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Monday, April 27, 2015

Hideouts and Lairs

Across the spectrum of fiction, anytime there is a villain, criminal, or fugitive from authority, there must be a lair or hideout to shelter them. In RPGs, these locations are at least as important as the figures themselves because many times the PCs will spend much more time investigating and exploring the lair or hideout than they do in the final encounter with the antagonist.

When designing a hideout or lair, it's important to think about a few key aspects and make some basic decisions.


How can the PCs get to the lair? Once they find it, how do they get in?

1. Remote – The lair is far, far off the beaten trail and is thus difficult to find.
2. Hidden in plain sight – The lair is right in the center of action, but is so innocuous that it goes unnoticed.
3. Disguised – The lair is nearby, but it purports to be something else entirely.
4. Secret entrance – The entrance to the lair is actively camouflaged and in an unexpected environment.


How big is the hideout? How many rooms might it have?

1. Cavernous – The hideout has more than half a dozen rooms and corridors, each with a specialized purpose.
2. Cozy – The hideout has several multipurpose rooms along a central corridor.
3. Compact – The hideout has at most two rooms; probably one room functions as an entryway or guard chamber while the other room is where all of the rest of the activity goes on.
4. Cramped – The hideout is a single, small room. The exterior or the door itself are likely the focus of the hideout's defenses, and the single room is crowded when in use.


Aside from the difficulty of accessing the lair, how else is it defended from nosy intruders?

1. Minions – The villain's subordinates provide the bulk of the defense, patrolling the lair and perhaps the outside region as well.
2. Traps – The lair is filled with cunning traps, puzzles, and obstacles to intruders.
3. Natural – The lair is located somewhere with a naturally occurring defense, either in the form of a dangerous locale or dangerous neighbors.
4. Personal – The villain provides the bulk of the lair's defenses herself, either by use of her abilities to add defenses or by virtue of her ability to deal with any intruders personally.

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