D&D 5E Megadungeon delving as a campaign’s core; is it compatible with modern play?


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the Jester

Legend
A megadungeon can even have other kinds of adventures embedded within it!
Yep- mine has mysteries, politics, and the like as bits spread throughout it. In fact, it took several (real world and game world) years before any of the pcs involved discovered that the megadungeon has a mirror on the Shadowfell.
 


Jack Daniel

dice-universe.blogspot.com
The shift from old-school to trad/modern play has far less to do IMO with D&D moving "out of the dungeon," or even from challenge and skill driven play to story and performative thespianism, than the shift from open to dedicated tables. Everything that makes trad play different from old-school follows from the player-to-character attachment fostered by running the same one PC every session for a whole campaign. So to ask the question, "Can a megadungeon support modern play?" is to ask, "Can a megadungeon be interesting to a fixed group of players playing a fixed cast of player characters?" I think yes, but it would likely require some very deliberate dungeon design.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
All you need is sufficient challenge for the PCs power level, playing up the consequences of diminishing resources of all kinds, use wandering monsters (either randomly or narratively), and players willing to buy in to the narratives that emerge from play.

To be honest, I don't understand the need for specific mechanics for exploration. The PCs explore and uncover things using reason and skills. What else do you need? Exploration has been a big part of some games I've run and I never had specific mechanics for it beyond description and reaction.🤷‍♀️
But how do you play up the consequences of diminishing resources in WotC 5e when the rules radically weaken those consequences? I don't find pretending hardship is actually a problem when mechanically it isn't very satisfying.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
But how do you play up the consequences of diminishing resources in WotC 5e when the rules radically weaken those consequences? I don't find pretending hardship is actually a problem when mechanically it isn't very satisfying.
The recent changes to exhaustion is a good example. Yeah, a -1 cumulative penalty is easy to remember, but it's a lot less impactful than the old rule, and players don't worry as much about planning appropriately or risk assessment when the penalty isn't as bad for failing.
 

But how do you play up the consequences of diminishing resources in WotC 5e when the rules radically weaken those consequences? I don't find pretending hardship is actually a problem when mechanically it isn't very satisfying.
How does 5E diminish running out of food or water? Heck, in a dungeon, it is easier to limit long rests and other resources than it is in a city. And its easy to limit places that the party can restock on potions and arrows etc.

Create Food & Water has always been a spell. And it can be countered in 5E just like it could in OD&D.
 

Stormonu

Legend
But how do you play up the consequences of diminishing resources in WotC 5e when the rules radically weaken those consequences? I don't find pretending hardship is actually a problem when mechanically it isn't very satisfying.
I imagine you’re referring to spells & hp more than food, water, ammunition & light? Those consequences are still very much there and things can still be as deadly. There just tends to be less of “we go back to town/barricade the dungeon door and rest 3 days to heal, let’s move on” and “okay, long rest over - everyone reset and let’s move on.”
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
If you can find it, Central Casting: Dungeons is fantastic for random dungeon generation.
This. When I started playing again with 5e after a long hiatus, a friend of mine who I gamed with in high school and played in my first 5e campaign, bought me this book. I had it long ago but had long since sold all my gaming books. It still holds up after all these years.
 


Voidrunner's Codex

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