Dungeon design in Dungeons and Dragons is hands down one of the most fun aspects of being a Dungeon Master. With it comes the challenge of designing fun dungeons that engage all three pillars of play; exploration, roleplay and combat. We are joined by Matt Whitby, podcaster, Dmsguild writer and youtuber. Together we discuss what goes into making a fantastic dungeon for your characters to explore.
On today's show...
Let’s talk about Blank!
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Pre-order open now: Releases 10/27/20
The Arcania digital tile set lets you make dark, shadowy dungeon maps, rich with the fumes of arcane secrets.
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Main Topic: Dungeon Design w/Matt Whitby
Matt, for those who don’t already know you, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do in the world of Roleplaying Games?
What is the overall theme you’re looking for in your dungeon? A temple of fire? One in a floating castle? In the Astral Sea? This is the first step in dungeon design. What do you want to build?
Locations should make sense for the theme you’re going for. (Though sometimes you can make a cool exception). A fire temple isn’t generally gonna be at the bottom of the ocean. If it’s too close to a city, then why hasn’t it already been looted? The location can set the tone as well as some of the other details such as monsters, traps and hazards.
Who built the dungeon? The creators often have a vast difference in design and approach. A dungeon designed by dwarves is likely to be massive and grandiose, while a dungeon built by elves may take place inside an enormous hollowed-out tree. Much like location, the creators can help you develop the correct descriptions to enhance the game through the player's senses.
Why was it built? Once again, the why the dungeon exists adds to the flavor, lore and overall aesthetic of the dungeon. A temple built to worship a Dragonborn god will probably be chock full of lore and history of the Dragonborn written in draconic and is likely to have many traps to keep out visitors. But a collection of caverns and tunnels built by kobolds around the dragon they worship is likely to be stockpiled with traps to stop you from gaining access to their gods hoard.