Dungeon Dressing: Dungeon Names
By Thilo Graf
This installment of the Dungeon Dressing-line is 15 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 2 pages editorial, 1 page ToC/introduction, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
What’s in a name? A lot. “The Dungeon of Graves”, “The Tomb of Horrors”, “The House on Gryphon Hill”, the “Desert of Desolation” – all of these have become household names in most gamer’s library. An iconic name goes a long way to make a location interesting and thus, in contrast to most dungeon dressing-offerings, this one deals with the NAMES of dungeons you create.
As a name-generator, the pdf first analyses name components, looking at name complexity, descriptors, subjects and proper names before introducing us to a d8-table that allows us to set basic structures à la The [descriptor] [complex] of the [descriptor] [subject]. Devising legends and taking into account the option that the tables may generate unsuitable examples and how to deal with this is covered as well before we delve into the first table, which features 100 different types of names for the locations – from A like abbey to donjons, cysts and ziggurats, we get a nice variety that is complemented by 20 ready-made dungeon-names to choose from.
The second table deserves special mentioning, since it offers on the surface 100 entries for descriptors, but these don’t mean that there only are 100 descriptors to choose from. In fact, each and every of the entries has AT LEAST 2 words associated – with e.g. entry 6 sporting “Evil, bad, destructive, harmful, vicious, malignant, wicked, pernicious, baleful, cruel, baneful, maleficent, depraved, infamous, vile, degenerate, diabolical, detestable and malevolent” – that’s 19 words for one entry! You get the idea – the table offers much more than its 100 entries would lead you to believe at first sight.
The subject-table uses a similar approach in its 50 entries, though it does not get that detailed, offering for example an entry for a body part or one for material and sample sublevels included. 20 different sample tribal names are also included.
Where the Sword & Sorcery-heart in my chest skipped a beat was with the proper-name-table of 100 entries, which features 100 entries like Carthe or Zshoth and comes with 50 prefixes to further modify these names. Finally, we get a 100-entry table of names of parts of dungeon (like Banquet chamber, Pantry etc.) as well as 20 pregenerated dungeon names.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP’s crisp, printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out. Both pdfs are extensively bookmarked and the b/w-artworks I haven’t seen in any other product so far deserve special mentioning due to their high quality.
This generator could have easily been half as useful as it is – just make one entry per word and this could have been spread to an array of up to 5 different installments of the series, all considerably less useful than this turned out to be. Raging Swan Press instead opted for the high road and Creighton Broadhurst’s name-generator in the end stands as one of the finest examples for such a supplement I’ve seen so far. Useful and user-friendly, quick and concise, this is a great little dungeon-name generator. My final verdict will thus be 5 stars for a great generator. If you’re looking for one/a resource to create iconic names, then take a look at this – you won’t regret it.
Dungeon Dressing: Dungeon Names is available from: