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  • Writer's picturePeter Humburg

Grimwald Keep: Week 1

Updated: Jan 23, 2023

It is the end of the first week of Dungeon 23. Time for a quick update to take a look at what I have achieved so far. The headline numbers look good: 7 rooms, 2 NPC descriptions, 1 creature, 1 item, 1 event, and 600 words of background on the builders of the dungeon. That seems to be on track.

The area I'm tackling for January is a ruined keep that serves as an entrance to the dungeon and may turn into a base for the players once they have gained control over it. The rooms completed so far form the gatehouse, which is where the players are most likely to make first contact with the current occupants, a group of adventurers who would rather have the players do all the hard and dangerous work. They are not particularly nice people but potentially useful allies early on. There are some internal tensions in the group that the players may be able to exploit, and an external threat that motivates everyone to work together for now.

Screenshot of a diagram showing 27 rectangles, 7 coloured green, 1 yellow, the raining ones are grey. The green rectangles cluster near the bottom of the diagram and are flanked by a column of grey rectangles on either side. a larger rectangle is located in the centre.
The map at the end of week 1. Each box corresponds to a room with arrows showing connections between them. Green rooms are complete, yellow in progress, and grey planned.

What the numbers don't show is that I have learned a lot about the original builders in the process. They started out as fairly generic dwarves but have departed from that template a fair bit since. Their new design is inspired by termites as least as much as it is inspired by Tolkien. They literally eat their way through the ground to produce the building materials for their city and its defences. Metal and precious stones are extracted as a side-effect of that process. My hope is that I will be able to convey aspects of their culture and history through the design of the rooms.

I've also decided to add Event entries to some areas. These are essentially short quests that may be triggered at some point during the dungeon exploration to help keep things dynamic in ways that aren't necessarily a direct response to player actions. Mostly, this is a convenient way for me to jot down these ideas and still call it progress instead of having them clog up my brain while I'm trying to write other things.

What's up next? The plan for next week is to detail the courtyard, which has quite a lot going on, I think. I may end up splitting it into several sub-locations. Then I'll get started on the first of the towers. If you squint at the map, you may be able to tell that they are all related to a different element. Water is first, although I'm still debating whether I should switch the location of some of the elements. The southwest tower could end up being either Fire or Air.

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Patrick Young
Patrick Young

Nice. I look forward to learning more about the dwarves.

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