Short Note on Megadungeons
Combat is deadly, and you receive practically no experience for fighting monsters. You do however receive 1 experience per gold piece retrieved from the dungeon.
Very simply, this makes negotiating, bypassing, or bargaining with the inhabitants of the dungeon so you can acquire treasure much more important, leading to more role-playing and more creative play.
You will fight, of course – when ambushed, or perhaps when the treasure is guarded by something you can’t bypass, trick, or out-wait.
I only give this warning, because this is not a place designed with only level appropriate encounters, and any encounter can go south quite quickly. If your first response upon meeting the denizens of the Numenhalla is to draw your sword and charge in; well you might just be murdered by the cleaning crew.
But then again, maybe not.
What is a Megadungeon?
At it’s most basic, it’s a structured environment for play. It has advantages in that it provides a simple understandable setup for focusing on the most enjoyable part of play (collections of interesting choices). It limits player choice from “I can do anything” to an acceptable number of options.
It has other advantages in that it allows players to set their own rate of advancement and risk and reward because of it’s open and non-linear nature.
It is a dynamic environment, one that is constantly changing and growing as the players affect it. They are impossible to be cleared.
It is more akin to a city in modern RPG’s like shadowrun or vampire then a traditional dungeon. A living breathing environment that allows the players to enact their will and exert their agency in a structured way.
It is a mythic environment, with strange portals and interesting happenings, not just a warehouse of corridors.
It is an un-clearable realm, with corridors and areas that stretch out to infinity.