Another common option is to use randomly generated maps. I've tried the old-school method (like the charts in the back of the DMG). I've tried modern methods (like random mapping sites). While both methods can be cool and give you some interesting results, it doesn't quite do it for me. Things just don't have enough of a uniform feel to them. It just makes the dungeon map look thrown together. I'm sure many of these sites are truly excellent, so this is just my own personal experience.
Since I am an active DM, I can't simply say "sorry guys, I don't have a map. We'll do a story-telling session instead." But if I can't make my own maps, and I don't like random maps - what do I do? Simply put, I "Frankenstein" my maps.
Basically, I collect every map I can get my hands on from dungeon modules and other published material. Any map that looks cool, I photocopy and save it. I have a lot of modules and many, many maps. When it comes time to create a dungeon level, I have several choices:
- Simply use one of my stockpiled maps and re-number and re-key it
- Or, I "Frankenstein" together some cool parts from several maps - and simply add connection points
- Or, I use one of my stockpiled maps and add some additional elements to it
Do you ever "borrow" published maps for this purpose?