In this 3-part article series, I’ll share some of my tips for running deathtrap dungeons using the Dungeon World roleplaying game. By drawing on the lessons of my recent deathtrap dungeon campaign, Black Plume Mountain, and by using my conversion of the Tomb of Horrors as a guide, I hope to give you the tools to design and run exciting, dynamic, and brutal delves.
Back in one of my earliest Architect DM posts I said that structure was one of the most overlooked elements of dungeon design. These days most of the published dungeon maps that I see are not bad with regards to structure, but from what I’ve heard this is still something that a lot of people would like to learn about for their personal, hand drawn dungeon designs.
I think one of 4e’s problem is that the DM tools are now so structured, it becomes a hindrance for people with creativity issues to push through the proposed models and discover “new tech”. I know I’ve been having a hard time selling some of my weirder ideas like “Trap-Monster hybrids” and “The whole party stuck in the same body” because it seems people can’t see it done (or can’t afford the effort to squeeze the concept) in their 4e games.
Dungeons are often maligned as an old fashioned way to do a D&D adventure. Monte loves dungeons, and thinks they are a great way to tell an adventure. In 3e DMG, dungeons are cool because if you step back from them and look at them in the abstract, they’re just adventure flowcharts.