Sunday, January 8, 2023

Dungeon23 Roundup #3: What Riches!

 We've reached the end of the first week of #dungeon23! I will be posting the results of my first week on here, on Monday! So stay tuned for that.  This has been an intense work week for me (I also had COVID over the holidays, which didn't help. I'm fully recovered now, thankfully.)  So I'm fearful that dungeon23 activity may have slipped by me that I otherwise would have loved. But even in my rattled state, I saw a whole bunch of things that tickled my fancy. I'm also delighted that the blog sidebar is working how I wanted it to work: as a veritable treasure hoard of Dungeon23 blog material. Remember if you have a blog and are doing Dungeon23 on the regular, shoot me an email at throughultansdoor AT gmail. Let's dive in!

The awesome blog Goblin Punch by Arnold K., another staple of the mid to late OSR, had more less gone dark last year. Arnold announced that he's bringing it back for dungeon23! Not only is he back, but his inaugural post for dungeon23, The Mushroom Garden, is a masterclass in designing dungeons. I myself learned from it. What's really wonderful is that Arnold talks you through what he did in the post, so you can see how he builds in mysteries, faction play, puzzles, hidden areas, all over the span of a tightly connected 7 rooms. Whatever else you read, you really should read this. It does raise the question whether perhaps people might want to do their dungeon design in groups of 7 rather single rooms serially. (That's how I'm doing it.) 

Another blog that the sirens call of dungeon23 has coaxed back to life is Roles, Rules, & Roles, a staple of an even earlier geological period of the OSR that I used to read a fair bit. Roger G-S is doing a bronze age hexcrawl that I've been digging. Check out how much is going on in this single hex, including the "damnation tomb" of Narshish. He's doing one of those a day! 

I was completely BLOWN AWAY by Jonathan Newell's dungeon on Bearded Devil. He has two entries so far. The first is his introduction to the Apocalypse Archives a terrifying science fantasy dungeon that lies beneath his fabulous city of Hex. The Apocalypse Archive is a repository for spells and artifacts the impossibly ancient and powerful Librarians considered reality-endangering. It is also a place where space and time are coming unravelled in maddening ways. He introduces the Apocalypse Archive with a series of tables about the different afflictions--Anacrhonosis, Dreams of the Dead City, and the Melchior Effect--that affect delvers into this perilous dungeon. The tables are a lovely spin on the idea of the dungeon as a hostile space that one finds in the "mythic underworld" conception of early D&D. They're also a nice example of how, for example, you can introduce setting, lore, and atmosphere through random tables. The second entry discusses the first six rooms. The whole thing is suffused with a bleak alien grandeur. It also includes some wonderful terrible lore about the Final Star, a sentient solar deity consuming reality that the librarians opposed. I'll definitely be following this project closely! 

Just look at how pretty this map is so far!

 Here are a few more things that have brought me joy in no particular order. I enjoyed the first 7 rooms of this creative funhouse dungeon at The Viridian Scroll. The truth is that if you want to hew closely to Sean's original vision for  #dungeon23, then a funhouse dungeon like this is probably the way to go. The concept of this Soviet space dungeon for Mothership built to preserve the consciousness of Soviet leaders by Emmy Verte at Spooky Action at a Distance is SO GOOD; I can't wait to see more. The writeup of the first areas above Andrew Devenney's The Great Cuttle, a dungeon inside a giant alien cuttlefish for his Rainy City setting was fantastic: as dungeon entrances go, this one is a great little environment. I also really liked this partially submerged level by Skullboy at Better Legends. I think that dungeon is going to be delightful. 

Stay tuned for my first week of my very own dungeon23, covering the first 7 areas of the Catacombs of the North Wind! I'll be posting it very soon, maybe even tomorrow. [Edit: Here it is! Check out Below the Wall of Cusp detailing areas 1-7 of The Catacomb of the North Wind.]


  1. I'm something of a latecomer to all this, but I will be posting my entries for #Dungeon23 and #Sector23 this upcoming week, on my blog The Sandbox of Doom.

    1. Wonderful! I'm putting you in the sidebar now.

  2. Thanks for the appreciation! Alas, writing those posts keeps me too busy to follow other people's projects as I should, but the good news is I have about 10 days of them written up ahead of schedule.

  3. I'm doing Dungeon 23 on Sheep and Sorcery. I've been working on the Sunset Palace of the Starry Sultan. Each new conqueror of this city built their palace on top of the old one and now most of the palace is abandoned and ripe for robbing