Sunday, February 7, 2016

Dwimmer Game 11 - Discovering the Pool of Life

Cast of Characters:
Bud, a level 2 dwarven cleric
Mumford, a level 1 fighter
Utor, the elf enchanter (level 2 Mage)
Jarvis, a level 2 fighter
Bart, a level 2 fighter
Marthanes the Summoner, (level 3 Mage)
Tancrede, a level 3 cleric of Typhon
Wulfengard, a level 3 dwarf fighter

Once again, I'll remind the readers that I've let myself get quite a few game sessions behind the current date.  Assuming we get to play Tuesday night, it will be game 16 and the players are trying to pick up the pieces after a near TPK and loss of numerous characters on a side quest that went horribly wrong.  I've been lackadaisical about writing the reports!

Game 11 saw the cast of characters make their way back down to level 2A, the Eld sub-level of "The Laboratory".  Marthanes read about a 'Pool of Life' in some old Thulian Archives they had found over on level 2B.  "…the Emperors looked to the remnants of the monstrous armies left on Telluria by the Eld as a means to maintain Imperial authority.  Exceptional beastmen were recruited, cloned through the use of the Essence Machine and Pool of Life… in time, the now-familiar races of humanoid beastmen began to emerge from the Chaos of the Eldritch troops."

In the early games, the players befriended orcs on level 1.  The orcs had rebelled against a new master, Varaxes (Varazes in the text, but I prefer the sound of Varaxes), who birthed the orcs from a pool on the Laboratory level.  Piecing together the backstory of the orcs, with the information gleaned from the archives, was enough for Marthanes to develop delusions of grandeur, with visions of his very own beastman army.  Everybody needs a dream.  At least his plan is a little more ambitious then "I Bart the door and open the boxes before anyone else can see", like most of the kids.  It's going to be interesting to introduce these guys to the ACKS mid-game and see which ones develop an interest in non-dungeon stuff, if any.  At least they bought a house.

They were already close to finding the Pool of Life when the game started.  On the way, they freed an alchemical cat from a stasis flask, Mr Fluffles, who was adopted by handsome Utor as a pet.  They fought a bunch of injured gnolls in a room (the gnolls were injured because Marthanes sent some berserksers screaming ahead with orders to kill anything), and Utor charmed the largest gnoll and called him Leaderor (which is apparently the name of a character on a cartoon called 'Gravity Falls' the kids watch).  They used their Rod of Opening on the secret door pointed out by the sapient rats last session, and discovered a 200 year old Thulian fallout shelter with various survival gear items tucked away behind the door.

The highlight of the night was finding the Pool of Life, a sprawling room with a sunken pool of white viscous liquid, various essence vats in niches around the room, and a large control panel.  We treated this like a boss fight, vinyl map board and miniatures and all, as the players took on Varaxes and his large squad of gnolls.  Varaxes was from Volmar, like Marthanes, and decried him as a traitor.  Regarding the battle map, I've determined that the kids do a little better with tactics when they can gather around a large map and plan tactics visually, like forming a wall with their fighters, and letting the ranged guys take shots from behind the line.

Wulfengard quaffed a potion of invisibility before the fight, so he snuck around to assassinate Varaxes.  Unfortunately, he missed on his attack roll, the magic was broken, and he got 'dog-piled' by a pair of gnoll bodyguards.  But Wulfengard is consistently the fighter MVP of the group, and can usually hack his way out of any bad situation.  You know how some players always seem to roll 6's on initiative and 20's on their attack rolls?  That's Wulfengard - clearly on friendly terms with lady luck.

The fight devolved into a front-line skirmish between fighters and gnolls, whacking at each other, while Varaxes hurled spells at the players from his position behind his gnolls.  Weak characters in the back fell asleep, but Varaxes rolled too low to sleep more than a few guys.  Marthanes began targeting Varaxes with the wand of magic missiles, winning a few initiative rolls and disrupting the enemy spells by zapping Varaxes first.  Actually it was a pretty cool battle from that perspective, two casters facing off from behind their lines of fighters and tossing magic.  It only took a few shots to kill Varaxes, and once he was dead, the players cleaned up the rest quickly.  Marthanes exhausted the wand of magic missiles, but Varaxes had his own wand in the loot (a wand of fear, it would turn out).

Marthanes began to investigate the workings of the Pool of Life with manic glee.  He has both magical engineering and a high intelligence, but he needed to clear three successes - and he only got to roll once per hour.  His dice were ice cold.  The players waited and waited, dealing with one wandering encounter after another, while Marthanes repeatedly failed his engineering rolls.  Attrition set in.

The last straw was when the party saw large spindly legs coming around the corner at the end of a nearby hall - a trio of giant black widow spiders walking along the ceiling!  Those things are terrifying - instant death via the poisonous bite.  The players were still using the battle map, so they formed defensive positions and shot at the spiders with missiles for as long as they could.  Leaderor, their charmed gnoll commpanion, was sent down the hall to engage the spiders in melee.  He died.  Marthanes also summoned his 4th level hero to charge down the hall and keep the spiders from advancing; he died too.  But the overall tactics were sound, and the kids survived without meaningful casualties.

They forced Marthanes to desist messing with the pool ("because you suck, Marthanes, anyone can roll better than you"), and they headed back to Muntburg to heal and recover.  Next game sees a return visit to the Pool of Life, success from the mage, and the creation of Binky, Pinky, and Travis, the short-lived orcs created by the players.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Dwimmer-Game 10 - I Splash through the Puddle. Oops, Green Slime!

Cast of Characters:
Utor, the elf enchanter (level 2 Mage)
Jarvis, a level 2 fighter
Bud, a level 2 dwarven cleric
Bart, a level 2 fighter
Marthanes the Summoner, (level 3 Mage)
Tancrede, a level 3 cleric of Typhon
Wulfengard, a level 3 dwarf fighter
Mumford, a level 1 fighter (former henchman, now a new player)

Game 10 was another school-night game where my kids petitioned me to run a short pick-up game for their friends on a night when my wife was out doing her theater stuff.  The players returned to the Eld sub-level of dungeon 2A in search of the Pool of Life.

I'm going to breeze over this game session since the exciting stuff starts to happen in games 11 and beyond.  I need to hurry up and get the games caught up to the present.  When the reports are current, I’ll be able to start asking meaningful questions from the readers on what should happen next.

The players returned to the Eld sublevel and began exploring.  They found a machine where a carcass scavenger lived behind it, entered a room with archer bushes, and another room with vampire rose bushes, killing everything they met without incident, other than grumbling about no treasure.  They helped out some sapient rats in a desperate fight against a throgrim (thoul), and the rats repaid them by scrawling on the player map where there was a secret door up ahead.

It wouldn't be a D&D game with kids without at least one signature knuckle-head moment.  After waving goodbye to the sapient rats, the players noticed a greenish wet area on the floor, and a discarded weapon nearby.  A green slime had fallen on a gnoll and eaten it.  But of course these guys aren't very experienced with old time D&D stuff, so Bart decided to splash through the puddle.  He screamed in agony on the other side as the green slime quickly destroyed his boots!

The players tossed torches across to Bart so he could burn it off his feet and boots, while the players started pouring oil on the slime to destroy it.  While Bart was stranded across the burning oil puddle, a Gray Ooze came along too, and he needed to kill it with minimal help.  He was horrified to learn that Gray Ooze can melt magic weapons, and quickly started switching to disposable weapons to survive the ooze attack.

It was a short night due to school, so after retrieving Bart, they headed back to Muntburg.  Coming next time, the Pool of Life…

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Dwimmer-Game 9 - Bart the Door!

Cast of Characters:
Bud, a level 2 dwarven cleric
Utor, the elf enchanter (level 2 Mage)
Marthanes the Summoner, (level 3 Mage)
Tancrede, a level 3 cleric of Typhon
Wulfengard, a level 3 dwarf fighter
Jarvis, a level 2 fighter
Drev, a level 3 bard
Bart, a level 2 fighter
Mumford, a level 1 fighter (former henchman, now a new player)

There are some key things to making a megadungeon 'come to life' and create drama and interest with the players.  It's important to give them interesting options each game, provide a few compelling quests and rumors, and news on rival activity so there's time pressure and opportunity costs to the player's choices.

This session, we started with them learning about rival activity in the dungeon while hanging out in Muntburg's tavern.  The Fists of Typhon had started exploring level 2A, killing some orcs and freeing dwarven prisoners.  The Delvers had gotten really beaten up on level 2B by Throgrim, and were out of the dungeon a few weeks to heal.  But the Delvers had found stairs to level 3B, and the players offered to buy a map from them so they wouldn't have to keep searching for stairs on their own.  Finally, the Seekers, a more powerful group, had gotten a Knock spell to help with the elevator doors, and had started exploration of the deep shaft (all the way to level 4).  The shaft was filled with slimes and similar horrors, so it was slow going for them.

From the Secret History the players had gathered a few game sessions ago, they knew about a Pool of Life and Essence Machines on level 2A.  One of the big discussions was whether they should compete with the Fists of Typhon on level 2A, or use the Delvers' map to 3B and get a jump on the Delvers.  In town, they sent the Curate of Typhon after the Fists of Typhon to pester them with his quest to find the Temple of Law on level 2B, hoping this would keep the Fists out of their way while the players searched for the Pool.  As fellow Typhonians, how could the Fists say no?  Don't underestimate the fun and shenanigans some rivalries can add to your game!

This game saw the players pocket the map to 3B for now and instead focus on covering as much ground on level 2A as possible.  Armed with a number of level 2 fighters, they were able to quickly clear a whole series of rooms inhabited by the fragments of the orc tribe on the east side of the dungeon with workmanlike efficiency.  Cleave and damage bonuses turn ACKS fighters into death engines versus low level humanoids.

One of their fighters, Bart, is obsessed with getting to the largest treasure hoards as quickly as possible; they frequently skip detailed searches, and they don't listen or sneak around (and they don't care about the increased wandering monsters, either).  They've definitely missed some goodies, only getting 'saved' by having multiple dwarves and an elf who sometimes find secret doors through their demihuman senses even though they skipped a formal search.  Meanwhile, Bart has 'dungeon bashing' proficiency which makes him an expert at forcing open doors, leading to another signature phrase from the players when he charges from room to room - "He Barts the door."

One source of drama while playing with teens, and Bart is the worst, is the mad scramble over magic items.  "In this room, you see a bunch of boxes…"  Before I even finish the room description, Bart's player is saying, "I open all the boxes.  Before anyone else.  I'm taking any magic items, and putting the gems in my pockets…"  I frequently have to remind them that D&D is a team sport, and their party agreement involves sharing treasure and a fair distribution of magic items.  I can empathize with school teachers and coaches who see their mandates as part education, and the rest civilizing a bunch of 'Lord of the Flies' hooligans.

There was a terrifying wandering monster encounter with a Gelatinous Cube that sneaked up on the players while they were involved in one of their treasure \ item squabbles, but the Summoned Hero of Marthanes ended up putting in good work against the Cube and no one died.  The highlight of the night was when they found an arch and short flight of stairs leading down - still part of level 2A, but to earlier construction featuring precise architecture and alien doors - the Eld sub-level!  The players descended to the Eld section of level 2A, discovering eldritch technology (Glow Bulbs) beyond an adamantite hatch.

By this time, it was getting late, so we wrapped up.  Marthanes loves the idea of the Eld, and has everyone excited to explore the Eld sub-level and find the Pool of Life.  They were already looking forward to continuing this exploration next game.

I'm really enjoying Dwimmermount and running it with the ACKS rules.  The players are a little overpowered for the current dungeon areas, but they're working quickly to get deeper, and having plenty of fun.  The depth of the dungeon background, and stories that are emerging from the player's exploration, is shaping this into a very memorable campaign.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Dwimmer-Game 8 - The Brad Pitt of Elven Salesmen

Characters for this game:

Utor, the elf enchanter (level 2 Mage)
Marthanes, a desert sorcerer (level 3 Mage)
Tancrede, a level 3 cleric of Typhon
Wulfengard,a level 3 dwarf fighter
Jarvis, a level 2 fighter
Bart, a level 3 fighter

This game was on a weeknight where we had a smaller group again - my kids have been petitioning me to run pickup games midweek for them and a few of their friends.  It's very cool to see our local gang of middle school and high school kids jumping on the RPG bandwagon and discovering the fun in the hobby.

At the start of this game, both Tancrede and Bart had need of the city; Tancrede was cursed with disbelief in the gods (a real problem for a cleric), and Bart had a maimed leg due to injuries.  Furthermore, the players had nearly 100lbs of rare metals salvaged from the dungeon.  They finally voted as a group to visit the city of Adamas.

They bought horses and gear in Muntburg, and traveled with one of the merchants that had a weekly route between Muntburg and Adamas, to increase everyone's safety.  None of the wandering encounters were such that they'd threaten or bother an armed merchant train, so they made it okay to the city.

I busted out the ACKS trade rules and had the chance to consider the player's request to auction their precious metals in the market square.  Of course, the fun part was making Utor's player practice his sales pitch and drum up interest as a infomercial style pitchman;  "Step right up and check it out!  Rare Azoth, Aeronite, Adamantite, and more, straight from the legendary Dwimmermount!"  Between his 16 charisma, and his character's additional +2 due to "glamour", one of the teens quipped, "Utor is like the Brad Pitt of Elven used metal salesmen".

I still wasn't sure how much gameplay I wanted to happen in the city, so I let the players create what they wanted to do and where it would happen.  For  instance, the guys that needed magical healing ended up going to a temple of Typhon called the Church of St. Wasabi the Disciplinarian; some of the player's new-found wealth was quickly spent at Goode's Magical Goods; the merchant that finally agreed to buy all the Dwimmermount metals was simply called "Oswald the Merchant"; they bought a pack animal called Sparky the Donkey.

After the kids blew a lot of cash in the city, they journeyed with the next merchant to Muntburg, and quickly found their way back to the dungeon as well.  "Skyrim Fast Travel" has altered the landscape of table top RPG's; 'Can't we just fast travel back to Muntburg and fast travel to the dungeon?  Walking seems so slow.  Oh, and we're not taking any mercenaries or mooks this time, because they just sponge XP from the players.'

Back in the dungeon, the players worked their way back to dungeon level 2B, the Reliquary, and resumed exploring the eastern side of the dungeon, following a broad, cavernous twenty foot wide hall.  The Reliquary  level is filled with monumental architecture, temples, colonnades, and ceremonial structures from the time of the Thulians.  The players were hoping to find stairs down to level 3; the Curate of Typhon had implored them to seek the great "Temple of Law" lost in the Reliquary, but that didn't interest them.  "Lawful is boring".

The players searched up and down the main hall, not finding stairs down.  They interrupted a room full of Eldritch Bones and quickly defeated them.  No stairs.  They discovered a room full of Shadows, and then an amazing hidden shrine of healing.  Boring, still no stairs.  Time ran out and the players had to head back to Muntburg.

"I need to get Locate Object", schemed Marthanes.  "That'll really help us find things.  I'm going to hire a merchant to find one in the city".  I've never ran a game where the players looked for help in the spell lists and decided only Locate Object could save them; it's interesting to see how the size of the megadungeon (and the desire to delve deeper) drives planning.

After the wealth the players got from selling the salvaged metal, most of them are level 2 and a few guys are already level 3 (such as Marthanes and Bart).  Low level fighters jump up in power in Adventurer Conqueror King once they get to 2nd and 3rd level - the combination of higher damage bonuses and cleave lets them take over fights against weaker monsters.  It was clear during this session they're ready for level 3 challenges.  The players relished being able to destroy the Eldritch Bones in melee combat, after being terrorized by them for the half dozen game sessions, so I'm glad they got to savor some success.  Meanwhile, Marthanes chose another new spell from the ACKS Player's Companion, Summon Hero, as his 2nd level spell.  The Summoned Hero was employed against the Shadows.   "I have a new name… I'm no longer Marthanes the Sorcerer, I am Marthanes the Summoner!  Muhaha."

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Hell Freezes Over in Finland, and other 2016 Things to Watch

Since I've started blogging again, and the calendar turned to 2016, there have been a whole series of announcements on things I didn't expect to see this year.

Jim LOTFP is Going to Gencon
I was really surprised to see the news that LOTFP is going to Gencon.  I ran some LOTFP at Gencon years ago, and there were controversies a few years back where some prudish Gencon organizers didn't want the LOTFP games or modules on display in the dealer hall and whatnot - can't have gore, horror, and boobs on display in Indianapolis!  I never expected to see an announcement that Jim LOTFP is making the long haul from Finland to Indianapolis.  I'd love to make it out there - get a bunch of missing LOTFP stuff in person.  My teenager is looking to play some "edgy" D&D with his friends, and LOTFP's early stuff (Tower of the Stargazer, Grinding Gear, Hammers of the God) strikes a good balance between classic dungeons, weirdness, and horror, so I have him checking out Stargazer (he played through all those, plus Death Frost Doom, back during a game I called "Gothic Greyhawk").

Does that mean the long-awaited Referee Book is getting done this year?  That one's been kicking around a few years now.  That seems like the kind of product and release that would warrant an appearance at gaming's biggest convention.

Delta Green Trail of Cthulhu?
I like the Delta Green world, but haven't played BRP in a long time; any recent horror games have been Trail of Cthulhu.  One of the bits of news coming out of the recent Delta Green kickstarter is that Pelgrane Press is doing a 1960's Delta Green setting book (written by Ken Hite, naturally) called The Fall of Delta Green.  That one is going right to the top of the pre-order list.  Maybe we'll see a full-blown Gumshoe Delta Green book at some point, too.

The Auran Empire for ACKS
The guy(s) over at Adventurer Conqueror King are making some moves; the president of a video game company joined the management team, they just had their Lairs & Encounters kick starter clear $25,000, they're publishing articles via a decent-sized Patreon, and now news that the Auran Empire setting is coming this year.  I've played ACKS intermittently since it came out in 2011, and I thought the Auran Empire was going to be the company's "Castle Greyhawk"; that product that was talked about since the early days but never managed to see print.  2016 could prove me wrong!

The Return of Strahd
It's been all over the blogosphere, the next 5E sourcebook \ adventure is a return to Barovia (The Curse of Strahd).  Love it!  Looks like it's going to include more about the lands of Barovia and an updated delve into Ravenloft in an adventure for levels 1 - 10; I guess they need something for those low level guys to do before they can fight Strahd.  My players had a lot of fun beating that guy a few years ago in Gothic Greyhawk.

I'm doing school on the weekends so there's no chance I'll be working on any grandiose 5E megadungeon this year.  I eagerly await the efforts of an enterprising 5E designer with old school sensibilities who creates a (good) epic 5E megadungeon - I've got some money right here.  5E doesn't play out the same as the old school clones because of the power levels and wahoo magic stuff, but it's a really fun game and I hope this OGL brings some good things to the market.  Splatbooks and rules bloat need not apply - although I could be persuaded by an updated setting like 3E's Midnight, or a well done Asian-themed setting.  Speaking of which, I need to pick up a copy of Yoon Suin this year and check out Stonehell 2 - those were a few old school products from last year that slipped by while I wasn't blogging.  I may get my first Indie game this year too, something like Dungeon World (after some recent recommendations here).

Now if someone could announce they got a Traveller license for Star Wars or Star Trek, 2016 would be completely bananas.

What are you looking forward to this year in the RPG game-o-sphere?

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Wandering Monsters, You Will Serve Me

Wandering monsters are an important component of the megadungeon experience.  From a  story perspective, they create the illusion that the dungeon is an inhabited place with an ecosystem of monsters that have their own agendas and missions - they don't just lurk in the dark, waiting for adventurers.  Conceivably there are tombs and smaller non-living dungeons where the monsters do just lurk and wait, lurk and wait, but the megadungeon is giant, and has a panoply of critters.  Wandering monsters set the thing in motion and ensure the dungeon remains a hostile environment.

From a game perspective, wandering monsters exert positive pressure on the action.  They ensure players don't endlessly search without consequence; they drain party resources; they are  a principal tool you have as a referee to create problems for the "15 minute work day".  The 15 minute work day refers to entering the dungeon, visiting a room, expending all the party's resources at once, immediately leaving, resting overnight, returning to the dungeon, and doing it all over again…  Your players might still have to abridge their delve for legitimate reasons (such as having their keisters handed to them) but wandering monsters ensure it's not a great strategy.  Resource management and planning is one of the skill aspects tested during extended dungeon exploration.

In very large dungeons, the irritation factor of wandering monsters also increases the worth of elevators, secret stairs and short cuts, and alternate dungeon entrances.  Anything that cuts out superfluous encounters has value.

However, with my current campaign, I am noticing a few things I don't like due to our constraints.  First, I'm trying to run shorter pickup games here and there, sometimes only 2 hours or less.  Hitting one or two wandering monsters while trying to reach the unexplored areas can lop off a fair percentage of table time when the sessions are so short.  Similarly, if we're targeting a specific end time (like 8:30 for a school night), the players want to keep exploring right up until 8:29 and 59 seconds…  not leaving any time in case they hit wandering monsters on the way out of the dungeon.  (I could certainly make them stop 15 minutes early each night to account for travel, but that's not entirely satisfying, especially if I don't roll encounters and they could have used the time).

With these concerns now expressed, I'm considering some adjustments to the standard approach for our short games:
  • When traversing areas that have been cleared by adventurers (and are slowly re-stocking), the incidents of wandering monsters is greatly reduced - 1 in 6 per hour instead of 1 in 6 three times per hour, for instance.
  • When leaving the dungeon at the very end of a session (to meet our time constraints), the wandering monster rules are abridged.
  • When leaving the dungeon at other times, roll checks as normal.

However, I'm not suggesting to ignore the dice if I don't like a wandering monster result… dice fudging is verboten.  If it's worth using the dice to determine an outcome, it's worth rolling them in the open and letting the dice fall.  Dice create drama and consequences, and using them temporarily shifts the referee into a spectator of the unfolding story much like the players - none of us know what's going to happen when the dice are rolling, and that's exciting.  Dice are the neutral arbiters of fate.  If you don't want to the possibility of a negative result, don't even roll them.  Make a ruling instead.

Monday, January 18, 2016

A Review of Dwimmermount

After writing a few blog posts about Dwimmermount, and running over 10 sessions of the adventure for various local players, it's time to pull it all together into a review.  The short version:  Dwimmermount is very, very good.

The hardcover of Dwimmermount is a hefty tome, weighing in at 428 pages.  It represents an entire campaign and setting in a single volume; the contents include a sprawling 13 level dungeon, surrounding lands as a hex crawl, a nearby settlement and home base, and tons of supporting materials - new monsters, magic items, other planets, detailed histories, and plenty of supplementary rules.  Dwimmermount comes either in a Labyrinth Lord compatible or Adventure, Conqueror, King (ACKS) compatible version; for reference, I've been using the ACKS version at the table.

As an adventure,Dwimmermount does some things really well.  The setting of Dwimmermount draws direct inspiration from early 20th century pulp fantasy authors like Abraham Merritt and Edgar Rice Burroughs, and it hearkens back to the free-wheeling fantasy settings of the 1970's.  The campaign is a fantastic vehicle for experiencing pulp and science fantasy adventure, and seeing the many inspirations of 1970's Dungeons & Dragons realized in a modern setting.

Dwimmermount is the Axis Mundi, the mythic center of the world of Telluria.  All the major historical events of the game world involved the dungeon, and exploration of the dungeon is exploration of the secret history of the world.  There are enough secrets, twists, and reveals, to sustain an entire campaign centered on exploration of the dungeon.

Not only is Dwimmermount practically textbook-sized, it can function as a textbook example on how to conceive, create, and run an old school style mega dungeon campaign.  There have been larger dungeons in terms of maps and rooms, but none have brought Dwimmermount's literary sensibilities, depth, and execution.

However, there are some issues to consider before running a game there.  First, the campaign is heavily tied into the world of Telluria, the setting of Dwimmermount. Telluria has a unique view on elves, dwarves, the planets, and the gods.  The history of the world is specific, and this specificity is striped through every aspect of the dungeon.  This tight integration between the dungeon and setting is fantastic if you want to run a full Dwimmermount campaign on Telluria, but would generate a lot of work for a referee trying to insert the dungeon into a preexisting setting.

The inspiration, vision, and draft of the campaign came out of the notes and home campaign of James Maliszewski, and the actual book was then developed, embellished, and produced by the staff at Autarch.  Dwimmermount demonstrates the challenges inherent in transforming raw game notes from a lengthy campaign into a fully realized and published game book.  For various reasons, the project ran late, and utile features like an index didn't make the cut.  It can be hard to find obscure references in a 400 page book while using it at the table.  I've found myself employing sticky notes and tabs to keep track of frequently referenced pages.  One item that's improved the table experience is the Dwimmermount "Dungeon Tracker", an add-on product that makes Dwimmermount easier to run at the table by providing handy versions of the maps and level keys.

My overall stance on Dwimmermount is that it is very impressive.  I love the literary allusions and pulp fantasy vibe, and the campaign has fired the imaginations of the kids and dads in my local play group.  I've had more fun running this campaign than any game I ran in the past year, and that's perhaps the best praise I can give any game book.  I highly recommend it.

If you want to know more, here are other recent blog posts (at the Lich House) involving the dungeon: