Bloodborne fans either love or hate the Chalice Dungeons. Invoked by placing, of course, a Chalice and several materials, they allow players to take on a random combination of bosses and enemies — or at least, random to a degree.
While it was previously thought that Root Chalice Dungeons, a special type of procedurally-generated dungeons, was a truly infinite series of dungeons, it turns out that there are only 2300 unique combinations of room configurations. Through the power of elbow grease and a few mods, Bloodborne dungeon enthusiast group Tomb Prospectors has documented all 2300 of them.
The Tomb Prospectors is a group of players that enjoy running through the Root Chalice Dungeons. Their main public-facing hub is their subreddit, where they discuss the many dungeons they’ve run into. They also share their published dungeon layouts for others to try.
Just over two years ago, according to Prospectors moderator XTrinX_Xara, games modder “Zullie the Witch” discovered the limited nature of Root Chalice Dungeons. The number of maps was calculated from possible combinations of difficulty: for each chalice used, levels 1 to 3 respectively have 100 possible combinations, and 4 and 5 have 200 each. Combined with the number of possible chalices, they reached the 2300 count. From there, The Tomb Prospectors took off to try to explore them all.
It's been 2 years since @ZullieTheWitch discovered Chalice Dungeons are finite, with 2300 root dungeons total. And today, the Tomb Prospectors community managed to explore them all. Huge thanks to all people who worked so hard on this project! #bloodborne https://t.co/Iu6pz0uFmJ
— XTrin (@XTrinX_Xara) November 17, 2019
For about nine months, they became the primary group dedicated to farming and documenting the unique combinations of the Root Chalice Dungeons, mapping out each of the dungeon’s twists, turns, and quirks. However, according to the doc, natural exploration wasn’t a viable long-term strategy for finding each unique dungeon. As it turns out, many of the “changes” are actually aesthetic — meaning, they don’t provide a meaningful change to the structure of the dungeon itself.
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Exploring as the game intended would possibly actually take forever. For that reason, they had to turn to a more artificial approach. They used modding tool Save Wizard to dig up the IDs of all the especially unique dungeons. And while the modding tool was key in the year and three months that followed, it wasn’t the only tool. (Otherwise it wouldn’t have taken so long, no?) The players still had to dive in to actually explore and document each of these unique dungeons.
The spreadsheet that was assembled as a result is the labor of these efforts, and it’s certainly a daunting piece of work. There are different “pages” for each Root Chalice players can acquire. Each sheet has the internal ID of the dungeon; while players have included “glyphs” for each and every dungeon, which allow other players to give it a whirl, they may have expired due to low usage. They also include vocabulary for each layout of the map, as well as little tidbits about the dungeon in question.
If you’re interested in learning about the ins and outs of the dungeon formation, the spreadsheet has links to tips on the generation system and editing them. There’s also a screenshot database that looks like it was from the first few months of the exploration efforts, and we’ve featured two of them as part of this article. However, it’s fairly limited, compared to the broader scope of the project, as clearly 2300 dungeons’ worth of images would have been a hefty ask.
And even if you’re just an onlooker or a more casual Bloodborne fan, it’s a pretty interesting bunch of reads into the inner works of an iconic real-time action RPG.