Friday, May 1, 2009
Thunderspire Labyrinth's titular maze may well not meet player expectations. Those who have seen the module's title may be imagining a kind of classic mega-dungeon, with level upon level of sprawling, mappable corridors. In the alternative, it would seem reasonable for the Labyrinth to pose some kind of direct challenge to the ingenuity of players and their characters.
In practice, the Labyrinth has little to no mechanical effect. It "covers nearly a square mile, with hundreds of chambers and passages", and "is too convoluted to be completely mapped". A rough outline (above) is provided to the DM, although it bears no relationship to any of the descriptions of distance and location scattered throughout the module. Moreover, "hundreds of small chambers and halls [...] aren't shown", and "even the major roads include countless intersections and smaller passages".
The way this works in practice is that players will need guides or accurate directions to reach a destination. Much like a computer game, players can visit new areas only once they are "added to the map".
If players try to explore without guidance, they risk wandering lost for hours before eventually ending up at a random choice of one of the module's major quest destinations. Interestingly, this can have the effect of bringing them straight to the penultimate mini-dungeon, bypassing the majority of the module's content. That's probably an effect of the module as-written that DMs should feel free to completely ignore.