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Friday, March 14, 2014

Gonzo, Themed or Organic - How Do You Like Your Dungeons?

The Saga of the Splintered Realms Kickstarter funded in less than a day, so I am on the hook for a mini-level of the associated mega-dungeon.

As it is a mini-level / side bar, I expect I'll have some free rein in how to design my little corner, so I'm looking for some early input.

How do you like your dungeons and / or dungeon levels?

Are you into Gonzo styles dungeons, where anything goes?

Do you prefer it to stick to a specific theme or style of trappings?

Do you like dungeons that seem to have grown organically and have a history?

There choices are not exclusive of each other, nor are they inclusive of all the options out there.

I'd appreciate your thoughts on the matter, as your thoughts will make me think...

10 comments:

  1. I like for there to be a history... some trappings of what was there before, without throwing it in the players faces. Most things won't stand up to a long time of the depredations of the monsters who live in a dungeon. There should be hints of a story and past, but not to the point where the PCs are guessing what the next room will contain.
    As to gonzo... that's always going to be a personal preference. I like it in small doses. My players don't like it at all, but I've played with other groups who think its awesome.

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  2. I like a gonzo funhouse sort to have a solid backdrop. Organic dungeons are boring to me without a good theme. Unless it's ACTUALLY organic. Like inside a living creature. Then it's awesome again.

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  3. I like all a combination of all three, where the Gonzo, anything goes bits are a result of two or more specific themes or style of trappings layered on top of each other through the organic growth of history. Now do it all in a five room mini-level, please!

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  4. Gonzo would be my preference, as most of players through the years have preferred it as well. History and organic growth is good, but would be hard to do in one small corner of a larger dungeon, and I find many players miss the interwoven details anyway.

    Either way it needs a strong theme though. Something to tie it all together, so that each room/monster/encounter is related to the whole in some way.

    Good luck!

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  5. I have learned to appreciate a strong theme with some history to it. As for gonzo, it can be okay as long as it doesn't get out of hand. Also, what a human or elf may think is irrational may be considered rational by the inhabitants of the dungeon. I think as long as there is some connection to the larger picture you should be okay. Therefore have some fun with it.

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  6. I have learned to appreciate a strong theme with some history to it. As for gonzo, it can be okay as long as it doesn't get out of hand. Also, what a human or elf may think is irrational may be considered rational by the inhabitants of the dungeon. I think as long as there is some connection to the larger picture you should be okay. Therefore have some fun with it.

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  7. My own always turn out to be organic, no matter what. I'm honestly not sure if that's preference or not, but it is what turns out. Even the crazy crap in my dungeons has an explanation. I can't buy into gonzo too long.

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  8. I'd think up the ideas that I wanted to put in to the dungeon first, then come up with the style to support them. Just write down some random, fun, cool ideas, and figure out how out want to connect them.

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  9. A little late replying to this, but:

    I prefer dungeons to be themed or have some sort of history, or both. I like dungeons that have a little MYST in them where opening up new areas is a main part of the puzzle of the dungeon itself.

    Also, if anyone wants to make a dungeon (side view) with a history already built in, a great way is Tony Dowler's "How to Host a Dungeon" mini-game. It's pretty much a solo game but at the end you have a side-view dungeon with a complete history from the ancient world to more modern times with various inhabitants, treasure and power groups. There's a free version and a paid version:

    http://planet-thirteen.com/Dungeon.aspx

    Danny Cline

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