Saturday, May 1, 2010

Shrine of the Lavender Cocoon and the Crystalline Citadel

These two dungeons are of the "lair" variety as opposed to the complex, multi-level "proper" dungeon. The sort of dungeon that you can clear out in a single expedition. Stylistically and method-wise I was inspired the The Year Of The Dungeon, I like using different techniques when making maps and I also dig the contrast between the cold, strict architechtural regularity of graph-paper based maps the the more freeform, organic "Call of Cthulhu/Year of the Dungeon" style grid-less maps. My usual procedure for such grid-less maps is to either sketch them out on the reverse side of a sheet of graph paper or scan them and put a grid in them in AutoRealm.

Currently I'm aiming to put several dungeons, both the lair/microdungeon variety and the classic multi-level sprawling complexes, in the Planet Algol booklet. One of the goals with this project is to provide as usable as possible "straight out of the box" sandbox setting, which makes including a variety of sufficiently detailed  adventure locales an inexorable priority.

This significantly increases the workload as opposed to simply writing "Hex 6745: The Emerald Labyrinth: A simple stone shrine contains stairs leading to a sprawling underground complex of glowing translucent green stone, inhabited by tribes of malformed human/alien hybrid beings." There's nothing wrong with that, I love that sort of detailing and find it a great springboard for creativity, but I can't think of many sandboxes that include maps and keys for many of the described locales, and such keyed maps make this DMs job faster and easier, and hopefully provide a deeper adventuring experience.


  1. I really like DMing from a map + key. I find I end up enjoying the game session more that way.

  2. Geomorphs rock. I like having wandering dungeons (mini/micro-dungoens/lairs) available as part of the primary wandering monster keeps tings more interesting.

  3. The term "wandering dungeon" really has my imagination racing... floating islands... giant temples on rolling treads... teleporting alien citadels...

    I've been riffing on geomorphs a lot lately as well, and a really interesting and practical idea has emerged ;)

  4. When I write my sandbox stuff, I usually describe the big "dungeons", and for the smaller ones describe about half of them and draw maps and key about half of them.