Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Goblin Cave…A study in over design

It was almost a year ago, well maybe more like 10 months ago, I had this idea for creating a lead in dungeon for my 2009 Golarion Campaign. I wanted to begin in the middle of things, and basically be able to tell the players to start rolling initiatives because they are under attack, and then fill in the details afterwards. I was leaning towards using Paizo’s upcoming Council of Thieves (CoT) as the basis for my campaign. It was going to be the first AP specifically written for the Pathfinder rule set, and I was excited to use the new rule set with the new adventure that was written for it. No problem..right?

I started out with an idea of creating a small two level dungeon, which would just serve as an entry point to the larger Adventure Path. As I was designing it well ahead of time, I could run my son and his friends through it and get some feedback on it. The idea was to keep it fairly generic, in order to maximize its use as both a small stand alone dungeon, and a lead into to the larger adventure path.

As I was getting more and more into the creation phase, I realized I wanted to add a mega dungeon into AP, as I wanted to have both an AP and a sandbox, just to give the players more choices. With this in mind, I started thinking about linking the dungeon to other dungeons. All of a sudden two levels did not seem like enough. Two levels became three, but I was not fully happy with the way they ran together.

The more I read about Council of Thieves, the more I decided that I did not want to run a strictly urban adventure. I wanted a bit more diversity than just an urban adventure. In general, I like a good mix dungeon and wilderness adventures with a little bit of urban thrown in. Now I have not seen the final AP, so I could be totally off base.

I have just recently decided to go with Legacy of Fire (LoF), which of course required a bit of a re-write to align it to LoF and to give it an Arabian and Egyptian feel. Ten Thousand words has quickly become sixteen thousand, with more being added every day. Now just this past week, I am leaning towards adding potentially two more areas, which would mean at least another four thousand words, and I am not finished will all the hand outs. I have some rough sketches that I am still playing around with, so we shall see how it all plays out.

As I am not slated to start until August, this means I have another 2 months to think about this. As I am fleshing out this out, I am finding myself going back and adding new stuff to the older levels. For example, I really like the idea of the Harrow Deck, so I just added that as one of the magic items that could be found. I have a really cool idea on how to add this in, which I am rather excited about.

Of course I suspect that once I get back to the US, and start looking through my other books, I will add even more stuff. And this hits on the theme of the blog. I think that things tend to grow as you have more time to just think about them. With a year to think about a dungeon, it takes a life of its own. A couple of months ago, I thought I was basically finished except for the handouts, which I knew would be the last things I would be finishing. I have a tendency to just keep adding more and more stuff right up until the last minute. I am wondering if I am not alone in this?

What once started out as a small simple dungeon is now turning into its own mini mega dungeon. I suspect that my players may not get much past level 2, but that does not appear to be stopping the construction project that has become The Goblin Cave.


trollsmyth said...

Dungeons, like novels, poems, paintings, and just about every other creative endeavor I've taken part in, are never finished. They're abandoned. ;)

Mr Baron said...


This one has taken on a life of its own.