Monthly Archives: July 2012
What dungeon, you ask? Dragon’s Delve — a massive 27-level mega-dungeon more than half-a-million words long! It’s an adventure with 661 encounters, none of which are empty rooms or featureless corridors, arranged over nearly 30 maps! A whole campaign worth of material, capable of taking characters from 1st to 20th level, that begins with a bell on a string set by goblins and ends with a battle against a great wyrm red dragon demigod where the fate of a god hangs in the balance!
And while Dragon’s Delve may not be the biggest dungeon in the world, it has the distinction of having been conceived by Monte Cook (Ptolus, 3E Dungeon Master Guide) as the initial offering for Dungeonaday.com — a subscription website that created a classic “dungeon delve” style dungeon by releasing a single hyperlinked, cross-referenced encounter every weekday (each of which now has years of forum posts giving ideas on how to tweak, improve, or survive its challenges).
Over the site’s original lifecycle Monte designed 14 levels of Dragon’s Delve, and then turned to Super Genius Games to finish the massive adventure location with 13 more levels! Originally begun as a d20 OGL fantasy adventure, Super Genius Games supported the dungeon’s original rules system but also added rules for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game to their expansions. The final battle with the Dragon Prince went live in July of 2011, and Dragon’s Delve came to an end. Shortly afterwards it was decided to close the site for new patrons—existing memberships were honored, and four more (shorter) adventures released, but the encounter-a-day format ended.
Since that time, numerous additional customers have expressed an interest in gaining access to the five dungeons of Dungeonaday.com, but that posed a problem. The words and maps of these adventures could be saved and be sold in the form of PDFs, but what really made Dungeonaday.com special—the vast network of hyperlinks between the encounters that could continually be modified and added to—could not be maintained without the proprietary content management software that was used in the site’s creation.
So, now we have an opportunity to enter a new stage of Dungeonaday.com. We want to make the site available again, and allow new customers to experience Dragon’s Delve, and it’s companion adventures (Necropolis of Pergia, Tomb-World of Alak-Amur, Night of the Starbird, and Temple of the Black Goat).
We have lots of additional things we’d like to do with the dungeon. We have a 3-D walkthrough video already finished for one level, and would love to produce more for the crucial levels of the Dragon’s Delve. The Pathfinder game rules for some levels are not integrated into the early encounters, and many new Pathfinder supplements have been produced in the meanwhile, so we’d love to give the entire dungeon a top-down overhaul to fully take advantage of the rules, classes, monsters, and other awesome content that Paizo Publishing has released.
But those are things we can talk about a bit later—first what we want to do is offer patrons access to five complete online dungeons in all their hyperlinked glory, beginning the week after our Kickstarter campaign funds. Even if we never get the chance to do all the other amazing things we’d love to try (which we will add in the form of stretch goals once our basic target is met), this funding campaign aims to make some of the coolest dungeons ever written available to a broader audience.
I only ever interacted with Gary Gygax once, directly. It was before I had anything professionally published, before there was any chance he knew me as anyone but another guy at Gen Con. My first Gen Con in fact, sometime in the 90s. He was in or near the Wizards of the Coast area, running a table of wide-eyed fans in a short D&D adventure. I don’t know if it was 1st or 2nd edition, I don’t know if it was a contest, or a reward, or ticketed event, or what.
What I know is I stood and watched, as wide-eyed as the rest, for about half an hour. When one of the other players died and actually got up and walked away (everyone else stayed at the table once killed), Gygax looked at me and asked “Would you like to play?”
I know I didn’t manage to speak. I think I nodded.
And so I was given a character sheet, and got to play in a game run by Gary Gygax. I didn’t last long. The very next encounter was an attack on our camp by a pack of red-eyed dire wolves. Gary’s description of them was genuinely chilling. I had a fighter of some kind, and rushed out to meet them.
No PCs backed me up, instead staying near the campfire. Gary’s wolves tore me apart.
He gave me a big smile, told me it was a heroic death, then asked the next person standing around if they’d like to play, indicating my seat. I thanked him, gave the new guy a big smile, and handed him the d20 I had. I know I said “Good luck.”
Gary chuckled. It was awesome.