I was planning a 1e The One Ring game where the party gets trapped in the mines of Moria and have to get out. I had asked a question about the roles here. After discussing it with others, my idea of wandering an actual maze with multiple levels and various puzzles has been pointed out that its likely to be dull and boring for the players.

I am at a loss of how to run a maze, without it being an actual maze.

It was suggested I could use a position scale which would determine how the party was doing within the maze. Various challenges and checks would adjust the score as needed. It holds some merit, but one of my big surprises is the 3rd (and secret to the PC's) exit which is the endless stairs is going to be really hard to work in if I did it in such a way. Plus, how would the PC's really guide their route to one of the potential exits if their not actually wandering a maze that was designed? Granted, not having to create a 40 mile by 10 mile by 4 mile maze sounds rather nice at this point.

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    \$\begingroup\$ @Jadasc It doesnt ANSWER my issue completely (mainly due to the multiple exits), but it does give me some very good alternative methods of building "a maze" that I can consider. \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    Sep 8, 2021 at 2:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Fering, would the accepted answer to the previously mentioned question help with your problem if you were to use this solution plus showing the layout to your players as they advance? They would have something akin to a map and that could help them to situate themself in the dungeon without having to keep a detailed map. I also think of something else, but I'll address it in a true answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zoma
    Sep 8, 2021 at 14:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Zoma The linked questions accepted answer is what I am considering basing the dungeon on, but I actually need to try it out before I know it works or needs modifications. I have lots of elements to try and balance, plus how to have the 3rd secret exit. In any case, its a far better solution than actually putting them in a maze like my original plan. \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    Sep 8, 2021 at 17:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is a system-specific question that might have system-specific answers, so I'm voting to reopen, even if the dupe target might work out for your case. \$\endgroup\$
    – Akixkisu
    Sep 9, 2021 at 10:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think the questions are close enough that if there are system-specific, or situation-specific, concerns that still need answering, the question should be edited to highlight those before it’s re-opened. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Sep 9, 2021 at 18:26

1 Answer 1


You might want to complete the accepted answer to the quoted question in comments (so this answer) with some dice rolls to randomize rooms order.

As an example, you could start in a basic stone cellar, and you plan that from this cellar they can reach 2 different rooms, say a dead end and a large room. Players have two doors (I say doors but that might just be basic paths, work the same) to choose from, but what they don't know is that the path to these two possibilities isn't set in stone. When they chose a path, make the leader make a roll to know which possibility they'll get. You might say that they are only at the start of the maze, so haven't a lot of chance to already encounter a dead end, so on a 1~5 they get the dead-end and on a 6~20 they reach the next room.

This example was for only knowing if they can advance fast in the dungeon, as reaching a dead end will make them go back to take another door (maybe letting potential pursuer get closer to them ?).
Your players can also note the order in which they go from one room to another to draw (or you draw them) a pseudo map, allowing them to kind of locate themself in the maze without having a detailed map to keep track of.

For the purpose of different good paths and exits, you might want to add multiple good ways in the possibilities, not just one good one and others only dead-end.

In a room with 4 doors, you might say that the 2 left-side have a possibility to lead to exit N°1 while 2 right-side doors will instead lead to exit N°2. You might also add some hidden doors with shortcuts or your secret exit N°3.

To make this a little more than just players against dice, you might adjust odds in accordance with players' actions, discoveries, or general knowledge. You could hide some notes about the 3rd exit on a shelf in an old armory, or have a character knowledgeable about dwarf culture notice a hidden engraving on a wall/door which may help avoid dead-ends or make it easier to reach exits.

Doing this avoids the pain of drawing a detailed map, but you'll still have a lot of work to achieve, depending on how much you want to prepare each possible intersection and odds from getting from one room to another. A flowchart or other options indicated in the answer linked at the start of this answer might help you a lot with this.


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