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How to Play Dungeons & Dragons Solo - Part 9 - Ruins, Monuments and Fortresses, a Solo DnD Tutorial

Hello solo roleplayers Tom here, welcome to my blog, 'Solo Dungeon Crawler' and this series of article, 'How to Play Dungeons and Dragons Solo', where I explore the concept of playing solitaire DnD using old school BECMI DnD rules.

If you're well versed in the various DnD books I have perused so far, you may have wondered why I haven't included certain elements alongside some of the things I have borrowed for my solo DnD ruleset. All I will say on the matter is... All in good time.

How to Play Dungeons & Dragons Solo - Part 9 - Ruins, Monuments and Fortresses, a Solo DnD Tutorial

Small Dwellings and Ruins

One such element, is a table given in the AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide on page 173. It's included as part of the Random Wilderness Terrain (Appendix B). Im going to make use of this now by adapting it so it no longer places well established settlements, like substantial towns or major cities, as we already have a fleshed out procedure for generating random settlements. Instead, I will alter the table so it generates interesting wilderness features, which stand apart from the settled places. These features will be a great opportunity for the solo DnD roleplayer to discover dungeons for adventuring opportunities.

One of the main changes I'm going to make to the table is incorperating a similar table I've found in the 5th Edition Dungeon Master's Guide (page 108), which is used to generate random monuments for adventurer's to stumble upon while traversing the wilderness. I think it's a perfect addition. Some of the results are great just as a backdrop and might work well as a dungeon entrance in my solo DnD campaign.

I will add the Monuments Table as a sub table and I will also replace settlements in the main table with ruins. These ruins are begging to be the next major dungeon entrance!

Im also going to add the required rolls to determine the population of the settlements. These settlements exist apart from the larger settlements and so they may not have a road leading to or from them. The random wilderness generation mechanism which controls the roads will determine this.

Here's the adapted table:

Roll 1d100 each hex to check for the possibility of a structure.

  • 1 to 3 = Single dwelling with 1d12 population
  • 4 or 5 = Thorp with 1d4 * 20 population
  • 6 or 7 = Hamlet with 1d4 * 100 population
  • 8 or 9 = Ruined Town or City
  • 10 = Shrine
  • 11 = Tomb
  • 12 to 14 = Castle (see castle tables)
  • 15 or 16 = Monument (roll on the Monuments Table)
  • 17 to 100 = Uninhabited


In places where civilisation rules or once ruled, adventurer's might find monuments built to honor great leaders, gods, and cultures (Wizards of the Coast, 2014)

Roll on the monuments table to determine what monument the adventurers stumble upon. (Wizards of the Coast, 2014)

Quick Note: remember that each hex represents 6 miles at the usual Kingdom Scale, so there's a lot of scope when travelling through any given hex. A monument might be discovered but it doesnt mean it will be seen again when travelling through the same hex later.

Here is the Monuments Table:

  • 1 = Sealed burial mound or pyramid
  • 2 = Plundered burial mound or pyramid
  • 3 = Faces carved into a mountainside or cliff
  • 4 = Giant statues carved out of a mountainside or cliff
  • 5 or 6 = Intact obelisk etched with a warning, historical lore, dedication, or religious iconography
  • 7 or 8 = Ruined or toppled obelisk
  • 9 or 10 = Intact statue of a person or deity
  • 11 to 13 = Ruined or toppled statue of a person or deity
  • 14 = Great stone wall, intact, with tower fortifications spaced at one mile intervals
  • 15 = Great stone wall in ruins
  • 16 = Great stone arch
  • 17 = Fountain
  • 18 = Intact circle of standing stones
  • 19 = Ruined or toppled circle of standing stones
  • 20 = Totem pole

Figure 1, Monuments (Wizards of the Coast 2014, pg. 108)

I will update the Solo Dungeon Crawler Wilderness Generator so it includes the above two tables


You might notice that castles are included in this table. This table will now replace the old procedure in which I proposed rolling a d20 to check for the possibility of a castle. I will update the Solo Dungeon Crawler Exploration Rules accordingley.

The AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide also has a useful table in Appendix C, which I can use to improve how castles operate in my solo DnD game. I will adopt these rules now.

The first thing I will do is copy Castle Table 1 from the Appendix C into my notebook so I can determine the type and size of any castle encountered, as follows:

  • 1 to 10 - Small - Small shell keep
  • 11 to 25 - Small - Tower
  • 26 to 35 - Small - Moat house or friary
  • 36 to 45 - Medium - Large shell keep
  • 46 to 65 - Medium - Small walled castle with keep
  • 66 to 80 - Medium - Medium walled castle with keep
  • 81 to 88 - Large - Concentric castle
  • 89 to 95 - Large - Large walled castle with keep
  • 96 to 00 - Large - Fortress complex

Figure 2, Castle Table I: Size, Class & Type (Gygax 1979, pg.182)

Solo DnD Tutorial

Next I'm going to copy Castle Table 2 into my notebook so I can discover which inhabitants are found in the castle. You'll now see why it was important to categorise the castle types into their relative sizes previously. It's because this table requires a seperate roll for each size, wether small, medium or large.

  • 1 to 45 - Small - Totally deserted
  • 46 to 60 - Small - Deserted (monster therein*)
  • 61 to 70 - Small - Humans
  • 71 to 00 - Small - Character-types
  • 1 to 30 - Medium - Totally deserted
  • 31 to 50 - Medium - Deserted (monster therein*)
  • 51 to 65 - Medium - Humans
  • 66 to 00 - Medium - Character-types
  • 1 to 15 - Large - Totally desered
  • 16 to 40 - Large - Deserted (monster therein*)
  • 41 to 60 - Humans
  • 61 to 00 - Character-types

*Roll on the appropriate outdoor encounter table, ignoring any rolls which indicate humans.

Figure 3, Castle Table II: Inhabitants (Gygax 1979, pg.182)

The AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide also gives further details for each result on the table, as follows:

Totally deserted: indicates the construction is in disrepair and upon close inspection appears empty. (Gygax, 1979)

Deserted castles appear as totally deserted ones, even upon close inspection, but entry into the construction will discover the monster. (Gygax, 1979)

Humans means that the place is occupied by bandits, brigands, etc. Determine this as follows: (Gygax, 1979)

I now have another table to include in my solo DnD campaign, which will allow me to determine who these humans are...

  • 1 to 25 = Bandits
  • 26 to 85 = Brigands
  • 86 to 97 = Berserkers
  • 98 to 00 = Dervishes

Figure 3, Castle Sub-Table II.A (Gygax 1979, pg.183)

The AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide also gives a further table (Castle Sub-Table II.B) for determining which character-types are present. I already have a table though, which I previously included in the Solo Dungeon Crawler Exploration Rules and that table is more appropriate to my chosen ruleset (BECMI) so I will stick with that one for now. The exploration rules also contain information on how to handle how the castle owners will react towards the party.

Quick Note: I have moved some of the tables from the Solo Dungeon Crawler Exploration Rules into the Solo Dungeon Crawler Wilderness Generator as this is now a more appropriate way to organise the information now it has been expanded.

Dungeon Entrances

Many of the mysterious ruined structures an adventurer or adventuring party will stumble across will make perfect dungeon entrances. I'm ruling that in all cases where a dungeon entrance is likely then there is a 100% chance that one exists. Why not, when dungeons are often the bread and butter of the game?!

Be sure to check for more content. In the meantime:

See you next session...

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Solo Dungeon Crawler Character Record Sheet

Solo Dungeon Crawler Dungeon Generator

Solo Dungeon Crawler Time Tracker

Solo Dungeon Crawler Wilderness Generator

Solo Dungeon Crawler Exploration Rules

Solo Dungeon Crawler Wilderness Encounters

Solo Dungeon Crawler Settlement Generator


Wizards of the Coast, 2014, D&D 5th Edition Dungeon Master's Guide, Wizards of the Coast

Wizards of the Coast, 2014, Monuments, D&D 5th Edition Dungeon Master’s Guide, Wizards of the Coast LLC, pg.108

Gygax, G, 1979, Castle Table I:Size, Class & Type, AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide, TSR Hobbies Inc, pg. 182

Gygax, G, Castle Table II: Inhabitants, AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide, TSR Hobbies Inc, pg.182

Gygax, G, AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide, TSR Hobbies Inc

Gygax, G, Castle Sub-Table II.A, AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide, TSR Hobbies Inc, pg.183


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