Classic Fantasy Scrawl: A Dungeon Crawl
A Serialized Dungeon Crawl

Scrawl, a serialized dungeon crawl has been a concept that I have been toying with, more like craving for some time. Its goal is the union between classic dungeon crawl in the old-school manner, solo-adventuring and writing. In the fantasy genre there is very little work devoted to the classic dungeon crawl. Except perhaps the classic “Dragonlance” there is not a serialized or novelized craving that we all have, that of simply grabbing a weapon arming yourself and diving into the depths.

I began scrawl as soley a literary exercise in serialized format without using any solo rpg elements. My brain seemed to grab at straws and I could not think of things. Rather than use deep individual characters for the adventure, archetypes rose from the cauldron. Rather than Conan, or even Warrior, Shield came into being- the archetypal defender of the group. Rather than Merlyn, or Wizard, Spell weaved herself into the adventure. The same was true for Pots (the alchemist if not cook, or Pick (our resident rogue). These archetypes appeared more like equipment, assets, or skills to the supreme character- The Company or The Band.

Not sure why it turned out that way, it just did.

After finding, I finally found an element that could serve as the dungeon crawl GM that I had so long craved. With this I have a dungeon, I have chaos and I have a Mythic/Fudge system that I use to define each archetypes abilities- with the help of the USR game system.

What I did was I used the stats of USR, the descriptions of Mythic, moving success or failure like I would FUDGE. Finally threw in some advantages and drawbacks until this is what the characters looked like:

Action: Very Likely
Wit: Somewhat Unlikely
Ego: Unlikely
If Defending the Company +1

Action: Very Unlikely
Wit: Sure Thing (but Zaps)
Ego: Somewhat Unlikely
Mind to Mind +1

Action: Likely
Wit: Very Likely But... (things explode)
Ego: 50/50
Destroying not creating +1

Action: Likely
Wit: Very Likely
Ego: Slightly Unlikely
Unbeknownst +1

So without delay let us start THE CRAWL!

The Band find themselves in...

Stony quarry.

Blocks of stone surrounded the adventurers, unsure why EVIL had brought them here, the four find a carved out network of stone before them. This stone fortress was created by

Liberal tradesman who is as strong as you and whose motivation is to publicize ghosts, process the poor, and accompany deprivation; who speaks of hostile records and is focused on your current story.

Setting is polluted school involving very high quality cloak and very high quality potion.


Develop / Status quo.

Officially / Amusing.

The stone fortress was created by a lost sect, a scholarly school of mages, hermits really, plotting in the dark arts, wishing to find the lost meaning of some forgotten reality-altering language. Their arts brought them to ruin as the corruption sought to take them over. How do we know this? Via a local trademan the Friar who sold the information to Pick in exchange for getting a rival's room open (and thus robbing him). Pick and The Band considered it hearsay until, behold here is the abandoned place of much...

So the band is here, exactly why did EVIL put them here?

Alert the elf ranger at the magical grotto.

Liberate the half-orc vagrant from the sprawling road.

Ruin / Joy.

Threateningly / Enormous.

The Company has been 'hired' by EVIL to Liberate the HIDDEN, whoever that is and this could spell the difference between ruin and joy, a threatening, enormous task- considering the adventurers have not been told what the HIDDEN is.

Dangit lets open the door...



Carry / Pleasures.

Angrily / Graceful.


Spell book.

Excellent crystal lens.

There was no door open except for a few rocks, which Pots, with his uncanny ability to destroy was able to blow up. Shield moved other things in their path.

Beyond was a shimmering purple corridor, lightless except for a slight glow rune which Spell could light the corridor with

Spell Failure, always a chance of that?

(Sure Thing | 7[d10]) Yes.

The spell succeeds, and the party discovers that the purple corridor. Where the outside was dull and lifeless rock the inside was polished crystals, some elements even glowing precious.

"Damn we could just make a fortune, just in this place," wondered Pick, realizing that may have been the reason for the FRIAR giving up the information. Then again what was in this place that they little conning runt would give up this information?

"We are not here for profit, we are here to rescue THE HIDDEN." Shield retorted his eyes continuing in the darkness.

"But what is that..." Spell was about to say, her almond eyes on the walls of the corridor, her runes of light cascading and bouncing off the walls. Scenes of portals, humanoids in nude bodies emanating from these engravings and portals shined in the darkness. "These mages had become hedonists, addicted to the very ecstacy of their magic, Surely they must have been seduced by someone, or something"

"Hmm, Cerelene Crystal," Pots whispered to himself, realizing why his companions spent so much time talking and gossiping in hostile territory. "It is highly highly explosive..."

"Did you say explosive!" Pick almost shouted before Shield motioned for silence.

The Crystaline Hall continues to

Corridor comes to a T.

1 = 1[d4]

The corridor comes to a T 10 feet wide

Short sword.

A short sword lies on the ground, including other weapons of various sizes. Do they appear old?

(Likely | 7[d10]) Yes.

Yes they are old broken, signs of violence?

(Very Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

Yes and with things of value, they are....


As the Company moves to the landing they find throwing stars (I know not morning stars but they do need more projectile weapons) which Pick picks up (thus her name) and moves on.

Is there any indication of which way they should go?

(50/50 | 3[d10]) No.

Does Shield or Pick hear anything, get a feeling, get some information on which way to go

Pick's very likely + Spells Wisdom = Sure thing so...

(Sure Thing | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

Yes there is evidence of going to the Yes west no east

(50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes.

The evidence is brought by (take three)

NPC Action.


A burden.

Friar indicated that he had tried going to the eastern tunnel, but there was a cave-in which could cause some serious harm. According to the street peddlar (his day job) the western corridor 'smelled' safer

Corridor dead-ends at a door.

Door trapped?

(Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

The Band after going twenty feet come to a dead end which is actually a secret door. But can Pick see it?

(Somewhat Likely | 6[d10]) Yes.

Unbenownst to the Company, Pick was able to detect something wrong in the crystal, there were sharp lines more barbaric and pronounced than the others.


It was not a skill of thieving that she used but rather simple navigation, a cave in no one would waste time creating a T, unless there was something hidden.

But can she open it?

(Very Likely | 8[d10]) Yes. +Event: Betray / Success

Pick worked with the opening, seeing the lines the cut drawn white on the crystal. She noticed nubs that were smoother as Spell's hovering runes, like fireflies, revealed some crystal to be worn more smooth than others.

"Its a rune tablet." Spell commented as Pick pointed it out to her. "You must draw the correct rune in the correct manner."

Spell crouched, seeing the surrounding symbols that spelled out.

Debase / War.

Gently / Dirty.

"Dirty Gentleness," Spell frowned, wondering why the parabola of dirty or soiled was joined with gentleness. "Why Soiled?" She asked no one in particular.

"Soiled?" Pots remarked. "Its a trap if you don't Soil your finger to make the mark, Combustists use it all the time to mark locks, the floor is filled with the green stuff. Infact..."

Pots also crouched to look at the tablet, Shield becoming nervous that something would sneak out of the stone itself. The cave-in just did not see right to him.

"Yes the tablet is rough, sandy, it wants to make a spark, be most careful!"

Unbetrayed by the tablet, Spell moistened her finger, dipped in the green powder on the floor and wrote the symbol for gentleness in THE DELICATE LANGUAGE.

The click occurs, the door opens, rolling on hidden pillars smoothly.

"And this was only the entrance?" Pick mentioned.

Rectangle 30 to 50 ft.

Square 25 ft.

Silent mill.

Wealthy maze.

Is the room occupied?

(Unlikely | 1[d10]) No, and...

Wow, what is worse than being occupied?


Worse than being occupied? BEING CAREFUL. The machinery may be trapped or suck them in or cough on fumes. this room is a danger to the Band.

Is it that the machinery turns on, and kicks up dust and debris and hurts chokes the group?

(Sure Thing | 8[d10]) Yes.


The Company entered the room 50 by 30 feet. No longer were the rooms polished or enchanted to a decorated shine. This room was for brute force. For primitive machinery, five stone mills, like giant spools stood as pillars at the corners and center. The Mill at the center was almost twice as wide as its siblings, nearly ten feet in diameter. The two spools of the main column nearly met, leaving a small space. Shield walked in first his fists clenched, his armor dull in the dusty air. Pots moved in next, followed by Spell. Pick appeared to hesitate. Something tingled in the crystals, but worse something didn't sound right. It was not the crystals that had tingled it was her ears."

"Guys," she mused. "I don't think we should have really gone in like that..."

Shield turned, Spell's fingers turned ready to release vengeance. Pot hesitated and reached for his satchel.

The sound of the door opening had never dissipated, it simply dropped to levels that could be ignored by those ignorant of their surroundings. And the Company was ignorant, except one.
I just wanted to tell Mark, the forum, gamers, writers, the planet exactly how much satisfaction two hours of playing with RPGsolo has brought me. For YEARS I have looked for a way of combining these two elements, I have never gotten this close or this good.

This was a playtest, no doubt. And I have playtested many games in the past, noting and modifying various things. After plugging in Corridor, Open Door, Room, and Exits; everything worked seamlessly. If one word did not work I simply pressed another button and inspiration would bloom. All I would ask if possible, and this is not even necessary, is more custom buttons. But then again if I were to do that, my imagination would get lazy and what fun would that be?

Thanks Mark for a wonderful product and I have alerted my community of online gamers to this very thread. When I encounter something great, I spread the word!
Your idea of A Serialized Dungeon Crawl (SCRAWL) is very clever and I enjoyed your story. Thank you for sharing. And I will consider adding more custom buttons.

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