So, the hype I've been generating for this first session, to kick-off the Solstice: OF&F campaign, might make room one of Ulin Uthor, the Dim Expanse seem like a big let-down.
Room 1: A 10'x10' room with an Orc guarding a chest.
The build-up has reached a crescendo, and then the party of 16 or so will encounter this and I'll just lean back in my chair, put my hands behind my head, smile knowingly and ask that age old question "OK, what do you guys do now?".
I've a feeling I'll be pelted with cheese curls and beer nuts. So that little joke ends right here. Although actually using that room description, and seeing what might possibly be the real story behind such a bland start to a dungeon could be a fun exercise for another time. The possibilities are limitless.
No, Dim X (as I've affectionately tagged Ulin Uthor, the Dim Expanse, since I'm getting tired of typing that out all of the time) is a living, breathing, vital megadungeon with plenty going on behind the scenes in an ever evolving environment. It's weird, quirky, spooky, dangerous, illogical, and downright begging for adventurers to brave it's depths. I promise to scan in the Krawlspace maps once this group has mapped large portions of that uppermost region, and progressed a few levels. For now, though, it must remain a mystery to all involved (except, hopefully, me).
I'm not sure if I'll ever 'finish' Dim X, unless I drastically change my design approach. It's very time intensive, and I have a feeling that after a few levels of this dense, danger-around-every-corner mythical megadungeon, that the players will be looking to stretch their legs a bit and take on some sandbox style encounters in Solstice. I hope to one day call Dim X 'done', or as close to done as a megadungeon can be (as most, mine included, are designed to evolve during actual play).
Here's a snap shot of the designated gaming table before the players all arrive on Saturday. Note the house copies of Men & Magic, and the bowl of funky dice. These are props for my little 'Game Within The Game' bit. I really want the players to forget all they knew about D&D, especially since these will be the first OD&D games for all of them.
Due to the larger than expected turn out, I had to relocate the game upstairs to the Dining Room table and add two leaves to expand it. Originally, my intent was to play down here in the man cave, closer to the bar and the stereo, in a more private environment. If we end up shifting to late night play, we'll probably be forced to do just that rather than keep everyone else in Casa Sham awake.
You'll also notice I am trying to referee this session sans my tried and true 1e DM Screen, which has been replaced now with a lap top computer. I'll still need a secreted area to roll d6's on, but that shouldn't be an issue. Besides, with everyone involved being 40 years or older now (except Derrick, who could at anytime plunder all of my notes, maps and computer files if he really wanted to), I doubt those wandering eyes will be able to even discern any maps or notes that might be in front of the referee.
I haven't decided if I'll ask for the group to name a caller and a mapper. Calling might evolve later, but I'd like all of the players to be active in the early going. Mapping might slow things down too much (on the other hand, getting lost is one of the real threats in Dim X).
So, the soda, water and beer is on ice, the steaks and bratwursts are primed and waiting to have hot flame applied, the table is set, and the doors to Dim X are finally going to be opened.
If I have my wits about me, I'll take a Saturday Post Game pic for sharing later, along with the Session One Report.
~Sham, Quixotic Referee