15 thoughts on “How do you prep a dungeon?”

  1. I do little two page setting/dungeon documents that mash up a bunch of thematically related ingredients that you can pull from in play.   It keeps you from thinking about plot, per se, and keeps you focused on details that you can choose from when you need something to add to the fiction.

    See: http://www.finemessgames.com/DWsupplements/dungeonstarters

    I like making maps during play but if/when I prep them, I prep maps of individual locations like a 4-room house or the area around the bridge in the dungeon or the shallow cave where an owlbear lives.  Not adding the spaces between the specific locations allows the GM to be agile and fill in the between spaces as they go.

  2. This weekend I plan on using the Dungeons As Monsters from Dark Heart of the Dreamer as a kind-of pacing mechanism.  That way I can still go prep-lite and can use it with a combination of the typical Dungeon Moves.  

    I plan to write up a little something after I see how it goes and give my impressions.  I want to keep the free-form feel of Dungeon World and leave blanks and all that but I also want a plan on just how long it should go on for.

  3. I like to have a map (or at the very least a diagram) of the rooms I want to use, and their approximate relationship to each other, so if it was a wizard’s lair, there’d be a living area, kitchen, library/study, a lab, a summoning chamber, etc… and I wouldn’t forget major things. But then I’d just throw in keywords for each room’s “mood” and maybe 2-3 special details for a couple of rooms (ie the summoning room is really ornate and shows heavy use, while the lab is dusty and unused). Then I spend more time prepping lists of monsters, possible mini-scenes (ie the wizard had a pet cat that is now a zombie; it loves to climb and leap on trespassers). No placement, just a possible event. Lists of probable foes, environmental hazards, etc…

    Oh, maybe a list of treasures and rewards.

    That’s where I stop.

  4. Let’s see, I’ll describe it in vague terms since the text in the book is under a page long.  Don’t want to end up printing the whole thing =)

    Also, I don’t have the book in front of me but here is the gist:

    Dungeons as Monsters allows you to map out the threats that are present in any given dungeon.  Once you have done that you roll for each threat when the heroes enter a new “room” to see how strong that threat is in the given room.  This can also be used to determine trap damage and other damage the “threats” can cause the characters.  It even has a way to track how many appearances a threat has in the entire dungeon too (leading toward a final fight or something similar).

    So, say Goblins is one of your threats.  You roll to indicate that the Goblins are really strong here then describe the next room accordingly.  Once you run out of “countdown” for the Goblins, they are exhausted for the dungeon.  That’s not to say that they all vanish if the party didn’t take care of them in past rooms, just that no new goblins will appear.  

    Like I said, I plan on combining this with standard dungeon moves to try and get a “pacing” mechanism is a “draw maps, leave blanks” kinda way.

    P.S.  Anyone with the book handy, feel free to correct me =)

  5. Yea pick up Dark Heart of the Dreamer.  For $5 it has some great stuff in there, especially if you want some Planescape-esque fun.  My next campaign is definitely going to be in Dis.

  6. I’m a very low-prep GM. I may have a few monsters or custom moves jotted down, but any maps are scribbled out on the spot, and really nay used to give a sense of the situation. I like to keep action moving, and have the environment as present a danger as any enemies. The more threats you have present, the more sources you have for soft ad hard moves – not to mention providing sources for players to improvise solutions!

    I might watch movies or read books that have scenes, or a flow that’s similar to how DW plays and the themes I’m expecting in the session. This keeps me flexible enough to respond to anything the players cme up with.

  7. I usually just make them up as the players enter new rooms. It means I have to think up whatever goofyness is going to be in there on the spot, but usually some trope comes to mind.

  8. Thanks. I found it there first, but PDFs are not always awesome on the Kindle. I bought it this morning from DriveThru anyway, and it actually looks great on my Kindle screen. Still can’t add bookmarks or notes, but I’m glad I grabbed it! I see that one could easily use it to run a game of SotN-style Castlevania in Dungeon World! Dungeons as Monsters will come in pretty handy too.

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