There are many free tools for dungeon masters online. Today we are going to cover what the best tools are to generate dungeons for your Dungeons and Dragons 5e game.
Introduction: The basics of creating a dungeon
There are many dungeon maps that are available for download for your Dungeons and Dragons game. There are also bundles of paid map bundles you can purchase as well. These can be used for online use if your players are remote. These can be used if you use a projector or monitor to show some of these highly detailed maps. But most of us just have the map on our laptop or printed out and we redraw it to scale on a game mat. I will be covering what I consider to be the best online tools that can be used together.
Donjon has a ton of dungeon master tools. One of them is a dungeon map generator.
RPG City and Country Planner
Hello Dungeon Masters,
Ever wanted a template to create your own cities or countries but didn’t know where to start?
Check out our Canva template to do just that with instructions and free online tools to help flesh it out. Get a printable or electronic copy. You will need a free Canva.com account to use this.
Customize your generated dungeon
Some of you may want a pretty map and if so you can import your Donjon map into Dungeon Scrawl. Note this will convert non-rectangle rooms into rectangles and anything that isn’t a wall. So for many, this is a good option if you want to place doors and stairs in different locations.
Here is what they look like in each program.
The other way to use Dungeon Scrawl is to learn to create your own dungeon from scratch. At the time of this writing, there are about 5 different maps present with 7 styles that can be overlaid on them.
I will say that Dungeon Scrawl has a learning curve but does allow you full customization. You can even import your own objects and maps. So if that is of interest to you please feel free to play around with this free online tool.
Check Out Our DM Journal
The Dungeon Master Design Kit is for Dungeon Masters that like to create their own RPG campaigns from scratch, but have trouble keeping all of their notes in one place.
This book contains 5 pages of questions for you to quickly plot out the overview of your RPG campaign.
From there we split into three sub sections (or sub plots or acts) and ask drill down deeper into the story line so that you can tell a cohesive story in your RPG even if it lasts for 45+ weeks.
The process: To generate your own dungeon
Now that you know what the tools can do here is a quick walkthrough on how to actually use them.
If you aren’t familiar with DonJon then you are in for a treat. It is a one-stop shop for many tabletop RPGs, not just Dungeons and Dragons. You can start to check it out here.
The image below is what I saw after changing the dungeon size too small and the map style to the graph paper. Please feel free to experiment with things on the page, but if you see one you like click “construct dungeon” as any change you make will change the dungeon again.
DonJon Save Options
Download Map: It will save it as a PNG image file that you can print or take into another program to edit it more.
Player’s Map: If you want to give a map of the area to the players with no notes or secret doors listed.
Print Scale: Prints the map over several sheets of paper – great for larger maps
TSV: If you want to import the file to Dungeon Scrawl chose “TSV.” Note that Dungeon Scrawl will only take the basic outline of the walls and nothing else.
HTML: If you want the map and all of the generated traps, locked doors and monsters then choose the HTML Page and that can be printed if you want it in paper form.
PDF: If you want the map and all of the generated DM notes in a PDF form.
If you know of a good use for the JSON document please leave me a comment.
Track the following:
- Player’s name
- Max Hit Points
- Spell Casting DC
- Darkvision (if applicable)
- Passive Perception
- Saving Throws
The next tool to look into is Dungeon Scrawl.
To import a DonJon map into Dungeon Scrawl – click on the Dungeon Layer 0 -> Click the Extra tab -> Import TSV.
If you want to try out a new map from scratch the best way to learn dungeon scrawl is to just play around making rooms and paths between rooms. You can hold down the space bar you can hold the left click and move around your map. Use the mouse wheel to zoom in and out (or the plus and minus keys on your keyboard).
Then try out the presets menu at the top for different styles – just make sure to save first. You may want to clear the images on any presets using the three dots for the elements in the lower right hand of the layer screen.
Here are two tools to generate dungeon maps. Donjon will create it in seconds. The Dungeon Scrawl can take that first image and make it pretty while stripping out everything but the walls, unfortunately. However, with time you could create your fully custom dungeons. Both of these tools are foundational for DM’s in my opinion. I also want to state that Donjon’s stuff can be used for your game but not if you want to publish your game. If you want to legally sell maps then Dungeon Scrawl will allow you to do that but in a lot more time.
About the Author:
Dwight Scull has been playing tabletop role-playing games (starting with Dungeons and Dragons 3.5) back in 2001. He started being a dungeon master around 2005.
He loves to play many different types of TTRPGs, including Pathfinder, GURPS, Shadowrun, Vampire: The Masquerade, Mage: The Ascension (and other White Wolf Games), Nights Black Agents, and others.
Fan of mysteries, light horror, co-op board games, true crime, sci-fi, and fantasy.