Thursday, March 1, 2018

Annihilation and the Dungeoncrawl

Some relatively non-spoilery ways I think the movie adaptation of Annihilation could inform dungeoncrawls:

1. Relatively mundane creatures with an odd twist can create atmosphere, but also a more interesting threat.
2. Oddly behaving things can create a sense of menace without actually doing anything hostile.
3. Dressing a locale is important. The details don't have to be extensive, but they should set the adventuring environment apart from mundane environments.
4. Even a map-able/navigable terrain can be made to feel disorienting or untrustworthy.
5. The terrain itself may be toxic to the visitor. (Operation Unfathomable already points in this direction, as no doubt others have.)
6. The remains and things left behind by those who went before can provide useful clues, but also add to a sense of dread.

My previous posts on Roadside Picnic-inspired elements might be helpful here, too.


Gus L said...

I was just finishing Authority the other day and thinking how much the Southern Reach would make a good weird hex crawl. I agree with your lessons learned here as well. Its definitely a rich set of books to mine for weird exploration type adventures.

I'd want A) Mental Mutation system like 'SAN' CC, but more about being subsumed by the place and its needs coupled with a lot of Stat effecting elements B) No escape - but replacement PCs (you can leave, but that just creates a clone of your adventurer on the outside that remembers less and slowly recovers from the mental and physical scars of the Reach) C) Sandbox based on maps of some bit of the American gulf Coast - with abandoned amusement park and towns (some inhabited still as an in wilderness base)in addition to topographical anomalies.

I think it'd be a fun odd setting - very much the line between the mythical 'underworld' and real world sort of thing.

Anne said...

Your two posts on zonal anomalies and zonal aberrations are two of my favorites.

Trey said...

@Gus L - That sounds like a good setup!
@Anne - Thanks! One of these days Hydra is going to publish an expanded version of those.