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


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Hussar

Legend
I’m about to do this in my next campaign.

And, instead of messing about with book keeping and tracking arrows, I’m using a fairly simple rule.

For reasons that make sense in setting, the longer you spend in the dungeon, the more insane you will become. Go insane enough and lose your character.

This each foray into thedungeon has to be balanced against the fact that the dungeon will possess your character.

It’s fairly simple addition that adds all sorts of pressure.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Exploration mechanics around time spent and distance covered - and mapped - are relevant.

I still don't get it. The DM figures out how long it takes to do something and tells the players. The PCs travel over X, Y, & Z terrain types over A period time and get B distance. The DM describes, the players map. Again, I don't see where specific mechanics are necessary beyond math and attention to detail?

Granularity is also relevant - boiling an adventuring day's worth of exploration down to a couple of 4e-like skill challenges, for example, rather defeats the whole purpose.

It seems silly to essentially say "not doing the thing you describe is not a way to do the thing." Um. . .sure. :rolleyes:
 
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billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him) 🇺🇦🇵🇸🏳️‍⚧️
I suspect that's where people might have trouble, given 5e's significant downplaying of the resource-management side of the game - hit points, in particular, being so easy to recover.
Hit point recovery is a significant change. The rest - not so much. Creating food and water has been around since 1e, weather-controlled campaign has as well. Tracking arrows hasn't changed since 1e.

It's really just hit point recovery as I see it. And I don't want to downplay that - hit point recovery in 5e is a lot easier and really does avoid the need to hunker down for multiple days just healing up like you would see in 1e/2e days. That's a change that will probably be noticeable - to an extent.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
One other thing: Sure 5E makes recovering HPs easier than previous editions - but unless you allow the party to take short or long rests whenever they want (something that the dungeon environment should make difficult) any resource used to regain HPs (spell slots) is one not used for something else.
Plus finding a safe place to short rest (perhaps in a chamber behind a secret door) becomes yet another exploration challenge.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Plus finding a safe place to short rest (perhaps in a chamber behind a secret door) becomes yet another exploration challenge.

Exactly!

Look, I understand that not every group or every player in every group is going to find that kind of thing fun, but if you have buy-in? I love that kind of challenge both as a player and as a DM when the PCs work to overcome it in interesting ways and discuss their reasoning for why a place is safe(r).
 

Dax Doomslayer

Adventurer
Exactly!

Look, I understand that not every group or every player in every group is going to find that kind of thing fun, but if you have buy-in? I love that kind of challenge both as a player and as a DM when the PCs work to overcome it in interesting ways and discuss their reasoning for why a place is safe(r).
I think once they get to 5th level, the finding a safe place to recover becomes a non-issue for the most part as the mage gets the ritual Leomund's tiny hut. Couple that with the rapidity of the return of hit points, it does make it a bit easier. That said, I do love my dungeons and my group likes them too.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I still don't get it. The DM figures out how long it takes to do something and tells the players. The PCs travel over X, Y, & Z terrain types over A period time and get B distance. The DM describes, the players map. Again, I don't see where specific mechanics are necessary beyond math and attention to detail?
The math and attention to detail are the mechanics; in contrast wth a 4e-like skill challenge, or (as is encouraged by some systems) skipping the exploration piece entirely and jumping straight to the next encounter.
It seems silly to essentially say "not doing the thing you describe is not a way to do the thing." Um. . .sure. :rolleyes:
Except that given how the thing you describe runs against the tendencies in modern play, saying to in fact do that thing instead of not has to be the starting point...right? :)
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I think once they get to 5th level, the finding a safe place to recover becomes a non-issue for the most part as the mage gets the ritual Leomund's tiny hut. Couple that with the rapidity of the return of hit points, it does make it a bit easier. That said, I do love my dungeons and my group likes them too.
Yeah, 5e's version of Tiny Hut almost has to be nerfed or even banned for this to work.

Simple nerf for megadungeons: rule that LTH can only be cast outdoors.
 

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