I’m sure this is all very boring, well-tread territory for B/X gamers.

The first thing I wanted to take a stab at was “delve length.” I’m sure once I’ve set some baselines I can create specialized dungeon tables, but the first thought I had was about how long the average solo delve should be. “At least one milestone.”

A milestone is a 4e concept, as far as I’m aware, which represents the completion of two combat encounters. When you hit a milestone, you gain an action point, and certain magic items may activate — magic rings will generally gain a charge.

But there needs to be more than just that. I figure that a couple rolls of the dice need to go into just about any dungeon creation — especially if it’s random — and that perhaps a good place to start is with a question — “how many rooms?”

Now, I think if we’re going to assume for an average of ten encounters to a level, then no one “normal” dungeon should contribute more than that — so I figure a simple 2d6 roll to determine the number of rooms/passages, and then assume that fully one-third of the rooms and halls will be empty.

By that math, even if you got the maximum result of twelve, you wouldn’t get more than half a level’s worth of experience from a single delve. The average (7) will only give you 4-5 encounters, and unless you’re facing stuff drastically higher in level than you are, you should get about a third of your level’s experience.

Then I figure, if you flee from tough stuff, four or five average delves should garner you a level. It’s about playing smart, after all. But if you can run away, where’s the risk? I figure that’s where random encounters come into play.

I’ve been thinking over something I read in Alex Schroeder’s Swiss Referee Style Manual about random encounters, abstracting travel, and such. See, retreat is an important option to have available at all times — when you find yourself in over your head, know when to run away and try again later.

And sometimes, you get ganked on your way back to town.

I’m going to leave this entry fairly non-conclusive while I continue to review my rules for running a Roguelike game for yourself — these are some of my initial thoughts on the matter. I’ll be back with more soon, maybe even rules.