It can be quite morbid, sometimes, creating a dungeon. This week I decided hundreds of refugees and dozens of engineers were either eaten by a giant worm or taken over by its parasitic offspring. Now, the halls of this institute are abandoned, and the half-starved, worm-infested drones lie in wait for new food and hosts to come stumbling through their lair…
…so how was your week?
Last week I introduced ‘Host Zero’, the monster that dominates the 4th layer of my megadungeon. The large, alien worm, accidentally augmented, punched down into this layer and caused chaos amongst the denizens. It’s spawn act like a parasite, piloting infected creatures as worker or soldier drones, until they are old enough and strong enough to leave the host (or the host cannot support their mass anymore).
So whilst there is only one monster in the layer, it takes on many forms:
(warning – references to gore, body horror and big, alien worms)
- Grimworm Spawn: each new baby is the size of an apple. They are born in a protective, adhesive membrane, which the adult can press onto any surface or incapacitated creature. The Spawn can remain and live off of the contents of the membrane for months, only springing out of its stasis when it detects life nearby.
The Spawn responds to basic instructions from the Adult Grimworm through a series of pheromone releases. The Spawn will risk its own life and its host to protect the adult.
- Grimworm Infant: after six months, the Grimworm has grown to about two foot in length. Outgrowing most hosts at this point, the Grimworm removes itself violently. It will live off the remains of the hosts even after rot has set in.
The Infant will remain near the Adult, responding to its pheromones, but when in danger the infant will tend to hide and defend itself. The Infant can survive without food for extended periods of time, and is able to hibernate for years without sustenance.
- Grimworm Adolescent: roughly eight feet in length, the adolescent is fully capable of hunting, burrowing through rock, and creating its own spawn (though doing this can cause hostility from the nearby adult). The adolescent no longer responds to pheromone instructions, and will actively seek out its own territory. If unable to, or the environment doesn’t allow it, the Adolescents will stay close to one another, in defence against the Adult.
- Grimworm Adult: roughly fifteen feet in length, with an armoured hide and a bite capable of carving through metal, the Adult is an extreme risk to any living creature nearby, even Adolescent Grimworm. The Adult will keep one Adolescent close by as its ‘consort’, using them to breed new spawn. They have a tendency to overbreed for the environment they are in; there are rarely enough hosts for the spawn created, and most of the spawn are forced to hibernate from birth.
‘Host Zero’ is therefore a Grimworm Adult with some extra strength and awareness. Host creatures wander the halls or lie inert on the floor. Infant Grimworm lurk in shadows, waiting for something with a pulse to reawaken. The few Grimworm Adolescents that Host Zero hasn’t killed lurk in the bunkers to the south, surrounding by the decimated remains of the refugees that were devoured decades earlier.
In other words, this ‘dungeon’ is a nest of body horror and fleshy monsters, waiting to wake up to fresh meat.
Week 16 – 112 Rooms Complete
The next seven rooms in Layer 4 look like this:
106. Server Room
– Lights are broken in here, as are most of the servers
– giant, dried pool of blood coats most of the floor
– Host Zero spawn nest above the central block of servers. Attack only if provoked or commanded by Host Zero.
107. Design Office
– Once a space for engineers and scientists to plan, sketch and discuss practical solutions to the Ash Prophecy.
– 3 Host Scientists and 1 Mutated Host lay dormant in the cubicles. They only wake and attack if commanded by Host Zero or if the spawn in 16 are attacked.
108. Broken shower room
– most of the ceiling has collapsed, demolishing most of the toilet and shower cubicles
– thin layer of water covers the floor
– Space to store deliver vehicles
– Upturned freight vehicle
– two soldiers took refuge in the trailer beat the S wall; their weapons and armour can be salvaged from their bodies
110. The Drawing Board
– study/workstation for the engineers and geologists
– paper and trackers strewn about with half finished ideas
– two bodies lie in here. Both were Hosts, but the spawn have grown too large. The Infant Grimworms burst out of the bodies are disturbed
– blast has damaged the ceiling, intense electrical buzzing, risk of shock in proximity
– The Hosts stay away because of this, avoiding the room if possible
– two infant grimworm lurk here
– lack of food and contact with the other Hosts has caused them to hibernate
– they awake and attack anything within 5 feet
Whilst I’ve not missed a day so far, there is one aspect of this project I gave up on. I was originally challenging myself to apply a random word for the list supplied by the original Dungeon23 author.
I stopped partly because it was a bit of a chore that didn’t add much more to the ideas I was having. I stopped mainly because I would lose track of where each week started and ended. When working on this loop, on repeat, remembering where I was supposed to start the next phase was lost on me, so I gave up on the idea.
It hasn’t really changed what I’m doing, at is also means that two rooms in the same week can end up being very different from one another, improving the variety.
Thank You For Reading
Want to see how my Dungeon23 journey began? Look here!
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