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D&D General Megadungeons

Doug McCrae

Legend
The megadungeon is as old school as it gets. It was a key feature of the two earliest D&D campaigns - Dave Arneson's Blackmoor and Gary Gygax's Greyhawk. According to 1974 OD&D "A good dungeon will have no less than a dozen levels down, with offshoot levels in addition, and new levels under construction so that players will never grow tired of it." Room contents - monsters and treasure - were supposed to mostly be generated by random rolls. "It is a good idea to thoughtfully place several of the most important treasures, with or without monstrous guardians, and then switch to a random determination for the balance of the level."

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Philotomy's Musings by Jason Crone provides advice on mega-dungeon construction pgs 12-19.

In addition to those mentioned in previous posts, other examples of published megadungeons include
Eyes of the Stone Thief (13th Age), Barrowmaze, Stonehell, Anomalous Subsurface Environment, and Castle Whiterock. None of these are for 5th edition D&D tho afaik.

An example from a crpg is The Endless Paths of Od Nua in the game Pillars of Eternity -

294px-Endlesspathsmap.jpg
 
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pogre

Legend
Has anyone ever created a megadungeon before, like a place where the characters enter the dungeon at level 10 and come out level 13?
Sorry for my trip off into nostalgia. More responsively to your question - I would recommend using Dungeon of the Mad Mage and using three or four levels out of it. It is really designed to be easily pulled apart like that. Each level of the dungeon comes with PC level recommendations.
 


Coroc

Hero
Nethack in version 3.2.1 (Unix rogue) was basically a megadungeon round based computergame with ascii grafix and a very good "A.I." It went 20 levels down, then about 50 levels through hell, find the amulet of yendor on the lowest level of hell, 70 levels back up again and then through the 4 elemental planes up to heaven where you should offer the almulet on one of three possible altars to complete your ascension.
On the way up you were also chased by the wizard of yendor and his mob hordes.
The purist way to do this was without savegame cheating, so dead was dead eventually creating a bones level which you could eventually encounter with a later adventurer.
You needed between 70000 and 120000 moves without making major errors for an ascension. You would create/collect your equipment, you needed tons of intrinsic stats like poison resistance e.g. which you could get by various ways.
It is based on D&D.
It had features like genociding whole monster categories and functioning wishes.
There was an IRC forum where you could post your ascenssions (YAAP= Yet another ascension post) or stupid deaths (YASD=Yet another stupid death)
The death cause which was notified with some extra info could be hilarious, from eating the wrong monster corpse, a cursed wand blasting in your face or the heavy ball of a ball and chain which hit you on your way down.
I managed to do 5 ascensions, and needed 100s of attempts for them.
 


the Jester

Legend
Sure, but there's no reason it needs to start at 10th level. The local megadungeon in my game is suitable for starting characters (at its uppermost levels) all the way to epic pcs (at the lowest couple of levels). Because of bounded accuracy, it's easy for any level group to make forays in and have a good time, and depending on how deep they go (and how well they know the interconnections), to be challenged.

Said megadungeon features- let me check my notes- 13 levels composed of 51 sublevels... plus some (seriously secret) additional content.
 

DaveMage

Slumbering in Tsar
Philotomy's Musings by Jason Crone provides advice on mega-dungeon construction pgs 12-19.

In addition to those mentioned in previous posts, other examples of published megadungeons include
Eyes of the Stone Thief (13th Age), Barrowmaze, Stonehell, Anomalous Subsurface Environment, and Castle Whiterock. None of these are for 5th edition D&D tho afaik.

Barrowmaze does have a 5E version.
 


Parmandur

Book-Friend
Nethack in version 3.2.1 (Unix rogue) was basically a megadungeon round based computergame with ascii grafix and a very good "A.I." It went 20 levels down, then about 50 levels through hell, find the amulet of yendor on the lowest level of hell, 70 levels back up again and then through the 4 elemental planes up to heaven where you should offer the almulet on one of three possible altars to complete your ascension.
On the way up you were also chased by the wizard of yendor and his mob hordes.
The purist way to do this was without savegame cheating, so dead was dead eventually creating a bones level which you could eventually encounter with a later adventurer.
You needed between 70000 and 120000 moves without making major errors for an ascension. You would create/collect your equipment, you needed tons of intrinsic stats like poison resistance e.g. which you could get by various ways.
It is based on D&D.
It had features like genociding whole monster categories and functioning wishes.
There was an IRC forum where you could post your ascenssions (YAAP= Yet another ascension post) or stupid deaths (YASD=Yet another stupid death)
The death cause which was notified with some extra info could be hilarious, from eating the wrong monster corpse, a cursed wand blasting in your face or the heavy ball of a ball and chain which hit you on your way down.
I managed to do 5 ascensions, and needed 100s of attempts for them.

I think Rogue-likes severely crimped the Megadungeon as a tabletop style: the computer can generate so much content.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Yes, and it’s in my sig 😉

But you start at level 1, and unlike old school mega dungeons that had hundreds of random rooms, I tried to mix it up by having an entire ecology and areas all had themes that made more sense from an organic perspective.
 

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