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Dungeon Draft October 2020

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October's draft is the second ever dungeon draft and is brought to you again by Death Tribble. Cancer proof read the original transcript and amended it for which we are all grateful. Here is what you need to know


You are a sage and explorer, member of the Universal Geographical Society (UGS).  You are convinced you have found the most astonishing place in the world, and are trying to impress upon others that you deserve to be selected to receive this millennium's UGS Positronium Medal for Discover of Vast Previously Unknown Edifices at the next UGS Conclave.


You are investigating, and publishing your findings about, a dungeon in your world.  You do not have to fully map the dungeon to publish your findings.  Nominally, you are working with all of the other sages, with the goal being to document labyrinths in the same world. The competing/cooperating sages, and the dungeons they are exploring, all exist at the same time (though the dungeons need not have originated at the same time).  


The setting is completely blank.  You need not (should not) describe the world anywhere except within, and immediately surrounding, your dungeon. 

Here's what you'll need in your labyrinth.


Location, Location, Location. Where is the labyrinth? Recall the Tomb of Horrors created by Gary Gygax this was in the Vast Swamp and quite inaccessible. But yours can be a city empty or otherwise, beneath a city or in a volcano for example. The location pick is where the entrance will be that players characters would normally force their way in. The location pick need not be exclusive so you could have two demi-dungeons side by side like pyramids just not connected. You can have one floating in the atmosphere and another at the bottom of the ocean.


Who is in charge? This place was built for someone, but maybe now they are gone so just who is running the place now?  You can give sketchy details like ‘The Lich Maurice now controls the dungeon’ or you can give more details. This is a single exclusive choice.


Why go there? Dungeons are built to hurt people so why in the name of the Abyss would anyone want to go there. There has to be a reason such as an oracle, someone who has been kidnapped and is being held there, an artifact or vast wealth. This again has to be exclusive.


Five different featured highlights. Here you will list five specific areas in the dungeon and what makes them special.  Here you can place monsters or traps and you can list treasure. The traps and monsters need not be exclusive but if your ensemble is novel enough, you can make it so if you wish and declare this to be unique in the world (so that other draft participants cannot claim a copy). The outside world may or may not know anything about these locations prior to your picks.  The Draft Despot has Grimtooth’s Traps and various Monster Manuals so I should be able work out what you are plagiarising if at all.


Goals of the architect. Simply: why was the place built in the first place?  It is perfectly acceptable for the original purpose to be something besides punishing enemies; the corruption into a punishing pit would then have been retrofitted onto the original structure.  For example: Derek, King of the Swingers had a new Palace built underground which was then occupied by a Lich.


Who Built it.  This isn't the patron or the project manager; those folks don't do the actual excavation or construction.  Needed here is the identity of the person who supervised the construction on the site, and the nature of the labor that went into the construction.  That latter could be legions of nameless human (or not human) slaves, hordes of fanatically devoted followers, or a specific architectural firm, for example. These overseer-and-grunt specifications need not be exclusive, but a describing them should take into account the environment in which the construction happened.  As examples, if building was in a vast empty desert, or at the bottom of the ocean, puts special demands on those doing the construction.  You could identify the constructor as the same entity as the patron, but this puts demands on that patron, such as being an Archmage and a commitment of time and effort to putting the edifice in place.  The first person to post a particular builder can specify who they are.   This may by implication limit others wanting you use the same grunts and site boss; for example, an ordinary human cannot usually have built dungeons three hundred years apart.


Mythic Monster or Guardian or History. You can specify a unique monster or guardian for the dungeon. Alternately you can lay out an occupation history of the place. For example: Derek King of the Swingers moved in first; after he died High Priest Philip ran it; then Maurice the Lich turned him into a shrivelled toad, threw him out, and took over for a century or two, until he got too cocky, and Infernal Octopus Reginald found his immured heart and banished him forever.  Then the Japanese factory ships caught Reginald, turned him into tako sushi without realising what they'd done, and the place has lain empty since.


Round one will be your Location, but the rest can be selected in any order.


We will begin Monday October 5, Five in the afternoon British Time which is Noon Eastern in the States. We take the weekends off.


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  • 2 weeks later...

It is called The Spiral. It exists beneath am extinct volcano which dominates the landscape for miles around. The volcano has no name other than The Spiral

The port city of Arash lies north and west of The Spiral  and there is a road leading directly from the city to the top of the mountain. There is a way leading down into the crater as a spiral which is what gives the mountain and the dungeon its distinctive name.

The dungeon is on the coast but the geography is such that the city is a safe harbour as no tidal wave can possibly reach it as reefs and the mountains and the channels toward the port prevent any tsunami from destroying the city.

The city is younger than the dungeon which had existed for several hundred years before at least. Merchants trade with someone at the bottom of The Spiral which is supposed to be an undersea civilisation but no record exists of who/what it is and no appeals to the Gods or wishes from powerful sorcerors have revealed the truth.

Travelling to the city of Arash can easily be accomplished, depending on the time of year one goes, and reaching The Spiral is not a problem as you simply follow the road from the city and travel all the way down. It is getting into the dungeon that is the problem.

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I found the roster from the 2019 Dungeon Draft, and observe that not only is there no common setting assumed, there is no common genre. This gives me several options, though I will preemptively rule out The Hot Zone, from my superhero setting, as I already posted a bit about it in my "Millennium Universe" thread a few years back. (Though there's a lot more to say.)


So, here's a dungeon for a Space Opera campaign.


During the chaotic centuries of the last Interregnum, a number of pocket interstellar empires rose and fell. One such was the empire of Osorkon II, ruler of the planet Rigisamos. This world was settled by Neo-Egyptians, a group that believed that ancient Egypt had the most stable society in human history and wanted to recreate that stability. It didn't work out that way, of course, but their culture, politics and religion stayed Egyptian-influenced.


Osorkon II first secured dictatorial rule over Rigisamos, then conquered several nearby star systems. Instead of consolidating his empire, though, he spent the last 10 years of his life fighting cancer and building a tomb worthy of himself. The tomb was dug into a small asteroid, which was then propelled into the deeps of space.


The tomb has been lost in the void for centuries. Attempts to calculate its trajectory failed, since Osorkon did his best to prevent his tomb from being found and looted. New information has come to light, though, suggesting the tomb was sent on a very long orbit rather than out of the star system completely. It should be approaching the Kuiper Belt of the Rigisaman system, and pass through the inner system in another 10 years or so.


Do you dare to seek The Lost Tomb of the Galactic Pharaoh?


Dean Shomshak


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Those who have been to The Spiral and come back in one way or another mention The Door. This massive 20 feet by 20 feet square piece of metal is covered with symbols which must be deciphered in order to progress any further. However there are enchantments on the metal which prevent it being destroyed by spells or such creatures that eat or destroy metal. Similarly there are other enchantments which make it easier to decipher and get the door to open if you have first of all visited the city of Arash and then set forth from there following the road to the mountain and then all the way down The Spiral. Visiting sages in Arash can provide vital clues on how to decipher the symbols and then access the dungeon proper. Also attending temples in Arash itself and leaving offerings to the Gods will also improve your chances of getting through the door. The door can open left or right, can slide down or rise up and also partially open which means there are at least 5 different paths into the labyrinth.

What happens if you do try to destroy The Door ?

Offenders can be hurled downwards into the water below or be struck by eldritch energy.

If the door is damaged, artisans will come from the city and repair it. They will have been blessed and are protected by the Gods themselves.

People can go straight to The Spiral and thence to The Door but the enchantments are much harder to solve as a result. It takes several exhortations to the Gods to get past the door if it is done this way..

It is possible to visit The Door, travel back to Arash and study the symbols in temples or libraries or by consulting sages and then go back to The Door and enter then.

It has been stated that the way changes depending on the time of year and exactly how the visitor has come to The Door 

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Huh. Only two of us. Okay, I'll make one more post, but if no one else joins the draft before next Monday we should probably just quit.


Why to Seek the Lost Tomb of the Galactic Pharaoh: Like most conquering despots through history, Osorkon looted the people he conquered; and in true Egyptian fashion, he filled his tomb with treasures for the Afterlife. It is estimated the tomb holds the contents of several major art museums, as well as conventional treasures of precious metals and gems. (Though the gems are not so valuable as they once were back on Old Earth, since most stones can now be mass produced. Natural stones may retain some value, ironically, for the flaws that indicate they were made by nature instead of a factory.) Most valuable of all, perhaps, are the relics of the Precursor species that traveled the stars millions of years before humanity.


Osorkon maintained tight information control over his tomb's construction, and he left a worm program to seek out and destroy any such information after his death. But some shrewd guesses of the tomb's contents can be made by tracking what was looted from his empire, and what never turned up later. Thus, it's reasonable to suppose that the tomb holds hundreds, if not thousands, of treasures comparable to Liang Xi's Nebula of Desire, the Jade Room, or the 88 Aquarii Spork.


Dean Shomshak

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30 minutes ago, Cancer said:

on-line teaching and grading is much more laborious and time-consuming than my normal mode.


You are correct, sir.


I'm doing both. The majority of my students are in the building (except for the two weeks when they weren't), but I have about 15% that are distance learning. It's exhausting. 

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To become Jedi Master, padawan must pass six tests:
Featured Highlight #1:
The First Test: Mastery of the Body
All 36 Chambers of Shaolin  (The 36th Chamber of Shaolin)
Featured Highlight #2:
The Second Test: Mastery of the Senses
Scaramanga's Funhouse (The Man With the Golden Gun)
Featured Highlight #3:
The Third Test: Mastery of Combat
The Danger Room (X-Men)
Featured Highlight #4: 
The Fourth Test: Mastery of the Enemy
The Battle Room (Ender's Game)
Featured Highlight #5:
The Fifth Test: Mastery of One's Self
The Cave of the Dark Side (Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back)
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