Dark Dungeons – 10th Anniversary Edition!

It occurred to me the other day that next year Dark Dungeons will be a decade old!

I thought it might be nice to produce a new edition for that – partly to commemorate it, and also because I noticed that people are still downloading the game on DriveThruRPG after all this time (last month alone I got over 100 downloads from there) yet the printed version is not available from there – only from Lulu – since it wasn’t designed using the proper specifications for DriveThruRPG’s third-party POD supplier.

So, in order to kill two birds with one stone I thought I’d take the old Microsoft Publisher files and move the content to InDesign and into a template that will be compatible for POD on DriveThruRPG.

That way I get a 10th anniversary edition and it’s much easier for people looking for a printed copy to find one.

But the big question is – what text should go in it.

Currently, I have three versions of the game in my files:

  1. Dark Dungeons – This is the original game, albeit the second printing (which replaced the to-hit table of the first edition with a much simpler d20 + attack bonus + AC >= 20 formula.
  2. Darker Dungeons – This was my version that included house rules rather than sticking to the original game it was based on. Chiefly, it had:
    • All mechanics were unified under the d20 + bonus + modifiers >= 20 mechanic
    • I added Weapon Mastery abilities to shields, rather than them giving a flat bonus to AC
    • I took a lot of the randomness out of character generation, using a standard array for ability scores instead of rolling for them and using average values for hit points instead of rolling for them
    • I added the Mountebank class (a half spell user)
    • I mostly swapped the Magic-User and Elf classes, so that the Elf is now the one who is weak and can’t wear armour whereas the Magic-User is the one who can both fight and wear armour but needs more xp to level up
    • I split out the Druid from the Cleric completely, and gave them a Command Animal ability to replace Turn Undead
    • I reflavoured the Mystic class to a Beastman race, swapping the martial artist theme for a race that got more bestial as they got more experience
    • I added specialisation for Magic-Users and Clerics so that they could specialise in a particular type of magic
  3. Darker Dungeons Revised – I never finished this one. It took the Darker Dungeons rules and added a few changes to them (there would have been more changes, but the project never got very far):
    • Reflavoured the Mystic again, this time to a Warlock
    • I added a Warlord option for a high level fighter as an alternative to becoming a Chevalier
    • I added a new racial class – the Clockwork – based on Eberron’s Warforged

As I say, the big question is which of those – if any – should be used as the basis for a 10th anniversary edition.

My first thoughts are that I’d want to include at least some of the Darker Dungeons material. The original Dark Dungeons was designed to be a close clone of the original game because the original game wasn’t available other than second hand for extortionate prices. That’s changed now – you can buy the original game in digital and POD versions – so there’s no reason for the 10th edition to slavishly stick to it. If people want to play a strict original-game–compliant game they can simply buy the original.

So I think the issue is how much of the additional Darker Dungeons (and Darker Dungeons Revised) material should be in there?

I’m definitely intending to use the unified mechanics and the druid. I’m less certain about the other changes.

(By the way, if anyone has any suggestions, I’ve created a discussion thread over at The Piazza.)