View Full Version : Maze of Many design

2011-07-09, 05:03 PM
Ok, there is a web comic that I read called goblins. Currently one of the sets of characters is stuck in a dungeon where 218 versions of yourself from alternate dimensions are constantly racing for the prize at the end. The first to get there wins, everyone else is reset back to the start with no memory of the dungeon run, just a counter showing how many tries you have logged so far. Same thing happens if you get a tpk. I thought of just how much that would mess with your head, seeing you have failed hundreds, or even thousands of times to make it to the end first, and how it would make you second guess all your decisions because apparently they havent been the right ones so far.

Ok, the point here is, this would make for an AWESOME dungeon for an experienced DM with a group of players he is used to working with to create. Basically, you set them up with the dungeon, give them the speech about how it works, and show them a counter with some random high number on it. The trick here is, all the traps have to be specifically designed to work in ways your players wouldnt normally think of. As an example, if your players tend to have a barbarian in the party who treats all locked doors the same way, full charge and bash it down, now the doors are lethally trapped. If your players tend to be good at logic puzzles, include puzzles that SEEM to be solved through a logic problem, but instead have some outside the box thinking to resolve it. The goal is to make them realize that apparently their normal methods of winning havent worked, and they need to try something different if they want to win "this time"

2011-07-10, 05:53 AM

Eh. The traps are pretty lethal if the players don't cotton on, and there's no guarantee that they will. There's a very good chance of death, and if they do die then they have to restart. If this happens they will have prior knowledge of the traps, and it's very difficult to separate that sort of player knowledge from character knowledge (and I can't imagine it being in any way fun when everyone knows how to do it, yet are all pretending they don't). You're also unlikely to second guess yourself, as you (the player making the decisions) are unlikely to be fooled into believing you've actually tried this before.

It requires a huge amount of work from the DM (the traps, the other versions of you who you could potentially fight, etc.), contains numerous chances for instant death of a character, and requires the same route to be run each go (meaning any bypassed traps are not very interesting and you may as well have a checkpoint system in each room). I struggle to believe that it would be an interesting experience, but then a lot of people seem to enjoy the Tomb of Horrors, so maybe I'm alone on this.

- elpollo (who is not particularly engrossed by the Maze of Many storyline)

2011-07-10, 08:49 AM
Well first of all, it doesnt have to repeat itself past once, in the comic there is a version of the party that is using this repeat to destroy the maze and everything in it permanently. Have them run it once, put some pretty fantastic reward at the middle to make them want to win really bad, and put down some sort of time limit where if they dont get to the middle, they get cast out and can never return.

Also, its not like you have to actually come up with 200+ alternate versions to describe, just state that there ARE alternate versions, then make up a small handful. Its not like you have to go deep into details about the other version beyond something like, "Ok mister paladin, the alternate version of you in this room is a rogue, the alternate version of the wizard is a warlock," etc then have them fight it out. As for getting them to second guess themselves, thats what the narrative is all about. You are pretty much grinding it into their faces that their characters have already tried many many times to beat the dungeon and have obviously failed every time so far.

The traps and puzzles dont all have to be lethal, remember, they are working on a time limit too, so just being unable to figure out the way to move on quickly would be enough to cause them lose. As I said, this would take an experienced DM who has worked with his group for awhile to make it work, I just thought it would be an interesting idea for some to try.