Labyrinths are elaborate mazes that contain a tangle of passageways, dead ends, and intersections making them difficult to navigate. The labyrinths of fictional worlds may have been put in place to protect a treasure, as a type of prison, or as an amusing means of torment. Labyrinths may contain monsters, traps, riddles & clues, as well as walls and passages that rearrange themselves. In game-oriented worlds, labyrinths may be part of a dungeon. In general, labyrinths are constructed locations, but worldbuilders often create terrain features with labyrinthian qualities, such as ravine labyrinths.
Designing Fictional Labyrinths
Labyrinths are often depicted as being built of stone, but other types are also common and possible. Labyrinths may be an endless series of hotel hallways or a catacombs. Hedge mazes and corn mazes are a type of labyrinth. When designing labyrinths for fictional worlds, consider the purpose for which they were built and the type of person, persons, gods, alien, or other that designed this place.
Labyrinths originally come from Greek myth, and were built by the genius inventor, Daedalus, to house a minotaur.
Structure & Layout
While basic labyrinths are standard mazes with only one correct path and many dead-ends, fictional labyrinths often also feature secret doorways, hidden passages, and other means by which heroes or monsters can navigate them.
Setting a uneasy tone or broadcasting a potential ambush can be accomplished using a dark corridor.
Traps & Monsters
The quintessential labyrinthian monster is the minotaur, a towering mythological creature half-man and half-bull. However fictional labyrinths often use other creatures well that prowl the corridors preying on the lost. In addition to this danger, there may be traps present – pitfall traps to catch the unwary or spike traps to skewer the slow.