D&D 5E What Don't You Like About Dungeons?

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
I’m curious, how frequently/how many of you either as player or gm, encounter/design dungeons that are a puzzle in themselves? Not the ‘there is a self contained puzzle or fight in each room’ but where in addition to those individual room level puzzles where the entire dungeon is part of a larger puzzle that needs to be solved, like, just making this off the top of my head, there’s an observatory dungeon filled with concentric rings of rooms that can be rotated by the controls in the middle, and in each ring there’s a room filled with iconography of one of the planets which they need to line up the planets in order across the rings to progress

Edit: in case I’m not being clear, I meant where there’s a puzzle on the macro level of the entire dungeon, rather than ones that are self contained to a single room or two, where you need to actually understand the dungeon itself.
 
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I’m curious, how frequently/how many of you either as player or gm, encounter/design dungeons that are a puzzle in themselves? Not the ‘there is a self contained puzzle or fight in each room’ but where in addition to those individual room level puzzles where the entire dungeon is part of a larger puzzle that needs to be solved, like, just making this off the top of my head, there’s a dungeon filler with concentric rings of rooms that can be rotated by the controls in the middle, and in each ring there’s a room filled with iconography of one of the planets which they need to line up the planets in order across the rings to progress
You couldn't make me do that if you had a gun to my head.

Hopefully that answers the question re: frequency!

Also perfect example of "Things I don't like about dungeons", and I very much mean that both as a player and a DM.
 

Celebrim

Legend
It's not possible to dislike dungeons because everything is a dungeon - ruined or not ruined, above ground or below ground, in one continuous structure or many, peaceful or hostile, it is all dungeon.

That said, a surprising number of tables are single stage single camera productions where the party never moves or goes anywhere, they just change the backdrops and other stage props. Those tables don't have dungeons, but they they don't really have locations either. I first encountered this with theater of mind were it felt like every combat was "in the street" on the streets were always broad enough that the melee never was constrained by the buildings to either side and there were never wagons or even pedestrians caught up in the combat.
 


I’m curious, how frequently/how many of you either as player or gm, encounter/design dungeons that are a puzzle in themselves? Not the ‘there is a self contained puzzle or fight in each room’ but where in addition to those individual room level puzzles where the entire dungeon is part of a larger puzzle that needs to be solved, like, just making this off the top of my head, there’s a dungeon filler with concentric rings of rooms that can be rotated by the controls in the middle, and in each ring there’s a room filled with iconography of one of the planets which they need to line up the planets in order across the rings to progress

The third adventure in the Curse of the Crimson Throne adventure path (Escape from Old Korvosa) ends with a dungeon sort of like that, with sections that rotated. It was a pain to run, but it was pretty cool.

II recall that Good King Despot, which Gary Gygax called his favorite adventure ever, was something like a gigantic puzzle. But I haven't read that in years.
 

Incenjucar

Legend
I’m curious, how frequently/how many of you either as player or gm, encounter/design dungeons that are a puzzle in themselves? Not the ‘there is a self contained puzzle or fight in each room’ but where in addition to those individual room level puzzles where the entire dungeon is part of a larger puzzle that needs to be solved, like, just making this off the top of my head, there’s a dungeon filler with concentric rings of rooms that can be rotated by the controls in the middle, and in each ring there’s a room filled with iconography of one of the planets which they need to line up the planets in order across the rings to progress
There are only so many scenarios where that actually makes any kind of sense. As a player, my instinct is to just blow the puzzle up anyway, so as a DM I'm not terribly compelled to put that kind of effort into something I'd wreck myself unless it made narrative sense for it to be that complicated and for the players to not want to break it.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I’m curious, how frequently/how many of you either as player or gm, encounter/design dungeons that are a puzzle in themselves? Not the ‘there is a self contained puzzle or fight in each room’ but where in addition to those individual room level puzzles where the entire dungeon is part of a larger puzzle that needs to be solved, like, just making this off the top of my head, there’s a dungeon filler with concentric rings of rooms that can be rotated by the controls in the middle, and in each ring there’s a room filled with iconography of one of the planets which they need to line up the planets in order across the rings to progress
I think there's one like that in ToA. I don't go out of my way to put puzzles in my dungeons. I don't really care for them as a player and that means I won't inflict them on the people I'm DMing for either.
 

Incenjucar

Legend
Honestly, a BROKEN puzzle dungeon would be more interesting to me. Something that can't actually work as-is, so players HAVE to break something new to get through.
 


rmcoen

Adventurer
I’m curious, how frequently/how many of you either as player or gm, encounter/design dungeons that are a puzzle in themselves? Not the ‘there is a self contained puzzle or fight in each room’ but where in addition to those individual room level puzzles where the entire dungeon is part of a larger puzzle that needs to be solved, like, just making this off the top of my head, there’s an observatory dungeon filled with concentric rings of rooms that can be rotated by the controls in the middle, and in each ring there’s a room filled with iconography of one of the planets which they need to line up the planets in order across the rings to progress

Edit: in case I’m not being clear, I meant where there’s a puzzle on the macro level of the entire dungeon, rather than ones that are self contained to a single room or two, where you need to actually understand the dungeon itself.
The 9-room dungeon I just ran was a puzzle, from a lore point of view. Figuring out the story behind it would give an advantage in the boss fight in the attached secondary area.

In the game I play, we just fought our way through a Cube, where corridors didn't line up the way you would think, linearly, if you didn't figure out how they fit 3-dimensionally. We didn't figure this out, partly because we got lucky and traveled around the "equator" of the cube, and all the rooms lined up. And we triggered the boss to come hunt us, so we didn't have to go off-equator to find his room. I don't think any of us realized it was a puzzle, so it was a waste.

I don't want to say "I don't design meta-puzzle dungeons", because maybe I have in the past and have forgotten. Or maybe I will again in the future, because of this jogging of an idea. But right now, I would say "Nope, I don't do that."
 

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