We’re talking about making dungeon creation like character creation.

It seems to me as though there should be a fairly obvious connection between a dungeon’s “race” and the kind of monsters you find there. If we continue the train of thought that a dungeon is like a character, what should choosing a race do to the dungeon beyond stocking it with appropriately-themed monsters?

Encounters, Monsters, Obstacles, Treasure, Puzzles, and Secrets.

Those are our “ability scores” when we talk about dungeons as characters. I’ve mentioned before how ineffective “mere” ability scores bonuses are when we talk about all the things a race can do for a character in terms of definition.

So instead of adding a generic +2 Puzzles and +2 Secrets when you apply a “race” to a dungeon, what sort of derived attributes might you get instead? Answering that will require us to delve into a bit more of what they entail.

A dungeon’s Encounters score represents a mixture of obstacles, enemies, and “breathing room.” It’s important that not every dungeon be filled to bursting with enemies, nor every trap suggest instant death should the PCs fail to detect it.

Choosing a “race” for your dungeon should inform you as to the ratio of monsters to traps to empty rooms. Goblins for example, will have a high volume of traps, fewer empty rooms, and probably more enemies per encounter overall.

The Monsters score indicates how tough individual encounters ought to be on average, possibly indicating the likelihood of super-tough enemies like “elites” and/or “solo” monsters. There might be an indication of an overall strategy.

Selecting a race for your dungeon should give you a good idea of how many monsters to include per encounter with that type of enemy — zombies, skeletons, goblins, and wolves are often encountered in packs for example. Ghosts, golems, liches, and necromancers however, are often one-of-a-kind.

Obstacles should give an indication of how difficult it is to overcome the various spike pits, dead-falls, water-filling rooms, and triggered magic symbols should be to detect, trigger, avoid, escape, reset, re-purpose and/or steal.

Your dungeon’s race should indicate the intent behind obstacles in the dungeon — in a cavern full of mindless undead, obstacles probably weren’t placed there intentionally by the restless dead — but instead represent natural obstacles, and the occasional result of a thirty-zombie pileup. (Sea of bodies? Egads!)

A Treasure score should help you figure out the value, utility, and fluidity of any treasure discovered in the dungeon. A high score may represent useful magic items and easily-traded coins, while a low score may represent spell reagents or artwork requiring you to find a buyer, or other miscellaneous “vendor trash.”

Choosing a race should help you figure out what kind of items your dungeon’s inhabitants are likely to hoard. A dragon is easy — lots and lots and lots of gold. Goblins will collect garbage. Orcs and hobgolins like weapons and armor.

The last two, Puzzles and Secrets are more esoteric — they represent doors to be opened mysteries to be unraveled — not to mention how difficult or obscure these things will be to discover and solve. One fairly common and straightforward puzzle found in many dungeons might be, “This is a deathtrap. Get out now.”

Dwarves like secret doors, and cunning or paranoid wizards like to hide their research. Goblins and kobolds like to create some mind-bending trap rooms — probably also reflected in a higher “Obstacles” score.

Once you’ve chosen a “race” for your dungeon, you’ll need a “class.” But what kind of class might a dungeon have? What is their purpose?