Trouble with complex hub room

They’ve spent most of 3+ sessions in the same room.

This isn’t ideal!

It worked, because there was a lot going on, but if there could have been a lot going on plus a change of scenery that would have been way better.

How did it happen? I set up this floor of the dungeon as a hub room. It’s a cylinder 25 feet in diameter, 10 feet high. In the middle is a sandfall (like a waterfall but with sand not water) 5 feet in diameter coming from a hole in the ceiling going down through a hole in the floor. Along the walls are 6 doors, 1 of which they came through to get here. That’s an entrance and 6 features. Let me count the ways:

E. Sometimes they go back through the entrance for safer camp. The way from camp back to town is hard, though, so they come right back through to the hub.

  1. Color + loot room. Exits right back to hub.
  2. Fight + loot room. Exits right back to hub.
  3. Color + fight + loot + really scary continuation exit room. Exits right back to hub because why would you go down the really scary continuation unless you cleared the previous parts first.
  4. Side quest room with an inner room. This provided somewhat of a break from the “always in hub room” feeling. But not much of one because the retreat was always “back to the hub!”
  5. Very scary room with a trap and fight that were designed to take place… just outside, in the hub room. They didn’t enter this room despite talking about it lot because they know for a fact it is crammed full of zombies.
    H. Sandfall is scary and injurious. Dealing with it takes place in hub room anyway. And dealing with it drew the attention of a sand elemental. Which they dealt with in the hub room.

My thinking when I drew up the dungeon plans was that this layout provided plenty of player agency in scouting ahead, picking their explorations, choosing their battles. That part worked fine. What I didn’t anticipate was that a) this dungeon was complex enough to be the main feature of several sessions, and b) almost all of the action would take place in or “1 move away from” a logical location that felt like the same physical location.

Something to watch out for!

Are the players eager for a change of scenery? We’ve given up on a dungeon before just because we didn’t like the location.

You can always drive them out with a zombie hoard. That will give them a good excuse to leave. No shame in it.