My more rational feeling pertains to the commodification of the whole thing. Yes, I know Monte Cook's a writer and he needs to make a living just like everyone else, but knowledge of those realities doesn't change the bad taste I get in my mouth when I think about this. For what it's worth, I think WotC's D&D Insider is a similarly crass venture. Over the last year, the old school community has done some amazing stuff, much of it for free or for nearly so. We've launched not one but two fanzines, seen multiple retro-clones made available (all with free PDFs), and shared our ideas and homebrew dungeons with one another -- and all for the love of this hobby. When you consider that, it's hard for me not to wonder why anyone would bother to subscribe to Cook's latest project.
So, I've decided to take up the gauntlet and create an old school answer to Dungeonaday.com. Like Fight On!'s "The Darkness Beneath" and Matt Finch's "Megadungeon Slam," I envision this as a collaborative project, drawing on the talents of as many people as want to contribute. Though I may revise my plan, these are the major points of my proposed approach:
- I draw up a scheme for the entire dungeon, including its levels. I'll probably need help with this from someone who can make maps.
- I create a rough background for the dungeon to use as a framing device for the entire project.
- I get some maps for the various levels, again with the assistance of people with actual skills in this area.
- All of these things get posted to a website somewhere, free of charge.
- Then, each day, a room, collection of rooms, or some other aspect of the dungeon -- starting on Level 1 -- is created and posted to the website. By default, I'll do this myself, but I would very much like help in doing so. To that end, if anyone wants to submit something to me, it'd make my life immensely easier.
- My hope is that each daily entry will include something new: a magic item, spell, monster, or even a clever new use of something we've all seen before. Even empty rooms -- of which there must be many -- will be interesting in their own right.
I welcome any help people are willing to offer, but it'll be without any compensation beyond my thanks and the knowledge that we're doing something really remarkable. I especially need cartographers and artists who are willing to offer their skills, as I lack the ability either to draw or make maps. I likewise need writers who can contribute anything, no matter how small. Your work will be credited in your name and it remains yours to do with as you please, so long as I may use it for the purposes of this project.
Unless there's a huge uproar against this, I plan to use Swords & Wizardry for the rules -- yes, even with the damned Ascending AC -- but the goal really is to keep it as free of rules as possible. S&W has the advantage of being very simple and easily compatible with all pre-WotC editions of the game. Plus, it's what I use in my own campaign.
I plan to get this up and running ASAP, but a lot depends on how quickly I can get dungeon maps, so if you're able to help with that, let me know. After that, I'll get the ball rolling in a serious fashion.
Yes, I am aware that I am crazy.