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MrZJunior
2019-02-22, 12:45 PM
What sort of megadungeons can you make beyond the classic twelve or so floors of caverns and tunnels?

I was thinking you could have a giant fortress that stretches up a mountainside with multiple baileys. The first one could be an abandoned town. Next a ruined monastery. After that a horribly overgrown garden, and so on. Each level would be separated by the walls of the old fort, providing a similar effect to a traditional dungeon. There would be all sorts of sally ports, tunnels, and other such things connecting the levels to reduce linearity. You could fit in more complexity by connecting the main fortress to smaller outlying forts or towers, these would act as mini dungeons.

What other unconventional megadungeon styles can you think of?

Man_Over_Game
2019-02-22, 01:12 PM
Each room is a separate object with portals. Each portal has a unique rune and several outbound runes you can select to choose where the portal leads. You have to gather up a knowledge base of where each rune goes and what each portal can lead to.

Randomly pressing buttons will still activate the portal, but cause a mild arcane explosion from it leading into a magical void, dealing a sort of arcane sickness to everyone nearby.

Many of the denizens are rather stupid, and maintained notes or ciphers to keep track of how to get to where. As a result, the players' ability to travel matches their ability to gather information and slay the inhabitants.

Tvtyrant
2019-02-22, 01:27 PM
What sort of megadungeons can you make beyond the classic twelve or so floors of caverns and tunnels?

I was thinking you could have a giant fortress that stretches up a mountainside with multiple baileys. The first one could be an abandoned town. Next a ruined monastery. After that a horribly overgrown garden, and so on. Each level would be separated by the walls of the old fort, providing a similar effect to a traditional dungeon. There would be all sorts of sally ports, tunnels, and other such things connecting the levels to reduce linearity. You could fit in more complexity by connecting the main fortress to smaller outlying forts or towers, these would act as mini dungeons.

What other unconventional megadungeon styles can you think of?

Inside a giant, city sized animal is a classic trope that is still weird. Flipping it so it is a normal animal and you got "honey I shrunk the kids"sd would be weirder.

Really, really shrunk inside a tree so the cells are the rooms and the enemies are protists, amoebas and fungi.

Much less shrunk and you are stuck inside a fairly big mansion which has rooms the size of small countries, mammals are colossal beasts and cockroaches are huge.

MrZJunior
2019-02-22, 01:29 PM
Each room is a separate object with portals. Each portal has a unique rune and several outbound runes you can select to choose where the portal leads. You have to gather up a knowledge base of where each rune goes and what each portal can lead to.

Randomly pressing buttons will still activate the portal, but cause a mild arcane explosion from it leading into a magical void, dealing a sort of arcane sickness to everyone nearby.

Many of the denizens are rather stupid, and maintained notes or ciphers to keep track of how to get to where. As a result, the players' ability to travel matches their ability to gather information and slay the inhabitants.

So a bunch of rooms connected by portals? Are the rooms like normal dungeon rooms or like separate mini dungeons in and of themselves?

redwizard007
2019-02-22, 01:29 PM
OP made me think of the orcs attacking the White City in LOTR.

One could apply the same principles as OP with a massive fleet of ships. I picture something like the greco-persian conflict depicted in the second 300 movie, but could be applied to anything from catamarans to aircraft carrier.

Each ship is a "room," (or series of them.) Deck hatches, ladders, rigging & stairs allow access to the crows nest, hold, captain's cabin, rowing deck, quarterdeck, etc. Boarding ramps, loose rope, cargo nets, small boats, flight, jumping, and simple swimming can allow movement between ships.

MrZJunior
2019-02-22, 01:30 PM
Inside a giant, city sized animal is a classic trope that is still weird. Flipping it so it is a normal animal and you got "honey I shrunk the kids"sd would be weirder.

Really, really shrunk inside a tree so the cells are the rooms and the enemies are protists, amoebas and fungi.

Much less shrunk and you are stuck inside a fairly big mansion which has rooms the size of small countries, mammals are colossal beasts and cockroaches are huge.

Oh man, shrinking. The thought would never have even occurred to me. Very cool idea, very creative.

Agent-KI7KO
2019-02-22, 01:35 PM
I wanted to copy Etrian Odyssey and have a mega dungeon keep going up a huge hollow tree filled with monsters.

Tvtyrant
2019-02-22, 01:35 PM
Oh man, shrinking. The thought would never have even occurred to me. Very cool idea, very creative.

My first major campaign I included a whole fraggle rock//hunger games part where an evil wizard shrank the party and threw them into a terrarium full of tiny warring tribes and animals. They had to escape through the terrarium's air mechanism, which was a dungeon made of moving metal parts.

Shrinking stuff opens up whole new worlds of possibilities.

MrZJunior
2019-02-22, 01:46 PM
My first major campaign I included a whole fraggle rock//hunger games part where an evil wizard shrank the party and threw them into a terrarium full of tiny warring tribes and animals. They had to escape through the terrarium's air mechanism, which was a dungeon made of moving metal parts.

Shrinking stuff opens up whole new worlds of possibilities.

In a game I was playing in a party member received a potted miniature forest, including bonsai shambling mound, as a gift.

Tvtyrant
2019-02-22, 02:16 PM
In a game I was playing in a party member received a potted miniature forest, including bonsai shambling mound, as a gift.
Just make sure it doesn't get struck by lightning!

Honestly though that sounds like the coolest quest reward ever.

Man_Over_Game
2019-02-22, 02:26 PM
So a bunch of rooms connected by portals? Are the rooms like normal dungeon rooms or like separate mini dungeons in and of themselves?

I'd make it so that each room had an explicit design, something pristine that has been defiled by the new residents. Now, the concept itself is pretty bonkers, an entire dungeon consisting of assorted rooms located in random locations in a pocket dimension, so the reasoning behind each room doesn't have to make sense.

Consider the fact that the Wizard who'd create this dungeon would likely see each room as an individual broom closet. If you were trapped inside of your bedroom, and you knew that there was an empty void surrounding you and leaving you nowhere to go, you'd start to go a little batsh**. Either out of insanity or for some unknown purpose, some of the rooms just don't make much sense to normal people.

Maybe there's just a hallway with a portal on either side, just so that its creator had a reason to walk around without feeling claustrophobic. Or maybe he just felt that any proper dungeon has a long hallway. Or that both ends connect to ley lines that are integral for the dungeon's design Who knows?

MrZJunior
2019-02-22, 02:36 PM
Just make sure it doesn't get struck by lightning!

Honestly though that sounds like the coolest quest reward ever.

It was from a game with a heavy emphasis on cooperative world building. I came up with it as a reward for a side quest related to my character.

I like these sorts of (seemingly) useless but flavorful items, much more interesting than yet another thing that makes you slightly better at doing other things. It gets really cool when people start coming up with creative and fun uses for them.

Mordar
2019-02-22, 02:50 PM
My first major campaign I included a whole fraggle rock//hunger games part where an evil wizard shrank the party and threw them into a terrarium full of tiny warring tribes and animals. They had to escape through the terrarium's air mechanism, which was a dungeon made of moving metal parts.

Shrinking stuff opens up whole new worlds of possibilities.

Like the possibility of me singing..."Dr. Shrinker, Dr. Shrinker...he's a madman with an evil plan...".

Love the idea.

Another thought - an island adventure, focusing on moving up from the shore to the top of the formative volcano and taking advantage of the model/idea that there might be 8 (or 10, or 11) climate zones on that island. A themed mega adventure, more than dungeon, that allows you to incorporate wildly different adversaries while still making some kind of sense. I also recommend a trip to Maui or the "big island" Hawai'i for research purposes. But stay away from Kauai.

- M

MrZJunior
2019-02-22, 02:52 PM
I also recommend a trip to Maui or the "big island" Hawai'i for research purposes. But stay away from Kauai.

- M

I like it. Do you know who's giving out grants for campaign related research these day?

falcon1
2019-02-22, 04:25 PM
I like the idea of there being a megadungeon which is based off islands: there are several dozen islands with various structures, caverns, etc. with dangerous creatures in the water, narrow safe paths between the islands, and all sorts of groups both hostile and not.

Imbalance
2019-02-22, 04:26 PM
Mega as a matter of perspective?

Rather than being shrunk, the party finds an ancient tomb or temple built by giants. There may only be a handful of rooms, but they're enormous and just exploring each space takes hours. Have one big enough for a dragon to take flight.

On the other end of the scale, the party is tasked to rescue an important sprite from an evil warlock. They learn that he has been trapped in a labyrinth designed especially to imprison his kind. None of the heroes may enter, but via scrying and message spells or even illusory magic they could possibly guide him to freedom. The warlock, realizing she can't stop them, sets traps and sends other tiny monsters into the maze. To the players, it's a bit like watching someone else play a video game, only they must collectively describe to the sprite which way to proceed to avoid danger and escape, whereas he can only see the dim tunnel before him and must decide whether to trust their directions - a trust that will erode each time they lead him into a trap or enemy.

He has no means of defense, but cannot be killed, per se, inside the maze. Each time he would come to harm, he takes exhaustion, until the point of death, which resets the whole prison and places him back at the starting point. When he encounters a monster, he flees in the opposite direction. To put a time clamp on matters, the warlock grows tired of your meddling and ultimately sends a pudding into the labyrinth that will eventually fill every path until all hope of escape is lost.

RazorChain
2019-02-22, 06:12 PM
Floating city or a fortress comes to mind

JAL_1138
2019-02-22, 08:02 PM
The Far Realm. (Or Limbo; it’d work just as well.) Conventional geometry does not apply. Going around a corner and then turning back to go the way you just came might instead lead you down an entirely new path. Nothing makes sense, and there’s no consistent theme. You might walk down a columned hallway in a stone temple and find yourself standing in one of the many mouths of a deranged Old One speaking gibberish blasphemies. There might be areas with no gravity. You might have to roll a saving throw to avoid falling in and getting lost in an impossible angle if you stray too close to the corners.

Tvtyrant
2019-02-22, 08:12 PM
Sunken pirate ship counts for sure, 2qy cooler then the normal dungeon and obviously full of sea monsters and money.

An old classic is the fallen space ship, if you use Spelljammer it would be fantasy but there was an old module with laser gun toting mindflayers. Maximum meta: fallen space dwarf fortress full of space orcs and a space balrog.

Particle_Man
2019-02-22, 08:57 PM
Underwater dungeons allow for more three dimensional combats and the like. Plus coral is pretty.

Wraith
2019-02-23, 05:06 AM
Inside a giant, city sized animal is a classic trope that is still weird. Flipping it so it is a normal animal and you got "honey I shrunk the kids"sd would be weirder.

Bonus points if the creature that you are exploring is one of the players' characters, who is also there via some kind of projection/minor simulacrum spell.
Functionally it wouldn't make a difference but it could up the stakes if, every time someone hurls a careless fireball at an enemy, their friend takes a tiny bit of damage or other related affect - blinded or dazed for a few seconds. Or maybe something even more exotic, like an errant spell suddenly causes them to grow a tail or something, if you'd prefer the tone of the game to be more comedic than tragic :smalltongue:

Seto
2019-02-23, 06:06 AM
I'm working on an megadungeon (well, a big dungeon, but adventure-sized, not campaign-sized) that's 5 dungeons rolled into one. At its core, it's a large temple to Nature and the Elements. Large, but not "mega". The trick is that the "normal", visible temple in the Material Plane is mostly empty corridors and halls, with blocked passageways and a secret inaccessible central sanctuary. But different versions of the temple simultaneously exist in the Planes of Air, Earth, Fire and Water. They're accessible from the Material plane temple. Same layout in every case, although one version could have an open passageway whereas the others will have it blocked - but those are not empty: they have guardians, enchantments, traps... To make gradual progress through the base temple, you need to go do stuff and unlock secrets in the elemental ones. It will probably require a lot of back-and-forth between the same rooms in different dimensions, but should be rewarding to the players when they see progress. Only by mastering every version of the temple can they access the central room.

Sort of a Legend of Zelda dungeon, I guess.

Thorongil
2019-02-23, 01:43 PM
Much less shrunk and you are stuck inside a fairly big mansion which has rooms the size of small countries, mammals are colossal beasts and cockroaches are huge.

I’m running my players through something similar this week.

The giants in my setting were upwards of 100 feet tall, and they left behind castles to match their size when they departed eons ago for this setting’s version of the Uttermost West.
So scaling a staircase is like climbing a mountain, the castles are crawling with giant rats, cats, birds and insects, simple low-level warding spells and traps do massive damage, to say nothing of the kenku flocks that guard the giant library.

I highly recommend trying this out.

superninja109
2019-02-24, 03:30 PM
Maybe you could do some ancient, abandoned city that is like a multi-level Venice except that there is no water. So, you have a huge mess of pathways, bridges, and platforms that the PCs explore. It could make for some interesting combats too (being on different platforms of varying levels, jumping between them, and trying to push monsters off.

This kinda reminds me of a combat that I haven't run yet where you are in a beholder's library. The library is a vertical shaft with some platforms on the sides where books are stored. During the fight, the beholder flies up and down the shaft, and whenever it targets a player with a disintegration ray, the platform the player is standing on is destroyed.

Something like this:
_____********_____
]*****************[
]*****************[
]*****************[
_____********_____
]*****************[
]*****************[
]*****************[
_____********_____
]*****************[
]*****************[
]*****************[
_____********_____
]*****************[
]*****************[
]*****************
__________________

The Glyphstone
2019-02-24, 05:16 PM
Maybe you could do some ancient, abandoned city that is like a multi-level Venice except that there is no water. So, you have a huge mess of pathways, bridges, and platforms that the PCs explore. It could make for some interesting combats too (being on different platforms of varying levels, jumping between them, and trying to push monsters off.

Sounds like Sharn in Ebberon.

Wraith
2019-02-25, 05:32 AM
If you're feeling brave, sadistic and/or otherwise just enjoy squeezing your brain into unusual shapes, there's also SolkaTursilver's Hypercube Trap (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?79135-Complex-Trap-Hypercube), which is basically a horrible dungeon all of it's own.

Brother Oni
2019-02-25, 07:45 AM
There's the dungeon from Dungeon Meshi (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delicious_in_Dungeon), which repairs itself and each floor is essentially its own ecosystem, so one floor might have an artificial sun which supports forest animals, dryads, etc, while another level is a massive lake, complete with deep sea megafauna.
It's rumoured that the original creator/ruler is still around and is responsible for the dungeon's lower levels re-organising their layout on a semi regular basis.


The dungeon in The Tower of Druaga (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tower_of_Druaga_(TV_series)) was a massive vertical tower that extended up miles and was probably a mile or two in circumference. The regular loot gotten out of the dungeon supported an entire town outside the dungeon and the tower had been so explored that there were outpost towns higher up in the tower, that could be used as a base of operations for dungeon crawls.

Like Dungeon Meshi, each floor was large enough to support its own environments, with desert, snow, etc levels. They're not as detailed as in Dungeon Meshi, but the magic of the tower keeps replenishing the monsters.

Flumphburger
2019-02-25, 11:17 AM
For an elemental themed dungeon that doesn't just do the elemental portals thing...

A dormant volcano.

You have the fire levels around the still-hot magma tubes. The ice levels near the apex, maybe including some parts that are full on ice caves carved or melted into the frozen crater lake nestled into the top. You have the water levels near-ish to the fire ones, where snowmelt has flooded some of the caves and is of highly variable temperature depending on how far you are from the magma. This snowmelt, along with magmal activity, is probably what ate all these labyrinthine caves into the mountain over the ages. Wind levels are when you have to cross the exposed mountainside for a ways. You could have green/forest/etc levels by putting some patches of forestion the more sheltered crevices and ravines of the mountainside, with multiple cave mouths and overland paths leading to and from each. And of course, earth is everywhere.

Throw in a ruined dwarf city, a cave system near the bottom that used to be connected to the underdark and still has underdark ecosystem in it, a town of azers or efreeti (still occupied, or long abandoned) built atop the magma pool itself, etc.

Tvtyrant
2019-02-25, 12:54 PM
There is also time as a concept to play with. Rooms could be at different times from each other, or the dungeon is moving through time much faster then the players so doors rot away and cave ins happen randomly and frequently, changing the dungeon as you walk across it. Caverns can rapidly fill with water then empty out, entrances fill behind you and stalagmites grow down like spike traps to stab party members.

The Kool
2019-02-25, 03:59 PM
I discovered an interesting element recently that caused a dungeon which fit onto a single sheet of graph paper to be about ten hours of play, and little of that was combat. Your dungeon will feel a LOT bigger if the edges wrap around (a hallway that leads off the edge of the map on one side connects on the other side) and is fairly labyrinthine. Players will feel overwhelmed by the number of potential passages to take, and the dungeon will feel far bigger than it is until they start retracing their steps and realizing that things look familiar. My dungeon was 25x25 squares. The effect compounds as the size increases. For added layers of disorientation, include hallways that don't feel like portals but jump from one section of the map to another. Play into the limited input the players are getting, and let them figure it out on their own. It will be highly rewarding when it all comes together. Bonus: This type of dungeon works extremely well with traps of all sorts.

DuctTapeKatar
2019-02-25, 06:16 PM
If you want to be REALLY mean, just copy the White Palace from Hollow Knight and adapt it into a tabletop RPG, Path of Pain included. But in all seriousness, that place is literally inside of a dream, so that's a pretty neat place to have a dungeon of that sort.

An idea that I had shared for a worldbuilding project on this site is actually a castle hanging from the roof of a cave, above a pit of toxic gasses.

Though it might not count as a megadungeon, the cave itself is a dungeon on its own, with platforming challenges and beasties hiding in the rocks. The castle itself is an abandoned dwarven citadel hanging upside down -- the interior is trapped, probably has undead or something worse hanging around, some of its towers and rooms reach into the gases below, and to make matters worse is that the building is incredibly old and it shows, with some of the passages breaking apart completely and plummeting into the cavern below.



I had thoughts about a mostly-aquatic dungeon made from crystalline towers above a vast ocean of still water, with various water-slides and such between the pillars of this domain to assist in movement between them -- but the largest issue of this place is that I'm not sure what to do with it. It sounds very pretty from an aesthetic standpoint, and could have some really interesting puzzles, but in the end, I'm not sure how to work out the lore of this place. You have towers of white gemstone, neat, and they stand atop what is basically a lake, and it is also a water park, but WHY is it made out of gemstone, why is it on a lake, and who decided that the best way to get from one tower to another is via water slide?

Flumphburger
2019-02-25, 08:20 PM
If you want to be REALLY mean, just copy the White Palace from Hollow Knight and adapt it into a tabletop RPG, Path of Pain included. But in all seriousness, that place is literally inside of a dream, so that's a pretty neat place to have a dungeon of that sort.

An idea that I had shared for a worldbuilding project on this site is actually a castle hanging from the roof of a cave, above a pit of toxic gasses.

Though it might not count as a megadungeon, the cave itself is a dungeon on its own, with platforming challenges and beasties hiding in the rocks. The castle itself is an abandoned dwarven citadel hanging upside down -- the interior is trapped, probably has undead or something worse hanging around, some of its towers and rooms reach into the gases below, and to make matters worse is that the building is incredibly old and it shows, with some of the passages breaking apart completely and plummeting into the cavern below.



I had thoughts about a mostly-aquatic dungeon made from crystalline towers above a vast ocean of still water, with various water-slides and such between the pillars of this domain to assist in movement between them -- but the largest issue of this place is that I'm not sure what to do with it. It sounds very pretty from an aesthetic standpoint, and could have some really interesting puzzles, but in the end, I'm not sure how to work out the lore of this place. You have towers of white gemstone, neat, and they stand atop what is basically a lake, and it is also a water park, but WHY is it made out of gemstone, why is it on a lake, and who decided that the best way to get from one tower to another is via water slide?

A water god.

kinglinus1
2019-02-25, 11:00 PM
The dungeon is one Room, 30 feet by 30 feet, resting on a mountain top. It has windows, (magically unbreakable) on all sides, and a door that seals shut upon entering. At the far end of the room is a small chamber, enough to fit the party into, and pulling the lever sends the players back in time, to the same room. You can play around with having strange monsters, strange items, strange ways of dealing with problems, ex, ex.

Now, this is a very... plot device heavy dungeon, so to speak. If you want to use time-travel, this could be useful, but otherwise... This probably won't be super useful, but it's a cool idea.

Flumphburger
2019-02-26, 06:21 AM
The dungeon is one Room, 30 feet by 30 feet, resting on a mountain top. It has windows, (magically unbreakable) on all sides, and a door that seals shut upon entering. At the far end of the room is a small chamber, enough to fit the party into, and pulling the lever sends the players back in time, to the same room. You can play around with having strange monsters, strange items, strange ways of dealing with problems, ex, ex.

Now, this is a very... plot device heavy dungeon, so to speak. If you want to use time-travel, this could be useful, but otherwise... This probably won't be super useful, but it's a cool idea.

That could be cool for a dungeon, but not for anything worthy of the title "megadungeon." Unless you're willing to have several dozen or hundred versions of the same room make up an entire mini-campaign.


This one is inspired by a recurring dream of mine.

A grove of incredibly huge trees in a tropical rainforest. Twisting burrows and crevices among their roots lead into fungal caverns hanging around the root systems. Rooms and climbing shafts have been chipped, bored, or naturally grown inside the trunks. The canopies form a series of walkways, and a series of artificial structures are built into their crowns, mysteriously supporting their weight.

Falling is a major hazard here, even with the soft and marshy ground below and many branches on the way down. Party should probably be mid level before even starting to explore this place.

Frozen_Feet
2019-02-26, 07:07 AM
Tower of Gods / World Tree: the dungeon goes really, really high up. There are exits to the outside (or tree branches reaching out) that lead to cities built on clouds, floating islands, planetoids, or other planes of existence. The top of the Tower / Tree is obviously the throne of God.

Brother Oni
2019-02-26, 07:39 AM
I discovered an interesting element recently that caused a dungeon which fit onto a single sheet of graph paper to be about ten hours of play, and little of that was combat. Your dungeon will feel a LOT bigger if the edges wrap around (a hallway that leads off the edge of the map on one side connects on the other side) and is fairly labyrinthine. Players will feel overwhelmed by the number of potential passages to take, and the dungeon will feel far bigger than it is until they start retracing their steps and realizing that things look familiar. My dungeon was 25x25 squares. The effect compounds as the size increases. For added layers of disorientation, include hallways that don't feel like portals but jump from one section of the map to another. Play into the limited input the players are getting, and let them figure it out on their own. It will be highly rewarding when it all comes together. Bonus: This type of dungeon works extremely well with traps of all sorts.

Yeah, dungeons that don't follow Euclidean geometry would seem more massive than they actually are.

As an example of how disorientating it is: link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEB11PQ9Eo8).

Vox55555
2019-02-26, 05:14 PM
A friend of mine once did a setting that was a mega dungeon. Basically the afterlife, a purgatory of sorts, was one massive dungeon. At the center there was allegedly a way to escape back to life, but tragically they moved on to other things before anyone ever delved too deep.

On the other side, I had a lot of fun running a dungeon delve inside one of my settings gods, an old god named Kell. Kell being an entirely mechanical entity that occupies its own space next to reality has large amounts of empty space inside of it, full of all sorts of treasures and creatures. It was fun combing the mechanical dungeon archetype with the "Sentient thing you don't want to attract the attention of" archetype of some dungeons. The fact they were one and the same was a pleasant bonus.

DuctTapeKatar
2019-02-26, 09:50 PM
The dungeon is one Room, 30 feet by 30 feet, resting on a mountain top. It has windows, (magically unbreakable) on all sides, and a door that seals shut upon entering. At the far end of the room is a small chamber, enough to fit the party into, and pulling the lever sends the players back in time, to the same room. You can play around with having strange monsters, strange items, strange ways of dealing with problems, ex, ex.

Now, this is a very... plot device heavy dungeon, so to speak. If you want to use time-travel, this could be useful, but otherwise... This probably won't be super useful, but it's a cool idea.

Though it isn't megadungeon material...

... If you make it a single large dungeon with this gimmic -- like a temple with several levels of time you could explore in -- that would be more megadungeon material. Go into the past 50 years ago? The temple is much fresher, and some of the old passageways that were abandoned or collapsed are now open. Go into the future? New sections and levels are added, though the older segments are starting to give way and you have to go back and retrieve items from earlier in order to progress.

The Kool
2019-02-27, 12:06 PM
Though it isn't megadungeon material...

... If you make it a single large dungeon with this gimmic -- like a temple with several levels of time you could explore in -- that would be more megadungeon material. Go into the past 50 years ago? The temple is much fresher, and some of the old passageways that were abandoned or collapsed are now open. Go into the future? New sections and levels are added, though the older segments are starting to give way and you have to go back and retrieve items from earlier in order to progress.

Wasn't this the concept behind Prince of Persia: Warrior Within?

Segev
2019-02-27, 12:22 PM
"The World's Largest Dungeon" and similar megadungeons are often - but not always - essentially campaign settings where the "wilderness" is fully detailed as a series of rooms and corridors.

You could create a megadungeon by taking the island on which you'd originally set your campaign, and instead of having sites separated by wilderness and roads with a few random encounters, you literally detail each rode, each section of forest, etc.

The big thing that megadungeons have going for them in terms of ease of doing this over an open overworld are partitions. They're underground, or in massive buildings, or the like, so you still have discrete rooms. Rooms that are small enough that you can't have an encounter in them on one end and then get into another on the far end because they were so far apart that it's reasonable not to know they were going on.

This can be simulated still by using distance as "walls." The wilderness space is chunked up by "rooms" spaced out by encounter distance and ease of access. Roads have numerous "rooms" along them, and are their own "corridors" between the "rooms."

It's the same amount of work as writing a megadungeon, but would flesh out a campaign setting overworld map considerably.

In a sense, the hex crawl overmap is a megadungeon of this sort, too: there's an encounter location in just about every hex, and the distance surrounding it is the "wall" barricading it from the other "rooms" (i.e. hexes). And, of course, there's the possibility of full-on dungeons in hexes. Making smaller dungeons in your megadungeon.


The original megadungeon, I think, was Halaster's Undermountain, below Waterdeep. That one was just level upon level of dungeon, with different bosses shaping different portions of it to suit their needs. A massive underground city occupied by monsters, mages, and madmen.

Frozen_Feet
2019-02-27, 04:05 PM
On the topic of non-euclidean dungeons, a dungeon where rooms are arranged on the surface of a Rubik's cube and the player can manipulate the arrangement with a smaller cube in their possession should work fine.

MrZJunior
2019-02-27, 07:13 PM
The original megadungeon, I think, was Halaster's Undermountain, below Waterdeep. That one was just level upon level of dungeon, with different bosses shaping different portions of it to suit their needs. A massive underground city occupied by monsters, mages, and madmen.

I've often heard that Caverns of Thracia and Dark Tower by Jennell Jaquays are considered the original megadungeons. They were published in 1979 and 1980 respectively.

Flumphburger
2019-02-28, 06:42 AM
I've often heard that Caverns of Thracia and Dark Tower by Jennell Jaquays are considered the original megadungeons. They were published in 1979 and 1980 respectively.

I think Undermountain was the first one to actually coin the term "megadungeon," but I'm not sure.

Ken Murikumo
2019-03-04, 02:45 PM
The (kind of) recent video game Echo had an incredible setting. Easily an inspiration for a Megadungeon beyond a simple series of tunnels or what have you.

It's extremely difficult to describe without needing a few paragraphs but definitely worth a look. Find any youtuber who played it for more than 10 minutes.

Knaight
2019-03-04, 03:03 PM
I've used a canyon system before, based loosely on a dendritic river system (strahler order of 3 or so, but it can scale up). That was more of a set piece dungeon, where it started with a bunch of small individual ponds with one of two varieties of aquatic creature that didn't get along spread throughout the canyon, which then flooded and turned into a chaotic warzone but it could work for a megadungeon instead. Just look at maps of rivers like the Amazon that include tributaries, and realize that most of the streams there, by count, aren't even on the map.

OmSwaOperations
2019-03-09, 07:05 AM
The classic weird megadungeon has to be the interior of the body of a colossal slumbering behemoth.

It could be a really interesting setup, especially given you could put in several incentives to avoid combat, and instead rely on social play/interaction/stealth:
1. If you create too much ruckus, the behemoth's immune system gets set on you.
2. If you create much too much ruckus, the behemoth rolls in its deathless and eternal sleep, effectively causing an Earthquake.
3. If you all the dungeon factions create ridiculous amounts of ruckus, the behemoth wakes up, basically resulting in the dungeon falling apart/being consumed by its newly awakened biological processes within a day or so.

Pleh
2019-03-10, 09:59 AM
My favorite tricks are small changes that alter basic assumptions of the entire dungeon.

Everyone knows the flooded dungeon trick. But how many think of the cavernous dungeon just having natural, uncarved floor, so the entire dungeon is difficult terrain (those who have explored a real cave know what I'm talking about)?

Darkness is expected, but torches are a dime a dozen and everyone's cousin has Darkvision. Why not use fog or light foliage for concealment throughout your dungeon, instead?

Then there's the negative dungeon trick. The players explore a vast, mostly empty and featureless deserted area. Interacting with a few hidden relics causes portions of the dungeon to rise up out of the sand, much like how they'd open doors in a regular dungeon.

Similar, but more complex to think through and set up is the Time Traveling Dungeon, where you interact with the environment only to pass through time in that space and interact with the same space at a later point in time (like planting a seed then jumping ahead to when it's bearing fruit).

Phhase
2019-03-11, 01:59 AM
Alright, I've had this idea for a while and this is the perfect place to drop it. Aboveground, a massive, abandoned wizard's guild tower (Think Hosttower size). There could be elementals, escaped experiments or demons, etc. That main villainboi at the top is a Goblin "archmage" who is channeling huge amounts of utterly wild magic from some kind of weird leyline coming from the tower.

But the sublevels are where the real fun begins.

At the base of the tower, there is an ancient iron golem smith, working tirelessly at a magical forge. He's a nice guy, but simple, think the Giant Smith from Dark Souls. He was never told to stop working, and all he wants is to make good weapons, but he needs replacement parts. As it is, the vast majority of the weapons and armor he creates are cursed in some way. This didn't bother the goblins, but if the PCs explore, they can find a HUGE underground junkyard of decaying magical weapons and armor. It is so vast that it gives off a sort or magical Chernobyl aura, causing the wild magic leyline. Aeons of cursed or flawed magical weapons are arrayed in vast mounds and drifts. Some are fragile or unstable, others actively malevolent. Some may even be serviceable. Rust monsters may lurk nearby, Chaos beasts spawn from the concentrated wild magic, black puddings gorge upon the strange metals. There's lots of cool stuff you could do. I really like the idea of a deep, deep magical refuse pile.

comk59
2019-03-11, 10:31 AM
One of my favorite megadungeons of all time was a classic floating city whose magic had partially failed, and was now sideways. Drawing the maps was a blast, and even single buildings became treacherous as hallways became massive 60ft pits, and ropes were needed to reach most doors.

The Kool
2019-03-11, 10:55 AM
One of my favorite megadungeons of all time was a classic floating city whose magic had partially failed, and was now sideways. Drawing the maps was a blast, and even single buildings became treacherous as hallways became massive 60ft pits, and ropes were needed to reach most doors.

Stealing this. I've seen it used to great effect in video games with spaceships, definitely putting it onto play.

JMS
2019-03-11, 12:04 PM
Stealing this. I've seen it used to great effect in video games with spaceships, definitely putting it onto play.

What about a dungeon in which the gravity switches sometimes? Feather Fall included if needed, or be mean and just let the players fall.

The Kool
2019-03-11, 01:11 PM
What about a dungeon in which the gravity switches sometimes? Feather Fall included if needed, or be mean and just let the players fall.

If you're going that far, (and playing D&D 3.5) take a jaunt on a plane with Objective Directional Gravity. Gravity at any given point is in a completely arbitrary direction. It may be as simple as towards the nearest surface, or as complex as varying rooms all having random gravity, but it's entirely doable. That though is gravity being fixed in each location... Having it the same everywhere but changing, now that's pretty cool too.

Clistenes
2019-03-11, 02:13 PM
1.-A Demigod or Epic Archmage has a dream collecting hobby. He keeps a demiplane that is a labyrinth full of mirrors. The Demigod or Archmage plane shifts to the Plane of Dreams, peeks at the crystal bubble-like Dream Islands, enters those that seem interesting, and if they are original, interesting or exceedingly beautiful, he takes the Dream Island, preserving it so it doesn't dissolve when the dreamer awakens, and takes it to his demiplane.

The Dream Island is dropped inside a mirror, and it is preserved forever. Visitors can enter the mirror as if they were doors and visit the dream. Dreams exist inside the mirrors in a time loop: When you get out, nothing you have done has consequences; wounds, diseases and aging are reversed, treasure disappear, and if you enter the dream again, you go back to the beginning of it, the dream world having resetted to its initial state...

There are two exceptions: You keep what you have learnt (only xp, memories and mental skills; if you learn a new psionic power or Bard spell, you keep it, but if you copy a new Wizard spell in your spellbook, it disappears; you can keep fencing moves you learnt, but you lose the benefits of any physical training you have done inside...) and if you die inside a dream, you enter a catatonic state that can be cured only by very high level magic (Wish and Miracle, maybe Greater Restoration+Heal...).

The creator of the demiplane was betrayed by a false friend and locked inside one of his dreams. The betrayer miscalculated, however, and they were trapped inside the same dream too due to a Contingency...

The demiplane is masterless now, all its treasures for the taking. However, even if you find a way to access it, its creator made it so any unwanted visitors would be dropped inside a dream and would have to make their way through a maze of dreams until they find the concealed exit out of the dream maze and into the real chambers of the demiplane...

2.-The hunting lodge and pleasure villa of the gods. A moon that is covered by a massive palace (gardens, halls, libraries, dining rooms, bedrooms, gyms, swimming pools...etc., everything you can imagine...); the furniture and rooms are scaled for giants, the wealth and beauty is beyond mortal imagination... visitors are treated as guests and are lavishly provided with food, drink, clothing, sleeping quarters and entertainment by magical servants (illusory ghostly musicians appear on command, walls can turn into mirrors that show either real scenes from the past and present, or fictional stories... you an even enter the mirror and take part in the story as in an immersive VR game... there are also board games where, by moving the pieces, you control characters in these illusory worlds... the servants will provide any book you ask, and Simulacrum concubines of any species, gender and personality will appear and disappear at you command in the bedrooms...).

There is a catch, however: If you break something valuable or you try to steal something, the defense mechanisms activate, and you will be facing deadly foes... If you break the rules too much or stay for too long after breaking them and defeating the guardians, advanced enemies like Ice Assassins and Inevitables will appear...

Also, you aren't the first visitor: Other people have come before, some have fought their way out after stealing some treasure, some died, some stayed intending to live there forever, some created a cult that worships the creators of the pleasure moon and have declared it their holy land, some have summoned outsiders and created undead to kill other visitors to keep the paradise/holy land for themselves...

You can steal from other mortal visitors or from the corpses of dead intruders without fear of reprisal, and you can also freely fight and kill other visitors save in some peace-bound areas where fighting if banned...

The pets of the gods, the animals and plants in their gardens and the vermin that manage to survive in hidden nooks can be quite dangerous to humans too...

There is also the fact that, somebody, most probably divine, created the pleasure moon, and will probably be quite pissed if he or she returns (it can happen tomorrow or a thousand years in the future) to find some vermin squatting in their vacation villa...

The pleasure moon circles around a massive planet covered in incredibly varied ecosystems... there are massive beasts from all the Planes and Crystal Spheres, all the way up to creatures in the Epic Handbook and even more powerful, that have been taken there to become the quarry of the gods' hunts... the moon is, after all, a hunting lodge...

You can freely go down to the planet and hunt any beast at your pleasure and even take any gems, spices, drugs furs...etc. you find without fear of reprisal... the beasts are, however, deadly dangerous to any party, no matter how high their level...

Malphegor
2019-03-11, 02:46 PM
I’m quite fond of spacially impossible dungeons. In our world, we’re playing with 2d maps. We can get all Escher up in this business. Stuff that can be drawn but could not exist in a real 3d space as drawn without magical shenanigans.

Pacman-style looping hallways if you go in one direction, gravity being differently oriented for you permanently depending on how you open doors, staircases that go on forever so long as you never look at the actual design and reveal- hey, there’s a secret trapdoor at the endpoint of this ‘infinite’ staircase.


Perhaps you enter one room and you’re inside a painting on the wall of a room you’ve already been in, and exist on a 2d plane.

Maybe you extend into the 4th dimension and see yourself earlier in the dungeon, intangible like ghosts.

Maybe there’s a bit of 5th dimensional chicanery, probabilistic stuff, and you encounter alternates of yourselves from other settings.

Maybe you can only slide down stairs, yet an actual slide is ad easy to climb as a staircase. Maybe you have to close doors to pass to another room?

You could have a huge dungeon consisting of one room
where it has a million different rules for how it functions

Let’s get weird.

PastorofMuppets
2019-03-12, 08:44 AM
I like the idea of a fairly orderly multi level mega dungeon with almost literally everything inside it in terms of obstacles. As players advance they find most kinds of mindless minion haunting the halls but nothing with much intelligence. While there is treasure to find careful inspection shows that much of the treasure is fake, a giant golden statue is actually gold plated for example. At the end of the dungeon they find contact information for a long gone consortium of masons, carpenters and magicians. The scroll lists pricing options for several of the traps and dungeon features that the players encountered along the way and an offer for free site visits and estimates for your very own dungeon. Also at the end are several magical visitors badges that deactivate the traps nearby and essentially cast hold person/monster on any of the dungeon minions. The command word of Show Me will activate then reset any trap it is aimed at or cause any surviving monster to do a shadow boxing type skills demo against empty air.

Imbalance
2019-03-12, 04:01 PM
So, you're sending them to Ikea?

Malphegor
2019-03-13, 11:48 AM
So, you're sending them to Ikea?

Ooh, the range of stuff there is nice for animated objects dungeon.. Could work out as a nice side adventure or one-shot, an Ikea dungeon. "Legend has spoken of those who entered the strange blue and yellow block building. Many have gone in, none have come out. Divinations reveal only furnishings at convenient albeit still high prices, in a strange script. Dare you enter... THE IKEA!"

Thinking a flumph made of meatballs and spaghetti would be essential.

I wonder if Ikea do maps?

Lord Torath
2019-03-13, 03:33 PM
I’m quite fond of spacially impossible dungeons. In our world, we’re playing with 2d maps. We can get all Escher up in this business. Stuff that can be drawn but could not exist in a real 3d space as drawn without magical shenanigans.

Pacman-style looping hallways if you go in one direction, gravity being differently oriented for you permanently depending on how you open doors, staircases that go on forever so long as you never look at the actual design and reveal- hey, there’s a secret trapdoor at the endpoint of this ‘infinite’ staircase.


Perhaps you enter one room and you’re inside a painting on the wall of a room you’ve already been in, and exist on a 2d plane.

Maybe you extend into the 4th dimension and see yourself earlier in the dungeon, intangible like ghosts.

Maybe there’s a bit of 5th dimensional chicanery, probabilistic stuff, and you encounter alternates of yourselves from other settings.

Maybe you can only slide down stairs, yet an actual slide is ad easy to climb as a staircase. Maybe you have to close doors to pass to another room?

You could have a huge dungeon consisting of one room
where it has a million different rules for how it functions

Let’s get weird.Dragonlance had a section of a dungeon called The Endless Halls. Depending on how you went through them, you would shrink or grow, and also, you could see multiple views of your companions if they left your "square" depending on how many "paths" led from your "square" to theirs. If you went the wrong way, when you reached the treasure, you'd be too small to carry any of it. It was part of The High Clerist's Tower, which was a pretty cool dungeon all by itself.

Yora
2019-03-14, 03:12 AM
I'm currently working on an underworld where the direction of gravity gradually changes over distance. Gradual enough to not make you sea sick if you keep your eyes on the floor while you are running, but shoting arrows and throwing things over longer distances becomes almost impossible, since paths are no longer arcs but tangled spirals.
Similarly, long ropes dangling down holes won't always hang straight. Flying with wings also becomes hugely dangerous and makes you crash into walls (which are all really the floor).

I have not yet tried to map this. For small tunnels it might not matter, but I think for large caves that could have big effects.

Segev
2019-03-14, 10:58 AM
I'm currently working on an underworld where the direction of gravity gradually changes over distance. Gradual enough to not make you sea sick if you keep your eyes on the floor while you are running, but shoting arrows and throwing things over longer distances becomes almost impossible, since paths are no longer arcs but tangled spirals.
Similarly, long ropes dangling down holes won't always hang straight. Flying with wings also becomes hugely dangerous and makes you crash into walls (which are all really the floor).

I have not yet tried to map this. For small tunnels it might not matter, but I think for large caves that could have big effects.

So gravity changes in a manner that makes a square-cut corridor with a continuous floor look like somebody grabbed both ends of the corridor and twisted? Interesting. Kind-of like that one hall in the Forest Temple in Ocarina of Time.

Friv
2019-03-14, 03:32 PM
Bioshock Megadungeon.

A group of wizards who were tired of being bothered by local society went and built a series of connected demiplanes where they could research and work in peace, united in their desire to advance the cause of magic. But it turns out that putting a cabal of extremely powerful individuals whose only unified desire is "I get to work on things and no one gets to tell me no" doesn't work long-term, and they ultimately got paranoid and went to war. Now there are only two survivors, locked in a cold war and afraid to enter each others' domains lest they fall into arcane traps, and their various experiments and the descendents of the servants they brought over have overrun the areas.

The players accidentally enter, and can't leave because one of the surviving archmages is still maintaining the wards to keep the other one from bringing in allies, so the other one tries to use the players as pawns to let him take over everything. He might even not be lying; if the PCs are okay with leaving an evil genius in charge of a vast array of magical creatures, slaves, and treasures, he will actually give them treasure or take them on as apprentices or lieutenants. But if they're good, he'll try to disguise how evil he is to get them to work for him anyway, by seeming to be the underdog on the verge of defeat.

(Probably the PCs figure out the truth early and try to figure out how to survive this whole nightmare.)

Segev
2019-03-14, 03:40 PM
Bioshock Megadungeon.

A group of wizards who were tired of being bothered by local society went and built a series of connected demiplanes where they could research and work in peace, united in their desire to advance the cause of magic. But it turns out that putting a cabal of extremely powerful individuals whose only unified desire is "I get to work on things and no one gets to tell me no" doesn't work long-term, and they ultimately got paranoid and went to war. Now there are only two survivors, locked in a cold war and afraid to enter each others' domains lest they fall into arcane traps, and their various experiments and the descendents of the servants they brought over have overrun the areas.

The players accidentally enter, and can't leave because one of the surviving archmages is still maintaining the wards to keep the other one from bringing in allies, so the other one tries to use the players as pawns to let him take over everything. He might even not be lying; if the PCs are okay with leaving an evil genius in charge of a vast array of magical creatures, slaves, and treasures, he will actually give them treasure or take them on as apprentices or lieutenants. But if they're good, he'll try to disguise how evil he is to get them to work for him anyway, by seeming to be the underdog on the verge of defeat.

(Probably the PCs figure out the truth early and try to figure out how to survive this whole nightmare.)
You could even play with it more: make one or fewer of them actively evil, and just give them philosophies that may or may not be unpleasant to the PCs.

The original Bioshock doesn't seem to have the founder of the city actually be all that evil, at least not be certain philosophical lights. He didn't force anybody to do anything; he didn't abuse people nor lie to them. His society fell apart due to the actions of the other guy whose primary purpose was to sieze power by forcing others to do his bidding.

I'd actually argue it was a CG with CN leanings guy vs. an NE with LE leanings guy, rather than two evils against each other.

Of course, this isn't the forum to argue politics (and, given the Randian nature of the one I'd term CG's views, it qualifies), so if you disagree, you're free to. My core point is not to demonstrate goodness or evil of the Bioshock NPCs, but rather to point out that you can have an interesting megadungeon of this sort where potential conflict arises not from the mad wizards all being evil, but just some being Lawful when the party is Chaotic, or some being Chaotic when the party is Lawful, or even some being Neutral when the party sees their Neutrality as problematic.

Yora
2019-03-14, 03:45 PM
I just started work on a ridiculously huge ruined temple that is one giant room with 8 pilars. There are stairs and some rooms inside the pilars, and since it was abandoned, people have been building all kinds of platforms and bridges between the walls and pilars.

I call it: The MEGACHURCH! :smallbiggrin:

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/432b58c055dff5c63d2107310433f46b-251x300.gif http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/vehicle-assembly-building-300x300.jpg

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Blight_Town-300x169.jpg http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/90cbf2bc4088-600x400-300x200.jpg

I don't think it's really a megadungeon, as it's not meant for almost continous play. Probably only going to be 100 "rooms" at the most.

Not quite sure what I will populate it with. But at that scale, there's plenty of room for a couple of factions, and perhaps some wyverns nesting on the roof.

5crownik007
2019-03-14, 04:00 PM
An absolutely monumental watercraft run aground in the ancient times before time. Made from metal in a technique unknown.

Bohandas
2019-03-14, 04:54 PM
(Reposted from Weird Races and Strange Places (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?545888-Weird-Races-and-Strange-Places))

Dream Fortress

The players have to assault a fortress in the plane of dreams from which the Quori are enacting some dastardly plan.

The fortress is built following dream logic. It is entirely larger and taller than it needs to be. The layout is both maze-like and inconsistent. The rooms are an assortment of rooms from similar locations/buildings in the "real" game world scrambled, combined, rotated, mirrored, and repeated as nauseum. Many rooms have their own stairs and second floor that doesn't let out into the corresponding floor of the rest of the building; For example, someone's sleeping quarters might have a finished basement seperate from the rest of the building. There are many rooms that aren't needed and/or don't fit the purpose of the building, although their construction and decoration generally fit the style of the rest of the building. There are also many rooms that almost fit the purpose of the building or almost fit their own purpose but are slightly off or have some other additional unrelated nature; such as an armory for swordsmen that contains only bows, or a guard post that is also a busy restaurant.

Occupants of the fortress include quori and dream NPCs. The dream NPCs are much like regular NPCs except their behaviors are limited as appropriate for something formed from somebody's distracted thoughts. Some of the dream NPCs may be inappropriate to a fort such as this, particularly but not exclusively in rooms that don't fit (which they generally but not always do fit). Furthermore, many of the denizens of the fortress (which include both quori, and non-quori dream NPCs) look like different people or things than what they are or are supposed to be, and in the case of the dream NPCs their behavior sometimes doesn;t match either their identity OR their appearance.

In game terms:

The gross layout of fortress is constructed like a roguelike such as Dungeons of Dredmor, with rooms being randomly generated as they are encountered, but with two major differences from normal roguelikes: Firstly the rooms do not have to all "fit" together on the map, if a room is generated that would overlap with an existing room the result is not thrown out but the rooms do not overlap either, draw the second room elsewhere on the map and add a note that they are conmected (alternately, at the DM's discretion, sometimes encountering a second room that doesn't fit may cause the connection to the first room to "decay" (see below) provided that nobody is looking from the first room to the room that both these hypothetical rooms connect to (if any).
Secondly, the connections between rooms gradually "decay". If a room has not been visited in a while it is struck from the map and put into a pool of used rooms. It may appear again later in a different location (see below)

Each new room can either be a prefabricated setpiece (see below), a randomly generated generic room, or a previously visited room. First roll to select which of these the new room will be, then roll to choose from the list and/or to choose the shape and contents of a new generic room.

There are two main types of rooms, generic rooms (choose shape, contents, occupants, etc. from a table), and setpieces. These latter rooms are predesigned and include things like major encounters (including the actual mission objective), chunks of locations from the "real" game world (including not just other dungeons but regular civilian buildings as well, especially ones that many people would be familiar enough with to dream of), weird staircases (not just escher type stuff, also stuff like fancy entryway staircases from fancy buildings*, except not necessarily in entryways), irregularly shaped and/or highly specialized rooms, specific non-euclidean/multiply commected rooms (such as the saddle-point and conic angle deficit rooms in one of my earlier posts), shops, etc.





*For example
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d9/Bundeshaus_Kuppelhalle_Uebersicht.jpg/377px-Bundeshaus_Kuppelhalle_Uebersicht.jpg https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/6a/Opera_Garnier_Stairway_2008.JPG/220px-Opera_Garnier_Stairway_2008.JPG

Bohandas
2019-03-23, 02:28 PM
How about a war ravaged city wherein trenches, barricades, and rubble (and, contrastingly, walls knocked out of buildings creatig new openings), in combination with magical fortifications brought in during the battle (Instant Gortresses, Secure Shelters, etc.) have turned the city's formerly open design into a maze of constricted passageways.

Yora
2019-03-23, 03:57 PM
One of my favorite fantasy stories is Lynortis Reprise, which is set in the trenches outside a ruined city that had been under siege by alchemical bombardment. It's a very bleak story, even for a Kane story, but the setting and the creatures that haunt it are amazing.
(The resolution probably hasn't much punch if you haven't read a couple of Kane stories before, to get a feel for what is "normal" in that series.)


An absolutely monumental watercraft run aground in the ancient times before time. Made from metal in a technique unknown.
HMS Apollyon is a megadungeon that has the PCs being shipwrecked at sea and their raft coming close to an unimaginably huge abandoned ship that has been floating on the sea for a long time and is slowly falling apart. I'm not sure if it was ever finished and published, though.

CombatBunny
2019-03-25, 02:17 PM
How about they transport to a dungeon that exist in a tiny alternate dimension, but here is the twist:

The dungeon is a “castle/palace/cavern/youNameIt” made entirely of gold bricks, gold coins, diamonds and all kind of gems and jewelry, everything is valuable. The place has a strong curse in which you can take things out of bag of holdings and the like, but there is no way you can place things inside again.

Of course, none of the gems and gold is of any value inside the dungeon, because trying to use as currency any of that, is like trying to buy things with rocks and mud. It can be funny to see when will the players realize that trying to keep treasure will be as useless and cumbersome as carrying rocks all around.

Once they finish the dungeon and find the way out of it, there is no actual treasure but what they can manage to carry with them.

Lord Torath
2019-03-25, 02:28 PM
How about they transport to a dungeon that exist in a tiny alternate dimension, but here is the twist:

The dungeon is a “castle/palace/cavern/youNameIt” made entirely of gold bricks, gold coins, diamonds and all kind of gems and jewelry, everything is valuable. The place has a strong curse in which you can take things out of bag of holdings and the like, but there is no way you can place things inside again.

Of course, none of the gems and gold is of any value inside the dungeon, because trying to use as currency any of that inside this dimension, is like trying to buy things with rocks and mud. It can be funny to see when will the players realize that trying to keep treasure will be as useless and cumbersome as carrying rocks all around.

Once they finish the dungeon and find the way it, there is no actual treasure but what they can manage to carry with them.You'd be surprised how many gems you can fit in a standard backpack, though. And 20 lbs of gems is going to be worth a LOT. Like, "buy the royal palace" a lot. And if you don't think your players are willing to have their PCs cut their shirts into belt pouches, and use their socks for additional storage (blisters be darned!), you'd better give it another think.

Plus, dangling a huge treasure in front of your players just to yank it away is a pretty common trope in published adventures. This is nothing groundbreaking.

J-H
2019-03-25, 03:19 PM
I have two contributions.

#1: I am currently adapting Castlevania IV for 5th edition. See post in that thread. I still have a lot of work to do.

#2: The Complex of Doom
This is an ongoing on-forum game, so I am not going to post the details about why the dungeon exists, who's running and maintaining it, or what its cosmic function is...suffice to say that there is one.


The Great Maze
Underneath the continent of Hybora lies a great complex full of arcane and eldritch machinery. A number of great adamantine and mithril spikes, covered in runes, project upwards from it, through the skin of the world, and high into the sky, almost as high as the tallest mountains.

The origin of the great device is lost, along with much of the older histories. What is known is that it is constantly drawing power from the earth itself, and that when it reaches full charge, the spikes light with a terrible glow; indescribable colors coruscate up and down them for 5 minutes, and then death comes; random destruction covers anywhere from a tenth to a quarter of the continent, and the ocean around it besides. Sometimes death comes in fire from the sky; sometimes in the form of reversed gravity. Plagues, darkness, armies of strange twisted creatures, instant conversion to undeath, and other forms of doom have been observed. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the method, only that it always comes, and never in the same way twice in a row.

Circles of runes randomly appear in the air around the continent, forming doorways to the Complex; always one at a time, never more than two, and not in the same place for more than a week. It is those circles that have preserved life. Through them, daring adventurers have entered and explored. Tales come back of strange environments, dusty rooms, and lines of strange pulsing crystals that can be smashed to release some of the power stored in the machine. If enough people succeed, the machine can be kept at low charge. Over the last few centuries, it has only reached full charge twice.

Hyboria's soil, despite all this, is fertile, and rich in metals and minerals; it's a good place to live, as long as enough adventurers do their part to preserve the peace. As a result of the constant low-level drain on risk-takers and ambitious fighters, it's also a peaceful place. The hotheads already have something better to do than attack the species next door.

It is said that more species once lived on Hyboria; that some have chosen to migrate entirely within the complex, reasoning that destruction occurs only outside, and never inside.

==
Sages have attempted to map the functions of life on the surface, and talk about things like "deenay" and "heritable traits." All adventurers, however, know that magic does many things, and that what neatly fills a scroll in a study often differs from the physical reality.

Water: Throughout the complex, water flows in and out from underground rivers. Slow drips of water can also be found from aquifers and other sources, as would be found in a natural terrestrial caverns. No poisonous waters have yet been found. It is not known whether some natural mechanism keeps the water safe to drink, or whether a magical effect is in place.

Food: Several varieties of edible mushroom growing from organic matter as well as from certain veins of mineral and pulverized rocks. At least two mildly toxic varieties have been identified. The mushroom species are well-known enough that a Survival or K: Dungeoneering check against DC 15 is sufficient to gather food safely (Take 10 is available unless rushed).

Some groups have reported seeing groups with chickens as a source of eggs.

There are several small mammal and lizard species, filling the basic ecological functions of rabbits and squirrels.

Some areas of standing or barely-flowing water have species of fish and eels in them. Not all are benign.

There are also a number of large caverns with large artificial lights at the top. These lights seem to function with a modulated, permanent Daylight effect, and are sufficient to grow crops or even trees.


===
Item upgrades:
Occasional 'runeforges'. Metal (adamantine+magic) boxes covered in small inscriptions. Gold, or magic items (at 50% of their value) can be placed on this and items selected/built. There is probably a psychic component to their operation, although this is not confirmable until higher levels.

When magic items are consumed, some of the stored energy fires off in a (harmless) pulse of light that flies along the floor towards the nearest crystal chamber. This can be used to track/backtrack...and yes,that means that gear upgrades charge crystals that help blow up continent.

==
Last activation:
The last activation was (10d20+50)[161] years ago. It covered 13% of the continent with great clouds that descended in the middle of the night. The clouds possessed the following effects:
-Consistent dispelling field as CL10 against all magic within the clouds
-Cloudkill (Kills 3 HD or less; 4-6 HD save or die, 6+ HD take Con damage)
-Blight (kills plants/plant creatures)
-Fog cloud (obscured vision)
-Still air (no wind)

The clouds remained for (2d6)[8] hours and then combusted, dealing (2d6)[4] fire damage to everything within and starting numerous fires (most of which were put out shortly due to lack of fuel).

==
Entry/Exit: Entry portals are random. Exit portals are random, and appear about 10% as frequently as entry portals. An active entry portal iYes blue, an active exit portal is red. Inactive portals do not glow.

Yellow stepping discs are spread infrequently throughout the complex in two-way pairs. They are 10x10 and can accomodate 1 teleport every 30 seconds.

Clistenes
2019-03-25, 07:53 PM
The fortress is built following dream logic. It is entirely larger and taller than it needs to be. The layout is both maze-like and inconsistent. The rooms are an assortment of rooms from similar locations/buildings in the "real" game world scrambled, combined, rotated, mirrored, and repeated as nauseum. Many rooms have their own stairs and second floor that doesn't let out into the corresponding floor of the rest of the building; For example, someone's sleeping quarters might have a finished basement seperate from the rest of the building. There are many rooms that aren't needed and/or don't fit the purpose of the building, although their construction and decoration generally fit the style of the rest of the building. There are also many rooms that almost fit the purpose of the building or almost fit their own purpose but are slightly off or have some other additional unrelated nature; such as an armory for swordsmen that contains only bows, or a guard post that is also a busy restaurant.

My dreams are totally like that: Houses and apartments are a mix of rooms from different places I have been in, and when I walk around town, it is always a mix of streets from different cities, towns and villages I have visited... There are actually some shops and streets that I can remember only in my dreams! I know they exist, but I can't remember where they were located! :smalleek:

J-H
2019-03-25, 09:35 PM
I have "dream" versions of several different places that have shown up repeatedly. College dorms and some of the areas around campus, my parents' house that I grew up in, and work.

I can remember them well enough to tell where my dream-brain got them from, but they certainly aren't true-to-life.