Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Easy to Describe Rooms

I just want to reiterate something I said here before.

Make rooms easy to describe.

Seriously. My players went back to a section of the first level I drew in my earliest mapping of Felltower. It's maddening to describe the rooms. Big odd shaped rooms, strange turns, odd intersections, weird room locations, etc.

We took up over half the session in that area, and while that was fun, it was also because mapping it was difficult and describing it took a lot of excess words.

Had I used a much simpler layout, it would still have been a nice area of dungeon, but not such a pain to describe. Using words to describe what you see is tough - I'm trying to reduce what would be visually interesting but not especially difficult to understand with words that just aren't quite up to the task.

Add in a new player mapping because the veteran couldn't follow my descriptions and voila, half a session spent on what could have been more easily done in 30 minute with rooms that were easier to describe.

It's not an especially fun part of the challenge, either. That's why I'm saying it again - it doesn't have to be hard to describe to be hard to navigate, or crazy to draw in order to be exciting.


  1. I'm taking my 8 and 9 year old daughters through B1. The module has this to say:

    "The dungeon is designed to be instructive for new
    players. Most of it should be relatively easy to map,
    although there are difficult sections—especially on
    the lower level where irregular rock caverns and
    passageways will prove a real challenge."

    I would not say that is a fair assessment. I find myself helping them out a lot with the maps.

    1. I think B1 would be hard to explain, too. B2, not nearly as much!

  2. There's something to be said about the "flowchart" method of mapping, especially in caverns.

  3. At a certain point it's quicker just to scribble out what the players could see. If it looks really complicated, draw it out in advance.


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