World's Largest Dungeon (not even close to first draft)
It's priced at a cool $100, but can be had cheaper online. (I got mine on ebay new, for $30). That's a lot of money, but it's more or less the equivalent of 15 64 page dungeon crawls, which generally go for $15 each or so. Which is actually a pretty good deal.
This is a strange book to review. Like I said, it really is the equivalent of 15 or so 64 page adventures, which I normally write about 6-8kb of words for. So the Worlds Largest Dungeon probably deserves the world's largest review. But that ain't gonna happen, at least not from me. But I will try to cover it as best as possible.
The history of the dungeon is perhaps not the most original in the world. It seems that the powers of good (aka the Celestials) decided to imprison a bunch of evil types and built a giant prison to hold it. Like always, instead of building the prison in someplace nice and safe like say, in some obscure outer plane or out in space on a moon or an asteroid, they built it in a fairly hospitable place on an inhabited planet. Because as Lord Helmet says, "Good is stupid."
In this case, good was even stupider than normal, because they apparently built this prison in a tectonically active region (ie, somewhere that has earthquakes, presumably near a fault line) and even better, built it underneath a lake.
So anyway, as you can probably guess, the prison worked fine until one day an earthquake happened and boom, it fell apart and the prisoners started running amok. At which point it sort of turned into "Escape from New York", basically they stopped trying to guard it from the inside (sorta, there are still guards remaining inside), but have the entrance and exit guarded.
The Dungeon Itself
Unlike a lot of dungeons, this is essentially just one big flat thing (except for one small area below the map). This makes mapping much easier, but I think loses a lot of flavor.
It's basically a 4x4 sectional map, with each section being one "sheet" (for lack of a better word), except for one which is actually two "sheets". So there are a total of 15 sections. Each sheet is really about the size of a 4x4 regular sheet of graph paper, though, so it is a big dungeon. (I think the biggest one I ever made was 8x8, this is 16x16)
There is one really big complication to it. It's like a roach motel - PCs go in, they don't come out. Because it was meant to be a prison for extraplanar types, there is some sort of magical field blocking teleportation out. And once you go in the entrance, it closes and you can't go out. So as written, if you are going to run or play this, you are in for the long haul and will need a lot of dedication both from the GM & players. The book estimates that it will take 2 years of gaming to finish.
Section A "Longtail's Destiny" by Michael Hammes
This is the section just after the entrance
Basically, a group of humanoids, led by a wererat named Longtail, came to the dungeon for adventure and loot (same reasons as the PCs). However, they soon found that there wasn't all that much treasure in this section, and that
Section B "A Goblin Empire?"
Sort of like Section A, a group of humanoids migrated to this section. In this case, goblins, hobgoblins and bugbears.
Section C "The Final Option"
This section was meant to house just one fairly powerful demon
Section D "The Tartarean Depths of the Xill Master"
Section E "The Last Stand"
This is another prison section. But this section still has some celestial guards
Section F "The Maze"
Section G "Hell on Earth"
Section H "Protectors of the Tree" by Jennifer Baughman
This is by far my favorite section of the dungeon. Unlike the rest of the book, it's not really a dungeon crawl. For one, it's got more role-playing and character interaction (other than just combat). For another, it's almost a forest adventure, as opposed to a dungeon.
As mentioned earlier, the dungeon was apparently built on a fault line. And underneath a lake and forest. An earthquake happened, and the top came crumbling down. The lake fell elsewhere, flooding the region, but this got the forest. Including a very very old treant which was venerated by a group of wood elves.
Being a tree, the treant survived (I guess they don't really have internal organs to get squished), but apparently haven't fallen, can't get up. (Actually it was immobile before it fell, not having seen one of those scooter for the elderly commercials). And the elves beeing elves, decided they would go down into the dungeon and protect him.
Section I "The Halls of Flesh" by Mark Carroll and Jim Pinto
This is pretty icky
Section J "The Pyrefaust" by Jeff Dohm
Section K "The Shallows"
Section L "The Deeps"
Section M "The Chasm"
Section N "Tomb of the Unliving"
This is the double section.
Section O "Halls of Ice and Stone"
It's actually pretty good, but it falls well short of being a legendary dungeon in anything other than size.
I also think it's got some logic problems. Like it's supposed to be a secret prison no one really knows about. Except there are these elves that regularly fly in and out to protect a really famous tree. How can the tree be famous, but not the location where he is?
I also think having it like a roach motel really hurts it. I mean, very few people will want to do nothing but a dungeon crawl for 2 years. And I would have to think many of those who do would want to do more than just the same dungeon. I know I wouldn't want to be in the same building for 2 years, even the world's largest brothel (even with pizza delivery).
Personally, I think it would have been a better, and more importantly, a far more useable, product if this had been dropped, and the dungeon could be entered/exited in various locations. True, PCs can leave about halfway through, thanks to the hole in the middle.