Would these maps make for a fun dungeon adventure?

Do the attached maps look like they'd be a fun dungeon to explore?

  • Yes

    Votes: 83 42.8%
  • No

    Votes: 54 27.8%
  • Maybe/Other

    Votes: 57 29.4%


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Melan

Explorer
grodog said:
That's one of the things I've appreciated most about Necromancer Games' Tomb of Abysthor and Rappan Athuk serieses: in the intros, Clark and Bill comment that one of the main drivers for play in a dungeon is to provide the players with goals. Players don't willingly enter RA, they are sent there to retrive X from evil temple Y on level Z; or the PCs must secure the services of alien wizard A on level B in order to accomplish unrelated-to-this-present-dungeon-environment goal C; etc. In OP map play, the players' piecemeal exploration of the map over several expeditions would likely provide those kinds of tactical goals directly.
Allan's observation about Necromancer's dungeons is spot on, and highlight a difference between "archetypal" 1st edition AD&D and Original D&D dungeons. In the former case, much more attention seems to be given to populating the whole complex, and sort of "compressing it" to focus on the "meat", so to speak. TSR's modules tend to emphasise this style*, I guess primarily for considerations of available space and company resources. Necromancer's Rappan Athuk and Tomb of Abysthor and the (freely available) Mines of Khunmar by Stefan Poag all embody the 1st edition approach.
In the OD&D case, as T.Foster pointed out, the dungeon can be the game (although as Judges Guild's early products demonstrate, the same philosophy can be applied to wilderness and city adventures); there is no overarching objective apart from having fun in a dungeon-type environment.
As a personal note, I always wanted to do an OD&D style megadungeon, but the lack of time, creative energy and attention span means the AD&D approach works better for me in practice. When I was a teenager, I sort of approached the large megadungeon campaign with the first Ruins of Undermountain set by using the maps only and making up rooms and encounters on the fly, but I don't believe I will ever do a "real" megadungeon on my own. I will probably buy and run Castle Zagyg or Blackmoor Castle when/if they come out.
___________
* D1: Descent into the Depths of the Earth may be an exception, although it is a tricky case... it may be thought of as a dungeon, but also as an "underground wilderness".
 

Melan

Explorer
Also, as yet another contribution to the present discussion, here are links to dungeon maps released by Judges Guild in the mid 1970s. These maps came with City State of the Invincible Overlord, and were unkeyed - basically blank maps you could fill in yourself. I find it significant that although they are much smaller than the ones attached in the OP, similar stylistic features are found in them. I also suspect that they might be more popular with a modern audience, and represent a compromise between classic dungeon design and lack of time/similar concerns.
Maps I 1-5
 


grodog

Hero
Melan said:
Allan's observation about Necromancer's dungeons is spot on, and highlight a difference between "archetypal" 1st edition AD&D and Original D&D dungeons. In the former case, much more attention seems to be given to populating the whole complex, and sort of "compressing it" to focus on the "meat", so to speak. TSR's modules tend to emphasise this style*, I guess primarily for considerations of available space and company resources. Necromancer's Rappan Athuk and Tomb of Abysthor and the (freely available) Mines of Khunmar by Stefan Poag all embody the 1st edition approach.

Yep. They're also full dungeons, which is probably a subtle nuance to what you point out above. The only AD&D module that I can recall which left rooms blank (without even a room number)---other than the B1 and B3 modules where all of the room challenges were blank and the DM would select them from the lists at the back of the advnetures---is WG5, which left many rooms undescribed (the recent redux of these levels in Dungeon 112 followed the AD&D/3e format/approach, and keyed all of the rooms in the map). Having those blank rooms encouraged me as a DM to further customize the module to my needs/tastes (beyond the usual admonitions for the DM to do so---this module really screamed out "Hey, Allan, you need to do some more work here" :D ).

Melan said:
In the OD&D case, as T.Foster pointed out, the dungeon can be the game (although as Judges Guild's early products demonstrate, the same philosophy can be applied to wilderness and city adventures); there is no overarching objective apart from having fun in a dungeon-type environment.

And the logical consequence of that is that groups would explore the dungeons; the limits of those explorations would then drive the next sessions' play: that allows the DM much more flexibility in level design (i.e., if he doesn't think the PCs are going to find the stairwell entrance to level 8 from level 5's south western corner, he doesn't have to begin design of level 8 yet).

Melan said:
As a personal note, I always wanted to do an OD&D style megadungeon, but the lack of time, creative energy and attention span means the AD&D approach works better for me in practice. When I was a teenager, I sort of approached the large megadungeon campaign with the first Ruins of Undermountain set by using the maps only and making up rooms and encounters on the fly, but I don't believe I will ever do a "real" megadungeon on my own. I will probably buy and run Castle Zagyg or Blackmoor Castle when/if they come out.

I'm revising chunks of my version of CG and will be working up additonal levels to fill it out, hopefully to begin play by around/after GenCon (which I still haven't completely written off attending, yet).

Melan said:
* D1: Descent into the Depths of the Earth may be an exception, although it is a tricky case... it may be thought of as a dungeon, but also as an "underground wilderness".

I tend to think of the edges of level 3 in G3 and all of D1-3 as an extended underground wilderness, too. As such, they don't really follow the dungeon exploration model in my mind.
 

Clangador

First Post
Well I love exploring old dungeons. back "in the day" my old DM use to say why spend your time in some musty old cave when you can get out in the fresh air. I still prefered the dungeons.
The game was named DUNGEONS & Dragons for a reason. :D
 

Maybe....


I would need to know content, traps, theme, NPCs and reasons for it being. Then what do your players enjoy? I once ran Undermountain and after going from 1st level to fourth they said enough and we avoided dungeons for two years.

There is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
 


Psion

Adventurer
I know I am delving back in time here, but I just thought I'd respond to this...

Melan said:
Allan's observation about Necromancer's dungeons is spot on, and highlight a difference between "archetypal" 1st edition AD&D and Original D&D dungeons. In the former case, much more attention seems to be given to populating the whole complex, and sort of "compressing it" to focus on the "meat", so to speak. TSR's modules tend to emphasise this style*, I guess primarily for considerations of available space and company resources. Necromancer's Rappan Athuk and Tomb of Abysthor and the (freely available) Mines of Khunmar by Stefan Poag all embody the 1st edition approach.

Making missions to run in and do something and get to the "meat" of a large dungeon seems to be to be a hallmark of Undermountain, a 2e adventure.

I didn't initially think of RA or ToA in this light, though in the case of RA, perhaps I should have, as it's comparable to undermountain in size and deadliness. I don't really approach ToA this way at all and still probably wouldn't. ToA really has a goal/mystery too it. (Well, so does RA, but it's a bit more remote, and Clark professes you're not really supposed to be able to confront the BBEG.)
 

T. Foster

First Post
Kafkonia said:
Given that it's been more than 4 months and the poll is closed, anyone willing to spill the beans?
Those maps are levels from the Greyhawk Castle dungeons drawn by Rob Kuntz (co-DM of the campaign with Gary Gygax) c. 1974. They were auctioned off on ebay around the time this thread was started.
 

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