Megadungeon: Ideas and Advices

Hello y’all. Running out of game (three characters around lvl 4, not much on the horizon) I’m planning to hook them up with a huge megadungeon.

If anyone of my group is reading this (Diego I’m looking at you, no te hagás el gil) stop right here. Spoilers ahead

I’m not near starting yet, I had written just a couple paragraphs of background. The players will explore a sunken starship, full of deadly traps, unknown magic and lovecraftian aliens (which has a huge impact on the game setting, so I’m hoping to generate some cool adventures in the future with this).

Does anyone had any experience with megadungeons in Torchbearer? I know that the game supports smaller dungeons better, but the idea is for players to lead more than one expedition into the ruins. I’m thinking around 30 rooms divided in three levels (with the possibility of adding more).

Does it seems possible? What kind of problem you think I should expect? Any advices, from Torchbearer experience or any other game that you think would apply?

Stay cool :cool:

Hey, I’m planning a big dungeoncrawl with Torchbearer too. I’m planning on using some of the supplementary Rappan Athuk stuff from Frog God Games and following up with The Dungeon of Graves itself. I have a feeling the trick will be providing some safe campsites and more ready access to town (the latter will necessitate shortcuts facilitated by the players’ map).
I hope to have something running within a fortnight…

No experience with this but it should work. Might take a long time.

Being an actively occupied dungeon that you described, the state of things could change a bit between trips to town.

Oooo… that just gave me an idea: Torchbearer interwoven with How To Host A Dungeon! During PC Town Phase, the GM runs a similar creation/maintenance process for the dungeon.

Forget MegaDungeon… how about Bottomless Dungeon?! :wink:

My game which is currently on hiatus is basically a megadungeon. What I’ve done is basically create a large cluster of adventure sites that are all connected. The top level is a forest with several different adventure sites (I won’t get into specifics here in case my players read this thread) but below most of them are caves and whatnot that connect at various points. I would do something similar for your concept, using the surface of the crash site as one level, the cave/caverns it created as another, and the ship as another, not to mention anything the inhabitants might have done.

One thing to remember is that you can make your dungeon smaller and still get your “mega” feeling in there due to the nature of this game.

Yep, I’m reading, Vanguard. Thanks for not spoiling. :slight_smile:

Thing about Torchbearer is, you can go as far as you want to in a dungeon, but because of the resource mechanics, there will be points where you just simply have to turn back. That little interaction makes mega dungeons feel even bigger in Torchbearer. Heck, most of the time small dungeons are never completely explored.

I have a half-converted Moria from MERP sitting on my desk right now. It’s needlessly huge, but who said they have to see the whole thing? The fun thing about Moria is that because of the construction (fissures, passageways with a multitude of passageways connected, stairs, winding paths, etc.) it’s easy to convey that “This dungeon is impossibly huge and it would take us years to fully explore, but we can if we want to.”

Well, we are three sessions in and the adventurers have spent some time clearing out a small keep (to which one had inherited a title). The trip back to the closest town is relatively short and uncomplicated. There is a nearby dungeon complex that they plan to tackle once the keep is secure.

I am very interested in any Expert rules that come out from BWHQ with respect to setting up your own base of operations as a consqequence!

The true megadungeon hasn’t started yet though…


there will be points where you just simply have to turn back.

If it’s big enough to have an ecosystem (water etc), it can become an “under dark” type system where instead of turning back, players make torches from wooden doors, eat lichen soup etc. Or if they become friendly with one of the locals who may have a domicile (goblin king or family of troglodytes) who can provision them.

This is the same issue that occurs in rogue-likes or Nethacks. Where an entire level of the Megadungeon is a friendly area or a magic shop which allows the player to continue down to even lower levels. The trick is having the ability to make it to the “half way” point if you will. Which is a mark of success in and of itself.

B/X implies and the 2E DMG (ironically enough) explicitly states initial low level adventurers lasting perhaps only 1 or 2 hours in game. It’s a real mark of experience to be able to last longer than this. In this way, the 5 minute adventuring day isn’t an epithet, but a rite of passage.

I’ve just skimmed the rules so forgive me if I don’t quite get the whole game yet.

But why coudln’t you split your group up?

Would the rules allow say 3 of the 4 pc’s to stay in the dungeon when the other guy goes back up to get more supplies?

Or what about hauling a bunch of supplies down with you and setting up a room as a storage warehouse, that way you wouldn’t have to go all the way back up again… well eventually I guess. but not for a loooong time.

Splitting the group is allowed but not advised: any individual action advances the Grind and with a split party, there’s less helping dice available to any one character.

One character could leave the dungeon to go scavenging for supplies but you’re all still in the adventure phase.

Bringing supplies down to a secure area of the dungeon is a very good idea. We found a temple with a secret entrance and after securing it, kept it as our supply/water/treasure storage area for many sessions.

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