Wednesday, April 7, 2010

One Session Dungeon Template

This is T. Foster's. I think I read about it at Knights and Knaves Alehouse forum.

Don't think of this as a set-in-stone flowchart. Think of this as boundaries to help you when you're floundering around early on in dungeon-making or when you're under the gun to produce something quickly.

The idea is to have at least this much ready for one night's adventure gaming. Twelve rooms holding:

One Session of Play

1 Major Encounter
2 Major Encounter that Overmatches the party
3 minor encounter
4 minor encounter
5 Telegraphed Trap
6 Trick/Puzzle with a Permanent Effect
7 empty room
8 "
9 "
10 "
11 "
12 empty room, with some kind of False Climax

I think it is pretty self explanatory. The false climax and permanent effects are very old school flavor. As is the dangerous encounter that is really too tough for the party unless they out think it (or run like hell). Telegraphed trap means a trap that is obvious about its presence but maybe not its function. The idea is that traps are actually more dramatic and tension building when players know they are there. I picked this idea up over at Ars Ludi.

What I've found myself doing is thinking in chunks of two of these and allowing for player to go in two entirely different directions. Hope this is helpful.


  1. That's so great and so against the usual design of saving the Big Bad for the end of the session. Very nice.

  2. Thanks for the comment.

    Yeah, maybe it is my milquetoasty personality but I want no part in deciding when players face what. I want no responsibility in their doom. Ha ha.

    But this rough framework seems like a good loose way to set up an area to be explored. Somewhere in this place is a big bad, if you encounter it early on can avoid it early you're better off etc.

    T. Foster has some pretty smart ideas.

  3. Just a thumbs up and letting you know this is going on my Monday's pointer list over at Places to Go, People to Be.