Monday, 1 September 2014

What makes a good dungeon?


Last night in Pathfinder my players stumbled across a building that was pretty much a large office complex. GM's familiar with the module Burnt Offerings might have an inkling as to which building I'm talking about - but if you're a players who hasn't played it, here be some very minor spoilers. Anyway, this office building was chock full of rooms. Loads of rooms within rooms, short corridors and doors everywhere. However, there was only one room where the enemies were. As written, there were about 18 rooms full of nothing. The players slogged through the complex the long way and it turned into a bit of a farce when they were opening doors only to find yet another storage room. 
While I think the rest of Burnt Offerings is pretty good, I found this to be bad dungeon design. Ok, it wasn't technically a dungeon, but it was an indoor complex with monsters in it. I wondered why the designer hadn't just added the rooms required. I should have added my own things, but when you pay for a large module like this, you expect to not have to change this much. 

Anyway, to many of you this will be totally acceptable and that's cool - it's just not mine or my group's cup of java. So I put it to you - what do you think makes a good dungeons? Does it have to be huge and sprawling? Puzzles and riddles galore? Multiple levels? Share your thoughts with the rest of us.