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

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
You do not really want to bring these back. I just finished the Forge of Fury and are running the Against the Giants from Yawning Portal book and after 40 years, they are a bit weak- in most everything. FoF is a 3e and much better than the 1e Giants, but Wizards did not do much to update them to 5e and the old 1e problems show. The random traps and secret doors that need to be bypassed and the almost, but not quite 10x10ft room with an orc and treasure chest sitting in the middle, next to a 20x20 ft room with berserkers and no chest. It is a hackfest though.

Going back to 1e would not be good, but your ideas are gladly not that and I can see a 5e supplement to make dungeons better is welcome.

I've seen Yawning Portal FoF 4 times now: as a player twice* and as a DM twice, and all four times it was a huge hit and tons of fun. So...different strokes/different folks? I agree that WotC could have tweaked a few bits of it, but I'm not sure that an argument that they did an imperfect job updating specific dungeons is an argument against wanting more dungeons of that style in general. (Which was a gentle way of saying it's unreservedly not a valid argument.)

I have not yet played or DM'd the updated Against the Giants, but even if it's terrible that by itself doesn't invalidate the idea of old school dungeons.

Anyway, I tried to make this a "+" thread. If you don't want old school dungeons there are other threads where posters are eagerly awaiting your judgement.


*The second time I ran through FoF as a player the DM knew, but not the other players. I proceeded to encourage many, many bad decisions. Much hilarity ensued.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
Fitting in places: interesting locations and themes for your dungeon that are more than just 'dank underground temple' and advice on how to make a dungeon not stick out like a sore thumb, if your 'dungeon' is going to be in the middle of a major city make it be a giant library or the backalleys or a castle rather than an indiana jones-esc ancient crumbling temple.
A coherent whole: advice on how to build the lore and/or quest of a dungeon with what you inside it and where it is, 'uh oh! turns out that city library's new book was actually a tome of necromancy and has started summoning spirits all over the place' if this is the case don't fill the hallways with kobolds and mimics because that doesn't match up.
The Structure:
this is a long section full of advice on how to build your dungeon and building blocks to do so, what different layouts there are and how to best use each: a tower with many small floors, a mansion with lots of individual rooms, a giant tree with both confined passages inside and precarious branch walkways outside and more! trap and puzzle components: natural hazards, riddles, trapdoors, magic runes, wall spikes, hidden keys and more! DCs for how strong to make a door or how easy it is to climb a wall, what makes a good place to put a secret room and how do you even open it in the first place? perception check to notice the seam in the brickwork? walk through an illusory wall? teleported in by a magic key? how to make things your players do in one part of the dungeon affect things in the rest of it.
The Contents:
what monsters might be found together, what treasure is apropriate, dungeon resident NPCs,
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
I think the biggest seller would be a long list of pre-defined traps and hazards. Like a monster manual for dangerous non-creatures. Don't just tell me how to make one; give me a few dozen I can just use.

Yeah, I think I'd like that, too. It's hard to create those for the playstyle I like, which involves the DM dropping judicious hints and players actually coming up with ideas/solutions, not just rolling attributes.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
The Contents: what monsters might be found together, what treasure is apropriate, dungeon resident NPCs,

For some reason that made me think of those color palettes you get at the paint store, with a set of colors that complement each other well. (Or a similar thing for web designers.)

Yeah, I would like that. A list of 4-8 monsters, with a paragraph explaining why this particular group might be inhabiting the same dungeon.

The more I think about, the more I think this should really be a web site with community contributed content that is constantly growing.
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
As a counter point and companion to the suggested chapters on realism and ecology, I would like to see -- or write -- a chapter on the dungeon as an otherworld, with rules of its own. Dungeons as malevolent entities, dungeons as fairy microcosms. Dungeons as the fitful dreams of sleeping titans. That sort of thing.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
1e had the Dungeoneer's Survival Guide. I remember getting that and the Wilderness one, but I think that was right before a hiatus in late HS and early college.

1671116277268.png
1671116291926.png

1671117725780.png
 
Last edited:

As a counter point and companion to the suggested chapters on realism and ecology, I would like to see -- or write -- a chapter on the dungeon as an otherworld, with rules of its own. Dungeons as malevolent entities, dungeons as fairy microcosms. Dungeons as the fitful dreams of sleeping titans. That sort of thing.
That would be absolutely fantastic. Pocket dimensions that are nothing but a dungeon. A dungeons born from the dying essence of a god. Non-standard dungeons.
 



Ah, the AD&D guide to boring spelunking simulation. The Catacombs Guide from 2E was a much better dungeon book.
I found the Dungeoneer's Guide fascinating. I spent many a happy hour imagining what it would be like to wander through subterranean lands. So I'd say it was an interesting spelunking simulation.

I agree that it was pretty much useless as a gaming product :)
 

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Top