on the eve of Dungeon23

By this time tomorrow, it’s going to be a new year.

I just finished the last page in a scribble-journal I’ve kept for a year, after several year’s hiatus.

I used to use Moleskine journals, but I couldn’t find one that just had dates, and this was more stressful than it needed to be; in the end I was saved by finding, oddly enough, an unused and very old (1975 at the youngest, by the calendar on the inside cover) government diary-pocket journal-agenda squirrelled away in the bookroom. (the gods only know where I found it initially, and when.) And it’s served admirably.

In 2023 I’m going to use a Moleskine again, and will just ignore the bujo notations down the side of the pages, and not let them bother me. I will fill larger pages than the little green diary, the way I used to; word lists and fragmented ideas, bits of prose and imaginary quotations, descriptions of places that don’t exist and that I might write someday, or not, or just in an expanded form on some other journal pages. And when I’m finished this one it will go stacked on a shelf with the other Moleskines, and with the little green diary.

Yes there’s a point I’m getting to here.

Sometimes, I miss days, in the Moleskines or the little green diary. I make them up when I have the opportunity; it’s the filling of the pages that I like to do, not flagellating myself if I double up a day down the way. Some stories need more than one page in any case.

By this time tomorrow, I’ll be starting Dungeon23.

In the time since I decided to take part — spurred by being aggravated at someone on the webs taking pass-agg “humorous” potshots at folks’ happy preparations and chatter — I’ve gotten myself settled into what I plan to do, which is still what I already posted about, more or less. (I’m kind of predictable?) I may leave some dangly bits on my maps to make linking bits together later easier, if I decide to.

I’m also not planning to transcribe my dungeons afterwards, at least not now, because I don’t want this to be a Thing[tm] — it’s something I want to tinker with and poke at and add to, and I might miss a day and catch up a day.

Like my journals, and all their contents that sit contentedly in their pile.

I might snap a picture or roughly scan dungeons to show, if I remember to. (that’s the plan, we’ll see if the plan survives.)

And that’s fine.

Some folks are planning to release their dungeons (or cities, or environments, or spaceships) as finished products.

That’s also fine.

Some folks are making theirs expressly to be played as they go.

That’s fine too.

Others have made special journals and workbooks and the like, some for free and some not, some fancy, some not.

Also fine. (I’m using a little one myself, I like it a lot.)

Whatever we want to do with our work, that’s fine.

You know what’s also fine? Feeling that the Dungeon23 activity — in whatever form — isn’t for you. Not all things are. I was feeling that it wasn’t for me, until I realized that no, all the folks pointing out that it doesn’t have to be a megadungeon were right.

And also that I don’t need to be a brilliant artist or anything either.

I can just make my dungeons.

My dungeons.

For however many weeks I have ideas for.

And that’s fine.

And if someone feels the need to cut down folks who are doing this thing that — one hopes! — makes them happy; or if someone feels the need to try to guilt those happy folks out of their fun and their conversations and their plans, just because they don’t feel it’s for them themselves; or if someone decides to start a tirade about how dungeons (never mind that not everyone is even making dungeon-dungeons) are BadWrongFun and terrible and we should all feel bad —


Yeet them all into the sun.

We got dungeons — and spaceships, and maps, and cities, and towers, and a zillion other things — to make.

A Little Less Lethal

You hear a lot sometimes about the (supposed) lethality of OSR and OSR-adjacent games, and how players are used to having backup PCs and so on and so forth; but you know, in my experience the toss-away-the-dollie mindset hasn’t really been how it’s worked. Folks get attached to their characters. This always disposable-PC, cavalier thing is one of the more annoying bits, for me, of the “OSR” construct.

Having your PC die kind of sucks a lot of the time. It’s true.

So, chewing on this while trying not to get completely soaked at work, I came up with some alternate options. Toss 2d6 when a PC measures their length in the dust, and let them carry on — but with a bit more baggage than what they started with.

Of course, some might decide they’d rather have their PC die dramatically, or heroically, or comedically, or they just don’t like the result of the roll. That’s also totally cool.

What did you walk away from death with?

02: Marked by the damned …
03: Came back with a spirit (dead or otherwise) sharing body
04: Woke bound with a geas to perform a certain task
05: Maimed wind; prone to illness
06: Missing or maimed limb
07: Shocking or strange-looking scar
08: Lost or partially-lost sense (whether injury or trauma)
09: Permanent wound (requires tending)
10: Woke bound with a geas on a certain behaviour
11: Appear like the dead; healing is twice as difficult now
12: Marked by the beatific …

Or, what if for some reason an adversary had the chance to kill the PC, but chose not to? Though there surely would be a reason for such a decision, right? Toss 1d12 and —

Why did they stay their hand?

01: Proving they could have dispatched you is good enough for them
02: “Wait! I remember you! You were at –” (were you though?)
03: They don’t want you to die; they want you to suffer
04: A prisoner is worth more than a corpse
05: That hexmark they just placed on you will ensure you’re no threat anyway
06: “If I spare your life, will you help me with …”
07: You would have been their first sapient kill, and they just can’t …
08: “I’m not the real enemy! The real enemy is –“
09: It was less ‘staying their hand’ and more ‘didn’t check to be sure’, honestly
10: A strange faint glow appeared around you and they backed right off (but did it stay? what now?)
11: “Now I owe you nothing.” (have you even seen them before?)
12: A leader or companion orders them to let you live; they are not happy, but comply (for now) (and why were you spared?)

quick weapon materials: some d12s

Today has decided to be a morning of near-tears in preemptive despair over taking Soci to a cardiological vet appt next week, so in an attempt to distract myself, have a three-d12-table slate for making unusual weapon materials (or anything else materials):

it could be odder — I’ve written odder — but sometimes the basics of oddness are also good


It took being spurred into it be getting annoyed as hell at some jerk being an attempted joykill after a week of folks making plans and sharing resources and etc etc, but I think I’m committed to giving Dungeon23 a shot.

(spite is, as ever, a wonderful motivation fuel. fuck that guy.)

Dungeon23 is the idea of Sean McCoy, who floated the notion of making one dungeon room a day, for a 365-room megadungeon by the end of 2023. This is really cool and seeing so many people also think it’s really cool has been one of the best things I’ve watched unspool in rpgland in aaaages.

But I don’t really do megadungeons, and I also do chunks of months of prompts already, and —

And, well, I can do smaller dungeons. It’s totally fine. 7-room one week dungeons. Longer 14-room or whatever dungeons. Make them so they can just daisy-chain however.

It’s all good!

I’ll probably stick with my usual kinds of themes and still basically fantasy; I have some scifi/space things dimly nibbling at me and before this came up, but I haven’t done scifi anything in a loooong time and I’d rather just go with the flow and whatever tips out of my head, especially since this is a big undertaking for me as is.

I might cruft together a weekly prompt list of my own (the gods know I have enough prompt lists of many many different kinds and lengths hoarded that I could pillage), or use Sean’s, or both. Maybe both. (probably both.)

Also, system neutral whenever possible, or as close as my brain tips out, because that’s theoretically shorter and easier.

I’m going to use Shouting Crow’s Monthly Mega Dungeon Maker notebook to write in, because I can make them as I need them and their ickle size and format means I won’t have a pile of unused journal when/if I crash out of the project. (also their notebook is both basically perfect for my needs and adorable.) There’s a bunch of other takes on Itch and elsewhere, though, as well as boughten journals and just scribbling up your own ~

If I can remember, I may make weekly or at least monthly posts on here about it, or at least take a picture of my scribblings and post it up …