Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spine of a Dungeon, Part 1

I upped the contrast on this a bit to make the path clear for ye, adventurer...
Doing AD&D recently, I've kind of struggeled with room layout. Fact is, as a human you can't really just 'randomly' assign rooms. To make the next room you always rely on some line of reasoning/thinking/vibe/theme, whatever. When really what I want for now is to be entertained - currenly I don't have a big urge to develop a big line of thinking/vibe/theme of dungeon design. Which makes it a bit hard to be entertained when the only generator is you.

Well actually the DM manual has a dungeon generator, but - it appears to produce things I wouldn't find entertaining (oh, another 60 foot corridor? Bliss!). Maybe I'm wrong on that and should give it a try one day to see atleast one result of it.

So what I ended up doing was to narrow it down to the basic structures...

More after the fold...

First is the classic room with a door.

Next - well, most of the dungeons we deal with seem to have been ruins taken over, so to me there also should be alot of rooms without doors (wooden doors have rotten away, or monsters have used them for firewood, etc). How my imagination works is that (assuming monsters are inside AND looking towards the doorway at all) a rogue can use move in shadows (on a successful roll) to find a path past the door and the rest of the party can follow his exact method as well. So the rogue becomes a pathfinder in that respect (pathfinder - someone should make a game called that!)

Last is the split chamber. The reason for not just having the path enter a chamber is because this forces the players through it. If it's too lethal for it (AND they can't escape it) then they are all whine, whine, whine, it was too hard for us, whine, whine, whine, we were forced into it, whine, whine, whine. Well, they whine like that normally, but the fun thing is in how that it is the players, through their own choice, who are atleast partly to blame for their own demise. That's the bit a DM savours, above all the whining! And since that's the bit you savour, you want the portion they are responsibile for their own death to be pretty damn big, for your enjoyment! This is why you have the dungeon split to two chambers, each with a different contents. Of course, often clever players will, gasp, use their choice wisely and avoid an untimely death! This is enjoyable as well, though not quite as much as the players killing themselves is! So basically win-win! Though I kind of don't like the chambers exit tunnels reconnecting afterward (though this is necessary to avoid forcing players through a particular chamber). I'm thinking after drawing I'll make some of the tunnels that reconnect into concealed tunnels. Behind tapestries or doors under beds, etc. so even a failed search roll doesn't mean they can never find it, if they just think about the description of the room and look behind stuff.

So, it ends up as a chart, rolling 1D6
1-2 Split chamber
3-4 Room without door
5-6 Room with door

I might mess with the numbers at some point - might make split chamber only on a one, room without door on 2-4.

Anyway, you can see in the picture above what can be generated! And more on that generation (dimensions and such) in Part 2!

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