Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Slowly Removing Togas

Ever wish there was a solid, standard, but really big sandbox dungeon with a nice map that was free that you could go through and make into whatever kind of weird, personalized dungeon that fit your taste?

I wish that all day long--for those times when the PCs start wandering into Realms It Had Not Occurred To Mortal Men They'd Have Managed To Get To By This Tuesday.

Well, there's one right here. (Thanks to Ara Kooser for pointing it out the day I went around asking everybody for big pre-packaged locations to put some extra meat on my gameworld.)

It's written by Carlos de la Cruz Morales and, although it's for Mazes & Minotaurs, it's eminently malleable. You can re-skin most of the monsters for D&D without changing the stats at all (If you're smart enough to figure out that "Hits total: 6" = "Hit Points = 6" and "Damage = 3d6" means "Damage = 3d6". Change the AC to descending for old D&D, leave it as-is for later versions.).

My only problem is this 200+ page dungeon is set in ancient Greece and, although I love the Greek monsters, man was their fashion sense appalling. So I printed it out (the dungeon section is easily readable at 4 sheets per page, so you won't necessarily run out of paper) and am going through it removing sandals and togas and inserting Warhammerish terror, Gygaxian weirdness, and the occasional crossbow.

It is unbelievably excellent for this Mad Libs approach. There's a lot of monsters, a lot of treasure, a lot of standard traps ("Pit Trap, Concealment 16"), a few interchangeable mcguffins, and various factions warring all over the dungeon. There is absolutely nothing that makes you go "Oh, if I don't do it in ancient Greece this makes no sense" or "Well that whole section is a bust if I take out the tunnel in room 206."

Like I said, it's a simple, solid, very big, and very customizable piece of work. It's the Ford Mustang of dungeons.

And free.


Oh, and someone let me know that over on RPGnet they're arguing about whether my players are Actually Porn Stars. Seems like they're mostly talking about Mandy, which is weird, because she's the one who's done the fewest movies.


  1. The stuff that's been produced for M&M is amazing. Really amazing.

    Incidentally, I think is debating whether they are porn STARS as opposed to PORN stars (if you see what I mean). And I do think it's weird that anybody who's done porn is called a star, but I think that's because the monsyllabic Anglo-Saxons of the two words goes more trippingly over the tongue.

    But, whatever.

  2. For my dear friends at RPGnet: Yah, Mandy at the very least is a porn star. Dunno bout the rest of the players, but I suspect they are.

    Now hush and be still, the majority of us are here for the dnd aspect, and we'll be sorely vexed if we end up listening to Zak talking 'blah blah blah porn' instead of 'oh, here's a good dungeon master idea' because of you lot.

  3. If you're interested in a free dungeon that would be easily reskinned, you might want to check out the Castle of the Mad Archmage project at . Granted it's built on the idea of fleshing out Castle Zagyg but it should be a breeze to work with (and the maps are a sweet old school blue!).

  4. RE:Mad Archmage:

    It has way more personality than Bull King, but it also has way less internal logic.

    Neither of which is bad, but for this kind of re-skinning project, I need a fairly generic dungeon that nevertheless has a cohesive raison d'etre.

    Archmage works better for me as a treasure trove of useful ideas that could be pretty much slotted into any dungeon.

  5. Your many references to the flail snail both slay me and make me want to run more games including them.

  6. My other car is a Flail Snail.

  7. Dude, they're Greek, not Roman. Tunics, not togas.

    OK, I'll STFU now.

    My other ride remains Al's mom, but my *other* other ride is a Flail Snail.


  8. @ Adam Thornton
    the most popular Greek garment was the chiton, both the tunic and the toga are roman!

  9. You amuse me. Please continue.

  10. The discussion over at RPGnet is amusing. "Porn star" is just what you get called after you've done some porn, because it's easier than saying "actress" which is often a laughable concept, we are rarely actresses, and less awkward and more accurate than "performer"--well what kind of "performer"?

    Connie is a stripper and ex Suicide Girl. Kimberly Kane has hundreds of hardcore porno movies under her belt has won 3 AVN awards and is nominated every year, she also directs her own porn movies. Frankie is a former Suicide Girl. Satine Pheonix has been in her fair share of porno movies too, she was in the industry for 5 years, and she is also well known within the fetish community.

    And I've only been in 5 porn movies, but I've been running my DIY amature site for two years and I am currently a Suicide Girl. I don't know if I qualify as a "star" but I do get recoginzed as Mandy Morbid whenever I go to large books stores in cities I don't live in.

    Now then, carry on with your real discussion about the game please. It amuses me too.

  11. My goodness, when the players map it out, they'll see how Greek it is. That's the Minoan palace at Knossos! :)

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  13. My version of Castle Greyhawk may (or may not ;) ) be of possible interest: see (in particular the elevations maps), and various level maps previewed in the Knights & Knaves Megadungeons forum @ that I haven't gotten around to adding to the web site yet.

    Other free mega-dungeons worth checking out:

    - The Mines of Khunmar @ (and blog @
    - Stonehell @ (for sale on Lulu now, but some previews are there and the first few levels are still on the blog IIRC)


    (edit: fixed the links)

  14. I think what's interesting about the posts is not the fact that there are porn stars in the game. The part that makes the posts intriguing is the experience of dealing with absolutely green players. All DM's have had this happen and it always helps to see how others handle the situation.

    I have been trying lately to keep my players outside of the stereotypical 'dungeon' but somehow we always end up a tomb...full of wandering monsters. Sigh.

  15. As the person who started the RPGnet thread, I am impelled to comment: I find the blog interesting because it's precisely about what it is: playing D&D with pornstars.

    There are loads of D&D blogs out there on the web, many of them pretty good.

    There's even more porn out there on the web, some of it pretty good.

    It would be disingenuous to pretend that I'd be reading Zak's blog merely because he has good ideas about D&D.

    It would be narrow-minded (not to mention... inefficient) to read it merely because "hur hur porn chicks".

    Disregarding either part doesn't give due credit to Zak and his players.

  16. Re: Jasin-- just like a good campaign...I came for the hook, but I stayed for the material. "Another DMs Blog" I MIGHT have clicked on-- "DnD With Pornstars" I HAD to click on. & then found myself pleasantly surprised at the quality of the content. Surprised because most DM blogs are utterly boring. I know mine probably is.

  17. I can't argue with that.

    (About this blog, not yours. :) )

  18. Glad you liked the dungeon (I worked hard trying to keep the internal logic). And yes, it's the minoan palace of Knossos, slightly changed and filled with monsters and traps ;).

    As for the players of your campaign being porn stars... well, at least they're not lawyers!

  19. Any NG with fold-out maps of other archaeological sites would fit the bill too. There was a big-ass one on Angkor Wat a few months ago...

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