Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Map - just a map

Was thinking about buried vaults from before the collapse of a Science Fantasy Society and what great dungeons they might make.  Below is a small one I call Shelter Antere.  We have nuke plants and robot repair stations, a dome of green crops (or not if the light went out) and plenty of space to fill with undead, mutants, ghouls, upstanding citizens or degenerate horrors.

As a map I am not so sure. I added too much fiddly detail I think - in the engineering sections and medical sections only.

Level One - is an Engineering shop section, and there's even an abortive escape tunnel.  I'd run this as a mutiny, trapping the vault closed behind the door to this upper section, where no one survived to let the majority of the dwellers out once the safety interlocks allowed outdoor access.

Level Two - Administration, Security and Medical/Carniculture around a central growing area with artificial lake.

Level Three - On the right, living quarters, on the left reactor and robot shops.  One might note a lack of supply rooms.  This is because the large covered pit leads to a robotic supply pit, an acre of dusty crates superintended by angry robots (or maybe balrogs, because that's what happens when you dig too deep).

Well something like that at least. I mean most likely it's filled with radiation ghouls and insane AIs anyhow.  I note (as referenced in the comments with Garrison James of Heriticworks) that this dungeon is full of choke points and has very little in the way of alternate routes.  Some would suggest this makes a bad dungeon map.  This was drawn on a whim, and as is my way, drawn with an effort to make something logical and organic (i.e. things are in the space that make sense).  Yet this is unsatisfying - as a dungeon map.  If one were to fill this with vault dweller of any intelligent variety, it would be unassailable by a party unless they had a few area effect attacks at least (and the vault dwellers didn't).  Could be good still for undead - or robo undead, which is sort of the science fantasy variant, along with plain old robots.  Anyhow it's a map.  I bet the initial population of the vault was somewhere in the 25 - 50 range - too small really.  I kind of envision it as a private vault built for a pack of rich folk.  This of course seems like it would be the perfect set up to devolve into necromancy or ghoul packs.

9 comments:

  1. Wow; that's awesome. I'd like to swipe it for my post-apoc game - are the other levels mapped too?

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    1. This is the whole map. Three levels, Of course you can make any non-commercial use of it you like.

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  2. I like this map. The details are a nice addition. They make it clear that this was an intentionally-designed space that was once used for a purpose. Anything a GM is not sure about, they can improvise around. This came at a very fortuitous time, as I'm redrawing a few space fantasy maps based on our previous discussions. (For which: Thanks!) It's great to see other options, other approaches. It lends some perspective to one's own choices.

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    1. Thanks GJ. It's funny because I worry this mp is too intentional. It's all choke points and sub regions, which could be very boring. I should have put more loops in.

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    2. Choke-points get built into some installations for added on-site security, especially when expecting unwelcome visitors. You can always add-on vertically-connected sub-regions for each level, like crawlspaces, pits, chutes, Gygaxian sub-levels, etc. A few well-placed rifts, chasms, or collapsed wall-sections could also open things up, as could a large overlapping hole (or multiple holes) in the ceiling.

      A lot of the best encounters don't require elaborate or even 'fun' set-ups. Simple terrain or a few narrow passages, etc. can still be incredibly challenging locations...it all depends on what's in there, what's going on, if there's any prevailing circumstances (leaks, flooded sections, spills, weather, spell effects, radiation, etc.).

      You can also add-on some geomorphs or secret doors to tunnels...as well as have some sort of cross-planar or cross-temporal element, such as a second installation somehow impinging upon or overlapping with this one in some manner. Loads of options...

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    3. GJ - all that is true, and I don't think the map is bad as a matter of looking organic and rational, it's more that in the service of the organic and rational it lacks some of the elements that make good dungeon maps.

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    4. Not a bad map at all. I rather like it.

      What are some of the elements that make good dungeon maps that you feel are missing? I'd love to see a post that discussed some of these sorts of features. You tend to have some pretty spot-on observations and I have found many of your comments to be quite thought provoking and helpful. Others might be interested as well. Mapping is something of an obsession with some of us...

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    5. It's been said better then I could here:
      http://thealexandrian.net/wordpress/13085/roleplaying-games/jaquaying-the-dungeon

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  3. I like this map. While there are a lot of choke points, either 1) that is going to be because I use it as a military installation (at which point you would expect at least some of it) or 2) like garrisonjames suggested I would add a duct system layered on top. Crawlspaces are great for creating that claustrophobic, there's something in the dark dread for my players.

    Also, who's to say they cannot cut through the walls to make their own entrances?

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