Conventions of the Genre

One of the things that made DOOM so spectacular when it first came out was the way it handled the environment. Older games of this type (such as Castle Wolfenstien in 3-D) used a single set light level (bright) and a perfectly level world made up of 10'x10' squares. DOOM, on the other hand, introduced differing light levels, ambient sounds, walls and rooms of variable width, as well as ceilings and floors of different heights. Thus, the typical DOOM WAD usually tries to feature these elements. So, the ideal DOOMED Hero WAD should have:

  1. Variable elevations of floors, including stairs, moving floors, elevators and sloping floors.
  2. Variable light levels, from full light to pitch blackness. This should also include lights that flicker as well as ones that go out unexpectedly.
  3. Bars, grates and fences that block one section from another section.
  4. Doors of all sorts, all of which slide up to open.
  5. Slime or waste filled pools, or floors that are dangerous simply to stand on.
  6. Barrels that explode when you shoot them.
  7. Crushing ceilings (ceilings that move up and down, damaging anything underneath).
  8. Teleporters, including teleporters that bring creatures in as well as allowing a player to leave.
  9. Switches and buttons that open various doors, raise the floors of pits or lower tall pillars.
  10. Walls that are illusionary (i.e. are mere visual images) as well as walls that block vision in a single direction.
  11. Secret rooms and passages. Doom abounds with these. It is where most of the goodies are kept (like weapons, armor and artifacts). Some are marked by odd coloration, a flashing light, scars, or some other clue. Others can only be opened by special switches or by shooting an object (such as the door itself). Most don't make a whole lot of sense from a logical point of view, but sure are fun to try and find in the game.

Other common elements of a DOOM WAD are more visual and are a touch harder to get across in a table-top game. These include various textures (used to create walls and floors), sprites (objects found within the map, such as standing lamps and shattered trees) and skies (yes, the skyline will change). Some sample visual elements include:

  1. Walls made from sheet metal, plastics, rock, stone, dirt, wood, corpses, flesh, and sheets of skin. Some walls feature pouring slime, water, or blood as well.
  2. Doors made from wood, metal, and plastic.
  3. Floors of deck plating, concrete, dirt, grass, rock, mud, brains, and flesh.
  4. Banks of computers, many showing views of nearby planets, schematics, graphs, and unknown data.
  5. Dead trees, burnt stumps, and similar plants.
  6. Free standing lamps, candles, torches, chairs, tables, pillars, and weird alien "things."
  7. Pools (and rivers) of water, waste, mud, blood, slime, and... well...gunk.
  8. Corpses, including bodies on the floor, as well as bodies (and body parts) hung from the ceiling. Some of these parts twitch periodically.
  9. Moving walls or sections of walls. This is often combined with the more organic textures to create rather disturbing images. A popular texture to use looks like a giant spine, while another is of all sorts of faces compressed together.
  10. Windows that let one look out to see the sky or other parts of the level. Of course, this is a good way for other things to see you.
  11. Skylines that include clouds, mountains, a burning city, flames, and a weird organic mess of bones and flesh.

Warning: It should be noted that some of this imagery can be somewhat unsettling and even disturbing. Game Masters should try to avoid using elements that they or their players may distasteful.

Building a Map

Just about anything can be used to create a possible DOOMED Hero level. Old dungeon maps from discarded AD&D modules are a good choice. Floor plans for such things as museums, office buildings, shopping malls, or schools work as well. And one can always draw up their own level. If drawing up a level from scratch, here are a few hints to keep in mind to make the level fun and/or a challenge:

Map Effects

Light: Probably the biggest effect the map has on the game is lighting. The light level in the game ranges from bright sunlight to pitch blackness. The Game Master should apply proper PER-roll modifiers depending the on the available light. Poor lighting conditions will also make it harder to hit things. Increasing Range Mod penalties is a good way to simulate this. Also note people may shoot at things that aren't there, and the GM should encourage this with failed PER rolls (you see something large moving to your left...)

Sound: Sound is another factor in the game. Part of the Distinctive Features of the various demons in the game is the sounds they make while moving. This includes howls, grunts, roars, screams, and bizarre thumping noises. Most of the demons in DOOM are quiet until roused, but in a "real" game, they should be active at all times.

Teleporters: A teleportation pad will pop a character from one part of the map to another. Usually these devices are found in military bases, but mystical teleporters are possible in DOOMED Hero levels set in Hell. Note in the actual DOOM game, teleporting on top of someone else (no matter how big) results in a "telefrag," where the person just teleported on top of is reduced to a fine red mist.

Placement of objects and monsters: Normally creatures and objects (such as weapons or health kits) are placed about the map with some sense of play balance. Usually health kits are found near large pockets of monsters, or spare ammo is placed in a room with a nest of demons. Some WADs seem to place stuff almost at random, with no rhyme or reason to the location of objects. Artifacts are usually located near where they will be the most use (for example: placing an Invulnerability Sphere near the lair of two Spider Demons). A Game Master may want to keep some sort of internal logic to his game, and place goodies in small caches, or near piles of slain Space Marines (as opposed to all over the place).

Creatures can be placed almost anywhere, and in the actual game end up in some highly unlikely places (the tops of pillars for example). Low-end creatures often show up in large groups, especially if the WAD has reached the point where the player is going to be well-armed with weapons such as the plasma rifle or the rocket launcher. Having too many large creatures can make the game nearly unplayable, however, as the player can't kill them fast enough and can't recover health and/or ammo sufficiently quickly to remain in the game.

Spare Ammunition: Scattered about the typical DOOM map are spare weapons and ammunition. When killed, the Zombies will drop their weapons, allowing one to reload (or gain) a weapon. Reloads are as follows:

Weapons that are found are usually fully loaded. Weapons taken from a Zombie can be loaded or not, depending on how much book keeping the Game Master wishes to do.

Weapon Effects: An important tactical note when playing DOOM is the effect of certain weapons on the opposition. This becomes very important when one has 5-7 different weapons to choose from. Game Masters may or may not want to use these effects in their game, as they can be a bit powerful (although all such effects are balanced by the fact the players must use the Suppression Fire maneuver to make them work).


When playing a Con Game of DOOMED Hero (or maybe any version of the game) one way to speed up play is to dispense with rolling for damage. Presume that all attacks come up as solid 3s. This means a 6d6 Energy Blast does 6 BODY and 18 STUN, a 2d6 RKA does 6 BODY and 12 STUN (a 1d6-1 STUN X would roll as a 3 -1 = 2 x STUN). Thus, all the players need to worry about is rolling their "to hit." This is a big help when it comes to autofire weapons. As a game aid, here is all the weapons, equipment and creature attacks in the game already defined using this method:




In the DOOM games, one can set the lethality level of the game by adjusting the number of monsters, the type, and how much ammunition you find. A Game Master could do this as well, or use these levels as a guideline for creating their own.

I'm To Young To Die: This settings uses about half of the creatures on "Hurt Me Plenty," and doubles all the ammo one picks up in both spare magazines and in dropped or found weapons. There are also more artifacts, especially Soul Spheres.

Hey, Not Too Rough: The settings uses about half the monsters of "Hurt Me Plenty," but everything else looks to remain the same.

Hurt Me Plenty: The default DOOM setting. Everything is as written. Monsters are common, and weapons, armor, and artifacts are relatively scare.

Ultra-Violent: This setting uses about fifty percent more creatures than "Hurt Me Plenty," adding both more of one type and new ones to a level. The type of monsters changes as well, with certain creatures replaced by tougher ones (for example: if a "Hurt Me Plenty" level used as Hell Knight, now it might be a Baron of Hell instead. In level 6 of DOOM II, a cluster of 6 Hell Knights becomes a Spider Mastermind when one sets the level to "Ultra-violent". Most DOOM players swear that this level is the only real level to play at.

Nightmare!: Just like "Ultra-violent" except the monsters regenerate after about 15-30 seconds. If you use this in a DOOMED Hero game, give all monsters one Turn of being dead before bringing them back. Note the game tells you "This setting isn't even remotely fair" when you select it.


Both DOOM, DOOM II and many other games of this type have cheat codes. These codes are usually used by programmers and designers to test the game. Players in a game of DOOMED Hero may want to try using the codes themselves. My suggestion is to not allow it as this is meant to be an adaption of the game to a role-playing situation, not a role-playing simulation of the actual computer game.

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