I love dungeon crawls, always have. Used to be, a dungeon could pop up anywhere - under an old ruin, randomly stuck a sewer under the city, underneath a wizard's tower. A few boxy rooms, rectangular hallways and some squiggly cavern portions were all you needed to map. Throw in a few orcs and a couple of other random monsters, a couple deadly traps, and a few bales of treasure, and you've got an adventure.
Even in my early days of gaming in the 80's, I was never satisfied with that. I always wanted dungeons to have a purpose and a design.
This is a new personal project I've started, more for my benefit than anything. Each week, I'm going to design a new dungeon and write up a bit of flavor text to go along with it. I'm not going to flesh out every corner of the dungeons, and I won't be putting any monsters or treasures (and probably few traps) into them, but I will be explaining what the dungeons actually are and why they're there.
Each episode will feature a different type of structure that could be used as a dungeon. My purpose is to explore the history and purpose of each dungeon. Why was it made? What kind of design choices have been influenced by its construction? How did it become a "dungeon"?
The flavor text will answer some of those questions but more importantly, if I'm doing it right, will inspire ways to use this kind of structure in future dungeon crawls.
Maybe you folks will find them useful, maybe not. But if you do enjoy them, be sure to leave a comment.
Nephew, with this letter I entrust my books and belongings to you for safe keeping, until I return.
As you know, the center of the universe is of course that marvelous land known as Dungeon Land. It is thus called because it is a land, and there are lots of dungeons in it. The inhabitants of Dungeon Land are a noble, fearless people, and adventuring is their greatest art form. They believe that the dungeons evolved with the rest of the world so that adventurers had a place to adventure - the monsters that live there exist only to be killed, and the treasure chests are natural formations meant for adventurers to plunder.
Earlier today, I was exploring one of the empty dungeons when I found strange and mysterious thing - a hidden second flight of stairs that led to the main chamber. Why would there be an access passage in a dungeon? Perhaps the common wisdom, that the dungeons had evolved specifically for the use of adventurers, was wrong.
Of course, they said I was mad; if the truth were ever to be known, it would be up to me to discover it.
So I am about to embark on my greatest adventure ... cataloging the dungeons and trying to discover if they have another purpose besides adventuring. I shall fully explore the reaches of the dungeons, taking notes all the while and posting my messages back here for you to enjoy. Just think of me as Dungeoning Ma'att!