King Arthur Pendragon

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My Own Megadungeon

As I continue to run the Keep on the Borderlands, and I'm having a great deal of fun with it considering none of my players ever played AD&D 1st edition old-school style, I am missing something: a creation of my own. Enter the MEGADUNGEON. This is a term that was new to me, although, in retrospect, I had already read a few large dungeons even before considering playing AD&D. I own the super-module T1-4 The Temple of Elemental Evil and I have heard of others like Greyhawk Ruins, Ruins of Undermountain or the mythical original Castle Greyhawk. I read Joseph Bloch's definition of a Megadungeon on his blog and although I don't know if this is the universally accepted definition, it appeals to me.

I want a place that the group or several groups can return to time and again to explore, a place of such profound depths and complexity that it will take many adventures just to skim its surface, a place that will never be depleted of monsters, traps and puzzles to tantalize the players for months to come. To this end, I have decided to start my own megadungeon. I will start posting regularly about the creation of this new dungeon which I have yet to decide if it's set in Greyhawk or a world of my own creation. I have no title yet, only a vague notion that it should be a castle set on an island in the middle of a river (taking a cue from Gygax and his own Castle Greyhawk superimposed on a map of the U.S.A. I have decided to use a specific part of Portugal, inspired by a real castle).

Some notions about it:
  • It will not have an overall plot. The plot will evolve naturally as the characters explore the dungeon and interact with its denizens. It will be whatever happens during the adventures. In other words, no preconceived results or storylines.
  • It will have an overarching theme, and several parts of it will have their own thematic elements to make them distinct.
  • It will have several factions living inside that will be enemies or foes depending on how the characters react to them.
  • It must evolve with time. The characters' actions will impact on it and it will be a very different thing after many months of play than it was at first. However, it will never be depleted.
  • It will have many levels and, using my Less Is More approach and my notions on how a dungeon should be, I will expand it little by little, with many new levels, new subareas, etc.
I think these will give me a solid basis to start this new project. I find it very exciting as it tickles my creative bone, a thing I sorely missed for a long time.
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