Friday, May 20, 2011

Open Friday: Funhouse Dungeons

A "funhouse dungeon" is one where questions of ecology, naturalism, or even logic take a backseat to presenting a good -- and fun -- challenge to the players whose characters are exploring it. Good examples of published funhouse dungeons are White Plume Mountain and The Ghost Tower of Inverness for those unfamiliar with the concept. Outside the old school community, I think it's fair to say that funhouse dungeons have fallen decidedly out of favor and, even among old schoolers, opinion is divided regarding them.

So, I'm curious: how do you feel about funhouse dungeons? Do you use them in your campaign or are they reserved for one-shots? Or do you never use them at all? Me, I'm not a huge fan of them, but I have used and enjoyed them. Dwimmermount isn't a funhouse dungeon by any means; there are, however, parts of it that have a funhouse vibe to them. I think that's my preferred approach: using funhouse dungeons to break up the mood of unrelenting seriousness to which I can sometimes fall prey. They're a reminder to me that fantasy gaming should, first and foremost, be, well, fun.

63 comments:

  1. I love funhouses. They are fun.

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  2. I've always liked them. I don't mind city, political, wilderness adventures, or non-funhouse dungeons, but the funhouse is probably my favorite kind of adventure.

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  3. As you might imagine, I'm a big fan of them! I use Castle of the Mad Archmage as the tentpole of my own Greyhawk campaign.

    I should also point out, however, that it represents a unique locale within the campaign setting. There are quite a number of more naturalistic dungeons throughout, which lends a great deal of contrast and makes the funhouse aspects of CotMA stand out all the more.

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  4. I think "funhouse" dungeons, especially randomly generated ones, present a very interesting philosophical dilemma:

    When you wake up in the morning, how much does the world have to conform to your expectations?

    How much of your situation comes from your own thoughts, rather than you making your thoughts useful to you in understanding your situation?

    If you wake up and the world doesn't conform to your expectations, how will you deal with that? Shut your eyes and pretend it's just a dream?

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  5. I have one myself in my campaign although the players have only dipped their toe in, so I'm reluctant to spill the beans too much. It is a one-shot special place kind of deal, but I do hope that someone goes through it someday.

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  6. I think there is a time and place for Funhouse dungeons. You can only stretch the mad-archmage concept so far.
    Traps are fine for any dungeon. Crazy traps, save them.
    When I played WPM with my boys I toned the insanity down a bit. Still it was not a natural dungeon, but it was not the fun house of death that I had played back in the day.

    One day we might do Tomb of Horrors, but for the most part I prefer the natural dungeons.

    Now in my game with the kids, WPM was part of the ongoing campaign. I did use the Crazy Mage plot hook to explain some of it, but also that all the monsters have been magically enslaved.

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  7. I love them and have used them in my current campaign...but I use them with care, because my players (being progeny of the 3.5 era) have a hard time with them conceptually — and yet one of their favorite adventures thus far was exploring a space ship...go figure.

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  8. I believe that the descent into the dungeon is a symbolic representation of the rational mind attempting to understand the irrational, unconscious self. Therefore dungeons should have something important to say but they are under no obligation to make any sense.

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  9. Excellent. I was just thinking about the types of D&D adventures and how they've changed in terms of preference across the years -- and I didn't know what to call these ones!

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  10. "I believe that the descent into the dungeon is a symbolic representation of the rational mind attempting to understand the irrational, unconscious self. Therefore dungeons should have something important to say but they are under no obligation to make any sense."

    Ditto that.

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  11. I default to the funhouse, to some extent. I prefer to not have to rationalize things too much when it comes to gaming.

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  12. I'm not a fan of funhouse dungeons, at least not as part of a campaign. For me (and tastes differ, of course) they break the believability of a setting. Unless the whole setting is a funhouse, of course.

    Like you, I'd use funhouse elements as moments to shake up an otherwise "straight" campaign. I mean, if the party is investigating the horrific lair of a mad arch-wizard, who's to stay he wouldn't put a demon-powered merry-go-round somewhere in there? :)

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  13. I agree with the gist of a number of the previous comments. I think every campaign needs at least one "mad arch-mage" dungeon, but if the entire world is just a fun-house then the concept grows stale. (Save that for some alternate plane of existence.)

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  14. Shit! I agreed with Jeff Rients. Now they're going to kick me out of the Ron Edwards fanclub. :...(

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  15. As so many have said, there's a time and place for them.

    In our campaign, magic is rare and is something that happens *to* the character - not something the characters can normally take part in. The campaign is almost entirely above ground and realistic in a mundane world sort of way. So when magic or dungeons come into the campaign at all they are always weird, irrational and extremely deadly places. Thus far, my players have wisely avoided them (or left as soon as they accomplished their goal) whenever possible.

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  16. When I run a roleplaying game, I tend to emphasize either the roleplaying aspect or the game aspect, whichever the players prefer.

    And I've found that players who prefer the roleplaying aspect of roleplaying games tend not to like funhouse adventures unless they're very well-rationalized, like Tomb Of Horrors and The Grinding Gear are.

    But players who prefer the game aspect of roleplaying games tend to like funhouse adventures no matter how little sense they make, and often the more nonsensical the better.

    So, when playing with roleplaying players, I use only the most well-rationalized funhouse adventures, if any at all.

    But, when playing with game players, I use lots of funhouse adventures, especially the most crazyass ones.

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  17. I have always been a devout adherent to "Gygaxian Naturalism", even before I ever read the term.
    My old group of players and DM's never used what we called "canned" adventures. In fact, until last year, the only modules I had ever participated in were Faction War and some Forgotten Realms module (Daggerdale? Shadowdale?). In making my own dungeons, I was always asking myself, "Why is this monster living in the tomb of an evil wizard?" It was very important to me as a player and a DM that things made sense.

    My players now, not so much. All they want to do is kill things, take their treasure, and level. Feels bad, man.

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  18. Tomb of Horrors is a very well-rationalized funhouse dungeon. White Plume Mountain and Inverness are less rationalized, but a good backstory helps.

    These adventures demand that players interact with the features of each room. Their detailed descriptions make things vivid, and players have to interact with the DM based on those details. Things are rich, not vague, and dialog between players and DM is intense, not languid. I love watching the eyes of player light up as they wrap their imaginations around some unsettling description, unsettling because they are fully aware that if they make a false move, it's trouble.

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  19. I believe that the descent into the dungeon is a symbolic representation of the rational mind attempting to understand the irrational, unconscious self.

    I believe you're trying to make a game into something way deeper than it is. If I felt like my DM was conducting me on some sort of journey of spiritual self-discovery, I'd get up from the table and go find something fun to do. Gimme a break.

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  20. My very first dungeon was a funhouse dungeon by your definition, and it remained in play for a couple of decades.* But then it was designed as a lure to bring adventurers further into itself, and further away from the real treasure that it was guarding (which was hidden behind a loose rock above the inside entrance of the dungeon). But then it, and it's seven sisters, had to satisfy a specific design brief (that it contain a treasure that could destroy the gamemaster/owner - in my case my heart - which had to be accessible without special equipment and couldn't be guarded by a monster that would use it for it's own purposes. We then took turns doing competitive spelunking in each other's dungeons (which existed in the same shared world).

    It featured an actual fair outside the entrance proper where you could buy (surprisingly accurate) treasure maps, healing potions, dungeoneering equipment, and souvenir T-Tunics. Much of the fair was run by the vastly underpaid orcs of the palace guard, as a means of raising beer money for themselves. And which would eventually add a dwarven steam calliope, a vegetarian restaurant called Gobbledocks, run by a troll gourmand, with the placard "we serve elves" in the window (and which served excellent food but no PC was brave enough to actually venture in there). It sets a certain tone to newcomers when the first thing they encounter is that. Especially when you've got an orc in sunglasses, wearing a souvenir T-Tunic, trying to sell you "genueen aufentik" maps of the dungeon.

    It was a living dungeon too. As in it contained work crews expanding, repairing, and restocking it. But that was appropriate to it's designated purpose.

    When you think about it, the idea of almost any traditional dungeon is rather silly at heart. If you have the resources to build such a thing in the first place, why would you? In fact I find funhouse dungeons often have a greater reason for existence than any other kind. But then again, I'm the person who put the Princess Beauty in a giant bronze statue of a beholder, so what would I know? <grin>

    [* Until the funeral of one of the other player/gamemasters, where I revealed the secret of the dungeon to them.]

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  21. I agree with Jeff Rients. Great words.

    I tend to design "realistic" dungeons, if that is possible at all. However, the deeper you go, the more "funhouse" it gets - magic is increasingly pervasive, the terrain changes, and rationality is left behind.

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  22. I will probably end up using a Funhouse dungeon in my 3E campaign pretty soon--the party broached the idea of traveling to the retreat of the most powerful living wizard, who has holed himself up in a maze of illusions and deadly perils to avoid interruption of his work.

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  23. "I believe you're trying to make a game into something way deeper than it is. If I felt like my DM was conducting me on some sort of journey of spiritual self-discovery, I'd get up from the table and go find something fun to do. Gimme a break."

    Haha, who says that self-discovery has to be boring or annoying? And besides, it's not your own self that you're discovering, it's your character's!

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  24. As part of a campaign game, thumbs down. As a one-shot or tournament game, definite thumbs up. Just my preference, but I don't like silly when it's shoe-horned into a campaign game.

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  25. No interest in them, I'm glad they've "fallen decidedly out of favor", good riddance. Even in our youth and 1E days we couldn't stand them and always sought to avoid them. To me they are just a gimmicky fad from the early days of D&D. I'm not even sure any other fantasy based RPG has them.

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  26. I'm not even sure any other fantasy based RPG has them.

    Never heard of Tunnels and Trolls?

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  27. Haha, who says that self-discovery has to be boring or annoying? And besides, it's not your own self that you're discovering, it's your character's!

    I never had much interest in exploring my characters' subconscious self. Call me shallow.

    The idea I take issue with is that the dungeon, fun-house or otherwise, has to (or is even able to) offer any kind of Meaning. The notion of a bunch of fatbeards sitting around a table exploring their (or their characters') innermost desires and feelings frankly makes me want to puke. If I want meaning, I'll read literature or philosophy. I don't want or need my dungeoneering to be some sort of Campbellian (Joseph) hero quest. It's a Sunday afternoon's entertainment...

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  28. I tend to see the classic "mega-dungeon" as a campaign in and of itself with players returning again and again over a long period to plum the depths. In that sense, a funhouse is fine. I like the idea that things get stranger and less "sensible" the further down you go. Its still nice to have some sort of rationale behind thecraziness, but it doesn't have to be anything more than a simple "chaos gate" somewhere down at the bottom that is spewing chaos into the dungeon.

    In a more "realistic" campaign, its harder to fit a funhouse in without breaking the verisimilitude of the campaign world - but still not impossible...

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  29. "I believe you're trying to make a game into something way deeper than it is."--dhowarth333

    A game can be however deep its players want it to be. The form doesn't necessarily limit the content.


    "If I felt like my DM was conducting me on some sort of journey of spiritual self-discovery, I'd get up from the table and go find something fun to do."--dhowarth333

    That's fine -- for you. But not everybody's like you. For some people "some sort of journey of spiritual self-discovery" is "something fun to do".


    "I never had much interest in exploring my characters' subconscious self. Call me shallow."--dhowarth333

    You're shallow.


    "The idea I take issue with is that the dungeon, fun-house or otherwise, has to (or is even able to) offer any kind of Meaning."--dhowarth333

    I agree that a dungeon doesn't have to "offer any kind of Meaning". But, clearly, it can -- because some do. And that's true even if you, personally, can't see it.


    "The notion of a bunch of fatbeards sitting around a table exploring their (or their characters') innermost desires and feelings frankly makes me want to puke."--dhowarth333

    I suggest trying not to think about that then.


    "If I want meaning, I'll read literature or philosophy. I don't want or need my dungeoneering to be some sort of Campbellian (Joseph) hero quest. It's a Sunday afternoon's entertainment..."--dhowarth333

    Again, that's fine -- for you. But, also again, not everybody's like you. Some people do want their "dungeoneering to be some sort of Campbellian (Joseph) hero quest". And, for them, that is "a Sunday afternoon's entertainment".

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  30. The megadungeon in my home campaign is probably more on the side of the funhouse than not, but I've tried to give an explanation for why it's so crazy: theres a demon lord chained in the basement.

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  31. I have never used fun-house dungeons, because I just instictively try to find the order in such chaos.

    I've been tempted from time to time to run a fun-house fantasy campaign, where such dungeons exist, but I feel this is still obeying my desire for realistic dungeons since in such a world they would make sense.

    I guess I just don't get the appeal. It reminds me of the first Resident Evil video game actually, where one room is zombies, another is rabid dogs, the next is suddenly underwater and full of flesh eating sharks... It really took me out of the game, and dungeons without at least a little ecological order do the same thing.

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  32. Funhouse Dungeons with a certain degree of Naturalism is the way I have always roled the game. Naturally, usually took place in between adventures - what someone (for I don't who coined the term - it may have been me) as Intra-Campaign material.

    This is the areas in which if the XP was needed to advance - the players would have to seek out the Guildmaster or Mentor or if they needed a valuation on an artifact (remember, I don't really play FRPGs - so different meaning than Artifact)

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  33. Most of the time the Dungeon's rationale never leaves the DM's mind.
    I simply try to put some sense to the funhouse, no more than that.

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  34. Deep exploration of -self- isn't the point.

    The point is that the universe doesn't conform to your expectations. If I'm walking down Yonge street and a marble statue falls out of the sky, that's surprising, but I don't ask God for a do-over. I've got to deal with it.

    THAT (removed from the actual threat of death) is hella fun.

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  35. Even when funhouse dungeons were common, I tried to make sure my adventures made sense. As an example, my players might never know why a giant poisonous snake laired in the hall of statues, but there was a reason (however tenuous) it made sense.

    This approach serves me well, as my wife likes to see dungeons' histories as a series of puzzles. She tries to discover the areas' backstory, hoping to glean useful clues about the present by analyzing the past. If an area was once used as a kitchen, she goes looking for the chimney (a possible access route) or adjacent areas where foodstuffs or fuel may have been stored.

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  36. I never saw dungeons as something allegorical, but I suppose the metaphor can be made.

    Dungeons represent a known danger that the characters usually choose to face, and I think that why they choose to face it is very interesting. It makes the game, for me, more fun when I know my character's motivation for facing certain doom within the bowels of the earth.

    In real life, people don't wander into death traps for no real reason. They're either curious, brave, greedy, stupid, or a combination of those.

    I'm also a big fan of forcing the players into the "dungeon". For instance, they awake in the middle of the night to find that the town or their keep is under attack, and now must decide to fight or flight.

    Encouraging the characters, and not just the players, to react to something makes the game infinitely more fun, in my opinion.

    This doesn't mean that the characters need to enter into a monologue explaining their philosophies and motivations before accepting every quest, but "I'm going into the Tomb because the evil must be defeated" is a thousand times more enjoyable than "I'm going into the Tomb because that's what the DM has prepared."

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  37. For me as a player (I rarely if ever DM), the funhouse and the monster hotel are a main reason why I play OSR games. I like intellectual puzzles more than I like "there is an orc here, holding a blood-caked sword. What do you do?"

    The best funhouses, to me, are the ones where there's a box of dehydrated water in one room on level six... and a key mounted to a piece of wood in a dry well on level two that you can't quite reach. Figuring out that the dehydrated water will fill the well and the key will float to the top is, to me, the essence of fun. Even better is if the DM has no idea how to fill the well, but the characters remember they found a box of dehydrated water in a dungeon three months ago.

    The silliness is fun for a second or two, but the actual problem-solving is one my main motivators in wanting to play the game.

    I know a lot of DMs prefer naturalism because they're proud of their settings and want them to make sense. But we players like to get to be creative and smart, too. Not that that can't be done in a simulation-style game, but I just like thought problems and logic puzzles, I guess.

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  38. @Reverance Pavane: Your funhouse dungeon in the city sounds absolutely awesome! Have you ever written any more about it anywhere?

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  39. one-shot - sure, why not, once in a while

    campaign - sucks (unless there's a REALLY good reason for it to exist),

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  40. I believe you're trying to make a game into something way deeper than it is. If I felt like my DM was conducting me on some sort of journey of spiritual self-discovery, I'd get up from the table and go find something fun to do. Gimme a break.

    Dude. I don't know what all you think happens at my table, but I'm pretty sure you're imagining it wrong.

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  41. The surface world is for making sense, the dungeons and deep places are for unknown horrors, strange effects, and random weirdness.

    It's just more fun that way.

    You can worry about dungeon ecology if you like, but it doesn't really add to the fun for the players. At best those efforts preserve your players suspension of disbelief, but a room with a strange mystery or weird magical effect can ignite their imaginations. Besides, as long your players believe that you have an explanation, that is enough.

    Still, it's your table and you know your players better than I do. I'm just saying that I used to take care that my dungeons and the creatures in them all made sense, but I think my players and I had more fun when I stopped bothering with it so much.

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  42. I agree with Quibish as well. I don' t think it's necessary to thoroughly explane the ecology so as to why things exists in a dungeon. Sure, maybe a full grown Red Dragon wouldn't be living in a 10x 10 room, but I huge chamber with running water and a secret tunnel that leads outside is more then enough information to establish why it would be living there in the first place- and even that amount of reasoning isn't truly necessary. That's why White Plume Mountain's " believability" still works for me: if some super arch-mage went to the effort of making a dungeon full of floating waterways and rooms full of co- habituating monsters in a single room, then the impossible is indeed possible and the illogic has overcome logic. It's a world of magic after all ;-)

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  43. Funhouse dungeons are...well...fun!

    Those folks who turn their noses up to them need to get over themselves.

    This is a game about fairies, dragons, and orcs after all.

    I can't imagine playing in a campaign world where there aren't any funhouse dungeons.

    That would seem incredibly boring.

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  44. It's not so much making dungeoneering a journey of self-discovery (or GM-self-revelation), as having GMs and players affected (at some level) by all the nifty mythic resonances of the situation. If the GM leverages that for a little playing with players' minds for their enjoyment and education; or if the players get a little more enjoyment out of imaginary delving than you'd think they would -- well, that's not bad.

    But a lot of times, it works better if everybody is unaware of mythic resonances and they just sneak in. The "shallow" GM may be the GM who tells stories more effectively. Being overly self-aware breaks the spell, for many.

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  45. I think a "funhouse" dungeons are great and have a place in any campaign. Unfortunately, things have gone too much in the way of "rational", if you want to look at D&D and gaming from the evolutionary standpoint - which I think is rather unfortunate. I think Gary would probably be rolling over in his grave if he saw this, actually. This is fantasy after all - a place where any can happen. It doesn't have to make sense or have a reason - I mean, who the hell knows what goes on in the mind of a mad wizard?! I guess it all does boil down to what the individual wants in his/her campaign.

    But, for me, the more, the merrier. They're fun!!

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  46. I suppose my dungeons have tended to be borderline funhouses. I generally want them to be logical, but I only have so much time to try to rationalize a good puzzle idea.

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  47. Back in the days I used to game, most of my Dungeons -now that you mention it- were of the "funhouse" category; but I was 11 and the epitome of "naturalism" I was used to was : "powerful wizards love to build dungeons just because they can (and wandering monsters are a good souce of magical components)"!

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  48. I think there's enough joking and mhving fun with a regular dungeon such that there isn't need for a funhouse.

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  49. In the two modules I've written, I've tried to think of interesting encounters, rather than a theme. So I guess they became funhouse dungeons as a result of that process.

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  50. PS On my blog, I have a couple of 'rationalisations' of funhouse dungeons.

    i) Dungeons are living creatures that lay out treasure as bait.

    ii) Dungeons exist in more than three spatial dimensions, which is how you get things like monsters in rooms with no apparent exits and good and evil creatures living next door to each other without any conflict.

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  51. Well, they're not my favorite way to spend an evening at a game but they do make a nice change of pace. Bored with your campaign? Toss the PCs into Tegel Manor and watch 'em claw their way out the other end.

    -SJ

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  52. The first ever Sample Dungeon Level - in OD&D Vol III - is like a "funhouse". It's pretty much just a collection of tricks/traps to stymie the players/get them lost/mess with mappers, plus a few random monsters thrown in. I wonder how different the early years of the game would have been if a more "natural" level had been included right from the beginning? The Sample Dungeon Level in the Holmes Basic set has a story behind it and a fairly sensible location. There are just a few unexplained elements, like the mask that will answer any yes/no question when a light is shined at the right place on a sundial. These can be attributed to the wizard Zenopus or the pre-human society Portown was built on.

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  53. "Bored with your campaign? Toss the PCs into Tegel Manor and watch 'em claw their way out the other end."--Smokestack Jones

    Before I resorted to something as insane as Tegel Manor, I'd try Castle Amber first. And, even before that, I'd try the latest and best of that ilk -- The Cursed Chateau.

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  54. Personally, I think fun house dungeons are fine, so long as they are not part of campaign's main storyline.

    Used as either one shots sans campaign or just a change of pace to throw the player's for a loop during a campaign. "Dungeonland" comes to mind, but I think it was tad too deadly if it were to be introduced into a regular campaign, even though it is high level iirc.

    I like running said fun house dungeons because I always wanted to play in them! But every time I was a player, the DM would never really run the types of adventures I liked, so I just had to run them myself for others.

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  55. "I believe that the descent into the dungeon is a symbolic representation of the rational mind attempting to understand the irrational, unconscious self."

    I like this idea in theory, and I certainly don't have any hang-ups about games or other activities that make me think a little deeper. But . . .

    Are funhouse dungeons a descent into the subconscious? My objection is that they can be too rational, they "break the dream" and turn the game into a logic problem.

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  56. We played AD&D 1e on/ off for a few years with no 'funhouse dungeon'. Then, purely as they fitted our levels and the GM had just bought them, we played the two Alice adventures- it was a great diversion which we all really enjoyed, then we went back to the campaign. Happy times :)

    Any more wouldn't have worked for us, but as a 'funhouse'they were great.

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  57. @Chris#6

    Yes, I think we only survived due to the DM hiding his dice rolls! And him wanting to see us get further...

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  58. It strikes me that an individual's reaction to "funhouse" dungeons is often a function of whether that individual came to the game in the "golden" or "silver" ages (pace Maliszewski) of the game's development. For golden age players the funhouse dungeon is a natural part of the game; whereas for silver age players (like me), it strikes a discordant note - the "funhouse" dungeon has some inarticulably "wrong" elements for a "serious" endeavour like role-playing. The different reactions aren't right or wrong in any meaningful sense - they're just products of their "environment". The interesting thing, to me, is the changes in the gaming environment which produced those differing reactions.

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  59. bt

    I think you're probably right. I know my own neutrality toward funhouse dungeons -- neither loving them nor loathing them -- seems likely related to my exposure to D&D in 1979, at the beginning of its Electrum Age, so I developed a taste for both Golden Age and Silver Age play styles.

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  60. "It strikes me that an individual's reaction to "funhouse" dungeons is often a function of whether that individual came to the game in the "golden" or "silver" ages..."

    Eh, well. I started playing D&D in 1975-76 (probably "Golden Age") and funhouse dungeons never held more than a one-off appeal to me.

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  61. bt: “The interesting thing, to me, is the changes in the gaming environment which produced those differing reactions.

    I’d say it is simply a natural outgrowth of the spread of the hobby. The golden age brought in a lot of people. A number of them, naturally, saw as much that they didn’t like as that they liked. They created the silver age.

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  62. While being well able (although a little bit bored when doing so) to play naturalist dungeons and adventures, I have a strong tendency to consider funhouses as the best dungeons ever. The one you point to: White Plum Mountain, Ghost Tower of Inverness (and maybe Dungeonland or Castle Amber, for instance) are the best published dungeons I've played so far. Funhouses leave a wide open space to chaos. And it is from chaos that characters change and evolve in ways you can't think about before the play, thus shaping a role-playing fun you don't get from any naturalist adventure. I well remember an early Dragon article about dungeon building and dungeon ecology, you know stuff like "these orcs have a good reason to live here, good dungeon masters don't spill them around and we snort at the "It's magic" excuse". In the old days, I was very angry with this article. Actually, I still am, that was the beginning of the end. Since that article, educated players would point all the subtle dungeon mishaps they could find, trying to build a network of stupid sacred principles to keep the fear of the unexpected away. These are the very ideas and scope that eventually led to Challenge Ratings and monster ecology. Some day, I will bring back Killer Penguins with submachine guns on the slopes of a pyramid temple where the blue-skinned elven princess is about to be sacrificed by randomly-rolled mutant demons.

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  63. To me, the "funhouse dungeon" is the dungeon ecology.  If your adventure site has a sense that relates to some other place, then it is really only an example of some other ecology laid out in the traditional adventure fashion.  A pyramid is a tomb in a desert.  A temple in the jungle is an overgrown stone building.  An old dwarfen ruin is just a city underground.  A cave is a watery hole in a mountain.
    A dungeon is a place of twisted stone passages, mythical, and different from all of these.  The maze of the Minotaur, the Castle Dracula, places where creatures who dwell there have different survival mechanisms because the rules of survival are just different.  In what other type of place will locked doors close automatically, but open for any monster that approaches?  Some sort of underground grocery store?

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