Someone who read my article pointed to an interesting website that complements many of my ideas. This site called Philotomy's OD&D Musings is dedicated to, obviously, the three little black books TSR published in 1974. The part that is particularly relevant to my last post is Creating a Mythical Underworld Dungeon, wherein the author discusses at length some guidelines on how to create a true megadungeon. Go read it as it's a very enlightening and entertaining piece of work, but there's a particular passage I'd like to transcribe since it perfectly illustrates the point of my last post:
This is a perfect example of a non-linear game that does not force the group into a particular path, and how to design a challenging and fun dungeon."When creating your first three (or so) levels, there are a few general concepts that you should keep in mind. First, remember to offer the players plenty of choices. Even at the entrance to the place, don't give them one path to follow, give them four or five choices to make, right off the bat. For that matter, there needn't be only a single entrance. Have several ways in, with a few of the entrances going directly to deeper areas. Maybe new entrances open up or are discovered as play continues. Another important way to give players choices is to offer them many opportunities to move up and down through the levels. You want the players to decide when they want to go deeper. This isn't a video game where you play through the level to the end with the boss monster, then find the stairs. If they're a group of 1st level PCs, but they want to try their luck and skill on the 4th level of the dungeon, that's their decision."