View Full Version : Designing dungeons for a homebrew setting

2013-03-05, 01:09 PM
I'm running a homebrew setting for a campaign that just began. Without going into too many details about the world (It turns out that I'd be talking for about an hour), the world is very nature based and this is reflected in the dungeon design. The style of the campaign is very similar to Legend of Zelda, where there is just enough plot to point the party towards a dungeon where they have to fight to the bottom, defeat a boss monster, obtain a Macguffin, and repeat.

Where I am having trouble is designing the dungeons themselves. As the center of the campaign, they should be really well designed and I would like to design it so that there are full-dungeon puzzles that allow access to the latter half of the dungeon when completed, in the style of Legend of Zelda. I would also like to add a mini-challenge of sorts in order to enter the dungeon. Lastly, I am considering adding in magical items which allow the party to travel deeper into the dungeon. Any ideas or input you can provide would be appreciated. I'll list below some of my thought processes.

Earth temple: The entry challenge will be a riddle of sorts. The party will enter a secluded forest clearing and a bear will appear, look at them, and carry on with its business, without leaving the clearing or threatening the party in any way. The test is to leave the bear alone, showing respect for nature. If any of the party members attacks the bear, it quickly transforms into an elite monster and, while the party will likely survive, they will take a beating and spend powers that they would rather save for the dungeon. As for the dungeon itself, I have no idea how to design it. No idea what the item will be.

Water temple: The entry challenge will likely be some sort of sailing minigame, though I'm not sure abou the mechanics yet. The full dungeon puzzle will definitely be a water-level puzzle, though in the style of Twilight Princess where the water levels only go up and are non-reversible, rather than in the infamous level from Ocarina of Time where it can go back and forth and people can get stuck. Maybe some sort of swimming gear for the dungeon item.

Fire temple: not sure about the entry challenge. The full dungeon puzzle will either be rerouting lava flows or a light/mirror challenge, possibly a combination of both. Not sure about the dungeon item.

Air temple: Don't know about the entry challenge. Maybe something related to trickery or stealth (matches thematically with the goddess this temple is for). The full dungeon puzzle will have something to do with flight and/or air flows. This dungeon will definitely be a 3d one and likely the finest dungeon I'll ever have made. The item will be something related to flight, possibly wings or a clawshot or something.

2013-03-05, 01:32 PM
Low magic is your friend here. Don't necessarily ban it outright, but certainly nerf tier 1. Otherwise they will waltz through later challenges like a walk in the park

2013-03-06, 11:50 AM
If you're going for a natural motif, don't be retentive about making each room or chamber square to the graph you'd be using for combat - let your design be natural in appearance, and if an area's too small for a PC to move into, I guess he or she can't.

If you want a map generated in a hurry, try either donjon.bin.sh (http://donjon.bin.sh/adnd/dungeon/) or Gozzy's (http://www.gozzys.com/).