I've always been interested in the classic megadungeon/site-based campaign style. One of the very first RPG books I ever read was the 1e Dungeon Master's Guide, and I remember distinctly how magical it seemed. Cramped tables, terrible organization - and a million little details to spark images in my mind. Gygax in the 1e DMG was still discussing the tentpole campaign dungeon, and a strong link between character level and dungeon level was in effect.
I've tried touching on this magic a couple times, with different groups and different systems, but I think I've always been fighting doing it for real. I've always tried it in Pathfinder for example, or half-heartedly. This time I'm going to do it in a system designed for bloody, stack-character-sheets-high play with a big tentpole dungeon, and I'm just going to throw in everything I like and everything I've read from the OSR. Call it gaming "mulligan stew," I suppose.
What really got me started recently was this image from Jeff Rients' blog. I definitely want to end up with a death table and a memorable, deadly dungeon like that. I've always wanted to, and my usual Pathfinder players are wusses who can't deal with their characters dying by the bushel. They want "progression." That's fine, but it makes me realize that that model of play is incompatible with what I want to do. They also don't want to map, or ask a lot of questions - they're used to provided battle maps, and simple dungeons, and that kind of thing. Again, that's fine - but it is different from what I want to do.
So I'm going to stop fighting it. I'm going head on and making my own OSR campaign. For me. When I get it done, then I'll share it with a group and go from there. I always liked sandboxes, and I'm a big fan of Chris Kutalik's Hill Cantons. I'm going to follow roughly his starter for the Hill Cantons: a small, local sandbox like this. I'll fill that out, let people play through it, and go from there.
I hope you'll join me in figuring this out, and thank you for reading.