Megadungeon Contest?

I am pleased with the work I have done on my node-based megadungeon. I intended to outline the megadungeon, and an outline I do have.

However, Gus’ post yesterday got me to thinking — it would be nice if the megadungeon was actually finished and playable. I estimated it would take me some 300-350 hours or so to finish it to the level of detail I would want in order to publish it.

Frankly, I don’t have the time to do this, and unless I’m actually using it, I would not be likely to complete it.

By the very nature the megadungeon design is modular at this level. The comments and suggestions I’ve seen from people about how various regions could be completed have been quite consistent with the original description, while veering sometimes wildly from each other, and it occurs to me that this suggests a wonderful opportunity:

Perhaps you could help finish the megadungeon.

I designed the megadungeon with the intention that each region would have different tone and feel. I think this lends itself well to having multiple designers, potentially a different designer for each region.

There are eleven regions identified in this megadungeon. I am thinking of running a monthly contest, each time focusing on a different region starting from the outside (Abandoned Tower, Wolf Den, and Goblin Warren) and working in. I have not worked out the details yet, but I envision something like:

  • Each round focuses on a single region, identified at the beginning of the round.
  • The region is to be detailed in a manner sufficient for play. The style can vary: keyed maps are obviously acceptable, map and supporting random tables can be sufficient, and so on.
  • The region should remain consistent with the original description, but is not required to conform to the original description. That is, changes may be made as long as they remain true to the spirit of the original description. Design is an iterative process, and as details are developed it may be found that previous decisions are no longer sensible.
  • New regions and other entities may be identified and proposed, possibly outside the megadungeon. These may be considered for inclusion as extensions.
  • It is not necessary to conform to any particular rule set, but assume something OSR-friendly/FLAILSNAILS (they tend to be interoperable enough). Identify which rule set is being designed to for context reasons. OSRIC, Blood & Treasure, Labyrinth Lord, etc. are all fine.

I figure there will likely be a small panel of judges (possibly just me, but I’d prefer to have three — I have a couple of people in mind, but I suspect one of them at least might want to take part).

On my own I can afford some small prizes, more or less nominal awards for being chosen as the best for each region. It is not certain at this point, but I am considering bundling the results and putting them on OBS (DriveThruRPG, RPGNow), with proceeds to be split between prizes for successive contests and art resources for further publication. I imagine each region being published in turn with all entries, and at the end the ‘winning entries’ bundled together, polished to fit and adjust any discrepancies introduced between regions, and published at the end.

I am not particularly interested in pocketing any cash out of this, though I would still have access to the art resources for later use. I’d like to see contests like this basically become self-sustaining, with larger awards than I can afford myself.

Node-Based Megadungeon Final Graph
Node-Based Megadungeon Final Graph

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  1. GreyKnight

    Of course, there is a beneficial end result in that, if you get 5 entrants, then a prospective GM can mix-and-match their 55 region ideas to get 5^11 = 48,828,125 possible dungeons, each identifiable as a “parallel universe” version of the same underlying idea. Not that having a “winning combination” document isn’t a great idea too, of course. Look, I just like combinatorical explosions, so sue me.

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