Questions tagged [dungeon-design]

For questions about designing dungeon-based locations for adventuring in. Such questions cover layout, theming, and other details of creating an explorable dungeon (above ground or not).

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31 votes
9 answers
4k views

How can I avoid static dungeons?

With many published adventures from different systems, and also with adventures I myself have created for my groups, I noticed that the dungeons in them feel static. You have 1 room with beasts that ...
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  • 7,183
57 votes
8 answers
27k views

What's the point of having a locked door if the players can just destroy it?

A lock may be picked or a lock may be broken after a few attempts, but what stops the players from just destroying the locked object? Especially wooden doors, but even iron doors or wooden chests, all ...
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  • 1,129
75 votes
4 answers
10k views

What is the origin of the phrase ‘orc and pie’?

I'd like to know where this unique phrase came from. “Orc and pie” has become shorthand for a style of simple dungeon design, but where did it originate?
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  • 2,030
10 votes
5 answers
354 views

Does skipping an ability check for a hazard needed to advance the dungeon remove player agency?

I'm currently running a sort of mega-dungeon made of other dungeons cobbled together. I know most of my players browse here frequently so I'll keep the description brief. At the end of the current ...
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24 votes
3 answers
3k views

How do I give dungeons sensible layouts that are still gameable? [duplicate]

When creating dungeons, I like to try to give them a history beyond "old place with traps and monsters and gold", since I like everything to feel real and have a purpose. However, whenever I try to ...
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4 votes
1 answer
2k views

Calculating dungeon length

I'm preparing a multilevel dungeon intended to move players from level 1 to 5 (one character level per dungeon level). I was wondering if anyone has formulas or rules of thumb to figure out how long ...
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  • 455
10 votes
5 answers
946 views

Handling dungeons in a non-heroic setting

For non-heroic I mean that players have no quality beyond any other human (in a fantasy world): If players have access to magic, it's scarce and more utility than power Players can easily die (as any ...
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  • 3,929
3 votes
0 answers
103 views

How long do metal, wood and other materials last when left unattended? [closed]

In most RPGs, adventurers break in long forgotten tombs filed with treasure that looks just like it was left there the day before. In a more realistic game, what would happen to materials left ...
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3 votes
2 answers
968 views

How to decide if traps in OSR play should be obvious? [closed]

Obvious traps emphasize interaction with the traps, which is often interesting. Hidden traps make unexplored regions of a dungeon far more dangerous and reward careful play and cunning, as players ...
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  • 9,736
10 votes
1 answer
363 views

How to design an introductory adventure heavily based on exploration and interaction with the environment? [closed]

Tower of the Stargazer and B1:In Search of the Unknown are two of my favorite introductory modules. The main reason is their focus on exploration; in particular, they feature extensive possibilities ...
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  • 1,247
2 votes
0 answers
915 views

How do I determine how many encounters a dungeon should contain? [closed]

It's come to the point in our game where the party is going to enter the first major dungeon. They started higher level, around level 8, and we have a variable of 5-8 players. The last 3 coming depend ...
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  • 2,086
20 votes
4 answers
2k views

What furniture does a beholder have in its personal quarters?

A beholder's lair is made up of several chambers and... The farthest chamber from the entrance is the beholder’s personal quarters, where the creature sleeps and studies any magic treasure it has ...
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67 votes
11 answers
24k views

How can I make "Empty" rooms interesting?

Traditional advice for making megadungeons in older versions of D&D is in addition to any rooms with Monsters, Treasure, Traps, or "Tricks", there should also be at least 50 to 60 percent "Empty" ...
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2 votes
2 answers
227 views

How can I make this adventure more exciting? [closed]

I'm trying to make an adventure to advance a central plot and relate to a pc's history. It's set in a settlement with a civil werewolf population. Every full moon, they seclude themselves to protect ...
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  • 515
58 votes
12 answers
17k views

How to create a dungeon based on a realistic tomb, but still enjoyable to explore?

One of the typical location that is used as an excuse to build a dungeon is The Ancient Tomb (tm). I often struggle building dungeons that are credible tombs, in terms of rooms disposition and type ...
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  • 1,247
9 votes
4 answers
2k views

Is there any book dealing with Dungeon Design? [closed]

I got this old book from a friend, titled "Central Casting: Dungeons" yesterday night. My friend is my player and he's noticed how much I struggle to make decent dungeons. Though the book is actually ...
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6 votes
4 answers
2k views

Tips for a Lazy and Time-short DM to randomly populate dungeons?

Tho I'm currently running a campaign with my friends online via roll20 that mostly consists on "Dungeon of the Week" delves, since we're all fans of dungeon delving. The idea is to play from levels 1 ...
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10 votes
2 answers
3k views

How can I make of Savage Worlds a more Dungeon Crawl based experience?

As some of you know, we've been using 4e to run a ".hack//" based game where players get trapped into an online game by an evil cotrporation that plans to use the data of the virtual world to end and ...
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4 votes
2 answers
954 views

How can I design rooms and encounters for a "natural" dungeon? [closed]

The next dungeon will take my group to the inside of a giant tree where an evil parasite has its nest. The miasma it produces is poisoning the water and it about to cause the flower from which baby ...
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4 votes
1 answer
3k views

How to create a Number Puzzle? [closed]

I wanted to create a puzzle for my adventure. I found a very interesting book that has all sort of tips on how to create them: It´s called fourthcore alphabet. The puzzles there are very generically ...
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16 votes
5 answers
3k views

How do I avoid railroading in dungeons?

Well, I'm a very big fan of 4E's character creation system and also its combat, but a problem I've found is that exploration seems pointless in this edition and everything's built around combat (...
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4 votes
3 answers
431 views

Dungeon designing and 4E; how to avoid having too many combat encounters?

I'm returning to 4E after a long break and I'm also coming back as a DM after exams. I'm running a campaign based on dungeon delving, however I'm still not used to Dungeons and one thing that comes ...
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23 votes
8 answers
2k views

How can I design beyond "one-solution" obstacles?

When creating dungeons, I want to create a dungeon that allows the players to come up with their own solutions to an obstacle/puzzle, etc. However, I seem to be stuck on the "one/two solution" ...
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22 votes
7 answers
3k views

How can I have non-Euclidean dungeons in non-magic settings?

I really enjoy having non-Euclidean dungeons in my campaigns. My players also enjoy them. But the whole idea of warped geometry tends to rely on magic. How, if at all, could I explain a non-Euclidean ...
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  • 13k
4 votes
2 answers
7k views

Any advice on how to design a good dungeon? [closed]

I'm kind of a new GM, and I haven't done much dungeon design. Specifically, I'm creating an ancient tomb of a powerful necromancer built underneath a tower that was lost in a swamp centuries ago. ...
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6 votes
4 answers
2k views

Ideas For a Dungeon With High CR [closed]

I have two games running in parallel in the same time space universe (but both groups play in different days) The group of evil, which are intermediate (average 12-14), and the group of good, which ...
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  • 2,528
16 votes
14 answers
1k views

How do I make a dungeon the party will not know they are getting lost in?

I would like to build a dungeon that serves to muddy the plot line and the heading of the party in the campaign that I am running. A kind of mega-dungeon meant to get the party lost inside, or going ...
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  • 1,392