This past week I have copied and pasted Info, Tables and a sneak peek for eight of the keyed areas found in the upper levels of Ulin-Uthor, The Dim Expanse. Here's some more information in regard to the megadungeon.
On the first level, those maps designated as Level One, there are seven seperate sheets of graph paper crammed with keyed areas. These maps constitute 288 keyed areas. Amongst them are rooms with a single sentence of description, and rooms such as The Gallery, which claims over two pages of information. No one has found The Gallery yet, and it's many mysteries and secrets might never been unlocked.
Aside from the Recurring Encounters, of which I have provided two such examples in the past week, few of the rooms have any actual monster descriptions. Once the dungeon is written, I use methods for filling it based upon the region and the Wandering Monsters Table. I've been using the simple OD&D method for stocking, and a system of index cards. Thus during play I have my printed sheets as shown this week, my hand drawn maps, and two card files with hand written index cards for monsters, treasure and a large stack of pre-rolled Wandering Monster encounters. When the dice call for a Wandering Monster, I simply mix up the cards and draw a random one.
I award experience immediately after the melee is concluded, but experience for gold will not be awarded until it is actually removed from the dungeon and brought back to town. I am mulling over the idea of 'on the spot' leveling, but since no one has earned enough experience to become 2nd Level as of yet, I haven't decided exactly how this will play out.
Ulin-Uthor currently consists of sub-regions; collections of dungeon levels with a particular theme or history. All of these fit together to form The Dim Expanse, and I strive to make sure they don't simply feel like seperate dungeons stapled together to form the larger picture. Thus I have included features that involve the regions with one another.
The regions are hinted at and talked about through rumors and local legend. They are Krawlspace, Lahromil's Demise, Hundred Pits, The City Below, The Weeping Caves and The Slumbering Vault. I have plans for more, as needed. In general terms, each region encompasses two levels (aside from Krawlspace which is more or less a sub-region of Lahromil's Demise). Thus, the lowest level of The Slumbering Vault is Level 10 in the dungeon. There are currently six entrances into Ulin-Uthor, each ranging from well-known to forgotten. There will be more as I continue to write the megadungeon.
The Donjon, which I will need to revise and rewrite, can be accessed through Level 10, and for now will be the bottom of Ulin-Uthor proper. More than likely The Donjon will connect in some way to deeper, darker mysteries below. The Donjon is my old homage to S1, Tomb of Horrors.
Here's a little blurb I wrote up to aid me in keeping track of time during actual play:
Time in Dim X
Movement and searching turns should be tracked using a large d6 and a large d10, called The Hourglass. Every time the d6 changes from 6 to 1, an hour has passed. Make a record of 1 hour’s passing by moving the d10 by 1 to track the hours spent. Thus The Hourglass indicates time spent underground in hours and turns. Once 10 hours have been recorded, it is important to keep track of further time spent underground, as the party will now be subject to penalties from becoming taxed or heavily taxed.
Searching requires 1 full turn. An individual PC may search a specific 10’x10’ area in a turn. Thus, a party of 6 could search 6 separate 10’x10’ areas in 1 turn. Searching also includes the actions involved with opening locks, breaking down doors, extricating a PC from a pit, exploring the contents of a detailed room, etc. These turns must also be timed on The Hourglass.
Party movement through Ulin-Uthor will be measured in turns, using the slowest party member’s movement rate.
The dice I use for The Hourglass are large and sit off to my left during play. The ease of using a d6 and a d10 for tracking time has enabled me to remember when to check for Wandering Monsters, and to easily note the time spent delving the depths.
~Sham, Quixotic Referee