D&D General (+) What Should Go in a D&D Book About Dungeons?

Reynard

Legend
The reasoning was based on elements within the dungeon, rather than bringing in considerations of "realism" which may not be shared between players and GM.
This is actually a really important point we sometimes forget: especially when we are talking about realism and beliefs about realism, there is a significant chance different people are using pretty different invisible rulebooks. Our experiences differ and our assumptions differ,not to mentions basic failures of communication. Like, puzzles that rely on some real world scientific principle or belief about "medieval times" are almost certain to cause confusion at the table.
 

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Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
I don't think what you describe has been a component in any of the classic dungeons I can think of. This sort of thing is not found in White Plume Mountain. Not in the ToH. I don't recall it being a big part of KotB (the part of that I recall best is the shrine to chaos, and I don't think they have a kitchen). It's not generally part of the less-classic dungeons I know that are from the heyday of OD&D (eg the early White Dwarf ones).

I think dungeons work better when the clues and inferences are self-contained. Eg in the first dungeon that I designed for Torchbearer, one of the room had been the forging room for the (former) Dwarven occupant. There were leather hangings across the passageway between it and another room. The PCs investigated those hangings, and noted the smoke that had accreted on one side of them. But they didn't go into the room. Later on, after they had explored a (non-forged-based) workroom, one of the players worked out that the other room, that produced smoke, must be the forge room!

The reasoning was based on elements within the dungeon, rather than bringing in considerations of "realism" which may not be shared between players and GM.

I think you hit the nail on the head. The important thing is to give the players clues by which they can piece together a story. Those will often contain aspects of “realism” for the simple reason that those are the kinds of clues we players can figure out, even if an expert would tell you they aren’t actually realistic.*

So I think it’s the thoughtful addition of these elements that adds to the setting, but for each one added 99 will be missing (e.g. bathrooms) but their absence doesn’t, in my experience, bother many people.


*For the record, coal smoke is highly toxic so a chimney with a powerful draft is an essential element of a forge. There isn’t much smoke in a smithy. Coal dust, on the other hand, gets everywhere.
 

pemerton

Legend
For the record, coal smoke is highly toxic so a chimney with a powerful draft is an essential element of a forge. There isn’t much smoke in a smithy. Coal dust, on the other hand, gets everywhere.
The only remotely practical person at my table is the one who worked out the unexplored room must be the forgeroom. He can pull cars apart and rebuild them. He can tie truckers' knots. At various times he's worked in shearing and (I think) in scrap metal.

But he didn't pick up on, or worry about, the poisonous coal smoke!
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
…so maybe what the book needs is a chapter addressing a number of different elements of “life in a dungeon”, e.g. water and food supplies, ventilation, light, waste disposal, cooking, mining, blacksmithing, etc.

For each such entry, a collection of facts and explanations that you can skim through to find elements useful to your design.
 

Clint_L

Hero
…so maybe what the book needs is a chapter addressing a number of different elements of “life in a dungeon”, e.g. water and food supplies, ventilation, light, waste disposal, cooking, mining, blacksmithing, etc.

For each such entry, a collection of facts and explanations that you can skim through to find elements useful to your design.
I see your point, yet I fear such a book being very, very niche and probably best left to a third party. What's the selling point for it as a WotC publication? Maybe do it as a 50th anniversary edition of Blackmoor, to get folks interested? Then the main text could be an updated version of that dungeon, with an appendix including additional optional rules/suggestions for those who want to play it in more of an "old school" style.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
I see your point, yet I fear such a book being very, very niche and probably best left to a third party. What's the selling point for it as a WotC publication? Maybe do it as a 50th anniversary edition of Blackmoor, to get folks interested? Then the main text could be an updated version of that dungeon, with an appendix including additional optional rules/suggestions for those who want to play it in more of an "old school" style.

Oh, yeah, I’m definitely imagining 3rd Party/Kickstarter.
 

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