This is part three in a series where I am walking through my dungeon process in detail.
Last time, I wrote some Background and Rumours for my dungeon, "Slime Baroness and the Lady of Unterbranch Keep." This post is about the layout and maps. Check out the other posts in this series here.
I believe that high-quality layout can improve a dungeon immensely. Many RPG products are more like a textbook than a novel. The information is in the text, but the layout serves to move that information from the text to the referee's brain.
I gathered a list of well-laid-out dungeons for inspiration (i.e. steal and copy). Some were solicited opinions from the OSR Discord, and all are real OSR/NSR darlings.
Dungeon Layout Analyses
|Tables at the beginning of The Incandescent Grottoes|
|Room Key of the Incandescent Grottoes|
- Strong font hierarchy
- Page-spanning coloured tables at the beginning
- Inset maps on each page
- Double column-in-column room key
- Bolding and parenthesis for information delivery
- In-line stat block
- Colour block mirrored page numbers
|Map and Table of Contents of the Waking of Willowby Hall|
|Introduction Content of the Waking of Willowby Hall|
|Room Key of the Waking of Willowby Hall|
- Page numbers as room numbers
- Highlighting rooms in white on each spread map
Arnold K released this dungeon last summer, and advertised it as a sort of 0-level funnel meant to teach people his current version of the GLOG (Goblin Laws of Gaming). I played through it over three sessions last summer with a great group from the OSR discord and had a bucket of fun. The dungeon is available free on Arnold's blog so I clipped a page from the full PDF.
|Room Key from the Lair of the Lamb|
- Inset maps on all pages
- Intentional use of line breaks
What Does This Means for Slime Baroness and the Lady of Unterbranch Keep?
|Room Key of Slime Baroness and the Lady of Unterbranch Keep|
|Full Map Set from Slime Baroness and the Lady of Unterbranch Keep|