On Information and it's LayoutI think I've shown off this Dire Boar Den three to four times now, but it's my guinea pig and I think I've finally gotten it where I want it. It seems really easy for a boar den to end up being a bore den, and I figure that if I can pull off someplace normal in an interesting and useful way, then pulling off something more exotic will be easier. We'll see!
To breakdown my thought/idea process these are the things I like and want to stick to in some way when it comes to presenting a dungeon:
- The idea of the one page dungeon
- Room descriptions should be immediately useable at the table with no prep
- Remember that it's a living, breathing place. It doesn't spring to life when the party enters the room. The world doesn't give a fuck about your party.
- Set their brain on fire. Help the DM see not just what's there, but what's not there, and what could be there, and how the presence or absence of a thing can potentially be immediately relevant to both the gaming session and the campaign as a whole.
Room descriptions should be immediately useable at the table with no prep. I haven't had anyone not directly involved in the project attempt to run the Dire Boar den yet, so my execution of this may crumble more quickly than I imagine. I don't think it will though since all the descriptions are about the fixed and not the mutable. I think I also managed to distill it down to the core elements and present them cleanly. My only real worry is if subscript information is too small to read. Just gonna have to test it out!
Remember that it's a living, breathing place. I can tell you where a monster lairs, and I should, but it shouldn't be presented as some sort of guaranteed encounter. That can all stay in the realm of video games thank you very much. Just because the dire boar is "home" doesn't mean it automatically at a specific, pre-determined location within its lair. It could be sleeping, or sharpening its tusks or trying to remove irritants from its hide, or rutting for truffles, or running in a big circle. This is what led to the "What's happening in the den?" table. I went with a 3d6 table because of its associated bell curve (not all situations should have an equal chance of occurring imo, and common/uncommon/rare is great when it comes to exploration/replayability). The table's also a great way to plant ideas into the head of the DM of what happens *after* the party kills the area's inhabitant.
Set their brain on fire. Easier said that done of course. Ideally the map and key themselves will do this all on their own, but to help the map has another page spread containing an illustration directly related to the location and an "overview" that's no longer than a page and attempts to do nothing more than put the map and key into a broader context.
If anyone reading this has any feedback, please sound off in the comments or hit me up on G+!