Although there are excellent random dungeon generators out there, and I've gleaned inspiration from them from time to time, I wanted something where my own sensibilities would guide me. Slower, yes, but at this time that's a trade-off I'm willing to make.
The first thing I wanted to do was create a set of lairs: small, self-contained mini-levels that I could drop into a hill in the countryside or on the side of a mountain somewhere, where a small-to-medium sized clan of humanoids dwell. And the idea hit me to use small enclosures where humanoids dwell as my inspiration.
Behold, the House-to-Map-inator!
|The house where a certain self-important blogger grew up.|
(The second story is smaller than it should be. Sorry.)
|Now converted to a general-purpose humanoid lair.|
Although I know very little about real-world architecture (unlike this guy), it's not hard to see how existing structures can be plundered for inspiration. It works well for houses, and I've got a few of those drawn up. But since I don't have instant recall of real-world monumental structures, I still needed to come up with a system that worked for bigger dungeons; more on that the next time.