Creating Dungeons in D&D

Dungeons are fun to make in D&D! They can be large, small, complex, simple, terrifying or easy. It’s up to you to decide what you want your players to experience when you put them inside your dungeon. In this post, I’ll teach you how to build your own dungeon and what you can put inside the layout to make them exciting.

Building Your Dungeon

  1. First off, what is your world like? Where are your player characters and where are they going? If you’re in a never-ending snowing village with mountains out in the distance you can have your next dungeon inside one of the mountain caves or maybe you’re inside a dense forest and the player character stumbles upon ruins of an ancient civilization and they want to explore the ruins. You can have them go inside a temple.
  2. Write a backstory of your dungeon and give the player characters a bit of history behind what they’re looking at. It will help guide you to what you want the layout of the dungeon to look like. For instance if the temple the player party discovers is an ancient cultist temple where cultists sacrificed elves to their gods, then you have an idea of what traps and tests the players can go through as they travel through the ruins.
  3. Make sure there’s a village or city nearby your dungeon so your player characters can buy equipment and other goods before or after they go through your dungeon. It’s also a great place for them to heal up in case of any emergency inside the caves. Trust me, the players will appreciate having resources near the dungeon. Also, this will be the town where they’ll first hear of the dungeon and some NPC will give them a mission that will lead them to the dungeon.
  4. Now, lets get into creating the layout of the dungeon! How big do you want it to be? Will it be straightforward and have rooms that all connect to a central room where most of the action will be? Or will it have never ending paths that travel all around the dungeon and each area will have an event of their own. Will it take a few hours game time to get through everything or will it take weeks for the player party to travel every nook and cranny of the dungeon. Decide how much effort and time you want to put into creating the layout of the dungeon. Depending on your style you may want to have the next couple of sessions dedicated to going through the dungeon or maybe just one or two sessions dedicated to the dungeon.
    This is a simple dungeon that can be explored in 2-3 sessions. Everything is straightforward and all of the rooms lead to each other smoothly.

    This is a more complex dungeon that will take you 5+ more sessions to get through each room and each level.
  5. Now decide what monsters you want to use in your dungeon. You can use any type of monsters you can think of like Orcs, Drow Elves, Goblins, Bandits, Dragons, etc. Write up the stats of the monsters and put them all around the dungeon for your players to find. I’ve linked images of the first three in case you don’t know what they look like.
  6. You can’t have a dungeon without some type of treasure! At the end of your adventure, put some ancient treasure like a chalice of gold that holds 400-600 gold coins or maybe enchanted equipment that can help out players skills and abilities. You could also put in some cure light wound potions in the mix to help the players later on if they need a quick boost of health when they’re in a pickle.

There you have it, a quick guide to creating your own dungeon! You can get incredibly creative with dungeons like having hard puzzles for the players to figure out or have some action packed sequences where the player party escapes from certain death. It’s your decision to decide what happens to the player party and what you want the players to go through, so have at it.

Source: Featured Image

Source: Simple Dungeon

Source: Complex Dungeon


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