Dungeon23 – Week 20

20 weeks! The time is flowing by, and somehow I’m keeping up with the Dungeon23 expectation. Some rooms are drawn very late in the evening, but so far I’ve managed to keep up the momentum.

This layer continues to be a develop into a work space for an international counter-terrorism group. This week we’re building the crucial living and workspaces for the ‘Magnus Ultores’, many of which are still around with nothing better to do than give the adventurers a hard time.

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Dungeon23 – Week 19

Sometimes it is okay for a room to be empty. I keep having to remind myself of this fact. In any good dungeon crawl, an empty room is highly likely. That empty space might add some flavour to the complex, offer a safe space or contain a hidden treasure… but it really doesn’t need to. In any structure, there’s a room that doesn’t get used that often.

When I first started on the MegaDungeon, I was fully aware that on busy days I could simply write “empty room” and move on. I’ve been finding this hard to do, however. I feel a compulsion to include at least something in every space.

This week’s rooms (and this layer) are significantly less populated than those previously mentioned. There’s still a little something in every space, but in this case the lack of presence here tells a grim story.

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Dungeon23 – Week 18

Politics at my gaming table isn’t expressly forbidden, but it is discouraged. If someone starts talking about real world issues during our dice-rolling escapism, they will be politely, lovingly (and somewhat jokingly) booed.

Fantasy politics on the other hand, now that’s a different thing. Learning the underhanded espionage and deep-rooted corruption of a pretend place is deeply interesting, and comes with no burdens. So long as the lore is not based on the real world with all the names changed…

With that in mind, Layer 5 of my megadungeon concerns pretend global terrorism.

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Dungeon23 – Week 17

This week, as I approach the fifth month and fifth level of my Megadungeon, I’ve been thinking about death.

Specifically, whether or not anyone is still alive in this dungeon from when it was a properly functioning, high-tech facility. I already decided there would be friendlier NPCs mixed in with the monsters, to offer aid and drop nuggets of lore as the adventurers explore.

Now though, I’ve come to the decision that as the heroes delve deeper, they will see and hear from those responsible for this place. Old and wrinkly at first, in the first/older levels, but increasingly more spritely the more we descend.

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Dungeon23 – Week 16

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?

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Dungeon23 – Week 15

‘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

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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.

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Dungeon23 – Week 13

91 Rooms. 3 Layers.

The time is flying by, and I’ve managed to keep up the momentum. I’ve had a few last-minute, near-misses, but so far the rooms have all be done on the right day.

This week, I only had one decision to make. I knew what I wanted for the last few rooms, but I still needed a boss for this level. I wanted something hiding behind the deadly growths in the laboratory, that had to be beaten in order to progress.

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Dungeon23 – Week 12

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.

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Dungeon23 – Week 11

If it wasn’t for the ever-present danger, the rooms I’ve been making this week would be rather cosy.

In direct defiance of the idea that every room in an adventure should be a threat, I’ve gone completely the other way and made the first half of layer 3 entirely habitable. Sure, if the adventurers again the residence it could quickly become a bloodbath, but if they play their cards right, the heroes will have a rather nice spot to rest.

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