Joseph Erwin – Freelance Dungeon Master

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Using Crosswords as Maps

I was struck by a lightning bolt of inspiration a while ago, which I simply must share. This is knowledge which was not meant for moral beings, as it reveals a fundamental truth about the universe which will taint your mind for all time.

Crossword puzzles. Look like. Dungeon Maps.

I am not sure what to do with this except to talk about it in the hopes my brain can find solace again.

Complex crosswords have more “rooms” due to the lines being in close proximity, but I prefer the ones which make maps of maze-like interlocking corridors. Imagining the confusion, chaos, and the paranoia lurking around every corner is simultaneously frustrating and fascinating.

Set a few patrolling monsters loose in there, draw in a few secret doors serving as hidden connections, and you have a fully-operational layout. You could even design puzzles based around following word-based hints or runic symbols on the ground, if you really wanted to double-down on the theme.

Obviously this is more of an OSR-tradition thing, (dungeon crawls don’t show up often in modern RPG campaigns with heavy roleplay and lots of theatre of the mind), but you can still make use of it in a lot of ways.

I haven’t had a use for crosswords in years, but now… now perhaps there is a way….

Published by Joe Erwin

I am an independent creator and GM with a deep love of storytelling and adventure! I desire most to share these things with others, and I hope to do that through my work and my writing.

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