What makes a good dungeon? Well, if you are running a Dungeon based adventure, you don't want to have a tasteless dungeon with some poorly placed Kobolds, long hallways, and large rooms. It’s good to have tons of variety in your dungeons. Things like traps, hazards, stairs, raised platforms; difficult terrain, puzzles, and riddles add nice variation to your dungeons and get your players' imaginations working. Along with those, good visuals add to your dungeons aesthetic appeal. Pools of water, blood, pits of fire, lava, bridges, pentagrams, wizard's circles, statues, and fountains are all good visuals and are much better than just a plain gray dungeon. Good monster and NPC placement also helps to assist your player’s interest, for instance, you wouldn't want a row of 6 Orcs in a 2-square wide dungeon. Though you don't actually need a story, it sure gets boring running around killing monsters with no backstory to spark your players’ imagination. Some examples include: how did the zombies get there? Did a crazed cult raise that demon to destroy the world? What is the reason for the dungeon being there? It's even better if you have an intricate story or objective to accomplish. Try to stay away from the clichéd "Save the princess" storyline and maybe go with something like "Clear all the zombies out of the dungeon before they escape and rampage through the city." That's a lot more interesting.
If you're running a longer campaign with many dungeons along the way, you can get away with more bland dungeons, because the dungeon isn't the only thing occupying the players' minds. But don't use that as an excuse to make boring dungeons, make your dungeons full of excitement and adventure.
Now, I know what you're thinking. Why is he telling me this? I already know this! Well, to tell you the truth there are many DMs that have boring dungeons, and hopefully this will provide some insight into what makes a great dungeon.
Making Dungeons is a long, time-consuming process. You have to draw out the grid, draw in all the details, make sure that everything that is supposed to be in the dungeon is there. And if you're not artistically inclined, this could be even harder. Luckily, Wizards of the Coast, along with some other companies, have a solution to this problem. The solution is simple. Pre-made dungeon tiles. These beautifully decorated cardstock tiles are a perfect addition to your D&D collection, and they take some of the difficulty out of making you're own dungeons. They are double sided, and come in many shapes, sizes, and colors, and also include detailed visual components, like the ones mentioned earlier. My personal favorite, The Harrowing Halls dungeon tiles, come with 3D components such as stairs and doors. You can find the dungeon tile sets here. Even better, as I was browsing the web, I found a company called Dwarvenforge, who makes incredibly detailed, hand-painted, model-like tiles. I do not recommend buying these unless you know you will playing D&D for a very long time, because these are extremely expensive, you don't want to buy them then only use them once.
So what are you waiting for? Stop reading and start making awesome dungeons!
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
Hello, fellow D&D player, welcome to the Grim Dungeon. Whether you are new to Dungeons & Dragons, an advanced player, or trying to decide if D&D is right for you, there is something for everybody here! At the Grim Dungeon, I, as a player and a Dungeon Master (DM), will try to give you good tips and tricks to help you in your game, as well as some stories and some miscellaneous D&D related stuff. Hopefully, I will help you to have a better D&D Experience.