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Seattle, Washington, United States
I'm an old time roleplayer who became a soldier who became a veteran who became a developer who became a dba who became a manager who never gave up his dream of a better world. Even if I have to create it myself.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Awesome Historic Rule: Dungeon Making

Book of Awesome, Volume 3
"In beginning a dungeon it is advisable to construct at least three levels at once, .... A good dungeon will have no less than a dozen levels down, with offshoot levels in addition, ...."
  - The Underworld & Wilderness Adventures, Gygax & Arneson, (c) 1974.

They sure don't make them like they used to.

Remember what it was like to explore a huge dungeon?  Wondering what amazing surprises and cruel traps and forgotten treasures awaited you around the next corner?  Tomb of Horrors?  Castle Greyhawk?  Or even the Slavers' Hold?

Big dungeon crawls might not be for everyone, and that's ok.  I don't always want one either.  But there is something romantic about periodically delving into the forgotten darkness of ancient civilizations and not having things like the calculation of a binary-tree route-path versus attacks of opportunity break your suspension of disbelief.

I played 4e for years, and characters only need to fight 6 or 7 actual combats to advance a character level - assuming a skill challenge or two and maybe a quest reward.  Doesn't exactly lend itself towards a huge dungeon.  On the other hand, it takes 20 or 25 play hours to make it through those 6 or 7 combats - assuming no one wastes any extra time on sissy (and unsupported) roleplaying activities - so everyone is sick to death of the dungeon by then anyways.

They sure don't make them like they used to.  :(


  1. A similar comparison can be made with video games.

    Remember Diablo 1? The whole game was delving into the 16 levels of the cathedral, finally descending into Hell.

    Diablo 2 was all about travelling from town to town and the few dungeons that existed certainly didn't have more than a few levels.

    Good times.
    *installs Diablo 1*
    Oh God, it's 640x480.

  2. Wait, I don't understand. Did computers used to have worse resolutions than my iPad or something?

  3. My iPhone has a better resolution than Diablo 1.

    That's a sobering thought.


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