“Show not what has been done, but what can be. How beautiful the world would be if there were a procedure for moving through labyrinths.”
— Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose
The labyrinth, the dungeon, and the mythic underworld are all time honored traditions in story telling and games, from Theseus and the Minotaur to the “Tomb of Horrors,” from Galouye’s Dark Universe to the mines of Dwarf Fortress. When you start thinking about underworld settings the examples are really innumerable.
Growing up I spent uncounted hours drawing dungeons and labyrinths to use in stories and games. I was always fascinated by the icons and symbols used in maps to represent various things, and symbols for dungeon maps were no exception.
I’ve continued to use my map drawing experience to sketch out settings for my stories and I recently gotten back into game maps. Above you will find my own key to various dungeon symbols for any like minded cartographers out there.
Here’s some examples of my game maps:
*Update 8/26/2015: Posted a key for my simplified symbols for area and wilderness maps.