I liked Dungeonscape. For some reason, I never hear anyone reference the book unless they’re talking about the Factotum class. As cool as the Factotum is, there’s some good stuff in this book. But then, I liked Cityscape too.

Dec. 2013
Link: Dungeon Classes
Link: Dungeons As Characters
Jan. 2014
Link: A New Breed of Dungeon

As you can see, this has been a comparatively recent effort on my part to codify some “dungeon classes” — eight months is pretty recent in the lifetime of this project — and this week I started hacking together some actual classes.

Instead of relying on powers like a character, a dungeon relies on rooms. Like the turn undead power helps to characterize the cleric (or priest, or exorcist), a torture chamber helps bring to life a certain kind of dungeon.

Somewhere between the ridiculous over-proliferation of rooms produced by Paizo in their Campaign book and the modest thematic rooms of Dungeonscape, I came up with four basic dungeon types — camp, fort, hall, and vault.

Each dungeon has a purpose, even if it’s no longer fulfilling that purpose.

Furthermore, a dungeon is at least partially defined by either its inhabitants or its creators. A mine is not, in and of itself, a dungeon. A haunted mine is a dungeon. A dwarven mine is a dungeon. A dwarven-mine-cum-dragon-lair is a dungeon.

Now because of this relationship between the location and its inhabitants, I found a way to group the various “room” types described into the above dungeon types — camp, fort, hall, and vault. Each has a specific purpose.

A camp is a dwelling-place — but as a dungeon, rather than a settlement. If you need a tribe of lizard-men, a nomadic orc clan, or a goblin war-party — use a camp. Camps are based around the needs of the living, and as such incorporates areas for food storage/preparation, sleeping, waste disposal, and a water supply.

A fort is a defensive structure designed to keep enemies out and/or prisoners inside. A fort might have an armory, barracks, and stuff for entertainment. Probably where you’ll find the torture chamber mentioned above.

A hall is a kind of dungeon — perhaps the least “dungeon-like” of all — designed specifically to be accessible. Halls often incorporate courtrooms (even throne rooms!), libraries, museums, and workshops into their design and layout.

Finally, vaults are designed specifically to be secure. Vaults may have a single purpose (like serving as a tomb), or may be multi-functional as in a necropolis. Crypts, labs, temples, and treasuries may all be incorporated into vaults.

Now that these most basic classes of dungeon have been defined, with rooms as their defining features — hybrids and “multi-classed” dungeons may be designed. Any time you find a community of demihumans squatting on an ancient tomb, it might well be a dual-classed camp-vault dungeon.

There will inevitably be more to this system, but that’s where I am now.