Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Random Inspiration: Aincrad as a Megadungeon

Since it started airing on Adult Swim's Toonami block back in July, I've been watching Sword Art Online on a fairly regular basis. The series takes place in the near-future where a Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (VRMMORPG) called "Sword Art Online" has been released. After logging into the game with the assistance of a virtual reality helmet, the players discover they are unable to log back out. They are then informed by the creator of the game that the only way to escape the game is to reach the 100th floor of the game's tower and defeat the final boss. However, if their avatars die in-game, their bodies will also die in the real world. While I have some problems with the show's pacing, I find Sword Art Online to be rather entertaining.

While watching the show, I found myself thinking about the show's setting and how it would be a pretty cool setting for a D&D/Pathfinder setting. The game in the show is set on Aincrad, a floating fortress made from iron and stone. The base diameter of the castle is about ten kilometers and the structure consists of a hundre floors stacking straight upwards, with each floor's diameter being a bit smaller than the previous one. Each floor has a few cities, towns, villages, forests, plains, and a dungeon that leads up to the next level.

Aincrad would be a pretty awesome D&D setting. The players would all start on the bottom floor, having been born in one of the towns located there. Having spent most of their lives on this floor and having heard numerous rumors and legends about what lies at the top of the castle, the characters band together and work their way through the different dungeon floors. Throughout the campaign, you could have them discover the history of the fortress, who built it and why, and what lies below the blanket of clouds that Aincrad hovers over. Also, if you want to make things a little more interesting, you can throw in some steampunk and industrial elements since the setting is a gigantic flying fortress.

What do you guys think? Do you think Aincrad would make a pretty cool D&D setting?