Dungeons Dark

Inspired by and adapted from Cthulhu Dark, these rules are designed for play-by-forum fantasy adventures.

Your Character

Choose a name and a class. Describe your character. You get a Level die, and your Level starts at 1.

Dealing with Danger

When you try something dangerous, roll:

  • Your Level die
  • One die if the attempt is within your class capabilities
  • One die if your name is at stake

Your highest die shows how well you do. On a 1, you barely succeed. On a 6, you do brilliantly.

Level Rolls: If your Level die rolls higher than any other die, then you must make an additional roll against your Level. If the roll is higher than your Level, then you lose a Level. If your Level ever reaches 0, then you perish.

Rerolling: If you’re not happy with the result of your roll, you may reroll (all the dice) and use the new result instead. If your Level die rolled higher than any other die, make a Level Roll, even if you made one after your previous roll.

Cooperation: Everyone who is cooperating rolls their dice. The highest die, rolled by anyone, determines the outcome.

Magic: All arcane magic is inherently dangerous.

GM Rolls: The Game Master (GM) may make additional rolls to see how well you do at something that’s not dangerous or in opposition to something you attempt. In the case of opposition, you succeed if you roll the same or higher than the GM. For more information, see the GM Supplement.

Gaining Levels

When you have a chance to obtain substantial new treasure, roll your Level die. If you get higher than your Level, add 1 to your Level and describe what you found and why/how it will improve your adventuring prowess.

When your Level reaches 4, you have enough wealth to acquire a stronghold appropriate to your class.

When your Level reaches 5, your quest for immortality begins. Pick a goal for your character. This goal replaces finding hoards of treasure as the trigger for rolling to see if you level up.

When your Level reaches 6, you become an Immortal. This is a world-changing event, and the spotlight will shine your character for as long as you need to make this moment count. Do with it what you will!


Graham Walmsley designed Cthulhu Dark (PDF), upon which Dungeons Dark is based. In addition, I included several ideas from some brainstorming on the Story Games forum on how to hack Cthulhu Dark.