Well, now that Joe Bloch's Castle of the Mad Archmage is no longer freeware, in preparation for its release next year complete with an original surface and first level, I have a dilemma. Some time ago I expressed my intent to release, for free or donation, the first level I designed for Joe's Castle, Cellars of the Castle Ruins, which many groups have played in for the past two years.
I'm now considering leaving Joe the completion of his project and instead pillaging some of the better ideas from my level for a new mega-project I've started on. Manden Gouge is a fate-heavy mountain pass with a long and troubled history and several linked underground areas, including the underlevels of the ruined castle known as Karthew's Legacy, the Shrine to Saint Ferdenon, the Tower of the Azure Mage, a mountainside cave complex, and the undergalleries uniting them all.
The idea with this project is to raise the bar on design, avoiding or subverting what has come before. The rats in this place are doing more than guarding some copper pieces, I guarantee! To be fair, that's also true of the Cellars, but its overall design is more freewheeling and gonzo, with many inside gaming and Greyhawk jokes.
So, which way should I go?