Sunday, March 28, 2010

Three Crucial Root Dungeon Design Texts & Saturday Night Specials

The Underworld & Wilderness Adventure, Dungeon & Dragons vol. 3
- "The Underworld," pgs. 3-8

Empire of the Petal Throne: The World of Tekumel
- "Developing An Underworld," pgs. 98-102

Europa fanzine, Issue 6-8/1975
- "How to Set Up Your D&D Campaign" by G. Gygax, pgs. 18-22

also recommended:

The Best of Dragon Magazine vol. 1
- Assorted articles

Of special note is the section in Empire of the Petal Throne relating to "Saturday Night Specials," pg. 100:
"Here too, the role of the "Saturday Night Special" cannot be overemphasized. Aside from the deliberately or randomly determined "normal" contents of Underworld areas, it is interesting to develop large complexes inhabited by special beings. These should have special histories, and players should hear legends of their existence on the surface. Their abilities and treasures should be individually devised, since these add interest and spice to the game..."
Not only is this rock-solid advice for classic megadungeon construction, but I particularly an enamored by the usage of technical dungeon design term of "Saturday Night Special."


  1. Ooh, I'll have to dig out EPT and reread that.

    At the risk of shilling, I've been discussing dungeon design over on Fantasy Heartbreaker, and I'd love to know what you think:

    I haven't yet really addressed the unreal and funhouse-like elements of dungeons, but I'm working on articles on those subjects.

  2. Empire of the Petal Throne. That is a true classic and one of the very best examples of could be done with OD&D as a launching-pad. Incredible stuff.