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5-Room Dungeon + Large Dungeon?

devonapple

New member
Hi, folks! First time posting here.

Longtime GM working on new ways to do more with less time.

I've got a dungeon of about 30 potential interactive locations, and a direction for how the flow works, and plot elements. I did start with an existing map resource as a prompt, but I've rearranged that as needed. I'm trying to apply the 5-Room Dungeon principle to what I've already developed to see if that can inspire more opportunities for the players. I didn't start with it.

I'm struggling to find ways to divide up the puzzles and other elements that I've already developed into separate interrelated 5-room chunks.

I'm wondering if it's better to:
  • Just finish what I've got, the way I've always worked, and use the 5-Room method when I'm developing another location.
  • Abstract the whole complex as a 5-Room Dungeon, with each of the 5 phases incorporating multiple rooms that make up a collective challenge.
  • Be encouraged because creating a larger location from multiple connected 5-Room Dungeons is a thing many GMs accomplish successfully.
Has anyone else tried and succeeded to apply the 5-Room Dungeon principle to a larger complex?
 

ExileInParadise

RPG Therapist
Staff member
Platinum WoA
Gold WoA
Wizard of Story
I'm wondering if it's better to:
  • Just finish what I've got, the way I've always worked, and use the 5-Room method when I'm developing another location.
  • Abstract the whole complex as a 5-Room Dungeon, with each of the 5 phases incorporating multiple rooms that make up a collective challenge.
  • Be encouraged because creating a larger location from multiple connected 5-Room Dungeons is a thing many GMs accomplish successfully.
Has anyone else tried and succeeded to apply the 5-Room Dungeon principle to a larger complex?

It's a great question - and the best answer may be all 3.

5-Room Dungeon is a tool - but not the only tool - and it may not be the right tool for this specific adventure.

But...I think your second phrase "abstract the entire complex as a 5RD" is the one I'd attempt.

The 5-Room Dungeon tool wasn't really meant to be only 5 literal rooms - your view of it as "phases" whuch may have multiple rooms is closer to how I've learned, interpreted, and done my own applications of the 5RD tool.

And the 3rd approach you mention - linked 5RDs is also a good one, especially if you are laying in hooks to additional followup campaign stories.

Ultimately, it comes down to how much time you have to experiment.

Try approach 2 and 3 up to a deadline - and if you don't have something workable by then - then do what you normally do for this next session and worry about the next 5RD after.

I've found that even when I wasn't able to make it "fit" some idea - the XP gained from trying still helped later.

And to answer your final question - yes.

I've been able to "recast" a problematic favorite adventure from back in the day by revisting it with all these tools in hand.

The 5 Room Dungeon worked very well for framing the larger phases of the module.
.
It was like reading an old page with new glasses - you could see some of it much better - that way.

With that, I've been able to "reskin" an old favorite module for a new generation and new game in a way that seems much better to me than when I first played it.

And from that experiment, I can also see where you could easily break some parts into their own 5RD that are like tributaries into the larger story

For me, your second and third approach described can both work, and the second approach worked for me in the "big test" I've put it to.
 
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