‘Magic’ and ‘mad scientist’ have something in common. They are both great ways of handwaving away logic from your storytelling. How did the villain build their evil lair on a cloud? Because they used magic/they are a mad scientist! Why do they want to turn everyone into bunny rabbits They were corrupted by the magic/the scientist is mad, don’t ya know!
My issue (it’s not really a problem, but you know what I mean) is that the Megadungeon I’ve established has been more Science than Magic, and the ‘dungeon’/institute is based on very sane and sensible scientists.
So if I want to put a big monster into Layer 4 of the dungeon, that’s based on future science gone wrong, I have to put some careful thought into how they came to be
I knew what I wanted for the beastie roaming Level 4 of the dungeon: Something clawed its way in through the floor above and laid waste to the people living on this floor. This was part-designed as a bunker, so there were a lot of civilians in the monsters way. I also wanted a creature that infected, that zombified or transformed its victims. That way, the level is full of its victims.
The floor above was a laboratory, but there were not mad or villainous scientists above. They were all in search of a cure to a plague. They were definitely not trying to make a dangerous, infectious monster, Umbrella-from-Resident-Evil style, so there’s a jump in logic here that I need to address. It doesn’t have to be a perfect explanation, but something to make the monster make sense in this setting.
So the first thing was to decide what kind of creature was sitting in that lab. They weren’t making a monster, but they may have been using an animal as inspiration for a cure, or drawing something useful from it.
In the end, I landed on worms. Real life worms are connected to a lot of illnesses themselves, are very good at becoming resistant to treatments to get rid of them, and their ability to regenerate parts of their body would definitely interest a team trying to fight off a pestilence.
So our monster is a oversized worm, that the scientists were tinkering with for the good on their race. Maybe in the chaos that ruined this institution, a couple of other experiments sloshed together to give the worm a little boost.
And if you’ve ever seen a worm up close, it’s prefect for the horror Level 4 is trying to invoke. I’m not going to put a picture here, you can look that nightmare up for yourself.
As for the infectious/zombifying aspect, it’s so easy to say that the worm is a parasitic species. So we’ll do that. A large, parasitic worm whose young infect creatures to turn them into drones. Lovely.
The name of this monster is Host Zero, and it’s been in charge of this layer since the fall of the institute. With its food source dwindling, many of it’s spawn have gone dormant, conserving energy. Some delve into the levels below, pretending to be allies, snatching the lone wanderer or two.
Week 15, 105 Rooms Completed
By room 105 (Room 15 on Layer 4), the Megadungeon looks like this:
99. Research Office
– Relatively unscathed compared to other rooms.
– Furniture stacked against doors (to keep the Hosts outside) and door welded shut from the outside (those infected outside trying to keep the survivors safe inside)
– several decayed bodies; messages requesting aid on the still-operational computers
– computers also give clues about the project carried out on this level
100. Break Room
– kitchen cupboards and ovens torn open and emptied.
– A Host Canine, formally the project mascot, hides from intruders in the shadows. It won’t attack, pretending to be docile. The creature follows or travels with the group until another Host is engaged, at which point it transforms and attacks
– cubicles turn out, huge blood pool – people tried to hide in here and were massacred
– searching the viscera reveals a keycard that grants access to all rooms on this floor
102. Volcano Room
– A large model of a super volcano dominates the centre of the room, surrounded by apparatus on the floor and ceiling, used to replicate the attempts to prevent the eruption
– 4 Host Technicians hide in the volcano’s cavity, spilling out to attack if Host Zero summons them
103. Conference 1
– Loss signs of weapons fire, more grotesque scenes and dried blood pools
– The conference camera is still operational. If the party passes through here, Host Zero sees the footage and sends minions to subdue them
104. Conference Room 2
– relatively unscathed
– The doors are still operation, could provide refuge if the party wished to rest
– conference camera in this room is broken
105. Lecture Hall
– large explosion has peppered the room with shrapnel and demolished the large screens on the N wall.
– pipes in the wall were also punctured. Any one who lingers here too long will risks becoming poisoned
We made it to 100. One hundred rooms. That’s not bad going. I hope everyone else that’s still playing along with Dungeon23 is having as much fun with it. And if your not, and you’re just reading for the fun of it, (or for inspiration?) then I hope you continue this dungeon as we head towards room 200.
Thank You For Reading
Want to see how my Dungeon23 journey began? Look here!
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