In a prison without walls, without guards, and without law; what kind criminal would choose death over a prison such as this?
One destined to go to Hellgate Prison.
Dungeons, should make sense, in an ecological way. However, to have life, you need to have a physical place to use them. This expands upon the ecological dungeon, giving it a framework to exist in.
We have all seen articles on how Dungeons don’t work. I’ve seen such articles before. But this time, an idea struck me: Why not do a dungeon that really works? Where creatures live their lives in harmony; just the right ecological way?
A little way up the narrow valley, before they reach the woods, the PCs notice the squat, tumbledown buildings by the riverside. They are hardly big enough for a human to stand in, and the complex cogs and shafts that occupy the central cavity of one of the buildings are perplexing. What were these buildings? And how safe are they to explore?
Alternatively a desolate place is the perfect setting for a derelict chapel or croft. There needn't be any actual physical encounter involved, but it adds atmosphere to a place to see its dead history. For instance, in the Outer Hebrides there are whole deserted villages which were razed to the ground by the English during the Clearances. Such stories give a setting authenticity and character.