Thursday, November 19, 2015

Putting more on the Dungoen Map

Classical dungeon maps are insanely boring and only marginally useful in play, more can go on there.
Sure yuo can have fancy illustrated floor plans but they are often little more than colored-up flowcharts. Let's get more on those maps.

Graffiti: humans have likely been scrawling on other folks property for a darn long time, dungeons should have ample "dungeon graffiti". These can be scribble din the margins of a map and traced to their location (more on this in future post).

Bones and Fossils:  there's a lot of room to show where the bodies are buried or have been buried for a good long time, I've seen a few maps with skulls and bones as decorations and the presence and location of actual remains to go along with the dungeon dressing opens up whole new reasons to adventure and for the dungeon itself to be there. What self respecting necromancer overlord wouldn't go digging for the remains of dragons and giants to animate  them and put to his horrible use? Put them on the map.

Buried Treasure and Minerals: Lot's of room to indicate buried treasure and mineral deposits on dungoen maps. One age-old reason given for dungeons is mining, why not include notation of where the goodies are that have not yet been found.   As for buried treasure a drawn in treasure chest is a heck of a lot more interesting than note buried in documentation.

Spoor and Stains: animals leave their mark in the wilds monsters should too. We don't have to litter the maps with the retched refuse of monsters but some of it indicated here and there leads to foreshadowing and sets the mood for the dungeon. Puttign an icon on a map is a lot more noticeabel to a dm runnign the game than is a bit of text buried in notes.

There's room to put more on those dungoen maps to make them a useful game-tool for a DM beyond the traditonal elaborate flowchart.


notes to readers:  Still here, been in a funk lately and it multiple busy contracts has cut into my fun creativity and game posting. Have not tuned my back on the blog or the hobby, more to come for years to come.


  1. I love dungeon graffiti, but I'm not really growing how you fit it on the map unless it's just a word or two.

    I liked some old JG maps that showed corridor lengths in the fill---very useful.

    I've yet to find a good way to indicate ceiling height and pit depth on maps, but think there must be a good way to do both, which would be very helpful with at-a-glance DMming.


    1. Allan, have you seen this old post of mine it has a notation for ceiling height that might do the trick:

      here's two for corridor profiles: