Friday, August 22, 2014

One Super Dungeon

I became enamored with the idea of a megadungeon after reading +Peter Del'Orto's blog Dungeon Fantastic.  I have long run sandbox games, and the idea of a massive dungeon complex that adapts to and is shaped by the players appealed to that. Some time this past winter, I decided I wanted my own, so I began conceiving an ancient evil fortress buried under a ruined city that itself arose as a center for dungeon delving. But as I slowly worked, thought about the history, and worked up multiple entrances and interconnections, it became clear that this was not a single contiguous dungeon. It was a super dungeon.

Not everyone may know of super dungeons by name, but the concept shouldn't be terribly unfamiliar. Briefly put, a super dungeon is a massive complex sprawling across miles rather than yards.  It is a dungeon of dungeons. Those curious should look up David Pulver's Eidetic Memory: Super Dungeons (GURPS Pyramid #3/50: DungeonFantasy, p. 20-25). It's well worth the read.

This particular super dungeon consists of a pre-starfall fortress where a particularly evil spirit once sheltered while creating an army with which to conquer the world. It was burrowed out deep beneath a natural cave system in a remote part of an equatorial jungle. Eventually, the forces of good managed to defeat the vile spirit and dismembered him. They hid each of the twelve parts within the massive, labyrinthine fortress and sealed it. Those of his followers who survived his defeat scattered to the wind, but only for a time.

After years passed and memories faded, the shattered forces of evil began to coalesce once more at the fortress. Groups of cultists and dark-minded adventurers sought out the buried dungeon and attempted to gain entrance. Some sought powerful artifacts, others wanted to stitch together the pieces of their fallen master and his broken dream. Over time, a vile and despicable city grew atop the dungeon stronghold, and once again the forces of good found it necessary to decimate the growing threat before anything came of it.

Now, the primary megadungeon consists of the Swallowed City - the remnants of that dark jungle town, its sewers which reach through the natural caves down into the vile fortress, and the fortress itself. Those ruins are still partially inhabited by a variety of unsavory beastmen who regularly try to plunder what lies beneath their feet. They are often beaten back, however, by forces unknown to jungle inhabitants. Satellite dungeons include a local beastman dwelling known as Bridgetown, a number of cenotes that dot the land, the natural caves, a large subterranean river, the compound of a local witch, an abandoned gem mine, and a forgotten and fearsome temple buried beneath the roots of the rainforest.

A Relational Map

I suppose this map could still use some more information. In particular, it needs to denote which regions connect to the surface. I'm sure it's missing other things, too, but that is the one omission staring me in the face.

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