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World's Largest Dungeon in actual play [Spoilers!]

haiiro

First Post
I noticed in the WLD mega-thread that a few people have already started playing through this monster. That thread has been many things over time, and I thought it might be best to start a new one for people to post their experiences with the WLD in actual play.

Assuming anyone bites, this thread will contain spoilers. Fair warning. ;)

So let's hear it: if you've started playing through the WLD, what do you think?

- What's good so far, and what's not-so-good?
- Have you actually read it cover to cover, or did you just dive in?
- How did your expectations reading it match up with your experiences playing it?
- What did you change?

You get the idea. ;)
 
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Stalker0

Legend
I tried it a little at dragon con this weekend. We started at the 5th level area.

I have to say... way way WAY too many traps. There was practically a trap in every room. I don't mind traps, but we were going so slowly through just because it seemed like every 5 ft was another trap
 

twofalls

DM Beadle
One of the first things I noticed about Region A is that the random monster chart is more a list of suggestions than anything else. Region A also is themed on Fiendish templated creatures, but ony four types are used an I like a variety. So I created a six monster enounter chart that I will duplicate here since they are all monsters that a 1st level party of six characters should be able to handle.

1) Abrain pg. 12 Fiend Folio
2) Albadian Battle Dog, Fiendish Template pg. 7 Creature Collection 1
3) Alley Reaper, pg. 8 Creature Collection 1 (be careful with this one, without a priest it can be tough to defeat, it has an ac of 18 and is insubstantial, I had to modifiy its fear power as well, but it was a very entertaining encounter)
4) Death Dog, Fiendish Template, pg. 63 Tome of Horrors 3.0 (or pg. 41 Fiend Folio)
5) Direcorby, Fiendish Template, pg. 104 Tome of Horrors 3.0
6) Mantari, Fiendish Template, pg. 188 Tome of Horrors 3.0
 

haiiro

First Post
twofalls said:
Region A also is themed on Fiendish templated creatures, but ony four types are used an I like a variety.

This really bugged while reading through the Region, and I think your approach is a good one. By the end of A, I was pretty tired of seeing yet another fiendish rat swarm or fiendish darkmantle -- and when I tallied up the other non-random beasties in the Region, I realized how few there really were.

I was actually kind of underwhelmed by Region A, and I think if I opt to run it I'd wind up swapping in some other creatures.

I'm glad this thread didn't just fizzle -- this is exactly the kind of stuff I want to hear about. :)
 

Jim Hague

First Post
Gah, sorry to hear that! I'm not too familiar with Region A, having only really given it a passing look as I sped to deal with my own Regions (I&M). My advice on this is to do a simple percentile chart, since things and people are constantly moving around - Call it, in A, a 40% chance the trap is sprung and hasn't been redone, 60% chance it's active. Keeps the players on their toes. :]
 

Stone Dog

Explorer
Earthdawn had something like that in Parlainth. I don't recal their names, but they were these horrid little monkey-things that would scamper about the city resetting traps and stealing shiney things from the PCs.

I remember the look on the player's faces as they get past this nasty trap, head down the hall and hear some creaking noise behind them as the little furry gremlin things started in making sure the trap was nice and ready again. It was priceless! After that they just started bashing the hell out of any trap they came across. Which made noise, which attracted more of the little things and they started setting their own traps here and there.

Maybe you could have one of those. Some impish little NPC that hops about the dungeon resetting some traps, but not others. Springing some traps before the PCs get to them, and sometimes just making noise like a trap just went off. That could well be the flavor behind Jim's idea up there.
 

Psion

Adventurer
haiiro said:
- What's good so far, and what's not-so-good?

Good -- it's very easy to jump right into. The keyed location text is compact and clearly arranged, so most pertinent facts are at your fingertips.

? -- I'm not sure if this is a huge problem since the book provides plenty of activities for your players, but it seems to me that having every stat block wastes a lot of space. It saves you a little flipping through the MM, though, so depending on how big of a hassle you see that as, it mgiht be an advantage.

Not so good -- Not a whole lot yet. I've just played one night, and so far, it seems decent and accomodating. I'm not especially fond of the summoning guidelines and they don't make a lot of sense to me.

- Have you actually read it cover to cover, or did you just dive in?

I have a day job, hence have not had a chance to read it from cover to cover. ;)

However, as stated, the layout of the book seems very accomodating to diving right in.

- How did your expectations reading it match up with your experiences playing it?

As stated, I found it quite a bit easier than the norm to run it without a thorough read before hand.

- What did you change?

Nothing, so far.
 

Thanee

First Post
I wonder when the first reports will come in of people who have actually played through this monster! :D

Bye
Thanee
 

jim pinto

First Post
Psion said:
Not so good -- Not a whole lot yet. I've just played one night, and so far, it seems decent and accomodating. I'm not especially fond of the summoning guidelines and they don't make a lot of sense to me.

you know you can ignore them, right?

[we even say you can ignore them]

btw...

following two threads is going to cause my head to burst

so if anyone needs me to chime in on this board, please
e-mail me or post on the previous thread.

thanks, twofalls, for making this though... it cuts down
on spoilers.

btw (part 2)....

i understand and respect everyone's need to add a variety
of monsters to this region. in hindsight, i wish there had been
more orcs and kobolds in the region, but there is only a limited
number of low-level monsters in the SRD.

and if you read the entire region (specifically A100 through A104),
you'll see the cause of the problem and you can easily justify
adding just about any monster you like to the Region, so long
as its fiendish.

but since people are complaining that Region B is too hard
because of the traps, i'm at a loss as to how we could have
made this Region more challenging without killing PCs.

its my belief that the DMs main job in a dungeon crawl is to
monitor what the PCs can overcome and what they can't.
if the PCs are ready for it, send the fiendish owlbear after
them. or drop in a fiendish harpy, dire animal (so they have
something to eat), cloaker, or perhaps a creature from Region
I that has somehow snuck passed all the wards and creatures
in Region E (ooooo..... foreshadowing).

i think your games are going to go a lot better once you read
what's on the adjacent maps and start placing important
clues or hints of what's to come.

and if you like, drop a lantern archon in the Region (in an empty)
room that is merely there for the PCs to ask questions of.
decide ahead of time what it knows (probably nothing about
the traps and new monsters) and only answer questions it
can answer.

that's enough advice for one day
 

Psion

Adventurer
jim pinto said:
you know you can ignore them, right?

[we even say you can ignore them]

Er, yeah. I'm just saying the recommendations don't make sense.

That I can ignore them is pretty obvious. ;)

I'm not saying it's a major flaw. Like I said, there's not much I saw as explicitly wrong.
 
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twofalls

DM Beadle
Hay Jim, just wanted to give credit where credit is due, haiiro started this thread and I agree, his idea to avoid spoilers was well considered.
 


twofalls

DM Beadle
Hmmmm. Are there further hints about the nature of this discovery earlier in the Dungeon somewhere? Reading room N223 after only having read Regions A and B leaves me thinking that its unlikely they will undrerstand that the scrolls are anything more than more treasure found, and essenitally adventurers don't arbitrarily destroy treasure.

I reread the spells and I must say, unless I had other information, I wouldn't connect either spell with the consequences outlined in the text. If there isn't any refrence to this earlier on, I think I'll likely write a poem in stone when the times comes that outlines the choice to be made in riddle form so that they recognize when they find them that they portent something momentous and are to be considerd more than just hidden loot.

Also, in room N222, there is a trap that irrevokably destroys a CE character (the lever). My group isn't prone to playing evil characters (I frown on it but didn't disallow it for the dungeon crawl) but as a GM, wouldn't one of your players cry foul regarding that? Particuarly since 3.0+ is very careful to build in saves for most everything?

Er... what is the World Eater? Why does that name remaind me of a certain old Star Trek episode...? ;)
 

jim pinto

First Post
twofalls said:
Hmmmm. Are there further hints about the nature of this discovery earlier in the Dungeon somewhere? Reading room N223 after only having read Regions A and B leaves me thinking that its unlikely they will undrerstand that the scrolls are anything more than more treasure found, and essenitally adventurers don't arbitrarily destroy treasure.

I reread the spells and I must say, unless I had other information, I wouldn't connect either spell with the consequences outlined in the text. If there isn't any refrence to this earlier on, I think I'll likely write a poem in stone when the times comes that outlines the choice to be made in riddle form so that they recognize when they find them that they portent something momentous and are to be considerd more than just hidden loot.

Also, in room N222, there is a trap that irrevokably destroys a CE character (the lever). My group isn't prone to playing evil characters (I frown on it but didn't disallow it for the dungeon crawl) but as a GM, wouldn't one of your players cry foul regarding that? Particuarly since 3.0+ is very careful to build in saves for most everything?

Er... what is the World Eater? Why does that name remaind me of a certain old Star Trek episode...? ;)

the world eater is in room N159

there is no clue to the contents of this room

that's left to the DM in this case, based on how the PCs play
PCs that spend the time to find it, should believe it

was hidden for a reason

the levers are designed to destroy undead that would touch them

if you'd like to allow a save, by all means

i HONESTLY expected people to read at least some of the
dungeon before running it, but in hindsight, that was a bad
call since we designed it exactly the opposite.

reading ahead a Region isn't a bad idea and the material in
Region N should not be skimmed because there's SOOO much
there

i've already done my tips for running Region A
when i get to the higher levels, i'll drop some hints about
Region N
 

haiiro

First Post
jim pinto said:
i HONESTLY expected people to read at least some of the
dungeon before running it, but in hindsight, that was a bad
call since we designed it exactly the opposite.

I'd say that's certainly the standard expectation for modules in pretty much any system, and they usually say so right in the front: "read me cover to cover before you start playing." Of course, they're not 840 pages, either. ;)

My intent is certainly to read the whole thing before I try and run it, but realistically that may not wind up happening. In fact, part of me's a bit worried that by the time I've finished it, I'll have forgotten enough about the first few Regions that I'll have to read them again -- in which case, why not just stay 1 or 2 ahead of the party, and read as I go?

In any case, I'm enjoying the suggestions and feedback thus far, and hopefully I'm not the only one -- keep it up. ;)
 

twofalls

DM Beadle
>>Originally Posted by jim pinto
i HONESTLY expected people to read at least some of the
dungeon before running it, but in hindsight, that was a bad
call since we designed it exactly the opposite.<<

I don't understand this statement Jim, are you being incredulous? It rather sounds more like you had expected GM's to read the WHOLE thing rather than "at least some of" it. I've read Regions A and B and have prepped A for gaming. It was you who brought up refrences to Region N. Between work, family, and sleeping... I have time to squeeze in a little bit of my hobby and it seems unlikly that my situation is atypical for the demographic likely to be able to afford this product. My interest in material like this to save time... :)

Section N is just about the end of this huge book, and it's stated in the front that it was designed to be modular... so yeah people aren't likely to think that reading the entire manusript to run it is going to be nessesary, I sure didn't. Plainspeaking, if it were needed then it wouldn't have been worth the investment to me as I'd not have been able to complete it in a reasonable ammount of time. As it is, I'm enjoying the book a great deal and personalizing it to meet my group's expectations.

I've been running games for a long time (yes that is grey in my beard) and have seen a HUGE ammount of material (my shelves are larger than any of the FLS in my area) and I've recommended this book to other friends of mine who are GM's. There is no higher compliment I can pay to a game designer than that.
 

jim pinto

First Post
twofalls said:
>>Originally Posted by jim pinto
i HONESTLY expected people to read at least some of the
dungeon before running it, but in hindsight, that was a bad
call since we designed it exactly the opposite.<<

I don't understand this statement Jim, are you being incredulous? It rather sounds more like you had expected GM's to read the WHOLE thing rather than "at least some of" it. I've read Regions A and B and have prepped A for gaming. It was you who brought up refrences to Region N. Between work, family, and sleeping... I have time to squeeze in a little bit of my hobby and it seems unlikly that my situation is atypical for the demographic likely to be able to afford this product. My interest in material like this to save time... :)

Section N is just about the end of this huge book, and it's stated in the front that it was designed to be modular... so yeah people aren't likely to think that reading the entire manusript to run it is going to be nessesary, I sure didn't. Plainspeaking, if it were needed then it wouldn't have been worth the investment to me as I'd not have been able to complete it in a reasonable ammount of time. As it is, I'm enjoying the book a great deal and personalizing it to meet my group's expectations.

I've been running games for a long time (yes that is grey in my beard) and have seen a HUGE ammount of material (my shelves are larger than any of the FLS in my area) and I've recommended this book to other friends of mine who are GM's. There is no higher compliment I can pay to a game designer than that.

wow.

you said a mouth full.

let me tackle this, point by point

i'm being a little incredulous, if nothing else, because i'm letting
you see into my psyche. 95% of the pre-design of this book came
out of my head and helped to structure HOW we would tackle it.
making it modular, placing the monsters, designing the template for
each Room, etc.

the introduction (with a few key exceptions) was written BEFORE
a single writer was hired.

during the creation process we tried to stay as close to our design
principles as we could. but good ideas, like Room N223 that develop
during the 11th hour of editing, can't be shuffled away simply because
the DM won't or can't read ahead to see what the dungeon has to offer.

yes, i'm sorry i didn't do a better job of tying that room to the WHOLE
of the dungeon. it was unlikely during design that the PCs would find
it. but i kept thinking of all those really bad RPGA puzzles at conventions
that never made sense, when i made it, and i thought.... here's an instance
where if people are paying attention to the clues in this room, they'll realize
that something is afoot and these scrolls are not what they appear to be.

sadly, this too is illogical and as much as i like the room, its not as
cool now in print as it was when i dreamed it up.

but...

at the end of the day, if the DM doesn't like the puzzle i've presented,
he's free to ignore it.

as i stated, my original concept was for the book to be modular.
however, if the DM wants to surprise the PCs with well-placed
foreshadowing, it wouldn't be a bad idea to read 1 or 2 regions
ahead. foreshadowing needs to be tailored to the style of the
group and we really can't do that for you ahead of time.

a fortune teller that says, "Agar will die at the hands of his own death."
is great if the DM can assure the PCs will enter a room with a mirror
of opposition. AEG, however, can't make sure that happens without
a really big hammer.

the real problem is that there are 5 unique paths through the dungeon
and unless the PCs hit EVERY room, it won't matter what's in Room
N223 and all those clues have gone to waste.

luckily, i'm online every day and i hope i can guide people to some
really, really cool adventures .... with a little help from the DMs, i guess.

:)

thanks for the kind words, twofalls

i hope your game goes well
 

spacecrime.com

First Post
jim pinto said:
it wouldn't be a bad idea to read 1 or 2 regions
ahead.

That's more or less what I'm doing. Currently running section A, reading section B in detail, leafing through section C. May have to look ahead to E if the party keeps heading north, but as long as I'm looking five minutes ahead then I'm good. My players are a low-on-planning high-on-hacking lot anyway... :D

cheers,
 

jim pinto

First Post
spacecrime.com said:
That's more or less what I'm doing. Currently running section A, reading section B in detail, leafing through section C. May have to look ahead to E if the party keeps heading north, but as long as I'm looking five minutes ahead then I'm good. My players are a low-on-planning high-on-hacking lot anyway... :D

cheers,

one of the designers is running a bi-weekly game
and he's just cutting out the doors leading north
into Region E because he WANTS the PCs to go east
into Region B.

pretty shrewed

i'll say this much... Region E is very different from what
people are used to in a dungeon crawl and requires a
thorough read. inevitable stronghold.

Region B is lots of traps, goblins, and bugbears

if nothing else, Rooms B109 through B119 are some of my
favorite in the dungeon.
 

Demon Gnome

First Post
one of the designers is running a bi-weekly game
and he's just cutting out the doors leading north
into Region E because he WANTS the PCs to go east
into Region B.

pretty shrewed

I am doing the exact same thing. I have remapped most of A by hand so I can make notes and so forth and also because I remvoed some of the rooms and corridors I didn't want (mostly empty rooms that I didn't really want). On my maps there are no routes to Region E as I want the players to go through Region B. Actually there are no routes to Region B either as I don't want them to move on until they are ready. They will just conveniently find a secret door shortly after such time as Region A is finished and they are ready leading to Region B.
 

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