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Hello dungeon explorers. Hopefully you have your iron rations, a metal spike, 50' of rope and a 10' pole ready. Gather your torches, treasure sacks, weapons and spell-books.

 

For we have a mega-dungeon to explore.

 

This thread is about:

 

Themed levels

 

Dungeon stories and lore in this game (what you think might be cool)

 

Dungeon ecologies and monsters

 

Treasure, traps and stuff

 

Dungeon aesthetics

 

Stuff that should be in dungeons and stuff that shouldn't

 

Favourite IE games dungeons

 

Anything else that springs to mind

 

To get the ball rolling I though it would be awesome to post an old D&D dungeon module and map, one of my all-time favourites...

 

a1.jpg

 

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Stuff that should be in dungeons and stuff that shouldn't

Giving the player reasons to finish the dungeon ASAP and move about as efficiently as possible.

 

There are usually incentives to clear every room (lewt) and that must be tempered with something that livens things up. Respawning enemies, or being hunted by stronger enemies, or an increased chance to become sick or cursed etc.

 

Objective XP doesn't make things more exciting, but it may be an incentive to stick to a route.

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^ Yes I am inclined to agree. what do you think about dungeons re-populating? I like it personally, especially if it's dynamic (so if you kill all the orcs on level 3 but retreat from the carrion crawlers on level 4 then the crawlers might move up to level 3. This tempts the owlbears who feed on the crawlers to hunt the level too.

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My good sir, I'm sorry, but my ropes and poles use metric units and your imperialistic habits insult me, you scoundrel. A pox on you, and your kind!

 

Ahem.

 

What I'd like to see in the dungeon is:

 

-hard-to-spot secret rooms (and not really "spot" by stats like in D&DO)

-maybe a finite end of the whole thing, perhaps even repopulating by something else than monsters (with additional places to explore, something Fable 3 did with Dark Sanctum)

-of course corpses of past adventurers and/or their logs. Maybe even logs from the time the dungeon was not corrupted (assuming there was such time)

-a sealed large vault (details up to Obsidian)

 

What I do not want to see is turning the dungeon into infinitely respawning XP and loot grind. I have Grim Dawn or Diablo 2 for that.

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I don't really like it when you can just nip in and out at will to sell stuff, it takes all the fear and awe of a dungeon away and turns it into a shopping trip....

 

"I'm just off down the dungeon to get some stuff, be back for teatime"

 

I realize the mega dungeon is a bit big to do in one go, but it wouldn't bother me as long as the gameplay in there was varied and interesting, and of course if you can leave there needs to be a compelling and realistic reason for going back in, collecting loot doesn't really cut it, and what's fun exploration for the player wouldn't necessarily be much fun for the character.

Edited by motorizer
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I'm partial to respawns too, especially because with objective XP they can't be farmed. Now dynamic population of the dungeon like you describe would be great too.

 

If there are going to be respawns those dungeons better be circular design. last thing i want to after spending 30 minutes clearing a dungeon, is spending 10 more minutes fighting way out if I am running low on potions, something breaks, or etc

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I feared i'd forgotten my 10' pole, luckily we had an elf in the party and we all know that they keep a stick wedged firmly up their nethers, so that disaster was avoided.

 

Personally i'd like to see totally abandoned areas, thick with the dust of centuries of disuse and perhaps warnings and omens as to why they are empty. Welcome breaks from the combat that allow a change of pace, and many different forms of challenge from puzzles and traps, to the following of journal entires scattered or hidden about the locale.

 

Perhaps an oasis of civilisation amidst the savagery, a place where some nascent power rules and demands peace from those who tread within the borders of his little realm, perhaps he styles himself as Od Nua come again. Here we can rest, recuperate and trade or perhaps get involved in the intrigues that boil under the surface.

 

A level or two devoted to an army, messianic leaders screaming hatred to the gathered masses, forges hammering out weapons and armour for the troops, and raids upon other levels as the monsters test the limits of their strength. A place where you cannot hope to conquer, only escape detection or run for your lives from thousands of well equipped and co-ordinated, disciplined foes. A good place to embrace stealth and hidden passageways.

 

Tales and hints of Od Nua scattered throughout the dungeon, laboratories and testing grounds that hint of some incomplete story worming its way through every level.

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Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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I'm partial to respawns too, especially because with objective XP they can't be farmed. Now dynamic population of the dungeon like you describe would be great too.

 

If there are going to be respawns those dungeons better be circular design. last thing i want to after spending 30 minutes clearing a dungeon, is spending 10 more minutes fighting way out if I am running low on potions, something breaks, or etc

 

exits shouldn't be placed sparingly IMO, for this and other reasons

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I think you can get the best of all worlds: in some levels you can come and go but in others you are locked into hard-core survival / spelunking.

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Spider sections that are very dangerous to reaffirm their already creepy state.

 

The occasional optional fight that is more difficult than the dungeon's boss.

 

Limited need for backtracking.

 

Puzzles.

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I think you can get the best of all worlds: in some levels you can come and go but in others you are locked into hard-core survival / spelunking.

I'm fine with the odd exit, it's nipping in and out as though it's a shopping trip that I don't want to see, and as I said, if you can get out then there needs to be a reason your character (as opposed to you, the player) would go back in. Something more than loot and random exploring

 

A story in other words..

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I am really looking forward to the mega dungeon, I would like each level to have its own identity and then as you go lower unique creatures and races that have there own culture. Like exploring the Underdark in D&D. And there should be certain powerful monsters that you won't be able to defeat initially until you are at the right level

"Abashed the devil stood and felt how awful goodness is and saw Virtue in her shape how lovely: and pined his loss”

John Milton 

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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An entire level that has gained sentience, Torment style?

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Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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An entire level that has gained sentience, Torment style?

 

That'd be really cool. 

 

 

I'd also like to see a level where the outside has broken in. Say that a few (non-bearing) walls to the outside collapsed, revealing a enclosed cave system. This would lead to the entire level being 'taken over' by fungi, preferably glowing, and preferably blue. So you've been fighting your way through the levels of Od Nua's tower, through his experiments and through would-be usurpers of his power. Then a complete change of pace as you have to contend with the abominations created by the mix of natural flora and fauna with the magical energies and experiments infused in the entire complex. 

 

A bit like Vault 22(?) from New Vegas. You know, the one completely overgrown. Only with mushrooms. That are blue and glow-y. And want to eat you. 

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That'd be really cool. 

 

 

I'd also like to see a level where the outside has broken in. Say that a few (non-bearing) walls to the outside collapsed, revealing a enclosed cave system.

exits could be collapsed areas ending in tunnels leading to the surface, maybe one ending in a (small) unique outdoors location you couldn't otherwise access. At least that would be an alternative to the usual suspect 'portal to the surface'.

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An entire level that has gained sentience, Torment style?

 

That'd be really cool. 

 

 

I'd also like to see a level where the outside has broken in. Say that a few (non-bearing) walls to the outside collapsed, revealing a enclosed cave system. This would lead to the entire level being 'taken over' by fungi, preferably glowing, and preferably blue. So you've been fighting your way through the levels of Od Nua's tower, through his experiments and through would-be usurpers of his power. Then a complete change of pace as you have to contend with the abominations created by the mix of natural flora and fauna with the magical energies and experiments infused in the entire complex. 

 

A bit like Vault 22(?) from New Vegas. You know, the one completely overgrown. Only with mushrooms. That are blue and glow-y. And want to eat you. 

 

 

this is awesome. What sort of killjoy cannot be impressed by glowy blue (carniverous) mushrooms?

 

Of course, colour notwithstanding, AD&D got there first!

 

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Entrance or first level: Peddlers, hastily erected flophouses, maimed veteran delvers begging for charity, hard eyed robbers watching newcomers, bawdy houses and gin houses, secrets, maps and ward tokens being sold by suspicious characters, etcetera.

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Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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One of the things Obsidian mentioned during the Kickstarter was the fact that they will probably be tying in the Megadungeon into the main story so that there are tiered levels of progression (even if it is something as simple as finding the 'key' to the next tier while doing the main plot).

 

For instance, to prevent you from going straight from the Prologue to the Megadungeon and then going Diablo 1 style all the way down to the bottom, coming out overleveled for 85% of the remaining content in the game and blasting through it.

 

I am not for or against that, I don't think it's too much of a problem if people want to go and attempt to do that, but if people can do a run from Prologue > Megadungeon all the way down and completing it without some wizard speed run abuse of game mechanics I would say that the dungeon gives too much XP progression or is simply too easy / not challenging.

 

I don't really want to have too much input on the dungeon I think the designers have some very specific plans about what they're going to do.

 

I wouldn't be surprised if the dungeon is tiered and split between a few designers with an 'overseer' designer to keep tabs on consistency with the area design document and the game world (probably Josh or Bobby).

 

Some things I would like to see:

 

Good mix of combat / exploration and dialogue

Positives and negatives for each major CNC option

Some decent minibosses / battles (this area should really have a look at some of the BG2 fights such as Twisted Rune, second last level of Watcher's Keep, Guarded Compound etc)

Unique items / Artifact pieces

Wide variety of areas (I think a raising/lowering water level or levels would be great down here)

Wide variety of creatures (I'd especially like to see some incorporeal stuff down here)

I'd like to see the upper levels of the Od Nua Castle thing have content in them as well like Durlag's Tower did, even if it's just a few quests/etc

The fact that you've been to Od Nua and returned etc etc reflected in the gameworld

Antagonist NPCs / Factions try to foil you / take over your expedition once you've reached certain points in the dungeon / try to retreat from it and have to fight / convince them off it somehow

Edited by Sensuki
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Somewhere in the game I'd like to find an actual dungeon construction project, complete with a strong economic rationale, engineers to design the traps and structures, plus the use of magic and summoned worker-creatures to perform the labor. It should include a source of energy, food, and water, with some means of preventing flooding, maintaining the lighting, supporting the monstrous life forms, and keeping fresh air circulating... :)

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what about and underworld like in might and magic several lvls to like underneath the world map is  a huge complex cave system with multiple entrances to the first levels of it.

 

the lore could be an expansion dark orcs /dark dwarfs/ drows and dark-lings having a civil war clan wars and last daemons in the deepest reaches of the under world a. a blood-war?

 

behold the greater power of beholder kin is trying to grasp powers in the underworld.. wich side do you pick or you will try and conquer and divide so the world abow will have a chance to suviv

 

 

hmm i also like that there was a teleportasion mark and recall spell or behaves an item that did that .. an artifact ?

Edited by okkoko
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OK Freeflow thoughts here:

I worry about the pacing, if it's 15 levels of unending slog and misery and darkness and dread, I will ignore the dungeon completely.

 

I hope the Entire dungeon has a theme and each level is a variation of that theme.

 

I hope that along the way there are safe places, I'd love to see an underground garden near the end, bioluminescent plants and insects, trickling water streams, bubbling mini-geisers.  some enemies but fairly easily cleared.

 

I'd love to see some traps fail to work after centuries of neglect. Torches should be brought in by the player, and no-one else. (with maybe torches to loot on a corpse in the first few levels)

 

I'd love to see a trap or monsters triggered by light.

 

Believable eco-system. IE there has to be some evidence of the monsters making a living here

 

Clearing the dungeon could make it an option for your stronghold, if you don;t have one already

 

Cleared levels could be repurposed or repopulated. I for one don't care to see monsters in a cleared level, maybe ones you leave before they are cleared.

 

Enemies should get progressively harder, not more numerous, enemies you're encountering at the end of one level would be more common the level below. (form of telegraphing)

 

I'd think it's awesome if the thing actually was not underground, but a GIANT structure tethered by giant chains floating over a mountain valley.

 

I want to learn the lore of how the dungeon was made in the first place. I want explanations damnit! How the hell does such a huge structure get created. And why?

 

I hope not everything in the dungeon is about fighting monsters or bypassing traps. I don't mind puzzles, as long as they're not language or mathematics based. (with mathematics I mean equations, because that's technically a language of its own) logic based, visual cues, mazes, all cool. Key puzzles not so much.

 

I'd like to see a gradual change in architecture as you pass the strata, becoming ever more natural as you get near the end, except the last level.

 

Secrets! lots and lots of secrets, things that aren't going to be found by everyone, hints subtle enough that it's not obvious that there is a secret to be had. Subtlety is key. (I hope to see that throughout the game)

 

Diversity in obstacles and enemies.

 

I for one would like to be able to backtrack easily, but only from levels which have been completely cleared and deemed "safe".

 

pretty stock ideas I guess.

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I think it's important to think about the BG2 expanion that added that keep-dungeon. It was only five levels in total and each level was brutal, especially the last floor, which tried your patience with its ridiculous boss encounters. There were a lot of neat puzzles and most of the early part of the dungeon was completable at the early game.

 

So, I think the very best way to do a 15 level dungeon is to follow what it did right.

 

I'd say, break the dungeon into 4 major slices.

 

floors 1-3 are challenging but do-able for an early-game party

floors 4 and 10 are all puzzles that can only be solved by doing the main quest or visiting locations in the world (or maybe you can solve them with "meta-knowledge" from the game); basically, through your adventures you get clues or historical knowledge about the dungoen that lets you solve these floors, which act as a barrier of progression for weak parties

floors 5-9 are challenging, but do-able for a mid game party (floor 4 has early game puzzles to solve, floor 10 requires you to do a lot of research and investigation in the world to solve)

floors 11-15 are end-game, with floor 15 having some kind of climatic boss or puzzle

 

Trying to make this 15 floor dungeon you do all in one go is a bad idea. People will get burnt out, that is absolutely certain.

I made a 2 hour rant video about dragon age 2. It's not the greatest... but if you want to watch it, here ya go:

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Trying to make this 15 floor dungeon you do all in one go is a bad idea. People will get burnt out, that is absolutely certain.

 

But there is also the point that some, such as myself, would be disappointed if you can't do it all in one go...that would feel like the stretch goal for a single massive dungeon had been wasted, if there are 15 levels you can just pop in and out of at will, then it's no different to having 15 small dungeons.

 

I'd prefer it if there was enough variety and interest in there that you want to get through it, there could be communities down there, hubs with quests.... it doesn't have to be an endless slog through monsters and traps

 

Fair enough make exits for those who want out, but don't make it so you have to leave, or some might leave and never go back in.

Edited by motorizer
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