But I don't *want* to stock the whole dungeon!

The-Magic-Sword

Small Ball Archmage
I do this sometimes, except I actually just set up an adversary roster instead of a wandering monster table, and inline the monster distribution to my improv as well. I spend more time on the concepts and ideas in my prep, so a lot of it is actually just brainstorming so cool ideas and structures are floating around in my head, and having battlemaps ready to fit those ideas when its time to roll initiative, a lot of the in-between is in a half-baked state that i can mess with when I go to table.
 

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nevin

Hero
I thought about this during #Dungeon23, but I don't think I want to either make or maybe even run a detailed megadungeon. It's just too much work for me, with too little reward.

I'm thinking of switching to a model where I get a detailed map (via @Dyson Logos or 0one Games), detail a few set pieces that get me excited or are "crucial," and then just create a wandering monster table for a dungeon level and wing the rest of it. With a bespoke dungeon level with a bell curve for what can show up, I think I can still deliver a custom dungeon experience, especially with a document for adding appropriate dungeon flavor. (There are tons of "dungeon dressing" PDFs out there for all dungeon types.)

So, if I were making a megadungeon based on Diablo, for instance, I could have an overland ruins section with a wandering monster table with cultists and goatmen, a crypts level with cultists and skeletons, and then as each level descended further into the earth, fewer skeletons and ever more powerful demons. The rarest entries on each table could be for various boss encounters, who could pop out without warning, yelling "FRESH MEAT!"

Sure, I might want to detail a few rooms like a treasure vault or a special boss fight area, but I don't really want to write up "room 32b, another ruined cell formerly occupied by a monk, now a skeleton that the PCs killed higher up in the complex."

I can put my creative energies into making a few really good set piece areas each level, unique bosses and a good and evocative wandering monster list.

Has anyone done this method? Have I accidentally "invented" the way everyone's doing megadungeons already?
the old Taladas boxed set in 2e had a huge mega dungeon map that had no details. That's pretty much how I used it. I fleshed out about 20 percent of the dungeon and then gathered and created many random tables for the rest of the dungeon. It really just created a Diablo style dungeon where everything but that 20 percent was completely random. Worked pretty well for a big dungeon crawl.
 

The Soloist

Adventurer
When I do a large dungeon it's a series of interconnected '5-room dungeons' with random stuff in between. 5-room dungeons are the important story parts. The random encounters (1d6) are the weird, the horrific, the deadly, the godly, the funny or the beautiful stuff found in old-school dungeons.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
Honest question: What is the appeal of running a megadungeon to you?

Last campaign I ran, which lasted three years, there was only a single "dungeon" larger than a Five Room Dungeon.

What specifically about a megadungeon appeals, that you wouldn't have in something different? Does a random generation method keep that appeal?
I am a huge Five Room Dungeon proponent. But this idea is mostly because I'd like to have dungeon adventures resembling Diablo or Darkest Dungeon, both of which rely on having to go ever deeper to get closer to the extreme badness at the end, which is tough to do in a Five Room Dungeon format.

I don't particularly care about clearing each room in a 200-room dungeon, and I don't think my players care, either. But I want to be able to provide the experience of that descent, with the knowledge that safety is getting further away by the moment.

I also want to have at least one dungeon on the shelf at all times for when someone wants to play but I haven't had time to build a Five Room Dungeon ahead of time. (They're great, but getting the puzzles and RP challenges involved takes me some time.)
 

I thought about this during #Dungeon23, but I don't think I want to either make or maybe even run a detailed megadungeon. It's just too much work for me, with too little reward.

I'm thinking of switching to a model where I get a detailed map (via @Dyson Logos or 0one Games), detail a few set pieces that get me excited or are "crucial," and then just create a wandering monster table for a dungeon level and wing the rest of it. With a bespoke wandering monster table with a bell curve for what can show up, I think I can still deliver a custom dungeon experience, especially with a document for adding appropriate dungeon flavor. (There are tons of "dungeon dressing" PDFs out there for all dungeon types.)

So, if I were making a megadungeon based on Diablo, for instance, I could have an overland ruins section with a wandering monster table with cultists and goatmen, a crypts level with cultists and skeletons, and then as each level descended further into the earth, fewer skeletons and ever more powerful demons. The rarest entries on each table could be for various boss encounters, who could pop out without warning, yelling "FRESH MEAT!"

Sure, I might want to detail a few rooms like a treasure vault or a special boss fight area, but I don't really want to write up "room 32b, another ruined cell formerly occupied by a monk, now a skeleton that the PCs killed higher up in the complex."

I can put my creative energies into making a few really good set piece areas each level, unique bosses and a good and evocative wandering monster list.

Has anyone done this method? Have I accidentally "invented" the way everyone's doing megadungeons already?
Honestly, same. Like super same. I love the idea of running dungeons but, as someone with ADHD, keeping up with a map, factions etc etc is really difficult for me, even medicated. Maybe it's because I haven't developed this skill enough, but I always ask myself is the juice really worth the squeeze? Sometimes, I think, it is. Often, though, I might have just been better off doing something on the fly.

I have a dungeon generator that I designed for personal use that is a procedure, roll tables, etc that makes things easy to create a map. I like it because it's a visual, and it doesn't require me going super super hard at creating a map. However, the map generated isn't a real dungeon map, it's a point crawl -- and turning my dungeons into point-crawls has made the game better for me personally. There's a nebulous series of twists and turns maybe between points, but I have the freedom to come at them from a looser standpoint, and i don't have to map every 5 inch square.

The method you bring up is similar to mine, in some ways. I think I'm going to adopt some of the techniques here to see what comes out. Nice food for thought!
 

aco175

Legend
I made a dungeon with just set pieces and random encounters. I divided the dungeon into areas where various things lived and roamed and made a few location in each followed by a random encounter table for each location with some bleed over to the other sections. It worked fine enough and we just handwaved the tracking map and getting lost part.

I found it easy to describe large area of nothing much and then you enter something. This also allowed for monster backup as another group comes to the first fight to help out, but then leaves a large area of rooms empty to explore, search, or rest. Forge of Fury has a bit of this with the first level having orcs and the lower level having troglodytes and duergar before the dragon. I still have a chance a wandering monster could be orcs on the lower level with the trogs.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
I made a dungeon with just set pieces and random encounters. I divided the dungeon into areas where various things lived and roamed and made a few location in each followed by a random encounter table for each location with some bleed over to the other sections. It worked fine enough and we just handwaved the tracking map and getting lost part.

I found it easy to describe large area of nothing much and then you enter something. This also allowed for monster backup as another group comes to the first fight to help out, but then leaves a large area of rooms empty to explore, search, or rest. Forge of Fury has a bit of this with the first level having orcs and the lower level having troglodytes and duergar before the dragon. I still have a chance a wandering monster could be orcs on the lower level with the trogs.
Did you have a full dungeon map, just set piece maps or no maps at all?
 


aramis erak

Legend
The closest I've done to a megadungeon might be called decadungeon... but for large scales like that, I randomized locations in three D... and then rolling for a distance multiplier... draw the line, label the modified distance, not the straight line one. If the distance was long enough, put check points in, as well. No need to fill it all, just the parts they can interact with.
 

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