Today marks the first full week of #Dungeon23, with the product to show for it. It was quite an experimental week, as I had no real idea of what I was doing but I figured just power through and doing a room a day will work out for the best. I am so surprised by the final output, actually! I did not particularly set up to create a spooky manor house but that’s certainly what I ended up with as I kept going! Have a look at the map below:
And, of course, there’s a matching key to the map:
Taking these pictures with my phone is a little messy; I may want to do the next one using the scanner to get a more even result.
I’ve been trying out a few different things right from the get-go, which is why the key, handwriting, and pens vary a bit as I go along. I find something charming about capital lettering in places but sometimes it doesn’t quite work out. On top of that, I’ve tried doing some shading with a Promarker but as will be visible in next week’s products, it actually bleeds through the paper significantly! Not to mention that yesterday, the marker really bled through some ink and left a big, ugly stain on the paper. Well, all adds to the charm, I guess!
My biggest challenge right now is writing an actionable key. Specifically, figuring out what makes a make really useful. Right now, it’s more of a scene with some prompts rather than something directly workable. At the same time, I haven’t tried running this, so—who knows? For all I know this gives enough to work with, really. The approach I’ve taken so far is that I want something on paper, and that’s what I’ve achieved. The way I see it is that at some point if I want to run this, I’ll have good groundwork to build on top off.
I’m really surprised by how well a more carefree attitude opens up creativity. I’ve always said that I don’t consider myself a particularly creative person—give me a sheet of blank paper and I will struggle tremendously to put something on there. However, give me a basic prompt and I can riff off of that. Having a much more carefree attitude where I don’t particularly have to put something interesting or good on paper has really opened the door to just get something down, which in turn has so far allowed me to just go with it.
On top of that, while I’ve made dungeon maps with Dungeondraft and have played around a little to draw some things on grid paper, I’ve never approached mapping on paper itself as seriously as I’ve tried right now and that’s quite interesting to see. I wonder how much daily practice will end up helping in learning how to draw. Either way, I’ve already learned some lessons in general:
BE MESSY—As soon as I’d made my first mistake on what I was working on this week, the pressure was off. I felt more free to test things out, be sloppy, and just create things.
DRAW TEXTURED WALLS—I made the walls be just a thick line (using a Pigma Micron size 08) but that starts looking monotonous rather quickly. I want to try out making textured brick-like walls and outlining them starkly.
QUICK PROMPTS IN THE MARGIN ARE COOL—It was just a spur of the moment thing but once I added the first note in the margin, I was hooked. It makes the map look as though somebody annotated it based on experience, and adds a sense of mystery without prescribing something.
GO LIGHT WITH SHADING—I got a Promarker Ice Grey 4 to shade my walls, and boy is it a dark and dominating shade! I used the regular highlighting end first, which created a really deep shadow that felt a little too big. For the next rooms I used the finer tip on the other end to create more gentle accents. Also, it bleeds through the paper of my notebook!
SKETCH THINGS OUT IN PENCIL FIRST—In retrospect this seems quite obvious but I only sketched out a single room in pencil before putting ink to paper. However, once I added the table of random draughts, I realized I wasn’t thinking about the composition as a whole. I realize that I’ll at least need a rough sketch of the map before making individual rooms.
2 thoughts on “#Dungeon 23 – Week 1 Wrap-up”
That’s a great result for the first week! I think you could run this as-is, if you know your group — there’s enough to improvise with.
Thank for the support! Room for improvisation is certainly what I’m going with. One thing I’ve really been enjoying as I’m reading through more OSR adventures (and particularly Necrotic Gnomes’ publications) is that they seem to be a solid set of improv prompts along with the backbone of a story to riff off. Along with using procedural tools to generate interactions, it seems like a really relaxed way to work through something.