Friday, 3 April 2009

Building the Vaults

OK. So that's the mechanics tacked and wired, physical paraphernalia (minis, battlemats, charsheets, dice, etc.) assembled, players corralled; now what we need is a dungeon to explore and loot. That'd be the eponymous Vaults of Nagoh then.

So what are the Vaults? So far I picture them as a variation on the time-honoured theme of the big-ass mad wizard's hostile underworld megadungeon (tm). You know the type: masonry walls and oaken doors; piles of loot beyond the dreams of avarice; swarms of surly natives looking to kill and eat the puny surface-dwelling interlopers; successive levels of ever greater strangeness and danger; mainly built in the Cyclopean Monolithic and Overblown Gothic styles; and all decorated by someone with a magpie's eye, an unlimited budget, and thousands of freshly-whipped slaves.

The sole aesthetic unifying touch to the Vaults so far: the ceiling will almost invariably be held up with vaulted ceilings. Why?

1. Because vaulting is an efficient load-distribution system
2. It looks cooler than boring old domes or post-and-beam construction (rib- and fan vaulting especially so)

Here's a list of possible names and themes for levels, sub-levels, dungeon features and such for the Vaults. Opinions sought and welcomed.

Major Levels
The Gearworks
The Invert Tower
The Tumbled Halls
The Self-Created Halls
Crypts of the Sacred Blood
Cantonment of the Undefeated
Porphyry Halls of the Mage-King
The Warrens of the Cloaked Heralds
Court of the Resplendent Judge of Harmony

The Seraglio of Silver Masques
Quire of the Screaming Dead
Tomb of the Moonstone King
The Gallery of All Worlds
Reclusium of the Magus
The Sealed Barracks
The Fane of No Gods
The Barren Treasury
The Orbital Palace
The Dread Forges
The Mirror Realms

The Ferris Wheel of Doom
The Stalagmite Mansions
The Ascending Streams
Shimmering Pools of the Ever-Holy
The Grand Vault
The Vortex of Unbeing
The Brazen Gate
The Jotunbrand
Hall of Blind Windows
The Chambers twixt the Walls
Duo-Directional Corridors
The Necrosump
The Lifemill
The Vents

For minor colour and detailing, I'll be borrowing the idea of omnipresent pest holes from Sham, a native trap restocking crew from Amityville Mike, vertical connections between levels from Jeff, and the idea of explorable ventilation shafts from Pat.

What the hey! If I can't do original (*rassa frassa* Harn), I might as well do the best derivative possible.


  1. Sounds good; are you planning on running it whilst you design it? I know some megadungeon theory promotes that idea, and I think it is probably a good one.

  2. So that's where I've been all this time!
    The Necrosump!
    (maybe another spin on the Ferris Wheel of Doom?)

  3. @Matt: That's the plan. I'll draft out the first couple of sections, throw the PCs in, and let a combination of player interest and situations that arise in play (treasure maps, wandering monster roll and so forth) inform which part of the dungeon gets built next.

    @Ragnarokk: I'll just make a note of that. Necrosump - home to tribes of sump-fishing Ragnorkers ;)


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