Necromancer’s Atlas: The Great Cuttle, Week 1

For context on this, here’s the introductory post on the Dungeon23 project I am participating in, as well as the initial setup for the Great Cuttle megadungeon, a massive living complex floating about in the Inner Swells near the doomed Rainy City.

So, this week’s dungeon level starts off on the main deck of The Nautilus Dove, a wrecked astral galleon floating at the heart of the Wake Fields debris zone above the megadungeon itself. Here it is in all its tiny hand-drawn and handwritten glory:

The Great Cuttle, Week 1, Jan 2-8 2023 – Nautilus Dove node

There’s a couple of organizational and design elements going on here I should comment on. First, I’m still grappling toward what I want to use consistently, but for now, I have used colored pens to denote the level key on the map, mostly to break up all the black and be easier for me to decipher quickly when glancing at this later. I’ve also started playing around with how I am going to quick key the areas for easy indexing and reference later (so, for example, “N-MB-1” stands for “Nautilus” level, “Main Deck” sublevel, and room number). When I start getting into the lower levels, I might switch it up in some way, but, for now, this is what I am trying.

Second, since I had room on the map page, I added in some general details about the level itself, as well as some potential random encounters. The chart includes some atmospheric encounters, but is mostly other folks/creatures/whatnot. I don’t have all the factions of the megadungeon planned out or anything, so I have kept these encounters a bit more surface-level and Rainy City-esque while I figure that out.

Also, I started a Bestiary section in the back of the notebook, here’s a couple creatures from the encounter chart this week, keyed for Into the Odd, of course:

Bestiary entries for Week 1, The Great Cuttle

And, yes, if it wasn’t clear, this wreck is a homage to Spelljammer, one of my favorite TSR D&D settings from back in the day. I’ll probably scrub the serial numbers off a bit more in the future, should this transition to an SNP Rainy City product of some sort, but for now, it’s important to just get shit down.

For the upcoming week, I think I’ll be tackling the Cargo Deck of The Nautilus Dove. At this point, my plan is to connect the ship through this level to the underwater debris level of the Great Cuttle, but I guess we’ll see how the week develops. Maybe I’ll add a Steerage Deck?

Lastly, a brief comment on the whole process.

I largely don’t have a problem sticking to projects on a somewhat regular basis, and so far have had no issues continuing with this. I’m very big on project management at the moment (mostly because my overlapping work lives are busy shitshows that absolutely require organization; you should see the project task lists I built yesterday for finishing up the beta for Alterity and the production files for Rising Waters), so the procedure of breaking down this megadungeon into 365 distinct parts works for me.

My main issue so far is the Hobonichi Techno planner I am using. One of my many minor nerddoms is the notebook/planner/pen axis, so Sean McCoy putting this one on my desk, so to speak, is great.


It is very small, and the paper is very thin. While I have no issues working at the scale of this on this kind of paper, my natural design instinct is to rebel against simplicity and embrace complexity. In other words, I want more space, damnit!

Part of me is also thinking about the future of it (an important consideration here at the Press), and wondering if it wouldn’t be better to put this in something like a Canson XL Mix Media sketchbook, so I don’t have to redraw everything later.

For now, I’m not making a change or anything (keep it simple, as Sean has repeatedly said), but, we’ll see.

See you next week!

Addendum: 01/15/23

Here’s the write ups for the rooms above, so you don’t have to try and read my minuscule writing.

General Details

  • No normal ship features (i.e., rudder, ships wheel, sails & mast, etc)
  • Made of curious hardwood, uses sigils in place of nails or joins
  • Ghostly faces in the waters around the ship
  • In the Unseen, a faint astral bubble or barrier around the whole ship, spirits cannot pass it willingly
  • Upon examination, it is clear the ship is resting on something, and not free floating.
  • Treatise: A petty grimoire entitled On Phlogiston
    • Largely on the properties and practical applications of “void substances”
    • Two spells:
      • Simeon’s Soul Wave
      • Sardar’s Scintillaic Solipsism

Random Encounters (d6)

  1. Bedraggled, Raving Pirate (Old Silver Seasalt of the Danger), abandoned by crew, desperate for safe passage
  2. Two Slime Serpents, coiled together
  3. Wrecker Wing, gull scavenger, resting after long flight, looking for loot (8 hp, d6 claws), might have some loot
  4. Ghostly Moans echo from everywhere & nowhere (in the Unseen, nothing?)
  5. A Star Squid Spectre, roaming & confused
  6. Motes of Stardust coruscating in the air, making subtle tones


  • Nix
    • Reanimated corpse of someone who drowned in the sea; pale blue skin, black eyes, swollen & disfigured, covered in seaweed
    • STR 16, WIL 12, HP 10
    • Driven by bloodlust and greed
    • Hates those who steal riches from it, attacks w/ powerful, raking claws (d10 damage), able to sink into the ground or through solid matter if in danger of being destroyed
  • Slime Serpent
    • Gray water snake oozing black and purple pus, large fangs
    • STR 8, DEX 12, WIL 6, HP 6
    • Driven to defend itself
    • Attacks w/ quick bite (d6 damage, on Critical Damage, injects coagulating poison that hardens flesh until limb crumbles off)
  • Star Squid Spectre
    • Immaterial humanoid w/ kraken for head, hands gnarled, wearing tattered sailor’s kit, deep black void dripping from hands & mouth
    • STR 12, WIL 13, HP 6
    • Driven by intolerance
    • Shoots out inky black tentacles from void, piercing brain for d8 damage, on Critical Damage, suffer intense agony for d6 WIL

N-MD-1: Stern Castle

  • Massive catapult, missing a wheel, tension rope rotted & frayed; shot balls (6) covered in glowing sigils (faint)
  • Loose debris everywhere
  • Large opaque, crystalline dome lashed to the deck w/ ropes, now loose; it extends through the deck
  • ↓ Rickety stairs down to 2

N-MN-2: Main Deck

  • → Knotted rope on port side
  • → Large chunk bitten (?) out of port side, exposing cargo deck
  • ↑ Door, spiked, to 4
  • ↑ Stairs up to 1, down to CD-2
  • Cargo doors covered in green, spiky coral (sting on contact for d6 DEX loss)
  • ↓ Door to 7, stairs up to 3, stairs down to CD-5

N-MD-3: Forecastle

  • ↑ Stairs down to 2
  • ↓ Frayed rope ladders to front forecastle & the anchorhead ram
  • Sun symbol carved into deck; standing on it, one can hear faint murmuring as if hearing a far off conversation (In the Unseen, frayed tentacles whipping in a fake wind

N-MD-4: Navigation

  • Solid crystalline astral helm in middle of room, is part of the opaque dome above in 1; dead body sits in it, a mummified husk
  • An undead Nix is trapped here; will shamble out from corridor if door unspiked
  • ↑ Door to 5 & 6, locked
  • ← Navigator’s chest, bashed but still locked: 40s and treatise (On Phlogiston)

N-MD-5: Navigator’s Quarters

  • ↓ Unkempt bed covered in spindly, orange sea fungus (if eaten, STR save or take d4 DEX damage)
  • ← Small wooden desk, several gouges in desktop
    • Drawer jammed, has a knife w/ pommel of ivory carved as an octopus
  • ↑ Window, glass broken

N-MD-6: Crystal Vault

  • Shelves of sparkling space crystals & small rocks from interstellar asteroids
    • Used to power helm in 4
  • Debris all over, broken shelves, the very air glitters (WIL save or hallucinate astral phenomena overlaying the physical world for 1 hour)

N-MD-7: Captain’s Quarters

  • Contents smashed, except for bed in → corner, which is covered in brown mold (harmless)
  • ↓ Debris in corner has a large crystal shard buried beneath (worth 75s)
  • Floor smashed open in center of room, leads down to CD-5

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