Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Frayed Knights: Dungeon Creation Rules, Part 3

Posted by Rampant Coyote on November 12, 2013

fkautomapper1Time for another installment of the Frayed Knights dungeon creation “rules.” These began life as part of a design document (design principles), both to keep myself oriented as I’m developing content, and for those who may be assisting me. I copy (most) of them here so that you can know more about where Frayed Knights is going, and also because these ideas might be useful to any others who are crazy enough to try and make a full-fledged RPG of their own.

You can read part 1 of the dungeon creation rules here, and part 2 can be found here.

You can read the general principles –  part 1 here, part 2 here,  part 3 here, part 4 here, part 5 here, and part 6 here.

The difference between “principles” and “rules” is kind of the difference between what sort of feel / flavor / approach I’m looking for, versus specific, testable elements. Of course, every rule has exceptions, and there will be some of those in FK2 and FK3 (and FK1, since it was made before I wrote these down, has several). But hopefully this will give you another bit of flavor for where we’re going:

#7 – Secret Areas

Dungeons should have at least one optional “secret” area that may be discovered either through searching for the secret door, or triggering an entrance through a non-hidden puzzle.

Secret areas may hold special encounters, optional treasure, special gameplay features, or “bolt-holes” for resting.  They should always hold SOMETHING cool.  Medium dungeons should have at least one, and large dungeons should have at least two ‘secret’ areas. Small dungeons are not required to have secret areas, but it is encouraged.

#8 – Non-Secret Optional, hard-to-reach areas

In addition to the secret areas, medium and large dungeons should have at least one area that is clearly visible but difficult to reach / enter by normal means. For example, the prison / torture area in FK1’s Temple of Pokmor Xang requiring a swim in the meditation-room’s gross pool to discover the switch to open the portcullis. Don’t have a normal door incapable of being opened via lockpicking (a “plot-lock” ) – there should be a dang good reason why a door can’t be opened. Otherwise, make it some other kind of barrier – a large portcullis, a force field, an out-of-reach location, etc.

#9 – Quests

Keep quests and steps within a quest simple and goal-oriented  (“Obtain the Dagon Sphere”) rather than task / process oriented (“Kill Mrs. Dagon and take her Dagon Sphere”). This invites multiple solutions both from you, the designer, and the player.

#10 Journal Entries

When designing the dungeon, create journal entries that should appear when the player takes particular actions to help guide them along. Oftentimes, the journal entries will simply re-iterate information found in descriptions and dialog. One thing I’m doing new with FK2 is having all the journal entries written by one of the team members – with their initial at the end. So create journal entries in the voice of whoever happened to write it (and include their initial in case it’s not clear – cuz sometimes journal entries are just too simple to make it a big deal). When in doubt, have Arianna write the entry – she’s the most straightforward. When choosing who to write for, please consider Benjamin – he needs more presence in FK2 than in the last game.

Filed Under: Frayed Knights - Comments: 2 Comments to Read

  • Cuthalion said,

    Hm… interesting advice.

  • Rampant Coyote said,