Pied Piper Publishing announces DUNGEON SETSâ„¢
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Post Posted: Sat Dec 12, 2009 10:58 pm 
 


Plus Rob for his later additions to Earth Temple of Rehpog (GH) and Mike Mornard's later city content as an adjunct to Ramshorn Castle (inc. parts of ERK for a second recycling).


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7.4 TAKING THE GAME SERIOUSLY: Don't"

  

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Post Posted: Sun Dec 13, 2009 8:41 pm 
 

Kingofpain89 wrote:Honestly though, I would rather see PPP stick with what I believe they do best and that is adventures.  Specifically anything that has to do with the Lake Geneva campaign, El Raja Key, Kalibruhn, etc.


Whaddya know....

http://lordofthegreendragons.blogspot.c ... a-key.html

and

http://lordofthegreendragons.blogspot.c ... a-key.html


You don't like your job, you don't strike. You go in every day and do it really half-assed. That's the American way. - Homer Simpson

  

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Post Posted: Sun Dec 13, 2009 9:00 pm 
 


:)

again... :P

Cool; that /was/ on the horizon previously but couldn't tell where it might've been shuffled to in Rob's list. Thanks for the heads-up!


"7.3 ORGANIZING THE PARTY: Always have a keg, even if it's BYOB...
7.4 TAKING THE GAME SERIOUSLY: Don't"

  

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Post Posted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:35 am 
 

grodog wrote:I agree with Guy's initial assessment, but I think my impression is a bit more favorable, overall.

I reread my post, and it came across more lukewarm than I intended. I didn't stress the strengths of the maps as much as I should have. So:

The level designs include some of the best old-school level designs I've seen.

Map design is fairly easy. Lots of people do it. But great old-school map design is (apparently) very hard, given that so few products have truly intriguing, devious, and well-constructed levels that promote and/or reinforce the various old-school play principles.

The Dungeon Sets have: Multiple paths that encourage searching and that reward player ingenuity, tricks that force the players to replan or rethink their goals for a particular foray, plenty of room & corridor variety, verticality, and so on. The visually pleasing room layouts also test, promote, and reward good mapping skills.

They don't perfectly fit my preferences for level design -- they tend to fill the majority of available space on each page, when prefer levels that aren't essentially big rectangular areas -- but as a whole they're probably in the top 5% of old-school level designs.

(To give an idea regarding my preferences, I think Matthew Finch's maps in Tomb of the Iron God are more examples of a great old-school level designs. The best designs in the Dungeon Sets are better than those.)

As I mentioned before, the levels aren't all equally awesome, but most of them are very, very good. Only a few strike me as just average. Here's a run down, and take this with a grain of salt because I still haven't studied them all super carefully...

Set #1:

Levels 1 - 3: Grade A. These are fantastic, with levels 1 & 2 being the best of the three. These three levels could easily be fodder for months of play, including re-exploration of the same site over time after various breaks, as new clues give reason for the players to explore things they may have missed. A group could play through these levels for many sessions without fully revealing all of its secrets ... and not simply by virtue of missing a secret door here or there, either.

Levels 4 and 6: Grade B. These aren't as strong as levels 1 - 3, but certainly aren't weak, either. Not flashy, or super inspirational, but certainly better than most other old-school level attempts out there. Level 4 benefits from a gimmick (one-way door maze), whereas level 6 is fairly plain, but has a very balanced feel.

Level 5: Grade C. The weakest of Set #1. In addition to not having any inspirational gimmicks/goodies, it feels like many of the rooms are there just to fill space on the page.

Set #2:

Level 7: Grade C, for basically the same reasons as level 5 above.

Level 8: Grade A. This one is fantastic, with a very unique layout that includes water features and really big areas. This could very easily be used as a fantastic standalone map.

Level 9: Grade B+. Good visual variety, including a few areas that really give inspiration about what might have gone on here in the past, as well as what might currently occupy the level.

Level 10: Grade B. I like the large rooms here, and also the maze that doesn't have the problem of immediately screaming out "I'm a maze!"

Level 11: Grade A-. This the catacombs/tombs level that I mentioned in my previous post. Breaks visually from most of the others, but includes several inspirational areas, and rewards player pattern matching.

Level 12: Grade C+. This is average in the way some of the Temple of Elemental Evil node maps are. At least they have some visual variety though.


Overall, I think Set #1 is stronger than Set #2, but both include at least two great level designs.


Guy Fullerton
Chaotic Henchmen Productions
http://www.chaotichenchmen.com/

  


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Post Posted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:36 pm 
 

More good stuff:  http://lordofthegreendragons.blogspot.c ... al-of.html


Allan Grohe ([email protected])
Greyhawk, grodog Style

Editor and Project Manager, Black Blade Publishing
https://www.facebook.com/BlackBladePublishing/

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Post Posted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 4:26 pm 
 

faro wrote:
Guy Fullerton wrote:some are fairly pedestrian and have what feels on first-blush to be too many secret areas or small rooms** ... too much for me to meaningfully populate.

Actually that /is/ rather more like the bulk of those "original" dungeon levels, if so.

Ah... cool; Rob confirmed my line of thinking by email without me even asking that question. :)

Sweet review, gro': thanks! :D
Looks like these are going to be pretty rare if sales end up getting pulled for lack of support, or any other reason.

d.


"7.3 ORGANIZING THE PARTY: Always have a keg, even if it's BYOB...
7.4 TAKING THE GAME SERIOUSLY: Don't"

  

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Post Posted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 8:54 am 
 

Looks like PPP has sold out of The Original Living Room:

http://lordofthegreendragons.blogspot.c ... pdate.html

But now Rob has mentioned that it will be reprinted in a bound format with additional content.  So next year we can look forward to "The Original Living Room: The Director's Cut"?


You don't like your job, you don't strike. You go in every day and do it really half-assed. That's the American way. - Homer Simpson

  
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