During the early paleolithic age of gaming, back when we had to draw our own rocks, the creation of dungeon maps was a process done by hand using pens, rulers, graph paper and all the art supplies you had on hand. A few stalwarts got fancy and used Zip-a-Tone, Scraps of salvaged Rubylith, rubber cement and photocopied bits to make fancier-shmancier maps, but generally one just got a sheet of paper and drew the frikkin' thing out. People still do this, though in an age of Hexographer, Dundjinni, Campaign Cartographer, GIMP, Artweaver, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc. one sometimes wonders why. Unless you're one of the mad mappers who contracted the need to draw your own geomorphs and design things like would-be Piranesis like so many of us did.
So don't get the wrong impression--we do a lot of maps around here, have been since the Seventies and will be until the day they pry the pen from our cold dead fingers. Maybe even past that point if all goes well...gotta love the internet...
We love maps.
But sometimes you need something less detailed and more tactically adaptable. Sometimes you go with a Flow-chart approach and just create a set of nodes and draw lines to show the connections between each of them. One major advantage is that you can easily swap-out the doors with teleporters, make the connection into a shaft or a pit-trap, even make use of a table of random doors like the very nice Megadungeon Doors random generator over at the Beyond the Black Gate blog.
A flow-chart dungeon isn't new by any stretch of the imagination. We were using this approach for smaller, one-off lairs and the like back in the OD&D days and we knew quite a few other DMs who were using something similar back then. It's an Old School concept that nobody owns and is well worth revisiting and reconsidering in conjunction with the One Page Dungeons idea, or the more minimalist sorts of approaches to things like going back to index-card character sheets, etc.
The nice thing about using a Node-Based mapping scheme is that you can develop the connections either on the fly or completely at random, and if you include a selection of suitable description text options, you can really lay down some decent versimilitude with minimal fuss and bother...once you've built the tables, etc.
This is something that we'll be talking about a bit more next week.
Until then take care and have fun gaming.