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Monster Usage in the Creation of Rooms (By "The Red Hawk")
Feel free to use these ideas in your own work. And don't assume you have to use these ideas - they're only a few. And combinations are really fun too. It's even more fun if you alter these slightly.
Roaches: Roaches are probably the most used dungeon monster of all, and can be used for almost everything (This is probably the section I'll have the hardest time writing, because of that). They are often used in conjunction with other monsters. Their ability to be spawned by Roach Queens can make their puzzles very difficult.
Some of the most popular roach puzzles include:
1. Something where you hit an orb and are then blindly charged from all directions. This can work with evil eyes too, or roach queens in behind them if you're feeling really wicked.
2. Minimal-space rooms, where you must maneuver carefully to avoid being eaten. This one isn't as common as others. Also very similar is the level entrance room where you start in the middle of a slight smattering of monsters, and must chop your way out.
3. Place roaches in a small maze inaccessible to Beethro. Make sure there are plenty of force arrow traps, and Beethro must move them out the correct end. This can also work with goblins or wraithwings, who have more devious movement patterns, which can make it harder, but it's not as good when you are trying to have several. It's also probably possible to force Beethro to solve a puzzle outside at the same time, though I haven't tried it.
Roach Queens: Because of their ability to spawn, Queens are often used in timer puzzles. They can also make life very difficult for Beethro when he must face assaults from multiple directions.
1. One very popular method involves a room, usually with a brain, with queens to spawn roaches which go for Beethro. He must meanwhile battle his way toward the queens, a few squares each spawn. With a few orbs you can also make him go back and forth a few times. Just make sure that he has enough time to move between hacking monsters.
2. You can use a timer by having a queen on a little inaccessible area at one side of a passage. Every turn, it will spawn (a) roach(es), and you must reach a mimic to get it in there before there is no more space left (You can also get an invisibility potion on the way, to slow down the timer). This technique also works with tar in two-square-wide passages, but takes less room.
3. Have Beethro start the level in the middle of a room, with passages entering it from all directions. Then, queens can continually send small streams of roaches at him while he battles towards an orb, shelter, trapdoors, etc. Just make sure he can't take shelter in the passages.
Evil Eyes: I think that Evil Eyes are probably the least used monster type in architecture, but they can still be very important. Since they are unique in that they don't move until something happens (Beethro appearing in their line of sight) they are used mainly for support in combinations.
1. Probably the only idea that so far has shown up in multiple holds, place an evil eye where Beethro might step through its line of sight. If he does, it will start moving towards him, and therefore into a force arrow trap where it is unreachable, so Beethro must be extra careful. If you extend this method, you can make it so the player can only step on squares of one colour, which can be fun if he also has to smite stuff at the same time.
2. My favourite method is to have a chamber which is fairly large. Place evil eyes in every square, facing in random directions. When Beethro tries to hack through, he will have to be very careful, or evil eyes could wake behind him. However, after a fairly large section has been cleared, the difficulty grows less, because Beethro has time to turn his sword. To remedy this, I place large numbers of smaller chambers in a row, separated by force arrows.
3. If you have a passage that you don't want Beethro going down, the most simple solution is to use arrows. However, if you require brained monsters or serpents to go through, this won't work. The best way is to place evil eyes on each side of the passage, so that when Beethro comes through, he will get jumped from two directions. Make sure the passage is thin enough that it will work.
Wraithwings: The main reason to use wraithwings is to have monsters go where Beethro can't, namely pits. Their strange behaviour can make them unpredictable, especially in large numbers.
1. One of my favourite uses for wraithwings is to block off other monsters. For example, in a small passage, have Beethro require one to cover his back as he smites one column of guys before he turns to the other. Another way is to have wraithwings cover the squares around the queen, so it doesn't spawn a roach which will enter a force arrow traps. This can also work with several, but make sure there aren't too many or they'll turn on him.
2. Another way is to create many passages over pits, with trapdoors if you like, and small numbers of wraithwings occupying the area. Beethro will have to run for it down one of the passages and kill the wraithwings one by one. Make sure to include walls to slow down the monsters.
3. Have a serpent in a loop, and require a wraithwing to be pushed into its path so it dies. This is more fun with more than one loops, and other stuff happening at the same time. People usually use goblins for this, but wraithwings are harder to control, and they usually don't expect needing one, and end up killing it before they reach the serpent stage.
Living Tar: Tar is probably the least liked element in the game. It probably isn't advised to create large numbers of rooms based on tar. However, used wisely, it can make for some very fun puzzles. In a way, tar is the most versatile of all the monsters, and can be used for a lot of puzzles. It can usually be used for the same type of puzzles as roach queens (see the Roach Queen section in Monster Reference).
1. The age-old "tar maze". Basically, it's something where you have to go through a maze covered by tar, with a tar mother somewhere in the room. Really evil architects will also force you to go through again to get out. Another way is to make the player find all the trapdoors hidden underneath tar, which is really hard with a mother. In one room, I put trapdoors in diagonal patterns, so that any area Beethro crossed could not be invaded by tar. You should never make a room like this more than once every five levels or so.
2. Tar can be a very effective timer. Just place a blob of tar where it will grow to eventually cover a two-square wide passage if Beethro doesn't get there in time. Sometimes, you can make Beethro stand where the tar would otherwise grow, then zip off to do something and be back in time for the next spawn. This is used for the entire sixth story of Claythro Tower.
3. Play "Eliminate the Tar". Race against tar mothers to destroy all tar in the room before it grows out of control. This is even harder with multiple sections and mimics. Make the player require the section cleared by having the tar grow again, and create more tar babies, if not. And Beethro should be unable to return, and unable to reach the mother before 30 moves, to enforce it.
Serpents: Serpents are the single strongest monster in DROD. All by themselves, they don't really work too well, but used in combination with other monsters, they're dynamite. A few well-placed serpents can make a room much harder.
1. The serpent timer, like in the "Master Intellect Room" on level 7 of Dugan's Dungeon. They take up a ridiculous amount of space, but you can use any number of moves for the timer, unlike tar and queens, which are limited to multiples of 30. Also, you can get monsters tied up in its coils like queens, in another one of the level 7 rooms (then, every few moves, something new is freed) - but you don't have to use just queens. Goblins are the hardest, but you should have a mix for the best results.
2. Serpent in a Loop: Place a serpent in a loop, with the entrances blocked by force arrows. Beethro must manipulate a monster (usually a goblin, but any mobile monster can work) in front of the serpent, so it will shorten. Usually, you have to keep this monster alive while you go through a prior puzzle. If you make the loop exactly 30 squares, you can also place queens behind a covered part of the loop, so that they will not start to spawn until the serpent leaves or is killed. It's even tougher, with multiple serpents, and multiple monsters (one needed for each loop) to keep alive.
3. The Serpent Nest: This is basically just a huge, gigantic jumble of serpents in the room, like many on level 12. However, to make one is a fairly tedious process, because unless you want serpents cutting in front of each other, each one has to be the same length. Then, you will need a way to kill them which is fairly challenging, as well.
Spiders: There really aren't any puzzles for spiders that don't work for roaches as well. If you plan on using these in the original version of DROD, keep these tips in mind (None of these apply to DROD 2.0, just to let you know):
1. You should probably use them on a Palace style floor, unless you're simply looking for a diversion from using regular roaches. If so, tar babies also work.
2. If you have a place where a spider will be trapped for some time before an orb releases it or something, then make the square blue, as spiders show up completely on white, though not very well, since the floor is so bright.
3. Don't use them too often, because it can be hard on the player's eyes - even though it's fun to use them. Players don't like to go through a tedious section to get jumped by a spider at the end. Something like this is okay once in a while, but don't overdo it.
Goblins: Goblins, besides brains and the 'Neather, are probably the most sophisticated monster in DROD. They're certainly the most devious. See Serpents #2 for another goblin strategy.
1. A surprisingly large number of rooms require "run for cover before the goblins get you". The player has to wield his sword in front and carve a path through the onrushing goblins to get to a safe point. This is a good way to make a room, but once you get to that safe point, the rest is tedious clean-up. Use fewer goblins in more strategic locations, to make it a lot more fun.
2. Have a small chamber, where Beethro is forced to fight goblins 3 on 1 with little or no cover. This is usually quite hard, but make sure it’s actually possible.
3. Goblin on your tail: Force a player to go through a puzzle, probably including small passages, with a goblin several squares behind, so that Beethro must have a maximum efficiency or the goblin will get him. Make sure Beethro can't turn due to monsters coming from the front. If you have to turn, make an opportunity to kill the goblin, then force him to release another from an orb before he can continue on. Going through a trapdoor maze with goblins around, and where goblins are required later to kill serpents, can also work.
Brains: Even though brains make monsters smarter, some puzzles may become easier with a brain in the room. You should decide on this before placing one. It's hard to make puzzles with brains as the main monster, but still possible.
1. Have an invisibility potion where Beethro must walk on to it at the start of the room. The room should be filled with brains in random locations. Beethro must avoid waking these brains, or a roach on the other side of the room will walk into a force arrow trap. This is probably the only fairly commonly used brain puzzle
2. Brained serpents will not enter a trap if there is a way of getting to Beethro. Have a room filled with brains (the more the better) and as many serpents as you wish. The serpents can't die (except against each other) until every single brain has been cleared. If you like, have lots of passages with the brains as walls, or place tar in the room also. A maze could also work.
If you're not satisfied with these suggestions, look over the user-made holds. They're guaranteed to have some novelty ideas.
"Red Hawk" is a regular on the CaravelNet Forum, and is the authour of "Deep Hold", one of the largest holds to date. So you can trust him to have thought about how to use the various monsters in DROD.