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Friday, December 7, 2012

Dungeon Materials

I saw a reference to a dungeon called "Cobweb Caverns". Don't know anything about it; it's probably just a dungeon with cobwebs as a prominent feature... but my immediate image was a dungeon made of cobwebs instead of stone, perhaps a sprawling labyrinth woven by giant trapdoor spiders. It would be suspended high in the trees, so there would be quite an adventure just reaching it.

That got me thinking about other unusual materials to make a dungeon out of, and how these materials would affect the way the dungeon played out.

A dungeon made of sturdy but mostly transparent glass bricks would sort of be like a habitrail, with light and occasionally shadowy outlines visible for short distances through the walls. Monsters could be warned of  adventurers before they've actually reached the same section of the dungeon, and adventurers might spot a treasure in the next room, but not be aware of how to reach it.

A dungeon made of thorns would offer a minor hazard if adventurers run or are pushed into a wall, and a major hazard if it catches fire. There may be glints of light visible in adjacent rooms, but not the same degree of visibility as a glass dungeon. Perhaps the thorn dungeon encircles the lost palace of a sleeping princess...

Any other interesting ideas for dungeon materials?


  1. Back in the '80s, there was a low-end video game system called Odyssey2. One of the games for it was a combination boardgame/video game (memory was at a serious premium in those days) called Quest for the Rings. One of the features of the game was that there were four types of "dungeon" battlefield: regular Dungeons, Crystal Caverns (very much like your glass dungeon), Shifting Halls (the walls moved), and Infernos (walls are made of molten lava, and will kill any character that touches them).

    Imagine a dungeon with walls (but not floors!) made of softly glowing molten rock, flowing slowly along magically-created channels. Everywhere would be hot, forcing delvers to bring extra water or face eventual heat stroke, putting another timer on exploration. At least the party wouldn't need torches!

  2. There was a japanese (Computer) RPG, where there where some scenes placed in the rotting body of a dead god... that was pretty funny and disgusting at the same time.

  3. in the branches of trees in a massive ancient forest

  4. The 3.5 supplements Frostburn, Sandstorm and Stormwrack each detailed specific environments and had suggested for construction that matched their themes. I don't use 3.5, but they've been good sources of ideas.