Back when Dungeons and Dragons* was my main fantasy roleplaying game, I grew bored with one of the staples of the genre, the big or “mega-” dungeon. Too many questions arose that hindered my willing suspension of disbelief. And so my game tastes wandered off in other directions, many toward the political and conspiratorial, and away from exploring the “dark below.” Dungeons, when used, became smaller and more believable: a short series of rooms under a castle, the tomb of a forgotten king, or the crude lair of some goblins carved out of a hillside, for example.
But, while reading James’ posts at Grognardia has rekindled my interests in megadungeons a bit, my preference is still for the smaller “lair” types. Thus it was, to my delight, that James recently posted a link to a fascinating site, the Nottingham Caves Survey, which is systematically mapping the sandstone tunnels and caves, both natural and worked by Man, under that British city. Here’s a sample video of one, “Mortimer’s Hole:”
It has an interesting history, too, for fans of English kings, playing a crucial role in the life of Edward III.
Neat stuff! This site is a gold mine of resources for gamemasters looking for a bit of inspiration for smaller dungeons.
*(Can you believe, in all the years I ran that game, over two long campaigns, I never –never!– threw a dragon at the characters? D’oh!)
UPDATE: I forgot to mention that the map above was created by the very handy Random Dungeon Generator.