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  • Writer's picturePeter Humburg

Into the Dungeon

Updated: Jan 23, 2023

It turns out dungeon23 is all the rage now. I didn't spend much time on social media for the last few weeks, and suddenly it seems t be everywhere. In the unlikely case that you don't know what that is all about, Sean McCoy (of Mothership fame) posted about a challenge he is taking on for the coming year: creating a mega-dungeon by writing a room every day.

That got me thinking. There is this large dungeon that has been kicking around my head for a while. It is part of a larger world that I've been thinking about, but I really haven't made much progress on either. I thought the dungeon would be a good starting point because it is self-contained and would provide a playable setting even while the outside world is only painted in the broadest of brush strokes. But even that is a sizable undertaking, and there always seem to be other things to do. Dungeon23 seems like the perfect opportunity to make some progress on this project. So that is what I've challenged myself to do. Add at least a room's worth of content to the dungeon every day for a year. There is some flexibility in that. If I write a paragraph about one of the factions inhabiting the dungeon and maybe add an empty room, I'll count that as a win.

Tschanüff castle, in the background parts of the Piz Spadla mountain, in Switzerland. By Hermann Hammer.

The Depths of Grimwald Keep

So what is this dungeon that has been taking up space in my head? It all starts with a ruined castle on a windswept mountainside (how original!). Once, this was a beacon of civilisation, the topmost outpost of an underground empire (dwarven ruins? No one has done that before!). Now, it is right in the middle of nowhere, and the few people that live close enough to worry about it know to stay well away. There now is rumour of vast treasures (didn't see that one coming, did you?) and faced with the high likelihood of horrible and painful death for the slim chance of acquiring unheard riches, we know what any self-respecting adventurer would do. So the only question is, what is down there? And what destroyed this civilisation, and could it still be lurking in the shadows? Well, that is what I hope to find out.

The Plan

In January, I hope to detail the ruins above ground. If I manage to actually keep up with the challenge, I'll try to also post updates here (maybe once a month) and a bit more frequently over at mastodon. But I'll prioritize progress on the dungeon over social media activity. This is about making progress on a writing project first and foremost. Speaking of which, I don't think it is realistic to expect that this will lead to a polished product that others would want to read and play. If I end up with a rough but (mostly) complete draft that I can use to run the dungeon, that would be a tremendous success. Polish for a publication quality product can come later if it seems worth it.


Cover image by Lone Archivist licensed under CC BY 4.0. Photo of Tschanueff castle by Hermann Hammer.

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