The first month is in the books. How did it go? I think I'm in a good place. I did a little bit of work every day and managed to complete 28 rooms, 6 creatures, 8 NPCs (not all with stat blocks yet) and the faction they belong to, 1 item (+ 1 outlined but not statted yet), and 5 events designed to get the exploration and interaction with the dominant faction of the first level started (more on events below). I also created some lore for the civilisation that built the keep and tunnels below it (read more about it here). Even though I didn't end up with a full 31 rooms for the month, this seems like good progress.
Other noteworthy developments include my decision to stat the dungeon for Pathfinder 2. And I decided to rename the Keep formerly known as Faldorn Keep to Grimwald Keep. Because of this guy. Yeah, I didn't realise. It happened. Moving on.
So what's next? February will take me underground for the first time. I already have an event that starts in the Keep proper and points towards the tunnels of the next level to help kickstart exploration. So I already have some idea of what the first few rooms will hold. Unlike in January, I don't have the basic layout ready. I'll have to do a bit more of that legwork this time around.
To round out the month, here is a little treat (well, you'll be the judge). I realise the Obsidian "Canvas Map" I'm using to keep track of the spatial relationship between rooms is pretty abstract and spartan, to say the least. I wanted to get a better visual impression of the space and also have something a bit more inspiring to show for my efforts. So here it is:
I created a rough 3D model (with even rougher textures) to show the main features of the keep. It even suggested an additional room to me.
Since this update is pretty short, I'd like to use the opportunity to talk a bit more about these Events I've been working on. I'm calling them Events even though you might not unreasonably think they sound suspiciously like quests. And some of them absolutely are. For example, there is the Ratfolk cook who complains about noises coming from the basement and would like someone to check it out. Typical starting quest stuff. The point of this is that it provides some notes on how to point players in the general direction of the content if they are in need of pointing. There are other events intended as suggestions as to how the situation at the keep might change over time. Naturally, all of this is optional. If the players dive in head first and stir up more trouble than they can handle (as all good players should), these events are easily ignored.
So part of the reason I'm not calling the Events Quests is that not all of them are what I would call Quests in the strict sense, but changes in circumstances that the players need to adapt to. I'll admit, though, that another reason is that I wanted to avoid the impression that there might be a linear quest chain to follow through the dungeon. Because there isn't, and there won't be. Because that, in my mind, is very much counter to the idea of a mega-dungeon. This is supposed to be a living and breathing environment for the players to explore and interact with, not a railroad to follow to the boss fight at the end (although there will, no doubt, be a BBEG lurking in the depths).