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A massive old school dungeon crawl for Pathfinder by Mike "Magic Aura" Nystul.
A massive old school dungeon crawl for Pathfinder by Mike "Magic Aura" Nystul.
246 backers pledged $16,017 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

$16,017

246

"Support this Kickstarter. I'm sure you won't be sorry. Mike's incredibly creative."

                                                                                      - Monte Cook

"For all you gamers wrapped up in the old-school revival, you don't get more old-school than Mike Nystul. How many other gamers were around early enough to get a D&D spell named after them? How many designers were writing sourcebooks about demons back when TSR had banned the word from the game? Let Mike haul you back into the dungeons that thrilled you as a kid and remind you why you were afraid to go in there in the first place!"

                                                                                      - Matt Forbeck

"Mike Nystul is a brilliant designer and the best DM I ever played with. Imagine someone with the ability to peer right into why you play D&D in the first place, who can then create a game with the perfect balance of challenge and reward -- that's the work of Mike Nystul."

                                                                                      - Aaron Loeb

A roleplaying game can take you anywhere you can imagine. These days there is a seemingly endless variety of genres and settings to choose from. When rpgs were first introduced, fantasy was king and one kind of adventure dominated gaming tables worldwide - the dungeon crawl. It was a simpler time but one many of us remember fondly. There is something pure about the fellowship of stalwart companions descending into the depths in search of fortune and glory.

I am an old school designer who has always wanted the opportunity to create my interpretation of the “Killer Dungeon” we all know and love (Tomb of Horrors anyone?). I want to bring back the joy of surviving an epic scale adventure that seems specifically devised to execute your beloved characters. Don’t worry - this won’t be a “meat grinder” - if your characters are smart (and a little lucky) fortune and glory await!

How will it work?

The Infinite Dungeon is the tomb of a fallen demigod named Xayven. His evil essence has drawn creatures of all kinds to him, like a cruel hive lurking in the depths. An order called the Gray Wardens have sworn themselves to keeping Xayven bound. So far, they have only failed once and have no intention of failing again.

There are many levels to the dungeon. Each is sealed with wards that prevent the cursed one from freeing himself or seeking revenge through his minions. These wards need to be renewed from time to time. The Gray Wardens don’t have enough Adepts to do what must be done. That’s where our heroes come in.

Adventurers can present themselves to the Gray Wardens for a chance to enter the Dungeon. If they are worthy they will be assigned a Quest and given a Key that will give them access to the level where their goal is located. Often, they will be sent to restore a Ward that is fading. While they are within they are free to explore and to keep whatever valuables they may find.

Ease of Use

A Massive Dungeon is a wonderful thing in theory but in practice the scope of a project like this can be daunting. As a Gamemaster the last thing I want is a product that overwhelms me with details that aren’t of immediate use to me when I’m using it to run a game. With this in mind my focus will be on usability. Maps, adventure keys and resources such as creature stats will be set up so what you need is simply explained and readily available.

Reusable Elements

As much fun as a great big dungeon can be, not everyone is going to want to use this product to run an ongoing dungeoneering campaign. That means many of you will be pillaging whatever I create for stuff you can use elsewhere. I will do my best to make this as easy as possible for you to do. My primary concern is the dungeon as a whole but the product will be stuffed to bursting with classes, spells, magic items, maps, monsters and much, much more!

So what do I get?

One of the advantages of using a Kickstarter is that it frees me to include elements that would be impractical to include in a retail release.

Guidebook: The main book will feature a cover by industry legend Jeff Dee.

Map Book: This place is going to be huge. More than a hundred rooms that cover an expanse that includes several hunting grounds and several settlements. I’m putting all the maps in their own book so it is easier to use them and the Guidebook at the same time.

Art Book: A spiral bound book of images that can be shown to the players when indicated by the Guidebook. They will be set up so that when the book is held up to show the desired image to the players the page that faces the game master will have a description that can be read aloud. These illustrations will be created by the phenomenally talented Joel Biske 

Player Handouts: I will provide all the player maps and handouts you will need. The maps will include sections that your players won’t need to map, which will speed up game play.

Journal: An illustrated game prop that will contain many clues about the true nature of the Dungeon. 

Backer Summary

This is what you get as of May 24th -

Digital DM: You get everything as print and play PDFs.

DM: You get printed versions of everything listed above. The Guidebook will be perfect bound. The Map Book and Journal will be saddle stitched (folded and stapled). The Art Book will be spiral bound. The Handouts and Cardboard Minis will be printed individually. 

Deluxe: As DM but the Journal will be hard bound. You will also receive a Key prop and a limited edition resin cast miniature of one of the unique creatures found in the Dungeon.

Add Ons

Hardcover ($75) Add to any level to add a Hardcover book that includes everything in the compiled retail edition. These special edition books will be signed by all the artists and the author.

GAMING PAPER BONUS

Our friends at Gaming Paper will send a 4 pack carton of paper rolls with 1" squares to anyone who backs this project for $100 or more (excluding Retailers - domestic customers only). This stuff is perfect for mapping the Dungeon! You don't have to do anything to receive this bonus. If you qualify we will send it to you automatically!

DRACODEX BONUS

Assuming the Dracodex Laser-Cut Game Miniatures Kickstarter is successful, everyone who has backed us at the Deluxe level or better (excluding Retailers) will receive a complementary sample pack of 6 of these excellent accessories - enough for most adventuring parties. Check them out and help them reach their goal!

Part One of Six

This Kickstarter is the first in a series intended to take your characters from Level 1 to Level 13 over the course of six “Chapters”. The Prologue (which comes with the first Chapter) gets you to Level 2, Chapter One will take you to Level 4, Chapter Two to Level 6, Chapter Three to Level 8, Chapter Four to Level 10, Chapter Five to Level 12 and Chapter Six to Level 13.

I have broken it up in this way because of the scale of what I am attempting. I realize that this decision means that buying into the entire Dungeon will end up being expensive but the only alternative was to make it smaller so I could fit it all into one book. That has been done and I was unwilling to follow suit. The whole point is that I want as much room as I feel I need.

If everything goes according to plan, the six part project will include more than 500 hundred rooms and more than 150 maps encompassing more than 40 quests that would take most groups over a year of weekly gaming to work through. You don’t have to commit that much time to the Dungeon. It is designed so your characters can come back from time to time, knock out a quest and leave.

My goal is nothing short of creating the biggest, baddest Dungeon on the block. I want it to become a fixture in your campaign and a place your players are always excited to revisit.

Naturally, if we reach 13 and you guys really want to go even deeper we can chat. Fair? (it is technically an -infinite- dungeon after all)

Where will the money go?

Some will go toward development costs such as writing and editing. A lot of it will go toward art. This is a big project. The Guidebook needs a cover and I'm currently planning something on the order or 24 or more interior illustrations. The map book, handouts and standup minis are essentially all art as is the flip book that will contain at least 16 full page (6" x 9") images. There are also miscellaneous costs such as the creation of the Key prop. Finally, there is shipping for those of you who invested in printed copies.

At the base level I would not have been able to pay myself for writing and design (it would be a loss leader) but I had enough faith to believe that if I made this available we would be able to do better than our initial goal - and we have thanks to all of you.

Part of the reason the costs for the printed materials are as high as they are is the small number we will be producing. The more we print, the lower the price. Some of you have expressed concerns about the total cost of the complete dungeon. One of my goals is to build enough support that when the time comes for Round 2 I can pay you all back by lowering the cost.

Adventure Awaits

So what are you waiting for? Clear the kitchen table, order some pizza, pour the diet coke and let’s get stuck in!

Stretch Goals 

As my budget improves I will be able to increase the size of the various books you will get with the adventure (without raising the price of those books). I will also be able to afford to include more art in them. In addition, at certain benchmarks I will be able to include upgrades. which include:

ACHIEVED! $3000 Add cardstock minis - I will include both flat counters and cut and assemble minis for all of the critters in the adventure. These will be created by Talzhemir whose work in this field is exceptional.

ACHIEVED! $4000 Add voices - I will create a series of audio tracks that you can play for your players to accent critical encounters. These tracks will be created by professional voice actors who have worked on series like Red vs Blue. Digital DMs can download them - at higher levels (DM and above) you will be sent a CD.

ACHIEVED! $5000 Add a book - I will add an illustrated journal that will be designed to be used as a game prop that will contain many clues about the true nature of the Dungeon. Anyone at the Digital DM level can download and print it. DMs get a printed, perfect bound copy and Deluxe DMs get a hardcover edition.

ACHIEVED! $6000 Add the Delve RPG - I love me some D&D and Pathfinder has become one of my favorite systems but I have been tinkering with a game written specifically for dungeoneering. That game is “Delve” and if we reach this level I will finish it up and include it with the dungeon.

This means when we hit $6,000 you will be getting the base Pathfinder version, the OSRIC conversion booklet and the DELVE rules and the DELVE conversion booklet.

ACHIEVED! $7000 Color Handouts - All of the Handouts will be produced in full color and will be printed in color as part of the print editions.

An example of the kind of stuff I'm working on. This is a handout / play map from the intro adventure (about 68% done):

ACHIEVED! $8000 Color Maps - All of the maps in the Map Book will be upgraded to color.

ACHIEVED! $9000 Color Art Book - All of the art in Joel Biske's Art Book will be upgraded to color.

CURRENT GOAL > $10,000 GM Screen - I will include a special screen loaded with ready reference material that will make running the Dungeon as easy as possible.

Gameapalooza

Six lucky Backers will have the chance to participate in our first Gameapalooza Marathon at Wonko's here in Austin TX. If you are within striking distance of Austin please consider joining us for the Marathon. I realize that $200 a seat is a little stiff but there are only 6 seats and those folks will be my VIP guests that weekend. I will feed you and entertain you. I'm also in the process of lining up some very special guests to come play with you. Not only will you get all the stuff in the Deluxe package - I have a lot of special goodies in the works as well. You will also get the Hardcover Edition and one of the 16 original pieces of art created by Joel Biske for the Art Book - signed and suitable for framing. Think of it this way - its like a mini con where you are the GOH!

Guests so far: Jeff Dee, (Villains and Vigilantes, Cavemaster), Talzhemir (Quicksilver, Cavemaster), Bryan Nystul (BattleTech) and Jarrett (the Defuser) Crippen (schedule permitting)

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Thanks for your support!

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    You will receive an adventure called "Elurin's Last Quest" that can be played in a single sitting. It is intended to be a possible lead in to the Dungeon but it can also be used on it's own. Elurin's Last Quest is provided with any full version of the Dungeon.

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    Digital DM: As soon as it is ready you will be sent a link from which you can download PDF print on demand files for everything you need.

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    DM: You will get access to the print on demand files and you will be sent a printed version of everything as soon as it is available.

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    Deluxe: In addition to everything the DMs get, you will be sent an art print, a resin cast prop replica of the key the adventurers get when they are admitted to the dungeon. You will also get a "thank you" in the Guidebook.

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    Denizen: As the Deluxe package plus you can name (subject to approval) one of the Gray Wardens who defend the Dungeon or one of the Townsfolk who support those who venture within. You will be credited in the Guidebook by both your name and your character name (i.e. - Bill "Featherwick" Jones).

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    RETAILERS ONLY - 4 Copies of a special edition that will bind all of the separate components into a single book so you can shelve the darn thing.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    VIP: As Denizen (including the Deluxe package) plus your named character is an important NPC who gets his (or her) own write up and illustration. You will receive a copy of the illustration signed by the artist.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Gameapalooza (AUSTIN ONLY) As per the Deluxe Edition plus I will schedule a weekend in September or October for you and anyone else who has chosen this Reward to join me for a Marathon where I will run enough hours to level you up. I will supply a place to play - you will need a place to sleep (I'm too old to iron man but I'll do my best to do more gaming than sleeping). I will also have some special surprises for you (guest NPCs, handmade props, maybe even a puppet or two).

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    LORD MAYOR: As VIP but you may name the leader of Wayside, the town that plays home to adventurers who choose to descend into the depths of the Dungeon. You may also provide a few traits and if you provide a picture the portrait can be based on you (or a friend if you like). Subject to approval (within reason - he is yours to name so long as the name you choose doesn't harm the feel of the adventure).

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    HIGH WARDEN: As VIP but you may name the leader of the Wardens, the order sworn to protect the Dungeon. You may also provide a few traits and if you provide a picture the portrait can be based on you (or a friend if you like). Subject to approval (within reason - he is yours to name so long as the name you choose doesn't harm the feel of the adventure).

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    EPIC! (ANYWHERE - Continental US Only) I will run a game for you and your friends (up to 6 players total - you only need one Reward for the whole group). We can arrange to meet at a convention you are planning to go to or in a pinch I will come to you but if I have to come to you it is on you to feed me the best pizza you can get. I will bring you all the goodies that come with the Deluxe edition PLUS a copy of the Limited Edition Hardcover book and any promotional odds and ends I might have lying around.

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Funding period

- (29 days)