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12/31/2017 10:17 pm  #1

Dungeon Prep

Tonight I wrote a 35 room top level of a dungeon.  I used the 1e DMG for room stocking.  I ended up with 10 monster room, for which I used the S&W dungeon level encounters, assigning monsters to the various CL levels based on a theme I had picked out (mix of undead and swampy stuff).  For treasures , the AS&SH treasure tables were sufficient on their own, although I did make some substitutions to consolidate treasures where I wanted.  For empty rooms, special, and tricks/traps, I used Courtney Campbell's 'Tricks, Empty Rooms, & Basic Trap Design', Michael Curtis's 'Stonehell' appendix on dungeon decor, and Matt Finch's Tome of Adventure Design, to put together some interesting rooms, weird puzzles, and devious traps.

I moved a few things around and overuled a couple random rolls that just didn't fit in, but the overall result, I think, is pretty damn good.  We'll see how it works out in play.  I'm curious to hear what tools everyone here uses to create their dungeons.  I'm pretty happy with my current repertoire but always want to add in new stuff.  I do need help with dungeon layout.  I currently mostly swipe other maps and redraw them.  Haven't found anything for randomizing a dungeon layout that I like yet.


12/31/2017 10:51 pm  #2

Re: Dungeon Prep

My players have a lot of problems already without even considering a dungeon. I made a couple of temples for them to explore with a battle mat and a Dungeon Deck of randomly drawn cards.

The strange and alien atmosphere of Hyperborea gnaws at them constantly.


12/31/2017 11:21 pm  #3

Re: Dungeon Prep

Are you using blackadder's random encounter tables?  They're really great.  You could very easily do a zero prep, just wander around and face what Hyperborea throws at you style game with just those.

     Thread Starter

1/01/2018 12:42 am  #4

Re: Dungeon Prep

I use the following:

One dry erase battle mat.
A deck of dungeon mapping cards.
The GM screen, laminated.
The combat reference sheet, laminated.
A set of moleskine notebooks with the basic idea and encounters, once, treasure, etc. written for each session with a small container of 3x5 index cards for random encounters.
Miniatures and dice.
I print out the two pages for each player detailing their character class so they have access to their abilities.

And that is it. No module or adventure, I just kick off a campaign with a rough idea, it is up to the players to fill in the details. Having written an OSR blog since 2009 I have a lot of reference to use for something different here and there.


1/01/2018 12:53 am  #5

Re: Dungeon Prep

I rarely do random design but I love to look through lists for inspiration. I've found The Dungeon Alphabet by Michael Curtis to be a useful resource for dungeon design. It's a good source of inspiration and some entries can be mined for entire adventures. 

Last edited by Brock Savage (1/01/2018 5:16 am)


1/01/2018 11:22 am  #6

Re: Dungeon Prep

Quite true, the Dungeon Alphabet and it's companion, the Monster Alphabet are great resources.


1/01/2018 5:38 pm  #7

Re: Dungeon Prep

I struggle with layout myself because I always want to include those vertical elements you see in video-game dungeons.  Normally, I use something like dunjon to generate something randomly as a base, then think about how it might actually be constructed, and how areas might have vertical elements like balconies, crosswalks, collapsed floors and ceilings, grid floors, etc.
Nobody mentioned the Castle Oldskull Dungeon Design books so I'll vouch for those as helpful with layout.

"Role-playing isn't storytelling. If the dungeon master is directing it, it's not a game."  ~ Gary Gygax

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