D&D General Barrowmaze, Stonehell, Arden Vul, Rappan Athuk and other Megadungeons

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
This seems fairly straightforward.

Every X adventures the party advances a level. X = matter of taste. You want an old school slow advancement rate, make it something like once every 10 games. Want it quick to start but slows with mixed level parties? One game per character level needed to advance a level.
Or for a many-leveled dungeon (this wouldn't work for Barrowmaze), grant the PCs a level up once a given dungeon level is "completed", or when its principle challenge/boss bad/lair has been defeated or its central puzzle solved (if you're running the style where levels don't get truly "cleared"). So as to directly link character level to dungeon level and incentivize delving ever deeper. :)
 

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DarkCrisis

Reeks of Jedi
There is a 3.0, and a 3.5 and a Pathfinder version of Rappan Athuk. Rappan Athuk Reloaded is the complete all in one 3.5 version I believe.

My impression though is that C&C works fine for converting OSR type stuff too.

I really want C&C to work and I admit that anything can be converted with work but as I mentioned in a post, I tried converting a 2E adventure to Shadowdark and that was work. Not only converting monsters that weren't standard to the SR book but also how much treasure the group would find and thus XP.

My issue is I don't want to figure out the treasure/coin amount differences to adjust to a different system. If a 1E adventure has a treasure of say 5000 gold, is that the same for C&C's system? Is it to much? To little? How does this effect XP gain if at all?

From what Ive read C&C is best used for 3rd ed stuff as it requires minimal conversion. I really don't know though. Shadowdark I also want to just work but again requires a lot of conversion. Maybe less so for a 5E adventure? IDK. I'd kill for a fully published megadungeon for Shadowdark.

I guess Im saying I want minimal conversion for the DM. And almost any OSR like Basic Fantasy or OSE etc seem to be the easiest for Basic/1E/2E adventures.

Or maybe I'm wrong. I'd love someone to hold my hand and tell me how to easily converert a 1E adventure to C&C or SD.
 

Voadam

Legend
I really want C&C to work and I admit that anything can be converted with work but as I mentioned in a post, I tried converting a 2E adventure to Shadowdark and that was work. Not only converting monsters that weren't standard to the SR book but also how much treasure the group would find and thus XP.

My issue is I don't want to figure out the treasure/coin amount differences to adjust to a different system. If a 1E adventure has a treasure of say 5000 gold, is that the same for C&C's system? Is it to much? To little? How does this effect XP gain if at all?

From what Ive read C&C is best used for 3rd ed stuff as it requires minimal conversion. I really don't know though. Shadowdark I also want to just work but again requires a lot of conversion. Maybe less so for a 5E adventure? IDK. I'd kill for a fully published megadungeon for Shadowdark.

I guess Im saying I want minimal conversion for the DM. And almost any OSR like Basic Fantasy or OSE etc seem to be the easiest for Basic/1E/2E adventures.

Or maybe I'm wrong. I'd love someone to hold my hand and tell me how to easily converert a 1E adventure to C&C or SD.

Ah I was thinking of monster stats which I am fairly familiar with in C&C but not their specific xp system other than that it seems similar but not identical to AD&D for class charts and xp awarded, monster xp plus optionally 1 xp for each gp, plus an amount for magic items and story and roleplaying awards. You'd have to look at specific charts and formulas for specific differences.

Druids, which I just looked up, require 2,001 xp in both to get to level 2, but in C&C they need 400,001 xp to get to 10th versus 1e's 125,001 xp, for example.

Fighters require 500,001 xp for 10th in both though.
 

OakenHart

Adventurer
The way I got Barrowmaze to work for us in 5e was to combine the "Into the Unknown" 3P 5e rules for resting/exploration/etc with base 5e. Base 5e has very different assumptions for resting and ability to dungeon delve, and this brings things a bit back to older assumptions concerning dungeon delving. I only started with early 2e so I'm not able to 100% confirm short of "it looks like similar ideas", but apparently Into the Unknown is modeled after the Basic/Expert D&D rules. It worked out decently for us, though we ended up ending before completing the campaign when two of the PCs moved away for work reasons.

Alternatively, could always just wholesale use the Into the Unknown rules. (classes, and the races as classes are Fighter, Rogue, Priest, Magic-User, Dwarf, Elf, Halfling).
 

SableWyvern

Adventurer
Or for a many-leveled dungeon (this wouldn't work for Barrowmaze), grant the PCs a level up once a given dungeon level is "completed", or when its principle challenge/boss bad/lair has been defeated or its central puzzle solved (if you're running the style where levels don't get truly "cleared"). So as to directly link character level to dungeon level and incentivize delving ever deeper. :)
Half the point of a well-crafted megadungeon is that the players can go where they want, do what they want, and have a wide scope for choices. Tying advancement to succeeding at specific activities is contrary to that -- if there are a sequence of challenges the characters are guaranteed to encounter, you've got a pretty linear dungeon.

Simply advancing when you head down a level incentives going deeper without actually engaging with the things that are found -- which might work, but isn't ideal.

If using an old school ruleset, the simplest advancement process is the original one -- xp for gold. If the treasures get larger and the dangers greater as the party descends, there is a natural risk/reward mechanism, and the players can choose their desired level of risk.

Edit: I see that the discussion was with regards to levelling in 5e. I'd still be inclined to reinstitute xp for gold in some way, as it just works with the setup.
 


I'm always thinking of games I'd like to run before I die and I hope to convince my group to, at some point, try a Megadungeon.

out of reach dungeon GIF


The 4 in the title that caught my eye as I was surfing the web (to us an outdated term)

90S Throw Back Thursday GIF


What's been mostly on my mind is "What system do I want to run it in?" I know Barrow and Rappan each have 5E versions but some reviews I read say that the issues of 5E carry over. In such that the characters are Superheroes as opposed to Heroes and thus the dungeons, while still lethal, are less so. I'm curious how one handles leveling as well because 5E is fairly rapid unless the DM is just denying them levels until he feels its warranted and how does that even work in a Megadungeon? Any thoughts on 5E in an actual Megadungeon?

So. I figure best to keep it OSR. Castles and Crusades? Seems better suited for running D&D3/3.5 stuff. Shadowdark? Due it's XP/money system would require the DM to do a lot of converting. Which makes me sad because I love the system but don't want to spend time figuring out a money conversion rate while wondering if the team is getting the right amount of XP etc Tried that for a 2E adventure and ugh.

Okay so what do I own? OSRIC? It's just 1E cleaned up but does it really simplify anything? Basic Fantasy? Well, my options being what they are seems about right. Sound good?

Any thoughts on the dungeons? Barrow and Stone are apparently good for first attempt Megadungeons while Arden and Rappan require the DM to really put in effort. Thoughts?
I’ve been running Barrowmaze for almost two years, with a 5E homebrew rule set that dials back the power levels of PC’s.

When it came to levelling, I used gold for xp. 1 piece of gold equals 2 points of experience. The party shared gold and I kept track of what was found and spent. All magic items, save a few potions, could not be bought/found outside the dungeon. All the good loot was in the dungeon.

Lastly, long rests were 7 days in town. During this time I accounted for the parties lifestyle and downtime expenses.

It worked well to capture the tone of the PC’s being common adventurers fighting their way to more gold and glory.
 

the Jester

Legend
I love megadungeons! That said, I almost always use my own, homebrewed, megadungeons. Most major land masses in my campaign setting have at least one squirreled away somewhere. For the 5e era, the one that has come into play a lot- which many groups have delved into- is colloquially known as Marble Hall, and pcs have found multiple secret side entrances, have fully explored a couple of levels/sublevels/sections of levels, and have figured out a few of the secrets involved, but have never really fully explored it, and have not discovered the real deep secrets of it involving its origin, the major conflict within, etc.

It has been pretty popular among my groups, but nobody has been back there since the pandemic hit except for one group that went in for a specific item needed to help resolve the apocalyptic rain of slaad tadpoles that was happening when the pandemic hit and threw a massive monkey wrench into everything. (They got it and got out successfully.)
 



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