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 (see Dyson’s Dodecahedron for some amazing inspiration)
- maybe you found one in the 5 Room Dungeons collection at Roleplaying Tips
- or you’ve used Donjon’s Random Dungeon Generator to create something on the fly
- or maybe you’ve used Dave’s Mapper to pull together something from a variety of tiles that suits your purposes
And now you’re ready to sit down and fill it with all manner of traps, treasure, and beasties. You probably even have a few ideas how to fill a corner here or there or maybe even know what the monstrous theme might be (some kobolds here and a small wyrm in the dark perhaps sitting on a small hoard)… but you’re scratching your head looking for the answer to one important question.
Why is it there? What was the dungeon’s original purpose?
Well, here are a few ideas for you…
d10 Random Dungeon Purpose
- Old mine
- Hidden temple
- Cave system
- Secret prison
- Transportation network
- Underground city
Let’s say I’ve created a dungeon using donjon’s 5e Random Dungeon Generator…
This thing is awesome and round, which is unique. Let’s take a spin on the table and I get “7” – Labyrinth. Interesting.
And the last thing I may need (though it’s totally optional) is a cool name for this complex. Using the Dungeon name generator over at Fantasy Name Generators I find the “Haunt of the Spirit’s Monk.” That’s definitely cool but I’m going to twist it a bit and say it’s the “Haunt of the Flame’s Monk” – but it wasn’t always that way…
“The Haunt of the Flame’s Monk has been inhabited by the Order of the Reborn Flame, a sect believing in the Gospels of Garyx, a lesser dragon god of fire, destruction, and renewal. Its members believe that only through the pain of burning themselves can they join Garyx’ greater spirit and see to the world beyond. They aren’t evil, exactly, but their religious practices are anathema to most even if they have one of the best burn wards in the world.
The brothers have been in the complex a long time, but that wasn’t always the case. Long ago the complex was used as a test for the brave and valiant. Once a month the doors would open and a group of heroes could enter to find valor and treasure, or so the Keepers claimed. In truth, the Keepers were performing horrific magical experiments and creating monstrosities to test against the heroes of the realm. And it is said that those inhabitants turned on the Keepers to end their own suffering but nobody knows for sure.
It is rumored that there is a second level below that is still haunted by the screams of those consumed by the labyrinth’s many inhabitants…”
I like it. I could see using the Haunt of the Flame’s Monk to house a group hiding a tortured villain the PCs may need to find and return for justice. They see the villain as just another patient under their care seeking enlightenment and will fight to protect him (or her) from the party. And as the PCs fight their way to the villain, the strife awakens the spirit of something left over from the older incarnation of this place…
It cries out to have an adventure written, don’t you think? Let me know if you use it!