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A megadungeon is a really big dungeon designed for crawling.

OK, more details. Well a megadungeon IS a big dungeon, often spawning several floors, each floor containing several rooms. The dungeon itself usually has several entrances from the outside.

A megadungeon is not just a big dungeon in the sense that it come with more than a list of room and their content. You usually got a description of the surroundings, a history of the dungeon itself, a description of the different factions of monsters and their relations, etc. Since megadungeons are huge and are intended to last for more than a few sessions of play, the sandbox aspect is often emphasized more than in a regular dungeon.

Of some note: There have been megadungeons designed to be run as a party of adventurers' entire career, from Level 1 to whatever the max level is in your edition of D&D, or other system you use.

Examples of Megadungeons[edit]

  • Castle Greyhawk: Gygax's very own baby which has never seen a proper release. What we do know is that it was 13 levels deep with quite a few factions inside to contend with. A fucking awful variant was released by TSR after Gygax left the company and everyone hated it.
  • Blackmoor: Arneson's baby which did see its proper release in the middle 2000s, and just in time because the man passed away not long after (F).
  • Barrowmaze: A megadungeon for Labyrinth Lord written by Greg Gillepsie. A 5th Edition version was also released after a successful Kickstarter. The dungeon itself is a series of interconnected barrows in a marsh. Bring a cleric.
  • The Forbidden Caverns of Archaia: Same deal as above. Not really a megadungeon per se, more like a cluster of small to medium-sized dungeons, containing every evil humanoid races under the sun.
  • Undermountain: One of the megadungeons introduced in the Forgotten Realms setting in the 1990s, Undermountain is a 23+ level sequence of floors underground, each different from the floors preceding and succeeding it. There are about five ways in and out, and it has magical alterations intrinsic to it that make leaving by anything but mundane means almost impossible.
  • Castle Whiterock: Released in the mid-00s by Goodman Games as part of the original Dungeon Crawl Classic series for D&D 3e (before they turned it into a full on OSR-adjacent game system of its own), Castle Whiterock centers on the eponymous castle and some of the surrounding area, chiefly the town of Cillamar where a number of quests can be picked up. The megadungeon itself is divided into 15 levels with a 14 sublevels, each level generally being unique from the others (one is a bog standard orc filled level, another is a gnome "city", etc etc). Overall it's workable but only if the DM really buckles down and reads it over thoroughly and adjusts some of the mistakes in it (one example being a number of maps not quite matching up to the listed room descriptions, but nothing a good DM can't overcome).