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Where should Endless Paths (the mega dungeon) draw its inspiration from?

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I don't think alot of people really want to see Diablo in a mature, intelligent CRPG. There's enough Diablo in Diablo.

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"This is what most people do not understand about Colbert and Silverman. They only mock fictional celebrities, celebrities who destroy their selfhood to unify with the wants of the people, celebrities who are transfixed by the evil hungers of the public. Feed us a Gomorrah built up of luminous dreams, we beg. Here it is, they say, and it looks like your steaming brains."

 

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I'd find it interesting if it were built like a mix between the Underdark in D&D and Moria (LOTR).

Edited by atn

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Something cool for inspiration could be the Cube movie - a leftover of such experiment where you discover the story. Or hypercube, where you meet several Od Nua at different ages and every time he is obsessed with a different topic. Another one is the world of the snake people in the Wheel of Time, where you find unexplained creatures who grant wishes in a messed-up way.

 

I'd be amazed to see a huuge cave level, with only two doors on one side of it, which is all empty.. except for a table in the middle.. and some rain every now and then.

 

As a general feeling of exploration, I too would be happy if it feels like Dulrag's Tower.

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I've mentioned this before, but I'll do it again. While I enjoyed Watcher's Keep, I found the whole Keep a little schizophrenic. It was interesting in that each level was completely different than the previous, but sometimes the changes were a little jarring. I realize that the whole keep was meant to be a sort of jailcell for "all of the world's baddest monsters," but I really wish that there is more of a connection between each level.

 

If separate devs are to work on separate levels, I would really like for the devs to communicate with the devs one level above and one level below them. That way the transition between each level isn't as jarring. Then have one dev (Sawyer?) look at the whole thing and make sure there is some sort of overarching theme to the thing.


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I want it to be full of traps. (I like rogues.) I also want puzzles in it, rather than endless fighting. Basically, something like the Tomb of Horrors.

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It'd be interesting if the depths produced signs of older, ever more ancient, cultures. Sort of like the idea of cities in the real world build upon older cities that are upon older civilizations and more and more. A layer cake of cultures, getting older as you decend. The potential variety with that idea gets pretty up there, and helps with monotony. You could also get a certain air of mystery from it, that way, especially if there were hints of such things outside the game, but never outright revealed, just enough to foreshadow so that things aren't completely out of left field. Honest to goodness mysteries and secrets to unconver in general, can be interesting, especially if you have variety between the simply mysterious and those that build up a creepy, sinister tickle down your spine.

 

This is exactly what I was thinking. I'm hoping that after a few levels or two, the architecture and feel of each level will be completely different because it belonged to a different culture.

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'gygax dungeon, and dragon.'

 

during your travels, even as you become a legend, you hear stories. and as you draw near the end of your quest you start to fear the worst could be true. that you've yet to face your greatest challenge. but how much have you got left? your legend can't go on forever.

 

the whispers are that there's a man who has lured a generation of children to a cave, promising them a game to play with all the other children of the world.

 

just as many fathers have been forced to go into the dungeon looking for their children, knowing none of the others have ever come back. and a generation of mothers have become ghosts and witches, waiting for death in the saddest villages you've ever seen. the cave becomes worse than a dungeon. what have you fought all this time for if this blackness will eventually drown the countryside. hope?

 

stop and take a screenshot of the flowers and look at the sky from under a beautiful hand-painted tree before you come here b/c this isn't a place you will come back from. just one last thing to do.

 

if you make it to the end of the dungeon, gygax the dragon waits for you. but he's been waiting in torment b/c you're his slayer and savior. if you survive.

 

in his dragon form he will try to destroy you b/c you've survived his dungeon and you threaten to end his game.

 

but when you beat him you free the man who became twisted and transformed and needed the game to be real. in the end he became all the things in the world he longed to escape from with 'the game'. and so much worse. you defeated the closest thing to pure evil you ever imagined. but now evil is just a man.

 

he opens a door to a 'basement' and you follow him into a hidden '16th level'. but its not really another level of the dungeon. this is a different kind of place you remember. its been so long since you'd been around normal. and you sit down with gygax, the man. for a pen and paper game of d & d.

 

the game goes into top down, first person or isometric view and you play.

 

if you win a portal opens. and you watch gygax the boy return to the place where good intentions and abominable monsters come from.

 

but now its time for your good deed to be punished and you are left there, all alone at the bottom of the dungeon and things are more different now than ever before.

 

you have become gygax the dragon, the dungeon master in your basement and you see yourself anew. all new skills, powers, weaknesses and with a complete respec. you also see all the 'dragon class' items that you unknowingly picked up when you were making your way through the dungeon in human form. but after respeccing and re-arming and armoring yourself you level up and find a new set of points to allocate. that's right, your reward for beating the dragon at the end of the 15th level is to be absorbed by him.

 

now here, in the 16th level, the 'basement', at the d & d table you get to re-design the dungeon, rightfully, as the new dungeon master. after you redesign the 15 levels- all the traps, mazes, illusions, trap doors, etc. you place all the monsters where you want them, re-allocate all the monster points and skills, etc. and then the end comes and your fate as gygax is sealed, there, waiting to make your game real for someone else.

 

and then our 'end game' begins.

 

if you click on the portal in the basement it takes you to the obsidian 'end game' archive where your hero's human and dragon profiles are uploaded along with your new redesigned dungeon.

 

and now you re-roll. you begin a new character if you like and your new experience in project: eternity starts just as you would expect.

 

if you make it back to the dungeon with a new character your previous hero will be available to you as a companion, part of your party; and respeccable. and each time you beat gygax the dragon he absorbs the souls of all the heroes (not companions) that are in your party when you defeat him. this also determines how many additional points he gets to allocate after you respec him once he absorbs you and you become the new dungeon master. and each time you beat the game with a new hero, that hero becomes available for the next time you make it to the dungeon. eventually your whole party could be all heroes, all heroes you know very well and have mastered. but each time gygax is gaining the strength of multiple heroes.

 

after you beat the dungeon the first time and take the form of gygax you also unlock the ability to download and play a dungeon from the obsidian 'end game' database. of course you can also play through normally as if facing gygax for the first time with each new character you make. or you can fight the gygax from your previous hero's journey, at which point your previous hero will be available to use in your party. after defeating the dungeon the first time you also unlock the ability to play all subsequent dungeon battles against gygax as either the heroes or as gygax ,or to play against yourself as both.

 

eventually you won't be able to defeat gygax, even with an entire party of heroes. and maybe no one else can either.

 

in the 'end game' database you will be able to see where/how your dragon stacks up against the other dragons that have been created and defeated, etc.

 

eventually the top of the top will emerge and there will be a 'high scores' list of sorts.

 

the top 10 dragons in the 'end game database' will also be playable in a special dungeon mode called 'dragonax'. you get to play as one of the 'high score' dragons to see if you can defeat the other 'high score' dungeons and dragons. your performance and stats will all be part of an uploadable game file to be seen by all of us. and the 'high score' list will always be evolving/changing the more people play.

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I think it should be like a smaller version of some of the evil planes (Acheron, Carceri, etc.) with each level becoming more and more twisted and odd looking with the lowest levels having impossible Escheresque architecture and the very bottom should be an infinite expanse containing an eldritch abomination. Also strewn throughout should be the bodies of former adventures with the corpses becoming fewer and fewer as you descend into the depths.

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Some great ideas here. I think the best two so far (in my humble and non-professional opinion) are Undermountain (how could I have forgotten?) and Moria.

 

Keep the suggestions coming -- and remember, this thread is for inspirations, not straight-up suggestions.

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Diablo 1 minus the last 4 levels


  After my realization that White March has the same XP reward problem, I don't even have the drive to launch game anymore because I hated so much reaching Twin Elms with a level cap in vanilla PoE that I don't wish to relive that experience.

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While I would not want the devs to draw their inspiration for Endless Paths out of thin air I would be totally in favor of them disregarding all dungeons of the past and drawing their inspiration from somewhere we have never been before - perhaps from thick air - like the the air circulating around the nether regions of some very warped souls... (insert spooky music) :blink:

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Nomadic Wayfarer of the Obsidian Order


 

Not all those that wander are lost...

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Where should it draw inspiration from. An *excellent* question.

 

Greyhawk_Castle_D1.gif

 

Castle Greyhawk --- Gary Gygax's own personal dungeon and where it all more or less started.

 

More old-school D&D goodness.

 

Picture+1.png

 

Throw a little S1: TOMB OF HORRORS in it, and I'm for it. :yes:

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While I would not want the devs to draw their inspiration for Endless Paths out of thin air I would be totally in favor of them disregarding all dungeons of the past and drawing their inspiration from somewhere we have never been before - perhaps from thick air - like the the air circulating around the nether regions of some very warped souls... (insert spooky music) :blink:

 

Why not from "thin air"?

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Durlag's Tower

 

Failing that, Labyrinth of Amala or Dark Spire for a nice old-school counterpoint.

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One mechanic I would like to see is a genie with the option to ask to be whisked deeper into the dungeon, with the caveat that you appear in the middle of a congregation of all the mobs from all the floors you skip. Or maybe to wish all the treasure from the bottom floor to you, only to find it is out of phase with your reality.

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Here's the deal as far as I see it. Yes, you could create a big, bad dungeon, with the most deadly traps, and the most fiendish puzzles, and the toughest monsters, all leading up to some great artifact on the lowest level, with the power to rend the world asunder. But from a design standpoint, that doesn't really break much ground; it just builds on existing tropes in bigger and better ways. Not that you can't get creative with it, just that you can't create much of a new paradigm.

 

So here would be my challenge to our legendary designers: create an ecosystem. How did the dungeon come to be? Where is the intersection between the designed or created parts of the dungeon and the natural parts? How are there things living so deep in the earth for so long? What do they feed on? Has a civilization of sentient creatures found a way to burgeon underground? What kind of evolutionary pathways did they follow? What kind of culture and society have they created to allow their continued existence in extreme conditions? Did they build an underground city that spans multiple levels? To what extent does the shape of the dungeon change over time due to geological forces or due to the creatures living their? If you're continuing to go deeper, will you find archaeological or biological mysteries?

 

This megadungeon is an opportunity to break away from the tropes of a classical dungeon, where the design of the DM's divine hand is evident in each monster and each trap. In my mind, the ultimate dungeon would feel ORGANIC. Ok, I think that's all I have to say.

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Even in this world more things exist without our knowledge than with it and the order in creation which you see is that which you have put there, like a string in a maze, so that you shall not lose your way. For existence has its own order and that no man’s mind can compass, that mind itself being but a fact among others.

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I'd think I'd like the bottom floor to be several thousand feet in the air...coupled with the realization that the entire dungeon and its immediate surroundings are actually floating in the air as an invisible floating island. You teleported in by walking in the doorway of the ground version of the area, which does not actually have a dungeon below it.

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I'm hoping for a rock-cut temple complex built by an ancient and technologically advanced (skilled engineers, no futuristic sci-fi stuff [even if I do love the Ancient Astronaut trope]) progenitor culture. Something like the Ellora Caves in India.

 

Ellora_cave16_003.jpg

 

If they just throw enemies at you from the moment you enter, there's no suspense, so I think the first couple of levels should be more or less empty (there could still be a lot to explore, just no enemies). A few animals, maybe. Rats, bats, snakes, spiders. A few traps. Nothing major. They could probably do a lot to heighten the sense of dread with just a few sound effects.

Maybe it's just the wind or the echo of your own footsteps you're hearing, but it's enough to put you on edge.

Edited by Agelastos
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"We have nothing to fear but fear itself! Apart from pain... and maybe humiliation. And obviously death and failure. But apart from fear, pain, humiliation, failure, the unknown and death, we have nothing to fear but fear itself!"

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Could the mega-dungeon be a part of another side-quest dungeon, and unlocking the mega-dungeon is a big puzzle? You come across a giant door on Level 3 but you can't open it, and it gives us some clue that we can pursue. These 3 Levels would've been part of the Mega Dungeon itself as well, and returning after finding "Key" would "respawn" enemies or a new agenda (Dark Wizards who've been waiting for you in ambush? Or Humble they are coincidentally there studying exactly what you've solved and can resolve the situation in several ways. Bandit infested since your last visit?).

 

It kind of just renews the feeling of going 15 levels instead of "trecking" through 3 Levels just to start on the 4th Level.

 

Raged 3 Levels Down, Found Door, Left for Outworld, Solved Clue Like Boss in Outworld, Returns-Demons-oh noes (related to Dungeon), tackles my way down 3 Levels down, Opens Door like Boss. Starts Level 4 of 15.

 

If no enemies respawn it could get a bad effect and a bad taste like:

 

Raged 3 Levels Down, Found Door, Left for Outworld, Solved Clue Like Boss in Outworld, Returns-walks-3-empy-levels-down, Opens Door. Starts on Level 1 of 12.

Edited by Osvir

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I want to see Avellone's crazy cipher love laboratory!

 

Each level could delve into different forms of love! The overarching theme could be an epic tragedy!

Edited by Gurkog
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I'm not so fussed about the inspiration. I'm more concerned about the content. Since this dungeon is going to be so large it will need plenty of quests and subplots within the dungeon to keep me engaged. Durlags tower got a bit boring for me by the end of it and Dragons Eye just seemed interminable, it just never ended and became a bit tedious in my mind. Puzzles and combat are great, but something that is going to be 15 levels deep will need its own stories and sub stories.

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