Wednesday, August 2, 2017

DUNGEON#1 - Steeples of Erythroxyl



HERE is a pdf of the dungeon, the rest of this post is essentially a long series of Author's Notes of me explaining inspiration for the dungeon and my "vision" of it. I hope this communication will help you as a referee.


Inspiration



The Swedish artist Yung Lean release the album Warlord in early 2016 and I really got into after a break up. One thing that really struck me were the visuals in the lyrics. Lines like "Nine cat lives got nine silver knives, I got big red eyes and I'm feelin' so immortal","What's your blood type, what does it taste like?", and "Ridin' on a horse with a dead man". I thought that these were really cool, but it wasn't until this quartet on Pearl Fountain that I had the idea to make a module based on the album

"SBE, we some vampires, Dracula
I'm in an Acura, hoe I think you stack them up
I'm not good with calculus, I need a calculator
Glass elevator, shoes made by alligators"

So from this point I just went through the lyrics on the album and each one I thought that was especially evocative became a room. I got 29 rooms this way and then I just had to figure out how to put them together. I looked a little into the backstory of this album with the tragedy of Barron Machat's death and Yung Lean's breakdown afterward and got the idea of the dungeon being the remnants of the apartment where Yung Lean stayed during the making of the album.

I think if you just listen to the album, you'll find that each room is essentially a reference.


My Notes 

This is the map a player drew

One of the things I noted different from other dungeons/modules was that the players had an understanding of layout of the dungeon by simply looking at it. The players noted the three towers on their approach and as they explored the interior of the complex they kept trying to figure out which passage led to each. I think the idea that the players knew the general outline of the dungeon gave them implicit goals to reach rather than simply meandering through the dungeon hoping for the best.

The player who play-tested the dungeon seemed very open to the idea of speaking to things to gain information and friends. A player surprised me by speaking to the blind horse roaming near the wreckage and I had to figure out how much a horse, that's blind, would know about a dungeon. They quickly befriended Bladee and despite him being "undead" kept him around to aid them in their explorations. When they met Aldo they sought to become best friends with him and even offered to share their food with him. I'm sure they would have spoken to the first vampire thy encountered if not for the fact that he had killed the horse. There is plenty of opportunity for characters to conversate in the dungeon.

The players kept focusing on trying to travel across the roofs of the module and trying to figure out how to overcome the locks in Room 13. I don't know if that is a result of my dungeon design or if the players were especially perceptive in utilizing lateral thinking to get to different locations. I would imagine that characters with the ability to fly or teleport would attempt similar alternative means to get through it.

Fundamentally this was a top-down approach to dungeon design and I hope that you either enjoy it. If you run this module please let me know how it goes by commenting! The format should be system agnostic enough for you to be able to use it in most OSR systems.

TL:DR I'm James Raggi but with Cloud Rap instead of Death Metal

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