The Underground Architect's Guide #1
Creating a Dungeon Ecology
A frequent complaint people make about traditional Fantasy Tabletop Role-playing games is levelled at the Dungeon Crawl. They reasonably point out that the “Monster Condo” or Funhouse style of dungeon doesn’t seem real and immersive, or that it lacks coherence. They are quick to ask questions such as:
· How do the monsters live in one room in the dungeon?
· What do they eat?
These are good questions, and there is a simple answer:
They don’t live in just one room, as the doors in a dungeon open automatically for any passing monsters. They can come and go as they like, which is why these monsters show up on the Wandering Monster Tables (or at least they should!). The keyed monsters and wandering monsters eat other creatures that live in the dungeon. The dungeon is a complete ecosystem, just like the forest or swamp or what-have-you above it.
This short guide will show you how to create a dungeon with a realistic and believable ecology in just a few simple steps. The process can even be used to improve an existing dungeon or adventure module.
The complete zine is available on itch.io as part of the 2022 OSR Supplement Jam
The Underground Architect’s Guide to Dungeon Ecology