5e Megadungeon Project: Briefing Document

So, in continuation of my last D&D post, there are some information and tweaks that need to be addressed real quick, so people can know what to make for characters and such. This is that for the first test run of the concept. If I make a new one of these, I’ll post in big red letters with a link. But for now, use this.

Item the First: Attitude

  • This is not a game for character development or for story. If your character is delving the dungeon solely for money, that is fine. If you have some odd reason that you want to have your character doing the delve, tell me and I might work it in, but basically, you will have heard of the place and are joining together to go on expeditions to make that treasure yours.
  • This place is dangerous. There will be a lot of high CR beasties that might be more than you can handle. Your characters would probably recognized when they are in hot water or when they should be able to take down an encounter. Feel free to ask.
  • The name of the game is resources. Food and water, equipment, hit points, hit dice, spell slots, inventory, are all currencies that buy your success. Even if there is a small party of goblins, it might be better for you to let them pass than to attack, as even if you could win. You might really need the 5 hit points from that goblin scratch deeper down.
  • Treasure is good. That’s the point of it. And, since combat is a bad idea, I guess I’ll have to give XP for treasure recovered, won’t I?
  • I will make the assumption that my players can find a bunch of reasons why characters who betray the party and/or steal from them wouldn’t prosper for long. If I need to address this in the future, I will. (Honestly, as a DM, on the meda level, I don’t care. On the meta level, tho, my job is to make sure everyone has fun. It takes a special relationship for theft to be appreciated.)

Item the Second: Rule changes

A lot of these changes (okay most ATM) are taken from Hack & Slash, who did a piece or two on megadungeons that prompted this project.

  • Due to magic in the dungeon, some spells are more difficult to maintain and cast. Also, some spells are just so handy, everyone can cast it (if prepared and slots and all of that.
    • Light is a 1st level spell for all classes.
    • Continual Flame is a 3rd level spell for all classes.
    • If Produce Flame is used 6 times, it consumes a first level spell slot.
    • Spells that do thunder damage or cause noise, immediately draw a hazard die roll.
  • Inventory management is crucial to victory. I am going to use the Hack & Slash inventory, instead of the rules I made up for Gothregel, as this looks better for a dungeon and my rules look better for an overland hexcrawl.
    • You have “Inventory Slots” equal to your Strength Score. These are filled with “significant items”
    • If you have over half your slots filled, you are encumbered. (Your speed decreases by 10ft)
    • If you have more than 3/4 of your slots filled, you are heavily encumbered. (Your speed drops by 20 feet and you have disadvantage on ability checks, attack rolls, and saving throws that use Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution)
    • A suit of light or medium armor takes 1 slot.
    • A suit of heavy armor takes 2 slots.
    • I refuse to have people keep track of ammunition. While you have a ranged weapon, you have ammo. (There may be a complication table that has you running out of arrows, etc on it…)
    • Most weapons take 1 slot
      • Anything particularly bulky or unwieldy might take 2 slots.
      • Darts are basically ammunition, so you don’t need to count them.
      • Daggers are small enough that I’ll allow you to have up to 5 on your character for 1 slot.
    • A lantern, a potion or a vial of oil, etc, takes 1 slot, as you need to carry it in such a way that it won’t accidentally break or spill in your pack. Not difficult, but it will take the slot. So drink up on the way home!
    • 5 torches take a slot.
    • 5 days of rations take a slot. This slot includes 1 day’s worth of water in waterskins and such. Extra waterskins take 1 slot and will contain a day’s worth of water.  (This piece is most likely to change, as it is very, very generous. I’m waiting to hear back from some forums on the best way to do this.)
    • Any piece of adventuring gear (5oft of Rope, thieves tools, etc) probably takes a slot. The kits and packs have too much in them for me to let them be a single slot. Things like spikes and pitons and such might be more to the slot. Ask your DM.
    • 200gp worth of treasure takes 1 slot to haul out. Which is why inventory is important, yeah?
  • Light is important in a dungeon.
    • Darkvision is really powerful ability, so it’s going to be restricted. Due to the (*cough*) magic of the place, only races that are from the underground can use their darkvision.
      • That’s Gnomes, Dwarves, Drown, Goblins and Kobolds, AFAIK. Might be more.
      • Spells and other features that grant darkvision work as normal.
      • This basically effects Elves, mostly. And Tieflings, I guess. There’s actually a lot of races with Darkvision. We’re cutting that down. Buy torches, folks!
    • Torches are a cheap source of light
      • Torches have 3 states: Burning bright, Burning Dim, and Burnt out.
      • Bright Torches provide 40ft of light, 20ft of it bright, 20ft of it dim.
      • Dim Torches provide 20ft of light, 10ft of it bright, 10ft of it dim.
      • Burnt out torches do not provide light.
      • It takes a hand to wield a torch. That means you can’t wiled a shield, sword, and torch at once.
      • If a torch is dropped, it will degrade 1 category when it hits the ground (Bright to dim, or Dim to burnt)
      • There is a dungeon ‘clock’ that also causes torches to degrade on occasion.
      • Hitting a monster with a torch would be an improvised weapon (so 1d4, Strength.) If it is burning bright, it would also deal 1d4 fire damage. A dim torch deals 1 fire damage. If used as a weapon, roll 1d6 for each attack with the torch. On a 1, the torch degrades 1 step.
    • Lanterns are an expensive source of light
      • Lanterns are always brightly lit, providing 40ft of light, 20ft of it bright, 20ft of it dim.
      • Lanterns take oil to replenish. A flask of oil can fill a lantern 3 times.
      • Lanterns take a hand to carry. It takes your full move to set the lantern carefully down.
      • If a lantern is dropped, roll 1d6. On a 1 or 2, the lantern breaks and starts a small fire. Using a lantern as a weapon breaks it automatically, coating the target with flame. The burning creature takes 5 fire damage at the start of its turn for 2 rounds.

Item the Third: Mechanics

  • The dungeon day is measured in “Turns” and “Hours
    • A Turn is about 10 minutes. There are therefore 6 in an Hour.
    • An unencumbered character can move four times it’s speed in one Turn. (120 ft for most, 100ft for dwarves, etc)
      • This assumes you’re moving carefully, cautiously, and observant. If you want to move faster, you can. It just might not be safe.
      • Encumbered characters move slower (80 ft for most, 6o ft for slower)
      • You wouldn’t ever be heavily encumbered, right?
  • At certain times, the DM rolls a ‘hazard die’ to see if anything happens.
    • Not all of these are necessarily bad.
      • But they’re probably not great
  • Mapping
    • Having you guys draw maps is too much work, but I do need to occasionally obfuscate some things. So there will occasionally be some Wisdom checks for navigation. If your character has been making maps as you go, checks to get to a certain place will be easier, for sure.
    • It may be possible for a good map and
  • There will be a lot of doors. Remember, some doors can be broken through, if they won’t open otherwise.
  • There may be more stuff added here as things are uncovered as being available for you to do.

Item the Fourth: Downtime

Outside of the dungeon, there is a few things you can do to prepare yourself for the next delve down. Or just to spend the money you’ve been bringing out. Most of these downtime activities can be done piecemeal, so stopping your training to do another delve won’t be a problem.

There’s a lot of things you can do, more than I care to list here. If you make it our of the dungeon, alive and with treasure, then we can talk.

Restocking: The problem with spending time outside of a megadungeon is that it’s not in stasis while you’re up top. Down below, creatures are moving in and setting up lairs, expanding operations, laying new traps and resetting the old ones, and, in general, doing a bunch of stuff you may not like. It might not be worth staying away for too long.

Item the Ending

I think that is all the information I need to dole out at the moment. I’m sure in the future, we’ll need more on here. If you have any questions, please ask so we can figure it out before we begin.


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