View Full Version : Desert dungeon entrance and design

2010-10-25, 08:14 AM
Hi im currently working on a desert dungeon (inhabited by a wannabe lich human sorcerer and his gang of bandits (human, orcs etc.), undead and maybe some nice monsters.

Well my problem is that I can't figure out how to create a stylish and memorable (yet somewhat realistic) entrance to this dungeon. I also need some help on the design of the dungeon and maybe some monster ideas.


Avilan the Grey
2010-10-25, 08:19 AM
A talking black tiger head in the desert?
...No wait, that has been done. :smallwink:

My own very non-scientific ideas:

I think that a proper cave system in the desert is probably extremely old; old enough that is was shaped by water before the desert became a desert. I see it either sitting in a side of a ravine, or has been covered by sand dunes for ages until the sand blew away and exposed it.

2010-10-25, 08:22 AM

Look up 'petra' on the 'Net.

Or there's always the whole 'top of a buried pyramid' thing, as used in 'The Lost City' - TSR adventure B4.

2010-10-25, 08:25 AM
I like the petra idea..this way there can both be natural cave systems and some human(or whatever) made dungeon features.

2010-10-25, 08:26 AM
Also: search for images of Cappadocia.

2010-10-25, 08:32 AM
Also: search for images of Cappadocia. thanks that surely are some amazing pictures...this helps a lot :smallsmile:

Duos Greanleef
2010-10-25, 08:36 AM
Also: search for images of Cappadocia.

This: Holy crow! (http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.avanosevi.com/images/s/derinkuyu.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.avanosevi.com/en/cappadocia-underground.html&usg=__ezvbc1S6PElejYqtwWlK-cvwB1E=&h=300&w=450&sz=22&hl=en&start=0&sig2=Y480CgSm4hJD3-lHOPMf7A&zoom=1&tbnid=HvbDOPfUWSFyOM:&tbnh=123&tbnw=184&ei=M4fFTMWaCIP48Absp5yHBQ&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dcappadocia%2Bunderground%26um%3D1%26h l%3Den%26sa%3DX%26biw%3D1280%26bih%3D567%26tbs%3Di sch:10%2C149&um=1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=308&vpy=233&dur=258&hovh=183&hovw=275&tx=168&ty=90&oei=M4fFTMWaCIP48Absp5yHBQ&esq=1&page=1&ndsp=18&ved=1t:429,r:13,s:0&biw=1280&bih=567)

I'd never heard of this place before, but it's just awesome.

EDIT: The image itself is not particularly grand, but the idea is what counts here.:smalltongue:

2010-10-25, 11:30 AM
thanks that surely are some amazing pictures...this helps a lot :smallsmile:

No problem. Cappedocia and Petra are both amazing places and have brilliant imagery for gaming.

2010-10-25, 11:59 AM
Step 1. Decide whether the dungeon will be Egyptian or Arabic styled.
Step 2. Painstakingly research a structure built by the civilization you picked.
Step 3. Painstakingly create the dungeon as an EXACT (or at the very least, ACCURATE) replica of the structure you just researched.
Step 4. Place monsters and guardsmen that match what you learned in your painstaking research. (ie; if the people at the time believed that certain statues would come to life, those statues are going to come to life). If the research says nothing on the subject, pick some monsters that A) fit the mythology B) are the sort of monsters who could've just wandered in there and decided to make it their lair, and I shouldn't have to tell you but just in case C) are CR appropriate.
Step 5. What did your research say about the loot in the structure? That's what your players are going to get. If the value of the loot is less than your players have earned by killing the monsters/it's too low for their level, have some eccentric collector who will pay ridiculously high prices for it. If it's worth more than that....just roll with it.

And now you're done!

2010-10-25, 12:21 PM
A big cave, with a big rock blocking the opening? You know, the kind that requires a passphrase to open? With a bunch (approx. 40) bandits inside? Guarding a ring of efreet summoning (since the 'genie of the ring' was a total jackwagon)?

2010-10-25, 02:22 PM
I think it should be a big sand trap. they step on it and then they sink into the ground, finding themselves in a nice 10' x10' room.

2010-10-25, 02:36 PM
Step 1. Decide whether the dungeon will be Egyptian or Arabic styled.
Well, technically one could go for Mesopotamian styles as well: Ziggurats, for example, tend to be magnificent structures, but quite simple in layout (See here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:SialkCAD.jpg)).

Also, those were built for religious purposes and what boiled down to astronomic research, so you could justify building in all sorts of "bad mad science"-stuff a la zombified prisoners (research), dissected bodies (base research) and mystic mumbo (basically the do-it-yourself-guide to lichdom) to give the wannabe-Lich from the OP this creepy psycho vibe (which, let's face it, might just be adequate for someone who intends(!) to go undead (Bwab-bwab-bwaaa...)).

Golems and fiendish critters left over from the dark rites of the ancient civilization which built the place, locust swarms and insectile scavengers who would be attracted by Lich-guy's slaughterfest or the odd ghoul or mummy (who are Arabic and Egyptian, respectively, but honestly? In my opinion, every desert dungeon should have a helping of them regardless.) and the whole dungeon is just that much more stylish.

2010-10-25, 06:19 PM
Tal-Rasha's Tomb? In fact, a lot of the Act II dungeons from Diablo II would fit this well.

2010-10-26, 07:28 AM
im going for an arabic styled dungeon (im still gonna use a mummy though) well thanks for all the good advice...I will get started right now :smallsmile: