Welcome again to the next iteration of the map series, wherein I work on a map out in the open and talk about design decisions.
This time we're going to add a lower floor to the Large Library from a few posts ago. This is going to continue from the theme of the first floor - books, books, and more books.
So first up, here's the lower floor:
Lining up the Lower Floor
So, fun fact about Dungeonscrawl - you can use it to line up your stairs by using layers. There's not a great way to group the layers so you can turn the map and icons on directly, but here's a quick video to illustrate how you can ensure your staircases and fall-points line up:
So there are a couple of features that are fun to play with here - the first at the top of the map is the presence of that body lying on a table, surrounded by books. I figure this is a "Necromantic Studies" room, with the books geared towards animating corpses. It could just as easily be a medical studies room - but I suspect you're more likely to get blood and grime on the books down here. Maybe that's the point!
The other immediately obvious strange room is going to be the "Step Pyramid" room - there's a full size model of a pyramid in a room that has a fountain that will be fully obfuscated by it on the other side of the room. It'd only be obvious by sight and sound. Perfect for interesting shenanigans for the players. There are several other adventures that have done the “underground or otherwise indoors“ take on the pyramid, so it shouldn’t be wholly unfamiliar as a concept - but it was something fun that I wanted to incorporate here.
One thing I really wanted to play with on this level was a really long and annoying corridor, which on its face doesn't connect with the other rooms. However, if one knows where to look, I've created some hidden walls which rotate on a pivot. Push on a proper stone and it'll flip around.
This gives you a lot of interesting possibilities for encounters or silliness. Perhaps someone they're following turns the corner just ahead of the players, and has suddenly disappeared behind one of the rotating walls. Perhaps there's something on one of the walls to signify what side is where, that changes each time they go past. Moving walls are always fun. They also give you a fair amount of leeway on how you want to telegraph this to your players. Are the wall segments loud when they spin around? Are they completely quiet? Somewhere in between? For systems that have knowledge or perception based skill checks, that can be useful for the characters to get a clue as to what’s happening - while at the same time letting the players figure it out in systems that don’t.
The bottom room has a pit at the southern part of it. Someone falling from the natural area above isn't immediately at risk at falling down into the pit, but they will smash into one of the bookshelves, potentially knocking its contents towards their eternal doom.
This also gives you the ability to connect it to the "depths" - maybe there are a series of tunnels under the complex that lead to a series of caverns? Maybe some of those denizens are inclined to crawl up from there. I kinda like the idea that there's a series of holes in the wall all the way down that are currently storing bottles of wine.
The rest of the map is basically geared towards providing interesting set pieces. There's a room filled with scrolls, that can be used to hide magical scrolls or some other series of historical document - along with a desk right outside for transcription / copying.
We've also got temporary sleeping quarters down there, just in case the party wants to take a relatively "safe" nap.
Well, much like the keyed dungeon, I'm getting a little attached to this map - so I may incorporate it into a little adventure for some more practice. I'm not sure if that'll be for Shadowdark or something different, but stay tuned - I'll post about it next time.