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General What's your favorite beer'n'pretzles dungeon?

Reynard

Legend
I have a pretty big exam coming up soon so I need to cut down on the time and mental bandwidth I give gaming, but still want to get my weekly D&D DMing fix. So my group is looking for a good dungeon for pick up and play, beer and pretzels style gaming. The edition does not really matter -- I will probably run whatever it is in either 5E or an OSR clone -- but I don't want to have to track a multitude of factions or NPCs or plot threads. It does not have to be a forever dungeon either, although I don't have a problem with a megadungeon in theory. Also, we have already played most of Tales from the Yawning portal and Dungeon of the Mad Mage so those are both off the list.

Thanks!
 

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GlassJaw

Hero
Check out some of the 3ed Necromancer modules. I love 'em: Lost City of Barakus, Vault of Larrin Karr, Tomb of Abysthor.

You could also run Rapan Athuk but not sure I would call it a "beer 'n pretzels" dungeon per se - it's a meat grinder.
 

Reynard

Legend
Check out some of the 3ed Necromancer modules. I love 'em: Lost City of Barakus, Vault of Larrin Karr, Tomb of Abysthor.

You could also run Rapan Athuk but not sure I would call it a "beer 'n pretzels" dungeon per se - it's a meat grinder.
I have been eyeing RA 5E recently but right now I am looking for something with minimum prep and maximum skull smashing catharsis.
 

Warpiglet-7

Adventurer
I am going to stay tuned to hear the suggestions too. Time and a energy have been at a premium of late.

wish there was a good book of encounters as well that could be dropped into play....
 

Retreater

Legend
Rappan Athuk is a great dungeon, but it takes a bit of prep due to its complexity. Barrowmaze might be a good one. It's pretty straightforward, and has numerous small crypts and chambers in addition to the megadungeon. Easy to run right out of the box (with little prep).
 

TarionzCousin

Second Most Angelic Devil Ever
Barrowmaze might be a good one. It's pretty straightforward, and has numerous small crypts and chambers in addition to the megadungeon. Easy to run right out of the box (with little prep).
I played through Barrowmaze in OD&D over two and a half years. I bought it after. It's very straightforward: pick a barrow and enter.

It does have some over-arching plots--and it is very large. I think our 2.5 years of dungeon delving found approximately half of the numbered rooms/loot.
 

If I were looking for something that I could run by just looking at a map and accompanying encounter key, without doing a ton of prep or having to keep a lot of stuff in my brainpan, I'd go with one of the original Judges Guild modules. Dark Tower, Citadel of Fire, Thieves of Fort Badabaskor, something like that.
 





Cadence

Legend
Supporter
In my experience, KotBL is too much work for what I want right now -- there are lots of factions to consider, among other things.
I've run it several times as just a dungeon crawl, and it wasn't too bad then. It's been a while though...
 

Monayuris

Adventurer
Stonehell Dungeon.

It is super easy to run because of the way it is formatted. Its great for going in, getting some exploration done, and getting out, without a whole lot of preparation ahead of time.
 





Mannahnin

Explorer
I'm very much partial to Dyson Logos' Dyson's Delve, the "mini-megadungeon". 11 levels, including a couple of sub-levels which are on the same map as a full level, but can only be reached by a separate connection from a higher or lower level. But the levels are small- each fits within a 20 x 20 grid of 10' squares. Super simple statting originally for Labyrinth Lord, but that's obviously perfectly compatible with B/X, and can be re-statted to your edition of choice with minimal effort.

Inspired by Paul Siegel's running of it in two epic long weekends in 2018 & 2019, and the Wandering DMs' broadcast (the videos are on Youtube; about 24 hours of play) of the second half of that play online, plus Paul's simple faction analysis and the rumors he created for it which are available on his website, I've been able to run a really straightforward beer and pretzels dungeon crawl since about the end of March. I've had a couple of small dungeons for side-treks and stuff, but (especially stealing liberally from Paul) most of the work was done for me, and I've kept two small groups of players entertained with it as the campaign tent pole for several months now. As of Monday night the players are right in the middle of the climactic final level, and it's been a ton of fun.

I had kind of wanted to do this for a while, but being able to download the maps from Dyson's site and upload them to Roll20 was how I taught myself to run on Roll20 and make it manageable, when directly adapting my existing 5E game seemed like too intimidating a prospect.
 

THEMNGMNT

Adventurer
Rather than a megadungeon, I'll propose shorter, adventure-themed dungeons:
  • Forge of Fury. You said you've played through Tales from the Yawning Portal, so maybe this is already off the list? Regardless, it's a challenging and well-executed dungeon crawl for 3rd or 4th level characters.
  • Pharoah. The1E classic set in a pyramid. This will definitely challenge player skill as opposed to character skill.
  • Thunderspire Labyrinth. A highlight from 4E. There are a few factions, but nothing overwhelming. The conversion from 4E might be slightly challenging, but it's mostly a matter of dropping the AC and attack bonuses.
  • Storm King's Thunder. I see you consider Against the Giants to be a slog. Having played through SKT, I don't think it's a slog. There are 5 giant lairs that are each uniquely evocative and take about 2 to 4 sessions to complete. A solid option for Tier 2.
 
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Mannahnin

Explorer
I'm also enjoying playing in an online game of Barrowmaze in OSE. The mix of simple tombs to dig in and more elaborate ones, some of which connect into the main dungeon, is great. And there's a ton of interesting content in there.
 

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