Heed the tale of the chimney-sweep, and beware! The Blind Beast has been seen roaming the shingled slopes! Why does lightning strike the top of the donjon so frequently? Is there a shack on roofs? Run along the rooflines, but if you slip, you may find yourself in danger, or worse!
***PLAYERS STAY AWAY, LEST THE MAZE CONTROLLER ALWAYS FIND HARPY NESTS AMONG THESE ROOFTOPS***
As an artist relatively new to the game of Dungeons & Dragons, seeing Rob Conley’s layouts for Castle Xyntillan was something I’d never seen before. First, a floorplan that was actually interesting (excepting WInchester Mansion, of course), and secondly, the notion of conveying an object’s shape topographically. I do not normally draw my bowls of fruit in “top-down” layers- so looking at something depicted in such a way immediately encouraged my mind to then imagine the entire structure as I’d normally see it. Having nothing depicted for the rooftops bothered me somewhat, but I dismissed it entirely as my players proceeded to encounter the metric fuck-ton of stuff that lay underneath the “invisible” rooftops. Honestly, does this castle need more stuff on top of all that it’s got? Hell yes! Now your players can enjoy the view before harpies drop them plummeting to their deaths.
Thinking of the rooftops occurred again near the end of my first campaign. A nest of harpies in a ruined gallery outside the Greater Library threatened to fly off with several characters. Fortunately for them, things did not turn out that way. But if they had, what if had they broken free and cast fly? What then? What if they had climbed out of the broken windows? After that, I was very interested being able to run rooftop capers. Both Roman Polanski’s The Fearless Vampire Killers and The Castle of Cogliostro by Hayao Miyazaki feature extensive adventures across steep shingled slopes, and both movies in my opinion are excellent inspiration material for both DMs and players alike.
Now I can sleep at night! Enjoy.