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Dungeons of Dangers is a system designed to run modules created for other game systems using an online game table, including maps and virtual miniatures. Play usually involves the GM selecting a module to run, and the players creating characters with motives to deal with the contents of the module. The system bears resemblance to Danger Patrol (and several hacks of Danger Patrol), with elements from other systems thrown in.


Chargen is a process of developing qualities of the character that are useful, which are collectively known as assets.


Each player rolls 4d3-7 six times, and records the values.

The player selects which of the scores they've generated will be associated with each attribute.


Each player selects two backgrounds. These are broad areas of competence similar to Classes in D&D, but being sure to relate to an actual sort of background rather than a description of a package of powers. Once each player has selected a background, start with the next player in the order and go around again and select backgrounds.

When applicable (see below,) backgrounds add a die to the asset pool.


Players may now select 15 points to purchase abilities. These are things that make the character stand out from the crowd as an extraordinary individual. These should fit in with the background unless the player can explain to the GM how the character came by them, and the GM agrees to allow them. But otherwise they can be whatever abilities the player decides to define for their character.

Ablities come in two forms, major abilities, and minor abilities.

Major abilities

Major abilites cost 3 points, and provide two asset dice in resolution. These represent broad areas of competency in which the character really excels. Typical major abilities include Melee Combat, Ranged Combat, Elemental Magic, Illusion Magic, Rituals of [fill in a deity], Thievery, Scholarship, Well Traveled, Perceptive, If it likely is a superset of other smaller abilities, it's a Major Ability. If you want to make a character quickly, stick with all Major Abilities.

Minor abilities

Minor abilities cost 1 point. These represent narrow areas of competency that help a character out in more limited circumstances, and not quite as reliably as a Major Ability. Typical minor abilities include individual skills or similar sorts of abilities like Plant Lore, Lock Picking, Sense Enemies, Swordsmanship, Knowledge of [City], or individual spells or magic abilities. If it would fit as a subset of a Major Ability, it's a minor ability. Also what constitutes one or another may simply be at the whim of the player depending on what they're willing to pay for the ability in question.

Exceptional Gear

Abilities may be purchased as special gear. Normal gear provides bonus dice under the right circumstances, and does not have to be purchased with the points used to buy abilities. Characters will start out with whatever normal gear the GM and the player can agree is appropriate.

If the gear is broadly applicable, it is a major ability. If the gear is narrowly applicable, it counts as a minor ability. Again which it is can simply be determined by how much the player is willing to pay for the ability.


Each character may have up to three motives identified for their character at any time. The player must determine at least one of these motives before play begins. Motives are worth two asset dice when they come very directly into play; the character has to be able to percieve how their current actions are leading directly to the goal in question. Being on the adventure itself is simply not enough.

Motives can change often; the player may ask at any time. As long as no participant in the game (or audience for the game) finds the motive to be uninteresting, the player can change the motive. Players attempting to assign lame motives should be jeered. Note that one of the motives must always be aimed at keeping the character in the adventure, unless the player would like to retire the character from the adventure.

If at any time the character has no motives that remain that are aimed at keeping them on the adventure, that character should try to get out of the action while they're still alive. Once out of the action, unless the player wants to give the character a motive to return, the character leaves play, and the player of the character may introduce a new character.

Victory Points

When a character accomplishes a motive, each player other than the player of the character in question, may elect to give the player 1 experience point. These are often good places to adjust motives, of course, especially if the motive can only be satisfied once.

See below for spending experience points.


Each turn a player can have their character take actions. What they can do depends on their current situation.

These actions are usually available:

  • Move Fast - character only gets passive perception checks
  • Move Carefully - the character may make an active perception check
  • Move and Act
  • Move and Address Obstacle
  • Rest

If the character is currently threatened by an obstacle these are the only safe actions:

  • Disengage from Obstacle
  • Shift and Address Obstacle

If a character does one of the normal actions while engaged with an obstacle, the GM gets two additonal threat dice.

Action Resolution

Asset Die Pool

Asset dice are 1d2-1. The player gets one or two asset dice per applicable asset (see above).


The GM selects two attributes that apply to the situation at hand. The player gets as many asset dice added to their pool as the sum of the ratings for these two attributes. If the sum is negative, then the GM rolls threat dice equal to the absolute value of the sum instead.

For instance, if the action is fighting, and the GM declares that the attributes being used are STR and DEX, and the character has a sum of -2, then they take two threat dice, and no asset dice. Good luck!


The player may opt to narrate something about their background that pertains to the activity in question to get one asset die. This cannot simply recapitulate that the character has the other abilities that they have, but should reveal something new about the character. If the narration is not sufficiently revelatory in the GM's judgement, the player gets no asset die.


A player may elect to give the GM up to three threat dice. The player must narrate what extra risks their character is taking in order to push their chances of winning, and attempt to narrate proportionally to the number of dice. More dice meaning more threats. Such daring also gives one asset die per threat die given, and adds one to the character's danger meter.

Reckless Acts

If the player has no asset dice in their pool, then add one danger to the situation for it being something completely out of their realm of competence (which gives them one asset die in addition to the threat die, however, which does allow for a potential success).

Threat Pool


Obstacles are things that present difficulty for characters to overcome, should they wish to, or have to, address the obstacle. Obstacles have an obstacle rating (OR) determined by how difficult it is to deal with. Obstacles often also have associated threats.


A threat is an addition to an obstacle that makes it dangerous. Each threat has a threat rating that is added to the danger roll for each contest whenever they are threatening a character (this is whether or not the character is addressing the obstacle that provides the threat). A threat is listed with its name and its threat rating. For example a Hill Giant obstacle might be “Huge 2.” If the associated obstacle is dealt with then all associated threats are eliminated as well, of course.

Threats can often be eliminated like an obstacle, without eliminating the associated obstacle, though the GM may rule that they are intrinsic to the obstacle. If intrinsic the threat can only be eliminated by the elimination of the associated obstacle. Often the question of whether or not a threat can be eliminated will depend on how a character approaches eliminating it.

In addition to the possibility of elimination, however; threats can also be nullified.

Nullifying Threats

A threat can be nullified if a player can show that they have an asset that counters the threat in question. The GM must agree, and the threat is then nullified for that character only (though see Helping). A single asset can nullify any number of applicable threats.

A player may also choose to try to overcome an obstacle that they work out with the GM in order to create a temporary asset that can be used to nullify the threat. Often this is easier than completely eliminating the threat.

Nullified threats become active again as soon as the situation changes in a way so as to make it so that the asset being used to Nullify the threat would no longer apply.

Group Obstacles

Hacking through groups of smaller obstacles one at a time is anti-climactic, as the threat goes down as the encounter wears on. When faced with a group, the GM may consider the entire group to be one big obstacle with an obstacle rating equal to the OR of one of the things in group, plus one for each additional creature… or plus 2 if the creatures have a 5 or greater OR each (Creatures bigger than 8 or so should always be dealt with individually, and not as groups). Designate one of the creatures as the “boss” of the group. Each of the lesser obstacles are then considered to be individual threats associated with the boss. Each hit done (or again 2, if they're big), eliminates one of the rank and file, which reduces threat accordingly, but also increases the threat of the boss by 1 as they become more desperate. The boss only goes down (and thus the group is eliminated) when the total group obstacle is overcome at once.

Creative player play can divide groups up into smaller groups, which may or may not be easier to manage.

Roll Results

Roll the dice and the resulting numbers are the Success ratings for the asset pool, and the danger ratings for the threat pool.

Effects of Successes and Dangers


Check the number of hits done to see if it meets the obstacle rating of the obstacle. If so, the obstacle has been eliminated. Otherwise the player can convert the successes into bonus asset dice that they can use against the obstacle.


The GM spends dangers generated as any combination of the following:

  • DANGER 1: Escalate the threat from the obstacle. Have the obstacle take some action to raise the stakes or make the situation worse in some way. Increase one of the obstacle's threat ratings by one.
  • DANGER 2: Cancel a success. This use should be rare, and usually represent the obstacle simply being difficult to overcome. It is less efficient than purchasing two threat dice, which is what will most often happen with 2 danger.
  • DANGER 3: Do a reduced hit to the character. This can be from an attack the threat makes or from the consequences of one of the dangers the players narrated before the action. If there was a threat from a previous reduced hit, then an option is to transform it from a reduced hit to a full hit.
  • DANGER 4: Introduce a new threat as a consequence of the action. This move is good for things like enemies gaining high ground, or in better position, or creating ongoing problems like the effects of magic spells. Fallout from the action at hand. The new threat can be rated up to level 3 (this is less threat than adding 4 threat to current threats, but the new threats have to be countered separately).
  • DANGER 5: Do a full hit to the character. This can be from an attack the threat makes or from the consequences of one of the dangers the players narrated before the action.
  • DANGER 6: Introduce a new obstacle as a consequence of the action. This should usually be one or two OR lower than the obstacle the character was facing. This move is good for things like wandering monsters arriving on the scene, summoned demons, etc. Fallout from the action at hand. If there are plenty of obstacles in play already, do a combination of lower moves instead to avoid the situation too rapidly spiraling out of control.
  • DANGER 7: Total disaster! The threat does the worst possible thing. Be ruthless and destructive in your descriptions. NPCs die. Halls collapse. A hero can mitigate a disaster by taking a full hit, then getting locked in battle with a new, major obstacle. Spin it off from the obstacle they were facing. It might be something like “trapped in a burning room.” The player gets to say how their hero stops the disaster from coming true, and how they end up trapped by the new threat as a result. That hero can’t do anything but fight the new obstacle until it is defeated.
  • DANGER 8: Character defeated! The character takes a full hit, and is taken out of the action for some reason that makes sense with the action. For instance if being attacked by a monster, the character may well be knocked out and laying there dying. Or for a large monster, perhaps they've been swallowed. Other characters may attempt to defeat an obstacle to bring the character back into play, but if that fails, the character is removed from play (often dead).

Hits are obstacles that remain with the character until the character can recover from the hit somehow by overcoming the OR. Hits always have an associated threat. The name and thus the nature of the hit and its threat should follow from a threat that participated in creating it.

Reduced hits have an OR of 3 to overcome and a threat of 3 that comes into play in limited circumstances. They should be named for something narrow that will only affect a limited range of actions.

Full hits have an OR of 5 to overcome and a threat of 5 that comes into play in a wide range of circumstances. They should be named for something that can be invoked very frequently. A full hit that is overcome in an attempt to remedy it will become a reduced hit.

Often after a fight, an injury will be easily treated and turn out to be less terrible than previously thought. A lot of the debility having been due to the initial shock and pain. A player may roll CON + CON and any first aid abilities to see if they can overcome a hit's obstacle to try to reduce an injury hit.

Danger Rating and Experience

Every time a character takes on dangers, their danger rating goes up by one per danger. When completely out of danger next, the character converts this rating to experience points at a rate of one experience point per danger rating.

Spending Experience Points

A player may spend experience points on the following:

  • New Major Ability - 30 EXP
  • New Minor Ability - 10 EXP
  • Raise Attribute by 1 - 10 EXP

Design Goals

  • Run D&D Modules with just the data included.
  • Make use maps and tokens.
  • Have the escalation of tension from Danger Patrol. No death spirals, instead increasing tension until resolution.
  • Encourage creative solutions by having dangers enumerated that can be avoided or circumvented.

Previous Version

This game was adapted from Dice and More Dice.

dungeons_of_dangers.txt · Last modified: 2017/05/06 11:15 by Mike Holmes