18 November 2019

grodog's Mega-Dungeon Maps - The Heretical Temple of Wee Jas

So, today's my first new Mega-Dungeon Mondays post, and I thought I'd share a bit about my mapping design process. 

"The Heretical Temple of Wee Jas" level was the map that I began to design immediately after The (First) Landings Level, and its original name was The Second Landings Level (original, eh? ;) ).  Like "The Landings Level", I playtested this dungeon at GaryCon, the North Texas RPG Con, and KantCon, among other events. 

I completed the first iteration of the map over several nights, noodling through a few different options on how best to design the lower half of the map, particularly the large temple in the SW corner:

Draft 1:

grodog's Heretical Temple of Wee Jas---
draft 1 dungeon level map

When I'm unsure how I want to work out a particular section, or when I'm working on keying for a level with a completed map draft (I almost always draw my maps first then work on keying), I'll make photocopies of the level to play with variations until I'm happy with how the design turns out.

I did that several times with the temple in the SW corner, as you can see in the various second drafts:

Draft 2a:

grodog's Heretical Temple of Wee Jas---
draft 2a dungeon level map

Draft 2b:

grodog's Heretical Temple of Wee Jas---
draft 2b dungeon level map

In the end, the completed first draft 3 of the level looked like this, but you'll note that I still hadn't decided on how to trick out the temple area:

grodog's Heretical Temple of Wee Jas dungeon level map
grodog's Heretical Temple of Wee Jas---
completed draft 3 dungeon level map

I was also still drawing non-narrowing stairs as stairs up at this point in my design process, but I eventually switched to use tapering stairs with the tapering side indicating the up/down direction, depending on how the tapering side was placed. 

I initially playtested the level using the draft 3 map, but even after my various iterationings on the temple settled out, I was never terribly pleased with the caverns section in the SE corner.  I also added some areas immediately above the main level of the map---"upstairs" zones for murder holes, some apartments for a lich, etc.  Those got taped onto the level as additions, that look like this:

grodog's Heretical Temple of Wee Jas
completed draft 4 and updated dungeon level map

So this level will eventually be redrawn as The (First) Landings Level was along with "Diamonds on the Rough"---and will likely be bumped up to a 6 spi map treatment in the process, too, in order to give me some more wiggle room for the cavernous section and other areas on the periphery of the sheet of paper.

The other articles in my Mega-Dungeon Maps series include:

and the Mega-Dungeon Mondays posts are linked for your easy reference too.  



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