Where did the "1/3 monsters, 1/3 traps, 1/3 empty rooms" rule come from? Probably not a real rule, likely a house rule, but I've heard it tons of times. Is it a warping of the rule you are talking about talysman?
The actual probabilities on p. 7 come down to these (with translation to a 2d6 toss in parentheses): 1/6 (2-4) Monster 5/9 (5-8) Neither Monster Nor Treasure 1/9 (9) Treasure (Hidden or Trapped) 1/6 (10-12) Monster and Treasure
Note that the recommendation on p. 6 is to resort to tossing only after thoughtfully placing “several of the most important treasures, with or without monstrous guardians.” I would add that the most important tricks and traps — the ones you’ve put considerable thought into devising — ought likewise to be placed with care rather than randomly (and won’t necessarily accompany minor treasures).
I don’t recall having personally encountered literally featureless dungeon chambers.
For random generation, I have the Judges Guild’s Ready Ref Sheets with the Searching tables, and the more extensive Dungeon Dressing tables in the 1E DMG. I probably have some more of such ilk less immediately at hand, including some I made myself.
Fairly often, I find that brainstorming generates quite a lot (often inspired by scenes in books or movies). I think that’s probably something at which one can get better with practice. Try to do a little frequently for potential future use, rather than getting under pressure to come up with a lot at once.
Another technique is to figure that a level either is currently or was formerly set up to serve a household or community (fortress, monastery or temple, overlord’s palace, prison, tribal enclave, wizard’s laboratory, etc.). More interestingly, the former and current functions can be significantly different.
Then one can figure what kinds of locations that implies. Simply jotting down a notation such as ‘kitchen’ or ‘library’ might be enough for you to improvise in play, or you might need to use inference to write down more ahead of time.
Last Edit: Feb 12, 2023 14:22:31 GMT -6 by dwayanu
Some dungeons may be more packed because of their current function (steading of a giant chieftain, gauntlet for adventurers designed by a wizard, etc.).
The same can hold for some regions of an otherwise largely abandoned ‘megadungeon’. However, I see the latter less populated environment as serving a different purpose from the game design perspective.
As I see it, the main point is to build suspense. I want it to be like one of those darkness shrouded horror movies in which there’s a lot of tension in what might lurk behind a door or in shifting shadows, or be heralded by creaking floorboards.
This does not mean I want players to get bogged down in a fine combed search of each and every room; that’s actually contrary to the desired atmosphere and pacing. What it will incur is wandering monsters, along with using up supplies such as torches and eventually food and water.
Once they have identified a target to raid, the room to maneuver contributes tactical potential both on the attack and in case of retreat.