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Mapping the Catacombs is a single-player text-based adventure game that can also be incorporated into group play by a Game Master. In this game, players create and lead a party of adventurers through a dangerous and labyrinthine catacomb, with the ultimate goal of finding treasure and successfully exiting the catacombs.

To play the game, players need paper, pencil, at least one six-sided die (d6), and a coin. The game progresses in turns, with each turn having three general steps: draw a circle to represent a chamber, roll for encounter and resolve it, and roll for chamber connections and choose a path.

Players start by creating their adventuring party by choosing or rolling for a character type and rolling for their hit points (HP). They also need to determine the characters' sources of light and track fuel usage. Fear plays an important role, as characters can become lost in the catacombs if their fear reaches a certain threshold.

Encounters are resolved by rolling 2d6 and referring to the 2d6 Chamber Contents table. Some encounters may require a coin toss to determine advantage or disadvantage. Attacking and defending mechanics are based on rolling d6, with successful hits subtracting HP from the target.

Throughout the game, players must keep track of their party's health, light, and fear levels, as well as any potential catacomb confusion. Diligent mapping is crucial to retracing the path for a safe exit.

A solo pen & paper RPG featuring a unique catacomb mapping system. Also great for one shot adventures. 

18 MAY 2020 UPDATE

  • changed to 2d6 CATACOMB CONFUSION
  • rules clarifications 
  • sample Catacomb Crawl & map

24 MAR 2020 UPDATE

  • clarifications: move freely through explored & empty chambers
  • track fuel/light simplification: one circle - one fuel

Print & fold for a zine addition to your library.

What's new in the zine?

  • 16 pages (originally pamphlet sized)
  • updated character creation
  • updated 2d6 encounter table with "combat" tailored to each type of character
  • new illustrations
  • updated instructions
  • new game tracking sheets

Two six-sided die (d6) and one coin are all that is required to play.

Beneath the city, down into one of the nondescript entrances to the cave system, the catacombs and ossuaries of forgotten times are waiting.

  • Illustration focused catacomb mapping system for the cartographer in your party
  • d6 Catacomb Confusion mechanic
  • 2d6 Encounters table 
  • d6 Urn table
  • d6 Treasure table
  • d6 Insanity table

PRINT: 2 sided, short edge

16pp, Art & Design by Matthew Madsen

I hope this finds you well!


CategoryPhysical game
Rated 4.8 out of 5 stars
(26 total ratings)
AuthorSorceress & Witch
TagsDungeon Crawler, penandpaper, physical, pnp, Print & Play, Singleplayer, solorpg


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Click download now to get access to the following files:

MAPPING the CATACOMBS ZINE 18MAY2020 update.pdf 3 MB

Development log


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How can I get my copy of the PDF after getting it as part of the Bundle for Radical Justice? I have contacted you via sorceressandwitch@gmail.com a couple of times since October, with no answer yet.

This is disappointing.

You should be able to download the files for the zine and pamphlet now, thanks. 

Thanks for your reply.

(1 edit)

Hi! I just bought a printed copy on Amazon and it looks very nice! I have a question though. How do you use the Small Finds chart on page 46? Heading says "D66 SMALL FINDS"(even though clearly there are not 66 entries when the chart starts at #11), and the subtext instructions only say 

"Roll two d6 and combine the numbers"

I don't understand how you are supposed to only use 2 D6 for a chart like this. I first thought "Well it says you roll 2 d6 and combine them, so if I roll say... a 1 and a 3. that could be 13." That seemed to be the only thing that made sense to get numbers bigger than you could by just adding the results(which, with 2d6 can only be as high as 12). But I don't think that's right either, because doing that would not work for every entry in the chart. It would only work for 11-16, 21-26, 31-36, 41-46, 51-56, and 61-66. The numbers between would be impossible to get results for in that fashion.  So I need some help and clarification with using it.

You did have it right! I just printed the list wrong and there are numbers that aren’t available by combining the two dice as you described. So it’s my error.

This is correct: "Well it says you roll 2 d6 and combine them, so if I roll say... a 1 and a 3. that could be 13."

Please ignore the unavailable numbers! 

And thank you for your support! 

(1 edit)

OK, the instructions should be clearer then, because it was a wild guess, and even so I thought it was wrong because of the unavailable numbers on the chart. If you do a reprint with a correct chart, a suggestion would be to also give what I accidentally figured out as an example., so as to not confuse anyone.

"Please ignore the unavailable numbers!" - I don't know, this feels like a waste. Perhaps there's something else you could do with them? There's 21 entries that are unable to be used via the 2d6 method described. I'd hate to be just simply discarding them.

Thanks for your input. 

Just got my printed copy and need to say it is worth every penny. It is clear to read and understand and as I played the itch version before I appreciate all the work you put since into this gem of a soloRpg. Thanks for the hours to come exploring the caves 

Thank you for the kind words and support, I do hope you enjoy! 💀❤️

I do! 😁 

Deleted 1 year ago

Hi, thanks for being so concerned. Please know that I do send out copies of the zine & pamphlet when I can manage the time. If you haven't received a copy yet, please be patient. MAPPING the CATACOMBS was a labor of love - not a paying job.  And yes, the game is now available in a full 76 page book tested by one of our communities best editors (also available in Spanish now!) and the zine and pamphlet are no longer available for purchase. I know most people don't want to support Amazon (even to the extent that you end up not supporting the creator). I've worked with DTRPG off and on for months trying to get the book version available there with great difficulty. I do recommend waiting for that version to come available, again please be patient. I'd love for this to be a paying job where I can quickly respond to "customers" demanding my time and attention. Buy the book and maybe it could be so!

Lastly, I find your message and assumptions incredibly rude in nature, especially to post on the page for my little game, the place that I've cultivated in the hopes of getting even the smallest support for my work. 

Good luck to you as well.

Thank you for responding to my Privous post.  At the Time of that post, there had been no responces to the comments below for quite some time.   Since that time, there has been activity.  After reviewing my own Comment when I wasnt so upset, I did decide to delete it.   This is my Appology for the Rudeness of that last post.  Again Best of Luck to you on Amazon and all your other endevors.

Same as below, adding comment to verify I bought this. Thanks for including it in the bundle and hope the updated version is going well!


I got this in the racial justice bundle a while back, would you be able to send it to my email?

Same question.

Same question for me as well


If you send an email to sorceressandwitch@gmail.com I'll get a copy sent out.


is it possible to still get this? i got it in the racial justice bundle a while back.

(1 edit)

if it is possible, would be glad to receive the zine, bought it with radical justice bundle 

Im doing the same as VBATES2. My email is gabriel8822@gmail.com

I will be sending you an email for the pdf. Just wanted to write here to prove I purchased the bundle. vlbates.2@gmail.com

Are the pdf's no longer available at all? The previous page said it would be $5 but i don't see a download link and the pamphlet page has no link either.


The updated book for Mapping the Catacombs has moved to Amazon!

If you want to send me your email address I'll send the original zine and pamphlet pdf. You can reach me at sorceressandwitch@gmail.com.


I got this as part of the Bundle for Radical Justice earlier in the year. Any idea how I can download it?

(1 edit) (+1)

If you want to send me your email address I'll send the zine pdf today. You can reach me at sorceressandwitch@gmail.com.


Email send!

Many thanks!

Mapping The Catacombs is a ridiculously charming 16 page solo rpg about a party of adventurers scrounging around where all the bones are.

It's got abundant and whimsical black-and-white art, an easy-to-read font, and solid mechanics. It's also maybe a bit dire, and there's genuine tension, and your adventurers can die.

Mechanics-wise, Catacombs is sort of like a cross between Did You Say Street Magic and Four Against Darkness, by way of Darkest Dungeon. You generate the catacombs as you explore it, but at the same time you're managing a group of adventurers and trying to get them to treasure and then back topside safely.

I didn't feel like I completely understood everything the game was trying to explain, and some information was in odd places (not all character class information is with the character classes, for example,) but the overall thrust of the game is communicated clearly and is pretty easy to follow.

I think if you like neat, immersive solo adventures and you don't mind houseruling on the fly, Mapping The Catacombs is a strong pickup and worth looking into.

Minor Issues:

-Page 3, Attack & Defend, if a creature has 7 HP, do you roll 2d6 and add them, or do you need to roll 6s on both dice, or how does that work?

-Page 4, Example, you roll for each party member to attack. Does that mean you can roll and then deal 1 damage per party member, or that all party members are considered to attack as part of the point man's action, or something else?

-Page 4, Thurible, 3rd para, "characters fear" character's

-I couldn't find anywhere that explained lanterns or torches

-Page 8, Cultists, their point-man effect gives Blacksmith and Brute bonuses on defense rolls. Where are defense rolls explained? I thought you just rolled against current HP to hit?

-Page 10, 8, how does Fear work?

-Page 10, 8, how does Sanity work?

-Page 11, 2, how does fuel work?

Cool game! I'm looking forward to playing it, but I'm confused about a couple of rules.

First, in the combat example, it says that a 6 would cause a second strike against another party member. Is this a special rule for when an enemy rolls a 6? Does that second strike automatically hit or does the enemy roll again? I don't see it mentioned anywhere outside the example.

Second, I'm confused about how encounters work in general. When I encounter a SOLDIER, do I immediately roll on the SOLDIERLY ACTS table, or only if the coin flip is tails? If the coin flip is heads, can I choose to just peacefully go past them and avoid the encounter entirely? What does "join the party" mean in the line "H - player advantage to attack, allow safe passage, or join the party"?

Hello and many thanks!

When you roll d6 for an enemy/monster HP and get a 6, and in the case where that same enemy gets an HP bonus, instead of increasing their HP they attack twice per turn - roll d6 for each of these attacks.

This next point has shown me that I didn't put this instruction in the text - whoops! My intent is for the following to happen:

Some encounters require a COIN TOSS to determine which set of actions to take - HEADS representing an advantage to your character, presenting the option to incorporate an enemy into your party, let them leave and avoid combat, or to go ahead with an attack. TAILS will require you to roll on the accompanying table. This will definitely be an edit for the next version.

Thanks, please let me know if you have more questions!


Hey Matt!

I'm having trouble interpreting the Attack & Defend rules stated in the early part of the rules. It says "Each character has d6 HP. To ATTACK & DEFEND roll d6, if the result matches or is higher than the attackers HP the blow/parry was successful. A successful attack SUBTRACTS one HP. Reaching zero means character death. In cases when a character HP exceeds 6 - roll twice to attack/defend instead."

My questions are: how does defending work? Does this mean that if a character is attacked, I can defend instead of attacking, and add that d6 roll(s) to my current HP, and that is what the opponent must succeed to lower my HP? Or is it the higher of a d6 roll to defend and my d6 of health?

On another note, if each character has a d6 of HP, how can they have an HP that exceeds 6? Is there a wording that separates attacking and defending more clearly?


The latter is correct - it is the higher of the rolled d6 and the characters HP. If your character has 6 HP the "monster" must roll a 6 for a successful hit - subtract one from your characters HP.

In some cases a "monster" or character is given a bonus HP due to the specific type of encounter - these bonuses are described in the last section of some, but not all encounters. For example, rolling a 6 on the d6 GHOULISHNESS table gives the GHOUL +2 HP. If that same GHOUL has 6HP, instead of adding the two for 8HP, that GHOUL now rolls to attack twice (or gets two consecutive attack turns). Hopefully this makes the "monster" more powerful but still possible to "kill".

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have questions!



Seems fun so far, but I don't qute understand catacomb confusion.

"according to the (2D6) result, draw an arrow where you actually enter the next chamber" doesn't make any sense to me.  If I'm in a circle with two ways one, one way which I came from on the left, and one which I haven't been to yet on the right, and I roll "1 hash mark to the right" on catacomb confusion, does that mean the hallway to the right is twice as long? Or does it mean chose the next hash mark to the right to leave, in which case I think saying clockwise and counterclockwise instead of right and left would work better.

Could someone please explain this to me? I feel like I could have a lot of fun with this game, but I'm just totally stuck on this detail.

Also, for the 4th Cultist Discovery where the party follows the entrails of the cultist one room over, what happens when we follow the entrails? Do we fight the cultist? Did he lose health from stabbing himself? Is he just dead on the ground for us to loot? Do we ignore his existance and make a separate 2D6 roll for the room?

I feel like all of my questions would be alleviated if there were any videos of people playing this game online, so I can see an example in action. Would such a video be something you would be willing to make?

I should have written that yes, the CULTIST is certainly dead - or near-death! But the intent is to allow movement to an adjacent chamber of your choice without having to roll 2d6 CATACOMB CONFUSION.

And yes! I have often thought about making a video playthrough/instruction - as well as a major overhaul of the rules with some help from outside designers. I'd love to make a video, but I currently don't have a camera - or haven't learned how to use my phone to get decent film - still using an old 2013 model. But yes that's something I would love to do eventually!

Great, thanks for the help.

My advice for filming would be to go with the best value to performance smartphone camera right now is the Google Pixel 4a with prices ranging from $220 to $399. It uses lots and lots of post processing and AI tricks to make its photos look way better than they have any right to be, so instead of paying for an array of costly sensors, you buy a phone with one rear camera that gets dolled up to an amazing degree; plus it uses a nice, stock version of Android.


The first step is to mark your intended path with an "i" - you may not get the chance to follow that path if you roll 2d6 CATACOMB CONFUSION and have to deviate. If you are forced to deviate, mark that as the actual path you take with the "arrow". The "right" and "left" are intended to mean "of the hash mark with an "i". Clockwise and counterclockwise also work and serve as a great visualization for a character standing in the chamber!

Thanks for checking the game out! I hope this helps!

Hey Matt,

I'm having the hardest time getting this to print correctly. I did 2-sided smart edge and I end up with full pages that are upside down on the reverse, rather than a zine format. Any suggestions on what I'm doing wrong?

Looks really great though!


Hi Matt.

I love this!

I have a rules question and a suggestion.

The question: What's the TRAVELER "direct chamber-to-chamber movement"? Is it automatically jumping to any chamber on the map (ignoring all of the chambers are in between and saving light)? Or only moving to a connected chamber (but avoiding CATACOMB CONFUSION)? The former seems a little overpowered (even if it's only once/game); whereas the latter feels underpowered (especially since it's only once/game.)

And the suggestion: Could you add the 'burn one unit of light' step in the ENTER THE CATACOMBS section? I keep on forgetting that step!


Hello and thank you!

I think it's a great idea to add the "burn one unit of light" step. As for the Traveler, "only moving to a connected chamber (but avoiding CATACOMB CONFUSION)" is the correct interpretation. I'll have to think of a better solution for that, maybe they can do it 3x per game, I'm open to suggestions! 

I'm about 75% done with the next version LOST in the FOREST and feedback like this is very helpful, thank you for checking out the game and sharing your thoughts!

A neat little solo adventure in which surviving is less the point than exploring a creepy underground labyrinth. It's short and to the point and does very well what it sets out to do!

Hi Matthew!

I was wondering if you had any update on the status of LOST in the FOREST :) 


Hello! It’s still in the works - it’s turning out to be much more expansive than the original idea and taking me a while to piece together. Also look for a ‘Mapping the Catacombs’ update!