The Black Orifice

Tabletop gaming resources and events from grumpy old games designers, Ben Redmond and Nigel McClelland

Dungeon Slam Design Blog

Setting Background

A look at the setting background for Dungeon Slam.

This has perhaps been one of the easiest articles to write - everything that follows is an extract from the rulebook, looking at the four sponsors and their initial adventuring parties.

It has been forty years since the Final War, and peace has, largely, reigned. The demonic empire of Hydarac was defeated and its masters banished to the Other Realm. Now the free peoples of the Twin Lands live in peace and prosperity, and the power of magic has been turned away from the tools of war to developing technologies to make life easier, and to entertain the masses.

Scrying mirrors have become cheaper and cheaper and are now present in almost every household, with wizarding towers casting entertainment shows across the Lands. Dramas, news, live entertainment shows have all become popular. But the greatest show of all is Dungeon Slam.

Old timers remember the days before the war, where brave adventurers would wander into a town, find out about the orcs, goblins, undead or other creatures terrorising the village from a nearby ruins, and go on a rampage through the dungeons, slaying the evil creatures and collecting both the treasure and a reward from the saved townsfolk. Dungeon Slam was started as a sports show (a somewhat bloodthirsty sport, admittedly) to appeal to this older generation, but the new generation, and especially their children, have grown enamoured of these heroic adventurers and Dungeon Slam has become the highest rated show on the mirror-cast.

The format of Dungeon Slam is simple, two competing teams of adventurers (referred to as "parties" in the show) are sent into a dungeon, populated with captured beasts and other creatures, traps and other hazards. They must fight their way through the dungeon and its dangers, and each other, to claim the biggest amount of treasure by the end of the show.

It is a fast paced, brutal and bloody spectacle, but one that is lapped up every week by millions. The winning Parties have become wealthy celebrities, adored by hundreds. Many viewers are dedicated fans of a particular party, chosen for their representation of a local town, a favourite adventurer or a particular style of their approach. Commentators are made up of retired Clash adventurers, and even some older "true adventurers" who were delving into dungeons before Clash existed.

Sponsors

As the sport of Dungeon Slam has grown, several wealthy organisations have invested in sponsoring adventuring parties to raise their profile and gain new customers, sharing in the wealth of the sport. Over the years, four sponsors have become dominant in the sport, retaining stables of parties and training up new blood ready for the arena.

Green Dragon Inns

Green Dragon Inns LogoThe Green Dragon Inn Corporation is the largest chain of inns and taverns in all the lands, specialising in cheap, fast wholesome food for families to enjoy. As a result, they favour wholesome, family-oriented entertainment, sponsoring parties known for their honest and sportsmanlike conduct in the Slam arena.

Play Style: Green Dragon parties favour a fast approach to a dungeon run, favouring close combat weapons and racing to be the first to reach the arena and slay the boss in dramatic, crowd-pleasing fashion.

Questing Heroes

The Questing Heroes are the highest paid if not highest ranking, party in Dungeon Slam currently. They style themselves as the adventurers' adventurers, with highly specialised individuals who have their own dedicated roles in the party.

Power Potion

Power Potion LogoPower Potion is an brand of alchemical potion marketed as a performance-enhancing lifestyle beverage. The secret alchemical formula is popular with teens and young adults, as is Dungeon Slam. The sponsorship of adventuring parties was a marriage made in heaven for Power Potion, who were unheard of as a brand a decade ago. Now they are a premier brand in their market place and one of the top sponsors of Dungeon Slam.

Play Style: Power Potion parties tend to favour close combat over ranged. Their audience prefers long drawn-out fights, so their adventurers tend to specialise in controlling the brawl and showboating rather than smashing their opponents into the dirt.

Citadel Crew

Agent White styles himself a secret agent from the mythical Grey Citadel. His crew has an unusual approach to the standard party mix, with a spellcasting hunter, a mechanica artillerist with no magical power to call upon, and a half-orc quartermaster who deals more damage with his giant scythe than he ever heals. However, the lynchpin of the party, and the fan-favourite amongst Power Potion supporters, is Rufus, a defensive impenetrable wall who keeps his companions safe and embodying the perfection that Power Potion is trying to sell.

Westerlands Universities Trust

Westerlands Universities LogoIn the early days, Dungeon Sam was sponsored by all the different wizarding colleges and universities, with each institution competing against each other. As other institutions with greater financial clout started to involve themselves in the sport, the universities started to find themselves being side-lined and unable to compete. In response the universities of the Westerlands united and formed a trust to manage their combined stables. Now they are the only university presence still active within Dungeon Slam. Their brand harkens to the tradition of the sport, and they are famed for their ability to find and recruit the newest star adventurers of the sport.

Play Style: The Trust favours a careful, methodical approach and coaches this into their parties. As such they prefer ranged combat over the brutal proximity of the melee. University parties use research and investigation to help them where possible, and place a high value on the clues that are seeded in the various chests around the dungeon.

Jericho's Company

Jericho is unusual amongst Westerlands prodigies in that he has stayed loyal to the Trust rather than being picked off by organisations with greater financial clout. Unfortunately, his championship-winning companions were not as loyal and so he now finds himself having to rebuild his party. In classic Westerlands style, though, he is finding efficient specialists to fill the various roles in his party.

Ythilic Investments

Ythilic Investments LogoLittle is known about the shadowy Ythilic Investments Corporation. One of the largest banking institutions in the world, they have their fingers in many varied, and powerful, pies. With deep influence throughout the world, they are feared as much as they are respected. However, it is their total secrecy that perhaps gives greatest cause for concern—no one knows who leads the corporation or what their ultimate agenda might be. As a result, their presence in Dungeon Slam is as much an enigma as everything about them.

Play Style: As a sponsor, Ythilic Investments seems to favour parties that can look after themselves and show independence in their approach to the dungeon. This tends to favour parties with a good ranged output, but also those who don't waste resources on defensive tech.

The Misfits

The misfits are so called because they are formed from a group of mavericks and kick-outs from other parties. Led, to a limited extend given their independent approach to the Slam, by the angry witch Pariya, they focus their attention on the opposing team and do their best to take them down as quickly as possible.