Friday, January 13, 2023

Insidious Troll-Werm (Happy Birthday C.A.S.)

Curiously Troll-like visage inspired by Clark Ashton Smith's sketches
“The skies are haunted by that which it were madness to know; and strange abominations pass evermore between earth and moon and athwart the galaxies. Unnameable things have come to us in alien horror and will come again.” 
Clark Ashton Smith

Insidious Troll-Werm

Source: This creature is inspired by a untitled doodle by Clark Ashton Smith that you can see over at Page 7 of the Gallery of Clark Ashton Smith's Art at the truly wonderful Eldritch Dark website.

Friday, January 6, 2023

Shroedinger's OGL

 There's a lot of stuff circulating out there concerning the 'leaked details' of what might be the terms of the new OGL 1.1 from WotC. So far there is a Lot of speculation, emotion, and noise (read: opinion and rumor). There is very little real information that is available as yet. So until things do finally get sorted out, we're going to focus on non-OGL projects. Anything dependent upon the OGL is on hold until we actually know what the status of the OGL is going to be going forward.

Dungeon23 Weekly Progress Report 1


January 1 Dungeon23 Entry
My January 1 Dungeon 23 entry

Today I made my sixth entry to the journal for Dungeon 23. So far, so good. Above is a quick scan of the entry for January 1st. I've starting out drawing and detailing small sub-sections, mostly because that is how it flowed while I was doing things. Right off the bat I realized that space on the page was going to be at a premium, so I need to get more minimalist in my descriptions. I'm keeping a list of tables and sub-tables I need to get drafted as I go along. The monsters mentioned will be stat-less. The whole thing is going to be pretty-much system agnostic. I want to focus on the cool stuff and the encounters and the factions, etc. I can always stat things out later.

In the past I have had a tendency to over-think stuff, or to get bogged down in details. The Dungeon 23 Challenge has given me a way to just draw/write something every day. I am treating the journal as a prototyping sort of experiment, a sketchbook that I can get messy with, make mistakes, scribble-out stuff that doesn't work, generally focus on getting whatever I'm doing down and then going back later to make it all pretty or presentable. It has been a really good experience so far. It has also been great for getting my hands back into working order as well. 

Some of the other entries this week got a little more detailed, so I added some extra pages from another, similar-sized journal. I'm going to try to keep that sort of thing to a minimum, for the most part. I am aiming for a sort of minimalist approach, at least to start out. We'll see how long that lasts. I want to remain open to whatever strikes my fancy when I start drawing each new section or room. My preliminaries came to a stop when I realized that I was recreating a lot of the background for Clatterdelve all over again, so instead of fighting it, I opted to just go along with the creative impulse and now I am exploring and mapping all the various Known, Unknown, Secret, and False Entrances to this place, as well as the immediate surroundings and all that goes along with it. I will explain in more detail in another post.

So, in a nutshell, everything is proceeding really nicely and I am thoroughly enjoying this process of drawing and detailing one (or more) dungeon rooms/sites each day. I also plan on doing some Wilderness Maps for the surrounding areas as well, so I'm looking forward to that. Might just get a chance to try out the very cool Gygax 75 Challenge for part of that!

Lastly, I am considering doing a series of blog posts that dig into the details a bit more for what I'm building for Clatterdelve. There are going to be a lot of tables needed, as this is a very Procedural Space, and there will be a lot of unique treasure items/looty bits, and numerous spells and what-not. I'm loathe to provide stats right now with the whole Cloud of Unknowing swirling around the OGL (and by extension the possible extinction-level event some see threatening the continued existence of the OSR), but should that constellation of crises somehow be either averted or not turn out to be the apocalyptic undoing of everything we hold dear (tm), then maybe once that's all sorted and settled, I can start posting new monsters and spells again. I do hope thing get straightened out soon. In the meantime I am enjoying reading through a number of non-OGL games.

Monday, January 2, 2023

Some Random Resources for the Dungeon 23 Challenge


Dungeon23 logo

Dungeon23 Logo designed by Lone Archivist and generously made available for free through the CC BY 4.0 licenses.

"Megadungeon for 2023. 12 levels. 365 rooms. One room a day. Keep it all in a journal"

Sean McCoy posted this to Twitter, then to his Win Conditions substack newsletter early in December 2022. I might never have heard about it if Ben from Mazirian's Garden hadn't passed on word of the open challenge, as well as posting an excellent write-up of the Challenge that convinced me join in on this particular bit of nerdery. He is posting periodic Round Ups of Dungeon23 Related Things that I hope will become a regular feature since there are just tons of cool stuff going on all over the place for Dungeon23.

I found the idea of having a simple, daily practice that allowed me to set aside a bit of time each day to just draw/write/create one dungeon room at a time, by hand, in a journal very appealing. After years of my hands getting progressively more painful from chronic pain associated with a really nasty bout of Lyme, I am now mostly symptom-free and I could use the daily practice of this challenge to help get back into things and to get my hands back into working order. I really appreciated Sean's most recent "Slow Down, You're Doing Fine" post over at Win Conditions. This is all about the process, the daily practice. I don't care if I just scribble all over a page, as long as I do something every day. Keep moving forward. 

Sean posted a set of optional Prompts for Dungeon23, Spooky Action at a Distance posted an Alternative Schedule, and soon after Gus L. posted some seriously detailed Dungeon23 Worksheets. Soon there was a Reddit, a group at Facebook, and some excellent articles started to appear such as Narrowing the Focus over at Follow Me and Die, and How to Slay Your Dungeon at Sharktopus Games, among others. I already talked about some of the blog posts/articles/essays I was using to get prepared for the challenge earlier. I'll keep a list of any other articles, essays or whatnot I find particularly useful during the challenge and will post that later.

I started out keeping track of some of this stuff in the right-hand side-bar of the blog, but it quickly grew unwieldy, and besides Duvelmann's Vault of Dungeon23 Resources over at Github has outgrown my effort by a considerable margin. Likewise his collection of Dungeon23 Resources at and the Dungeon23 Jam are both very much worth checking out. Speaking of, Hexed Press produced a very handy Dungeon23 Helper that I highly recommend as well as the Dungeon 23 Logo that Lone Archivist made available for us all. 


There is a Directory of Participating Blogs at Reddit, and there is a handy online form for Tracking Dungeon 23 Projects.

Thank you all for doing such great stuff!

Sunday, January 1, 2023

1d6 Random Generator-sites for Dungeon23

Dungeon23 logo
Dungeon23 Logo designed by Lone Archivist and generously made available for free through the CC BY 4.0 licenses.

 For Dungeon23 I thought that I would assemble a short list of Generator-sites to have handy if I decide to get a little more randomness into the design process, or I get stuck, whichever. Instead of going with the usual suspects, I thought it would be more fun to draft up a simple D6 table of Generators I can roll on when I need one. Here it is:

  1. Chartopia  This site is simply bursting at the seems with all manner and sort of random generators.
  2. Donjon  There's a Lot to choose from at this site as well. Might start out with the Weird Names or Treasure Generator and see what I get from those.
  3. Glumdark looks to have some really cool stuff available like Bad Places, Bad Omens, or Suspicious Strangers.
  4. Mithril & Mages has a nice selection of generators for AD&D1, Labyrinth Lord or Barebones Fantasy, so I expect to be poking about this site off and on. I am especially interested in trying out the Monster Mangler which is a generator that mashes together two monsters to make something new and weird.
  5. Seventh Sanctum offers some interesting options for Settings & Locations that might prove helpful.
  6.  Thieve's Guild also has a bunch of generators worth exploring a bit. There's a Cheapy Art Objects one as well as a series of generators that produce Art Objects that run up to 7,500GP. So that could be interesting to try out.