Laboratories are a great place for horror. So are hospitals, anywhere that’s clean and white and sterile makes for a great contrast with whatever gore you want to paint on the walls.
That is the basis of Layer 3 in the megadungeon. A pristine living area, whose residents constantly fight back against the growths that fill the neighbouring laboratories.
So last week I finally got to invent and draw the icky part of this two-tone dungeon layer.
Angry Roots and Thirsty Roots
When the random word of the week, chosen by my partner, came up as ‘Roots’, I knew what needed to be done. What were going to be environmental ‘growths’ in the background would now be centre stage, roots leading to a greater threat at the source.
I’d already decided on two separate clean rooms into the labs, which led to the idea for two different growths trailing roots through the rooms. Competing with one another for space, two very different methods of survival. Different dangers constantly threatening the party as they explore.
Entering through the West airlock, the ‘Angry Roots’ occupy the next few rooms. The roots are more fleshy than plant like, and comparatively more withered than their counterpart – they are having a harder time surviving. This entity is resistant to heat and cold damage, and seems indifferent to light. It’s roots reach other through each space looking for power sources, drawing on electricity from power connectors, or electrical impulses from living creatures.
The roots will be inactive until attacked or loud noises are made in their vicinity. Then, they deploy their defense mechanism. Pods across the roots fire barbs into nearby creatures. As well as packing a nasty sting, these barbs also infect their targets. Untreated, the organism spreads through the victim until they collapse. The roots then grow around them, using the creature like a battery. Withered corpses can be found amongst the thicker roots.
Through the South airlock are the Hungry Roots. Marginally more aggressive, these roots move slowly but visibly towards life forces in their reach. If a creature lingers too longer, a root will touch them and immediately draw moisture at a dangerous rate. Swarms of creatures live amongst these roots, breeding fast enough to survive, but drawn to the roots for nourishment. A perpetual, symbiotic feeding, bolstered by the water supplies still connected to each room.
Each mass of roots leads to a central entity spawned from the remnants of old experiments. The angry roots lead to a fleshy, fungal abomination (number 84/room 24), the hungry roots will lead to a rather oddly beautiful blossoming tree that lures creatures to their doom (Room TBD).
Weak 12 – 84 Rooms Complete
By the end of week 12, the grotesque laboratories look like this:
78. Labratory 1 – Resilience
– roots have spread across all surfaces and most lab equipment
– The centre counter holds partially intact vessels. The brackish liquid inside once preserved ‘Veraca’ – cockroach-like creatures, 2 feet in length, known for resistance to disease and dangerous conditions.
The Veraca corpses were taken over by spores from the roots. When anything passes by, the Veraca lunge from their containers.
79. Observation Station 2
-Large, cracked, two-way mirror allowed monitoring of activity in room 19
-Small puncture holes in the glass, work station in disarray
-The mirror is mostly obscured by growths
-if the creatures in room 21 are alerted, it takes them 3 rounds to smash through the glass to get into this space
80. Laboratory 2 – cultivation
– Large vats and storage containers, designed for the mixing and developing of large amounts of chemical compounds
– if movement is detected, oozes setup out of the vats to consume living matter.
– oozes and roots love as symbiotically; oozes defend the roots, roots excrete a substance that the oozes consume.
81. Lab Storage
– Almost every container has been pierced by roots, most leaked substances have long dried out
– sure is noxious and difficult to breath
– a single spark will cause an ignition and flash fire that fills the room in an instance.
82. Observation Room 3
– N corridor has been completely sealed off and barricaded
-Two-way mirror and most of the connecting wall is smashed through. Something from lab 3 punched a whole in the wall and burrowed through the floor, leaving a deep pit that leads to layer 4
– Roots are strangely thin here despite being close to the epicentre (a clue as to a weakness of the organism)
83. Laboratory 3 – analysis
– A Large growth occupies the E end of the room: a knotted mass of plant matter and synthetic tissue
– The ‘Barbed Grotesque’ fires its needles at any movement in the room, attempting to infect and spread
– roots in the corridor to the E of the mass are twisted and hooked around the growth in TBD, competing for space.
– Corridor is completely blocked – takes an hour to clear.
84. Passing Place
– Wider corridor to allow personnel and trolleys to pass by each other
– Doors are sealed. The sprinkler system malfunctioned and flooded the space
– opening either door causes a flood of putrid water
Only one more week, and we’ll be on to Layer 4! All I need to figure out now is the main boss/threat of this Layer. I know that they are/it is holding the Key Card that will allow the party to travel to the next floor, and that it survives in spite of the growths, but it still remains a mystery to me. Time will tell.
Thank You For Reading
Want to read about my Dungeon23 experience from the start, and see the other bits of lore surrounding it? Look here!
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