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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    Default Re: A vertical dungeon. Has anyone ever tried that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    It's also a lot simpler to have one done in advance, and not have to add to your creative overhead burden while running a game. As well as not have a game of Quantum Ogre: The Dungeon Map!
    No, it's the other way around: Being creative on the fly is easy, especially with the players to inspire you. To do it in advance is hard, and creates a stale, dead environment that you essentially cannot work with. It's like pottery. You want your clay soft and malleable, so you can create - if you've already burned it, you can only break it.

    Also I have no idea what you mean by Quantum Ogre, unless what you're trying to say is that I invent enemies and challenges as I go along - which is, once more, completely wrong. I know exactly where I'm going, I just make up the path has I go along.

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    Default Re: A vertical dungeon. Has anyone ever tried that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    No, it's the other way around: Being creative on the fly is easy, especially with the players to inspire you. To do it in advance is hard, and creates a stale, dead environment that you essentially cannot work with. It's like pottery. You want your clay soft and malleable, so you can create - if you've already burned it, you can only break it.
    Eh, I find there is a balance point between having to make up stuff and having stuff done in advance. And usually it's "how fast can I find it in my notes". Maps are, like, the easiest thing to reference in a game and have done in advance. And many players want detailed enough information that their own mapping efforts aren't hot garbage.

    Also I have no idea what you mean by Quantum Ogre, unless what you're trying to say is that I invent enemies and challenges as I go along - which is, once more, completely wrong. I know exactly where I'm going, I just make up the path has I go along.
    Possibly quantum ogre-ing is the wrong term. It's more like "willing into existence", the map itself tailoring to the players questions and actions.

    You've got paths that change up based on the players questions and answers. Not to mention you specifically gave an example of a giant pile of discarded body parts suddenly coming into existence just because players asked about it.

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    Default Re: A vertical dungeon. Has anyone ever tried that?

    answering the initial question: yes, several times! one time the "dungeon" was a huge ship that crashed against a cliff face at a tilt angle, so was a horizontal environment that had to be navigated vertically. A few years after that I had another campaign with a similar scenario, only this time was a spaceship who crashed into earth at an angle. Both time was a lot of fun - and something that added a lot to the fun was the players having maps to the original layout of the vehicles beforehand. They had to figure out how the layout they had maps for changed when you cannot just walk down corridors to reach the door at the end of the hallway :)



    As far as published modules go, Up from Darkness has a vertical dungeon section, and is a very good module overall
    Hector Morris Ashburnum-Whit - Curse of the Crimson Throne - IC / OoC
    Bosek of Kuru - A Falling Star - IC / OoC
    Gifu Lavoi - Heritage of Kings - IC / OoC

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    Default Re: A vertical dungeon. Has anyone ever tried that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    Yes it does. If you map it out, you're locked. It's only there if it's there. Say, the teleportation chamber, or the pantry, or room full of leather eggs. I can describe all of those if I want - but if the players come up with something, 'say, if he's a necromancer, does he have a giant pile of discarded bodyparts somewhere - like a bit box in a workshop?' I can only pop one in there if there isn't a map.



    What you're looking for is an equation, a problem>solution kinda thing. What I'm looking for is interaction. Also, it seems you have trust issues: I'm fair and objective, and I have my players ambitions in mind much more precisely than any map ever could.
    It's not a trust issue. I don't run D&D like that and I'd prefer a dungeon crawl game I'm in to be more objective and not shifting according to player suggestions. A map's purpose is not to "have players ambitions in mind." It is to provide a precise physical layout for the environment where the adventure takes place.

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    Default Re: A vertical dungeon. Has anyone ever tried that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Eh, I find there is a balance point between having to make up stuff and having stuff done in advance. And usually it's "how fast can I find it in my notes". Maps are, like, the easiest thing to reference in a game and have done in advance. And many players want detailed enough information that their own mapping efforts aren't hot garbage.
    Quote Originally Posted by Thrudd View Post
    It's not a trust issue. I don't run D&D like that and I'd prefer a dungeon crawl game I'm in to be more objective and not shifting according to player suggestions. A map's purpose is not to "have players ambitions in mind." It is to provide a precise physical layout for the environment where the adventure takes place.
    The story and the overall layout of each and every area of my games is firmly in place long before the players get there.

    The area I've used as an example above - Kelsen's Fist, chasm, orc settlement, backdoor tunnels leading up into the human village - all of that was in place a long time before the players got there.

    However, the mind flayer caves are brand new, it's where the players are now, and ... it's unmapped, obviously, but I know what's in there. The players were there when the mind flayer bought the silver mines to settle them, the players asked 'is there maybe a path from the orc settlement into the silver mines?' Answer is: Yes.

    Now, the question is: If the players had made a more thorough search of the orc settlement, earlier - would they still have found a path into the silver mines? Who can tell? Most likely yes - but the real answer is: It wouldn't make a shred of difference.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Possibly quantum ogre-ing is the wrong term. It's more like "willing into existence", the map itself tailoring to the players questions and actions.

    You've got paths that change up based on the players questions and answers. Not to mention you specifically gave an example of a giant pile of discarded body parts suddenly coming into existence just because players asked about it.
    I have precisely zero paths changing. But if a player comes up with something interesting - and I can include it at no cost at all - explain to me how that's a bad thing to do, and I shouldn't?

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    Default Re: A vertical dungeon. Has anyone ever tried that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    I have precisely zero paths changing. But if a player comes up with something interesting - and I can include it at no cost at all - explain to me how that's a bad thing to do, and I shouldn't?
    Ad-hoc GM winging it is not a bad thing, until players feel that you're changing things on the fly in a way that is removing their agency. If they get that perception, which is by no means a garunteed outcome, then it becomes a problem.

    I'm expressing a personal preference, generally speaking, as a GM and a player, to have "the world" defined in advance. Or at least not changing in ways that aren't caused by results of my actions. It makes cause and effect feel wonky to me if I get the impression the world changes as a result of a player asking a question, as opposed to doing something in-universe. Not saying it's badwrongfun to run things a different way.

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    Default Re: A vertical dungeon. Has anyone ever tried that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Ad-hoc GM winging it is not a bad thing, until players feel that you're changing things on the fly in a way that is removing their agency. If they get that perception, which is by no means a garunteed outcome, then it becomes a problem.

    I'm expressing a personal preference, generally speaking, as a GM and a player, to have "the world" defined in advance. Or at least not changing in ways that aren't caused by results of my actions. It makes cause and effect feel wonky to me if I get the impression the world changes as a result of a player asking a question, as opposed to doing something in-universe. Not saying it's badwrongfun to run things a different way.
    I ... don't consider it winging? I know what I'm doing, where I'm going, I know the encounters.

    One of my friends works with 'mind maps' when GM'ing. For him, the individual steps of the story aren't in sequence - players can go to A, B or C first, he doesn't care. And the way he writes his games, going to one point first will affect the other two, and it's still all the same to him. He's really good at that style of play.

    I'm different. I don't write anything down, I draw no maps - but I know my game world better than anyone. I'm pretty sure it all feels very solid to my players.

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    Default Re: A vertical dungeon. Has anyone ever tried that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    The story and the overall layout of each and every area of my games is firmly in place long before the players get there.

    The area I've used as an example above - Kelsen's Fist, chasm, orc settlement, backdoor tunnels leading up into the human village - all of that was in place a long time before the players got there.

    However, the mind flayer caves are brand new, it's where the players are now, and ... it's unmapped, obviously, but I know what's in there. The players were there when the mind flayer bought the silver mines to settle them, the players asked 'is there maybe a path from the orc settlement into the silver mines?' Answer is: Yes.

    Now, the question is: If the players had made a more thorough search of the orc settlement, earlier - would they still have found a path into the silver mines? Who can tell? Most likely yes - but the real answer is: It wouldn't make a shred of difference.



    I have precisely zero paths changing. But if a player comes up with something interesting - and I can include it at no cost at all - explain to me how that's a bad thing to do, and I shouldn't?
    Well, you've got a better memory than me or most if you can keep an entire dungeon complex precisely memorized without drawing a map. That's great for you. I think most of us need a visual aid to remember where all the secret passages are, etc.

    Having a map doesn't preclude someone from adding new passages and sections, nor improvising non-mapped areas. A map has no affect on your freedom to change things, it just keeps consistent what you've already created.

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    Default Re: A vertical dungeon. Has anyone ever tried that?

    Quote Originally Posted by 1of3 View Post
    We once raided a Beholder's lair. It was a clever one and had dug tunnels with its disintegration in all kinds of angles. For a hovering creature no problem, of course. Good times.
    That's a default beholder's lair, really That's how they're described in all relevant books.

    I imagine other climbing/levitating races (drider?) would do the same. I even remember reading an article that reccomended the same for dragons.

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    Default Re: A vertical dungeon. Has anyone ever tried that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrudd View Post
    Well, you've got a better memory than me or most if you can keep an entire dungeon complex precisely memorized without drawing a map. That's great for you. I think most of us need a visual aid to remember where all the secret passages are, etc.

    Having a map doesn't preclude someone from adding new passages and sections, nor improvising non-mapped areas. A map has no affect on your freedom to change things, it just keeps consistent what you've already created.
    I didn't say I remember entire dungeons. I actually said the exact opposite: I have a general outline.

    Let's use an example I never got to use: At the bottom of another dungeon entirely lies a series of caves - there are three, but obviously I can add another if I so desire - which contain the flooded remains of an underground settlement abandoned thousands of years ago.

    An earth quake caused an underground river to be closed off, flooding the settlement up to second story hight - or depth, if you prefer. In other words, most of the buildings are now submerged, only larger ones being partially over water.

    A race of aquatic creatures like ... water salamanders, say ... have moved in.

    Now, I never got to use this. It has no point, there is no quest to solve here. But I still know, very precisely, what this is: Each of the caves a separate part of town - palace, cathedral, residence. I know the original use, and I know what the watermanders use it for.

    Not an inch of it is mapped.

    This was something I came up with years ago. Literally more than a decade back. It was made for Earthdawn, for chrissakes.

    Now, you'd have me map it out. And for the life of me I cannot fathom what would be improved if I did.

    The crux of the place is the fact that watermanders can move very quickly through water, and are effectively invisible below the surface (water is reflective, so ...) My intention was primarily a challenging fight, harassing them while they swam or rowed, and forcing a last stand on one of the buildings still above water. It's a thing I like to do - using opponents that are weaker than the players, but fight effectively in their own environment. Tuckers Kobolds-like.

    And I can tell you the building they'd fight on. How it's partially defensible - but also has a stairway leading 'downstairs' which the watermanders can use to fall in their backs.

    What do I need a map for?

    Of course, the players might go for a different fight. But I fail to see how that's a problem - if they outsmart me, they will be rewarded.

    Edit: Pointless bonus info - this dungeon was at the end of another vertical dungeon.
    Last edited by Kaptin Keen; 2018-06-30 at 04:07 PM.

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    Default Re: A vertical dungeon. Has anyone ever tried that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    I didn't say I remember entire dungeons. I actually said the exact opposite: I have a general outline.
    "The exact opposite" would actually be NO outline or plan.

    The reason people think you're saying something other than what you seem to think you're saying may be this very pattern: you speak of an extreme diametric opposite, but you actually seem to want a sensible midpoint.

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    Default Re: A vertical dungeon. Has anyone ever tried that?

    I think another part is Thrudd and I appear to be thinking of something fairly specific for "Dungeon".

    I know in my case it generally bring to mind a complex labrynth of rooms, chambers, caverns, and passages, that the Party has to explore and figure out how to navigate through. Probably filled with Traps and Tricks. And they will definitely need Mappers of their own to do it. If the DM doesn't have a $True map of their own, it's unlikely a party will be able to do that particularly well. Especially if you've got multiple parties and characters actually selling their maps to each other as commodity goods.

    That said, even so I will sometimes use "Dungeon" as a more general term, for a generic underground or indoor adventuring site.

    Although Kaptin Keen's location sounds pretty complex to me. If he can hold sufficient info in mind that players can sketch at least line drawing maps to remind themselves where to go, and the various locations won't change relative to each other to make them useless, color me impresse. I couldn't do that, even for my 5e starter dungeons that I've run dozens of different parties through over the last few years.
    Last edited by Tanarii; 2018-06-30 at 06:44 PM.

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    Default Re: A vertical dungeon. Has anyone ever tried that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    I didn't say I remember entire dungeons. I actually said the exact opposite: I have a general outline.

    Let's use an example I never got to use: At the bottom of another dungeon entirely lies a series of caves - there are three, but obviously I can add another if I so desire - which contain the flooded remains of an underground settlement abandoned thousands of years ago.

    An earth quake caused an underground river to be closed off, flooding the settlement up to second story hight - or depth, if you prefer. In other words, most of the buildings are now submerged, only larger ones being partially over water.

    A race of aquatic creatures like ... water salamanders, say ... have moved in.

    Now, I never got to use this. It has no point, there is no quest to solve here. But I still know, very precisely, what this is: Each of the caves a separate part of town - palace, cathedral, residence. I know the original use, and I know what the watermanders use it for.

    Not an inch of it is mapped.

    This was something I came up with years ago. Literally more than a decade back. It was made for Earthdawn, for chrissakes.

    Now, you'd have me map it out. And for the life of me I cannot fathom what would be improved if I did.

    The crux of the place is the fact that watermanders can move very quickly through water, and are effectively invisible below the surface (water is reflective, so ...) My intention was primarily a challenging fight, harassing them while they swam or rowed, and forcing a last stand on one of the buildings still above water. It's a thing I like to do - using opponents that are weaker than the players, but fight effectively in their own environment. Tuckers Kobolds-like.

    And I can tell you the building they'd fight on. How it's partially defensible - but also has a stairway leading 'downstairs' which the watermanders can use to fall in their backs.

    What do I need a map for?

    Of course, the players might go for a different fight. But I fail to see how that's a problem - if they outsmart me, they will be rewarded.
    That's the difference between what you're doing and a dungeon. A dungeon is about exploring. The players would be going through your sunken city building by building, room by room, finding hidden chambers and caches of treasure and balancing resources against danger. For you, the environment is a backdrop for an interesting encounter. You don't need much detail beyond potential battle sites. You would need a map if the game was about the players exploring the environment, potentially coming back to the same place multiple times, with battles potentially occuring anywhere.

    What you describe is more like how I'd run Feng Shui- I don't need to map anything precisely for that, it's an action movie game.
    I just plan where the action scenes will take place and have an idea what sort of terrain and props will be present. The fight's in a restaurant with an upper mezzanine, round wooden tables and chairs everywhere. A player might ask, is there a bar? Sure, of course there is! there's shelves of bottles lining the wall behind it. So they can dive for cover behind the bar, and bottles shatter from gunfire all-around them. They grab a bottle of whiskey with its top blown off, take a chug, throw it at the bad guys and then blast away with both guns blazing!
    The the purpose of the location is to have an interesting action scene with opportunity for creative use of the scenery.

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    Default Re: A vertical dungeon. Has anyone ever tried that?

    If - and only if - we reduce the definition of Dungeon to what you seem to feel it is: A graphpaper grid of numerous corridors and rooms, the vast majority of them there for no reason other than to be there, then I suppose we can agree.

    If I think about the maps supplied for Castle Ravenloft - those I wouldn't be able to memorize, not even remotely.

    However, and this is quite important: Those maps are enormously boring. They contain endless drudgery, going through the rigamarole opening doors and dismantling traps, only to find absolutely nothing of interest.

    It seems you enjoy that style of play, so don't get me wrong: I'm not saying you shouldn't. But I am saying I really, really don't.

    If something is on my (mental) map, it's because it's important. It's part of the story, part of why the party is there. For instance, the crypts below Silverbrook are three levels deep, but the only thing down there that's really important is the grave of St. Anton - so the description of all the rest of that crypt is just fluff text. I still know the layout: Top level holds 8 cells where monks once lived, middle level is a fairly neat 9x9 grid of shelves where the dead lie, and the bottom level (which is somehow the oldest) is part natural caves, part worked stone, lit by magical torches set in salt crystal.

    Going back to Ravenloft (which I played maybe 20 years ago), I remember opening cells to find animated corpses inside, and wondering who the count would kill someone, animate them, then imprison them? I remember that central tower with the 32 (was it 32) wraiths, and wondering 'why are there 32 wraiths here?!'

    It just truly failed to give me a feeling of being real. And it's one of the most iconic Dungeons ever created - by the above definition.

    I prefer my style. Where everything is there for a reason, all inhabitants are there for a purpose, and there are no endless trudges down dead end corridors, to discover ... nothing.

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    Default Re: A vertical dungeon. Has anyone ever tried that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    Going back to Ravenloft (which I played maybe 20 years ago), I remember opening cells to find animated corpses inside, and wondering who the count would kill someone, animate them, then imprison them? I remember that central tower with the 32 (was it 32) wraiths, and wondering 'why are there 32 wraiths here?!'
    Those kinds of questions, and the answers to them, are exactly why many players love a well done dungeon. Exploration, the questions it creates, and trying to figure out the answers to them.

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    Default Re: A vertical dungeon. Has anyone ever tried that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Those kinds of questions, and the answers to them, are exactly why many players love a well done dungeon. Exploration, the questions it creates, and trying to figure out the answers to them.
    As I recall, there wasn't one. For large parts of the adventure, as a player, there were just piles of undead everywhere, over and over and over again, for no particularly apparent reason. One thing that certainly never, ever happens for me is 'oh, another room full of completely random enemies - how *exciting*'.

    And don't even get me wrong, I'm sure if I read through the GM sections of the same module, there might well be some sort of background - these 32 wraiths are the guests who sat at table nine during the wedding, and the Count had a particularly dislike for them because they all wore blue.

    That's still absolutely uninteresting, because it still doesn't provide any sort of reasoning. It's just 'he hated these guys, so he did this to them'. Then 'he hated these other guys, so he did something different to them'. 'Gee, look what an evil man he was'.

    Tell me this: Why would a necromancer chose to live (in a manner of speaking) in a tumbledown, ruined fortress? He has, quite literally, hundreds of tireless workers who could be toiling day and night, forever, maintaining everything. That's the logic I'm looking for. Not that, specifically, but in a more general sense.

    Castle Ravenloft is about a vampire who's been sitting around for centuries doing precious little of anything with his time except eat the occasional virgin. I find it hugely uninspired and boring. Even if the story of Vlad and Sergei and ... I forget her name .. is really good.

    Edit: Maybe I should add, for clarity's sake - it's not that I didn't enjoy the adventure. But that was despite the dungeon, certainly not because of it.
    Last edited by Kaptin Keen; 2018-07-01 at 02:30 AM.

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    Default Re: A vertical dungeon. Has anyone ever tried that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrudd View Post
    That's the difference between what you're doing and a dungeon. A dungeon is about exploring. The players would be going through your sunken city building by building, room by room, finding hidden chambers and caches of treasure and balancing resources against danger. For you, the environment is a backdrop for an interesting encounter. You don't need much detail beyond potential battle sites. You would need a map if the game was about the players exploring the environment, potentially coming back to the same place multiple times, with battles potentially occuring anywhere.
    This pretty much just comes down to the detail in the map, which is a difference of degree, not kind. None of the maps are going to be absolutely complete in every detail, as a player can always push for more details until the GM either has to improvise something or tell them to knock if off. Maybe that's a question of individual rooms, when you've got a high level regional map (which is likely the only kind worse having past a certain scale; imagine plotting the entirety of a city of ten million including every room dimension, every door, every window, etc.) that's what individual buildings/natural spaces are then, zoom in to those and that raises the question of individual rooms/smaller natural spaces, zoom into those and it's a question of what's in those rooms, zoom in to those and it's a question of the details of those contents, so on and so forth. The map is not the territory; it is always incomplete.

    Having some flexibility in that incompleteness in no way precludes exploration of the better defined organizational level above it. You could have entire cities as mere dots on a map, and still have an exploration based game across the continent. I've done it.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

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    Default Re: A vertical dungeon. Has anyone ever tried that?

    Dungeon World tells you "Draw maps, leave blanks".

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    Default Re: A vertical dungeon. Has anyone ever tried that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    This pretty much just comes down to the detail in the map, which is a difference of degree, not kind. None of the maps are going to be absolutely complete in every detail, as a player can always push for more details until the GM either has to improvise something or tell them to knock if off. Maybe that's a question of individual rooms, when you've got a high level regional map (which is likely the only kind worse having past a certain scale; imagine plotting the entirety of a city of ten million including every room dimension, every door, every window, etc.) that's what individual buildings/natural spaces are then, zoom in to those and that raises the question of individual rooms/smaller natural spaces, zoom into those and it's a question of what's in those rooms, zoom in to those and it's a question of the details of those contents, so on and so forth. The map is not the territory; it is always incomplete.

    Having some flexibility in that incompleteness in no way precludes exploration of the better defined organizational level above it. You could have entire cities as mere dots on a map, and still have an exploration based game across the continent. I've done it.
    I think this explains what I'm trying to say, way better than I'm explaining it. I tend to default to examples, which are always open to interpretation - and, let's be honest, also suffer from my limited ability to use them. So ... what Knaight said. Whether he said that in support of me or not is another matter entirely =D

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    Default Re: A vertical dungeon. Has anyone ever tried that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    I think this explains what I'm trying to say, way better than I'm explaining it. I tend to default to examples, which are always open to interpretation - and, let's be honest, also suffer from my limited ability to use them. So ... what Knaight said. Whether he said that in support of me or not is another matter entirely =D
    I think we operate at fairly similar standard map detail levels, with the point of my post being that there's a range of these and they're all usable. You can have an exploration focused game where you explore a galaxy and the individual map elements are "what type of star is in each system", where even questions like what planets there are is left to the last minute. It's also off my standard map detail level even for space opera, but again, there's a range and they're all usable.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

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    Default Re: A vertical dungeon. Has anyone ever tried that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    I think we operate at fairly similar standard map detail levels, with the point of my post being that there's a range of these and they're all usable. You can have an exploration focused game where you explore a galaxy and the individual map elements are "what type of star is in each system", where even questions like what planets there are is left to the last minute. It's also off my standard map detail level even for space opera, but again, there's a range and they're all usable.
    Yes - precisely. You fill in the blanks as needed. And you leave blank areas, so that you don't run out of space. It's the Reverse Dragonlance method. Dragonlance being a setting that became unplayable for me, because every location was used already, and known by everyone cause everyone read the damned books =)

    Also, I suffer from an unreasonable loathing of dragons, now.

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    Default Re: A vertical dungeon. Has anyone ever tried that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    Also, I suffer from an unreasonable loathing of dragons, now.
    At least you're not Bothered About Disposable Dragons.

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    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: A vertical dungeon. Has anyone ever tried that?

    I agree that it is often appropriate to have large sections of a map or setting defined at a more "zoomed out" level, evenunmapped at all. What I am saying is that it is also appropriate to have a more finely detailed map of an area sometimes (at least more detailed than the suggested "no map at all, only general regions), such as a dungeon for a game that is about dungeon exploration, as D&D traditionally is.

    Obviously I am not and never have suggested that an entire world be mapped down to the foot, or anything similar (every star and planet in a galaxy, etc).

    I was addressing the POV that no dungeon map is ever needed, because a level of complexity requiring mapping is never needed in a game environment.

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    Default Re: A vertical dungeon. Has anyone ever tried that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrudd View Post
    I agree that it is often appropriate to have large sections of a map or setting defined at a more "zoomed out" level, evenunmapped at all. What I am saying is that it is also appropriate to have a more finely detailed map of an area sometimes (at least more detailed than the suggested "no map at all, only general regions), such as a dungeon for a game that is about dungeon exploration, as D&D traditionally is.
    The other component to my point is that even the most detailed map is still incomplete, and that can apply in a dungeon. Say at some point a player wants a fraction of an inch long slightly upward sloping stone outcropping from a wall, and asks if a room has one. Odds are pretty good that you don't have a diagram for how every individual stone fits into a wall - though you might, if you decided to go with a precise 3D model. Hence it being a matter of degree.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrudd View Post
    I was addressing the POV that no dungeon map is ever needed, because a level of complexity requiring mapping is never needed in a game environment.
    Needed is a strong word - I'd argue that no dungeon map is ever needed, and that there's entirely functional styles of gameplay even in an exploration focused game that never use them. There's also some that use a very zoomed out dungeon, with named individual rooms that don't have any features specified, which can also work.

    That said, if you prefer a higher level of map detail, cool. Use it.
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    Default Re: A vertical dungeon. Has anyone ever tried that?

    Quote Originally Posted by WindStruck View Post
    I believe the word you are looking for is "Tower". That is a very common theme in many video games, including some dungeons and modules.

    Going underground, it's also totally possible. Many "roguelike" games take this route, making the player delve deeper and deeper into lower levels of the dungeon, which are otherwise like a reverse tower.
    How about something like a missile silo? Have the central feature being the downward shaft, have stairs winding down around it, and rooms attached off of it.
    The most important thing in being an adult is learning exactly what to give a <expletive> about, and exactly how many of those to give.

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    Default Re: A vertical dungeon. Has anyone ever tried that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrudd View Post
    I was addressing the POV that no dungeon map is ever needed, because a level of complexity requiring mapping is never needed in a game environment.
    Even so, you'd be surprised what I can do without any sort of map. I mean, no map other than what I can work with in my head, no paper involved.

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    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: A vertical dungeon. Has anyone ever tried that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    The other component to my point is that even the most detailed map is still incomplete, and that can apply in a dungeon. Say at some point a player wants a fraction of an inch long slightly upward sloping stone outcropping from a wall, and asks if a room has one. Odds are pretty good that you don't have a diagram for how every individual stone fits into a wall - though you might, if you decided to go with a precise 3D model. Hence it being a matter of degree.


    Needed is a strong word - I'd argue that no dungeon map is ever needed, and that there's entirely functional styles of gameplay even in an exploration focused game that never use them. There's also some that use a very zoomed out dungeon, with named individual rooms that don't have any features specified, which can also work.

    That said, if you prefer a higher level of map detail, cool. Use it.
    Yes, of course any map is an abstraction that does not represent full reality. That goes without saying. D&D is a game where there's usually a map of a certain level of detail for the dungeons, which plays into the style of tactical and logistic challenges that game system was designed for, the "dungeon crawl". People can choose not to play that way, and people play games other than D&D, but when the topic is "dungeons" in the context of D&D (not Dungeon World, not Star Wars or Traveller or Exalted), I think it's fair to acknowledge the normal and traditional function and presentation of dungeons in that game as a reasonable thing to expect. "No maps" is an outlier in the context of DMing D&D, especially in regards to the eponymous dungeons themselves.

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    Default Re: A vertical dungeon. Has anyone ever tried that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrudd View Post
    Yes, of course any map is an abstraction that does not represent full reality. That goes without saying. D&D is a game where there's usually a map of a certain level of detail for the dungeons, which plays into the style of tactical and logistic challenges that game system was designed for, the "dungeon crawl". People can choose not to play that way, and people play games other than D&D, but when the topic is "dungeons" in the context of D&D (not Dungeon World, not Star Wars or Traveller or Exalted), I think it's fair to acknowledge the normal and traditional function and presentation of dungeons in that game as a reasonable thing to expect. "No maps" is an outlier in the context of DMing D&D, especially in regards to the eponymous dungeons themselves.
    Frankly, I think you're sorely mistaken.

    You look at official modules, and how you yourself like to play, and extrapolate from that to reach the conclusion that this is how most people play. And I think you're wrong. Through some 32 years of doing this, I've only encountered the style of maps you prefer in official modules. Where I'll agree they're almost universal, and needed. If I had to communicate how to play one of my games so that another could run them - yes, then I'd certainly need more accurate maps.

    And keep in mind that I've gone to cons, played in any number of groups, with any number of GM's. None of them have used highly detailed maps.

    Not that I'm blind to the fact that I do the same thing I say you're doing: Extrapolating from personal experience.

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    Default Re: A vertical dungeon. Has anyone ever tried that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    Frankly, I think you're sorely mistaken.

    You look at official modules, and how you yourself like to play, and extrapolate from that to reach the conclusion that this is how most people play. And I think you're wrong. Through some 32 years of doing this, I've only encountered the style of maps you prefer in official modules. Where I'll agree they're almost universal, and needed. If I had to communicate how to play one of my games so that another could run them - yes, then I'd certainly need more accurate maps.

    And keep in mind that I've gone to cons, played in any number of groups, with any number of GM's. None of them have used highly detailed maps.

    Not that I'm blind to the fact that I do the same thing I say you're doing: Extrapolating from personal experience.
    That seems strange to me. I would think most people in the 80s learned to play from modules like B1, B2, X1 and the DMG example, like I did. How do you know none of your DMs used maps? They usually stay behind the screen. I learned what D&D was and how to be a DM from the Basic set, the DMG, and the modules, and a lot of the rules don't make sense without tracking things at the level of detail of those maps.
    But I understand many people had house rules that diverged quite radically from the written game, so it's really like we were all playing different games.

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    Default Re: A vertical dungeon. Has anyone ever tried that?

    I've done plenty of vertical dungeons. The weirdest ever was a tesseract, if you timed it right (or wrong) you could see yourself leaving via a door halfway up the opposite wall.

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