Today we have a special one. This is the first level of my new megadungeon with the working title ...And My Ending is Despair. That's vague and threatening and mysterious enough, isn't it? I'm using a sketchy name at this point since I expect my players will come up with a more evocative name for the dungeon as we play through it. You can thank The Bard for the working title. :-)
I am doing something a little different (for me) with this megadungeon: There is no overarching theme or history or mythology behind it, Or even any "purpose" to the dungeon at all. I am quite simply making it all up as I go, one level at a time. That may seem like a boring old hat for some folks, but for me it's a great departure from my standard operating procedure, which is to detail the heck out of everything about the dungeon all in advance so it's easy for me to run at the table.
Now, no doubt I will wind up developing some of that history-er themey-ery (thanks Captain Obvious!) stuff as I create each dungeon level, but how much? I don't know yet. I'm fairly certain that much of the megadungeon's contents and many of its occupants won't make sense when scrutinized under any "realistic" ecological microscope. The only plan I do have is that this megadungeon will have a kitchen-sink-strange-days-in-the-mythic-underworld kind of vibe.
For instance, on this first level, there is an astronaut-temple-section populated by centipedes, giant rats, giant crab spiders and a colony of savage baboons. Then there is the green slime. And a black pudding. Additionally, we find a small fire-themed section with flaming snakes and fire beetles, a larger chaos/death-themed section with fountains of insta-death, a gelatinous cube, fountains of chaos tentacles, skeletons, a gargoyle and a ghoul. I've also included a large section overrun by a goblin gang that worships a crocodile-demon-god. Yes, this level is for 1st level characters. The PCs kinda died and my players kinda crapped their pants playing it. :-) I have no idea if I will continue any of these themes on successive levels. We'll see.
Unfortunately, the subsequent levels of the megadungeon will not appear in quick succession on the blog. I have to work on them first. I'm aiming for one new level every couple of months, with the levels being sprinkled among the regular weekly maps I post here. As an extra special bonus (and the real reason the levels will take time) -- each level will be fully-keyed for use with OD&D-type games. I'm not going to spend a huge amount of time editing the heck out of each level key, so expect some minor typos, stat errors and other goofball silliness and references that don't get weeded out. Consider them starting points for use at your table. :-)
If you made it this far, thanks for paying attention to my long-winded post!
Megadungeon Map, level 1 - .png, hi-res
Megadungeon Map, level 1 - .png, low-res
...And My Ending is Despair, level 1, referee map - .png, low-res
...And My Ending is Despair, level 1, referee key - .pdf (3-column landscape)