Dungeon23 – Week 14

“How would you prevent a super volcano from erupting?”

This was the question I posed on the internet last week. That’s what planning or creating for any TTRPG does to you. Whether you are writing law or drawing maps, you find yourself researching the wildest, most obscure, niche ideas and concepts.

The best part is that, no matter how odd the query, someone on the internet has the answer, or had the same random thought. In this case, NASA had an answer for me too; they are already plotting to stop a volcano themselves.

The Ash Prophecy

So I’m onto Layer 4 of the megadungeon, which means it’s time for a new project. After solving world hunger on Level 1, besting a solar flare on 2, and preventing a plague on 3, a new prophecy emerged.

A super volcano would soon erupt, filling the world’s skies with ash and fire.

The first three were potential catastrophes – life would suffer immensely but limp on. This prophecy was the first, true extinction event to be predicted. Nothing would survive.

The complex already has food processing and bio-chemistry labs built in, and something to stop a giant mountain from exploding was not going to be constructed inside here, so Layer 4 is a little different from those above. It serves two functions:

  1. Testing – Much like wind tunnels are used to test components of planes, several of the rooms on this floor are built to test theories and run scenarios for solutions to the Ash Prophecy. (I plan to have a big, model volcano in one room.) There will be some production taking place here, but the main function of these rooms is to find something that works, and then hand over to the machines in the level above.
  2. Refuge – This is the first Prophecy where doubt crept in. This calamity felt so much bigger than the rest. The famine and plague required keen minds to solve, but the path was clear – make food fast and create a vaccine. For the solar flare, it was technology at risk for than people were. This time, the act of stopping tectonic plates, trying to prevent the world from spewing ash and lava, was a much more monumental task. So, this floor also prepared for the worst case. Large, habitable bunkers are built into this layer. Room for a few hundred of the world’s best-and-brightest people to live until the surface becomes a safe environment again.

No dangerous machinery, no volatile chemicals. Just lots of models, drawing boards, computers, beds and bathrooms for people to either solve the issue or outlive it.

If it hadn’t been for the creature burrowing in from the floor above, there might still be lots of happy families living down here. Instead, this level has another difference to the other floors: this is the first time there aren’t any friendly life forms.

Week 14 – 98 Rooms Complete

Layer 4 looks like this after day 98:

92. Parking Bay 2
– a subterranean tunnel was added to allow direct transportation access to this layer. The time is completely collapsed
– bodies and vehicles are crushed under the debris
– two bodies are not buried; fatal slash marks; one has a band on their wrist that will open TBD

93. Arrival Processing
– Once a reception area door residents and deliveries arriving into the bunker
– dried blood pools and smears; no other signs of life

94. Parking Bay 1
– Collapsed tunnel, vehicles pulverised
– Body near the door, killed by weapons fire, strange growths across the body as if changing.
– creatures have burrowed in through the earth outside to nest here. 2d4 Bromerai (large, prairie-dog-like creatures) defend themselves viciously if attacked or startled

95. Welcome New Residents
– intended to soften the blow for refugees coming to live on this layer.
– Statues depict the deities of nature and civilisation (pantheon TBD)
– blood trail from 3 continues through the rooms and through the W doors, which are broken
– as the party crosses the room, a Host Guard scrambles over the N statue and attacks

96. Main Storage
– freight containers fixed to the floor walls and ceiling
– damage to containers and surfaces, weapons fire and explosions, great grooves caused by large talons or claws
– security droids hiding in broken crates, crawl out and attack, now tearing every creature in the room as hostile

97. Records Room
– Extensive damage from weapon fire
– Computers are still operational, record the nature of the project on this layer, numbers and nature of residents
– Last log entries tell off a creature descending on the residents, killing or infecting the civilians before being sealed in ‘Bunker 1’

98. Stock Room
– freight containers were unloaded and arranged onto three-story shelving units in this room
– Three Host Technicians hiding in the shelving leap down onto intruders and attempt to subdue them and drag them off to the Host Zero to be infected

In Summary

At the time of writing this, I’m onto room 102 (103 by the end of the day). Over 100 days and 100 rooms complete. I could stop now and be extremely content with what I’ve made. I’m confident I can keep going.

My one concern is how unique the floors will be as a I get further down. On the one hand, this daily creation means you’ve got lots of time to prepare for each room, but it would also be so easy to forget what has come before and start repeating yourself or missing out on crucial variety in each room.

Thank You For Reading

Want to see how my Dungeon23 journey began? Look here!

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Author: Rufus Scott

I am a long term Gamer, a full-time History Teacher and a part-time geek. I enjoy writing about the positive aspects of gaming, especially when it comes to education. My posts are sometimes nostalgic, occasionally irrelevant, largely meant to provoke further discussion. I'll sometimes punctuate these whimsical ramblings with a random comment on gaming and/or teaching.

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