I was not familiar with the 1988 Dungeon Master's Design Kit.
Ken Rolston savaged the thing is his 1991 review for Dragon?
I found some automation from the booklet on DonJon. The content generated w/ a click seems brilliant. To think this was out in 1988 and was criticized for being too "fill in the blank, remedial and boring" seems harsh and short-sighted, displaying an appalling level of arrogance.
I wish Ken only ill, as he strives to "hit all the right notes for both veteran players and newbies alike." That sort of philosophy is the same as saying a baseball glove, one style is fine for all baseball players, kids and pros, weekend players and athletes.
I may need to do some sleuthing. He seems a fine target, even more stupid than the Bishop. Ken's style of rpg seems like it's loony, pure attention seeking drivel. Jesus, this war was fought and lost over decades.
====by the way this generated on Donjon based on DMDK (TSR loved letters)========
This adventure is fun for fun's sake. Its basic purpose is to provide humorous entertainment with a minimum of actual danger or tragedy.
Early in the adventure, the heroes are captured. The remainder of the adventure consists of them learning enough so that they can escape. They have to get to know their fellow prisoners, learn the prison's routine, inventory their possessions, acquire other possessions they need, plan an escape, and execute it.
Someone greatly offends the hero, so much so that he'll pursue his offender right into the adventure. (Note that this usually means that the offender is a minion of the Master Villain. You'll have to decide whether the minion offended the hero precisely to bring him into the adventure or just as a side-effect of his ordinary villain activities.)
Accumulation of Elements
In this sort of plot, the heroes have to go from place to place -- perhaps covering very little area like a city, perhaps roaming the known world -- and accumulate elements to be used against the Master Villain. These elements may be clues, pieces of an artifact, evidence, or allies.
Here, the heroes have been defeated -- captured by the Master Villain, or so thoroughly cut up by his minions that all believe them to be dead. And the heroes have learned, from the bragging of the villain, loose talk of his minions, or examination of clues, what is the crucial event of his master plan. In any case, the battered and bruised heroes must race to this site and have their final confrontation with the villain, bursting in on him and his minions just as the knife or final word or key is poised, and prevent the awful deed from taking place -- and, incidentally, defeat the master villain and minions who beat them previously.
Exotic Distant Land
The adventure will take the heroes to some fascinating and exotic distant country, where they'll have to cope with new customs, monsters unfamiliar to them, and very colorful NPC encounters; choose one of the more fascinating foreign lands from your campaign world.
Specific Setting I
This can be either the church of some lofty and good diety, or the dark and grisly temple of some horrid deity (doubtless filled with evil soldiers and monsters), or even the temple that the madman villain has dedicated to himself for when he becomes a god.
Specific Setting II
This classic adventure site is the sometimes dark and fearsom, sometimes light and cheerful, always magical and incomprehensible forest inhabited by the oldest elven trives and most terrifying monsters.
The Corruptor is the villain who wants to make something nasty out of something that is currently nice. He may be working on a small scale -- i.e., wish to corrupt one character or a few characters, particularly PCs and their favorite NPCs. Alternatively, he may be a big-scale villain trying to change an entire city or nation into a jaded, debased pit of sin, hatred and death.
Minor Villain I
The Vizier is a throne-room villain. Functionally, he's rather like the Hard-Eyed Advisor, offering tactics and advice to his master; but he's an ooily, sleazy, cowardly sycophant. He's usually brilliant in his field of advice but has no combat abilities.
Minor Villain II
This character is like the Master Villain of the same name, except that he has no minions of his own and serves at someone else's bidding. However, he's very independent, not always working in his employer's best interests; he often makes fun of the Master Villain's pretensions and may suffer that villain's retaliation because of it.
The characters find they need an expert in some fields -- pottery, alchemy, whatever -- but all they can find is a somewhat daffy and absent-minded master of that subject. He's useful when around his subject matter, but otherwise absent-minded, incautions, in frequent need of rescuing, etc.
This is another classic monster encounter; the monster which is bedeviling a community or local area and will continue to do so unless the heroes destroy or defeat it. Yes, this is similar to the Master Villain of the same name, but the Ravager usually has no master plan -- it just wants to kill, destroy, or eat.
The Mean Drunk works much like the Belligerent Soldier except that he's not as tough, is of course drunk, and is usually accompanied by other Mean Drunks.
Rock and a Hard Place
This trap starts out as an Animal Pit, Pit and the Pendulum, or Tomb Deathtrap, but an obvious escape suggests itself very early on. Trouble is, it leads into even worse danger. The hole out of the animal pit may lead to the lair of an even worse animal; it may lead through a succession of dangers (collapsing old catacombs, into an underground river, into a den of zombies) before the heroes reach the light.
The heroes could be riding pegasi or friendly griffons or allied great eagles; the villains could be carried aloft by gargoyles or demons. The prospect of taking a mile-long fall if one's mount is hit is a very daunting and challenging one for the hero.
Innocent Fulfills Prophecy
An innocent could fulfill a prophecy -- one which endangers his/her life. This innocent might, for instance, be the one who is supposed to slay the king, but is not a mighty adventurer able to protect himself from the king; the heroes may find themselves sheltering and helping this poor dupe.
Finally, the villain may have some aberration or secret shame that will force him to flee when he is confronted with it. It could be something as simple as the fact that his nose is too big, or that he is a small and nebbishly wizard pretending to be some vast, powerful demonic power. When his shame is revealed, he is too humiliated to continue; this is a good option for comedy adventures.
Coping with a Curse
The curse might be making the hero progressively uglier, might be draining out his life-force (he's losing experience which will be retruned if he succeeds), or might be making him progressively insane. Each day, as he sees his reflection in a mirror or pond or fountain, he'll know himself to be less than he used to be.
You want to use this on the character with the most strongly developed sense of personal honor -- someone who has lived all his life by a strict code. Toward the end of the adventure, this character realizes that the best way to defeat the Master Villain is a violation of that code. For instance, the character might be a paladin, who discovers that the only possible way for the heroes to defeat the Master Villain is to sneak up on him and stab him in the back.
This is the worst and most useful type of red herring -- the interesting rumor which just happens to be false. In adventures of this sort, the best Lying Rumor concerns the Master Villain; it gives the heroes some "important" information about him which later turns out to be useless.
Heroes Must Work with Villain
If they have to work for the villain, it's due to some hold he has over them -- probably, he's kidnapped one of their NPCs and will kill this person if his demands aren't met. Put the heroes through the encounter where they have to do something they are loathe to do, such as sack and pillage a temple, before they have the opportunity to retrieve their friend.
Based upon tables from the Dungeon Master's Design Kit by TSR, Inc. by Harold Johnson and Aaron Allston w/ one of this pair dead at age 53.