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Thread: Making Dungeons/Ruins Interesting

  1. #16
    Registered User Noteleks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making Dungeons/Ruins Interesting

    A cave or dungeon doesn't necessarily have to have a big puzzel. If it's well-described with great details then you can still get the reader involved.

    So... If it's a dragon's cave, I would imagine it being like a labyrinth... You know, the twisting tunnels carved into the rock. But the way the tunnels are formed is obviously unnatural. Maybe the dragon that lived there made the tunnel by digging so you can see where huge claws raked out the rock. Dragons also have a tendency to collect gold and other treasures, so there's piles of treasure here and there or a giant room of it near the end. There could easily be pools of murky, green cave water. Underneath the layer of moss over it could be more gold or perhaps the skeletons of this dragon's victims. And, of course, dragon eggs (either broken or yet-to-hatch) would likely be in aplenty.

    Ooh! And let's see- Instead of a puzzel- the great challenge could be the dragon that lives there! Maybe your characters are going through the cave and suddenly see the dragon, but it's sleeping. They have to sneak around it to get to the exit (or whatever). Problem being that the dragon twitches and thrashes in its dream, so they have to avoid its whip-like tail, giant feet, and sharp claws- all without making a sound. You could even have the dragon open its eye in its sleep for extreme tension, but have it not see anything and continue sleeping. Or, it could wake up (or be awake the entire time) and the characters would have to fight it. :D

    I'd have to think on the mansion more... Are your main characters Pokemon or Trainer? (I'm thinking Pokemon like in the Mystery Dungeon...?)

  2. #17
    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Making Dungeons/Ruins Interesting

    They are fantastic versions of Pokemon trainers--Ash as a magic knight (eg. a knight that can cast spells), and Misty as a ranger. In this world, people can shift to different classes at will--so far, only Misty can do this (she can shift to a magic knight if need be)
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  3. #18
    Registered User Noteleks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making Dungeons/Ruins Interesting

    Whoa... :O Well, then... So a dragon in this world could be like a LEGIT dragon? Not necessarily a Pokemon? Though, when I picture Ash as a magic knight... I think of Don Quixote, the man of la mancha. (Ha, never try reading that in Spanish.)

    Anyway, I'm still thinking on the fortress. Maybe thinking about- Who lived there before? Who were they? Was it a lord? A crazed scientist? An ancient wizard who finally passed? A family of nobles? Which follows to- What happened to them? Why are they gone? Are they truly gone are they haunting the house as Pokemon or as normal ghosts of themselves? Did the fortress ever endure some kind of battle in history? Why was it built? Who/what did it protect? How long has it been abandoned? -All great questions to ask yourself as the author. :)

    Also- I have a plethora of gamer-experience with traps in games. Assassin's Creed had absolutely magnificent puzzels that while not overly hard, did require some skill and observational skills. Prince of Persia puzzles are totally insane and can take up to hours to solve. There was actually one puzzle where your partner is teleported away by a wizard and you have to figure out which of the ten clones is her by 'breaking them' with violent physical contact (with your sword)... But, none of them was actually her and every time you hit a clone, it'd come back. The only way to find her was to jump off the tower you were on and then she'd break free to save you. It took me about two minutes to get sick of that stupid game and jump off the tower as a form of suicide.

    I do believe I've played another game but I can't think of the title at the moment... ... Heedless to say- I know of various different epic 'traps' and puzzles to offer. I would at least like to know some general things first. Like Kello, I like having a little more to base my thoughts off.

  4. #19
    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Making Dungeons/Ruins Interesting

    Yes, real dragons (of both the Western and Asian variety) exist alongside dragon Pokemon in this world.

    Okay--according for my notes for the fortress section, the fortress is an abandoned mage's conclave. Also, by this point they have two other party members--Brock (main form samurai, alternate forms minstrel and paladin) and Dawn (main form mage, alternate form minstrel) at this point
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  5. #20
    Registered User Noteleks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making Dungeons/Ruins Interesting

    Ooh... Nice :) (Western and Eastern is the proper terminology)

    Hmm... Alrighty then. You could still maybe use the kidnap and clone thing, just twist it to make more sense in your story.
    -You could have there be a garden in the fortress grounds with ponds that are connected together leading to a flood gate that is right in front of the way in or the way out at the end. You have to turn hidden/certain levers to move the gates so the water can't flow. There's a drain underneath it and with out the water flow, the water can finally drain so you can get to the doors.
    -A library in the form of a twisted maze. Mages do need plenty of spellbooks after all. :)
    -There could be a giant statue of a famous/revered mage and they have to climb his robes to press a jewel in his necklace in order to... Open a door?
    -perhaps a wand/staff with some dark magic could be involved. (kinda cliche, but it's not impossible.)
    -Dawn or Brock assume the role of minstrel to sing to a song bird left abandoned in its cage- they have to sing because it won't tell them a password that they need until it hears a song.
    -and... perhaps the stairs have been destroyed by decay or are weakened and then destroyed when they step on it so they have to find a more creative way to get up to the second floor. (standing on each other, moving furniture)

    That's all I got at the moment. I'll keep thinking on it and get back to you if I have more thoughts. :) I hope it helps.

  6. #21
    Effing Fabulous -Glory Blaze-'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Making Dungeons/Ruins Interesting

    Well, when designing a dungeon, the first thing you need to remember is that you're building tension. You want the tension to be palpable, you want the readers to feel as if danger could lurk around any corner - keep people on edge. This means heavy use of dramatic and descriptive language. The show, don't tell rule is doubly important in a dungeon scenario. Foreshadowing is an excellent way to build tension. For example, if characters are adventuring through an Egyptian themed dungeon, you might describe that the characters smell a sickly sweet odor. As they venture further in, the scent gets stronger. When they encounter a group of mummy enemies, describe the stench as overpowering - it's the spices and oils used to embalm the mummies. Don't be afraid to throw a curveball, either - the next time you describe the smell of the spices, readers will be on edge - there's your tension. However, the characters could find a burial chamber full of harmless, not-undead corpses. If used right, the curveball technique can put your readers off guard and help tension build up more - but don't use it too often. Keep the foreshadowing relevant though, - it helps establish continuity if, as the characters approach the Mummy Lord's chambers, you describe the scent again. Vigilant readers will make the connection immediately - the climactic battle in this story arc will be against a mummy.

    *BTW, this is all ripped off from the D&D 4e Dungeon Master's Guide. I use these techniques when I DM, and I'm considered our group's best. :)

  7. #22
    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Making Dungeons/Ruins Interesting

    Wonderful ideas, everyone! My next question is how to draw out a map (if only for your notes) when you can't draw (any attempt I'd make at drawing a map wouldn't look very good)
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  8. #23
    Registered User Noteleks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making Dungeons/Ruins Interesting

    Ha ha... Um... You can try googling different maps for inspiration?

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  10. #25
    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Making Dungeons/Ruins Interesting

    I do have dungeon map generators, but the problem with those is they don't have a definite entrance and exit
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  11. #26
    Registered User Noteleks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making Dungeons/Ruins Interesting

    Erm... Make one up? :\ Personally, I'd just start writing and figure out my map based more off what I'm thinking. I'm impulsive so I often just need to start writing in order to clarify my thoughts. But maybe that's just me.

  12. #27
    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Making Dungeons/Ruins Interesting

    Or, I could plan my entry room myself, and then plan my map around that
    My URPG stats: Maya's status

    SuBuWriMo status: 28,103 words in all!

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