Monday, April 4, 2011

A to Z: Dungeons

Dungeons.

The dread of it is ingrained in the human psyche.

It is torture, it is banishment, it is human cruelty,
it is to be abandoned, it is misery, it is hopelessness.

What better setting for a game?

Seriously: what are we thinking? What an inscrutable creature we are.

But count me in: it's fun!

Dungeons permeate gaming and lay at the foundation of many games.
It's the first 'D' in Dungeons & Dragons after all, and you don't get much deeper foundation than that.
And D&D owes much to the father of fantasy, J.R.R. Tolkien, who created the mother of all dungeons: Moria!

My first experience beyond traditional board games was D&D. The idea of a party of adventurers going into a dark dungeon filled with monsters guarding treasure was instantly appealing.

When I first started playing I couldn't afford the dice, let alone modules. Many of the old classic D&D modules are available for free downloads now at Wizards of the Coast. The fact that so many resources are just a click away is amazing.

No joke about the dice. D&D was the perfect game for me. I had paper, I had pencils.
A friend gave me an old set of the dice that you filled in the numbers yourself with crayon.
The dice were disturbingly Barbie-flesh colored.
I'd borrow the books and dragon magazines. Aside from a few hand-me-downs like the dice, I didn't own, nor could afford, any of it. Yet it didn't prevent me from playing and enjoying it.
Quite an amazing game really.

Here is a free generator at Dizzy Dragon that will make adventures & maps!

Beyond D&D and other RPGs, dungeons have spawned an entire game genre: The Dungeon-crawl.
I still have the old 'Dungeon!' boardgame. From Descent, Castle Ravenloft, HeroQuest, Dungeon Twister, the card game Dungeoneer, to Space Hulk, it's all one kind of dungeon or another.

Products like Dwaven Forge and Hirst Arts make having a stunning 3-D dungeon game possible.

In movies, some of the best Dungeon scenes, in my opinion, are from Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Keep, and just about all of the Aliens movies, because really, a dark spaceship with maze-like corridors filled with monsters trying to eat you is exactly what the genre is about.

Raiders was a dungeon for a Thief

Alien was a dungeon for a fighter.
Both are quite cool.

Dungeons were even combined with Blood Bowl to create Dungeon Bowl.
I have to admit, I've never had a chance to play Dungeon Bowl, but a friend of mine has all the old HeroQuest items, so it's on our list of things to do.

A client is having me paint up some fun minis he gathered for Dungeon Bowl, and I'm really liking these items! He's got 6 treasure chests with removable lids, so you can place things inside, such as the 6 treasure piles of coins, 6 treasure piles with potions/scroll cases, and a set of 2 balls, 2 bombs, 2 grenades & 2 dynamite bundles. Very fun!
Speaking of Dungeon Bowl & Hirst Arts, check out this thread for an amazing dungeon!

Now that we've got a proper perspective on dungeons you'll realize how lucky you are to be spending so much of your time in one...


What is your favorite dungeon game or movie?


2 comments:

Paul´s Bods said...

Favourite game?? Dungeon siege...all variants. The first PC game I really got into...once played it for 16 hours without a break...stood up and fell flat on my face...both legs had gone numb!! :-D
Cheers
Paul

Michael said...

favorite dungeon movie = unfortunally x-rated ;)

favorite dungeon game = at the moment > descent

Michael

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