Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Let's Build A Dungeon - Part 2 - Taking Stock Of What Is There

On Monday we began this journey of building a dungeon, and talked about the 'Story' of the dungeon and why that was important to getting us started on building a dungeon. Today we're going to do what for some may be an optional step but for me I feel is important, especially as we are just getting started. Namely, we're going to apply the beginning steps of Project Management to this project, and we're going to make some lists of things that we are going to need and/or want in our final product.

I say this is optional because in the looking I've done, I have not seen anyone else specifically list this step. However, it is implied to be done somewhere by most people as they include all the stuff we'll be including. This says to me that they are probably doing it in their head. As you probably know with things you do all the time, you can do things in your head when you know how they work - that is one of the benefits of experience. However, when starting off it helps to have a list.

Another way of looking at this is like baking. With the story we said what we want to make. The design process is the recipe for how everything goes together. Which means today we're listing out our ingredients.

What We Have So Far
Looking back on Monday's post, we have a dungeon that was built by a Chaotic Good Monk to be a Stronghold. The dungeon was built by elves - possibly including Dark Elves. It was later taken over by an invading force. Finally, the dungeon was originally a temple that became a stronghold by adding defensive fortifications.

What I Have Decided With That
In thinking about what we have in the story and from the 5e charts, I like the idea of this dungeon/stronghold being a bridge between the surface elves and the underdark elves. The dungeon has surface components and underground components. For simplicity's sake we'll break it down into three levels: the surface temple, the basement, and the underground caverns.

Ok, so let's get started.

Our First List
Surprise, we already have our first list. The three layers to our dungeon definitely counts as a list. To reiterate, we have: a surface layer, a basement layer, and an underground caverns layer.

Now we consider what each of those need.

The Surface Layer
The surface layer is where this dungeon started I feel. The temple was the bridge, the stronghold was made here. That means the surface looks more fort like, and the underground caverns are secured. Also remember in the story we said the monks became militant/combat monks. For the surface layer that means we need the following:

  • Defensive Walls
  • The Temple
  • Stables (?)
  • Defensive Location
  • Main Entrance/Exit(s)
  • Sally Port(s)
  • Aerial Defenses (Ballista Towers, etc)
The Cavern Layer
The Cavern Layer is in many ways the other side of the coin. This is the entrance from below ground, and as such it has similar needs. Remember, this is a stronghold, and we want to keep in mind what that means when working underground where things can be on the ceiling. That said, unless we move the temple to the below ground this list can be smaller.

  • Defensive Walls (floor to ceiling?)
  • Main Entrance/Exit (s)
  • Sally Port(s)
  • Stable(?)
  • Defensive Location
The Basement Layer
The Basement Layer is a lot more free in a lot of ways. It is a transition point between the below ground and the above ground. Anything that is on this layer can be easily moved to the other two layers. In fact, you could eliminate this layer all together. However, I am going to keep it as my sort of miscellaneous catch all for things we definitely need, but do not necessarily have to be in the other layers like, say, the defensive walls have to be.

  • Living Quarters
  • Bathing area
  • Kitchen
  • Food Storage
  • General Storage
  • Armory
  • Servant Quarters (?)
  • Guard Quarters (?)
Other Optional Things
Finally, some bonus things we may want to have but are not necessarily required for what we have been talking about. These are things that suit the needs a Stronghold dungeon would have, but could also not be present. Things like...

  • A smithy
  • Tailor/Clothier
  • Food Source
    • Farming/Crops
    • Livestock
  • Water Source
  • Training Grounds
  • Guest Quarters
Why Do Some Things Have (?) After?
Anything marked with a ? is something that we may not want to have. I am listing them as this is very much just brainstorming features the dungeon should have on a large scale. A temple stronghold may not have servants or guards, the monks could do it all - alternatively, they might have both. That is a decision we'll have to make later. Alternatively, we can start to build and if we find we have extra room we can go to that list to add things in later on. Having a list of optional things is a great way to fill in 'filler' rooms when we get to mapping the dungeon itself.

Next Steps
On Monday we'll return to this and take a look at the general layout of the surface layer. From there we can drill down into things on an individual level to get our surface layer all set before moving on down.

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