Sunday, May 13, 2012

First Dungeons and a Thank You to Mom

First dungeons.  The discovery that got me started in developing dungeons was a graph paper tablet I found in my mother's supply closet at her office.  I'd never seen one before.  Didn't know they existed.  Holy crap, I just found gold.  I asked if I could have it and she said of course.  Armed with a ruler and pencil I drew dungeon map after dungeon map. 

After I finished a few dozen maps I chose the maps with the best personality and started room descriptions.  There was no logic or theme to the dungeons, just rooms with monsters and loot.  Blink dogs next to a room of ogres next to a hallway of Type 2 demons with an alcove where Beelzebub lounged.  Didn’t matter how ridiculous it was, it was cool.  I was doing it.  I was making dungeons.

With map mapped, descriptions described, I thought I was ready but it didn’t feel right.  Back into my mother’s supply closet I went.  Good god all mighty, a box of manila folders.  She said take them.  So I borrowed her stapler and stapled my map to the inside of the folder.  There was room on the other side.  So I made up a wandering monster table on her electric typewriter and stapled it there. I set the folder on its side and wa-la, I had a cardboard screen just like those TSR modules.

I walked the school halls with my homemade modules waiting for a study hall to break them out.  I had one dungeon called the Taps Six Dungeon.  It got kinda famous in my school.  Everyone wanted to go through it.  They wanted to know what the name meant.  I just smiled and said there is only one way to find out.  Actually, it didn’t mean a damn thing. I just thought it was a cool name.

So thanks to the supply closet at my mom’s office, my career in developing dungeons then eventually world building started.  And being that it's Mother’s Day, I want to give a huge thanks to you mom, for allowing me to raid your office closet, and understanding and allowing me to indulge in this weird hobby I really love.


  1. I wish I could say the first thing I used graph paper for was dungeouns.. but we used to actually make race tracks out of them, the more intricate the better.

  2. Race tracks sound like a great way to use graph paper.

  3. I used graph paper before making dungeons on it, but mostly because regular paper wasn't around. It was drawing dungeons that gave me a use for it.

  4. That's what Mums are for, if you can't raid their cupboards, who's can ya!!

  5. Hey! Thanks very much for writing this article. Lovely!

    Would you be okay if I published this article in a print tabletop RPG magazine I help publish, the Call to Assembly? It's a non-profit magazine, so no money changes hands (I wish it did!).

    Of course, you'll get full credit in the magazine, with a link back to your article and blog.

    If you're interested, please shoot me an email at Thanks!