How do you handle your dungeons?

How do you handle your dungeons?

How do you handle your dungeons?

I’m going to be GMing a newly  recurring game soon (this is the second “play” session). I have some fronts, I have some ideas from the players and from myself.

But they’re currently in a wizards tower (I know, cliche) — pretty much straight up.

So when doing dungeons, how much do you map? I’ve planned almost all floors, with space for more, and some of the fiction is pretty “loose” at this point (for example, if they manage to get to the top of the tower, they’ll find something — I just haven’t hashed out what yet — I have ideas, but I want to see what they come up with). I’ve done custom moves for several encounters, with openings for player creativity.

I don’t believe I’ve overplanned, but I was wondering, how much planning do you do for dungeons in DW? In the open world, I’m more likely to “wing it”, but obviously in a dungeon, there needs to be SOME control as to what’s going on.

11 thoughts on “How do you handle your dungeons?”

  1. First, those are awesome, so thank you. I’ll undoubtedly have a few “unplanned dungeons” like that from now on, because those are beautiful.

    Second, I think I’m looking more for advice on dungeons that already have a history to them. The PCs are already in a large chamber at the bottom, ready to head up. So there is SOME planning regarding how this tower ties into the front (or vice-versa — I’m kind of building them together — the tower wasn’t originally part of the campaign front. It is now.)

    Or are you saying that during play, you have “general concepts” for the floors (or rooms, or whatever), and just wing the rest?

  2. The one word tags are often just enough to go with, based on the players introduced stuff during the game. RE-INCORPORATE like crazy. If the players mention some setting stuff off hand, grill them about it, address their character and ask them all the whats and wherefore about the setting detail they have casually dropped into the conversation.

    Then…. during the next dungeon, just bring that setting element back in! Easy! And the players love that their creative input is made manifest in the evolving story 🙂

  3. Ive started to go down the flow chart dungeon route. Where i have key areas/rooms and connect them but have the inbetweens blank. I also have started to put tags on each area to quickly remind me what is important. I think it basically does the draw maps and leave blanks the book says to do

  4. I always make a list o things I like, and put them in the dungeon, one a room. Then, I try to leave the rest blank. Since I like mapping, and try to draw consistent places, “the rest” is intended as defined spaces, without a description. If I need to “restructure”, i take a scrap paper, redraw on the fly and change what I must.

    Descriptions are very much Dowler-like, one word sentences, with punctuation.

  5. What I do for dungeons is I create the rooms that I need for my adventure to be fun and make sense within the story frame. All else is left to the players to discover. I do restrict the number of “unnamed” rooms. So that the adventure does not go too long. I make sure that somehow they make it to “my” rooms.

    In “my” designed rooms is where my Grim Portents are to happen. 

  6. I used to doodle up fully fleshed out dungeon environments, with every last nook and cranny, hallway and corridor drawn and labelled. Then I realized that doing things that way, although it looks cool, is really an enormous waste of time.

    Now I focus on individual dungeon elements . . . A torture chamber, a mess hall, a summoners chamber . . .and I sletch them out accordingly.

    I put these dungeon elements into play (a fancy way of saying that I just put the drawing down on the table for all to see) as the unfolding fiction warrants.

    So, my dungeons end up being really nothing more than a pile of interchangeable parts that come into play when the situation warrants.

    On the GM side of things, it’s really a slight modification of the the flow chart approach.

    For my players, I hope it plays out like a movie. Take fellowship of the ring for example. Much of the fellowships journey through Moria is implied through a series of cutscenes. The only time a specific area, such as Balins tomb, gets in the spotlight is when something important to the story line happens. I hope my dungeons feel the same way.

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