However, Holmes did include a much more detailed sample dungeon, and a more evocative megadungeon cross-section than OD&D. Also, the Basic Set came with either B1 In Search of the Unknown, or B2 Keep on the Borderlands, which both provide good examples for budding DMs to use to craft their own dungeons.
One bit of advice from Holmes that jumped out at me was this quote:
Try to keep the dangers appropriate to the levels of the characters and the skill of your players. (emphasis added)While I mentioned that in OD&D Gygax points out that there are certain types of encounters that would make players angry, Holmes explicitly states that the goal is to challenge the players. New players with 5th level characters will likely be less effective than veteran players with 1st level characters, despite the additional hit points, better hit probabilities and saving throws, and more spells of the novice group. Because the veteran players will play smart. And maybe they can take on those Frost Giants or Vampires or Purple Worms at the 1st to 3rd level span of the Holmes edition.
A few weeks ago, Ian at Magician's Manse was blogging about his own megadungeon. His players seem intent to fully explore the first level before venturing on. He was worried that if they did, they'd be too high level and the second dungeon level would be too easy for them. It made me think of some of the advice given on Dragonsfoot and other places about only designing and keying just enough of the dungeon. That way, you can fit the dungeon to the players, rather than to some ideal of the Platonic Megadungeon.
If the party gains character levels but doesn't descend to lower dungeon levels, then more monsters and traps of their level should show up on the level they're on. Of course, tricks and traps and specials are often less about the party's level, and more about player skill anyway, so Dr. Holmes' advice above is a good addition to the basics set forth for dungeon creation in OD&D.
And so ends the 500th post on this blog. And there was much rejoicing. (Yea...)