May 4, 2015

Inkwell Ideas' Geomorph Contest #2 - Lava Bath

So, Inkwell Ideas has started a biweekly dungeon geomorph contest, and they've gotten some great results already. The idea is, they give a theme every two weeks, and you have those two weeks to submit up to 3 geomorphs; it looks like they're giving away nice prizes, too, such as their DungeonMorph Dice, or Chubby Monster Games’ Moleskin Maps. I thought I'd play along.

I like me a good game contest. Also, it became abundantly clear to me recently (during the One Page Dungeon Contest) that my artistic skills are woefully underdeveloped. I love geomorphs, which can be really useful for brainstorming and quickie dungeon creation when the party goes somewhere unexpected. There have been a huge number of nice, free geomorphs done at a number of sites. The best-known in gamer circles might be Dyson's Dodecahedrons, where Dyson Logos did 100 in his hand-drawn style as a challenge; John Laviolette did several themed series of them; there's even a convenient mapper site by Dave Miller that randomly generates maps using several artists' geomorphs. I love that site.

Anyway, I missed the first installment last week, but had an idea for this biweek's installment: Lava.

I imagined a common baths for the underground people. The center was a large, L-shaped pool with steps, fed by hot springs. There are niches around, several of which hold old, dry oil lamps. In the corner is a statue of a multi-limbed humanoid with each hand in a different position and gesture. I imagined the people would relax in the baths, and hang their bathrobes and towels on the statue's hands, or put incense in the remaining alcoves, or whatever.

Anyway, sometime after the place was deserted, a chasm opened up (the hot springs were fed by volcanic activity far below) and drained the water. Sometime after that, lava welled up and conveniently filled the pool area; the lava pool follows the chasm, so it spread to some natural passages nearby. Maybe it was intentional, caused by some salamanders (or magmins, or azer, or whatever) who wanted to make this bath room useful.

The statue could be animated, or a petrified marilith, or any number of other things.If the area is deserted, the oil lamps could be a fire trap triggered by an ancient rune. Maybe the baths have enchantments that allow them to be cooled or heated; triggering the magic could solidify the lava. If the PCs are fighting fire-adapted foes in the room, the heating enchantment could give all of the foes some benefit. Any creatures living here would likely know any lingering magic.

I like the idea of dungeon tiles that can lead from natural to man-made spaces and vice-versa. I think there's a need for them -- most people do entire tiles of one or the other. With bridging tiles like this, you multiply all possible tile sources for a single dungeon.

Anyway, I used Visio to do the tile, since I'm playing around with my artistic options. Not sure what I'll do the next one with. The curvy, wavy lines are a pain in Visio, but easy in

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