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19

The Difference between Magic and Non-Magic is Usually Fluff In plenty of settings and games, magic is objective, such as in D&D and Ars Magica. You can easily refluff "magic" to be clear "science" instead; after all, it's only the way reality works. Use Warped Dimensional Spaces/Basement Universes as an Explanation The hints that a dungeon works in a ...


12

The geometry of the surface of a sphere is non-euclidean. Its hard to tell that on sufficiently large spheres, but quite obvious on fairly small ones. So, in a sci-fi type setting you could have the dungeon occur on an asteroid. It sounds like you are wanting something more Escher-esque than relistically non-euclidean, but if you mostly want ...


8

Three-dimensional dungeons are so boring. The Dragon Compendium had an excellent pair of reprinted articles (from issues 17 and 38) about the use of four-dimensional spaces (specifically, tesseracts, a.k.a. hypercubes) as dungeons. You'd have a heck of a time being subtle about it, obviously... but it'd be worth the effort just to see the look on the party ...


8

It somewhat depends on how much mapping the players are doing. If they are going old school, and drawing what you describe "you are in a 50' long corridor with a door at the end and doors on either side 20' from the end" your challenge is much greater than if you are being less specific in your descriptions, and they are not drawing a map. "You are in a ...


7

What I'd do is have all natural formations. Don't have any right angles. If there's continually slopes going up and down, everything twisting and turning it'll be harder to keep track of. You could also throw in a purple worm to create new passage ways and throw in a quake to collapse some of the passageways they've gone through.


6

If I'm playing a character and I (the player) know that the point of the dungeon is to get lost for purposes of a plot device, I'll let slide MUCH more than if I thought the DM was playing square; so you may want to let the players know that you will use a few dirty tricks to "help" them get lost in the dungeon. If they throw a fit, you may want to table ...


6

A big fight where there are fireballs and earthquake spells or explosive flasks flying about could collapse an entry tunnel. I think the big fight is not as cheesy as a collapsing tunnel trap, but you could use that too. If you want to prewarn them you can tell them the tunnel ceiling looks weak and the reinforcing timber is rotting, worn or shows signs of ...


6

Looking back at the mapping exploits of CRPG Addict, a naturalistic dungeon (thanks @migo) "enhanced" with a few magical features could be extremely frustrating to map. You need to have an excellent reason to sabotage your players like this, though. If they enjoy mapping, there's a difference between challenging them and frustrating their fun. Challenge: ...


6

A fast running underground river/stream that they have to float/swim/dive down would do the trick. That would give you a one-way entrance to a section of the dungeon (barring magic use that can get them back up the stream), and prevent the characters (and thus players) from actually mapping since they are in the water. If you want a more contrived method, ...


5

I planned, but never ran, a sci-fi based game on the inside of a spaceship which was a rotating cylinder. It could be relatively small - perhaps 1 or 2 km across, and only need to rotate at a slow number of revolutions per minute to generate 1 G on the inside surface. The "sky" would be the opposite side of the cylinder, and you could walk there in a couple ...


5

I think the most important thing to understand when you draw your own dungeon is: You don't need to be an artist. A dungeon map is meant for reference to help yourself remember and understand what's about to happen. Create yourself a code of symbols or icons. A big S inside a bold line might indicate a secret passage. Put a letter or a number and put the ...


5

There's a fundamental assumption error here. High level D&D parties, especially ones with access to 9th level spells don't need to ever enter dungeons unless it is for their own amusement. We begin by articulating strategies of 18th level casters faced with an imposing dungeon: Their central strategy is to force the "defenders" to emerge from behind ...


5

OK, the most straight forward way I know doesn't involve any trick rooms or doors. Simply make a really big dungeon and at some point take away their map. If they have no writing materials and no paper left in the party then I always rule there is no map making. They can try dungeoneering but make sure that there are plenty of things that force them to ...


4

Did you ever play one of those old adventure games, like Monkey Island, where there was a maze where the whole thing wrapped around in impossible ways unless you knew the right path? The trick here is that you can go down one path, enter a room, turn right back around and go back down the path you just came... and end up in some third room. Shifting walls ...


4

A lateral suggestion, inspired by Numenera — whose books I've recently thumbed through — just don't explain things that closely. This is appropriate for settings where a baseline level of strangeness is expected, and which exact weird things that happen are part of the content you as a GM provide. Keeping an air of mystery is what you go for. So, focus on ...


4

How about a dungeon containing shifting or spinning rooms and corridors via giant wheels and levers? After the player characters exit a room or corridor & close the door behind, a switch is flipped and the rooms and passages outside of the PCs current location are shuffled around. Since the PC's current location isn't being moved, they won't feel the ...


3

In a SF world, you can have this kind of 'non-euclidean dungeons' by placing your players inside a Virtual Reality world (Matrix). The odd parts and glitches can come from various sources: bugs, backdoors, hacks that will alter the perceived reality of the players. There is a good anime from the Matrix anime set about this with kids playing inside a weird ...


3

So I actually don't draw the map until the game. I found that when I drew the map in advance I spent a lot of time copying it for the players to see. I had to get it exactly right and any mistakes were slow to erase. This seemed backwards to me because the placement of corridors and whatnot was arbitrary when I planned them. There was no actual reason to ...


3

Describe it verbally and let them fill in the blanks. Unless they're measuring, they won't pick up on exact distances. Use deceptive architecture. Maybe they won't notice that that 1000' corridor was slightly sloping down, leaving them a floor below where they expected to be. Or maybe the corners aren't all exactly 90 degrees. Or the map they find is ...


3

Firstly, make the dungeon natural, not artificial. Caverns, tunnels, shifts of level, rivers... no convenient right angles, no paved floors. (Can you tell the difference between 51' and 57' of tunnel by eye? I can't. How about the difference between an 18 degree turn and 19?) Call for skill checks... and don't let them know if they fail, just give them ...


2

I ran a recent campaign in Undermountain. A frequent trick is teleporter traps that were unnoticeable by the party. It used teleporter from one hallway to an identical hallway (or a different location in the same very long hallway) that only triggers with the entire party and has no visible manifestation. It was only noticeable by the party with an ...


2

It does depend on what you will allow, and how much money you give the bad guys As a trick to get the good characters to waste time and use up their resources, this spell Phantom Trap should be used at every corner. There is no save, and if the good characters come across enough of them, they might even start to ignore traps. One of my favourites is the ...


2

The only problem I see with the natural formations dungeon is that it's difficult for the players to map, and if they enjoy that it may be more fun to get them lost in a way that they can try to "map their way out of" rather than completely sabotage their ability to map. Already mentioned have been doors that go multiple places -- I'd mark the doors in ...


1

Have you thought of misdirection? You mention a math equation. Put 3 keys in front of a door. Label the lock with: "2+2", and the keys with "2", "4", and "22". The "right" key would NOT!!!!!! be the one labeled "4". Maybe design the trap to have a spell that will throw a huge fireball with the "4" key, some sort of poisonous fog (minor effect compared ...


1

WotC did something like this in one of their adventures, H2 Thunderspire Labyrinth if memory serves, with the main locations in the labyrinth linked by a vague, semi-random series of dungeons you had to check your way through, and where the DM could throw random encounters à la Final Fantasy. I'm not exactly sure how successful it was. Check also ...



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