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June 17th, 2009, 13:20
Another excellent post from Jay Barnson with Extreme Makeover Dungeon Edition asking how dungeons can be better designed to make more sense. Here's an early quote:
Ghosts. Forty thieves. Dogs with eyes the size of dinner plates. Secret kingdoms of elves and trolls. Old gods. Witches. Giants. In folk tales, myth, classic literature, the land beneath the world is a place of magic and mystery. And, frequently, monsters.
So it's very natural that they'd be part of a game rooted in myths, legends, folklore, and fantasy literature. In fact, one student of RPG history has suggested that in the original rules for D&D, dungeons were much more like the mythic underworld, and in many ways the very nature of the dungeon itself was hostile towards intruders from the world above.
But there's a small problem with the underlying concept:
Dungeons are kinda stupid.
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June 17th, 2009, 13:20
pearls of rampant wisdom.
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Last edited by baron; April 28th, 2011 at 10:03.
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June 18th, 2009, 02:11
Excellent article. Sillyness #2 gave me a chuckle as, even though I'm well versed on the hazards of mines, I never thought to apply them to dungeons.

But I've given much thought to all the other Sillynesses. When I'd run a D&D campaign, it was always important to give EVERY non-wandering-encounter NPC or monster a reason to be and a reason for being where they are.

It doesn't have to be truly realistic, but it has to be explainable. I feel much the same way about sci-fi. I can accept the magic of future technology, but make sure everything you do can be explained even if only with a wry smile. "Heisenberg compensators"? Okay that's fine.
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June 18th, 2009, 06:47
Yeah - to be honest, it doesn't take much. I guess I'm a gamer who loves to suspend his disbelief - so I just need a little excuse or two.

That's probably why I enjoyed the ancient Ultima Underworld games so much. While not perfect, UW1 did try to turn its dungeon into a world - a community - that had some semblance of logical order.
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June 18th, 2009, 09:02
The same goes for all aspects of world design, really. I like it when the scenery makes some sense ecologically, economically and historically - even if at heart it's just a setting for slaughtering countless monsters. Making sense is not the same as being realistic - but there needs to be agree of internal logic for virtual worlds to become believable.
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June 18th, 2009, 09:42
I agree completely - I rarely stop reading sci-fi or fantasy halfway through, but when I do, it's usually because something made me go: "What?! That doesn't make any sense!".

One of the reasons why I like Gothic so much is because of the low magic world, where most things make sense. I don't mind high magic, but it must make sense - i.e, used for more than just blasting away enemies.
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June 18th, 2009, 14:31
This "making sense within a given world" is currently within the discussions about the current form of TDE - the Aventuria setting.

It's because there are several important NPCs which don't act like many people believe they should within Aventuria. To them, several decisions just don't make sense. But unfortunately the reactions and the decisions of these important NPCs are set by the group of people who are responsible for the ongoing history of Aventuria. (This group is called "the editorial staff".)

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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