Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Building in the Dungeon

Just some fun brainstorming coming from the last post's idea of players leaving physical marks on a dungeon in the form of structures.
  • Iron ladders of various lengths with mineshafts or alcoves at various heights off the ground
  • Dwarven mortar I've mentioned before, but I think every portion should come with instructions and a pile of nicely chiseled blocks ready to build with.
  • Also these elf-stick thingies.
  • "Mirror" blocks that allow for building walls you can see through one-way.
  • Powder kegs that are unstable (I imagine them with chemical growths like old batteries) but still able to clear 1d4 10'x10' areas of solid rock.
  • The opposite of everflowing jugs, a magic sponge that will absorb all water in an area. *
  • Roll-out rope bridge kits
  • Heavy rope nets to allow multiple people to climb a wall at once (like you see on obstacle courses)
  • Heavy, cast iron "beacons"* on dollys or wheelbarrows that can be laboriously moved around the dungeon and have area effect magic emanating from them (like silence 10' radius).
  • Paint or powder that acts as a barrier to monsters like magic circles or holy water.  Players have a limited amount and must decide what areas to make safe for rest or passage.
  • Mobile, magically linked portals.  You can set them up to allow quick passage between parts of the dungeon, avoiding constant travel through very dangerous areas at the risk of sentient monsters moving the destination portal.  Maybe you could leave some guards . . .
  • Mobile, one-way, magic barriers.
  • Light emitting sand that can be thrown around but dims over time.
  • A worm creature or arcane machine that will bore holes through solid walls but at the cost of more frequent encounter check or weird effects on players from the energies involved.
  • A portable door.
  • A room of programmable Magic Mouths (or something equivalent like talking busts) that could function like a memorial site or message board.
  • Dwarven Constructs that can be given simple tasks like "fill any doorway in this hall with brickwork."
Can you tell I've been playing some Minecraft?  * Some of these are straight outta that game so I can't claim credit, but I thought they could be fun for players in our game.  What would be fun for you to build in a dungeon as a player?  Have your players ever tried to make permanent structures in your dungeons?


  1. Some great ideas! We just started playing MC. Going to pawn these ideas for a Solo/GMless game I'm working on.

  2. Cool, thanks. For solo type play you might find this post interesting too:


  3. In the first campaign I ran, our first dungeon had a natural spring and was pretty small, so when we cleared the goblins we made it into a base of operations for our budding mercenary group.
    Unfortunately, I doubt I can be of much help because we didn't build too much. We put in a door and pushed a big boulder behind it until we could buy a decent lock, and even then just so no one could knock it down. We had to buy furniture, prices for which are usually left out of the books, so if you're looking to have players live in a dungeon you may want to make some prices.
    Once we bought horses we built a small stable too.

    Hidden compartments and such are essential. My current players have some 700gp buried under the floorboards in a closet.

  4. Thanks, I love hearing about the exploits of other players.

    Here I was thinking building in the dungeon in more of the "what do we need to build here to successfully exploit/survive this" but I'm down with people turning stuff into their underground domains too.

    For furniture and stuff, as a DM, I'd like a simple system of material/time costs so I can extrapolate lots of stuff (sort of like building in a Simcity video game), kike building with oak cost $x and xhrs per 10'x10'x10' area. But as a player, yeah, a menu-like list of possibilities is fun to read and would spur me to more ambitious building.

    The 1e DMG had a little of both of these approaches if I remember correctly. I should look back at it.