The Dungeon Project, Part 6 (Main Landmarks, continued)

This week, we’re continuing to brainstorm spaces in which players might adventure.

Let’s start off by reposting the table from last week.

SPACE / THING DESIRE
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.

Not much to talk about this week, since it’s just more and the same. I recommend checking out last week’s post (link at the bottom of this post) if you haven’t already, where I muse about the Marble Fortress, Blood Lake, and Nearby Archaic Cult.

All that said, let’s dive back in.

Archaic Codex

A note on making the 3 Archaic Codex McGuffins easy to find: when I do the clues for finding the location of these Codex pieces, it’s going to be easy to find them. Like, very easy. Easier than you’re thinking even now, having read that. I feel that putting any sort of difficulty here, in a project as large as this, is overkill. The players are already going to be navigating a huge space with lots of quests in it. If finding the Codex pieces is even slightly hard, I just don’t see it happening. Finding three of them is even worse if there’s any sort of speed bump or hiccup along the way. I physically shiver at the thought of a group arguing for half an hour about where to look for the Codex piece even after recovering four clues. No. That’s not fun to me, so that’s not going in.

Skipping this one—it’s three McGuffins that can be nested in other locations. However, this is probably worth mentioning—I’ll be leaning heavily on node based design from Justin Alexander pretty heavily when I actually begin designing these. That link takes you to every post of his tagged with nodes, which is just… solid reading. Basically, the Codex pieces will have plenty of hints as to their location, so they’ll be pretty easy to find by players.

Holy Relic in Necrophage Territory

I think this one can be a neat McGuffin hunt, and is a good way to start thinking about Necrophage territory. I am picturing necrophages as a sort of ‘smashing of biomass’ aberrations and abominations that only desire to consume more (dead) flesh. The larger ones still have intelligence though, in a twisted way, and can probably be communicated with.

When I picture this in my head, I imagine the biomass sort of slowly seeping across the marble sculptures. The smallest of it isn’t really intelligent, just part of the same organism, but perhaps acts as some kind of alarm? It certainly isn’t everywhere, and it’s pretty easy to spot, but it marks the territory.

To be interesting, I think the relic needs to be somewhere dangerous. Maybe in a place where the Necrophage can’t enter, but wants to. Maybe it wants the relic itself—it’s some kind of creation made from bone and flesh, but preserved? If there’s some kind of magical circle keeping the necrophage out, but also any interlopers, that could be interesting. Maybe just a large section of the sea of statues covered with Necrophage, and then an oasis in the center. Or wait—perhaps living flesh can get in, but can’t get out. So inside the oasis there would be plenty of bones and bodies, from the other denizens of this place trying to get the relic, and ending up stuck, and starving to death. If the players didn’t have that information, they’d probably think there’s some kind of nefarious trap, when instead it’s more like a fly trap. You go in, and then you can’t go out.

Conclusion

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. (Yes, this is the same conclusion as last week. It still stands!)

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