Sunday, February 1, 2015

Commentary & Review On Dwimmermount (ACKS version) From Autarch Part II For Your Old School Campaign

Adventurers are in for the quest of a lifetime  when they enter the halls of Dwimmermount, deep, dark, and long are its twisting halls and mazes of monster filled labyrinths of madness. Tonight we look a bit deeper into the ACK's version of this monster of a megadungeon.

You can read part I right over HERE

Grab It Right

Right so I wrote about the ACK's version of Dwimmermount a couple of days back and there was far too much information to pack into one post. So off we go into the gloom filled halls of this four hundred and twenty page OSR horror fest. The depths here are going to change adventurers not simply because of the treasures, devices, and artifacts but the very nature of the place. And its a nightmare to try and keep track of all of it.
The rooms,passages, and dungeon setting pieces as well as room descriptions are well thought out and concise. The problem  here is the amount of time and energy a group of players and DM here are going to have to invest in the backdrop and details. This is where the dungeon map book comes in very handy. The book is filled to the brim with every location, place point, and adventure detail all concisely drawn out in glorious OSR detail for the DM and players to use. The idea of the 'hows and whys' of the place are done in a very neat slight of hand bit of editing in the ACK's book and the map book that works very very well together.
But why purchase another book of simply the maps? Well because the Pdf is like a small heads up display for the DM to keep track of everything while giving the players bits and pieces of the action either through print out or by screen bits. Very easy to make this sort of thing happen.
Its right in the product description from Drivethrurpg: 

Few adventurers who ever enter the legendary halls of Dwimmermount ever return. Its dangers are too great – its mysteries unplumbed. If only a map were at hand – or better, a dozen maps, one for every level of the dungeon….
The Dwimmermount Map Book presents each of Dwimmermount's wilderness, dungeon, and fortress maps as a two-page spread for reference and annotation in play. It’s an indispensable reference when running a dungeon that’s large enough to encompass an entire campaign! The Dwimmermount Map Book also includes a special two-page visual timeline of the construction of Dwimmermount, showing its origins in the early First Era to its final completion millennia later. 
This is not a standalone product. A copy of Dwimmermount™ is required to run the dungeon. Dwimmermount is a 13-level megadungeon for Adventurer Conqueror King System™, Labyrinth Lord™ and other d20-based fantasy role-playing games, available for purchase separately from Autarch™ LLC. 

That's why the map book is really out to provide the DM his road map and back up for everything. You have more to worry about with the death and destruction of the PC's in this dungeon. Then there are some of the science fantasy elements that are in the background to contend with. This book helps out alot. Its available right over HERE
And on top of this the maps are concise, well done, and perfect for use with Dwimmermount. Everything is percisely right where you need to know what's happening in real time as your player's PC's stumble right into the yawning death trap or pit trap right over there. This is where the Dwimmermount Map Book is not only useful but completely and utterly necessary to run through this thirteen level dungeon of destruction. 
But what about the monsters and mayhem happening in the dungeon? What the hell are you going to do when you've got those twenty orcs baring down on you and the PC's are with their back to the pit trap or the flame spells? There's a the dungeon tracker for this situation and another thing that makes this series unique in a way. I can hear the grognards howling in anger and frustration at the inclusion of such a thing being included in an OSR campaign. Believe me I'm howling along with you but hear me out. 
The Dwi mmermount Megadungeon Tracker is pretty neat, it allows you to keep the party seemingly off kilter while actually neatly organizing the whole affair nice and concisely all in one go. 
Here's the product description: 
The Dwi mmermount Megadungeon Tracker is a unique play-aid designed to help you get the most out of a 13 levels of Dwi ermount. For each level of the dungeon, the Megadungeon Tracker provides a double-sided reference sheet, with a specialty keyed map on one side and a level summ ary on the other. The map provides brief descriptions and contents for each room on the level; the level summary covers each level’s history, factions, wandering monsters, access points, and special areas, and a llows the dungeon master to easily track turns and marching order.
This brings up the motives, reasons, hatreds, rivalries and high OSR monster weirdness of Dwimmermount. There are reasons for everything here and not unlike an Edgar Rice Burroughs novel those reasons bare out over the time as the PC's go deeper and deeper into  Dwimmermount. If and only if they get that far. They're going to need a ton of luck, plenty of magic, and a butt load of healing potions. 
The dungeon tracker is one handy little device to have and its a nice addition to a DM's arsenal. The lessons of the tool box are there to be used and I for one I'm planning on making my own version of the Dungeon tracker. A very handy device to have at the table. 
Make no mistake that this is a thirteen level monster of a dungeon and its going to chew up, grind, spit up, vomit forth, and work over your parties. Its designed to do it over and over again. Many old school modules were designed with this fact in mind. Deal with it folks. Dwimmermount was designed, run, and written with that in mind. And now the folks at Autarch have expanded this very fact and moved it forward with the mega dungeon. 
But what the hell is in it, what monsters crawl in its rooms, deal death in its halls, and kill over and over again? Well the artbook has some fantastic dark and deadly fantasy artwork done by some of the best of the old school artists. 
You want to show your players what killed them on level seven. Its here in dangerous and diabolical colour. 

A picture may be worth a thousand words – but a dungeon with more than a thousand rooms still requires a lot of pictures.
The Dwimmermount Illustration Book includes a complete set of illustrations of the Dwimmermount megadungeon’s most essential features and locations, designed to be shown to the players in the style of the classic adventures of old.
Featuring artwork hand-selected by dungeon creator James Maliszewski, the Illustration Book has over 40 different works by top artists including Jeff Dee, Mark Allen, Eric Quigely, Conor Nolan, John Larrey, Steve Zieser, Russ Nicholson, Kelvin Green, and the grand master of old-school fantasy, Erol Otus. Bring Dwimmermount to life with illustrations ready to be used right at your gaming table!

Is the art book worth the fiver that its going to cost you? Yes it is because art costs money to put into rpg products and this is a solid set of artwork that actually relates right into the backbone and backdrop of the dungeon you happen to be playing in. This isn't a cute art book that simply exists for the sake of existence, its a tool to show your players exactly what, who, and where they're exploring. This is a book to get across the old school action that they happen to be involved with. This is a professionally done book of OSR nastiness by some top flight artists and it presents the material for Dwimmermount right in your hands!

Bottom line to the second part of this bit of review and commentary, do I think that Dwimmermount is worth your time and energy as a DM? Yes I personally do. I think that this is a dungeon that not only involves money but a certain amount of nerve to run. There is an investiment of time to read through and deal with four hundred and twenty eight pages. But also the fact that you've got to be within the head space to run this sort of mega dungeon. I've said it before and I stand by this, as a DM you are your own OSR. If your not excited about the product or your own creation at the table then by damn sure your players are not going to be either. Its really always been and always will be a game and its all about a sense of fun at the table top. And this is one more toy to play with.

So do I think that 
Dwimmermount is simply another old school dungeon? No not at all, I think that its a mega dungeon that needs more then a fair shake because of its utility and what it represents. This is a pretty damn impressive set of tools that allows a dungeon master to create, demo, and craft Dwimmermount  into their campaign back drop. And as a of a damn fine science fantasy campaign that they'll want to run and we'll get into that in part III coming up next Saturday. 

We'll be crawling right into the LL version of 
Dwimmermount and its legacy coming up soon and its not what you think. 

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