Thursday, July 20, 2017

Stonehell: Running an open table megadungeon.


There's something immediately fascinating to me about the megadungeon.  A vast network of halls delving ever deeper into stranger realms, where adventurers brave horrendous monsters, lethal traps, and cunning puzzles to win fame and fortune.  The scope of the dungeon implies a certain precedence: this is the game.  World building can be somewhat postponed when the session is all about plunging straight into the dungeon for further exploration, but the world building that emerges through play can lead to an organic, immersive experience.
I am running Stonehell, Michael Curtis's 10 level megadungeon for Labyrinth Lord, as an open table on Roll20.  I'm adapting it to Swords & Wizardry Complete, my preferred retro-clone, which is pretty much effortless.  I'm redrawing all the maps in Dungeonographer and drawing dynamic lighting in Roll20.  This allows for some fun dungeon exploration.  Easy to track the party's movement through the dungeon, and no confusion on the description, but their vision of the dungeon is limited by their light source.
I am capping players per session at 8 to keep it manageable, and posting a signup sheet a couple days before each session.  I'll post my play reports and thoughts on play as we go.  As a product, I'm very impressed with Stonehell.  I purchased the pdf and was ready to run the first session the following day.  It uses a very condensed format to make each section of the dungeon very easy to digest.  I would definitely recommend this to anyone interested in large dungeons, but especially for someone new to running this sort of thing.  It doesn't waste any time on anything you don't need, which really lets the referee focus on presenting the dungeon.

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