Are Mega Dungeons Possible in Sci-Fi Gaming

jedion357's picture
December 8, 2022 - 7:38am
A lot of discussion in the hobby lately about mega dungeons.

Some benefits touted: 
episodic adventures- one session basically 

and pool of possible players- regular player cant make it no problem who ever shows will go. 
Each session ends with the team back "at the inn" or where ever "safe" is
This facilitates a pool of players. 

Potential for multiple groups to enter the dungeon

mega dungeons were the basis for the 1e rule about when the party is not together adventuring 1 day of real world time that passes equals 1 day of game world time. 

Semi sand box in that the game master does not have to come up with new adventure all the time its a mega dungeon where would you like to go next? tables for events and factions/cadres will facilitate new plot hooks 

encourages living breathing world as the game master should have populations move and restock cleared areas 

Potential for factions/cadres to be a thing

The new reality of my Star Frontiers gaming is on line but scheduling can bite.

I'm wondering if the episodic mega dungeon is possible in Sci-fi?
you show on Sunday night and your are in the party. party always pulls back to "at the spacer bar" game is regular and you just show if you want to go. 

Sure you could just write episodic adventures but you still have to have some of the conventions. perhaps each episode is also constrained with a timer ie you have 3 hours to solve this or you fail. so there could be in game timers but there is also a real world timer- 3 hour play session.
The convention that must be observed is always back at safe. to heal and resupply. 

I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
December 8, 2022 - 8:25am
two options occur to me 

Option 1: Tetrarch ruins on Laco, the safe place is Mo's Easy (Mos Eisley) which is the last outpost of civilization before entering Devil's basin to access the Tetrarch ruins. Ruins are broken walls and foundations of building, basements and underground areas in the ruins plus the mysterious pyramids. Mo's Easy is a bar established by a Laco's war veteran (D) at a former PGC staging area, there is some cargo/shipping containers here that have been converted to housing. Beyond the "town" center is a flat area (Mo's Easy is positioned near the edge of a bluff) and here there are a small collection of mooring blocks (prevent a starship from toppling during a sand storm) for tail first landing starships, a tech repair service: think Cooter from Dukes of Hazard. There is now law enforcement or civic government here its just a rough settlement that caters to pirates, smugglers, scavengers (lots of wrechage from SW1 and Laco's ware scattered around), low lifes avoiding more civilized places and scientists and archeaologist that are headed into Devils Basin looing to study the Tetrarch ruins or the fire fountain or what have you. They can just go poke around the ruins again to see what they find. Artifact smuggling and trade is brisk on Laco. recovery of sathar equipment from the first sathar war is highly illegal but also can be lucritive. Scavenging for military equipment from the Laco's war is legal and the trade pays. 

Requires a map of Mo's Easy, a rough wilderness map showing known locations in Devils Basin, and a map of the ruins Most likely a level or two of the ruins and a map of at least one pyramid's inside. 

This option is patterned on the classic fantasy dungeon crawl. will need tables for weather ie sandstorms or dust devils turning up or super rare rain storm. 

New price list with everyting more expensive. this is the last outpost of civilization, supply is limited, vitasalt pills and water are in demand and ammo too. Of course if a Capellan Free Merchants lands at Mo's Easy (most likely to tranship a cargo he doesn't want inspected at one of the regular starports on Laco) he might have some deals on exotic type weapons and etc. 

Each episode starts at the Easy (Mo's bar) 

Option 2: Port Loren 
heart and center of PL is already mapped and a starport terminal map exists would require a city map showing districts and neighborhoods, lots of smaller facility maps are needed each week/episode depending on that plot hook the players decide to investigate. this one could be more work best to have lots of maps handy for facilities and buildings for action to take place or do a lot fo theater of the mind. A sample of a few floors in the PGC tower would be good. underground parking stucture, mono rail station and mono rail car, factory or warehouse. 

I would pull out my copy of Stars without Number because in the GM section (the pay for copy not the free player one) for the section on factions- that would be a good place to start with the worksheets for managing factions used for SF cadres, 

In each case it seems that a careful calendar would need to be kept, for Laco weather is an issue when the adverse effects turn up in Port Loren weather is more for flavor. GMs job is about managing tables and cadres and setting plot hooks out the players pick up on the ones they want. rumors table will help as well 

I'm liking the idea for Laco as I've done prior work and thought on Mo's Easy
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Tchklinxa's picture
February 5, 2023 - 8:52am
You could dungeon crawl a huge mega ship, or a space station too.
 "Never fire a laser at a mirror."

KRingway's picture
February 15, 2023 - 7:18am
Some time ago I was designing a large moving refinery that was essentially a megadungeon. It's also kind of like a large tower, but with a base wider than it's summit. I got the idea from thinking about a hybrid of a oil drilling platform at sea and the big tracked machine that moved the space shuttle to and from its launch platform.

Tchklinxa's picture
February 19, 2023 - 9:42am
That's a great idea. Cities, corporate campuses, vrusk guildhouses all could have substantial subterranean areas. The idea of a huge hidden underground facility or even historic undersgoround cities are all possibilities. Yazarians might not like underground facilities that much. You know what would be cool is Yazarian Ships and Stations designed to facilitate their gliding abilities, big open space plans... just thinking how different a lunar base might be between the core four thus Yazarians Mega Dungeon would look and function differently then Dralasite one. 
 "Never fire a laser at a mirror."

KRingway's picture
February 23, 2023 - 8:09am
A 'megadungeon' doesn't have to be underground, if you just focus on the principle of a large space which needs to be explored etc.