Gygaxian Dungeon Crawling in the Modern Day

I’ve always wanted to run or play in an exploration based game. You know one where the players keep maps on graph paper and the only reason they go into the next room is to see what is there, to kill what is there and take any stuff that is there. Now I suspect I’d get bored with this as I’ve played hack & slash games before & get bored of combat very quickly, but the obsessive part of me likes the idea of keeping really detailed maps & tracking loot and whatnot. This would be the same part of me that made me collect CCG cards just so I could sit around and organize them. (For those that don’t know I have Asperger’s syndrome and I suspect this kind of behaviour is a part of it. I haven’t done anything like this in a long time though, I do kind of miss it).

This recently returned to me while reading ‘Voices from Below and the Long Stairs’ on RPG.net. In it the US opens a big hole into another dimension with a nuke, and the military has been exploring it since the 60s. Now it has evolved into a full setting, some of which I like, other parts I don’t, but really the part that is sticking with me is modern day people going into a D&D dungeon.

So a giant fantasy dungeon, filled with monsters, treasure and deathtraps. I have some ideas on how I will give access to this, but let us think about this for a moment. In The Long Stairs the dungeon moves around to prevent the military from being able to occupy it, or do room to room clearing. Well that goes against the idea of the party mapping out the dungeon, so it goes. I like the old Greyhawk idea of gunpowder not working. It explains why we simply don’t flood the dungeon with soldiers nicely as well.  How many people can you get -subtly- that are trained with archaic weapons?

This allows it to be run with any fantasy RPG straight off. On the other hand the idea of soldiers using a mix of assault weapons and swords would be cool. If you are using a generic of SF system then it is pretty easy. Another idea is that gunpowder works, just not very well: The reduced explosive power of the ammunition means it only works as well as a bow, and you just use bow stats. This would work very well in 4e I think with Rangers and such. It also keeps gun nuts from annoying you with range, stopping power and whatnot.

I very much like the tales of D&D monsters fighting with player characters. I think the descriptions of that, when done true to D&D where quite interesting.

Lets have a look at the type of scene I want: A squad of JTF2 soldiers walking through a large cavern, protecting some nervous looking academics. Suddenly  Xorn rising up from the floor, biting a soldiers leg off at the knee, its arms yanking ammunition belts and other metallic objects off his body. The soldiers spread out opening fire as the scientists fall back. One of the scientists adjusts some equipment and fires a sickly green beam at the creature, causing it to screech in pain. It grabs the fallen mans rifle and sinks underground. The party medic rushes over, and speaks to the fallen man of brotherhood and unity, and slowly the blood stops flowing and his screams subside. The medic helps the man to his foot, and group hobbles back the way they came.

So: What do you think? Would you like to play a game like that? What parts do you like? What parts do you hate? How could I do it better?

I’ve just noticed I post about modern games a lot. Odd considering that right now I’m running a D&D game in my setting, a Call of Cthuhlu game and playing in an online Serenity game. None of which are modern games, though I have considered moving the CoC game to the modern era.

Anyway, until next time, Stay Geeky.

–Canageek

Advertisements

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://canageek.wordpress.com/2010/02/21/dungeon-crawling-in-the-modern-day/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Stories of soldiers don’t usually grab me, whether it be war stories or military SF. Now, the exceptions I can think of are alternate history by S.M. Stirling and Eric Flint, both of which put modern people into archaic settings, or, in Stirling’s Emberverse, a post-apocalyptic setting where the laws of physics changed. So, based on that, I think it would be fun to play this. But since I don’t identify so much with soldiers, I’d probably end up playing a civilian such as the “wizard”.

    • Well, I’m not one for military fiction either, but well, this idea got into my head and demanded to be let out!

  2. There’s a sidebar in “Expedition to Castle Ravenloft” (the 3e hardback WotC released in 2006) that suggests using the adventure with d20 Modern. I’ve always wanted to run it this way, but never got around to it.

    I’d like to frame it as a UNHCR point team going into some obscure stretch on the Serbian-Bosnian border in the aftermath of the Yugoslav Wars, investigating reports of missing refugees; their report will be used to decide whether to send in refugee aid or forensic archaeologists. One PC would need to be a doctor, another a driver/translator, and another a soldier to guard them; any additional PCs’ professions can be determined as necessary — maybe a nurse and another soldier.

    Of course, it turns out that the refugees didn’t disappear at the hands of some militia warlord, but those of Strahd von Zarovich himself. And although the PCs’ weapons are powerful, vehicles run out of fuel, guns run out of ammo, and grenades can be used only once…

  3. […] History of Below Alright, I said I had a background for my modern Gygaxian Dungeon Crawling setting. It is roughly based on Voices from Below and The Long Stairs, and is probably compatible […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: