Monday, September 20, 2021

Offbeat Megadungeon: make-a-dungeon - but no, really

Step the First: Decide to really make something instead of constantly brainstorming on yet another amorphous project I get distracted away from and build up anxiety about not finishing

- me, a year ago 


let's try again. this will be "maybe I'll just make a dungeon" except i just follow two-week megadungeon more closely and let it work its magic


  • keep it loose,  light hearted, and uncomplicated, no big ideas (or at least, no exhaustively thinking through the implications and interconnections of them)
  • create it in an MVP fashion - something interesting and "complete" at each step
  • hopefully, make it Good, Actually in terms of gameability,  toyetic interactivity
  • and if i want, refine it into a nice, usable package, ala OSE adventures


  • a certain kind of gonzo/funhouse/mythic underworld that i can stand, because i'm making it
  • a sense that anything is possible fostered by everything being a little off-kilter
  • stuff that might be silly in isolation, but somehow works when played matter-of-factly in context or just obfuscated enough to wonder if its intentional or not
  • more social than i usually end up making


  • art of the Sams, Mameli and Bosma 
  • saturday morning cartoon - primary colors, but like, bad shit can happen
  • adventure time, he-man, korgoth of barbaria
  • spirited away
  • hole in the oak/incandescent grottoes
  • Black Maw
  • morthimion
  • operation unfathomable
  • dungeon full of monsters

themes/setpieces/room ideas

  • cantina - unspoken truce in no-man's land - if the party ruins wha thtey have going there, theyll  never be forgiven
  • well of wine
  • jobs, maybe unions
  • thin veneers of decorum
  • giant skull
  • card game/tarot
  • this room is just another dungeon - maybe one the players have done before
  • coffee - maybe a coffee shop on every level - this might be too much conceptual overlap with the cantina, but maybe there's something here
  • if he doesn't use it in sunken tower, skull_b0i's idea for a minotaur trying to make the level into a maze, by hand, with mixed results
  • subarea: stonehell x office building
  • what if ghosts but ___?
  • the heads of mascot costumes
  • brightness setting
  • dungeon map as crossword (im sure that hasnt been done before, but w/e)
  • get the band back together (to play at cantina? members all different factions)
  • zelda style trading quest
  • cheap crystals - colored with stains - gemseller with utter crap, like a new age shop
  • if these walls could talk - some rooms with magic mouths  and their own perosnalities
  • someone with dragon eggs but they're avocados
  • maybe some slight anachronistic intrusions
    • laser pistol
    • shopping cart
    • HS notebook


  • Two Dragons 
    • one with dinozoid mutations
    • one a white lionine
      • snowy mane
      • ice fangs and claws, causing anything poked to freeze instantly, and likely be shattered soon after
      • might change this
  • dungeon pedant
    •  powerful, annoying, disliked by all factions but they have to tolerate them because they're unkillable, maybe untouchable
    •  a lich or ghost or something
    • basically skeletor x the boss from office space
  • a "normal human" 
    • given power beyond their ken
    • but its just a social contract
    • throws their weight around and make bad decisions
  • a sentient sword
    • who seems nice and good
    • but something's off
    • wielder is kinda meek but, y'know, a nice person
  • cats
    • just cats
    • but everyone seems to tolerate their bad behavior due to superstition (I mean,  they've  seena nd heard of bad things happening to those who don't)
    • in reality, their power is wielded via toxoplasmosis
  • maybe: a vampire or werewolf, to force myself to find something interesting in them in an rpg context
    • a vampire who is only a vampire when you aren't looking
    • nevermind, it's all dumb


  • the workers
  • swordfriends
    • each wield a sentient sword and treat them as equals, BFFs
    • would never part with them
    • aside from the leader, they're all just +1 though, and their other bonuses are all weirdly specific
    • various races and some monster types, all united in their swordfriendliness
  • cats & toxoplasmoids
    • but this is liek a secret cross-faction sleeper cell
    • but if you piss off a cat, or look at them the wrong way, they;ll get you
    • when it would become relevant, roll for a chance that basically anyone is a toxoplasmoid 
      • or, when rolling reaction, if either die comes up 1, they're a toxoplasmoid, and likely attack if you've pissed off a cat
    • weirdly tolerant of the piss smell that pervades lots of the dungeon
  • wormfarmers
    • what it says on the tin
    • overlooked by other factions- no one wants the dankest nooks and crannies anyway
    • seemingly weak, but who knows
  • orclops
    • just orc-like with one big eye
    • prefer to eat jelly but the jelly merchant has stopped making its way to their level, whats up with that
  • dinotaurs?
    • various dinosaurs with human torsos in place of heads
    • high HD, deeper levels
    • complicated relationship with dinozoid tyrant
  • holy shit - doozers
    • rock gnomes i guess, but even tinier
    • constructing cities and towns into dungeon walls
    • multiple colonies throughout the dungeon
    • need potion of diminution to parley
    • or, turn to stone when seen, so they just look like someone has been making an elaborate dungeon miniature set
  • art school
    • minus the school part
    • avant garde installations 
    • performance art as wandering encounter
  • coffee cartel
    • controls distribution of beans to the coffee shop on each level
    • coffee aids spellcasting and INT increase
  • the throng
    • dozens, hundreds of normal folks that just show up and crowd into a room for a turn, and then move on
    • some kind of hive mind but individuals are like randos standing in a line who don't want to be bothered, kind of quiet and awkward, sometimes whispering amongst them
    • bystander effect
    • who are these people?
    • maybe more of a wandering monster than a faction, but perhaps there is some way to communicate with them


generated by rolling two OSE dungeon monsters and merging concepts:
  • little koboldlike guys that 
    • when you kill one, they split into two, that are each half-there, and so on
  • High Level Troll Adventurer
    • they're basically the best. but kind of a loner. 
    • amenable to share tips or tales if bought a drink, but yeah maybe dont fuck with them. 
    • won't hesitate to throw you under the bus.
  • Adonite, Pride of Pygmalion
    • incredibly attractive sculpted stone person
    • if gazes meet for a moment, save vs spells or the gazee literally turns to inert jelly
    •  after a turn, if not disturbed too much, they safely reform
    • afterward, if they are reminded of the encounter, they must save again or experience the same effect from the mere memory
  • crystal trader
    • made of crystal (or maybe just clad in them)

mapping procedure

  • donjon - rooms on the larger side
  • multiple individual donjon map outputs per level, assembled  - loosely (but heavily) connected clusters of rooms
  • import each assembled level into mipui
  • tweak and edit in mipui -
    • refine a bit but leave some dumb stuff in
    • combine some rooms into huge chambers
    •  loose transformations and mutations beyond donjon's restrictions
  • line up and add lots of vertical connections
    • almost-all-level elevator or two, but it might be in use when th eparty wants it
    • wine well
    • classic staircases
    • traps
    • multi-level rooms

some other procedural stuff

  • each faction has opinions on all tyrants, and some other factions
  • wandering monsters should be mostly from factions, and even if not, should not mean instant battle but present some interesting social situation

ok its time to stop because it's 5 and i should have been doing real work  🙃

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