Friday, April 9, 2010

Invisible Dungeon

The Invisible Dungeon is almost the same as the Pitch Black Dungeon or the Dungeon of the Blind Adventurer. So let's think about those two first.

The other senses will and must come into play:
  • sounds of water
  • sounds of thrumming machinery
  • the sense of size of hollow spaces
  • heat and chill
  • smell of smoke
  • smell of animals or acrid monsters
  • smell of fresh air or stale, still air
  • water vapor in the air
  • feel of gravel or sand underfoot
  • feel of grass or sludge underfoot
Okay, so what could an invisible Dungeon have above and beyond all that? It seems like it would be, not just not seeing, but confounded sight. So, what you see is giving you incorrect or unhelpful information:
  • a sheer cliff that has invisible stairs
  • a ravine with invisible bridge across it
  • a vast open space with claustrophobic, tiny tunnels throughout
And maybe the idea that invisibility doesn't play by the laws of nature so, for example, within the Invisible Dungeon there are pockets of visibility. Suddenly you see a bunch of furniture or an altar, but leave the room and they disappear again. Or, you look through a window in a central room and see all the walls/rooms outside it.

Another thing that could be different and confoundingly cool, is characters are not invisible to each other. So, a fighter slips down a chute to a different level and the party can see him wandering around. He can see them wandering around above, but they can't hear each other as they fumble around trying to find stairs. Same with potential foes. You see an ogre pacing below you. Can he see you? Is this the same level with a ramp, or is there a floor between us? etc.

Any ideas to share?


  1. Don't forget one important difference from a Pitch Black Dungeon. In the pitch black dungeon, you may be eaten by a grue.

  2. Ha ha, that's true. But there could be invisible grue too.

  3. The invisible dungeon without a light source is the pitch black dungeon. And there is no way to tell if a pitch black dungeon is in fact invisible. There for invisible and pitch black dungeons are one and the same.

    Rules lawyer strikes again!

  4. @Norman: Yeah, I should have made clear that I'm thinking about an invisible level floating in the Maw, and thus outside, with the sun shining bright. An invisible dungeon underground, without light wouldn't be very different or interesting. Although, if you found light and only saw a vast open cavern while bumping into walls, I guess it could still be interesting.

  5. Ah, never mind me I was just making a snarky post which I guess wasn't as funny as I had assumed.

    Catching up on a bunch of your posts I've missed.

    Maw/Cave of Swallows, very cool. I'm using similar idea. More of a super sized Caves of Chaos actually based on maps of Grand Canyon, Hell Pit (cause at bottom is entrance to campaigns underworld) btw have you ever watched any of the aliens/conspiracy vids from cave of Swallows google should find some.

    I'm guessing invisible dungeon is expansion on post that your characters are not suppose to read. Also, neat.

    The dice cave generation is flippin genious!

    Dammit you post too much :) It's gonna take me all afternoon to catch up!

  6. @Norman: Ha ha, thanks for the feedback. I have been on kind of a roll here lately. I'll let my latest post age a little bit so people can catch up. Because I like that one too :)

    Although, I may update that post if my experiments are successful (I'm trying random maps with scrabble tiles/travelling dominoes). Have a nice weekend!

  7. Our old friend HPL covers something similar in "In the Walls of Eryx"

  8. Awesome, thanks!

    After reading, it confirms the confounding idea of seeing objects through the walls. But other than that, just an invisible labyrinth.

    He should have had some stairs in there, up and down.

  9. I've played FPS shooters with invisible levels. It sure is a annoying to sneak up behind someone and discover there is a wall between the two of you. Pits are annoying and dangerous as one would figure but pillars go from window dressing to a much more notable feature.'Hiding behind a pillar that you have mistaken for a wall sure is a surprise.

  10. Invisible pillars, cool! I was thinking of a room full of evenly spaced knee-high posts. Think of those training set ups you see in old school kung-fu movies.

    Difficult to fight in, or run through and may be hiding access to a higher level (because, if you stand on top of the posts you gain access to a landing or ladder).

  11. A ravine with an invisible wall on the other side. Think you can just jump across? ;)