Monday, August 17, 2015

Megadungeons: Tools

Before I embark on my Stonehell customization project, I need to think about what tools I will need. I have divided them into three categories, these categories each include both physical tools and processes I will use for content creation.

  • Content generation tools
  • Content management tools
  • Quality control tools
"Content generation tools" are pretty self explanatory, they are the tools I will use to create the content that will go into the dungeon:

  • Graph paper: I still do the rough draft of everything by hand. I am not really sure why, it is very inefficient, but it is how I work.
  • Pencils
  • Drawing templates
  • Writing journal
  • Geomorphs: Some I will steal from other places, some I will make myself. I actually shouldn't need that many, I am leaving levels 1 and 2 untouched and they will have the most real estate.
  • Treasure tables
  • Dungeon tables
  • Random dungeon generation procedure: I started talking about that here
  • Monster books: I have plenty
  • A dungeon drawing program: I will need to ask around about this. I do not need a lot of depth, I am not publishing this. I already learned to use AutoCAD and SolidWorks, I have no desire to put that level of investment into learning a drafting program.
I need content management tools during the creation phase because I know this is going to be a living dungeon and I want to bake that in from the start. 

  • 3 ring binder
  • Wiki?: This is a possibility. It is especially attractive since I run the dungeon across groups.
  • A modified version of Angry DM's Slaughterhouse system
Finally, I will need quality control tools. Wait! What is this nonsense? I need quality control because I don't want my dungeon to suck. I want a way to make some kind of objective assessment of the dungeon before I run it, to spot any potential problems. Obviously, "fun" is subjective, so my ability to do quality control other than play testing is fairly limited. But, there is a way: Melan Charts. These will give me the ability to do some evaluation on the tailor made portions of the dungeon, and probably on the larger geomorphs, and on samples of randomly generated areas. This may seem like extra work on the randomly generated areas, and it would be, except I intend to use that system and geomorphs again, so it will be worth it. 

Of course, you have to check your quality control system against a known. That means I am going to have to make sure that a "good" dungeon and a "bad" dungeon look different when charted. More to come.