In this article, I will show you how to use hex flowers to create immersive dungeons. I first encountered this wonderful tool in this excellent guide on Goblin’s Henchman, and have used them ever since. A hex flower is a simplified hex map that you can populate with rooms and encounters. The abstract structure of the hex flower lends itself well to generating a fog of war for solo dungeon exploration. Additionally, due to the hex flower’s simplicity, you can rapidly create an entire dungeon. However, If you’re new to ChatGPT in solo play, start with this guide. Additionally, if you’re looking for a guide on how to play published adventures and dungeons then you should consult our published adventure guide.
Using Hex Flowers for Immersive Dungeon Creation
Hex flowers provide a fantastic tool for solo dungeon masters looking to craft engaging dungeons adventures. With their streamlined design, hex flowers offer a unique way to develop intricate dungeon layouts while maintaining an element of mystery through their fog of war mechanism.
What Are Hex Flowers?
Hex flowers are simplified hexagonal maps that serve as a foundation for constructing dungeons. These grids consist of interconnected nodes or cells, each representing a specific room, passage, or encounter within the dungeon. The beauty of hex flowers, however, lies in their abstract nature, allowing dungeon creators to generate layouts without committing to a rigid physical representation. This unique feature not only fosters variety but also provides a flexible framework for designing diverse dungeons.
Creating Fog of War
One of the key advantages of utilizing hex flowers is their innate ability to create a fog of war effect, enhancing the sense of exploration. Whenever adventurers traverse the hexagonal pathways, new rooms and encounters unfold gradually, mimicking the gradual reveal of an uncharted territory. This dynamic process adds an exciting layer to solo dungeon crawling.
Hex Flowers and Solo Dungeon Generation
The most widely recognized hex flower is a set of 19 hexes arranged in a symmetrical configuration. The resulting diagram serves as a versatile dungeon map. When employing hex flowers for dungeon exploration, each hex is assigned a unique number, signifying a distinct room within the dungeon. The initial hex corresponds to the dungeon entrance, whereas the 19th hex signifies the ultimate objective. Successfully completing the dungeon entails reaching the objective hex indicated on the hex flower.
Traveling on the Dungeon Hex Flower
Place a token on hex 1. Whenever you want to travel to an adjacent hex on the flower, you must roll a Perception check at DC 15. If you are employing a system other than D&D 5th Edition (5e), employ the counterpart of a Perception check within that specific system.
If you fail the roll, you get lost and must roll 1d6 to determine in which direction you travel instead.
Whenever you move off the edge, you enter the hex that’s directly opposite on the hex flower. The only exceptions are the edges on the hex flower with stars. These edges are blocked and cannot be entered. Choose another route or reroll the 1d6 if necessary.
Populating Your Dungeon Hex Flower With Rooms
The most straightforward method of dungeon generation involves creating a list of rooms accompanied by short descriptions. These room depictions serve as a conduit for visualizing the diverse chambers within the dungeon. However, the utility of room lists extends further. They afford you the opportunity to harness ChatGPT’s capabilities to formulate dungeon descriptions in real-time as you engage in play. This integration of ChatGPT enhances the immersive quality of dungeon crawls, as it excels at generating descriptions that enhances the solo gameplay experience.
Using ChatGPT to Generate Custom Room Lists For Hex Flowers
ChatGPT excels at creating quick room lists on the fly. This makes it an excellent dungeon generator to use alongside hex flowers. The following prompt has been meticulously designed to generate an array of dungeons to suit various scenarios. It can be employed either prior to embarking on an adventure or seamlessly integrated during the course of one, whenever the need arises.
The ChatGPT Dungeon Generator Prompt Template
The following prompt was designed to generate a list of 19 rooms in a dungeon concept of your choice. A dungeon concept can be a haunted mansion, an ancient ruin, or any concept that will fit your adventure.
Assume the role of an expert fantasy writer that specializes in interactive fiction, and the characters, descriptions, groups and organizations, stories, events, magical artefacts/technology and objects of [Insert Campaign Setting].
The adventure take place in [Insert Dungeon Location]. Give me a list of 19 rooms in [Insert Dungeon Concept] short, one sentence visual descriptions for [Insert Dungeon Concept]. The first room is the entrance, the 19th room is the objective.
The following dungeon generator prompt was designed to create a ruin overrun by undead in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting.
Assume the role of an expert fantasy writer that specializes in interactive fiction, and the characters, descriptions, groups and organizations, stories, events, magical artefacts/technology and objects of the Forgotten Realms campaign setting for Dungeons and Dragons.
The adventure take place in a ruin near Baldur’s Gate. Give me a list of 19 rooms in a ruin overrun by the undead, that consist of one sentence visual descriptions. The first room is the entrance, the 19th room is the objective.
The dungeon generator prompt will create a list of rooms with a short description. Room lists are used to envision your surroundings in-game and function as prompts for ChatGPT.
ChatGPT created the following room list from the prompt in the previous example.
- Entrance Hall: The massive oaken doors creak open to reveal a dimly lit chamber strewn with cobwebs, their silken threads hanging like veils over crumbling stone statues.
- Haunted Vestibule: The air is heavy with a musty stench as ghostly apparitions flicker in and out of existence amidst broken suits of ancient armor.
- Halls of Echoing Torment: A labyrinth of winding passages echoes with anguished wails and mournful cries, the walls bearing etchings of tormented souls.
- Chamber of Mourning: A room adorned with faded tapestries depicting scenes of loss and sorrow, the sobs of mourners seemingly trapped within the fabric.
- Cryptic Library: Bookshelves sag under the weight of ancient tomes, the words within them written in an arcane script unknown to most.
- Gallery of Forgotten Heroes: Paintings of once-glorious adventurers now marred by decay, their heroic deeds captured in frozen moments.
- Chapel of Eternal Vigil: A ruined altar stands at the center, surrounded by ghostly lights that illuminate the sorrowful faces of long-deceased clergy.
- Whispering Gallery: Ghostly whispers fill the room, their origins obscured by eerie spectral mists that dance in the air.
- Tomb of the Fallen: Sarcophagi line the walls, each bearing the name of a fallen warrior, while restless phantoms stand guard.
- Chamber of Weeping Stones: Water drips from the ceiling, causing the stone walls to weep with tears of moisture, creating an unsettling ambiance.
- Ethereal Observatory: A shattered dome reveals the night sky beyond, and faint outlines of astral beings can be seen among the stars.
- Hall of Timeless Watchers: Ancient suits of armor stand sentinel, their empty eye sockets somehow watching your every move.
- Abandoned Alchemy Lab: Broken vials and forgotten potions lie scattered about, with mysterious symbols etched into the workbenches.
- Spectral Ballroom: Tattered curtains dance in an unseen breeze, as the laughter and music of a bygone gala resonate within the walls.
- Lake of Unending Whispers: An underground pool reflects eerie glimmers of light while spectral forms seemingly swim just below the surface.
- Chamber of Mirrors: The walls are adorned with mirrors, reflecting the unsettling image of unseen figures watching from the shadows.
- Labyrinth of Lost Hope: Twisting passages lead through a maze of despair, with ethereal apparitions pointing towards dead-ends.
- Vault of the Cursed Relics: A collection of cursed and forbidden artifacts, their malevolent aura palpable even from a distance.
- Chamber of the Lich’s Phylactery: At the heart of the ruin, a foreboding chamber houses the powerful artifact that sustains the undead’s existence, emanating an eerie glow and surrounded by layers of magical wards.
Exploring the Hex Flower With ChatGPT
To create an immersive dungeon crawling experience, create a separate conversation in ChatGPT for your dungeon and use the following opening prompt:
Assume the role of an expert [Insert Genre] writer that specializes in interactive fiction, and the characters, descriptions, groups and organizations, stories, events, magical artefacts/technology and objects of [Insert My Campaign Setting]
The adventure takes place in [Insert Dungeon Location]. Provide suitable names for characters, locations, groups and organizations, events, magical artefacts/technology and objects. Give a narrative description of everything that follows in under 100 words, while remaining consistent with [My Campaign Setting], in response to what I type, in the style of [Insert Author] without scripting, generating, describing, or controlling my actions, thoughts, emotions, feelings, spoken and unspoken words, and dialogue in the story, scenes, events, descriptions, and conversations that follow.
Have characters always use dialogue when interacting with me. Always conduct all conversations and dialogues in quotation marks in the style of a novel, written in the style of [Insert Author]. Keep all descriptions, conversations, and text under 100 words. I enter [Insert the dungeon entrance description]. Describe what I see.
Using the Hex flower and Room List With ChatGPT
Begin traveling through the hex flower. When you land on a numbered hex, look for the corresponding number on the room list. Use the room’s description as a prompt for ChatGPT to create room descriptions as you travel from hex to hex.
In this example we will use the room list from the previous example to generate descriptions. Every time the player enters the room, they provide ChatGPT with a description to use when generating the dungeon room.
Player: [Starts at hex 1] I enter the entrance hall. The massive oaken doors creak open to reveal a dimly lit chamber strewn with cobwebs, their silken threads hanging like veils over crumbling stone statues.
ChatGPT: You step into the entrance hall, the massive oaken doors creaking open to reveal a dimly lit chamber. Cobwebs hang like veils over crumbling stone statues, shrouding them in an eerie silence. Dust dances in the faint light that filters through narrow windows, casting long shadows across the worn tiles beneath your feet. The air is heavy with a musty scent, and an unsettling feeling of time’s passage permeates the space.
Player: [Moves to hex 4] I enter a chamber of mourning. A room adorned with faded tapestries depicting scenes of loss and sorrow, the sobs of mourners seemingly trapped within the fabric.
ChatGPT: Stepping into the chamber of mourning, you find yourself surrounded by faded tapestries that depict scenes of heartache and sorrow. The figures in the tapestries seem to emit an aura of grief, their silent sobs trapped within the very fabric. The room’s atmosphere is heavy with a sense of melancholy, and the air itself seems to hold the weight of countless tears shed in the past. It’s as if the room itself mourns for the tragedies of ages long gone.
Adding Encounters to Your Hex Flower
When starting a new dungeon, consult the Monster Manual or any other suitable bestiary and choose four different monsters that will suit your dungeon. Place these monsters on a simple D4 table such as the one below.
Whenever you enter a new hex, you need to roll and see what the room contains. To check for an encounter, roll on the following table.
There is no need for creating a separate table for traps. When you encounter a trap, ask ChatGPT to describe it to you. It will create an detailed description of the trap you encountered. You can then use skill checks to disable or evade the trap.
Player: [Encounters a trap] I uncover a trap. Describe what it looks like.
ChatGPT: Your keen eye catches a hidden trap, a pressure plate cunningly concealed beneath a layer of dust. It triggers a network of taut tripwires that lead to a rusted cage hanging above, bristling with venomous spikes. The trap’s malevolent design speaks of a masterful mind long gone, a grim testament to the perilous nature of these ruins.
Exploring a Solo dungeon Step-By-Step With ChatGPT
To explore a dungeon with the dungeon generator use the following steps
- Create a room list of 19 dungeon rooms with the dungeon generator prompt.
- Assign a room to each hex on a hex flower.
- Move from hex to hex, until you reach the 19th hex.
- When you land on a hex, use the description in the room list alongside ChatGPT to envision the dungeon.
- Determine the room content and interact with any encounters.