Monday, August 5, 2019

Another Mapping Tip - Rooftops

I'm a strong believer that the entire megadungeon doesn't need to be subterranean. I am mapping four separate above-ground "levels" for my megadungeon, each of which is a unique entrance to the dungeon proper. This is in addition to other, more generic entrances like caves, wells, tavern basements, sewers, etc. In mapping out these above-ground entrance complexes/levels, I have come on what I think is a worthwhile piece of advice. Of course, like any unsolicited advice, your mileage may vary.

The Advice: Map Your Rooftops!

Why do I say to map your rooftops? Well, it's because your players have seen a lot of movies with crazy rooftop fight scenes. They've also played a lot of crazy video games where fights happen high up on rooftops. The earliest example of this that I can remember is playing the shareware version of Star Wars: Dark Forces (yes, I'm old), and one of the cooler levels in that had you force-leaping from rooftop to rooftop while shooting storm troopers. Of course, plenty more exist!

And let's not kid ourselves. There is something exciting about fighting giant gargoyles on the rooftop of an ancient cathedral or leaping from building to building in pursuit of some Big Bad. So when you're mapping your dungeon (or city or whatever), don't forget to map the rooftops!

A fun corollary is that rooftops don't need to be pleasantly flat and offer good traction. Having spent a fair amount of time on my own rooftop as a child, I can assure you that they are neither flat nor offer good traction. Pitches are must steeper where snow and ice naturally occur, and any sort of shingle roof will have loose gravel on it. Slate or other rooftops may also accumulate ice and snow in the winter. Make note of this! It makes those rooftop battles all the more memorable!

This last bit touches on something I need to write a proper essay on: Your players' PCs are defined by the challenges you give them. Coddle them, and they will be lame. Push them and they will be awesome. And those who perish will be remembered. But all of that is for another blog entry.


  1. Thanks! This is good info to have. I spend a LOT of hours making dungeons and their corresponding maps.
    Note on roof-walking: very few medieval shoes had rubber, grippy soles! Bwa ha many dex checks will they need to make before they give up? I hate to make it too easy on my PC's. 😉