I really wish I had more time to do dungeon maps. But for some reason it seems that I always end up doing overland or city maps. Don’t take me wrong, I really love doing those maps but i just wish I had more time for dungeons as well.
Mostly when I make dungeon maps I use Dungeon designer 3 (DD3) from Profantasy. The advantage of the program is that it let you create a map very quickly. You can of course spend millions of hours on details in the maps but if you just need a quick map for an evenings game DD3 will let you make that.
Whenever I make a dungeon I usually try to make a quick sketch on paper. This will make it easier when you start working on the map in DD3. In DD3 I usually start with putting out the floors for the rooms, when those are in place I start to make all the floors for the corridors. If you don’t have a sketch to use as a blueprint this work will be much harder.
When all the floors are in place it is time to place all the walls. You might wonder why I don’t use the room tools in the program, where you place floor and walls at the same time? Well the problem with that approach is that you have to do a lot of cutting in the walls to get all the doors in, or just to open up for the corridors. When I started to use DD3 this was the approach I used but after a couple of maps I changed the working process to first place the floors. And in my opinion that works much better.
When all rooms and floors are done it is time to add in some details. I always start with doors, then I place tabels, traps, torches, blood stains etc. This last step can take everything from an hour to four, five hours. It all depends on what you need the map for, an evenings game with some fiends or to publish in an adventure.
The map below, Catacombs of evil, was a test map I made when I first purchased DD3. It is made in Jon Roberts great style, that is free to download from here. When I made the map i pictured an evil cult hiding in the catacombs under a temple where they worshiped some demon. The adventurers mission would be to find the cult, free the prisoners and kill the demon.