Honey I’m building a dungeon – Part 2

In part one of this blog post I didn’t really tell you much.  I wittered on about how I didn’t really like using miniatures in my tabletop games and how having a 3D printer was changing my view. Well in tis one I’m going to try and give a little insight into my design process, and in so doing perhaps be a little more helpful!

I’m going confess that this all came about the wrong way around; normally I would have a story idea and create my dungeon plan based onto needs of the story.  In this project I discovered 3D printed dungeon geomorphs, printed some, clipped them together to form a room and bingo – I had the start of a dungeon.  I kept printing blocks, sticking them together in random ways until I made myself STOP!  This thing needed some structure.

By now I had three small rooms, that I was very fond of, see the picture – an entrance (of sorts), a secret door into a mysterious chamber with two more exits, a portcullis leading to a small odd shaped room and a sinister looking circular trapdoor. So it was that I had dungeon looking for a story.  Time for some ideas…

Idea 1.  The dungeon is one of the entrances to the lost city of G’harne discovered by modern day archaeologists.

Idea 2. Its a physical entry way to the lands of Dream, beneath the trapdoor lie the Seventy Steps of Light Slumber at the foot of which wait the gatekeepers Nasht and Kaman-Tha.

These were both quickly discarded, I want more than just an “entrance” and frankly I don’t have enough time (or PLA) to build the entire city of G’harne.  Then again, if you know your Dreamlands stories then you know that beyond the seventy steps of light slumber (which I *actually* considered printing) its just another seven hundred steps (which I decided I was not going to print) leading to a woodland – neither of these concepts were going to deliver to me the dungeon delving experience that I want.

Idea 3.  Stop stressing about the story. Design a full on classic dungeon for classic fantasy heroes.  Employ lots of classic dungeon tropes and let the story take care of itself.

Hmmm, sounds a little bit like what I was doing before…  No its not – do this properly put away the printer, get out some grid paper and think about what the finished dungeon is going to look like.

So I made a list.  Things I want in my dungeon…

  1. A maze
  2. Some guardians
  3. Some treasure
  4. Some traps
  5. One way in and one way out (not the same thing).
  6. A “boss level” big battle.
  7. Magic – some things that can’t be explained by anything else.
  8. A prisoner
  9. Some more traps
  10. A puzzle or riddle?

There we go – fairly standard?  Now what could it look like…

Next time, how to design a maze?  Have a good weekend,

Derek.