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Dungeon Days
March 16, 2009 8:42 AM   Subscribe

Hey, role-players! Want a break from rules-light, cinematic systems? Nostalgic for the days when dungeons were sprawling and tough and the centerpiece of your gaming night? Well, Monte Cook is there for you with Dungeon-a-Day. Using a unique subscription business-model, he's building a mega-dungeon just for you. New content is released every day, complete with encounters, maps, photos, podcasts, and diagrams. Basically, it's an attempt to use contemporary networked tools to deliver a very old-school experience. (And no, I don't work for Monte - I just think this is awesome!)
posted by macross city flaneur (18 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
I think this is awesome too. It may be enough to rekindle D&D for my friends in fact.
posted by Skorgu at 8:55 AM on March 16, 2009


Mega-dungeon, you say? Even more mega than Ptolus?
posted by Joe Beese at 9:00 AM on March 16, 2009


This is pretty fucking sweet, but I think he's going to have a hard time getting a significant portion of his potential audience at that price point. Lots of people in the roleplaying industry have been bemoaning their loss of of market share among teenagers and college kids to video games, particularly MMOs, but when it's $35 for each of three essential hardcover rulebooks with what is not nearly as much content as RPG books back in the day had, or $96+ a year for dungeon content like this, it's not surprising.

Table-top roleplaying is far superior a use of time than WoW or whatever, but it's also a lot of work. It's going to be hard to convince kids to spend as much as a subscription to WoW on dungeon content when they're still going to have to work a lot to put the game together and they're only going to get to play once a week (and that's if they're really motivated), when with WoW they can boot it up whenever they have some free time. There are few things I love more than a good D&D campaign, but I haven't played regularly in years and years now, because it's just so hard to put together a group that can meet consistently, so it's just not worth it for me to drop a lot of money on supplements like I used to when I was a kid, because it's just not that interesting of reading anymore, and there's a lot of other things competing for my dollar these days.

I don't mean to disparage Monte Cookthe fine people at WotC; I know the realities of publishing pretty well, and they're stuck between a rock and a hard place. But still. I hope there's still kids out there these days who go out and buy and read roleplaying supplements for fun, and can put games together with their friends, but I have a tough time believing there are as many with the prices these days.
posted by Caduceus at 9:23 AM on March 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


Even more mega than Ptolus?

Seeing as DaD is being created by the same guy who did Ptolus, and he's planning on continually updating it (one of the advantages of creating adventuring material online, as opposed to in book format), there's a very good chance that it could eventually surpass Ptolus in size.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 9:25 AM on March 16, 2009


This is pretty fucking sweet, but I think he's going to have a hard time getting a significant portion of his potential audience at that price point.

It's worth keeping in mind that he's self-publishing on the web, which means that many of the costs associated with publishing a roleplaying game simply don't apply. He's probably not paying anything to WoTC, and if he has any staff at all that he needs to pay, it's probably a small one. With that in mind, he doesn't need a huge audience in order to make this a worthwhile use of his time.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 9:30 AM on March 16, 2009


Nathan-san!
posted by bardic at 9:41 AM on March 16, 2009


Floyd-san!
posted by macross city flaneur at 9:44 AM on March 16, 2009


Man...there's been a lot of DnD stuff on MeFi and AskMeFi lately...I'm not complaining, but when it rains it pours.

While I think this is a cool idea, it is definitely outside of my price range. I've become a big DnD 4E fanboy (after having not played since 1ED AD&D), and the products that Wizards is putting out I think are really great for me - they're presented in a way that really helps facilitate DMing and gets games going. For example, I *love* the recent Dungeon Delve release, which to me is a similar concept as this. If Wizards came out with a Dungeon Delve book every quarter, I'd buy it...

Plus, my only complaint is I would prefer to have hardcopy of this type of material in my hand. Sure, I can just print stuff out from the web...but I like buying the books or adventures pre-packaged and something that is mine forever. I could sink a lot of money into this service, yet unless I print out everything every day, I'll never have anything to show for it once I decide it's time to cancel my subscription.

So I think for a more casual gamer like me, the service isn't worth the cost...but I'm sure there's enough hardcore gamers out there to at least subscribe and he might make some money...
posted by JibberJabber at 10:11 AM on March 16, 2009


Well, Monte Cook is there for you with Dungeon-a-Day.

Wow, exclusive dungeon running ...wait...isn't that Monty Haul? ;)
posted by thanotopsis at 10:21 AM on March 16, 2009


I despise fourth edition with a great passion. It's not really that it's a bad game on its own terms, but it's just not Dungeons & Dragons. The Dungeon-a-Day concept, though, is a good one. Megadungeons are awesome.

Dungeon-only exploration, thanatopsis, is the root of the game. There is still a lot to be said for a story-less, plain-out dungeon crawl.
posted by JHarris at 10:41 AM on March 16, 2009


I'm with JHarris. Fourth edition is flavorless in a way that additional supplements will not aid. I just about threw the new Monster Manual across the room when it said that ghouls crave living flesh. No, they don't! Someone with no sense of the mythologies subsumed into the previous versions decided to make a new D&D based on World of Warcraft and the 3.5 edition.

As much as I like the idea of someone cranking out interesting dungeons like this, the idea would have been perfect six years ago. Now? Not so much. And this particular one looks like the Monster Hotel concept blown up into Monster Overlook. It could work, especially if characters don't look too hard.
posted by adipocere at 11:01 AM on March 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


I went through a phase where I really tried to like tabletop role-playing, but it's so fiddly. It seems that any action takes at least five minutes to resolve, no matter how simple it is. One random encounter can dominate an entire evening's play. No thanks; give me a roguelike any day.
posted by sonic meat machine at 11:17 AM on March 16, 2009


It might be worth mentioning that Cook withheld Ptolus from Amazon to help independent gaming stores narrowly cling to survival. So whatever his odds, he's worth rooting for.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:38 AM on March 16, 2009


I just about threw the new Monster Manual across the room when it said that ghouls crave living flesh.

NEERRRDDS!

But seriously, I totally agree. No 4th Ed for me, and I've played every previous version from 1st to 3.5, and have an active WoW account.

I went through a phase where I really tried to like tabletop role-playing, but it's so fiddly. It seems that any action takes at least five minutes to resolve, no matter how simple it is. One random encounter can dominate an entire evening's play. No thanks; give me a roguelike any day.

Typically, the amount of time it takes to get things sorted out in tabletop is inversely proportional to how long you've been playing. If you only went through a brief period where you tried it out, you probably threw in the towel while you still needed to dig out a rulebook and look up some arcane table pretty frequently.

That may be slow, but typically it doesn't continue: the GM and players all get a better handle on the rules and get a better idea of what kind of info they need to have on hand ("Gee, I summon lions pretty often; maybe I should have their stats handy, so I don't have to dig through the book every time I cast that spell"), and stop dithering when their turn comes around.

So yeah, there may be a "hardcore nerd bar" that prevents people who aren't sufficiently Asperger's from getting into it, I don't know. But I can run a full ten rounds of combat with five players in 3.5 D&D in about fifteen minutes, and I think D&D tends to embody the average for rules complexity in pen & paper systems. If you had any desire to give it another go, you could fall back on the great unwritten rule of how to fix problems in tabletop: try playing with a different (possibly more experienced and/or less rules-lawerly) group.

/unsolicited advice
posted by Amanojaku at 12:03 PM on March 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't know. I love the mechanics of 4th Ed. I haven't played 3 or 3.5 for a few years because, in addition to the problems I mentioned above, I was bored to tears by the combat system, which isn't at all interesting until you reach 8th or 9th level and actually have some interesting feats and spells. But the 4th Ed combat mechanics and simplified skills are a fucking joy to use; combat is so much more fun in 4th Ed, in my opinion. I just ignore the cosmology and lore changes. It's not like I don't have all my old 3rd and 2nd Ed books to dig back out for lore.
posted by Caduceus at 2:41 PM on March 16, 2009


I was recently going through some old comics boxes and books and found my entire set of first edition D&D books. Including the Deities and Demigods that had the Lovecraft stuff subsequently pulled because of IP issues. As well, I found all the 3 ring binders of the whole world I'd written: campaigns and cities and story lines and all the background of the games....etc.

I was all excited and ran out to tell my husband, and after hearing my whole "OMG, You'll never guess what I found...." list of things I'd found, he just raised an eyebrow, shook his head and said "Geek", and went back to what he was doing.

Only tangentially related to the post...I just figured that it was a story I could tell here...amongst my people...and probably nowhere else. Heh.
posted by dejah420 at 5:51 PM on March 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Your husband does not know what he is missing. His loss. His sad, sad loss. His sad, sad my god I want to look through all that stuff and have you run a campaign.
posted by Snyder at 11:35 PM on March 16, 2009


I was all excited and ran out to tell my husband, and after hearing my whole "OMG, You'll never guess what I found...." list of things I'd found, he just raised an eyebrow, shook his head and said "Geek", and went back to what he was doing.

Somebody needs to come up with a word for the feeling of rediscovering a treasure trove of stuff *you* created and forgot about ... and then a second word for when a loved one smiles yet remains unimpressed.
posted by Amanojaku at 8:37 AM on March 17, 2009


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