Friday, October 12, 2012

Random Thoughts VI

If I seem busy these next few days, there are a few reasons:

- I've been busy doing a little support writing for two of my previous books, and reading the ms for another book.

- I've been prepping for game (a little) and painting minis (a lot). I've finally ripped my way through phase 1 of painting a group of minis I need for a big "Saturday night special" type encounter. I've almost run out of Strong Tone Quickshade, though, from sheer volume of painting and that time I knocked over the can.

- I've been editing my megadungeon (aka fixing areas players haven't reached yet) to ensure it's a better, more open gaming experience for my players. Not that it's been bad so far. I just realized I could have done some things better, so I did them in areas not yet reached.

- I've been really annoyed by typos, missed entry keys, and inverted maps in old AD&D stuff I looked at. Half of it seems like it was kicked out the door without anyone checking to see if stairs A and B between levels 1 and 2 even line up. Or if two of the three maps were "North up" and the third was "South up." Annoying.

But here are a few things around the web you shouldn't miss:

- Beedo has some great thoughts on running a megadungeon in general, and in specific.

- Man-Ape menace!


  1. Something I keep meaning to ask: what, to you, defines a "megadungeon" as opposed to a dungeon? Is there a hard dividing line based on size, or is it a matter of ethos?

    1. The definition is a little vague - people use it in different ways. I think it combines both size and ethos.

      "Size" in that it's so big, it's not reasonable to think of it in terms of clearance. It shouldn't be practical for a group of adventurers to clear the dungeon and keep it clear, and be sure they've gotten everything. It's also big in the sense of "can contain anything." Think the mines of Moria here.

      "Ethos" in the sense that it's meant to be an unclearable raiding ground. It could be central to the game (most of the game is centered on raiding it) or peripheral (sometimes, you need to take a trip to the megadungeon to look for something in its vast depths). If you treat it like any other dungeon (go in, raid it, kill the boss, never come back) it's just a dungeon. It needs to be almost forbidding in its mysteries and depths, and played that way.

      All IMO.

      For me, my dungeon is meant to be so big you can't clear it, you can't rule out the presence of anything, it's the central adventuring area of the game, and its existence is based more on out-of-game desire (episodic raiding instead of continuous emergent story driven campaign).

    2. I think "a self-healing dungeon" is the biggest difference from the games I remember - while one might occasionally find that somebody'd moved into a cleared area, generally that didn't happen, and once that dungeon had been exhausted the party moved onto the next one. Sounds as though your type of megadungeon will always be restocking itself where the adventurers aren't.

    3. That's an important element. It will restock - although it restocks where the adventurers are, and aren't, equally. If the PCs clear a valuable chokepoint, others may move in even if it stays high-traffic. Areas left alone will evolve whether PCs go there or not.

      So, yes, it's a "living" dungeon, not just a series of pre-stocked encounters that won't respond to PC involvement.


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