James Maliszewski1, a long-time writer and designer, has spent over a year and a half delving into the history of the RPG hobby at Grognardia. I don’t always agree with his notions, nor do I view the early days of the hobby with quite the same degree of fondness that he obviously does. But he is doing anybody interested in gaming a great service with his research, interviews, and philosophical examination of the ur-texts.
A recurring theme of Grognardia is of the “megadungeon”, epitomized by the dungeons under Castle Greyhawk, DMed by Gary Gygax. Maliszewski feels, probably correctly, that the origins of D&D cannot be properly understood without an understanding of megadungeons. He further decided, again correctly, that megadungeons themselves cannot be understood (especially today, 35 years later) without actually playing a game in which one plays a central role.
Thus, as his practicum2, he is running a megadungeon campaign, Dwimmermount, using Swords & Wizardry (one of many recent recreations of OD&D, “original D&D, as in before AD&D was published) as his base ruleset. He writes regular updates on the current goings-on in the campaign, as well as musings that spring from running it.
I don’t think I’d have as much fun in an old-school dungeon campaign as I would in any of several other kinds of games, but reading his blog nevertheless gives me the urge to try a megadungeon, as a player or a DM.
- Yes, I did copy-and-paste his last name. It would be ironic if I misspelled someone’s name. [return]
- Practicum actually has the strong connotation of a supervised course of study, where this is more a long-term experiment with no guidance beyond that from his research. Really, “long-term experiment” would be a better phrase, but I like the sound of practicum better. [return]