Dungeon23 is the Perfect Low-Pressure Writing Ritual

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Image: Wizards of the Coast

A brand new craze is sweeping throughout tabletop RPG twitter, and sport designers and gamers are all getting in on planning #Dungeon23–a dedication to create a megadungeon in 2023 by creating a brand new room each single day. The premise is straightforward, however a clean web page can usually be the loss of life of creativity. Here’s how you can get began, and how you can keep motivated.

What is Dungeon23?

Dungeon23 is a day by day writing observe that’s constructed round sport design. Every day the participant will design one other room in a dungeon, and on the finish of the week they are going to have an entire degree. The subsequent week begins the method over till you could have 52 dungeon ranges. Sean McCoy of Tuesday Knight Games, the press behind the award-winning TTRPG, Mothership created the problem nearly on accident, with a tweet about his latest challenge and a picture of his pocket book. But the indie TTRPG scene is nothing if not excitable and simply swayed by a problem, and McCoy’s private purpose shortly gained traction throughout Twitter.

However, this isn’t a strict problem–the last word purpose of #Dungeon23 isn’t to stick to guidelines as a way to undoubtedly crank out a megadungeon on the finish of 2023. The purpose right here is to jot down a bit bit daily, to aim to create one thing new, and to problem your self to be artistic. As designer Vidita Voleti (Bloodbeam Badlands) talked about on twitter, you can skip 100 days, simply over 3 months, and nonetheless find yourself with a megadungeon of 250 rooms. The ethos of Dungeon23 isn’t that you could create one thing daily, it’s that you simply make house for writing, even when it’s a catch-up hour each Sunday.

There’s one other a part of Dungeon23 that’s barely buried beneath the lede, however needs to be apparent to anybody who’s ever run (or actually even performed) a dungeon crawler–it doesn’t should be a dungeon. You might create a metropolis the place every day is a home on the block, so each week you get a pair new streets, and on the finish of the month you’ve bought a complete neighborhood. Designers Zedeck Siew (A Thousand Thousand Islands) and Richard Ruane (Barrow Keep) are each creating cities with factions constructed into the design. I actually admire Siew’s illustrative map, which has a number of easy depth, is intentionally contained by the premise and nonetheless reveals Siew’s personal design aesthetic in addition to clearly demonstrating hallmarks of Southeast Asian structure.

Image for article titled Dungeon23 is the Perfect Low-Pressure Writing Ritual

This is the actual fantastic thing about Dungeon23, and the trick to a number of day by day writing workouts. The trick is to make it enjoyable for you, to create one thing that you’re excited to create. It is usually a dungeon, or a metropolis, or an area station, a collection of inter-connectedm deserted transit techniques, an eternal afterlife. Dungeon23 is what you make it.

How do you create your individual Dungeon23?

Every day, hopefully. Jokes apart, the premise is fairly easy. Every day (roughly), you create a ‘room’ in a dungeon, with possibly a couple of hallways and doorways. Draw it. Describe what’s within the room, however maintain it brief and candy. A sentence or two at most. If you need to add environmental particulars, baddies, loot, hidden passages, go forward. Just a couple of particulars are all that’s wanted.

I like to recommend considering beforehand concerning the sort of vibe you need–are you going for a basic dungeon crawl? Are you making an attempt to make the sort of dungeons that may kill each adventurer (I’ve really liked designing Death Dungeons), or are you making an attempt to encourage exploration. Do you need to make a dungeon in any respect? The potentialities for this sort of design are actually as much as you, pushed solely however the sorts of worlds and video games that you simply’re thinking about creating.

Game designer Rue Dickey, for instance, is creating “Carnival23,” writing carnival video games, outlets, sights, and NPCs. Each week may very well be a unique theme–one week for video games, one week for retailers, one other for the extra conventional map-drawing dungeon. Personally, I’m considering of making my very own Dungeon23, and I’ve at all times been actually drawn to Appalachian themes and vaguely supernatural vibes (I’ve even written video games about it!), so a collection of interconnected hollers and trails inside the mountains is likely to be the way in which I’m going concerning the problem. The level right here is to have enjoyable with it.

McCoy gives some tips about his substack for Dungeon23, however I believe crucial one is “don’t overthink it.” Seriously.

What do you utilize?

You can use no matter you need! Pandion Games is producing a bodily DungeonYr pocket book, and has provided all of the recordsdata digitally without cost, however any pocket book will do. Other designers are utilizing weekly planning notebooks which have the week on the left for clean/dotted/grid pages on the appropriate hand facet for drawing the dungeon rooms. I might suggest discovering a pocket book that has thick paper (>80 GSM) as a way to forestall ink bleeding by way of the pages, however that is completely not vital.

Definitely begin with utilizing a pencil for the precise dungeon rooms till you finalize all the things on the finish of the week. Otherwise, choose up no matter pens you need and get going! Additionally, there are many people who find themselves doing this on their computer systems, utilizing a phrase processor and even an excel spreadsheet. Kandi Jeanne is utilizing World Anvil as a strategy to document their Dungeon23 challenge, which takes place in a future publish apocalyptic Philadelphia.

I would like some inspiration, what do I do?

There is nothing improper with creating a standard dungeon, and actually, in case you get three weeks into #Dungeon23 and resolve to modify it up, there may be actually nothing stopping you from doing so. Maybe you resolve to go for a sci-fi Martian terraforming colony, or you could have an important thought for a slasher-themed school campus. The level right here is to comply with the enjoyable, wherever that leads you.

I might suggest fascinated by a theme and a location and begin constructing from there. Maybe jot down a couple of ‘touchstones’ or inspirations. You can use books, films, reveals, items of artwork, music, and even different video games that you simply need to use as a common vibe examine to your writing. Touchstones will also be adjectives or emotions–what would you like your gamers to really feel? What would you like this dungeon to evoke?

How about this? Your #Dungeon23 is an armada of ships. Every week is a brand new degree of a ship, however ships may be one degree, two, three… nevertheless many ranges you want it to be. Are you going pirate or engaged on a army outfit? Spaceship or watercraft? Are you going for a waterworld apocalypse or a Treasure Planet sci-fi sailboat? All it takes are a couple of questions and also you’ve bought some key touchstones to your complete yr. Or a month, or two, or three, a minimum of till you modify your thoughts and work out a brand new set of ranges you possibly can work on.

From the Universal Studios amusement park.

The particulars may be found out later, once they come to you. What’s vital for Dungeon23 is that you simply do it. Even in case you skip days otherwise you begin over otherwise you solely get three months in, the purpose is to create one thing, to get one step additional alongside than you was, and to develop your writing expertise. It’s about observe, not perfection.

Recommended games

To be trustworthy, you would not have to determine a sport to your dungeon, but when it helps when creating your concepts, go for it.

Recommended notebooks:

Dungeon alternatives

Don’t need to make a dungeon? Great! Here are some concepts for a Dungeon23 which might be nonetheless suited to a room/retailer/merchandise/place-a-day theme.

  • Space Station
  • A mega-prison/panopticon (I’m considering Bitch Planet)
  • A Palace
  • A City
  • A forest/desert/ocean/swamp
  • A themepark
  • Megayacht/Cruise ship
  • A large tree that reaches to the stratosphere

Design assets

Good luck, sport masters, dungeoneers, and writers! I’ll see you all on the opposite facet.

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