Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Forsaken Halls

Work continues apace on my Megadungeon, the "Forsaken Halls".

The Forsaken Halls was actually born of a failed freelance project. I had worked up a rough but nicely detailed map for a d20 adventure that was lost in "publishing limbo" as the d20 bubble burst a few years back. I shelved the notes, tucked the map into a folder with others of its ilk, and forgot about it. A couple of years later, as bits and pieces of the new 4E of D&D emerged on the internet, some friends and I decided to test-drive the new system. I had some pregen character sheets available, and some fast play rules, and even a pretty nice compilation of leaked monsters, but no adventure!

So I shuffled through my old maps, and was tickled to come across the Forsaken Halls of _____. I shortened the name to just the Forsaken Halls, fleshed out the first 10 or so rooms, wrote out a short table of random encounters, another of "dungeon dressings", and that was that. We had a blast, lots of PCs died, and the setting really began to gel over the course of the session.

Not long after that, Forsaken Halls got another chance to terrorize PCs when we all downloaded copies of Labyrinth Lord, and I got to design and run the rest of the 1st level under the aegis of my favorite version of D&D, B/X.

Even though we returned to my regular Wilderlands campaign, ideas and backstory for the Forsaken Halls continued to percolate, and it became a welcome diversion during the long breaks between my once-a-month table sessions. One of my intentions in starting this blog was to use it as a forum to share my new ideas as they come along, and hopefully get some feedback and new ideas from all the other great megadungeon designers out there.

"Beyond the Black Gate" refers to perhaps the most iconic location in the Forsaken Halls, the Black Gate. It may be the deepest point of the Megadungeon, or it may just be a midway point leading to even greater terrors and treasures. It may be an actual physical barrier, or it may be a more metaphysical one, one that only those initiated in the darkest mysteries of the Halls may broach.

Though I have three levels (and one sub-level!) of the Halls fully fleshed out, there still exist many iconic locations and personalities that remain to be discovered by my slow creative process, and are, so far, known only to me by the vaguest of names and descriptions. Beyond the Black Gate will hopefully feature these locations as I am able to detail them; places like the Troll Gardens, the Grotto of the Oracle, and the Tomb of the Dread Emperor.

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