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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

I Tap the Floor Ahead of Me With My 10' pole

I have recently become disenchanted with the sandbox setting. I find it is far too difficult to keep players motivated or to build up momentum for the campaign. Too often, PCs just flail around looking for the next hook to drop into their laps.

With this in mind I am pursuing a new type of adventure for me. The mega dungeon. I'm going to try running Greg Gillespie's Barrowmaze for my group. It is an excellently written dungeon crawl with many interesting features. Furthermore, I am hoping that it will give my players a little more structure without being an absolute railroad. I'm using LL/AEC and a few house rules.

I also chose a published module instead of writing my own because it would reduce the amount of prep time required on my part. I am a lazy, lazy creature.

I've added a few things of my own, like fleshing out the nearby town and giving it a name: Lychgate. I don't plan for the PCs to spends gobs of time there, but if they have a rough sense of the major NPCs and whom to talk to about what they need, I'll call it good enough.

We've had one session, and while the party didn't get very far, there were only three of them (plus a torchbearer/porter). The thief got poisoned by centipedes and that resulted in killing a week back at town while he recovered. In the end, they fought a few undead, opened a barrow, and got some treasure, so it was a good session by my reckoning.


  1. A megadungeon is a really good structure for play. You can focus your prep, the players get to work on it in little chunks, and even a "bad" expedition advances play and is fun to play.

    I went "megadungeon" instead of "sandbox" after too many years of trying to cover all of their impulse moves and new objectives. It's much, much easier now, even with the same players.

  2. I constantly bump against the same problem when running sandbox-type games with my group. They generally aren't proactive enough, and just sit there with blank faces as they wait for me to give them a "quest"-- in spite of me throwing them hooks left and right.

    I also decided to run Barromaze for my group a while back, and it was indeed a lot of fun. We went on for a few months, but I think everyone (including me) got icky from the oppressing darkness and decay. It's hard to explain, but I found it to be a tad depressing. ;)