Thursday, February 05, 2009

More Thoughts on a Megadungeon

Another idea that I've been toying with, for megadungeon purposes, is making something that connects to a lot of different places. Maybe even a lot of different times. Either there are portals within it, or there are alternate stairs up that lead to different places than the one you went down, but the basic idea is, you can go into the megadungeon, come out in a different place, and have some wilderness/city adventure wherever it is you've come up.

Like my sewer/city ideas, I'm wary about creating way too much work for myself. If I'm running a megadungeon, why should I be spending my prep time working up a bunch of different wilderness areas? I'd risk creating a game that mostly takes place above ground, with the megadungeon itself used for travel or side tracks.

But then I start thinking about the possibilities. What if, either by design or natural occurrence, the large, well-appointed tombs of powerful people physical connect to the Netherworld? What if the megadungeon is the structure of the world, and connects to the normal world at key anchor points? What if those anchor points are a set of artifacts, which the players can remove for their own use, at the risk of seriously futzing with the structure of the universe?

Ultimately, the idea is just an attempt to avoid "limiting" myself. Which is ridiculous, but it's an urge I get some time. "I can't decide which setting to use, so I'll just use all of them!" Bad idea, but I keep having it.

I'll probably just keep the idea up my sleeve for when I need an interesting sublevel or something. Make the secondary entrance a source of weirdness entering the dungeon, rather than primarily a location in itself.


  1. Very cool! I've been playing with similar ideas for the Thursday game. In the ancient world, the lands of the dead were a physical place heroes like Orpheus and Aeneas could visit. I've already laid the groundwork for that with my gods, and the idea that the dead can visit the living on certain days. The idea of a tomb being not just a place where the ancestors are remembered, but actually met with, where they can be asked for advice and information.

    I'd suggest you check out JAGS Wonderland, if you haven't already, for an example of this idea taken to a wild extreme.

    - Brian

  2. The idea of a tomb being not just a place where the ancestors are remembered, but actually met with, where they can be asked for advice and information.

    Gotta love a run-on sentence fragment. ;p

    I meant to say that's a cool idea, and thank you very much for it. Consider it stolen.

    - Brian

  3. Great idea and a sure fire way to keep the party mucking about in your dungeon. Arduin had its Great Plateau of Forever, which was a nexus of gates to other worlds and alternate universes, but the idea of placing such a nexus in the underworld is great.

    I've written in the past about a Pulp Nexus in the depths of one of my dungeons, but your idea is much more sensible and useful.

  4. The ruins of the undermountain was exactly what you are thinking.

    Besides being my all-time favorite crawl, it was EXTREMELY...different.

    Having a PC get teleported away was a big deal when the 5 published levels were something like a square mile or larger in size.