Dungeon Alchemist is an AI-powered mapmaking software developed by Briganti that enables you to make awesome maps for your pen and paper campaigns. A kickstarter campaign in 2021 bought their concept to reality raising €2.4 million, making it one of the top ten most funded boardgame Kickstarter projects of all time. The game/program launched on Steam Early Access on March 31, 2022, and has received a steady stream of content updates since then. The most recent of which is the Winter Wonderland update, adding over 500 new assets from January 31. So how does it all work and is it easy to use?
A lot of people know how to play fantasy tabletop RPG’s such as the classic Dungeons and Dragons, but have you ever been the dungeon master? The DM, as they are commonly referred to, is the one who sets the scene for the group of players and takes them on a wonderful adventure through a world they have adapted from official sources or gone that extra mile and created their own fantasy world for scratch.
Most D&D campaigns I have played are with a pencil and your character sheet in front of you. The story is told through the DM that describes to you in great detail what the party sees as they enter the foreboding cavern, where the light of your torch barely breaks through the darkness. The way you visualise the DMs description is as strong as your imagination. Our imagination plays out those details in the mind and those with a limited imagination can’t really capture that intricate details the DM may want you to picture. But what if the DM could show the players what their description of that cavern looks like, or the spooky house in the swamp? Well Dungeon Alchemist is the program for you to bring a new way of playing your favorite fantasy tabletop game to life.
This program enables a DM or someone who just likes creating campaigns to bring an amazing, detailed map of their campaign to life for the player group. You start by inputting the type of map terrain you would like. Dungeon Alchemist has several different terrains you can use to set the scene of your adventure. You can place rivers, hills and buildings for example to give your map a unique touch. It can seem a little overwhelming at first but once you input the basics of what you are trying to create, the software creates a map from your selections. Another great thing Briganti have included is a tutorial to help give you a basic idea of how the software works and really how easy it is to create.
I played around with creating a large house with multiple rooms and found that I could go into precise detail of how I want to theme each particular room. For example, the menu options give you multiple selections on various window types, door frames or whether you want them to be clean and regal looking or weathered and broken. It also has multiple selections on the types of furniture, outdoor props and even NPC’s that you can add into an area. Whatever you want to achieve in your map design, there are plenty of options for you to create with and it’s very easy to do with a simple click. I got carried away creating my house and it started me thinking about starting a new D&D campaign for my mates to play.
Dungeon Alchemist gives you the capability of creating several maps that you can join together or make one big giant map of the area your group of players are adventuring in. The program produces high quality detailed maps that you can print out for your weekly get together D&D campaign. Alternatively, if you a running a campaign online, this allows you to use your maps in virtual tabletop programs such as Roll20, Tabletop Simulator and Fantasy Grounds. It also gives you the option to import digital miniatures that you have created using Hero Forge. Hero Forge, for those that may not know, is an online character design application that lets you create customized miniatures and statues that you can use in tabletop RPG’s. Simply connect your account, use the access key provided and the characters you painstakingly crafted in Hero Forge are now part of your campaign.
Becoming a Dungeon Master is a big undertaking and having software like Dungeon Alchemist available to use will make it a lot easier for seasoned DMs to run their campaign or give the up-and-coming DM a chance to lessen the feeling of being overwhelmed in creating their wonderful adventure. I am looking forward to playing around with Dungeon Alchemist a lot more. It’s really engaging my creative side; encouraging me to set up new campaigns that I can run online with my mates around the world. The detailed beautiful maps that it produces can really help a player’s imagination to immerse themselves into the campaign and get a more enjoyable experience.
This review utilised a key provided by Pirate PR and Dungeon Alchemist is available on Steam Early Access. The developers had hoped to reach version 1.0 in 2022, however no updates have indicated when that could be. Still, there is plenty of content there to get you started on your DM journey.