Gygaxian Dungeon...

MuscaDomestica

Help Me!
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#1
OK I started RPing a little late and never had any experience in one of these things. I hear some vague horror stories, but what are some the hallmarks of one of the early Dungeons besides instant kill traps and illogical monster placements?
 

Bailywolf

bwakbwak
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#2
There's an intense sense of "GM vs PLAYER" in them. "Here are the tools you can use to kill the characters."

They almost seem like they were designed to actively disincentivize gaming.

-B
 

Futurella

slowpoke
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#4
I recall them as being just like all the shooter games that the kids play nowadays. You wandered through mazes, killed monsters and collected treasures. The more things stay the same...
 

Bailywolf

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#5
Everything seems incredibly arbitrary too... next room contains a chest, a pile of bones, and an orc? Sure, why the hell not? There's also no consistent mechanics underpinning anything. One random treasure table might be percentile. Another might use d8's.

-B
 

Alvin Frewer

Classical Rebel
#6
There's an intense sense of "GM vs PLAYER" in them. "Here are the tools you can use to kill the characters."

They almost seem like they were designed to actively disincentivize gaming.
Well, except that coming from wargames, it makes perfect sense, because that was all life or death too. But "now" it's like "You five against me. Take your best shot!" And then if your character dies, you roll up a new character, no big whoop (or its part of the diminishing resources of Team PLAYER).
 

Spinachcat

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#7
Buy S1 Tomb of Horrors for AD&D 1e. It is fun, exciting and challenging and probably most definitive of the "Gygaxian Dungeon" which is a phrase that has more to do with early GM's bad dungeon design than Gary's own work. Kinda like playing Diablo I on the Nightmare mode.

In fact, Gary discusses "ecological dungeon design" in the 1e DMG, but many early TSR modules seemed to forget these ideals.

Bad GMs let the games devolve into "GM vs. Player" and this is always disastrous, but that meme is not just for D&D or just for old games.
 

malindle

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#9
Can anyone tell me how close the Tomb of Horrors 3.5 edition is to the 1st edition?

I happened across it, and decided to use it for my 15th Level Planar game, tossing in some setting weirdness and upgrading the challenges....

...Only to find out that it doesn't need it. GOOD LORD! You NEED to be 15th+ level to take this place on! There's no way in the nine fricking hells that a 9th level party would survive this thing.

The first hallway is "Pit trap, pit trap, trapped mailbox that conceals a hidden trap, pit trap, and a path leading to two portals. One of which is a teleporter trap with no clues, and the other is instant death (Lit: hidden Sphere of Annihilation).

It's like the place was designed to suck the fun out of playing the game. I usually just make my own dungeons, because then I can adjust them if they're too slow, or not fun. I've never actually run a truly Old Skool Gygaxian dungeon. This place seems so needlessly hostile to the PC's, that I wonder if anyone's ever enjoyed it.

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NOTE: Given my little tirade here, can anyone mention what might be best just removed from the danged thing?

I've already removed:
- The teleporter traps that suck all your gear away (no save)
- The Demons that appear for going Ethereal (We have a ghost charachter, just replaced the walls with a Wall Of Force variant in some placs)
- The Misty Gates that change your alignment and gender (no save)
- The little clues that point you towards the deathtraps, while hiding the real exits.

-Mal
 
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