Chapter 23 - Time for dungeon building
With everything prepared I didn’t wait long to use the mana I had saved up to build the 8th zone. The plan was already set in stone, during the time in which I had collected the mana I created the fundamental idea and started planing out the zone.
The Theme I chose for the 8th one was Time, thus the name “Time machine trials“. To manifest this idea I hollowed out a circular floor, similar to the clocks the gnomes had started to manufacture recently. This is also where the idea for the floor came from, I was mesmerized by the complexity of the small machine and wanted to honor the masterful craftsmanship.
Divided, was the clock-shaped zone, into 12 different sectors, just as visible on most clocks that come from the surface. Those in the depths always had 24 hours or another indicator for am and pm.
In every sector, adventurers would be met with a different kind of challenge. Starting out at number one, they would enter the area through a teleportation pad, which they would also use to again leave the area into the next one.
What was different this time was that not every area had to be completed or even challenged at all. The parties could skip different trials, though this would diminish the loot they got and make the trial guardian even more powerful.
From area 1, between 12 o’clock and 1 o’clock, they would then go through all 12 zones until they arrived at the center of the clock, where they could fight the guardian. Though every area posed a different challenge, in exponentially increasing difficulty.
In area 1 the group had to complete a little crafting themed puzzle I created. In the center of the zone, there would be a 3 by 3 cube, with different metals for each side. The delvers had to order the cube, which I called Rubik’s Cube. Though this was not all, during the completion of the cube it would slowly heat up, the longer the same person held unto the cube.
Adding to this the different sigils on the metal would change each time the cube was given to the next person. So when before the cube consisted of 6 colors, then later these colors could change into 6 different metals or 6 different letters.
The challenge had no time limit, though the cube's heat would rise faster each time it was passed along. So after some time, the group would have to stop playing because the cube got too hot too fast.
Though if they were able to finish the challenge they could continue on to the second area. From the Rubik’s cube area the group would travel to the crafting area.
There the group would have to choose one crafting profession and produce the given product with the tools and ingredients provided. This could range from crafting a high steel sword or cooking a living fireworm steak to developing a magical formation. The possibilities were endless and the delvers would have to put together all their skills in various subjects to complete the challenge.
Once they had finished with the novice crafter area they would continue on into the timed killing challenge. In this area, the delvers had to defeat a certain number of enemies, which awarded points corresponding to their rarity and strength.
The thing was that they only had a limited amount of time to get enough points to continue onwards. Though they could extend the time they had by killing rare monsters. The creatures I used within this zone were completely new to this world and had never before seen this complex.
I got the fundamental idea from the dwarfs and gnomes. A group of them was currently working on creating autonomic constructs that would replace soldiers on the battlefield or crafters in the smithies.
They the development was still in its infancy. This idea ignited a spark of curiosity within me. Through countless nights spend experimenting and crafting I finally had a working construct I could use within my dungeon.
Made out of different metals, stones, crystals, and woods, the construct would be core-blowing expensive for anyone other than me. I got inspiration from various origins. From living armors I got some ideas of how to bind a soul to a tool or machine, the core in the center of the construct came from slimes, elementals, and even myself. Furthermore, the intricate mechanics that were behind the more finetune movements came from different machines developed by the gnomes.
Though I could create an infinite number of different forms out of the base template every creature had some things in common. They all, at least, had one binding core and runes that tethered the body to the soul.
The constructs tier was quite easy to adjust and I could create them in any imaginable form and strength. Though I still only used some of the weakest for the third area. Constructs, ranging from tier 3 to tier 5 could be found within the area and made for a weird view. Especially the moment when they all woke up simultaneously was the creepiest one.
So, when the adventurers were able to kill enough constructs they would continue on into the 4th area, Trivial memory. There the adventurers had to play a game of memory. The group would pick two cards to turn around, on the backside a question would be written down. The answer to this question was the same as for some other question somewhere in the deck of cards.
To complete the area, the group had to pair up all the right cards with each other. An example of a question included in the game, though it was the easiest one, was.
Q1: Which energy is used to cultivate and further one’s Tier?
Q2: To transform steel into high steel, what has to be infused into the metals
The whole game consisted of 100 cards and had no real timer, though cards would return to the playing field, with a changed question, if too much time had gone by between the pairing of cards.
Next on the clock was the 5th area, in this, the team had to complete an obstacle course, though there was a unique twist. Throughout the course, some parts would be impossible to complete, to go further the team had to craft tools or items, that would help them. The group would be provided with various materials, tools, and ingredients to complete their craft and continue forth. Furthermore, the obstacle course would slowly fall apart, and the group had to continue on fast, otherwise, they would be stranded on their little save-area.
Once they completed the craftacle course they would enter another killing sector, the jump and run. In this area, they would be met with various enemies that would be too powerful to defeat.
Construct giants of tier 6 and 7, or hippogriff construct of the same tier would harass the group that entered this area. Though the objective of this area was to simply make it to the end. Through sprinting, parkouring, fainting, and hiding the adventurers would eventually reach the end of the hellscape.
From there they could continue on into the “Escape the room”. They would awake bound in a closed-up room, from which they had to escape before something bad would happen. Through finding clues, solving puzzles, and with trivial knowledge they would be able to escape the room and go on into the next area.
In the speed crafting sector, the 8th one, the team had to craft various simple items. Though they had a tight time limit to work with, and if they weren’t able to continue one piece on time, the next one wouldn’t wait long to have to be built. This would test the team's ability to handle stress and work under the pressure of time, without devolving into a hectic and scrambled mess.
Once they had completed this area, the 9th area, the mirror fight, would await them with open arms, literately. They would stand before a perfect copy of themselves, though still an inorganic construct. The challenge would be to defeat yourself and somehow outplay someone who knows all your future moves and is exactly at your level. Once every team member had defeated their counterpart they would continue on into the 10th area.
Within the Trap room, the group had to maneuver through a trap-filled area to the next area. The key was to use the traps against each other. For example, springing a fire tornado trap that would cause a god’s tear trap, which would quench the blazing storm. I found it to be quite an interesting idea, with a lot of possibilities for everything to go wrong and spring at the same time, devolving into a natural disaster never seen before.
Though if anyone would be able to complete this area they would surely be challenged in the next. In the survival crafting area, every team member had to construct an item assigned to them. Though this time they didn’t have anything to build it with, no tools, no materials, and no place to work on. They had to find their workspace on their own, craft their own tools and find the necessary materials in the wild and dangerous environment provided to the team.
After this area, only one normal one remained, in the 12th sector of the clock the Team would be met with the “Team construct fight”. Here the team would control a single, gigantic construct on their own. One member was responsible for the left arm the other for the right leg, so on so forth. The objective was to defeat the other gigantic construct in a complicated team effort, straining all the teamwork and coordination skills that held the group together.
If a group of adventurers was able to complete every single sector with splendid marks, they only had one more challenge before them. The 5-reality chess. This area would require all the skills they had worked on during the previous 12 trials and strain them to their last.
Withing the vast area, forming a square field, the team would fight against the tier 7 peak, Minor longsnekity construct of misfortune. A long name for a long snake. The construct would not really fight against the team directly, instead of playing as their enemy in a game of realistic 5-D chess.
In this miniature world, and gigantic chess board time was just a feeble word that was thrown around haphazardly. In a game where you could travel back and forth in time or jump into parallel timelines, everything was possible.
More so when the pieces involved actually fought against each other and had their own private lives. The troops had to be supported with food and tools, otherwise, they would be unable to fight and quickly lose their first battle.
Unmotivated armies without low moral would quickly flee the battlefield, in fear of losing their lives for their foolish rulers. Though a battle-hardened and passionate company of soldiers could always march through hellscapes to remain victorious on the battlefield that should have been lost the minute they began.
Though even this might not be enough to defeat the enemy king, the Minor longsnekity construct of misfortune … wow, still looong.
Once the adventurers defeated the king they would come out on top of my newest and strongest 8th zone, only to go and scare me again, not that I ever would do any harm to them … mhmm... Where was I again? Right!!
With my last zone finished I quickly upgraded my last boss, defending my core room. The boss nighthaunt evolved into the tier 8 peak, minor nightwalker. This creature really made it clear why dungeon cores, were clearly vastly more superior to any other race the further they got up in the tier list.
Even just at tier 6, I was able to summon a tier 8 peak creature only through a nice evolution trait and using my slot for the last boss.
Dungeon life surely was a privileged one, if one only go over the first some, very bothersome and scary, tiers!!!