Saturday, June 20, 2020
Welcome To My Process (part 2)
Hello again! We continue on the path of adventure writing. If you're confused, start here.
The beauty, and perhaps frustration, is that there's no right answer as to where we go next. So many things may be clamoring for our attention. You just have to pick something and move forward in that direction.
Personally, I wanted to get a better handle on the look and feel of the dungeon. What is it? Where is it? Why is it? That sort of thing.
This is going to be some kind of extra-planar temple between dimensions. Therefore, it needs to have a special appearance. In my opinion, standard square and rectangular rooms separated by corridors just won't do.
Since this will relate to the scenario Dead God Excavation, why not the interior of a deceased Old One? I started sketching out the shell of a rather amorphous creature with tentacles. Eventually, I'll send this out to a professional cartographer as a reference so he knows the kind of thing I'm after. And one day, I hope, my original drawing inspiring the final version will be worth thousands of dollars in 20+ years. That means keep your originals!
I'm not the best cartographer, but there are literally dozens of useful map drawing tutorials all over the internet. Or just study the map makers you love. I've picked up a few tricks from my friend and former collaborator Glynn Seal of MonkeyBlood Design.
As I drew, I tried to think of a few adventure details. Such as, what was this particular dead god called? And how does any of what I'm drawing relate to the title which was my last piece of the puzzle?
In fact, that's a good way of looking at my process. I'm just putting puzzle pieces together until I have a whole. It's difficult at first, with so many blank spots needing to be filled in. It gets easier as the puzzle nears completion.
As you can see from the picture, the Old One is (or was) named Tsuma'al. That word Tsuma'al was just something I came up with. The root may have come from Tsalal from Thomas Ligotti's weird short stories.
So, is Tsuma'al just a dead shell and nothing more... still alive but asleep, waiting to rise? I'll have to think about it. At the end of the day, whatever makes the adventure more fun and interesting is the right answer.
The darker bits are obstructions, perhaps fossilized organs or skeletal fragments that haven't disintegrated yet. The last bits I added were zoth pools and streams that PCs will have to cross or wade through.
What is zoth? It's the blood of Great Old Ones. Zoth is a glowing chartreuse ichor that enhances sorcery, magic items, and can be used as alchemist's fire. It's powerful, but also hazardous to the touch. Yes, the Cha'alt connection grows...
Next, I'll probably detail what kind of encounters this dungeon will contain, what's currently going on in this weird planar temple and how will the PCs' involvement introduce complications. I shall let ideas from the title, Slime Green Concubines of the Blood-Splattered Queen, percolate.
Stay tuned for part 3 either tomorrow or the next day!