Make a one page dungeon that uses only images and visual devices. No words. No abbreviations.This is intended to be given to another DM, not a personal bookkeeping system. Because of that it can allow for some customization by the other DM. You can use numbers, roman numerals, or your own invented symbols if you can convey what they mean to someone.
Post your attempt to your blog, link in the comments below, or email me, just share your map with us somehow.
This is not a contest. You win if you make a damn attempt. There is no time limit. You can keep making these. I think this should be an interesting exercise for any DM, because it will force you to look very closely at what exactly you require to run a dungeon, and how that may or not be different from what other DMs require.
Here is my first attempt:
I tried to indicate elevation with shades of gray and curved steps. Each step is 10' and the darker it gets the deeper you are. So, for example, the central area has a 90' drop to the right. I think numbers might work better but didn't want them confused with room numbers.
I used a number to distinguish similar icons, so you can distinguish the potions, for example. This will only work for very small dungeons or bare ones. So I might need to come up with symbols for spells to put beside a scroll or for potion affects beside each potion, etc. Though, that sounds very challenging. Rather than use the same technique for the coins symbol, I could just put a number for the amount of coins in the hoard right next to it on the map. Of course that would assume it was a hoard of one coin type or get very cluttered quickly. A lot of problems. But this is all okay, it's why I'm doing this: seeing what the limits are, seeing what is possible.
Now, I'm kind of cheating by telling you all that. But maybe a sentence or two of explanation is okay-- something you might put in an image caption or email to a fellow DM. Like "Roman numerals are NPC level" or "Greek letters are for traps." And certainly we want to hear your thoughts behind your design decisions. You just can't make something that requires a long explanation to be functional.