Sometimes, you just don't find what you are looking for where you expect to find it. I certainly didn't expect to find the latest Dwimmermount updates over at the RPGSite, so color me surprised when I was told to look there for the latest. I did, and it seems Alexander Macris, who has taken the reins from Tavis, who in turn took them from James Mal, posted to the Dwimmermount thread on the RPGSite recently.
The underlying problems of Dwimmermount all arise from the fact that it is the product of an improvisational Judge with a knack for using random tables and in-game imagination. This shows up in (a) how blandly certain rooms are described, (b) how treasure and monsters appear, and (c) most of all in how the weave of the dungeon ties together (or rather doesn't).
There is plenty of fun, playable, interesting material for a game table. I agree that a team of independent editors could surely have filled in the gaps in the individual levels (problems A and B) and made each one a more fun experience. But I don't think anyone but an "auteur" (I use that word for lack of a better one) can tie it all together (problem c).
Anyway, I'm actually drafting at about 3 times the pace I expected - I finished 3 chapters in a week - and am optimistic in what I'll deliver.A and B and yes, even C were problems in our aborted playtest way back when. Heck, that was 2,000 coppers ago and a few dead rats t00.
It's not that I'm trying to impose my philosophy (that's a forlorn hope) I'm trying to impose coherency. So, for instance:
-- Chapter 7, Factions, clearly states that the Spawn of Arach-Nacha has given the Mad Dwarf the power to create kobolds.
-- Level 1 says that the Mad Dwarf is just mad, and the Spawn of Arach-Nacha is lying.
Or, for instance, James will say that the Elemental Planes are actually alien worlds lush with a particular element (so like Fire is actually a volcanic world, Water is an ocean world) and then in another place he'll say the opposite.
Etc., etc., etc.
People who don't care about such things already have a playable draft of the dungeon; many people have already run entire campaigns in Dwimmermount. So the real hold-up is what goes into the pretty book for time immemorial.
I guess I'd rather be Blizzard, and ship in when it's good, even if it's late, then EA and ship it still borked.The thing is, even Blizzard ships at some point.
and from the Dwimmermount Kickstarter page's comments from a few days ago (also from Alex)
Some of you might wonder "what problems and plot holes is Alex referencing and why would they require consideration before getting to the real work of writing?" To that, I suppose I have be honest and admit that I am constitutionally opposite J.Mal. in that I'm a preparer and systemizer rather than an improviser. So I'm speaking of issues such as:
- Why would the Terrim keep the Sleeping God on hand as a deterrent weapon of mass destruction if its activation is controlled by the Great Machine, which is in the hands of their enemies?
- Why would the Lawful-aligned Prison which has ensnared Turms Termax be under the control of the Chaotic Sleeping God?
- If Gods such as Typhon are Lawful, why would they create the Eld if doing so would represent a turning away from Law? If they aren't Lawful, what is their relationship to Law and why do they grant Lawful spells?
- If the Secrets of the City of the Ancients are so amazing, why would a 9HD Dwimmerdragon have stopped the Eld, Thulians, and Termaxians from invading?I never realized how screwed up this mess actually was.
And on and on. In the process of answering these sorts of questions, I believe that I will deliver a dungeon to you that will ultimately be a much more satisfying product to read and run. We of course expect Judges to make up their own answers, but at least you can improvise from a coherent framework that fits together.
I've ceased to look forward to this except for idle curiosity.