Well, that isn’t strictly true, now is it?

I need a dungeon for our ongoing campaign, and I’m glad I have a chance to make one. I feel silly, for all the times I’ve given people advice and not followed it myself.

I took the floor plan of a public place in really familiar with and just…put it underground. It’s a multi-story structure, so I already have a lot of the inter-floor connections done for me. I’ll have to figure out where I can add some chutes and open shafts though.

There are nice, open walkways (not so many cramped hallways), which will be an interesting change of pace. There are also lots of open-air platforms — and railings I can remove since dungeons tend to be non-OSHA compliant.

All told, the floor plan has something like 60 rooms, which is just, perfect. Last night I took the time to throw the whole thing into PhotoShop so I could tinker with layers and stuff.

I guess, since everything here connected by stairs is really separated by only a few feet, it’s more like a single, multi-story level, isn’t it? To be more than one dungeon “level,” there really needs to be a little more distinction between them, yeah?

Well, I have my encounter table, my treasure tables, and my map, so let’s do this thing!

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On a related note, the encounter table for the dungeon was WAY easier to make than the one for Gloomwrought itself. Despite everything I read about the place itself and the plane it’s on, I just couldn’t find enough justification to put lots of high-level monsters as “street” encounters.

Using the guidelines in the 5e Dungeon Master’s Guide, I just can’t see how an NPC can ever exceed a CR 10. (Honestly I think CR 7 is pretty much the cap for most NPCs.)

It’s one thing to throw a whole bunch of mooks at the party to get slaughtered, but I need things that are worth XP. My players are starving for level-ups, and that’s where the dungeon comes in, right?

Luckily I shouldn’t have to convince anyone too hard that there’s a dungeon ‘needs exploring — after all, that’s where the good experience is, right? Maybe some treasure, too?

Huh. It’s weird to have this much confidence and doubt at the same time.

At least, I get to try out a few of my theories now, about dungeon and monster levels. Everything that goes in here, is something I’m trying something new with — I just have to keep it all Streator in my head.

These aren’t quite the “set piece” encounters of 4e — that takes too much planning — no, these are “monster, agenda, setting, go!” The players create a lot of their own context for these encounters. They decide the story themselves.

I mean SURE, there’s a history, and a reason for why all the monsters are there — that’s my part. And yeah, all the monsters want stuff (and have treasure, to boot). I have that part covered.

Showtime!