Stranger in a Strange Land, continued

As I continue my adventures abroad, I’ve been forced to see the world through a bit of a different lens. Back home we live in a relatively flat world, spread out across the land at a few stories above the ground at most. Here I’m seeing old and new mixed everywhere, with height and deceptive depth to many buildings I’ve entered.

tardisIt’s funny how like the Tardis from Dr. Who everything seems… bigger on the inside. I went to a restaurant that seemed like this thin little sliver of a building that extended perhaps 60-80 feet at its farthest point with a width of maybe 15-20 feet. But it ended up with two hidden staircases that extended it up another floor by the same dimensions and I have to wonder if there was a basement of the same size.

In our gaming maps, I think we rely on the familiar perspectives of home or those common 5’ x 5’ or 10’ x 10’ squares to define our worlds when in reality they are much more varied. It would be an intriguing experiment to work through creating a random dungeon map where each floor had an odd quality of dimensions, whether naturally or artificially. Though some large rooms may exist, I think the world – especially older ones predicated on building on top of layers of previous settlements – offers some more intriguing possibilities.

Perhaps I’ll have to start drawing some huge buildings with thin slices for each of the tenants connected by oddly shaped doors and hidden stairs or dungeons that stretch deep with awkward staircases or ramps going from one floor to another. Imagine the strategic challenges of fighting a bar battle where you can barely put a couple of characters side by side in close quarters or a dungeon where monsters use the strange dimensions to drop on top of unsuspecting parties tentatively exploring corridors they barely fit through one at a time…

I think the evil gland in my GM brain is itching to explore some painful spaces for PCs. 😃

What’s the strangest map you’ve encountered in a game? Any adventures stick out that take advantage of odd corridors or room sizes or cramped stairwells to make their exploration more difficult?

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