On today's show, our hosts talked about what it takes to make a dungeon feel believeable and sustainable. On a somewhat related topic, I'd like to talk about somewhere that is currently occupied and lived in that isn't intended as a dungeon, but can function in a similar manner.
A prime example of this might be a fort. If your party has some sort of political or military allegiance, they might find themselves having to clear out a fort occupied by enemy soldiers. In doing so, they will likely be sweeping through the rooms of the fort, much like one might do for a dungeon. Instead of overcoming traps designed to deter adventurers, the party will have to face the fort's defenses. And inside, there will likely be loot in the form of supplies used to maintain the garrison of the fort. There might even be a boss in the form of the garrison's commander or some powerful war machine.
Another location that might serve similar to a dungeon encounter might be a ship at sea. If your party finds themselves captured by pirates or facing some other tragedy on the waves, these locations can easily turn into a dungeon type of encounter when that clearly was not their original intent. Loot would likely be in the form of whatever cargo the ship is carrying, and the crew would serve as the enemies you might face. Interestingly enough, traps and the like are probably less common here, but there are other concerns a party may have to face. For example, if they kill all of the ship's crew, how will they get themselves and the ship back to land?
Other locations that serve this function might include temples, towns, monasteries, and many more. Simply put, lots of places the players might go can serve a similar function to a dungeon in that they're fairly tightly connected spaces where the party is essentially shoved into encounters. Keep your eyes open for locations like this. As was mentioned in the comments to one of the show questions, sometimes humans are the monster race. So anywhere that people live can be flipped into a hostile space if the agenda of these people is opposed to that of the PCs.
I hope you enjoyed this and the rest of the content by Digital & Dice. If you want to read more in relation to today's show topic, you should go check out my earlier post "Dungeon Ecology Primer" here on the Digital and Dice blog. Until next time…Game on Internets!
- Draconick, Digital and Dice Contributor
I, Nick “Draconick” Johnson, am a writer and roleplaying enthusiast with over ten years of experience in various tabletop roleplaying games both as a player and as a GM. I am also somewhat involved in other forms of tabletop gaming such as wargaming, board games, and card games. It is my hope that by creating and maintaining this website that I can share my unique take on all things within our hobby and to foster a community of like-minded individuals.