Sunday, February 14, 2021

I Was Wrong About Dungeon Design

So I've long been an advocate for my 30 minute dungeon/10 room dungeon method of adventure creation, wherein a short dungeon should be composed of 10 rooms as follows:

3 empty rooms
3 combat encounters
2 traps
1 non-hostile NPC
1 special/weird room

Of these rooms, 4 should have treasure, and there should be a magic item.

I still think these are useful guidelines for putting together a short little adventure quickly, but its definitely not the be-all end-all of dungeon design. Every referee and player's ideal dungeon is gonna be a little different. Some groups will want almost nothing but puzzles, while others want to slog through a lot of combat each session. Others still want nothing more than to meet interesting people. 

From Ultima Underworld

Many early dungeons rely far more on combat encounters than tricks, traps, and NPCs, particularly stuff like the Palace of the Vampire Queen from Wee Warriors. And honestly? I can get behind that. D&D's combat is fun, if simplistic. There is a reason the classic "roll a d20, consult a chart/add modifiers, then roll for damage" hasn't changed much since 1974. Sometimes its fun to just go into a dungeon, fight monsters, acquire magical weapons to better fight monsters, haul treasure back up to town, and repeat ad nauseum. The existence of games like Diablo is proof that this formula works. 

My point is that perhaps instead of reading all the formulas and guidelines for constructing dungeons, instead of spending so much time looking at theory posts (like this one), we should just be going with our guts, doing what feels right.

Perhaps tomorrow I'll try my hand at a freeform, non-theory based, gut instinct dungeon, something made from the heart not the brain. 

Anyway to fulfill the Joesky tax here is a magic potion that lets you breath dragonfire:

Potion of the Dragon
Upon imbibing this vial of bubbling red liquid, the user gains 1d6 uses of a flaming breath weapon. This weapon deals 1d6 damage for each level the user possesses, and is emitted as a jet of flame from their mouth. It automatically hits, targets must make a saving throw, on a successful roll they take half damage.

Source: https://www.artstation.com/artwork/PkrB (Thank you Griffin!)


3 comments:

  1. Looks like the art is from here: https://www.artstation.com/artwork/PkrB

    ReplyDelete
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