Thursday, January 12, 2023

(D23&Me) Room 012 - Upper Trade Guild Northeast Depot (U3)

 Once overseen by the Upper Trade Guild Office (U2), this Northeast Depot was a staging area for goods coming from other parts of the complex, or from without, and being sent to (G15) and beyond.  There is a trapdoor in the Northeast corner which is long since stuck closed.  It would take some time to oil the huge iron hinges and clear the gap around the door of debris to get it functioning again.  There is a chain and pulley system which could also use some refurbishing if it is going to be used again.  While it is fairly dry in this upper level of the complex, the section below this trapdoor leads to an underground river and that moisture has slowly seeped up to render this trapdoor currently unusable and the which system troublesome.

(Cartography by Dyson Logos, modified)

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

(D23&Me) Room 011 - Upper Trade Guild Office (U2)

 This location was once the Upper Trade Guild Office, overseeing the three depots on this level which handled many of the goods being brought into the complex through the Nocturnal Gate (Y1). The opening in the northeast corner leads down to a lower level and was added at a later time by some who came after the Dwarves abandoned the complex.  Goods sometimes came in through the Nocturnal Gate (Y1) and were brought up to this level through the Upper Trade Guild Southeast Depot (U5) and then were lowered to other sections via the Upper Trade Guild Southwest Depot (U4) or the Upper Trade Guild Northwest Depot (U3).

(Cartography by Dyson Logos, modified)

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

(D23&Me) Room 010 - Upper Level (U1)

 Technically not a room but this entry to the Upper Level (U1) straddles three other sections of the complex and acts as a trade and distribution hub for materials coming in.  There are trapdoors and winches located in the Upper Level rooms which overlap lower level areas.  Goods can be brought into the complex winched up into the Upper Level, moved to another room, then winched back down, avoiding some tighter doorways and any number of stairs.

(Cartography by Dyson Logos, modified)

Monday, January 9, 2023

(D23&Me) Room 009 - South Holding Cell (Y9)

 This single room could accommodate multiple detainees with a dozen sets of manacles fashioned into the wall.  Certainly, the less dangerous of their ilk could have simply been held without using the chains.  The iron-barred door is still serviceable and locked.  Unlike the North Holding Cell (Y8), there are remains in the room in the form of several piles of bones under spots where there are wall manacles.  One of the manacles still holds the bones of the hand, wrist, and forearm of some unlucky humanoid detainee.  Some details might be added later.

(Cartography by Dyson Logos, modified)

Sunday, January 8, 2023

(D23&Me) Room 008 - North Holding Cell (Y8)

 This single room could accommodate multiple detainees with a dozen sets of manacles fashioned into the wall.  Certainly, the less dangerous of their ilk could have simply been held without using the chains.  The iron-barred door is still serviceable and locked.  There are no remains in the room.  Some details might be added later.

(Cartography by Dyson Logos, modified)

Saturday, January 7, 2023

(D23&Me) Room 007 - Holding Cells Antechamber (Y7)

 The Dwarves who built this complex were a law and order society and made sure to make space for holding cells in the section.  Not only would they be close to the entryway but the Lt. Green section just to the west / northwest should be a good administration section including a court and serving various other bureaucratic functions, both governmental and for the guilds and businesses that kept this society humming.  This stairwell wasn't publicly accessible and could include a grating or some other protections.  The two Holding Cells (Y8 & Y9) are lower security affairs and not meant for long-term incarceration.

(Cartography by Dyson Logos, modified)

Friday, January 6, 2023

(D23&Me) Room 006 - Barracks (Y6)

 Guards need a place to rest their heads between shifts.  While some might have families and be quartered elsewhere, at least a few of the unattached guards would benefit from this Barracks (Y6).  The amount of time since the complex has been occupied is yet to be determined, so a more detailed description of the various contents here will need to be adjusted but at the least, four stone slabs to serve as the bases for beds and a table with four stools around it would be here.  A footlocker with a padlock at the foot of each bed seems likely.  It's probably a good idea to keep this sparse and with it not being secret, perhaps the locks will have been broken.  This doesn't preclude a secret compartment in one or more of the footlockers.

(Cartography by Dyson Logos, modified)

Thursday, January 5, 2023

(D23&Me) Room 005 - Dwarven Bath (Y5)

 I've often found facilities lacking in otherwise well-made complexes, so let's add a bath for the Dwarves who once dwelled in this section.  Certainly, it could also have been used by travelers or those who had been out in the wilds upon their return.  Those beards aren't going to clean and unsnarl themselves!

(Cartography by Dyson Logos, modified)

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

(D23&Me) Room 004 - Barracks Hallway (Y4)

 This hallway connecting the Welcoming Hall (Y2) with the Bath (Y5) and Barracks (Y6) as well as the Holding Cells (Y7, Y8, & Y9) will have seen a bit more wear and tear to the north than to the southwest.  This will be hard to notice but it is something an experienced tracker or stone mason might pick up.

(Cartography by Dyson Logos, modified)

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

(D23&Me) Room 003 - The Secret Guardroom (Y3)

 As a regular design element for static locations that are likely to be dungeon adventures, I like to have some place near the beginning (or any opening) that allows for some Game Master flexibility.  It's nice to set up such adventures with a way for the GM to account for a range of player character levels, and a secret room near a main entrance creates just the space for such things.  Should it have remained secret?  Why not?  If I say so.  And if so, then I can put whatever I think the PC group might be lacking to keep the adventure interesting, perilous but not impossible.  Are some of the PCs under-armored or under-armed, a guardroom is the perfect place to have some spare chainmail and hammers and axes left around, in keeping with the Dwarven theme.  Perhaps there is a cabinet with some grappling hooks, spikes, or other general supplies, though perishables are out of the question, so no foodstuffs or rations.  

Anything the GM decides might be useful, and perhaps a few red herrings or clues to what lies within, can be proffered early in the adventure by this means.  If this isn't needed, a GM can include a denizen in this room along with some treasure.  The secret door can be randomly found in this case but if the room is used to even the odds a bit for the PCs, the "secret" door can be left noticeably ajar.  We'll leave this room at that for the time being and after we flesh out the area more fully, maybe we can circle back and add more details including some narrative text.

(Cartography by Dyson Logos, modified)

Monday, January 2, 2023

(D23&Me) The Nocturnal Gateway (Y1) and The Welcoming Hall (Y2)

 As I said in my introductory post, for this project, I don't want to get too far ahead of myself and set up thematic restrictions or expectations that box me in creatively over the course of the coming year.  However, we have to start somewhere and Y1 (Yellow / 1st Level, Room One) is in the upper right corner of the map, and represents a way into the entire complex.  There are others, but I like that this feels like a good starting point, an opening to the outside world which leads to a grand hallway that extends fairly deep into the dungeon.  This corridor enters, widens into a chamber, continues as a pillared corridor, descending with several stairways, finally cutting at a forty-five degree angle and stretching even further almost to the center of the entire map!  

This excellent map by Dyson Logos, which I will modify here and there, no doubt, to fit one idea or another that I have along the way, does guide creativity in some aspects.  The entryway, which begins as a narrow passageway (I'm considering the grid to represent five foot by five foot squares) has rubble choking it even further.  For my purposes, I am going to think of this as an entrance which was blocked off for some time and recently rediscovered and somewhat cleared.  The construction, again suggested to me by the map, brings to mind a vast complex built with purpose by an organized body.  It might be a necessary cliché in this case to say that it is of Dwarven construction, and that's okay by me, so let's go with that.  I like what it gives us in terms of architectural features and continuity of construction.  It makes giving a sweeping description fairly straightforward and allows for breaks in the design to stand out and grab the attention of players, perhaps to even elicit excitement when something different from the norm is presented.  

(Cartography by Dyson Logos, modified)

So, we have an idea what sort of tone is set for the entryway and the basic architectural design.  I don't want any encounters in this area nor inside the long hallway.  This will give some sense that it is not frequented, despite being recently rediscovered, and also will suggest that denizens of the complex will tend to avoid the large open space, for reasons that are yet to be determined.  This will leave a sort of avenue in the northeast quadrant of the map that allows for some movement within the place without having too much immediate conflict.  Perhaps some narrative text to flesh it out.

In the mountains high above the mostly civilized realms of man, an ancient trail lead to a prominence, a pronounced ledge where the remnants of two ruined statues are barely discernable among rubble and scree.  Between them, an opening somewhat choked with broken stonework penetrates an edifice, an entryway to underground community, legendary but nearly forgotten.  Here marks what remains of the northeast doorway to Dwarven kingdom abandoned long ago.

Once one squeezes through the rubble, or moves enough of it to tread within unhindered, twenty-five feet of a five-foot wide passage leads to a larger chamber, a Welcoming Hall from days gone by.  The chamber is bell-shaped, the near end being wider and narrowing again into a fifteen-foot wide hallway continuing to the southwest.  A pair of doors stand opposite one another about midway along either side of the room, roughly twenty feet from the entryway.

No doubt I will revisit these description as other aspects of the complex warrant detailing these further.  This, however, gets things started for the first couple of days of DUNGEON23 and Me.  Thanks for following along!

Sunday, January 1, 2023

DUNGEON23 and Me! (D23&Me)

Sean McCoy, the mind behind the Mothership RPG, had an idea toward the end of last year about a year-long project where someone would commit to writing up a dungeon room once per day, thereby having a decent-sized (mega?) dungeon come the end of the year.  While I know there will be days when I cannot commit to any amount of time, I might be able to tackle this in spurts and wind up with the same level of content, on average, so I thought I might give it a go.  Even this post is being penned on Wednesday to be posted as if on January First, so don't expect a lot of these posts to be as timely as someone following the project guidelines more strictly then I will.  Sometimes I will backdate posts to fill in days missed and sometimes I will write multiple posts and schedule them to drop in sequence.  Likely any posts dropping over the days I work or, perhaps, during Gary Con, will have been written in advance and scheduled.  The posts I make for #DUNGEON23 will be posted here on the corner of the CMG Blog Triad, since it is ultimately used as setting material.

All that said, perhaps I can speak to the process I intend to use, though certainly this will not be a limitation and will change and be adjusted as needs be.  For starters, there's a Dyson Logos map which he titled Deep Halls that falls under a commercial license, so it is totally open for me (or anyone, really) to use.  It's a mega-dungeon, of sorts, with many levels, though interwoven in its design so as to all be on one page.  There is a version of the map included which color codes the levels, making the map and use of it for a project like this, much more manageable.  I'll use this as a starting point and see where it leads me.  It surely will have handled much of the heavy lifting, as far as the mapping is concerned, though I may make some changes to it as my own creativity may dictate.

(Cartography by Dyson Logos)

As tempting as it might be to jump around the map and cherry pick some of the bigger or more stylish set piece rooms, I do think it would behoove me to start at what appears to be the main entryway on the yellow level in the upper right of the map.  I don't want to pigeonhole or corner myself by over-planning what sections of the maps will be, thematically, right out of the gate and wind up not having the chance to allow inspiration to take over and guide me.  The map will likely steer some of my creativity just by its design.  I'll repost this map or portions of it from time to time in my posts so that it is easy for those reading along to keep everything sorted.  I'll take some time to number this map at some point, as well.  I know some folks are making a map as they go along but I've always wanted to do something with this particular map, so this works for me.  I may need to add some offshoot maps if I run out of room to fill but there are a lot of them here and some of the cavern areas might be multiple "rooms" as far as that goes, but we'll see.

Lastly, for this opening post, I want to say that making use of many books and generators of all kinds will be a possibility.  I like some randomness in my designs and I'm going to avail myself of all sorts of tools in that vein.  I will try to make mention of where I took inspiration and should I ever put this all together in some form of PDF, I will certainly add all parties into a "Thank You" section and / or in a Section 15 of an OGL as appropriate.  So, that should get things rolling.  We'll see where this goes as the days grind on.  I think it will be fun to do and I hope just as enjoyable to follow along!