The new issue of Pyramid, Pyramid #3/50 - Dungeon Fantasy II, is up and for sale.
There is an article I found especially interesting in light of my own megadungeon-based DF game:
Super Dungeons, by David Pulver.
What is a super dungeon? According to the author:
"One of the earliest dungeons I created for GURPS was a "super dungeon" - a complex that was dispersed across several miles of underground passages."
Readers familiar with Beedo's Black City will be instantly reminded of it reading this article. Or it'll bring to mind the underground tunnels of D1-2, and it's at least peripherally similar to the separated cities of Thorbardin. I also thought of the best part of Skyrim (to me, anyway) - Blackreach.
It's contrasted with the mega-dungeon - those huge multi-level singular locations under giant castles and such that I'm so fond of.
Why I liked it:
- it nicely breaks out a term for those big sprawling megadungeons. Because, really, there is a big difference between my 8+ levels (so far) layer cake of dungeon levels and the underearth of D1-2.
- it makes the point that the separated encounter areas could be anything from a single "room" all the way up to full-sized dungeons. As much as I like my megadungeon, I think this is a serious advantage to a super-dungeon: you can stick anything in there somewhere, and it's easier to justify a giant cavern of fungus-men or a dragon's lair or a dwarf city if they didn't have to live right next door to the orcs or the water realm or that weird labyrinth level of teleporters you wrote up. I kind of regret not sprawling out my dungeon even more.
- it's got a ruling on fatigue costs for slogging through underground tunnels over long distances. It doesn't assume a D1-2 style "primary passage" approach where you can have mules and wagons and pack lizards wandering around. That's easy - but if you're slogging through giant worm-dug tunnels or that passage left by a tunneling monster or an old natural shaft, it's not likely to be smooth sailing. It'll be stressful and tiring if you travel carefully enough to make it not immediately dangerous. Combine a slow travel rate with exhaustion and no ease of return, and you'll change from "15 minute adventure day" to "dangerous slog and resource management issues" campaign immediately.
- it's got a ruling on how many miles per hour you can travel based on your Move score. Handy and easy. Combine that with spread out encounters and exhausting travel, and you have a real issue of "how do we get to the treasure-filled rooms without being too tired to fight?"
- It comes with a sample super dungeon, with a full key for it. It's nice, it's short (but big), and it's got a nice background that makes its encounters effective and internally logical. As a super-dungeon, it's easy to expand.
All in all, very nice. I just wish the general advice section was longer!
The rest of the magazine is good, especially the stuff I wrote (heh). But even just this article made it well worth reading. If you're going to run big wilderness-sized dungeons, especially with GURPS, this is a very cool read.