Monday, December 24, 2018

Lessons from the Megadungeon, Part II

I’ve been making a big push for stocking, lately, and in doing so, have come across a few more practices that seem to really help.

Label Rooms & Hallways Clearly

Each room should have a designation unique to it, not only for that level, but for the entire megadungeon. This will help with searches later on. I’ve adopted the following nomenclature:
[Zone Number][Zone Level]-[Room Number or Hallways Letter]
I used Zones because I will have multiple zones at a given depth. They don’t necessarily connect (or do!), but they are distinct areas with distinct features and difficulties. Each zone has multiple levels, so the zone ends up a multi-level construct within the greater dungeon. Rooms get numbers because there are more of them than hallways.
At first I wrestled with how to number rooms (upper left to lower right or whatever) and eventually realized I will be tracking PC movement, not hunting down a particular room on a map by its designation. So I just do whatever makes sense at the time. It’s works out well so far, but I’m sure I’ll regret it later.

Name Rooms

Once you have all of your rooms numbered, go give them names. Nothing super fancy, just a name for what that room is. If you’re not sure, skip it and do it later. Those names will inform what goes in them, how you describe them, etc. Using good room names cuts down on the amount of info you need to mention in the description. Heck, name your hallways, too!

Don't Get Bogged Down in Details

Keep your room descriptions vague. List stats for things the PCs can interact with – doors, locks, chests, traps, monsters, etc., but skip the minor stuff like floor type, wood paneling, ceiling descriptions, etc. You can do that on the fly. Jot it down then. No need to waste time on what you can improvise later.

If You're Not Sure, Skip It

If you get to a room, and you’re not sure what should be in it, what a puzzle is, what trap to use, which monster combination to throw in there, skip it. After you work on the surrounding area, you’ll get some ideas. Or maybe you’ll be showering and think of something. Or an episode of Frontier will give you an idea. Whatever. Doesn’t matter. If you don’t have the idea now, it’s fine. Don’t waste time, and move on to a room you do have an idea for. There’s a lot to stock; don’t get hung up on one room.

That's about it at the moment, but if you have any other suggestions for stocking, please make mention in the comments below. I'm always up for advice on this sort of thing.

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