Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Map of a Post or Some Such Thing

The Dungeon that Never Was, But May Someday Be
I noticed a while back that Wil Wheaton had posted his map from the introduction of Tabletop under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license. I tend to think that's pretty groovy of him as he could have just kept the map for himself and never shared it with the world.

As you can see from the map to the right Will's dungeon is fairly bare bones. In that way the map is fantastic. It allows for anyone who comes across it to quickly create their own little world and story-lines without having to work out all the details that Will squirreled away in his map.

For me, however, I wanted to take Will's original idea and expand on it by making his map my own. In this way I could create small visual cues that will quickly relate all the information about the dungeon that I need so that my game will run smoothly.

When I began recreating the map I added rubble in the southeast corner of the large room, in the trapped room in the center of the map, and in the store room in the lower center of the map as evidence of seismic activity in the area. I also allowed flowing water to run across the right wall in the room to the lower right of the map as a way of emphasizing that the dungeon isn't being properly maintained. These sort of clues will allow me emphasize areas of the dungeon that are currently in use and those that are being left to rot.

I added a series of islands in the underground lake so that I can test out some Troglodytes. I've rarely used these creatures over the last ten years and I would like to begin using them in my games so that I can throw new challenges at my players and keep the game from being stale.

In the secret cave system I added a second layer to the top cavern so that I could create a Grell lair. I love Grell - especially since they tend to be rarely used by other dungeon masters - so I try to fit them into my campaigns at memorable points. Using an illusion to cover the entrance into their caverns provides me with several opportunities to make this a memorable encounter and keep the Grell, a large predator, logically consistent in the underground environment.

I also added some webs in the large room. These didn't really turn out as well as I would have liked, but they're a great visual cue to remind me that I've populated that section of the room with Giant Spiders.

Finally I turned all the shelves in the store room vertical as opposed to horizontal. Vertical shelving is the norm in professional storage situations and presents a subtle reinforcement of the idea that the people you're encountering in this dungeon aren't just a bunch of amateurs who got together and started committing acts of evil.

Evil is their profession and they've got their shit together.

The Dungeon that Never Was, But May Someday Be Redux

My map is being shared under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you'd like to learn more about that, click on the links below.

Creative Commons License
Tabletop Map by Charles Akins is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://wilwheaton.net/2012/12/a-map-of-a-dungeon-that-never-was-but-may-someday-be/.

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