I've previously mentioned that I'm reading The Lord of the Rings aloud to my daughter, which has proven a very eye-opening experience. Doing so has occasioned two gaming-related thoughts in me, one of broader interest and one with regard to my own Dwimmermount campaign.
I'll start with the more specific one first. Right now, in our reading, we're at the point where the Company has entered Moria and are attempting to find their way out. Moria's frankly an amazing creation -- a vast mountain fortress fallen into ruin and now home to numerous fell monsters. Reading it I found myself realizing just how much Moria must have unconsciously influenced my conception of my Dwimmermount megadungeon. I suppose that shouldn't be a surprise. Moria's one of the better examples of something approximating a megadungeon in fantasy literature and I doubt there are very many old school gamers who aren't familiar with it. Still, when I began my campaign, I made an effort to keep it as Tolkien-free as possible. Looks like I failed.
That brings me to my broader thought. One of the "themes," if you will, of a goodly percentage of the old school renaissance is the embracing of early pulp fantasy and the downplaying, if not rejection, of both later fantasy more generally and Tolkien in particular. I still think immersing oneself in the books and authors of earlier eras is an important part of understanding where D&D came from. It's also a useful corrective to the popular notion that D&D is a game about playing "heroes" on an "epic quest." But I have to admit that, in recent days, I've started to fall in love again with Middle-earth and that's made me reconsider the hard line I've taken against including certain Tolkien-derived elements in my Dwimmermount campaign.
It'll be interesting to see what, if any, effect this has on the campaign as it further evolves through play.