Megadungeon Progress: Mostly Mapping

Yesterday I wrote up some more monsters for my as-yet-unnamed megadungeon, and I started working on a flowchart for the major dungeon levels.

One issue that has come up is how to insulate the big thematic levels from each other. I don’t want just, a door leading from the vampire’s Cathedral of Blood into the yeti’s Frozen Tunnels, so I think I need to fill the dungeon out with some more “mundane” dungeon areas. At the same time, I don’t want the whole thing to be generic-thematic-generic-thematic-etc., so I am working on ways to (1) mix it up a bit, seeing where I can butt thematic areas together and where multiple subtly different generic areas an flow back and forth between each other and provide for meaningful choices between major thematic areas, and (2) make the “generic” areas more flavorful. By the latter, I am thinking about ways that the features or the inhabitants of an area can give flavor and interest to a sublevel that does not necessarily have eye-poppingly unique architecture. I’m sprinkling in a few hidden tombs, a few petty troll kingdoms, a forgotten dwarf battlefield, stuff like that. Ways to pepper up the otherwise banal 20′ rooms.

I’m also leaving a lot of areas intentionally empty, not only to give room for DMs to key it themselves, but also to lend some mystery to the exploration: not every room needs to have a monster, a treasure and a feature, and big dark empty spaces can add that sense of menace and wonder that is essential to a great dungeon.

Finally, I’m trying to sort out the maps themselves. I have been waffling between richly drawn 3/4 view fully-drawn pictures and simple, overhead renderings on a grid. I might actually do both, and have a master map (which I will draw) for each level that’s the basic dungeon grid, and 3/4 drawings of the interesting rooms (which someone else will draw) to go in the keyed sections.

2 Responses to “Megadungeon Progress: Mostly Mapping”

  1. You could have mixed thematic areas as transition zones. So if you want the ice area next to the undead area which is next to the fire area, you could have the Troll Tunnels next to the Ice Zombies beside the Underground Graveyard adjacent to the lair of the Fire Vampires beside the city of molten brass in the heart of the volcano.

  2. Mixed thematic areas are an option.

    Fire vampires are going in though.

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