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88

By definition, nothing's going to happen in an empty room (though see below). There are no hidden doors to find, no puzzles to solve, no enemies to fight. So what's their purpose? Bringing the dungeon to life While all the orcs may sit around in a guard room waiting for PCs to show up, where do they sleep, what do they eat, what happens to their trash? ...


19

Do you know the room is empty? (Of course you do.) Do your players know? How do they know? Is the room totally smooth material without a single crack or joint? That would be most unusual, and hence interesting. Dungeons are typically uneven and roughly hewn, run-down by poor climate, and probably not entirely clean. Is there as much as a piece of rotting ...


7

Empty of threat, but there can be plenty of other things to make it interesting: Maybe it's just a smell (pleasant or not) the corpse/bones of a past adventurer (looted) some small inconsequential animals that flee (spiders or normal sized rats) There could also be something potentially useful: Maybe there's a pool of water that could be made potable ...


6

Mechanically, you could easily remove individual scores from any edition of Dungeons & Dragons prior to 3e, simply by declaring that all characters have average ability scores of 10 or 12. (For 3rd edition or latter, you'll need to take the additional step of declaring what happens when characters get an ability score increase.) Doing so makes for a ...


5

Potential Tactical Space If you're playing a game with lots of empty dungeon rooms, then you should consider all of those potential combat zones. And you should consider making them have tactical value in some way that maybe players or smart monsters might try to move the fight into a location better suited for them. Narrow bridges, chokepoints, places ...


5

Make a list of room types for the kind of area you are mapping, for example barracks, storeroom, larder, kitchen. For ruins, you can go by what the ruins used to be. These can be in a greater state of decay, such as an armory with the rusted remains of swords and axes. Empty rooms will not appear empty. They will have a room type from your list and ...


4

First some data to get a handle on how much people carrying. I found this excerpt on google books where a newspaper stated that a porter was expected to carry 100 lbs for ten miles a day. In Andes regulations limit the weight porters carry to 20 kg or 44 lbs. The general recommendation is 20% to 25% of your body weight if you want to hike all day. Which ...


3

This a careful tightrope, and one fraught with peril. If you insist on making every empty room interesting, you make a lot more work for yourself, both in designing the dungeon up front, and when you run the dungeon. And there is a high risk that you will step over the line (as a few of the other answers have) and make the room no longer qualify as ...


3

It depends on which OD&D you mean. If you are playing with the Greyhawk supplement, which expanded the ability bonus values and added the Intelligence table for magic-users, or with Swords & Wizardry Complete, ability scores mean about as much as they do in AD&D, so there would be a visible effect. If you are playing without the Greyhawk ...


2

As already noted, this dates all the way back to the 1974 rules. There's no way to be certain what Gygax and Arneson were thinking when they wrote it that way, but there are a couple obvious points to consider: Clerics start getting spells at 2nd level, not 1st; Clerics reach name level at 8th level Name-level clerics cast two of every spell level. There ...


2

"Empty" rooms don't have to be truly empty, as other answers have elaborated upon. The furnishings, lack of furnishings, materials, layouts, and other features can all keep the party guessing as to whether anything truly of value or interest is present. One factor I haven't seen mentioned yet, though, is that the empty rooms provide tremendous ...


2

There's some very good answers here. I thought I'd add a few concrete examples to flesh out some of the guidance. In the classic module G1 Steading of the Hill Giant Chief by Gary Gygax, the dungeon is a working fortress - the base of the Hill Giants. As a result all the rooms have some role to play in its operation. An intelligent set of players will learn ...


1

I occasionally run 'Random Dungeons' usually short-term (no more than a dozen sessions), low level game (usually under level 7 or so), using the charts in the back of the AD&D DMG, combined with some of the charts in the 3.5 DMG. The players always have fun trying to figure out what the rooms are for, based on the randomly-rolled 'dungeon dressing'. If ...


1

Making Empty rooms do something Whilst this may not specifically be the kind of answer you're looking for, make something they do in one room affect another room. For example, there may be a hidden lever in a torch sconce that when you flip it opens a locked secret door the PC's found in another room they were in before Giving them a story Like Magician ...



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