I’ve been reading the session reports for Ken “Rusty” H’s Montporte mega-dungeon with interest of late. Though I’m a fan of ‘old school’ gaming, I’ve never been a huge fan of old school mega-dungeons. I’ve always imagined them to be rather monotonous slogs through bland dungeon environments, running into random assortments of monsters with little rhyme or reason. The Montporte dungeon has disabused me of this notion.
I recommend reading the session reports in order, for it will allow you to discover and explore the dungeon through the player’s eyes. And this, in turn, gives a GM good insight into how you should actually go about designing a mega-dungeon. I’ve found reading the Monteporte session reports to be a more useful guide on mega-dungeon design than reading a dozen or more ‘how-to’ articles on the subject. It’s one thing to say your mega-dungeon should have a history, but quite another to see that history unfold as the players discover it. Likewise with dungeon factions, as the party gradually discovers and interacts with the dungeon’s various factions.
One thing in particular I’ve noticed, is that the Monteporte dungeon doesn’t have all that many small rooms. Rather than a mind-numbing warren of interconnected 10×10 rooms, we get vast, industrial-sized chambers. Which perhaps is appropriate considering Monteporte’s staggering scale…it may be more accurate to call it a giga-dungeon.
Needless to say, I’m now excited about running a mega-dungeon campaign of my own. Though I’m thinking something post-apocalyptic rather than fantasy. Supposedly the Soviets built a number of self-contained, underground cities in the event of WW3, capable of housing tens of thousands of people. Sounds like an interesting setting for a post-apoc mega-dungeon. Guess I’ll just add it to the list of all the other types of games I’d like to run someday. 🙂