Friday, October 28, 2011

Dungeon 101

Hey there! As a new contributor to this blog, I thought I would start of with something straight forward and that I find great satisfaction in doing. First, however, I would like to tell you a little bit about myself.

My name is Ben Mathis. I have been LARPing for approximately 5 years now, and I have done mostly just NERO. I grew up in West Virginia with my mom and always found interest in the medieval aspect of history as well as fantasy games, even from a young age.

Anyways, enough about me. Let's build a Dungeon!

In the games that I have attended, almost every single one had some sort of big dungeon crawl module. In these modules, I would either have to run through and just kill everything, eventually reaching a goal, protect someone while going through, or find an object. I love these types of modules because they are very immersive when done correctly.

Unless the "dungeon" has no cool effects.

How do we fix this? Well, here is your crash course in Dungeon Creation 101.

1.) Lights are you friend. When turning a building into a dungeon, it's good to use different colored lights. These lights really set the mood and can create different effects while in a dungeon as well. For example, when a green light is on, a certain monster can't be affected by spells, but when a red light is turned on, that ability goes away. Lighting can make dungeon modules more dynamic if used this way. If used for just atmosphere, it is equally cool because what dungeon has white lighting? exactly.

2.) Fog, Fog, and more Fog. I have always enjoyed the use of fog machines. They can be used in a bunch on different types of encounters. I like to set up a fog machine behind some sort of wall or a place where it can't be seen by the PC's directly. Also, it is a good idea to use a fog chiller (there are a million tutorials on the internet for how to make these) otherwise, it's just smokey. The purpose of the fog is to have it settle on the floor for an eerie sort of effect.

3.) Walls. This is probably the most important thing for a dungeon. You can flop on everything else, but if you don't have walls, you don't have a dungeon. Walls can be made out of various materials. The two main materials that I have seen to work have been the thin pink siding insulation and tarps. I have found that you can do a lot more cool stuff with the siding insulation. It is easier to paint on than tarps, looks more like a wall, and creates an overall better scene. However, it sucks to move because you can't fold it and it is hard to hang if you aren't allowed to nail it in. Tarps on the other hand still look decent when painted on and they are A LOT easier to hang. Walls can add a different element to your dungeon such as the hall fight where the PC's have to push through monsters to continue.

4.) Traps. Every dungeon needs traps. They are a lot of fun to set up and a lot of fun for PC's to go through. A fairly easy trap that you can make can be found in this video (ignore the odd costume?) Just put all that stuff in the video in a small box and you are good to go!

There are a lot of cool things you can do when setting up a dungeon. The most important thing is that you think it is a cool set up and the PC's have fun while running through it. You could always add some static props (which I will be discussing in my next post later next week) to just lay around and look cool. So I'll ask you this:

What is your favorite dungeon prop to use? What is your favorite prop to experience?

1 comment:

  1. Great job, Ben! I wasn't sure what a 'fog chiller' was when you first included it, but thanks for going a bit more in to detail. Didn't even know you could do that.