This (somewhat) comprehensive list of the world's deepest, weirdest, hugest megadungeons ever created is a fun read. (Make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom - the last one is truly terrifying!)
Enter the Megadungeon
Posted 25 August 2014 - 09:47 AM
I started writing in my new Moleskine with some ideas for a mega dungeon. It may be time for a revisit
I've been considering taking something of this approach to dungeoneering for my next bash, something I've fancied trying since first reading about it many years ago in relation to the old Valkenburg Castle game.
Posted 17 August 2016 - 08:52 AM
Dungeon ecology, 1970s (part of level one of the “Dreaded Devil Den”, Judges Guild Journal No 18, December 1979). Normally I won’t excerpt this much of a dungeon, but it illustrates a few points:
- This isn’t up to the best standards of JG (which published some excellent adventures in the Journal and Dungeoneer) but it is typical of many homemade dungeons in the early days of D&D – random assortments of monsters somehow live next door to each other. Open the next door and repeat.
- This type of dungeon did make it into print in very early periodicals that ran dungeon design contests or took any submission to fill pages.
- (A possible explanation for these tightly packed creatures appears on the 5th page. Evil magic preserves the guardians of the lower tomb levels until they are needed to defeat intruders. Maybe the upper level monsters also are just standing there in limbo gathering dust.)
- This is described as a “mini-dungeon”. It is 13 pages long with 10 levels. What we call a “megadungeon” today was just a dungeon then.
- Humorous encounters were part of the game from the start.
- It’s not a bad map and I definitely could use it to run a game on the fly. I probably could use some ideas from the the key as prompts. A low level group could encounter 1/10 to 1/5 the number of goblins and orcs. Describe their filthy lairs in gross detail, and drop clues that some evil power has brought them together here. The memmies are reskinned shriekers, one of my favorite nuisance encounters. The other monsters know a way to distract them and prevent the shrieking. Add an evil altar to foggy room 10, which forces a difficult Con save or begin bowing and chanting loudly to it.
I’m wondering if the scale is 10' square or 5' square. Though the 120 goblin room is pretty packed with goblins either way.
Fun fact: "Screamin' Memmies" is apparently a WW2 slang term for "the German Nebelwerfer, a 6 barrel rocket gun that made such a horrible screech". (As opposed to the "Screamin' Mammy", which is just pretty racist.)
The Disco Fog is a nice, silly touch, but it's true that you could easily modify it to make it more thematically appropriate, e.g. force people to pray to an evil altar - alternatively, the fog could force people to make a Con (or Wisdom) save, or they'll start screaming at the top of their lungs, attracting even more monsters. If you go that route, you could replace the "Screamin' Memmies" with random humanoids, who've been in the fog room so long that the effect has become semi-permanent, and the other goblins have pushed them out towards the dungeon entrance, partly as a warning system, but mostly so they don't have to listen to 'em all the time.
What we call a “megadungeon” today was just a dungeon then.
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