Dungeons of Olde

Trashing old-school dungeons, one tile at a time!

Crisis Mode

WARNING: Outdated Rules

The rules in this section have become obsolete following the recent rules overhaul. The most current version of the rules are those included in the Core Rules section of this website.

Note: These rules for Crisis Mode were written when the game was envisioned as a tile-based, dungeon-delving skirmish game. If it is being played as a full roleplaying game, some rules—such as those regarding the role of the Monster Wrangler, or the placement of the heroes at the start of the battle—may not be appropriate. Depending on the direction the game takes during playtesting, this section may or may not be rewritten to better fit the genre in which the final game lands—tile-based dungeon skirmish, or full-on RPG.

Like Exploration Mode, Crisis Mode is also played in turns, but turns in Crisis Mode are more complex. Before the first turn of Crisis Mode can even begin, however, the players must prepare their characters, cards, and the board for Crisis Mode play.

Entering Crisis Mode: The Set-up Phase

Crisis Mode always begins with a special Set-up Phase, in which all heroes, opponents, and other NPCs are positioned on the dungeon tiles, along with any special items or terrain features.

Who’s running the enemies?

If there is a Game Master running the adventure, she will position everything except the heroes on the dungeon tile map, according to her plans or notes. If there is no Game Master for the game, one of the players must be chosen as the Monster Wrangler for the encounter, setting up the terrain and running the monsters through the encounter.

At the beginning of the game, the players should agree on how they will appoint the Monster Wrangler for each encounter. Some groups simply rotate Monster Wrangler duties around the table, with each player serving in turn. Other groups prefer a Monster Wrangler roll, in which all players roll 2d6; the player with the highest roll may choose to be the Monster Wrangler, but if he declines, the player with the lowest roll must fulfill the role. (If the group decides to have one person be the Monster Wrangler in every encounter, they’ve actually appointed a Game Master to run a randomly-generated game. In such a case, the Game Master should not run her own hero character as a member of the adventuring party.)

Once the Monster Wrangler for the encounter is chosen, he follows the instructions for the scenario or encounter to place terrain features, enemies, and other NPCs. He also passes the character card for his hero to another player, who will monitor it during the encounter. The Monster Wrangler’s hero is out of the Monster Wrangler’s control for the duration of the crisis, and acts according to the consensus of the other players. Of course, the players should always bear in mind that their turn to surrender their hero and wrangle the monsters will come soon, and what goes around, comes around.

Placing the heroes

If the heroes have been moving individually during Exploration Mode, their figures will already be on the board, but if they’ve been moving as a group in a marching order, their figures will need to be transferred onto the board. Transfer the party from it’s marching-order tile into the tile occupied by the single figure that marked the party’s position during Exploration Mode. The back row of the party should be positioned in squares along the edge of the tile through which the party entered that tile, and the remaining figures positioned forward from that point.

For example, a party of four characters—Lunk, Keen, Fustus, and Audacia—enter a dungeon tile from the south. Their positions on the marching-order tile indicate that the front row includes Keen on the left, and Lunk on the right; their back row has Audacia on the left, and Fustus on the right. They are moving with no extra space between rows, so the back row is immediately behind the front row. When they enter Crisis Mode, the single figure representing the party is removed from the dungeon tile, and the group is placed on the tile such that Audacia and Fustus occupy the two center squares along the southern edge of the tile—since the party entered the tile from the south—and Keen and Lunk are in the squares directly in front of them.

If the party has been moving as two or more groups, place each group separately, following the guidelines above.

Preparing the character cards

Dungeons of Olde is designed to be played without need for complicated record-keeping with pencil and paper. Instead, each character’s status is tracked with counters and cards on a large character card. For heroes and important non-player characters, each character requires a full-size character card. Most opposing forces will be fairly standardized, on the other hand, and several opponents can be tracked by the Monster Wrangler or Game Master on a single card. For example, in a battle with a small band of a half-dozen goblins, only the leader—a shaman with a special staff and a few spells—needs his own character card. The rest of the troop, whose stats and abilities are identical, can be tracked using a single goblin group card.

As the game enters Crisis Mode, the players should be sure they have the cards for their hero characters in front of them, along with any allies or hirelings. The Game Master or Monster Wrangler may have more than one card to keep track of, one group card and an individual card for the group’s leader being a common configuration. On each hero’s card, place the appropriate smaller cards describing their abilities, spells and any special gear they’ve acquired; the enemy characters’ cards may have these details printed directly on them, or may have blank spaces for ability or gear cards.

Tracking tokens

Players use tracking tokens to indicate their heroes’ starting Hit Points (HP), Mana or Divinity Points (MP/DP), and Defence (Def) on their cards. The base value for each of these Stats is listed at the bottom of the character card. Place each tracking token in the appropriate space on the appropriate track; see the table below for which token is used on each track. For instance, since Fustus has a base HP of 9 and is entering the current combat uninjured, he’ll begin with his HP token—the red heart on the green field—on the 9 space of the HP track.

If a character’s HP, MP, or DP is greater than 10, place the appropriate token on the track with the +10 side up, on the space indicating the ones-place of the character’s value for the stat. For example, since Lunk has 12 Hit Points, he’ll place his HP token on the “2” space in the HP track, with the “+10” side of the token facing up.

Tracking Tokens Table

Stat to Track Token Graphic
HP (Hit Points) Red heart on green field
MP/DP (Mana or Divinity Points) Yellow wand on purple field
Def (Defense) Yellow and red shield on blue field
AP (Action Points) Blue and white star on green field

Setting Action Points for the first turn

The last step in preparing for Crisis Mode is to set the Action Points for each character for the first turn. Ordinarily, all characters roll an unlimited Finesse Effect die to determine Action Points, adjusted by any special conditions applicable. Complete instructions for setting Action Points can be found in the Reset Phase section, below.


In a conflict, if each side is aware of the other, everyone rolls their unlimited Finesse Effect for AP. If one side is surprised (as determined by the Game Master or the encounter instructions), every character on that side automatically receives exactly 1 AP for the first turn. If both sides are surprised, then all characters on both sides begin the first Action Phase with just 1 AP.

Begin the first turn of Crisis Mode

Once all characters are placed on the board, all character cards are prepped for play, and Action Points are set for all characters, the first turn of Crisis Mode begins.