Dungeon23 is the Excellent Low-Strain Writing Ritual

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Picture: Wizards of the Coast

A brand new craze is sweeping throughout tabletop RPG twitter, and game designers and players 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 typically be the dying of creativity. Right here’s how to get started, and easy methods to keep motivated.

What’s Dungeon23?

Dungeon23 is a each day writing apply that’s constructed round sport design. Day by day the participant will design one other room in a dungeon, and on the finish of the week they’ll have a whole degree. The subsequent week begins the method over till you have got 52 dungeon ranges. Sean McCoy of Tuesday Knight Games, the press behind the award-winning TTRPG, Mothership created the problem virtually on accident, with a tweet about his latest undertaking and a picture of his pocket book. However the indie TTRPG scene is nothing if not excitable and simply swayed by a problem, and McCoy’s private aim shortly gained traction throughout Twitter.

Nonetheless, this isn’t a strict problem–the last word aim of #Dungeon23 isn’t to stick to guidelines so as to positively crank out a megadungeon on the finish of 2023. The aim right here is to put in writing a bit bit on daily basis, to try to create one thing new, and to problem your self to be inventive. As designer Vidita Voleti (Bloodbeam Badlands) talked about on twitter, you would 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 should create one thing on daily basis, it’s that you just 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 acquired a complete neighborhood. Designers Zedeck Siew (A Thousand Thousand Islands) and Richard Ruane (Barrow Preserve) are each creating cities with factions constructed into the design. I actually admire Siew’s illustrative map, which has loads of easy depth, is intentionally contained by the premise and nonetheless exhibits 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

That is the true great thing about Dungeon23, and the trick to loads of each day writing workouts. The trick is to make it enjoyable for you, to create one thing that you’re excited to create. It may be a dungeon, or a metropolis, or an area station, a sequence of inter-connectedm deserted transit programs, an eternal afterlife. Dungeon23 is what you make it.

How do you create your individual Dungeon23?

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

I like to recommend considering beforehand concerning the form of vibe you need–are you going for a traditional dungeon crawl? Are you attempting to make the form of dungeons that can kill each adventurer (I’ve really cherished designing Dying Dungeons), or are you attempting to encourage exploration. Do you need to make a dungeon in any respect? The probabilities for this type of design are actually as much as you, pushed solely however the sorts of worlds and video games that you just’re serious about creating.

Recreation designer Rue Dickey, for instance, is creating “Carnival23,” writing carnival video games, retailers, points of interest, and NPCs. Every week may very well be a distinct 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 all the time been actually drawn to Appalachian themes and vaguely supernatural vibes (I’ve even written video games about it!), so a sequence of interconnected hollers and trails inside the mountains is likely to be the way in which I am going concerning the problem. The purpose right here is to have enjoyable with it.

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

What do you employ?

You need to use no matter you need! Pandion Video games is producing a bodily DungeonYear pocket book, and has supplied all of the information digitally without spending a dime, however any pocket book will do. Different designers are utilizing weekly planning notebooks which have the week on the left for clean/dotted/grid pages on the appropriate hand aspect for drawing the dungeon rooms. I’d suggest discovering a pocket book that has thick paper (>80 GSM) so as to stop ink bleeding via the pages, however that is completely not vital.

Positively begin with utilizing a pencil for the precise dungeon rooms till you finalize all the things on the finish of the week. In any other case, decide up no matter pens you need and get going! Moreover, 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 technique to document their Dungeon23 undertaking, which takes place in a future put up apocalyptic Philadelphia.

I want some inspiration, what do I do?

There’s nothing flawed with creating a standard dungeon, and truthfully, in case you get three weeks into #Dungeon23 and determine to modify it up, there may be actually nothing stopping you from doing so. Possibly you determine to go for a sci-fi Martian terraforming colony, or you have got an incredible thought for a slasher-themed school campus. The purpose right here is to comply with the enjoyable, wherever that leads you.

I’d suggest serious about a theme and a location and begin constructing from there. Possibly jot down a couple of ‘touchstones’ or inspirations. You need to use books, films, exhibits, items of artwork, music, and even different video games that you just need to use as a common vibe examine in your writing. Touchstones can 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. Each 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 navy 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 acquired some key touchstones in your entire yr. Or a month, or two, or three, not less than till you modify your thoughts and work out a brand new set of ranges you’ll be able to work on.

From the Universal Studios amusement park.

The small print may be discovered later, after they come to you. What’s vital for Dungeon23 is that you just do it. Even in case you skip days otherwise you begin over otherwise you solely get three months in, the aim is to create one thing, to get one step additional alongside than you was, and to develop your writing abilities. It’s about apply, not perfection.

Really useful games

To be trustworthy, you don’t have to establish a sport in your dungeon, but when it helps when creating your concepts, go for it.

Really useful notebooks:

Dungeon alternatives

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

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

Design sources

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

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