The Gygax 75 Challenge Week Three

The Gygax 75 Challenge Week Three

This challenge, popularized by the amazing Ray Otis, is drawn from an article written for Europa, a wargaming newsletter, in April of 1975 by Gary Gygax. You can download Ray’s challenge which includes the text of the original article here:

Ray has put this up as pay what you want, I hope you can donate at least a dollar to him but even if you are not able to please download the PDF as I am not going to reproduce his work here. My weekly entries will make more sense if you read the pamphlet. 

Week Three: The Dungeon

This week is simple, “Draw and stock three levels of your dungeon.” Nothing to it! 

Ray tells us the tasks we should accomplish are:

1. Describe the entrance to the dungeon in 7-10 words. 

2. Create a point-to-point map. 

3. You will draw three levels. For each level, include at least d6+6 rooms/areas and connect them.

4. Include several (say d3+1) ways up and/or down per level.

5. Come up with 1 theme per level.

6. Make a list of about a dozen iconic monsters and place them in rooms/areas.

7. Spread d6 major features  throughout the dungeon.

8. For each room/area, note any treasure.

9. Name three wondrous items and locate them in the dungeon.

10. Spend any remaining theme budget adding detail. 

Extra Credit:

Map out all three levels on graph paper.

The Floating Dungeon

I have stacked the deck a bit in my favor here by using Gristlegrim as my template. You see Gristlegrim consists of six levels, nine 100’ cube shaped rooms to a level. Each level has over 100 rooms that can appear. This way the dungeon is different every time. 

My version won’t be quite as extensive, I’m thinking more of a ziggurat. Say nine rooms on the first floor, four on the second floor and only one on the third floor. Thanks to the special nature of the floating dungeon I have decided to use I’ll modify or even skip some of the tasks that would normally be completed this week. 

The Dungeon Map

The dungeon teleports every 24 hours at sunrise to a different seemingly random city, settlement, or town. The dungeon floats 100 yards (91.44 meters) above the ground. Of course the first challenge is getting to the dungeon!  

There is no need for a point-to-point map. Likewise with themes per level as each room will have a unique theme. No wandering monsters so no need for a list of them or the major features as they will be detailed in each room description. My plan, if this comes to the table, is to have at least three or four times as many rooms as are on each of the lower floors. That would be 27 to 36 rooms for the first floor and 12 to 16 rooms for the second floor. The third floor room will always be the same. 

What I’ll do here is just give the concept for some rooms on each of the lower two floors and for the third floor room.

Ground Level

When the dungeon appears a kiosk also appears on the ground beneath it. This kiosk is staffed by employees of the wizard who will provide transportation to the dungeon if the adventurers can pass certain tests. The adventurers will be able to chose the type of test they take, strength or wits. If the adventurers fail they cannot test again that day. If they pass they will be teleported to the dungeon entrance. Of course if the adventurers have their own way of reaching the dungeon that is also acceptable. 

Dungeon Entrance

This is a small stoop on one side of the dungeon with steps that lead to a pair of 15 foot high double doors. There are no other openings to the ziggurat. The doors are not locked but are heavy and will require a high amount of strength to open. For example if we were playing D&D only a character with an 18 strength or a combination of characters with a total of 18 would be able to move them. When the doors open the party will be met with what appears to be a waterfall, or at least a wall of running water although they cannot tell where the water goes after it reaches the floor. If they walk through the waterfall they will appear in a random level one dungeon room.

Dungeon Level One and Two

I didn’t get the rooms finished but I also didn’t want to be late again so I’ll put them in a separate blog post once I finish them. 

Dungeon Level Three

This is a 100’ square room completely made of what appears to be moon white granite, floor, walls and ceiling. The door the adventurers exit is in the center of one of the walls and will disappear once they come through. Directly across from where they appear near the opposite wall is a six panel Byōbu, a Japanese folding screen. It is covered with scenes of one on one hand to hand combat. If examined closely they will see it is depicting pairs of identical figures fighting. Along the other two walls are racks of weapons, every type of weapon the adventurers have seen, and many they haven’t, are on these racks. There are a number of three foot square granite blocks spread across the floor of the room. 30 seconds after the adventurers enter the room a group of figures come out from behind the Byōbu. These appear to be identical to the adventurers. Half of them exit from each side of the screen. They are mechanically identical to the adventures in every way and equipped exactly as the adventurers were when they entered the room. These doppelgängers will attack and fight to the death, given the chance they will not leave any of the adventurers alive. If the adventurers win as soon as the last doppelgänger is dispatched the surviving adventurers will be teleported on top of the roof of the ziggurat where they will meet the wizard that created the dungeon. The wizard will explain that they are now the champions for their world in the contest.

That is all for this week, next week it will be time to detail a town outside the dungeon. Until that time please be excellent to each other!

2 thoughts on “The Gygax 75 Challenge Week Three

  1. I love the idea of the level 3 room, but I wonder how the players could get a leg up if the enemy is exactly there equal? Could be an interesting challenge, but could also just come down to luck of the dice. Perhaps dropping all your weapons before you enter the space… could be interesting!

    1. Well there are weapons of all types along the walls and if I was playing I would not fight my doppelgänger but would fight someone else’s.

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