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Ruined City Dungeon

Lord Zack

Explorer
In my next campaign I want to have a dungeon that's a ruined city from an ancient empire of the Elves. It's atop a cliff, with a subterranean level containing caravan and warehouse districts. I'm wondering how do I do such a huge dungeon?
 

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Walknot

First Post
In my next campaign I want to have a dungeon that's a ruined city from an ancient empire of the Elves. It's atop a cliff, with a subterranean level containing caravan and warehouse districts. I'm wondering how do I do such a huge dungeon?

You might start from the story viewpoint - what is the motivation for your party to go there? Are they following a simple story hook, such as a treasure map? And/or, is there a deeper meaning that ties into one of the PC's backstory; perhaps there is a deeper meaning that that PC is not even aware of - destiny beckons.

What sort of conflict will they find? For instance, Indiana Jones is afraid of snakes, so of course he visits a ruined city and finds a chamber filled with (of course) snakes. Or, as the storyteller (DM) will you see this advneture as simply testing their skills, or possibly levering at the cracks in the cement of their group itself?
 

frankthedm

First Post
Unless you have a very good knack for cartography and a good deal of time, making a detail map of the city may be more effort than it is worth. Overview sketches of how the city is laid out and notes on various landmarks may be more effort productive.

Making geomorphic maps of a few areas that can be used multiple times on the other hand should prove very useful.

Here are a ton of free maps

Phineas’s Dungeon Maps o’ the Week: Underdark Edition

Phineas's Dungeon Maps o' the Week (100 maps)

Map-A-Week Archive
 

Wycen

Explorer
Maybe you could repurpose Bluffside to work for you: [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Bluffside-City-Fantasy-Roleplaying-Supplement/dp/0971324107]Amazon.com: Bluffside: City on the Edge (d20 Fantasy Roleplaying Supplement): Jim Govreau, Curtis Bennett, Jeff Quinn, Andrew Troman: Books[/ame]
 

Gilladian

Adventurer
When I was working on a city ruins, I did an overall large-scale layout of the city, such that it all fit on a large sheet of paper. I marked up anything that was significant at that scale (the palace at teh center, large squares, some large buildings like temples and an amphitheater) and then just drew in the major roads.

I made descriptions of major areas of the city (in this case, due to historical factors the architecture was significant and dramatic), and then did fine-scale drawings of only a few places which I believed the PCs would investigate. Mostly, they did.

I had encounter tables for different regions (day, night, in the parks, near the edge, in regions held by various groups), lots of random tables for exploration of unimportant ruins (ie % ruined, likelihood of finding a minor artifact, likely building use, etc...).

It worked quite well (my players still talk about the city 3-4 years later, so I'm guessing they liked it).
 

Lord Zack

Explorer
The reason they are going there is at the request of the leader of the village. He wants to increase travel through his village and so wants them to discover something valuable in the ruins so that more adventurers will come, spending money in the village. The local ranger (a member of the organization known as the Rangers, which is part spec ops force, part law enforcement agency, they of course, tend to be members of the Ranger class) wants them to focus on the trolls (these are more similar to Warcraft trolls than Dungeons and Dragons trolls, though Dungeons and Dragons trolls do exist, and are a related breed). There are trolls in the ruins, but these are scouts from the troll villages and they don't have a permanent settlement inside the ruins. I plan on having the ruins also tie into the greater storyline of the campaign, which involves a dwarven invasion. Perhaps the dwarves will learn of a powerful artifact in the ruins or something. Perhaps the trolls (who by that point will have joined with various other races to survive/take advantage of the dwarves invasion) try to take over the ruins. Maybe something else.

As for what kind of obstacles they're going to be facing, well there's the aforementioned trolls. There are also elves, both living and undead. There may be some traps, set up by the elves after the fall of the city or resulting from wear and tear, like a floor that falls away.
 
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grodog

Adventurer
There are two excellent mega-dungeon design threads, one over on Dragonsfoot @ Dragonsfoot • View topic - Megadungeon mapping and one over on Knights & Knaves @ http://www.knights-n-knaves.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=168&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=32

Both are excellent, and both point outward to other useful threads and resources.

In terms of city-specific design ideas, there have been a number of ruined cities discussed on ENW recently, and some excellent models include Myth Drannor, Caverns of Thracia, I1 Dwellers in the Forbidden City, and Pavis/Big Rubble (for RuneQuest). In particular, see the thread @ http://www.enworld.org/forum/genera...oking-good-ruined-city-adventure-setting.html
 

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