon, and the "fire" result means they draw monsters from the fire deck, and they randomly get a fire boss at the end (out of 5 potential fire bosses, for instance).

The dungeon specific loot is in reference to how, in Ocarina of Time for instance, you get the Hookshot in one temple, and you have to start using it immediately in that temple. You also have maps and compasses in EVERY dungeon since the beginning of the series.


A few ways to go about doing this game:

1) One-off adventures. Random Dungeon, random loot, random bosses, etc.

2) Chained adventures that are predetermined. This requires you to design the "campaign" while designing the game.

3) A "reverse choose-your-own-adventure". Basically, the first dungeon is random. After completing that, there is a book that the players reference that determines where they go next (i.e., "We just found the Shining Spear in the Fire Dungeon, so we look at this table and... next up is the Water Dungeon!"... then later "Turns out the Water Temple had the Helm of Truth, so now we go to..."). This would require a lot of work like #2, but leave the randomness (and replay ability) in the game. All roads would lead to the "final dungeon" where you use all the items you've collected against the end boss.

So, my vote is for #3, but it is the most complex** to design. But this is how games like Betrayal at House on the Hill, Tales of Arabian Nights, etc. get all the love they get.

**And you better believe this is complicated. I created a StarCraft RPG using the map creator for StarCraft, and every time you won a mission, it would check certain parameters to determine which mission to load next. There were so many variables I missed that my first playthrough it kept failing to load because no mission took EVERY contingency into account.

Syndicate content

forum | by Dr. Radut