“Never assume the way you do something is how someone else will do something”
That’s the best design advice I’ve been given.
In my quest to design a Mega-Dungeon with a focus on Roleplay, I want to build something that can be used by many people and not just myself.
I’m making sure to build tools that can be used with multiple systems. This is where the concept of system agnosticism comes in. It allows for the use of a great adventure with different game systems.
Dark and Grim
While the system can be left open, it’s important to define a theme. Game Masters pick-up content because the theme fits the game they intend to run. As a fan of grim-dark settings, that will be my theme.
However, in terms of systems, I need to include the option to adjust the amount of magic featured in the game. You see, most fantasy games feature some kind of magic, so I have included a small amount throughout the dungeon. Some locations, such as “Ashcroft’s Asylum for Minds Corrupted by Magic,” feature more magic than others. But it’s all about balance.
Whether you like grim high fantasy or grim low fantasy, I want Game Masters to have the option to decide.
It’s A Kind of Magic
In order to balance the use of magic, I have limited its effect on certain areas and encounters. Game Masters should not have to familiarize themselves with a spell or effect to understand how a location functions. That’s why I’ve separated Encounters, Events and Items into two categories: Magical and Mundane.
Game Masters can pick and choose what they want to use. As part of the Dungeon 23 challenge, I am writing two or three items and encounters on lists each day. This way, Game Masters will have a few hundred to choose from in this dungeon at the end.
Importantly Game Masters can balance between ‘Mundane’ and ‘Magic’ as they see fit.
Who Am I?
One of the main goals of the Mega-Dungeon is to provide a roleplaying experience that is system agnostic. To achieve this, the different species of NPC’s will not be defined in the dungeon design, in order to ensure that the experience is not pigeon-holed. Instead, the Game Master will have the freedom to decide.
NPC’s will be detailed by brief descriptions with motivations, goals and quirks. Using these NPC’s Game Masters will be able to bring together what they need to give Players hooks to pull on in social encounters.
If Game Mastrrs are running with no prep it is assumed that they will be approaching the game with some level of improvisation. For those who want to prep there will be faction breakdowns, which I’ll detail in a future blog.
Play-By-Post games are a great Accessible option for playing TTRPG’s, but most people don’t know where to begin with them.
As someone who has run a few successful Play-By-Post games and a few unsuccessful ones, I’ll be giving advice on how to run a Play-By-Post game in the next blog.