The Origins of Grandma’s Basement
Grandma’s Basement started off as filler. My friends were wanting a D&D fix, particularly some who often found themselves perpetually DMing at college and had little time to play the game. Unfortunately, I had little time to come up with a solid plot, and since we were going to part ways again soon anyway, why bother?
What to do…
So I flipped open the DMG to the random dungeon generation pages, spent an hour rolling up a single, flat level, and began populating it with monsters. The players fought their way through, and (culminating in a 3 A.M. gaming session of exhaustion) the group parted ways, returning again months later with the question, “What happens next?”
As a DM who was still hammering down all the quirks of 4th Edition, I posited that the party receive double-XP rewards, allowing the party to level twice as fast so they don’t have to linger at any one level and can test out their particular character builds to see what the higher levels were like. The party agreed, and this became the standard for the rest of the game.