Monday, March 7, 2011
It's something that afflicts many of us even after decades away from the core of the game it represents. Even after disastrous episodes with near-megadungeons in 3rd edition it still calls. It causes us to go search through the garage and dig out that Undermountain boxed set, that copy of Greyhawk Ruins, those scattered handwritten pieces of graph paper and think about those campaigns that never quite got off of the ground, and wonder...
So I've decided to start writing it down. Ideas for monster and levels and parts of levels have started to appear in my brain lately and I need to put them somewhere else. Some of the notes will show up on the blog - when I feel like I have something worth sharing anyway. Some points:
Why not run one I already own? Greyhawk Ruins is 26 linked levels of dungeon that I never got to actually run and I probably still have my notes on it in a binder somewhere. . It's even written for 2E, still old-school enough to run quickly and feel different from 4E. I still might do this, just to have a drop-in option with the Apprentices' tricky schedules.
But...I have found recently that developing your own area of play means that you don't have to worry about contradicting stuff someone else wrote, or forgetting about the secret door that links Level X to Secret Level Y, or just keeping up with the details that someone else wrote.I ran into this a lot running Tomb of Abysthor and Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil where a lot of the details were hard to spot and tricky to keep in mind in the heat of play. Undermountain has the same problem in that it has a ton of mapping done, but only part of the levels are detailed, so I'd be going in and filling out someone else's map - in some ways the worst of both worlds. For myself, stuff that I write makes sense to me and means I'm not going to lose track of it during the game, so I'd like to write it myself.
Plus there is the challenge factor - it's something I haven't done before, so let's try it.
There is also the ownership factor - if I write it from scratch it's mine, no one else/s - no apologies, no remorse.
Now what system would I use? Clearly some version of D&D is called for, though I might be able to scratch my Greek itch by using Mazes and Minotaurs instead. Seems kind of silly though to finally sit down and do a megadungeon after all these years and make it for a different game system. Maybe if I used Mazes & Minotaurs creatures but used the Undermountain maps...
Anyway, system: Probably not 4th edition as combat is too complex to really get the old-school MD feel. Basic D&D/Labyrinth Lord is a little simple and I already have a game of that going anyway. I could do 1st Edition but I was kind of wanting to run them through Temple of Elemental Evil then Against the Giants then the Drow adventures if we sat down to do that. Heck, 2nd edition may win out here after all.
And yes, the Apprentices (and Lady Blacksteel) have been fully outfitted with a copy of Basic D&D (Moldvay), 1st edition PHB (Wizard cover because that's what I found for sale), 2nd edition PHB (rider cover because that's what I found), 3rd edition PHB, and 4th edition PHB so that they are prepared for any game of D&D they happen to run across. They also have d6 Star Wars books (Second Edition), despite my mixed results with the system. The extra copies of Fasa Star Trek and Champions await in the garage.
So we have version options. To fuel the proper MD exploration and motivations I think it requires early editions' usage of gold for XP, so that's in regardless.
What campaign world? Does it matter? There's the Town, some Wilderness, and the Dungeon - we're not going on a world tour here. I suppose it affects the gods and maybe some races but it's not a real big part of this kind of campaign for me - it's very much a "local" story.
Hmmmm, maybe I mix in my West Marches itch and run this as an Open-Table Mythic Greek Megadungeon! Solves all my problems at once! Or maybe not.
I'm a little worried about overloading the players with multiple systems but if we only play any particular system once a month then it's not exactly overloading anything.
So I've laid out that I clearly want to do it, now I just need to nail down some details. The next post on this, whenever it occurs, will probably cover those.