Several months ago, a friend forwarded me a link to Tony Dowler’s Year of the Dungeon (pdf) February 2010 compilation. Something kept me from following the link he sent me until I was doing some sorting through my email and found his reference to Dungeon Poetry.
The idea of quick images of small dungeons – flash fiction dungeons, if you will – is interesting. These could, of course, be used as a one-shot, a quick encounter, or the like. But I think the idea of generating a lot of these is useful as a tool to come back to when looking at a larger project. In the same way that some writers talk about short stories as a workshop for ideas that go into novels, this kind of exercise could also be a way of keeping active with trying out ideas.
A deck of a couple dozen of these could be used as a generator, like a deck of tarot cards for generating storylines or character backgrounds of NPCs. Not that they would just be assembled like so many old TSR dungeon tiles. Rather, the images of a few different spaces might work together, to suggest an overall theme to be used for creating a more interesting place.
Would a similar approach be workable for other kinds of games? After all, aren’t many spy movies (especially Bond movies) a series of exotic locales and set pieces? Would a set of places be useful for a spy game? Interesting things to think about, for any genre.