Here's some relevant info:

The society is entirely space based. (So you can't just have an Earth dungeon, or a crashed spaceship, or a planetary colony)

Artificial Gravity does not exist. Large stations/asteroids use centrifugal force to represent Earth gravity. Most ships don't have gravity. (This is to prevent "traditional dungeons" just being transplanted to space.)

Aliens may exist. Genetic Modification exists.

What would the equivalent of a traditional RPG adventurers dungeon be in this society? What would be the equivalent of the dungeon bosses and loot?


closed as too broad by ckersch, Aify, JDługosz, Thucydides, Hohmannfan Jul 2 '16 at 6:26

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    $\begingroup$ This seems very broad. Crashed spaceships, factories, mines, and alien colonies could all count as "dungeons", while all looking very different. Basically anything that follows the "lots of twisty passages" pattern in a sci-fi environment could be an equivalent to a traditional RPG dungeon. $\endgroup$ – ckersch Jul 1 '16 at 23:10
  • $\begingroup$ I get that I can just put a space station in the middle of nowhere and call it a dungeon, but that doesn't seem equivalent to me. Adventurers can board at any point along an exposed space station -- eliminating the leveling aspect, and there doesn't seem to be a reason why an operational space station would have "dungeon monsters". Traditional RPG dungeons don't need upkeep because there are just caves and ruins but artificial space structures do. $\endgroup$ – knowads Jul 1 '16 at 23:17
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    $\begingroup$ If your question is about limiting access to space constructs, I would suggest altering your question to reflect that. Even then, there's a slight misconception in your question. It's not that there aren't other ways into a dungeon, they're just prohibitively difficult or time consuming. For example: digging through solid rock to bypass the caves and reach the boss. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Jul 2 '16 at 0:24
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    $\begingroup$ @knowads For a space station, you'd put an airlock at one end of it or have it take the form of concentric shells for your entry point. Monsters would be replaced by robots and alien life forms. Metroid has some dungeons like this, I think. $\endgroup$ – ckersch Jul 2 '16 at 17:31

So what makes a dungeon in fantasy?
Lots of rooms carved out of rock connected with tunnels and full of traps and monsters?

What's the space equivalent? A very large space habitat, with rooms made of metal and connected by corridors, full of traps and aliens and robots.

Or carved in rock. A space faring species would need to have bases carved in asteroids to mine resources, to have space to grow food, live in, etc.
And it could be a maze to rival any earth mine or dungeon.

Vesta is over 500 km across, and it could contain a huge zero gravity mine, with all kinds of automated defenses. Fighting in micro gravity would definitely be different from a planetary dungeon.

If that's too much like a traditional dungeon, there are many large space station designs you could use.

A large space station isn't too different from a dungeon; it has an entrance, like a shuttle bay or airlock, lots of rooms and corridors many of which will be tight, service tubes, and probably systems to repel borders.


The dungeon has the following structure:

  1. Explore. Finding some random loot (and traps).
  2. Do an encounter. Get loot from losers, expend consumables.
  3. Repeat with increasing encounter difficulty, until the final loot is gained (or lost), then leave.

There are also fairly stereotypical things to do before and after doing the dungeon, but they are not really relevant.

What is relevant is that the physical structure of the dungeon is not particularly important. It simply provides a background to explore and find loot in, a natural sequence to the encounters, and a location you have to travel to and from. Anything that fills those needs can work as a dungeon replacement.

You could be tracking a secretive group on a town or spacestation. First explore the city for leads, more roleplaying than exploring the typical dungeon, though. Then the lead you found leads you to location, where you will have your encounter. Then go look for the next location armed with the leads you already have. At every location the opposition will be better prepared and it is fairly easy to make it so that some supplies can't be restocked while doing secretive things on tight schedule. Eventually you will find the location that has whatever you wanted, which possibly was simply to find and cleanse all the bases of the group.

Or you could be looking for priceless artefacts in the wilderness while dealing with competition and natives who fail to appreciate the favor you are doing them by taking looting their holy sites. Get a likely location for a site, search the area, have an encounter, move to next area and repeat. Obviously whatever you are looking for is in the last location and obviously the natives are getting more aggressive with every site looted and the competition will respond to dead rent-a-thugs by hiring mercs with heavy weapons...

Essentially even without the physical structure of a dungeon you can keep the structure of a dungeon adventure.


Any of these could be no longer under central control, abandoned, infested, or have other issues.


Imagine small - extraordinarily large ships (like the StarLost):

The Extraordinarily large ship: The StarLost:
The Extraordinarily large ship: The StarLost


In C.J. Cherryh's Alliance-Union Universe many formerly occupied stations were abandoned or left to fend for themselves:

Downbelow Station:
Downbelow Station

Colony worlds

Or just utilize colony worlds / other planets. Each of these planets is an entire world to explore. It could have ruins of ancient civilizations or simply abandoned cities of current civilizations or new races the adventurers discover. Imagine alien intelligent life that we never recognized as intelligent because we didn't recognize their technology.

  • $\begingroup$ I appreciate the answer, but I feel this doesn't address my concerns. 1) A dungeon on another world is still a traditional RPG dungeon. Imagine all RPGs existed in a different world then Earth, would there dungeons be SciFi dungeons to explorers from outer space? 2) The main point of a dungeon is that you're forced down a path that gets progressively harder till you reach a boss. In space, with a space station exposed on all sides, how do I force my adventurers down a specific path. If they got on the station in the first place, they must be able to travel in space somehow. $\endgroup$ – knowads Jul 1 '16 at 23:44

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