In the beginning of December, Sean McCoy tweeted what would become the #Dungeon23 project / challenge – an effort to write a megadungeon at a rate of one room a day – as this advanced we got to the current format of the challenge which makes one dungeon level every month, resulting in a megadungeon of 365 rooms over 12 levels.
I was really iffy about taking this on, and I still think there’s a fair chance that I’ll be among the list of projects that never reach completion (My initial estimate is that we’ll see a thousand first week entries, about a hundred making it to the end of the first month, and a dozen or fewer actually making it to completion.
Finally, last week I decided I’d give it a try. My initial concept was a new & bigger version of my mini-mega-dungeon, Dyson’s Delve. I even got most of the first level mapped out on a twitch stream last week… but mid-stream I started doubting that plan. Instead of something nebulous and essentially ad-libbed like Dyson’s Delve, I realized I would probably have more fun working on something more like My Private Jakalla – not quite as big, but a Tsolyani “underworld”.
After consulting with Victor Jason Raymond of the Tekumel Foundation and James Maliszewski of Grognardia, I settled on the crater city of Tumissa as the home to this project. For those unfamiliar with Tsolyanu, Tekumel, and the Empire of the Petal Throne RPG (the first RPG setting published), Most Tsolyani cities are built upon the ruins of older structures. Every 500 or so years (although for major cities this often gets pushed back several centuries) the cities undergo a “ditlana” where the city is torn down by sections and rebuilt – allowing the city to update infrastructure, sewers, and move clans, temples, and businesses as suited to their current status (so a city that sees a major shift in power between the temples will have those temples that are out of favour moved to less politically powerful locations, and more powerful temples and clans move in to take their place). Over tens of thousands of years, this results in each city sitting atop a massive collection of weird temple basements, sewers that run through ruins, interconnected basements, and much older structures that date back as far as other civilizations that came before the current era of the Five Empires.
And thus we have my primary #Dungeon23 project concept. Instead of the 12 levels of the megadungeon being stacked upon each other vertically, there will be about 6-8 that form the upper underworld directly beneath street level, another 3-4 on the level below that, and 1-3 deeper level sections that might date back before the Tsolyani Empire.
My plan is to update the project here on a weekly basis or so, or at the very least once a month as I release the maps for each section.
Even more ridiculous though… I haven’t entirely given up the idea of ALSO doing Dyson’s Delve II. A second #Dungeon23 project where I try to rebottle the lighting of Dyson’s Delve, while also violating the base rules of that design (it was meant to be a series of one-page dungeons in sequence, and generally the levels are about half the size of the ones for this project). So… I might be trying to complete two different #Dungeon23 projects this year. But we’ll see how that pans out as January progresses.