Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Secrets of Myrddin Q&A

I just wanted to make sure everybody saw the questions and answers from the two Secrets of Myrddin posts:

Q: So when are you going to post the Kickstarter for The Caves of Myrddin?
A: That doesn't seem feasible given the number of other products I rehash.

Q:Were you kidding about [ripping off] level 3 of the Temple of Elemental Evil?
A: Only in that I haven't ripped off that particular module.  Other modules?  Totally ripped off.

Q: Does this map [the vertical geomorph] reflect all the interlevel connections?
A: No.  There are plenty of staircases, shafts, etc. on the level maps.  And a couple of 'secret' levels that can't be accessed via the vertical geomorph.  Philip the Bloody discovered one of these and later led an expedition specifically to loot part of it.

Q: Does horizontal distance on this map always correspond to distance on the horizontal levels?
A: Only sort of.  Any attempt to construct a complete iso-view map of the dungeon would probably discover areas that just don't work right.

Q: I'd really like to get a better idea of how people translate from the vertical layout to the overhead, especially for some of the more complex ones like the one pictured. Obviously some of the early ones where each level is just a box with interconnecting stairs and passages, it's easy to translate since on the vertical map the level is just a featureless box. But on these more detailed ones?
A: Not sure that I follow this question.  Is it the same as the next one down?  If not, please restate.

Q: What kind of cues were you given that you were mapping vertically? Did you have to figure that out, or was it made clear "you may want to switch to another sheet of paper to represent a vertical map"?
A: When you reach one of the standard dungeon levels I just tell people to switch to overhead perspective in their mapping.  I don't really do 'subtle' well.

Q: So then the vertical map was run as a separate map? Like it's own floor, but instead of horizontal vertical?
A: Yes.  Whole sessions were spent crawling that map.  Some seriously epic fights have happened there.  It has a few layers and some hidden loot right on it.

Q: Is this [the vertical map] actually it's own ant-farm style dungeon level? If so, do you think of it as being 2 dimensional?
A: Yeah, it is run as its own level.  I tell people "This map has up, down, east and west.  I might mention north and south occasionally, but don't take it too seriously."

Any other questions at this point?  What else would you like me to talk about?


  1. That's cool. I think it's a neat way to make the up/down dimension more present. I could see being subtle about switching between maps, but it would take some care in giving directions to hide the fact. Much more pleasant to just be upfront about the transition. Which goes well with giving the players more choice about what degree of challenge they want.


  2. Philip the Bloody discovered one of these and later led an expedition specifically to loot part of it.

    We found it in my first session and I got to finally lot it in my last session. Pretty good book ends I'd say.

    So much of what I planned to do in Myrddin was based on what happened in that first session I was in.

  3. I tell people "This map has up, down, east and west. I might mention north and south occasionally, but don't take it too seriously."

    Have you ever thought of creating a few more vertical levels to link together along that north/south axis?

    Thinking about this makes me want to construct a dungeon with the four cardinal directions bordered with vertical dungeons connected across the middle with multiple levels of horizontal dungeon maps...

  4. Anonymous8:21 AM

    As I was reading about the vertical maps, I got to thinking about how you handled combat. IIRC, at somepoint the party just cut ropes and fled which is a technique, not neccesarily the perfered one, but it is a technique. Barring the cut and run, Any other insight you can share as far as a running battle with ropes and casualty evacuation. Anything you might do differently or would defintely suggest for a Spelunking Melee?

  5. Anonymous10:22 AM

    When you playing in the vertical, how do you describe to the players what they are seeing?

    Do you describe flat areas as rooms? and stair wells as stair wells, or are you forsaking all that detail and describing things to the players only in two dimensions?

    If you have a little time, please give an example. I'd like to try one of these with my players and I hope to hit the ground running with some pro tips. Jeff's players, when you were vertical plundering what was most interesting/evocative/helpful?


    1. From this player's perspective...

      Looking the actual vertical map seems a little strange to me. I remember it more as a series 3D images of 10' corridors, larger rooms, and vast caverns. Apparently any subtle change in ceiling height on the map was described by Jeff as a room or chamber.

      "when you were vertical plundering what was most interesting/evocative/helpful?"

      Each room or chamber in the vertical section seemed to have a special feature, something that set it apart and made it unique. Jeff was very good about keeping the short room descriptions consistent, and these features were described almost verbatim whenever we entered the room. So, even though I never mapped any of it personally, I could recognize rooms and over time I had memorized a few paths back to the surface. I think that was important.

      Having a featureless room is fine on a horizontal map, we ran into plenty of those on the various levels. Given the difficulty of mapping the vertical section though, I think we were all rather grateful for the consistent descriptions and features. They helped us recognize rooms we had explored on previous delves, and thus how to link different sections of our player made map.

    2. Anonymous6:27 PM

      Thanks. That was helpful!

  6. Anonymous1:32 PM

    Sad wizard is sad there's no wizard this week.

  7. What's the width of passages in the vertical map? Did you allow more than one character to fight in a corridor side-by-side or was it purely a single-file affair?

  8. He never really enforced any battlemap-style combat rules unless it was specifically a very small space (there were a couple I recall). So while passages would change in width (which he would describe) in general were free to gank all monsters with extreme prejudice.

    Jeff, I want to know more about the weird rooms/regions (Sand, Poison Gas, Fairy Land, Magic chair(s)); also the strange mythology of the White Queen and the Demonic shrines all over the place.