The Dungeon Project, Part 5 (Main Landmarks)

This week, we’re combing through the previous factions created to dig out the landmarks and potential spaces that need development.

After creating eight factions for players to join, there should be some established areas that the players can adventure to. Let’s list these out, and see what kind of picture gets established.

Marble Fortress The Whitegloves want to retake this from the Ghouls
Blood Lake The Bloodseekers want to find this and perform a baptism here.
Nearby Archaic Cult The Wagtongues want to defeat them and take over their resources.
Archaic Codex The Unseen are seeking the 3 lost pieces of this.
Holy Relic in Necrophage territory. The Speakers of the Night want to recover this.
The Lost Ones The Constellations want to find them and bring them back.
Igneous Tablet The Cryptics want to recover this from an Archaic Cult
Necrophage Mutation Properties The Fleshwringers want to study and harness this.
The Lost Vault The Ghouls, Necrophage, and Archaics all want to discover this for their own purposes.

Each of these seem like a quest on their own, but there is some possibility to combine them—it’s tempting to make all of the archaic involved missions to be for the same cult, but I think that this is the wrong move. The cults themselves are diverse enough and contain enough infighting that clever players can pit them against each other. Making each thing on their own seems like the better move.

Right now, as it stands, we can essentially make the points on these table the landmarks that anchor the world down here. If we go pointcrawl (which I am beginning to lean towards) these points can be the furthest out from the settlement—the hardest to get to and secure.

Some of them, like the Necrophage mutation properties, the lost ones, and the codex are a bit more nebulous, and probably don’t need points on their own—those adventures are more along the lines of trying to collect a mcguffin than necessarily siege a location. We’ll see.

Let’s go through these a bit, and try to flesh them out in space. To do so, I’m going to muse about them in a stream of consciousness that I probably wouldn’t write down, but this series of posts is designed to show the entire process.

The Marble Fortress

I imagine the fortress as a single slab of marble, in (surprise) fortress form. Almost as if an entire fortress was turned into a sculpture, instead of just the various occupants. I think an interesting and fun thing here is that it can be populated with (un)living creatures, but also include a mass of marble sculptures that are part of it—soldiers getting ready, officers in a meeting, folk practicing in the yard. All of them frozen, forever. This also means that as you explore this place, you’ll see silhouettes of people everywhere in the dark, making it hard to identify who is actually here and who is merely a sculpture.

Some kind of threat—to the ghouls and the players would be neat. Something that is marble itself maybe, and can blend in amongst the other sculptures easily enough. A monster that is basically some kind of marble-doppleganger, so that everyone is always on their toes. Is that just a sculpture, or is that the thing?

Blood Lake

So, the Bloodseekers are currently looking for the lake. This, along with their name, implies to me that they’d found the lake in the past, formed their order, and have now lost that information. Finding the lake then becomes a quest and whatever that entails.

I imagine this is less of a lake and more of a large pool, of, yeah—blood. If the floor is solid marble, part of a sculpture, that would make it waterproof and able to hold liquid. Another option could be that the blood lake is actually the baths of a marble structure, not unlike the fortress above. That might be too similar, however.

It also stands the reason that the Blood Lake is pretty important for some kind of ritual, or magical power. And what fills it? The grimdark route would be some kind of sacrifices being made, on regular intervals, by some kind of force. Maybe water turns to blood here, when poured, and that’s how it’s refilled. I guess we should think a bit about rain too—does it rain down here? I’m imaging this entire space possibly near a lake or an ocean, so I think huge waterfalls from cracks in the stone above could provide that water.

If there’s some kind of ritual happening here, I think an Archaic cult occupying the place seems like a good thing to throw in. Especially if the players can negotiate with them, find some kind of compromise, and let the Bloodseekers perform their baptism.

Nearby Archaic Cult

So, this is a cult that’s actually quite close to the settlement, that the Wagtongues want to take over for the resources. So, what’s the resource then? Well, the Wagtongues are characterized by their addiction to some sort of alchemical substance. Maybe their own stores are running low, and where this cult is situated is another vein of it?

I like the idea that the settlement has semi-friendly ties overall to the cult, probably some kind of trade deals worked out—and the cult is probably gaining recruits from the settlement at the same time. The Wagtongues going in and screwing all that up seems like it’d be hush-hush, or at least they’d like to keep it that way.

I’m imaging three huge sculptures—giants—that the cult have taken up residence around and in. One of the giants can be screaming at the other two, some kind of interesting pose with possibly a finger pointing out in accusation at the other two. The cult is here now, but the shouting giant—with his open mouth, has the narcotic growing on his tongue. The Wagtongues used to get it from here, scaling up the sculpture, but then the cult showed up, and now they’re running low.

I should probably think about what that substance does…


That’s all I’ve gotten to this week, but this is a slow process! It involves a lot of daydreaming and idle thoughts about these places, and then returning here and writing them down. I’d love to say that I can just hammer out ~7-8 unique locations without much work, but that’s simply not true. I’m a firm believer that a little bit each day is better than sprints, because there’s always burnout to watch out for. Jotting down a single thing each day will always give me better results than sitting down and forcing out 3 hours of work.

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