Thursday, November 24, 2011

Are We In Hell?

Have the players roll up a new character sans equipment.  I recommend using LotFP for reasons that will be spelled out later, but use whatever you want.  Once they're done, they awaken naked (or in weird futuristic gaffer tape underwear) in a a sleeping chamber (or sci fi sleeping pod).  Once they figure out how to exit this, assuming the referee is mean enough to not have it open automatically, they find themselves in a seemingly endless maze of corridors and rooms.

The monsters they encounter should be outside of what one would normally encounter in D&D.  No goblins or orcs to be found; however, it is important that some of these creatures are intelligent and could be cajoled into trading with the PCs.  To make sure these are alien as possible be sure to only reveal their names once a PC has asked them what they call themselves.  Other dungeon monsters should refer to them with descriptive titles like "the pallid things" or "those angry midget dudes."  

One of the reasons you might want to use LotFP is for its language system.  That way your amnesiac characters might dimly remember the language the scaly guys are speaking without having to select it from a predetermined list.  Also, since almost all equipment (including spell books and holy symbols!) will have to be gained through foraging or trade, the lack of weapon and armor restrictions should help the magic users and clerics feel a tad more useful.  The encumbrance system too will help because it means that characters will have to pick and choose what's important enough to take with them.

The dungeon should be big.  No.  It should be huge.  Enormous.  When designing it make sure to make it have lots of interesting specials and factions so that the players won't get bored, but the overall structure shoul seem endless.  Also, and this is important, there shouldn't be any exits.  The dungeon itself is the campaign setting.  

Here are some hypothetical explanations for this:
  • Hell or purgatory is a really weird dungeon.  You're there now.
  • This is the remnants of some crazy-big spaceship that went all metamorphosis alpha in the most D&D way possible.
  • Some stupid wizard built it and wants to see how brave heroes from various dimensions work together.
  • It's an ark.
  • The PCs are part of some past experiment to see what the future will be like a la The Morrow Project or Idiocracy.  Turns out it's a dungeon filled with morlocks.  Who knew?
One last note: whatever your explanation is, one of the factions should think everyone is in hell.  It's just better that way.


  1. Instead of going right into it, you COULD have this all planned out as a Plan B in case of Total Party Wipe.

    Always thought it was stupid that D&D 3.5's canon afterlife is more or less just a transportation, but that this never comes up at the table.

    I'd play that off as them being knocked out throughout the fight, then they all wake up together - assuming they've been stripped and dropped off somewhere. I like the idea of it dawning on them slowly that they're dead, and later that they're in hell.

  2. I get what you're going for though, with them being disoriented entirely. I wonder if you should even have them roll up ahead of time... hmmm... (thinks)

  3. I've actually been considering something like for an upcoming campaign. I have about two weeks to make a decision before I need to get chugging away at it.

  4. Or maybe they are in the Dungeons of the Slave Lords and the exits were Stone Shaped closed.

  5. That was pretty much my last D&D campaign.

  6. I played in a game that started like that, the PC's woke separately in what appeared to be a tomb. As in they had been interred. But then it devolved into a pretty standard, if high powered, D&D game. It turned out it was the GM's homage to the Wheel of Time books (thematically at least).

    We were using 3.0 and had rolled our attributes on d%. Turned out we were resurrected dead gods from the previous cycle. It worked surprisingly well. I may steal some of his original monsters for Ogre's Cairn.

    But I digress.

  7. The dungeon could be a generational starship. There are all sorts of cool things you could do with that concept.

  8. Have you heard of Dungeon world? It's a campaign setting just like this.

    I found it quite interesting as a mega-dungeon.

  9. You should run it on g+ and accept only dead flailsnails pcs