Roger the GS over at Roles, Rules, & Rolls posted some interesting thoughts regarding the use of the techniques I described in “Jaquaying the Dungeon” in small, one-shot scenarios. This, in turn, prompted me to ruminate on the application of jaquaying techniques on small scales.
Jaquaying isn’t a cure-all. But, in my experience, it does scale to almost any size and it’s almost always useful to at least consider jaquaying as a potential tool even if you ultimately decide against it. (I might even go so far as to say that you should default to it unless you have a really good reason not to. In no small part because, as I mentioned in the original essay, this is actually the way the real world works 99 times out of 100.)
To demonstrate what I mean about using jaquaying techniques at any scale, let me give you an example at an extremely small scale to emphasize the point: A two-room “dungeon” that I just got done designing for an Eclipse Phase scenario.
The “dungeon” in this case is actually a warehouse: The first room is a small security office. The second room is the big warehouse floor itself. Since it’s only two rooms, there’s really no way that we could apply jaquaying techniques, right?
(Spoilers: That’s a rhetorical question.)
Let’s take a look at a few jaquaying techniques:
First, multiple entrances: Skylight(s) on the roof of the warehouse. The loading dock. A door leading into the security office. (From a tactical standpoint, this is infinitely more interesting than just having a single door leading into the building.)
Second, multiple paths: Rather than just having one connector between the security office and the warehouse, what if we include several? There’s the door. A ladder leading to a trapdoor in the roof that gives you access to the skylights. Let’s toss in a trapdoor leading to a crawlspace that’s used for electrical wiring; it’ll let you pop up right in the middle of the warehouse (or maybe in multiple places). (If that crawlspace is actually a tunnel that leads over to the exterior generator we could also add that as yet another entrance to the complex.)
That crawlspace would also qualify as a secret or unusual path (another of our jaquaying techniques).
This obviously isn’t the only way to design a warehouse. (It might even be overkill.) But it does demonstrate how you can use jaquaying techniques even on the tiniest scales can organically create interesting tactical and strategic choices.