Purpose for the Darkness (March 2017 RPG Blog Carnival)

Last time I offered a few ideas on a single dark room in the dungeon, but that got me thinking even further. What are the questions we should ask about those dark places to help inspire more thoughts about their denizens and the encounters our PCs might face in them? Even if we just take a…

Dark rooms in the dungeon (March 2017 RPG Blog Carnival)

Recently I saw some discussion about the idea of natural light in a dungeon, which I honestly thought was hilarious. Unless there’s some sort of natural lighting by way of lava, bio luminescence, or somebody or something living there, the darkness usually doesn’t defeat itself by producing light. The cave doesn’t care if it’s dark.…

Denizens in the Dark

We’ve talked a bit about the physical properties of dungeons, but what happens when we need to populate those structures with inhabitants? Last week I brought up the idea of the original “purpose” for the dungeon and I’d like to expand on that a little. Let’s take the history of an old dungeon as an example……

Why is the dungeon there in the first place?

So you’re setting up your next session for your campaign and you need a dungeon… You’ve pulled together a dungeon map already: maybe you used the Appendix A table set from the Dungeon Master’s Guide at Wizards of the Coast and created one from scratch or you found an amazing map from cartographer Dyson Logos…

The Wolves in the Walls

By now we’ve covered ceilings and floors, I think it’s about time to focus on the walls of our dungeon and see how we might view them differently. If you search the collective consciousness (and the insane number of idioms we have in the English language), you can find some interesting sayings or phrases focused…

Watch Your Step (Four on the Dungeon Floor)

Last week we looked at the ceiling, so this week let’s check out the floor of our ever-changing dungeon. Unlike the ceiling, I think players (and their PCs) are a bit more cognizant of the dangers that accompany every step in unfamiliar territory. You never know when you might trigger a trap, snap a twig,…

Don’t Forget To Look Up

Whether you’re exploring a cave system, a dungeon, a jungle, or even an urban landscape, one lesson has stuck with me since playing through my first adventures in Dungeons & Dragons: Look Up. Why? You never know what be crawling around on the ceiling! Whether it’s simply spiders waiting to drop down, wrap you in…

A Pair of Tiny Dungeons

Continuing my delving into dungeons dark and random… I’ve pulled together (as I like to do) a collection of random tables. They fall into the following categories: Shape Size Number of Exits Occupants Purpose Traps Age Exit Type And in true Fitz fashion they’re pretty abstract and minimal. I expect to add more details over…

A Random Start To Random Dungeon Design

Whether you go with analog randomizers such as physical dice or coins or their digital counterparts, I’ve been fascinated by the flexibility of the traditional random table. Ever since reading Appendix A: Random Dungeon Generation in the AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide way back in the early 1980s, I was hooked. And I didn’t really realize how…

Stranger in a Strange Land, continued

As I continue my adventures abroad, I’ve been forced to see the world through a bit of a different lens. Back home we live in a relatively flat world, spread out across the land at a few stories above the ground at most. Here I’m seeing old and new mixed everywhere, with height and deceptive…

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