Uncle Dungeoning Ma’att – #5 Shadowhome


Nephew, I received your last letter and must admit that your defense of Dungeon Land dogma is most distubring to me, as I believed you, among all my relatives, to be the most open minded and willing to consider the possibilities. Common wisdom states that dungeons spring forth from the land wholly formed and ready for exploration by adventurers, but surely The Wizard’s Sleeve is the best evidence I’ve presented so far that this is not the case. How could a structure so obviously artificial in form be a randomly generated by nature?


I stand by my belief that dungeons are not the result of the gods doodling shapes and crosshatches on pieces of paper. There is a human element to their design and your rejection of this notion has only inspired me on to greater heights of evidence to save you from ignorance. To that end, I have put Ferguson to task to find me an actual inhabited dungeon. He repeated the doggerel about dungeons appearing only as adventurers need them, but when pressed admitted that he knew of a dungeon that was located directly under an inhabited city and even incorporated parts of the city’s construction into its matrix.


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Shadowhome, PDF


The city of Mondoport is larger than any I have yet scene with my own eyes. Ships come and go at all hours of the day for ports of call the world over (some I know to be land-bound, but when this was pointed out to the captains of the ships bound for these destination, they merely stared blankly at me for a moment before muttering something along the lines of “that must be in the newer version of the handbook” and walking away). The streets are teeming with peoples of all sizes and colors.


My distraction was broken only when Ferguson struck an urchin, sending the dirty faced youth sprawling across the ground. I heard the sound of coins and noted that a purse in the child’s hand had partially dumped its contents on the ground; it was my purse. I looked at Ferguson with rage. This child was attempting to return my dropped purse and got a cuff for his efforts. I was about to give him a piece of my mind for his callousness, but he stopped me by grabbing my cloak roughly and hoisting me to my feet. His other hand was drawing his weapon; seeing this I closed my mouth.


We hurried along wooden alleys and crooked back streets. Once or twice, we were noticed by the wrong sort and I thought there would be trouble, but one glint off of Ferguson’s drawn sword was all the toll we needed to pay.

Soon we found ourselves outside of a run-down, two story inn. A pair of gaudily made-up ladies sat on barrels out front, they ignored us as we went inside. The innkeeper was a grubby, overweight fellow cast from the same mold as all innkeeps the world over. He stared at Ferguson who responded with only one word.



The innkeep’s eyebrow raised the slightest amount but he didn’t move. Ferguson flipped a silver coin to him. This brought him to life, and he checked the windows before moving us up the hall toward the kitchen. Halfway there, he pushed on a knothole on the crumbling paneling of the hallway and a hatch clicked open. A pair of wooden stairs led down into the darkness.


I lit my lantern. “What’s down there?” I asked.


“Shadowhome,” the innkeep replied. “Crime guild headquarters.”


“So it existed before the adventurers came?”


The innkeep merely shrugged.


“Was there a crime guild before the adventurers came?”


Another shrug. I looked at him for a moment, but his placid bovine expression began to infuriate me, so I headed down the stairs.


The room we came out into was about half the size of the inn’s main hall and similarly decorated with tables and chairs. The furniture was greatly damaged, and I spied broken shards fo mug and gambling tokens among the debris. A heavy wood door on the opposite side of the room lay halfway across the frame, ripped off of its hinges. From the hallway beyond I could hear running water.


There were two rooms beyond this one, both occupied by tables behind walls with curious barred windows. A lower, damper tunnel sloped down to our right and led us to a slowly moving, murky channel. The smell was horriffic, and, although I was convinced the area we were in was completely man-made, I couldn’t help but wonder who would choose to make a dwelling down here, criminal enterprise or no.


We crossed with the convenience of a narrow board bridge which scarcely held our weight above the sludgy stream. As we made our way down the narrow ledges on either side of the tunnel, we passed doors which were heavily fortified except for narrow slots at just about hip height. When I asked Ferguson about them, he simply replied, “crossbows.”

I squatted down with my lantern and squinted through the slots. I could see a darkened hallway, barred cell doors, and a stairwell leading upwards to the street level. It was clear this entrance to the dungeon was restricted, but what purpose it served I couldn’t guess.


Eventually, we came to a larger entryway leading into a wide hall. Holes in the ceiling brought a fresh, welcome breeze into the sewer, all but removing the stench of the channel behind us as we entered the hall. Darkly colored tapestries hung from the walls, and stalls and carts lined the large rooms that branched off of it. There were no goods left to be claimed, but I had no difficulty imagining the large market that once throve here.


At the rear of the hall a large kiosk once stood. It was now broken and burned, exposing the door in the wall behind it. I expected offices, but what I found instead was a large room of the type used for pugilism classes, with reed-lined floors and wooden dummies for weapons practice. Whatever this criminal agency was doing here, it included combat training.


“Well?” I asked.


“Well what?” Ferguson replied with his usual dismissive tone.


“This is a dungeon, right?”


“Aye,” Ferguson agreed. “And a right fighty one too, I imagine.”


“But it was clearly built by the people who were using it.”


“Or, they weren’t real people and they were monsters created along with the dungeon.”


Which lead me to understanding your position, nephew. If everyone believes that dungeons simply appear the week before an adventuring group decides to go adventuring, then no evidence to the contrary will suffice. Still, I will continue on my purpose if for no other reason than to prove myself right in the end.

All Dungeoning Ma'att posts

Uncle Dungeoning Ma’att – #0 Intro

Uncle Dungeoning Ma’att – #1 The Temple of Shadow

Uncle Dungeoning Ma’att – #2 The Green Ravine

Uncle Dungeoning Ma’att – #3 The Wizard’s Sleeve

Uncle Dungeoning Ma’att – #4 The Marsh Mines

Uncle Dungeoning Ma’att – #5 Shadowhome

Uncle Dungeoning Ma’att – #6 The Nu Chi Compound

Uncle Dungeoning Ma’att – #7 The Haunted Cistern

Uncle Dungeoning Ma’att – #8 Bridgebelly

Uncle Dungeoning Ma’att – #9 Sturdyrock

Uncle Dungeoning Ma’att – #10 Molotok, the Demon Forge

Uncle Dungeoning Ma’att – #11 Agaricus, Lair of the Ants

Uncle Dungeoning Ma’att – #12 The Warren

Uncle Dungeoning Ma’att – #13 The City of the Dead

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