I've been reading Conan again, and his mighty thews have inspired me to write up an old dungeon. Basically, you were locked in a dungeon as a sacrifice to Something Terrible and now you've got to escape. Get it
It's meant to be an introductory dungeon, suitable for newer players. It's a level 0 funnel, so its not very friendly, but I think it teaches all the lessons that dungeoncrawling has to teach, and it teaches it in only 21 rooms.
One of my favorite things about funnels is that you can have awesome, lethal elements right next to the more mundane ones. Or put another way, it's the only time you'll see a cabbage farmer hit a godling with a brick.
Since you start as a naked level 0 peasant, you don't have any items, much less any abilities. So writing this has been an interesting study in minimalism for me. They can't bring any torches into the dungeon, so how many torches should I stock the place with? Where should I put them? It has some of the same calculus as a survival horror game, I think.
A lot of the lethality is theatric. If the Lamb stops and eats every one of its kills, the party can easily escape it, with only a single loss each time. That will never incur a TPK. It is still disruptive, though, and hopefully a little bit horrific.
I'm pretty proud with how many people there are to talk to in those 21 rooms. One friendly, one antagonistic, one greedy, and one hungry. The greedy one is a merchant on the surface, who will sell you items at a high markup, passing them through a tiny crack in the ground. I don't think I've seen that one in a dungeon before.
There's also the pools from B1, because I liked those pools. Only four mysterious liquids, though, which I think is a more reasonable number.
There's also breadcrumbs for characters to become a cleric or warlock after leaving the dungeon.
I'm worried that the environment might be a little too claustrophobic and confining, but we'll see. There's only one loop in the dungeon (although there will be more once it links up with part 2.
The items may also need some rebalancing, but again, we'll see.
This is also a big departure from my usual approach, where I don't write up a PDF until I've playtested something 3+ times. I've only run this dungeon once, a long time ago, and in a very different form.
I still intend to revise it though, so if YOU run this dungeon, let me know how it goes. (Consider it to be payment for an otherwise free PDF.)