Friday, December 30, 2016

Favorite Greyhawk Megadungeon

Howdy Greyfiends! I occasionally add a poll on the front page for fun and today I've decided to comment on the results of the one on megadungeons. I have to admit first that I could only think of 4 true megadungeons for Greyhawk. If I overlooked a choice tell me, but really isn't 4 more than enough?

Ideally, Castle Greyhawk/Greyhawk Ruins/etc. should be the champ here but it came in last at 12%. In hindsight I wonder if it's because I inadvertantly named it Castle Greyhawk and people thought I meant the joke module? No I meant all incarnations as a whole. Oh well, the whole poll is ruined, moving on...

My personal favorite is Maure Castle. Whether its the original Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure or Dungeon Magazine's update and expansions, Robert J. Kuntz's dungeon holds more danger and mystery in my mind than Greyhawk's ruins. Also, Eli Tomorast! However, those polled said it was only second place worthy at 17%!

The Temple of Elemental Evil is first place at 55% and probably deserved so. It's classic Gygax, it has a great back story, location, iconic villains and a sand box feel. I have no problem with people picking this dungeon though if I was more clear about Greyhawk Ruins the poll would be closer.

Lastly, I threw White Plume Mountain in for variety, figuring it was next closest qualifier for a megadungeon and it came in third! I debated with myself that the Tomb of Horrors was a megadungeon and concluded it's too short and was just a series of traps. Now I don't know much about the later additions to ToH or WPM for that matter. Give me your opinion if I'm off base.

Needless to say, aspiring authors, the World of Greyhawk might be overdue for a new megadungeon. Greyhawk Ruins has been done to death, Maure is pretty much tied to RJK stylistically and the others have been revisited as well. If I had to pick a location off the top of my head for the next great megadungeon, I'd place it in the middle of a forest. Perhaps the Fellreev or the Grandwood. Okay now get to work on that!


Mystic Scholar said...

And -- what? -- for the Fellreev or Grandwood?

Caves? A lost "jungle" city? What did you have in mind of this mega-dungeon?

Mike Bridges said...

Mystic: Well in both cases it's easy to assume a lost elven city with respective dungeon of some ancient wizard type.

enabity said...

Another good forest location might be the lost Suel city in the Suss, not elven, but definitely wizardly. Also, the home of Hunger in the Adri is more doable than one might think if for instance someone evil like St. Kargoth had found the means to release Hunger and Darnakurian from stasis.

I'm inclined to want the important locations defined by an adventure supplement that doesn't necessarily give a story overview, but is more of an environment for the players and DM to play in. As such I'd rather see such a megadungeon define the existing space. It appears you would prefer to have new space defined. Is this why you suggested the Felreev and Grandwood? Also, do you think megadungeons/megamodules are best done as mid-level? Technically, Age of Worms was a Greyhawk megamodule, but not a megadungeon.

Jason R said...

Are there any notable mega-dungeons that you've adapted from other settings / games for your Greyhawk campaigns?

Mike Bridges said...

Jason: Undermountain is a classic but I would never port it over to GH. It would seem wrong. I did run Dragon Mountain in Greyhawk, though the premise of that dungeon iirc is that it teleports to different worlds. Hard to say cause I've ran Greyhawk Ruins at least 3 times so anything else is fuzzy in my memory.

enabity: I picked a forest like the Fellreev and Grandwood due to their size and lack of real development. Fellreev probably isn't the best choice since it does have alot written in Iuz the Evil. Maybe the Burneal Forest instead? At any rate mid-level is definitely the weet spot for monster and magic frequency. The best high level megadungeon I've ran is Maure Castle. That place though kept you guessing, it didn't have a logical easy to hardest order it was really random.

I ran all of Age of Worms and enjoyed it. I would love to revisit parts of that and create a megadungeon, such as the Riftcanyon home for Dragotha or the giants or some other lair of Kyuss.

Jason R said...

Have you ever run Return to the Ruins of Greyhawk? I read through it and was impressed with how they used sections of the original in a more focused plot involving iconic Greyhawk personalities. One could use that technique to enhance or replace other sections of the dungeon if desired.

Mike Bridges said...

Yeah I did like the refreshed back story the old "Paizo gang" gave that adventure. I did try to run it, but the delve format was a turn off to me. I hated flipping through what was essentially a series of combat scenarios with cut-scenes. Fine for an AP, not what I liked for this I guess.

Michael Gross said...

Playing more certainly gets the creative juices flowing. In catching up on blogs I've missed, I read this one which then reminds me of the Celadon Forest dungeon I put together back in 2005 or so. I put it aside first because I joined the Castle Zagyg/Yggsburgh project but ultimately shelved it due to my first wife's falling ill and passing away.

I'm actually thinking I should dig it out and see how much of a dungeon I even created. I do know that I used the Ghost Elves from Dragon magazine as the reason the PCs would find the dungeon in the first place.

Between this and another idea kicking around, I need to find some spare time.

Mike, as far as your earlier blog wondering about 2017, please keep with it. I don't get to visit or comment as much as I'd like but your site is one of my go-to places for Greyhawk inspiration. Cold iron avail you!

Mike Bridges said...

Michael, my condolences.

As to the blog, I had thought my readership was down and that was in part due to a blogger glitch which I fixed. Now if content and news keeps rolling in like it has been I'll remain upbeat. I just have fits of melancholy when there is nothing to write about haha.

Your Celadon project sounds unique. Please dig that up and let us know how it goes.

Joseph Bloch said...

The Maze of Xayne (sp.?), which is tangentially, albeit non-canonically, associated with the Great Kingdom, might be a candidate. I've also been toying with the lost city of the Suel on the banks of the Jewel River as such a megadungeon.

NaRong said...

Maybe it's because no one likes those Nyrondese. Not Aerdy, not the Pale, definitely not Iuz and the Bandit Kings. I'm not even 100% sure the Iron League and Urnst likes them.

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