Despite the title, this article applies to Pathfinder, too.
Do you want to play dungeons and dragons? Like, literally? Do you want your character to be one or more dungeons and/or one or more dragons? Well, literally playing both dungeons and dragons may be daunting, but I’m here to simplify the process so that you, too, can enjoy playing the wonders that are dungeons and dragons (not to be confused with the game Dungeons and Dragons).
Settle in, this is going to get dumb.
You’ll need one player who wants to play Dungeons and Dragons and one high-level spellcaster with access to the spell Stone Shape and possibly spells like Wall of Stone.
First, we need to dip into the rules of life, death, and status conditions. Yep, it’s that ridiculous and complicated. The important thing to know is that a character who is petrified is not dead, and doesn’t become dead until they’re un-petrified. This has some terrifying implications for what happens to your body while you’re petrified, and we’re going to lean into those implications heavily.
We also need to understand the exact mechanics of the spells Stone Shape and potentially Wall of Stone. In 5th edition, Stone Shape can only be used on “a stone object of Medium size or smaller” and petrified creatures are still creatures, so you can’t use Stone Shape on them. Wall of Stone has no such restriction, so you can use Wall of Stone to attach walls to petrified creatures, though the wall must “be solidly supported by existing stone”.
Other rulesets have different wording for the spells. DnD 3.5, Pathfinder 1st edition, and Pathfinder 2nd edition both lack the word “object” in their wording of Stone Shape (Shape Stone for PF2), so you’re free to go straight to Stone Shape/Shape Stone on your petrified subject.
Playing Literal Dungeons and Dragons
With our participants in place and our spells and rules thoroughly understood, it’s time to play.
Step 1: Get Big
You want to be the biggest rock possible to make yourself the biggest dungeon possible. Enlarge yourself to the maximum size you can reach by whatever means possible. Spells, items, class features, whatever.
Step 2: Get in Position
Before you’re petrified, be sure to assume a sturdy, stable position in whatever location you want to be occupy for the foreseeable future. I recommend crawling on all fours with your limbs spread to adequately distribute your weight, as this is a nice sturdy posture so that you won’t tip over without serious effort. This is important because it allows us to “solidly support” a Wall of Stone.
Step 3: Get Petrified
Once you’re enormous, get turned into an enormous rock. Finding a medusa or gorgon will work, but the spell Flesh to Stone is probably easier and your spellcasting friend can likely get access to it.
Step 4: Get Bisected
This is a non-obvious but very important step. Our participant needs to be in two distinct pieces. I recommend bisecting the participant either horizontally or laterally, as either of those options produces a nice sturdy tripod, assuming that the participant was originally on all fours as recommended above.
After this point, these two pieces can be separated by any distance, but technically they just need to be physically separated.
Step 5: Get In Shape
Now our spellcaster gets to do some art. Using a combination of Stone Shape, Wall of Stone, and potentially other spells, they can form our participant into a series of interconnected rooms, passages, etc. You may need to use other spells or mundane means to add features like doors and furniture, but I think sticking to a simple 5-Room Dungeon layout is perfectly acceptable for our purposes so this shouldn’t take more than a few days of spellcasting.
At this point, the players should take a moment to celebrate their success, as our participant is now successfully dungeons.
Step 6: Get Dragons
Acquiring dragons may be easier than you realize. While they’re powerful and intelligent creatures (usually), they’re still greedy to a fault, and a sufficiently large accumulation of treasure in a suitable lair is easy bait for a dragon, especially a wyrmling just making their way into the world and looking for their starter lair.
Our spellcaster is again put on the spot here. Finding a minimum of two dragons by various means shouldn’t be difficult. Teleportation and scrying both help. I recommend finding copper dragons for their jovial nature and love of a good joke, but if they’re unavailable you can also use white dragons because they’re dumb as rocks and you could probably trick one into playing along for a few centuries until their Intelligence is high enough to figure out what’s going on.
Once you’ve located suitable candidates, tempt them with the offer or a pre-furnished lair, complete with a small horde. If all goes well, they’ll happily move into your new dungeon.
Step 7: Celebrate
Our participant is now two dungeons, each of which is occupied by dragons.
Congratulations, your character is now dungeons occupied by dragons, and therefore you are literally playing both dungeons and dragons.