The dungeon: One of the big staples of tabletop RPGs.
While the word conjures up images of a Tolkien-esque band of treasure hunters looting a medieval crypt full of skeletons, the term “dungeon” could just as easily apply to a corporate research lab in Shadowrun or a supervillain’s secret lair in Mutants and Masterminds. Once the context is taken away, a dungeon can be simply defined as:
"A closed-off space made up of interconnected rooms which will be full of enemies to fight, puzzles to solve, treasure to find and, most importantly, some important MacGuffin the party needs to obtain."
But all too often dungeons end up being rather tedious and formulaic affairs. The party shows up, kicks down the door, fights a bunch of little monsters and really big monster at the end, takes the treasure and leaves. While there is nothing wrong with this design and such a design can even be quite fun, it lacks a certain originality and depth that makes a dungeon really stick out in a player’s mind.