Love mega-dungeons? Love side-view cut-away maps? Want a mega-dungeon that seems to make sense?
You need to play How To Host a Dungeon. How to Host a Dungeon is an awesome solo game by Tony Dowler. Basically you create a dungeon through the ages and when you are done you have the basis for a pretty sweet megadungeon project (which seems to be the trend right now), but yours has a full organic history of who built each section, and who took it over, and where the treasure comes from and so on.
You can download a free version of the game from his site.
And don’t just take it from me, a bunch of other cool bloggers have reviewed the game recently:
The map below was created during a “typical” How to Host a Dungeon game. The most obvious feature on first glance is probably the volcano – that showed up after the end of the Dark Elf age, before the monsters arrived on the scene. The original Dark Elf city is just to the right of the volcano – four chambers above the tunnel, and four chambers below. Most of the ones above are enclaves for dark elf families, while the ones below were the slave pits. Attached to the Dark Elf city is a deep gnome city that was built after the dark elves had been destroyed during slave uprisings (and after the volcano).
To the left of the volcano is the second dark elf city – this one grew more rapidly than the original one because of the number of mithril deposits found here. As with the other city, Dark Elves live above the passage while the slave pits were below. Above the city proper are a series of mines where the slaves dug out the mithril.
After the fall of the dark elf cities to slave revolts, a group of deep gnomes set up a mining camp to the East of the original dark elf city, a clan of orcs established a nest just above them, and some ant-men showed up on the scene a little later and engaged in an extended guerrilla campaign against the orcs (the ant-men caves are just below the dungeons on the upper-right side of the map). During this time a city was founded on the East side of the volcano, and a castle on the West side. Adventurers from these human lands explored down into the catacombes by using the volcano vent as access. Beneath the ruins of the castle can be found the ancient castle dungeons, which were taken over by a purple worm shortly after their construction (who in turn linked these dungeons to the extensive dark elf mines).
Finally, a second clan of deep gnomes established a settlement where the elven mines are, and they gradually killed most of the other denizens down here (except the ant-men and a pair of wandering ogres) until they gathered the attention of a powerful lich.
The lich’s tower can still be seen, a few miles from the ruins of the human settlement. Beneath it are a series of catacombes for the lich’s servants and armies, as well as new additions built by the ant-men that he recruited to his aid. The lich was finally defeated by a brave party of adventurers, and the catacombes have been left “abandoned” ever since.
As a footnote, I am never going to try using pointilism to fill in the ground texture around my maps again. I thought it would make an interesting counterpoint to my usual cross-hatching, but the end result is that I spent hours adding in all those little dots. Never, ever, EVER again.
And if you like How to Host a Dungeon, I’ve got a bunch of house rules additions already on this site: