Friday, March 4, 2011

Group Project! (A Sample Dungeon)



Most people that have been playing the game longer than, oh say... 15 years should recognize the rather iconic map above.  Even those of you that may have cut your teeth on 3rd edition have seen it presented there.  It is, of course, the dungeon originally provided in the AD&D 1e Dungeon Master's Guide.  It and the accompanying sample of play have together long been a sort of touchstone for me in the way that things like Village of Hommlet, In Search of the Unknown, Bargle & Castle Mistamere or Keep on the Borderlands are for others.

I realized something about this map and I recently.   Despite it's importance to my early understanding of the game I've only ever used it for off-the-cuff, ill-prepared ventures.  I've never actually sat down to stock and prep it like I now normally do.  That's rather a pity,  I think, because it's a well-constructed level.   That secret door in room 3 (hiding somewhat in plain view and challenging the party to put the clues together to find it) is a prize in and of itself.  Overlook it and you've got only a handful of standard 1st-level-dungeon-looking rooms on the top half of the map to explore.  Discover, it though, and the whole level opens up.

Beyond room three one can reveal the nooks and crannies of those odd passageways and the weird little side rooms whose overall layout and construction beg the questions "what?" and "why?".  Why this little bit here and that narrow passageway to nowhere there?  What earthly (or unearthly) purpose is served by the three 10' square rooms that terminate the narrow halls in the south-east quarter?  That series of rooms beyond the secret door is just dying to be stocked and described, is it not?

So here is what I am proposing to do and this is where those reading along can come into the picture if they so desire.  I'm going to stock that thing room-by-room here on the blog at a rate of three rooms per week starting next week.  I'm encouraging those reading this to do the same.  At the end of this process the world will have (hopefully) several stocked dungeons based on a single, iconic map.  The differences and similarities between them can be an interesting statement on the game and its participants.  

I offer only some simple guidelines for this venture:

  1. Use any version of D&D, the clones or even another game (even genre) entirely to complete the dungeon.
  2. Provide as much or as little detail as you desire as you go.
  3. To get started add a comment to this blog saying that you're getting started and provide a link to your blog so we can all go see.  
  4. You can join the fun at any time and take as long as you like doing it. 
  5. Use as much or as little of the background and the few existing room descriptions associated with the map from the DMG as you like.  The only requirement is that you use the above map.
  6. I'll be posting three rooms per week starting Monday, February 7th. 
  7. I encourage you to not only stock the thing, but talk about your choices and dungeon-building philosophy as well.  For instance, if you're using randomly generated results, talk about why.  If not, also talk about why.  Will it be a themed dungeon?  The value in this project to me is in hearing about what a particular DM likes as well as seeing it directly applied.  
  8. Will there be winners?  Will there be prizes?  Everybody is a winner but there won't be prizes.
  9. If you want to play but don't yet have a blog, start here.

20 comments:

  1. That's an interesting item, Matthew, thanks for sharing. It's not really within the scope of what I'm proposing here, though. It is a single work from multiple authors vice multiple works from multiple authors.

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  2. I'm in! I will also begin on Monday March 7, and will strive for quasi-weekly installments. I will be using the Labyrinth Lord basic dungeon stocking tables, with a few customized twists.

    http://carterscartopia.blogspot.com/

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  3. You're right--I was just tossing this one in the ring as one that's already done.

    I like your idea, too. Don't know if I'll take up the challenge, but I will be paying close attention.

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  4. @ Carter: thanks for being the first to step up to the plate, my man.

    @ Matthew: No worries. Please consider tossing your hat into the ring as well.

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  5. This is a fun idea! Can't wait to see it roll out.

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  6. I have begun. http://lunchingonlamias.blogspot.com/2011/03/admt-group-project-contribution-rooms-1.html

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  7. Very cool, C'nor, can't wait to see what's up with those stone-bound elves.

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  8. Thanks! I'm going to update that post with the backstory in a bit.

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  9. @James: Thank you for proposing this! My first installment is up now:

    http://carterscartopia.blogspot.com/2011/03/dmg-sample-dungeon-level-stocking.html

    @Matthew: Thanks for linking to the Dragonsfoot Project, it looks great! I posted a link to the "Crimson Monks" download on my blog as well.

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  10. Huh. What would you think of a participant using this map, but treating its scale as 1 square = 10 feet rather than 1 square = 5 feet? I ask this because 4e in particular is so greatly improved by giving players and monsters more room to maneuver.

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  11. Since I'm treating it as 1 sq = 10' as well, I'd think nothing of it. In fact, any scale that anybody wanted to employ strikes me as fair game since the only hard/ fast rule is to use the map and no scale is given in the image that I see. So, in short, have at it.

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  12. I'll join in the fun. My blog is: www.theskyfullofdust.co.uk.

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  13. Welcome Simon. Thanks for posting your link, I'll be checking it out.

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  14. I'm in! First rooms go live tomorrow.

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  15. I would really love to join in, but I've just got too much on my plate right now. For one, I've still got 4 areas to key on my Sea of Os'r map :)

    Excited to see how this turns out! :)

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  16. Good news David, will be watching.

    Migellito, if you clear your plate you can take the challenge up at any point you like.

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  17. I'll be joining in the fun also, though I know ahead of time that I'll be slow to post.

    http://harbinger-of-doom.blogspot.com

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  18. And also me; I have begun here: http://deck-of-many-things.blogspot.com/2011/03/three-gates-prison-section-1.html

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  19. I popped over and looked Kainenchen and am very interested to see what you and Shieldhaven come up with. Very cool idea. I'll add your blog to the list on the Sample Project home base, you can get there by clicking the map image on the top of the right-hand column of my blog.

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