Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > GURPS

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-09-2020, 11:54 AM   #1
philosophyguy
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Default Dungeon Fantasy Megadungeons - Playstyle questions

I just received my PDF of Megadungeons from the recent Kickstarter, and I'm interested in running a similar kind of game in my next campaign.

I have several questions about how this playstyle works from a practical perspective, and would appreciate any input from people who have played or run this kind of campaign before.

* When going through previously explored parts of the megadungeon in order to get to a new area, how much detail do you put into the already covered ground? There are some suggestions in DF 21 that the already-explored parts of the dungeon can change, which suggests not handwaving away those areas. But, as the party gets deeper into the dungeon, I worry about spending a huge chunk of play time to just get to the new stuff. What advice can folks offer on how to manage this sequence?

* How much of the (explored) dungeon do you have mapped out, vs just described? In theory any part of the dungeon could become a tactical combat zone, but mapping hundreds of rooms can quickly become overwhelming.

* Any tips for GMs to manage their notes about foreshadowed clues? I tend to run games with a more defined narrative direction, so I can think about what clues to plant because I have a good idea of what my players will be trying to do in the next 3-4 sessions. With the players having lots of options to explore, I worry that I won't be able to track my clues or foreshadow effectively.

* As the game progresses, how do you keep the characters from breaking the economy in terms of the amount of loot they get? At some point, I worry that the party will have so much money that further loot will feel unrewarding. Any suggestions for good "sinks" that characters can spend their money on?
philosophyguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2020, 01:29 PM   #2
zoncxs
 
zoncxs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: earth....I think.
Default Re: Dungeon Fantasy Megadungeons - Playstyle questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by philosophyguy View Post
* When going through previously explored parts of the megadungeon in order to get to a new area, how much detail do you put into the already covered ground? There are some suggestions in DF 21 that the already-explored parts of the dungeon can change, which suggests not handwaving away those areas. But, as the party gets deeper into the dungeon, I worry about spending a huge chunk of play time to just get to the new stuff. What advice can folks offer on how to manage this sequence?
For me, the main thing is to ask about the setting, does the megadungeon reset itself? does things respawn? Does it shift around? Lets say no to all of that. That means that the only thing you need to keep track of are the things the PCs missed the first time going through. To keep things interesting I would also roll for random encounters with each spot they pass that they cleared, making the rolls increase until they it triggers and they run into something.

If the dungeon does shift around, then I would have a map of every room already made and ready, while again keeping track of what was missed. If things respawn, that makes it easier since I only need to keep track of missed stuff (again).

My advise for this is to make sure you have on hand the locations you want the PCs to explore mapped out and fleshed out, along with at least the next area they would get to. If the place does not shift around, and things don't respawn then make sure the PCs understand this so that no one waste time turning over every stone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by philosophyguy View Post
* How much of the (explored) dungeon do you have mapped out, vs just described? In theory any part of the dungeon could become a tactical combat zone, but mapping hundreds of rooms can quickly become overwhelming.
Personally, I map out everything because I do use tactical combat, even if the PCs don't see the map. I find this helpful because it makes it easier for me to describe locations better and orient the PCs better. You don't have to have everything mapped out all at once, but have enough mapped out so that you don't end up having to cut a session short to go and build the rest. Also, I would continue to build the dungeon non stop to stay ahead of the PCs exploring.

Quote:
Originally Posted by philosophyguy View Post
* Any tips for GMs to manage their notes about foreshadowed clues? I tend to run games with a more defined narrative direction, so I can think about what clues to plant because I have a good idea of what my players will be trying to do in the next 3-4 sessions. With the players having lots of options to explore, I worry that I won't be able to track my clues or foreshadow effectively.
This is a tough one. It depends on the players really, are they good and looking for clues and following them? If not, I don't bother with foreshadowing, but if I manage to get a group that is inquisitive and notice things, I will add stuff for them to be entertained.

For keeping track of such things, I would personally list all the clues I want to give, label each, and then keep track of where they are placed in each room/location with the same label system. For example, lets say I have 6 new clues that I want the PCs to find (if they look for them) that detail what the next few areas will be like. I would label the clues like "cA", "cB", "cC", etc. with the little "c" standing for "Clue" and the following letter for which one. Then I mark which rooms have which clue, I don't mark where in the room the clue is because I have also not though of what the clue should actually look like at this point. That is because I want the players to be able to find the clue and know it is a clue. So once the players make it there I do some rolls to see if they notice the "Clue", if they do I let them know what it is all that. If not, I either move the clue to another room and make the rolls easier, or I mark that it was not found in that room, leave it in that room, and make the roll HARDER. That clue will only be found if the PCs actually look for it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by philosophyguy View Post
* As the game progresses, how do you keep the characters from breaking the economy in terms of the amount of loot they get? At some point, I worry that the party will have so much money that further loot will feel unrewarding. Any suggestions for good "sinks" that characters can spend their money on?
This is actually easy. Here is my list:

Board and room. They should not be staying at the cheapest place all the time because as they make more money, they should want to stay at better places. I would force this by having their belongings being stolen from time to time at cheap places.

Security and storage. The more loot they get, the harder it will be to sell, merchants don't have infinite money, and they buy stuff at 40% the original price (assuming the PCs aren't filthy rich and have merchant skill) So they will want a place to store their stuff that they know will be safe. Just hiding it under a tree won't work, they will want to take it to a bank of sorts and store it their. Not even an inn is safe from theft after all.

Repairs and replacement to gear and equipment. The PCs should be buying food, water, bandages, and other gear every time they delve. Their armor and weapons should be getting damaged, arrows wasted, etc. The cost to getting new stuff should not be over looked. As GM you declare the prices, and if you got a group that is coming back with loot all the time, you sure as hell know they got the gold, so you will charge them more for the regular stuff.

Loot is junk most of the time. They should not be finding piles of jewels all the time. Really expensive loot should be things they will want to keep and use, loot that they would want to sell should be things that is hard to move around without help.

Help and servants. They should be hiring servants to help carry loot, and to explore. This is expensive but worth it since it means they can bring back more loot.
zoncxs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2020, 01:41 PM   #3
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: Dungeon Fantasy Megadungeons - Playstyle questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by philosophyguy View Post
* When going through previously explored parts of the megadungeon in order to get to a new area, how much detail do you put into the already covered ground? There are some suggestions in DF 21 that the already-explored parts of the dungeon can change, which suggests not handwaving away those areas. But, as the party gets deeper into the dungeon, I worry about spending a huge chunk of play time to just get to the new stuff. What advice can folks offer on how to manage this sequence?
In OD&D megadungeons I've played in, this was essentially a social problem. The creatures that move into newly-vacant areas of a dungeon are rarely the toughest around. They're usually ones that were failing to compete where they were, looking for somewhere a bit safer.

"We're the people who cleared this area out last week. You don't look like you have much worth taking, so just stay out of our way, OK?"

And if you just scoot down corridors to the staircase to the next level, this generally works fine. Of course, since you're leaving potential enemies behind, this imposes a limit on the risks you're willing to take, since you may have to fight to get out. But a megadungeon is always like that anyway.
johndallman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2020, 02:06 PM   #4
Taneli
On Notice
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Default Re: Dungeon Fantasy Megadungeons - Playstyle questions

If I repopulate dungeons, I usually just roll randomly to see if it happened. (1 on 1d6 being the most common chance for such things happening.)

If there's a reason why repopulating that area would make sense, I add +1 or +2 to that chance.

If the area was depopulated in a public or very strong-handed way, or in a way that diminishes the area's usability (weapons of mass destruction, *SPLAT*, the plague, or whatever makes sense for your game world) I give the chance a penalty of -1 or more.

Also, more time usually means a greater chance for repopulating to happen. Usually a week is no mod, a day is -1, a month is +1, a year is +2, and so on.

If repopulation occurs, I check if one of the surrounding populations expands to this area, or if it would make sense if the friends of the previous occupants came there, or if it's something brand new (like a dragon finding the lair of the cursed dwarves). If no obvious new occupant presents itself, I roll randomly between the various neighbours, same as previous, and something new.

As for the new population level, well. That depends on the new occupants. If it's something that doesn't breed (like, say one of the stone golems from the neighbouring area stumbling in there), or breeds slowly (a singular dragon found the cave), then it's just that. If it's something else, like a clan of goblins, for instance, then it depends. I usually just roll 1d6, with 1 being just a scout or two, not a real threat for the party, just nuisance. 2 to 5 being a mino (2) average (3-4) or major threat (5) to the party, and 6 meaning something interesting (like several clans of goblins, or a scouting party that has a nuke or an equivalent, i.e. something that the player party has to actively avoid instead of just simply beating in combat.
__________________
[/delurk]
AotA is of course IMHO, YMMV.
vincit qui se vincit
Taneli is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2020, 12:04 AM   #5
Balor Patch
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Default Re: Dungeon Fantasy Megadungeons - Playstyle questions

Peter (DF21 author) has a very extensive blog of his Felltower campaign at https://dungeonfantastic.blogspot.com, including a tab linking his megadungeon design posts.
Balor Patch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2020, 01:30 AM   #6
Taneli
On Notice
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Default Re: Dungeon Fantasy Megadungeons - Playstyle questions

On things to spend money on: consumables, consumables, consumables.

It is a lot less "game breaking" to have many one-use bonuses and one-use ability granting items be available for purchase, than permanent items. If, for example, your party has an archer with a mundane but very good quality bow, rather than having a shop with a magical bow, consider stocking the shop with bunches of magical arrows, maybe even some with interesting and different abilities, like spell arrows, and alchemical delivery arrows.

If you do it this way, you can then stock the dungeon with things that make sense from the dungeon's point of view, and not care too much about stocking it with gear for the players.

Sure, if they then discover that the Ritual Cleaver of Dismemberment for the Glory of the Old One that they found from the temple of the Old One actually does work as a good, if heavy and awkward two-handed axe for the Body Builder Bard, good for them. Unbeknownst to them, each dismemberment also slowly calls the Old One back to it's temple from it's millennia of slumber under the Iced Cream factory in town of Rye-Lee...
__________________
[/delurk]
AotA is of course IMHO, YMMV.
vincit qui se vincit
Taneli is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2020, 01:31 PM   #7
Alden Loveshade
 
Alden Loveshade's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Hmm, looks like Earth, circa CE 2020+
Default Re: Dungeon Fantasy Megadungeons - Playstyle questions

I should start by saying I'm getting this book through the Kickstarter, but haven't gotten it yet. So my comments are on dungeon crawls in general.

Quote:
Originally Posted by philosophyguy View Post
* When going through previously explored parts of the megadungeon in order to get to a new area, how much detail do you put into the already covered ground?
Very little. It might be, "Gee, there's a couple dead orc bodies and some blood around. Looks like somebody was here. I wonder who? In the next room...."

Quote:
Originally Posted by philosophyguy View Post
* How much of the (explored) dungeon do you have mapped out, vs just described? In theory any part of the dungeon could become a tactical combat zone, but mapping hundreds of rooms can quickly become overwhelming.
I used to make the mistake of creating overly elaborate dungeons--most of which nobody ever got to. One of the best game runners I know one day showed me one of his dungeons--it was pretty simple with few rooms compared to mine. But he and I both had everything mapped out--to me it was a lot easier to keep track of everything that way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by philosophyguy View Post
* Any tips for GMs to manage their notes about foreshadowed clues? I tend to run games with a more defined narrative direction....
Most dungeon crawls specifically don't do much with foreshadowing clues--much of the idea is that it's largely random. If you want them to get to something specific, I would make the clues pretty obvious--"You heard a rumor that, in the dungeon three days to the east, there's a giant troll guarding...."

Quote:
Originally Posted by philosophyguy View Post
* As the game progresses, how do you keep the characters from breaking the economy in terms of the amount of loot they get? At some point, I worry that the party will have so much money that further loot will feel unrewarding. Any suggestions for good "sinks" that characters can spend their money on?
First, keep the treasures relatively small in value to avoid this problem. Remember, most people make a living from a regular job. An adventurer who makes a living from adventuring is a highly exceptional person.

Second, and this goes beyond dungeon crawl, having them sometimes deal with where they live can help. Do they want to get better furnishings and impress their neighbors--or just have their annoying neighbors stop accusing them of being a slob? What if they get robbed? What about taxes?

And if there's city guards, they might question, "Just where did you get the Third Staff of Longo the Mad anyway? Don't you know that's a city heirloom?"

I know, much of this moves beyond dungeon crawls. To keep it at that level, I'd simply keep the treasures at a level that fits the PCs income level.
__________________
My first GURPS book has been edited and is awaiting playtest. What is it? It's [REDACTED]
Exchange Students (fantasy/horror/science fiction anthology including my story set in my GURPS galaxy)
Online interview of myself and one of my published GURPS characters
Home page http://alden.loveshade.org
Alden Loveshade is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2020, 02:52 PM   #8
David Johnston2
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Default Re: Dungeon Fantasy Megadungeons - Playstyle questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by philosophyguy View Post
]I just received my PDF of Megadungeons from the recent Kickstarter, and I'm interested in running a similar kind of game in my next campaign.

I have several questions about how this playstyle works from a practical perspective, and would appreciate any input from people who have played or run this kind of campaign before.

* When going through previously explored parts of the megadungeon in order to get to a new area, how much detail do you put into the already covered ground? There are some suggestions in DF 21 that the already-explored parts of the dungeon can change, which suggests not handwaving away those areas. But, as the party gets deeper into the dungeon, I worry about spending a huge chunk of play time to just get to the new stuff. What advice can folks offer on how to manage this sequence?
Well one approach is just not to leave very often. There's no particular reason why a megadungeon can't have merchants, or entire towns contained within the safer areas. You could easily find adventurer camps or dwarf clans setting up in areas that have been cleaned out.
David Johnston2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
dungeon fantasy, megadungeon

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:29 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.