#Dungeon23 week 3 — The Desolate Cathedral

Standard request to anyone who plays in my games, or who might play in my games — please don’t read this. It might ruin the thrill of discovery. And that’s a high-grade thrill, hard to get in the open market.

Third week – another featured location within the Pain Maze. I like this one a bit more than the Winter Palace – it feel more concrete and interesting. Might be because it’s smaller, and thus the locations within it tend to be of more manageable size.

#Dungeon23 week 2 — The Winter Palace

I’ve done a second week of #Dungeon23.

Request to anyone who plays in my games, or who might play in my games — please don’t read this. It might ruin the surprise. You know you love the surprise.

This week I’ve found the stuff I’ve made rather boring. As you can probably see from the above, I’m working at a level between “district of a city” and “topographical map of individual rooms”. It feels like I’m making areas that are simultaneously too small (to sketch a palace using only 7 of them) and too large (to have interesting details).

I do wonder if staying at an abstract pointcrawl would have been better here — it would have encouraged me to think more about “what’s interesting in the palace” rather than “what’s interesting in this broad area that connects here“. Working with interesting points rather than major areas might have been more fruitful.

In any case, I don’t think that matters much — I’m not doing this to make stuff that’s good right now. I’m doing this to (a) have sketches to work from should I suddenly be improv-ing a group in thru of these areas and (b) get over the blank-page barrier and give me something to fix if and when I come back to these areas for serious design work.

And the act of doing this, repeatedly, is probably a good way to learn what works at this level of abstraction. So that’s also useful.

#Dungeon23 week 1

I’ve done a week of #Dungeon23.

Request to anyone who plays in my games, or who might play in my games — please don’t read this. It might ruin the surprise.

The context is Lunacantium — my current open-table game. This month we’re in the southwest district of the city, where the Queen had her Winter Palace and now lies in agony. Tragic figure, the Queen, tried to do sensible things, tried to stop the fuckstupidity, tried to broker peace, and for her trouble was poisoned by her husband and his co-conspirator the Archbishop. A further complication is that, having taken Communion with the Gracetakers, and with that being a bit more necromantic than they realised [1], the poison couldn’t keep her dead. She gets all of the pain, all of the time, forever.

She was beloved to many in life, and so still is in death. Her followers, themselves Meagre Dead from Gracetaker practices, have built a maze around her of barricades and walls and traps. They will let no-one get close to their Queen.

Will I do more weeks? Watch this space. If I do, I expect months to look like:

  • Week 1 — sketch a district in terms of seven key features
  • Weeks 2–4 — flesh out the three most interesting features, giving them seven keyed locations each
  • Any leftover days — sketch a few random encounters

Since I’ve already developed two districts for use in play (at the time of writing, I’ve run six sessions), the twelve months of 2023 should give me a rough picture of the whole city.

[1] I mean, pretty much entirely necromanctic and wholly divorced from the mechanisms used by established church[2].

[2] Notwithstanding that what those mechanisms are is itself quite unclear.