Thursday, March 05, 2009

Megadungeons Everywhere

Fight On! #4 is out. The latest entry of the magazine's megadungeon, "The Darkness Beneath", is written by James "Grognardia" Maliszewski. Mr. Maliszewski also brings us word of the latest from Monte "No, Really, I'm Retiring" Cook. The author of Ptolus now offers us a subscription website where he'll be building a megadungeon with daily updates called

The project is intriguing. For $7 per month (if you join in March as as charter member) you'll get:

new game content every weekday. Basically, what I'll be doing is building an ongoing dungeon-based campaign of a decidedly old-school tradition, but utilizing all the newest presentation options. So expect an adventure like no other with hypertext references to all the important game content (including various rules references), fluid encounters, and incredible amounts of detail.

The centerpiece is to be a megadungeon called Dragon's Delve, but you'll also get:

the surrounding area (filled with intriguing ruins), the nearby town of Brindenford (which is far more involved in the goings-on than it first appears), side trips to a mysterious island and an extradimensional tesseract, and forays into strange other planes. And that's just for starters. Seriously.

He has this to say on rules:

The rules supported will be primarily 3.5, but let me offer up two thoughts in that regard. The first is, even as I'm writing this I'm struck by how rules-light it all is. It would be a piece of cake to use it with any edition (older or newer) of the game. The second is, if I discover that a large percentage of the membership is using another rules system, like say Pathfinder or Arcana Evolved, I'll make a point to offer up frequent conversion information, assuming that I can do so legally, respecting copyrights where needed.

He's hit some of the old school buttons, but I suspect this will be the exact opposite to some of the themes the old school has lately embraced. For instance, he's promised "incredible amounts of detail." Compare to the One Page Dungeon form being used in such projects as Stonehell from "The Society of Torch, Pole, and Rope". I also don't expect to see Mr. Cook embrace the Empty Room Principle. I do expect the project will be very interesting and may in fact be worth what he's charging for it. If anyone in this industry can provide value in a project like this, it's Monte Cook.

But it's no surprise to read Mr. Maliszewski's wistful conclusion:

there's a big part of me that wishes the old school community could organize itself into a similar kind of project but without a fee. I know we have the talent to do so.

I completely agree. Hell, I'd probably pay hard cash for a megadungeon crafted by James M., Mr. Raggi, and Chgowiz, populated by creatures and treasures designed by Taichara and Noisms, with art direction from David Larkins and Jeff Rients.

In the meantime, Oddysey has begun work on her megadungeon, inspired in part by Castle Heterodyne. Yeah, there really does seem to be something in the air...


Chris said...

Oh well, looks like I've missed *that* particular bandwagon then. ;)

"Sorry "Vaults of Nagoh", but you're going back in the lever arch file until we can get in on the ground floor of the Old School Revival Revival (probably set for some time in the early 2040s)."

A paid-for megadungeon? Why would I go for Mr Cook's - doubtless excellent - offering when there's already so much goodness out there for free? (+1 with you in the "I'd pay for an OSGR community dungeon" stakes though Trollsmyth)

Donny_the_DM said...

It's ironic, and a measure of the time when I came into the hobby, but I cannot think of megadungeons without gazing longingly at my ruins of the undermountain set...Now THAT was a dungeon!

Now if I could just find someone who isnt terrified of it to run through :)