Friday, December 12, 2008

The Dwimmermount Campaign

So, I'm finally about ready to begin my Dwimmermount campaign, after having worked on it on and off for the last couple of months. I've got enough of the megadungeon mapped out and ready to go that I feel confident to start using it as soon as my players can find time in their busy lives to get together for it. One of the things I'm intending to do, in order to facilitate the fact that some of my players have unpredictable schedules and that I may have "drop in" players from time to time, is to make each session quasi-episodic in nature. I'm probably going to borrow an idea from Jeff Rients to help keep my players on task and to ensure that every session ends with all the PCs out of Dwimmermount, thereby making it easier to pick up the following weekend, even if, for example, one of my players isn't available on that day or I have to introduce a new PC. I think Jeff's table is probably way too deadly even for this old schooler, but the principle behind the thing is a very sound one.

I'm going to use Swords & Wizardry for this, albeit in a modified form. At the start, I will allow paladins and monks, because I've done versions of both for S&W. In due course, I'll almost certainly add other classes, but, to start, I want to keep it simple. Available races are men (of course), dwarves, elves, and goblins. Dwarves are free-willed earth elementals and dwarven adventurers tend to be a bit peculiar compared to "ordinary" dwarves. They've spent so much time among men that they've started to act like them. Lots of dwarven adventurers affect human behaviors -- like eating ordinary foodstuffs rather than rocks and minerals -- that make it hard for them to return to the secret places in the earth from which they originally come. Elves are "hillbilly Eld" and are generally distrusted by most other civilized races because of their ancestry. Goblins are similarly distrusted.

I'm deliberately going to be vague about the wider world. I have some ideas, of course, and I'll probably drop them into the game if the opportunity arises, but my goal is to be flexible and to create as needed rather than too far in advance of the campaign itself. I plan to use the old Outdoor Survival map as the initial campaign area, with Dwimmermount situated in the central northern region (it's a snow-capped mountain) and a nearby fortified town (a catch basin on the map) called Muntburg as the PCs' base of operations. Think of Muntburg as a bit like the titular Keep from Keep on the Borderlands, except that it's more explicitly an outpost for a large city-state to the south (Adamas) that lays claim to the region around Dwimmermount and taxes adventurers who venture into its caverns and return laden with loot. Beyond that, though, I'm trying to keep details to a minimum.

Once the campaign begins in earnest, expect regular updates about it to be posted here.


  1. James, if you lived in Los Angeles I would totally beg my way into the game. I don't have much desire to do anything but DM these days, but I know campaigning in your set-up would be great.

    Yeah, those goddamn players who have lives really get my goat. In the 90's we were lucky to get all together once a month. Now I have a regular game, but doing something I never thought I would - gaming on a weeknight. yeesh.

  2. On a nearly tangential note, I've completed a first rough draft of a large cemetery-based adventure called...Dwimmerstone. :-( I can show you the threads on DF where I came up with the name, and did so utterly separately from your excellently named megadungeon. Should Dwimmerstone ever see the light of day - through DF or other means - please know it was not a deliberate attempt to steal any thunder or press. I might still rename it, as I'm not sure it's as evocative as I want.

  3. Good luck with your campaign and may your players have as much as we've had watching/reading you create it!

  4. I too am intensely jealous! Perhaps this 'campaign' could actually constitute 'playtesting'.

    Perhaps this 'playtesting' could lead to a Dwimmermount Megadungeon module or gazetter, dowloadable via the Swords and Wizardry website?


  5. I plan to use the old Outdoor Survival map as the initial campaign area

    You and Mike Mearls both.


  6. I am looking forward to seeing more. Any chance that we will see maps and articles in a down load or part of a fan-zine (perhaps Fight on!)?

  7. Michael,

    No need to worry! It stole the word "dwimmer" from Tolkien, so it's not as if I have any special claim to it. :)

  8. Perhaps this 'playtesting' could lead to a Dwimmermount Megadungeon module or gazetter, dowloadable via the Swords and Wizardry website?

    Anything is possible :)

  9. You and Mike Mearls both.

    Here's hoping the experience will prove enlightening!

  10. I plan to use the old Outdoor Survival map as the initial campaign area

    Just don't actually try to play the Outdoor Survival game, it makes D&D look like an ego-massage. You've been warned!

  11. After Outdoor Survival, "as-the-dice-fall" D&D is a cake walk!