The gates of Dwimmermount are opening. After years of rumors, it is time to discover the secrets of this legendary dungeon for yourself.
With your support we reached our essential funding target in just two days! Achieving bonus goal #1 means that each backer will get a PDF of the original campaign notes and other artifacts from Dwimmermount's development, which are being donated to the Play-Generated Maps and Documents Archive and the Science Fiction Research Collection of Texas A&M University. Your pledge now helps us work towards bonus goal #2 - a hidden sub-level of the dungeon, exclusively available to our Kickstarter supporters!
Since 2009, readers of Grognardia have been tantalized by reports from the exploration of James Maliszewski's sprawling and mysterious mega-dungeon. Inspired by pulp fantasy and science fiction, and originally created as the centerpiece for his home campaign, Dwimmermount has also been an essential vehicle for Grognardia's rediscovery of the roots and potential of roleplaying games past, present, and future.
A dozen levels deep, containing hundreds of locations, Dwimmermount is:
- a tribute to the classic dungeons from which roleplaying first emerged
- a long-awaited moment in the old-school renaissance
- a masterwork of the skills James has developed in his extensive experience as a professional game designer helping shape the landscape of modern RPGs across a striking variety of genres and systems
- crafted first and foremost to be useful at your gaming table and increase your enjoyment as a referee and gamemaster
James originally used the Labyrinth Lord roleplaying game, or LL, as the rules for his Dwimmermount campaign. The dungeon key will be published for LL as well as Autarch's new Adventurer Conqueror King System, or ACKS, which adds support for characters who wish to use Dwimmermount's wealth to start a thieves' guild, create their own magical cross-breeds, or build a stronghold. Because ACKS, LL, and Dwimmermount itself are rooted in the original roleplaying game, game masters of any fantasy RPG descended from those roots will likely find inspiration and easily adaptable material for their campaigns. You can specify which version you want, or choose both, at the end of the Kickstarter period - you don't need to let us know before then.
How will Dwimmermount transform your game?
Few locations for adventure are as evocative as a huge mountain filled with treasure, reputed to have once been the citadel of the Ancients who fashioned the great works of the world.
“Dwimmermount is more than just a very large dungeon," James says, "it’s a springboard for entire campaigns. From the seeking of fame and fortune, to epic battles against evil, to the exploration of far-off alien realms, it’s a a world unto itself. Within are enough locations, inhabitants, and secrets to keep players and referees occupied for years if they wish.”
Dwimmermount was designed to serve as a tent-pole location capable of supporting years of adventuring in your fantasy campaign. Or, of course, the mountain's palpable strangeness and the rumors of alien terrors within may lead your adventurers to continue hastily along whatever path brings them beneath its shadow. Whether or not your group ever chooses to enter its doors, referees will find Dwimmermount invaluable inspiration for designing their own dungeons, as well as the source for many unique creatures and weird magical items that can be dropped into any fantasy game.
Your help makes this project possible.
James' writing at Grognardia - prolific, insightful, and informed by his own experience running the Dwimmermount campaign - has helped hundreds of thousands of readers across the world gain new appreciation for what makes RPGs great. If you are one of them, or if you are just discovering Dwimmermount, we need your support to publish this project. Just as importantly, we need your feedback to make the finished product as responsive to your needs as a gamer as it possibly can be. As a backer, we'll strive to provide you with opportunities to experience Dwimmermount as a player. You'll get maps and legends you can use to run it for others. And you'll get each successive draft of the text, so you can watch how your experience of turning the written dungeon into a living realm of mystery and danger reflects James' reverse process of making his campaign notes into a form usable by others.
Thanks to the support of those who believe in this project, we raised enough in just two days to provide the rewards shown at right to our backers. We'll use further funding to make Dwimmermount's publication even more awesome than planned by commissioning more art, adding more options for backer rewards, and other extras suggested by gamers like you who know best what will improve their campaign. Additional funding will also help us prepare to make Dwimmermount available in gaming stores throughout the world (although as a backer you'll get it before anyone else). As James' masterwork inspires new audiences with the glories of old-school gaming, your contribution to making this possible will be recorded for all to see in the credits. Perhaps only your fellow backers who joined us in the development process will know exactly how your involvement made Dwimmermount's release the best it could be, but we'll never stop being grateful for your support.
If your pledge helps us go on to achieve our bonus goals, we'll celebrate as follows:
First Bonus Goal, $20,620: ACHIEVED! All backers will get a PDF of the original Dwimmermount campaign notes.
Joe Wetzel's Dungeonmorph dice are an excellent product made possible by a wildly popular Kickstarter that demonstrated how much gamers in the OSR and beyond want support for classic mega-dungeon play. If we can prove that Joe's success was not merely a fluke, James and his players will make the materials from their original Dwimmermount campaign, from hand-written dungeon maps and referee's notes to character sheets and sketches made during gaming sessions, accessible to our backers and everyone interested in the history of roleplaying games and the common heritage of gamers past, present, and future. Scans of these materials will be curated by the Play-Generated Maps and Documents Archive, which will make them freely available to the public online. The original documents will be donated to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Collection at Texas A&M University, which will preserve them for future generations and make them available for scholarship. It is our hope that this will set a precedent for other key figures in gaming history, whose perspective on the earliest days of the hobby is far more valuable, to follow suit. Every backer will get a PDF of these original campaign materials accompanied by exclusives including reflections on the campaign from James, remembrances from his players, and snapshots of the process of turning Dwimmermount into a published mega-dungeon such as these preliminary pencils from Jeff Dee:
Second Bonus Goal, $30,000: Some rumors hold that there is a thirteenth level to Dwimmermount. Nothing is known about how it may be entered or what secrets it contains - until the moment at which we achieve three times our original funding target! Backers will get exclusive access to the maps and lore of this hidden level; the only way to possess its secrets will be to support this Kickstarter project.
Third Bonus Goal, $40,000: If we achieve four times the original funding goal, we will create a set of illustrations of the dungeon's most essential features and locations, designed to be shown to the players in the style of classic TSR adventures like Tomb of Horrors and Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan. Help us raise $40,000 and every backer will receive these illustrations, ready to be used at the gaming table!
Come play with us.
Dwimmermount creator James Maliszewski is running sessions of his classic mega-dungeon via G+ hangout each Friday night from 9pm to 11pm EDT. Watch Grognardia and check the backer updates for information about how you can participate, see illustrations arising from play, and check out session summaries like these ones from Zak S., Tavis, Rob Conley, Steve (whose map is shown below), and James himself!
Those in or near NYC are particularly rich in opportunities to explore Dwimmermount. The first of these public events was held on Saturday, March 3rd at the Brooklyn Strategist's Sultan gaming table. Among the players was David Ewalt, author of the forthcoming Of Dice and Men. His dwarf Old Axehandle was an invaluable asset to the party, and also David took some cool pictures!
NYC blogger Delta took part in the second expedition, and posted a session summary which also has sweet pictures and notes that "James Maliszewski's Dwimmermount is a whole lot freakier than I expected -- and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible." Look for illustrations arising from these sessions, and the recent games on 3/17 and 3/18, from illustrators-in-residence Paul Hughes and Conor Nolan!
Dwimmermount was also the setting for two of the stagings of Brody Condon's Lawful Evil as part of the Big Reality exhibition at the 319 Scholes gallery in Brooklyn. On 3/15, Paul Hughes was be the Maze Controller for a session using Mazes & Monsters; on 3/17, Tavis Allison was the Judge for a session using ACKS.
The next Dwimmermount sessions will take place at Gary Con IV in Lake Geneva, thanks to GMs Rich Francis and Hoyt will be among those who'll have the opportunity to enter its legendary halls. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to organize a Dwimmermount game at your convention or gameday!
Questions about Reward Levels
Specifying which rewards you want - including sub-details like whether you want ACKS or LL, and what kind of shipping you need - usually happens at the end of the Kickstarter campaign, when they provide you with a survey form and that passes your information to us. Until the campaign ends and it is certain that the project is funded, the Kickstarter system is closed; we can only contact you through its messaging system, and we don't get any information about you except your handle and which projects you have backed. Down the road we will create a web form for you to fill out if you want to tell us more about yourself and what rewards you want. This will be helpful for us to do things like seeing if we can combine your shipping with the Adventurer Conqueror King or its Player's Companion books you may have coming from Autarch via Game Salute.For now the backer reward information is just for you to think about which ones you want to claim; select the main reward level you want and don't worry about the sub-details.
The vinyl tracking mat is an experiment in new ways to publish a megadungeon and facilitate its use in play. We can't say exactly what it will look like because no one has done this yet, although Dave Mattingly at BlackWyrm gave us the idea of using a vinyl mat as a donor reward. The design specs are: 1) teach you the situation in the dungeon through the process of filling in the tracker with your version of the dynamic elements of the dungeon like monsters that can hear you nearby and magic and treasure you can detect at a distance, 2) allow you to quickly update the situation in response to events in play like clearing out an area and allowing another faction to expand into the vacant territory. We can promise that this will be a value similar to what you'd get from a similarly priced battlemat designed for tactical combat encounters instead of strategic campaign play, and that the way we decide to print these up will be based on your input and playtesting.
What makes the separate map booklet better than just printing your own maps using the PDF is also something we intend to play to find out. The lead designer for the map booklet is Jed McClure, whose Albatross hex and graph books seem to us clearly superior to printing one's own blank sheets for mapping. We're committed to printing the maps in the core book so that you don't need the map booklet to play, but there is lots of room to experiment with how presenting them in a different way at a larger scale could make it easier to run a megadungeon and record what happens there. If you are the kind of DIYer who doesn't see a lot of value in a little more polish to what you could do yourself, you can always wait and see what we come up with here. You can still contribute to the process by using your DIY skills to try out different ideas about what kinds of booklets are useful!
Please leave a comment or email email@example.com if you have any questions!
When the Kickstarter is completed, you will fill out a survey that is the default way to handle this. However, in order to help coordinate the many moving parts we will also set up a web form you can fill in to pass this info on to you. Look for that next week!
First through tenth. The top level of Dwimmermount is a suitable challenge for newly-made characters. If they persevere and explore all the way through to the deepest dungeon level, these characters might be expected to reach the 10th level of experience. Dwimmermount will be useful for parties anywhere within this range; GMs can extract individual dungeon levels to incorporate into ongoing campaigns, or provide rumors that will encourage players to use one of the ways that powerful characters can quickly descend from the top levels to the depths where they will find appropriate challenges and rewards.
Yes! James began creating and playing Dwimmermount using the original version of the game. Over time, James' group switched to Labyrinth Lord, which uses the Open Game License and the d20 SRD to re-create the play experience of "classic" or "Red Box" Basic/Expert, which may be the most popular version of D&D ever. The more a fantasy role-playing system has in common with these roots, the easier it will be to adapt the contents of Dwimmermount to that system. This will be especially easy with TSR editions and their retro-clones, but we expect that gamers playing many different RPGs will find the mega-dungeon useful and inspirational.
How should I choose between the Labyrinth Lord and Adventurer Conqueror King versions of Dwimmermount?
LL is the system James and his players used for the majority of the original Dwimmermount campaign. You might choose LL if reading and playing it as closely to the original is as important to you. Groups which are already using "Red Box" Basic/Expert D&D, or plan to, will find that the LL version requires little or no conversion.
In creating the Adventurer Conqueror King version, we're working with James to interpret his original dungeon to work with the rules ACKS adds to the Basic/Expert chassis. Some specific changes are:
- Different expressions of some game mechanics, like ascending-from-zero armor class and morale as a modifier, which we find easier to use in play.
- Providing an economic framework for what characters will do with the treasure they take from the dungeon, and how this will affect the campaign world, using ACKS systems like mercantile trading and availability of items by market class.
- Offering ways to maintain the ratio of experience earned from treasure and combat that was recommended in Basic/Expert and forms one of the core assumptions for ACKS' economy.
You might choose the ACKS version if these additions sound good to you! Also, if your group is playing a version of the game that has a skill or proficiency system, you may find the ACKS version easier to convert.
If you want more information, you can download the http://www.goblinoidgames.com/GBD1001_no_art.zip of Labyrinth Lord for free at http://www.goblinoidgames.com/labyrinthlord.html, or read reviews of Adventurer Conqueror King at http://www.autarch.co/blog/adventurer-conqueror-king-reviews.
There are four kinds of PDFs that you can get by backing this project:
- The Dwimmermount mega-dungeon itself. Backers who pledge at least $10 and choose the Zealot reward level or above get two versions of this - one written for Labyrinth Lord, one written for Adventurer Conqueror King.
- Additional tools: the wilderness map in color, the mega-dungeon tracker, the separate map booklet with larger-scale maps featuring additional cartography symbols and monster/treasure rosters. Backers who pledge at least $25 and choose the Zealot-Phantast reward or higher get these (plus the above).
- Bonus goals. These are things everyone gets for being a backer at any level - the PlaGMaDA notes and commentary, maybe the illustration booklet, etc.
- Rules systems. These are the RPGs that Dwimmermount is written for. $10 gets you Adventurer Conqueror King, another $10 its Player's Companion. $5 gets you Labyrinth Lord, $6 gets you its Advanced Edition Companion. These are the additional PDFs that were mentioned in a previous update.
If you wanted all of these, you'd pledge $56 and get a lot of PDFs! $25 is the basic all-the-Dwimmermount stuff, though, and $35 for Dwimmermount + ACKS is a solid choice, or you could get the no-art download of LL for free and be ready to go at $25.
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