Ah, the end of another month approaches, and so I have the pleasure to present the next installment of my Castle of the Mad Archmage project; Level 4, "The Lower Dungeons".
This one is actually a smaller download this time, despite having more pages, oweing to the fact that the hand-drawn maps for levels 2 and 3 have been replaced with the "classic blue" maps done by the talented Joe "Jaerdaph" Bardales. His maps are much smaller than my scans, so the overall file size is smaller. The maps for Level 4 itself are still the hand-drawn versions, and I think that's how we'll keep it for the time being. The new maps will be the hand-drawn scans, which will be replaced in the following release by the classic blue versions. That allows those folks who prefer the hand-drawn maps to have access to them (print 'em out and put 'em in a binder, perhaps), while those who prefer the classic blue only have to wait a month. Once the poster map is done, though, I'll put it up here without delay. My apologies if having two types of maps in a single product is jarring; logistically this is the best, methinks.
This level was challenging in a variety of ways. It's very different in nature than the first two, in that it is a "live" level, with the vast majority actively controlled by various factions with the exception of a couple areas in the periphery. Explorers are very likely to get swept up by one of the four factions and pressed into service in the Arena; I hope that nature of the level came through in the text. I was also struck by a horrendous case of writer's block; it wasn't until I came on the idea of having the Arena still in use that it all snapped together. Once I had that epiphany, it all pretty much wrote itself. I'm particularly fond of the new monster-- the earwig-- although it doesn't exactly have a prominent role in the level.
I hope you all enjoy this latest installment. Now on to Level 5, The Deeps (after a brief pause for another project which will be coming soon)!
STS-51-L - Tonight I will drink a toast to these brave adventurers, as I did last night for the crew of Apollo 1.