Freestyle DelvingStep 1: Articulate Your Game's Overall Tone & Intention
If you fancy a traditional dungeon delve, there's a high probability that you're going old-school fantasy with your bad self. Then again, maybe you're taking a modern twist on the genre. Either way, clearly state your aim as player along with the aim of the PC(s). These anchor intentions will inform your interpretations throughout the session.
Example: For my demo, I'll use Labyrinth Lord spiked with a bit of cheekiness for the premise of the Blue King's Ministry of Miscellanea, a royal department that assigns skilled debtors to tasks no other professionals would willingly accept.
After Leland's father disappeared during an assignment for the Ministry, the lad was charged with completing his father's service to pay off the family debt despite the fact that he is only a level one fighter. He will be joined by two NPCs - Enar the Berserker and Vizzy the Pixie - both of whom are similarly employed, though both will randomly aid or not aid Leland as they see fit.
Step 2: Title Your Dungeon
It might seem silly, but an evocative title goes a long way to telegraphing possibilities. By far, the traditional phrasing of "The [structure being explored] of [name or descriptor]" is the best format for this. There are innumerable other configurations of words, of course, but I don't think we really need to work that hard here.
Example: Leland's first assignment is set in "The...
|...um, drawing room?..no...studio?..no...must think more dungeony...|
|...and this...egg...hatching...shell, fragile...cheeky omelet?..|
Right! OK, I've got it!
It's "The Rune Pits of the Sunless Eyrie!"
A century ago on the Blasted Plateau at the kingdom's edge, there once had existed the underground nesting site of two terrible dragons. The dragons had been defeated and their home caves sacked, but many believed that their magical essence still lingered in the place. So, wizards of every sort have attempted to tap into that magic, leaving behind thousands of runes, wards, and other strange symbols painted and carved into the cavern walls. Some runes spring magical traps, some runes summon magical beasts, and some runes warp reality. Evil creatures can often be seen taking up residence at the site, though no one is sure if the runes are attracting them or finishing them off when they venture too far into the pits. In general, this is a place to certainly avoid.
Recently, a thief of great brashness stole five scrolls from the Blue King and decided to hide his stash in the Rune Pits. Rangers tracked him to the location and easily apprehended him when the thief ran screaming from the entrance to the cavern. However, he did not have the scrolls, and the rangers refused to fetch them from the awful place.
Leland has been tasked with retrieving the scrolls...
Step 3: Determine Your Intervals
How often do you intend to go to the well of inspiration? Do you want to ask Mythic for the probability of every doorway, hallway, closet, and cupboard, or will you just wing it as the delving proceeds? Maybe just roll a Story Cube for each big room? It's your call, and no one way is better than another. Admittedly, this is the part that will unnerve fans of tables, and I get that. But, please remember, I am not anti-table! I am merely trying to combine deliberate construction with random inspiration so that I might better ensure a surprising yet sensible outcome consistent with my gaming aims.
Example: Since the Rune Pits are a cavern system rather than a man-made subterranean structure, I'll roll for inspiration every time the characters are about to enter a new large section of the underground. I'll probably just draw out the passageways myself and roll for wandering monsters when the mood suits me.
Next up, I play!