There was a question, several years back, on Finarvyns forum asking about characteristics of a Dave Arneson dungeon design. Not a lot was said in response, but we did talk about architecture and monsters and such. Something else just occurred to me; with the exception of the tournament module Haunted Lighthouse, more often than not, you can’t beat a Dave Arneson D&D dungeon, nor are you supposed to.
If you compare Temple of the Frog (1975), Blackmoor Dungeon (1977), Glendower (1977), Temple of ID (1977), The realm of the Egg of Coot, The city of Father Dragon (1977), The City of the Gods (as described in Robilars adventure), the sample Dungeon in AiF, Garbage Pits of Despair, or even the Comeback Inn (1986), The only one of these that a standard, mid-level party of adventurers could reasonably clean out was Glendower.
The rest were designed as limited objective, hit and run adventures. There was no attempt to “balance” the “challenge level” to the party. To truly take on these challenges would require a proper army (and a sandtable to play it out on.) Instead, like the plot of many a commando and sci-fi movie, the small band of adventurers was expected to get in and get out with as much loot as they could manage.
No wonder one of the first things Dave came up with was the pursuit and evasion rules….