I’ve had to start making dungeons for my players to explore. Unsurprisingly, that’s something that comes up with some frequency in a game called Dungeons and Dragons. There is lots of advice on this topic from people much smarter than myself, which I now collect conveniently in one place for your edification as well as mine.
Dungeon Design and Stocking - with examples! — Gus from Dungeon of Signs has a very thorough post outlining how he makes dungeons in a “naturalistic” way. He tries to imagine how the dungeon might end up in the state it is in when the players show up. He isn’t a big fan of funhouse dungeons and an over reliance on randomly stocking things.
Map Design Thoughts — Gus, being the hardest working man in the OSR, also has a blog post taking a look at how he approaches creating maps for his games in the first place. The discussion about map size and complexity as a form of time management is interesting.
Nitty Gritty of Dungeon Design — Patrick Wentmore, author of ASE, has a very mechanical approach to dungeon design, that feels like an interesting contrast to Gus’s approach.
Random Dungeon Stocking — Related to the above, Delta provides a good overview of the random stocking rules from the various editions of D&D.
Megadungeon Practices - Dreams of the Lich house gives a good overview of the things to consider when building a megadungeon you expect to be the main source for adventure in your game.
I do things like Patrick Wentmore. I have a little program that spits out what should be in each room using the rules from the Moldvay basic book. I’ll then try and think up what each “monster”, “monster + treasure”, etc might be. I’ll sometimes shuffle things around, or place important monsters or treasure ignoring the suggestions from the random rolls. Oftentimes it is fun trying to figure out how things might fit together, what the unguarded treasure might be, etc.
No doubt there are countless more posts on this topic out there. What do you suggest someone look at for inspiration or ideas?
Rolling 3d6 to randomly determine a characters weight is probably a stupid idea. No doubt Gary Gygax included a realistic table to figure this stuff out in the 1e DMG, which I should have used instead. So it came to pass that my character in Nick’s Dungeon Moon game weighs 60 lbs. That’s pretty small. I figured my LotFP specialist would be a 10 year old chimney sweep turned adventurer. In the next session of our game the character hired a retainer. I wanted to hire a torchbearer so my character could carry a bow and arrow around, like a lost boy. I decided the person he hired would be his babysitter.
Tasked with taking care of their young stewards, babysitters are a strange breed of adventurer. Many a child has gone off in pursuit of treasure and danger, followed into the mythic underworld by their attentive babysitter. Often torchbearers and porters, the babysitter is the unsung hero of many an epic poem.
The prime requisite for a babysitter is Wisdom. They receive a 5% bonus to earned experience points if they have a wisdom score of 13-15, and a 10% bonus if they have a score of 16+.
RESTRICTIONS: Babysitters use six-sided dice (d6) to determine their hit points. They may wear nothing more protective than leather armour, and may not use a shield. They may use blunt weapons only. Saving Throws and XP progression as a Thief.
SPECIAL ABILITIES: Babysitters are hard to surprise, and so begin the game with a +1 bonus to avoid being surprised. Babysitters have a +2 to all reaction rolls. This value increases by +1 every 3 levels versus humanoids, to a maximum of +4. They ignore any penalties they may have for having a low Charisma score when making reaction rolls. Babysitters have a 2 in 6 chance of finding hidden doors and passages and in picking locks. These values increases by +1 every 4 levels.
I bought a new printer a few months ago that lets me print double sided. Shortly after I started printing my own little booklets. A lot of RPG material is available online, formatted to be made into digest sized books. I find making booklets relaxing.
Lacking a long-arm stapler made the process tricky. Normally I would fold all the pages in the booklet and then bind them together. For thicker books I would saddle stitch them with some waxed thread. For thinner booklets I would punch holes for staples and then push the staples down by hand. That worked reasonably well.
A couple weeks ago I stumbled on the MAX HD-10V Swivel Booklet Stapler. It’s a fancy stapler from Japan whose shaft swivels 90 degrees. This lets you staple the spine of the booklet from above and below the book, rather than the side, using what amount to a pretty small stapler. It works incredibly well. What’s more, the stapler is much cheaper than your typical long-arm stapler. If you print your own D&D booklets there is no reason not to own this stapler.