When a new dungeon is located and reported to a local adventurers' guild, this information is then passed on to a professional, high-level inspection team. Two of these teams are present in every major city. A primary and a secondary team.

Dungeon inspectors go out to inspect newly formed dungeons, in order to assess their feasibility as an economic boon for the region, as well as to identify any threats that are posed to the general population of their cities by said new dungeons.

If the inspection team deems the dungeon to be a threat, they are to destroy it immediately if possible. Should the dungeon be too strong by the time it is found to be neutralized by the inspectors, they are to retreat in order to call in a professional destruction team from the central-authority.

Dungeon inspectors must be ever vigilant, careful and extremely curious in their nature in order to succeed at their jobs.


~A handbook on the life-cycle of dungeons



“Level?” asks the human man, standing in the ankle-high water of floor one and writing into his ledger.


The orc, her leg outstretched, stares in boredom as the slime nibbles on it, entirely ineffectively, because of her armor.


“One,” she says, kicking her leg. The slime flies off, splatting against the wall and sliding down back into the water, defeated.




“None,” replies the dwarf.




The caster, the human woman, swings a finger through the misty, damp air, flowing down from the bridge above. “Surprisingly refreshing.”


The man scribbles into his ledger, not bothering to look up as he walks further past the gargoyles. The statues begin to crumble, coming to life right next to him as he walks past them. But he doesn’t spare them a glance, as the fighter gargoyle lifts its sword.


The gargoyles freeze, as some sort of magic spell encapsulates them, flowing around their shapes. Everything inside of the area affected by the spell shakes and the gargoyles crash into each other, crumbling apart into a heap of indiscriminate rubble.


The man heads towards floor two, not having taken even a moment to watch the destruction that was caused by the caster behind himself.



“I like the design,” says the elven priest, looking around from the bridge at the many large faces carved into the walls. He leans over, looking back down towards floor one below and then lifting his gaze to floor three above, to look at the grates in the ceiling. “It looks like all of the floors have access to each other.”


“For ambushers?” asks the caster, wiggling her fingers and causing the water on the bridge to shake and bubble up, together with the six slimes who don’t stand a chance. “Like, they’ll drop down from above after you clear the floor and get you from behind?”


That wasn't actually the idea, but Isaiah makes a mental note. It's a great one.


“Hmm…” says the priest, not having an answer.


“Chest,” says the dwarf, opening it and looking inside. “No traps.” She pulls out a small statuette of a praying priestess. “Cute. But not useful. Looks like standard low-level junk loot,” she says, tucking the statue into his bag.


(Normal){Junk}[Praying Statuette]
A small figurine of a priestess. Her hands are locked in prayer.
Weight: 0.92 kg Value: 006 Obols


The five of them head up to floor three.



~ [Rorate] ~


Rorate clears her throat. “Welcome,” she says in a deep voice, spreading out her arms wide.


No, no, that didn’t sound right.


She shakes her head, slapping her cheeks and rolling her shoulders to loosen up as she tries again. “— Welcome, friends, to- ”


She stops. ‘Friends’? Is that a good word to use in this context? Maybe she should say something like ‘strangers’? Or maybe something more on-topic. ‘Worshippers?’ Hmm…


Loud footsteps come up her way and she nods to the strange, red ball of light who had warned her of the people coming. It flies away, before it can be seen.


Rorate stands there before the altar on floor three. A stream of water runs down behind herself, soaking the altar and the stone floors.


— Does she look okay?


The dark-elf looks down at her robe. It looks fine, right? She doesn’t look weird, does she? Man. This is confusing. Should she wear her hood? Her robe has a hood. Would that look more… priestessy? Maybe it will make her appear more professional? She wants to get this right, after all. This is the first time that she's had a real task here.


Rorate grabs her hood, pulling it up and then slides her hands together, beneath the opposite sleeves in front of herself, just as the strangers walk up the stairs.




“Optional,” says the priest, looking at the spirits flying near the ceiling of the room. The orc lets out an annoyed tsk.


“Early sub-boss?”


“Maybe,” replies the priest. The five of them stop, looking at the figure standing before the altar.


Rorate holds out her arms to her sides. “Welcome,” says the dark-elf in a low, somber voice. “Have you come to join in prayer?”


“Fakes,” notes the man with the ledger, walking on ahead and sounding very bored. “Looks like others have been here already, if the core knows about homunculi.”


“Some villagers from the area?” asks the caster.


“Probably,” replies the man, not slowing down. “We'll stop by on the way back home.”


Rorate blinks. ‘Fakes’? Do they think she's not a real person? Maybe the hood was too much after all… Should she say something?


“Interesting layout,” notes the elven priest, walking through the pews. He looks at Rorate, tilting his head. “Do you think it's parasitic?”


“Possible,” replies the caster.


The priest nods, standing before Rorate. “I’d like to pray.”


Rorate blinks, her face hidden beneath her hood.


She wasn’t actually prepared for this.


How is she supposed to pray with another person? She barely knows how to pray herself. Oh gods. The dark-elf’s eyes nervously shift around the floor. She’s blowing it, isn’t she?


Isaiah is probably watching right now, judging her for her failures, isn’t it?


Oh gods!


Rorate just makes something up on the spot.


“Very well,” says Rorate. “Please, lower your head and come towards the water,” she guides, stepping to the side.


— The floor is wet and she slips, loudly striking her head against a pew.


The dark-elf lands face down in a pool of water.


The room is quiet, apart from some scribbling.


At this point, it’s starting to get a little weird, thinks Isaiah, sending Red back to get her. How does she keep managing to drown?


“— A side-quest?” asks the man with the ledger, scribbling as they stare at Rorate, who is just laying there face down in the water. Bubbles come out from the puddle at the side of her face.


“Interesting. That’s usually reserved for higher leveled cores,” notes the caster.


“Should we take it?” asks the priest. “I assume it’s a healing quest. Likely there’s some cure for her somewhere in the tower,” he says.


“Leave it. It’s just a fake. Come on. Next floor,” says the man with the ledger, waving with his finger over his shoulder as he keeps walking.


The priest nods and the five of them head upstairs.


Isaiah watches as Red zips out from behind a statue, grumbling very loudly, as she drags Rorate off.



The melusine on floor four pops out of the water, looking at the strangers.




“Melusine,” says the priest, leaning down and holding out a hand. “They’re very rare. This is a holy creature, from the rivers of the far north.” The melusine looks at his hand and then slowly sinks back down beneath the waters with a red face. He smiles, waving. She disappears. “They’re very shy,” he explains, getting up. “This is a good sign. They wouldn’t work for anything malicious.”


The caster destroys the two gargoyles on the other side of the water and they cross with no issues.


The man continues to scribble.



They arrive on floor five, the challenge room.


“Mechanic,” says the caster. The five of them look at the rising pillars, on which several monks stand. “More fakes. The core seems to really like them.”


The door shuts behind them and the monks begin chanting noisily. Magic flows around the room, condensing into a singular point atop the raised pedestal in the center of the space.


“Should we wait it out?” asks the orc.


“No,” says the man with the ledger. “Looks like a standard fare timed chamber with a summon.”


'Standard fare'?


Isaiah isn’t sure if it's frowning or not. But it had really liked this room.


The orc walks over to the staircase, winding up past the pillars and makes her way up it. She doesn’t stop, rather, she just strikes each of the monks once with her massive fist, sending them flying to the ground, where they vanish in a puff of mist.




“Boring,” says the orc. “Looks good. This is beginner territory.”


“It could be a boon,” notes the priest. “A beginner dungeon, not far from the city?” he asks. “With the holy element as well, I am sure the church will be thrilled to develop the area,” he explains, sounding excited himself. “This could be a real big ticket.”


The other four nod and keep on walking.



Isaiah opens its eyes.


This is bad.


- Right?


It certainly isn’t happy about it. The uthra had worked feverishly hard on the tower and its defenses and these people are just… waltzing through it as if all of it wasn't even there. It’s like the whole thing is just made up out of paper.


Honestly, it’s almost a little insulting. They could at least pretend to be bothered by the monsters and the mechanics, but no. They just seem to be collecting data for some kind of statistic.


But now what?


There’s only floor six left, with the golem and the priestess. Floors seven and eight are built, but they’re not developed yet. They’re just empty chambers. So that means they’ll be up here soon, up on the roost.


And then?


Are they going to want a fight? Is it going to have to fight them?


Or will they be open to talking things out? The priest, the elf, he seems reasonable. He mentioned something about the church being interested in developing the area, didn't he? That could be an idea. That would be the ideal idea, actually.


Isn’t that what it itself wants anyway? Worshipers and people of the faith swarming here to give their power to the tower? A bunch of low-level humans coming this way and dying in the dungeon, so that the tower can grow?




— So, technically, this is a raging success at the moment, right? It's actually going really well, isn't it?


It just needs to convince the inspectors to not have the tower destroyed and right now, they seem to be on board with that.


Isaiah calms itself down.


It’s fine.


This is good. This is actually very good.


Everything is fine.


Everything is going to be o-


- [Incursion {1}] -
Floor {06}

Intruders Remaining: 04


Isaiah screams, letting out a shrill, harpyish shriek.


It quickly changes its vision to floor six.



The golem lets out a loud, thunderous roar, having just hurtled the unprepared man with the ledger straight off of the tower. He hadn’t been paying attention when he walked up the staircase.


A magical aura surrounds the monster, as the stones of its body begin to crumble immediately because of an offensive spell being cast against it. However, its feet, standing in the holy-water channels that run through the floor, hold together and it begins to quickly reconstruct itself, as do the areas of its broken face that water leaks out of.


(Shadowy Priestess) used: [Heal]


“Healer!” calls the orc, turning her head towards the shadowy priestess, who had just healed the already quickly self-regenerating golem.


The massive, orcish woman charges straight towards her, lifting a fist to strike the fake, human priestess, who still hasn’t dropped her hands.


(Shadow Priestess) used: [Magical Barrier]


A plane of prismatic, glassy magic appears before the priestess, separating her from the orc with a small window of two by three meters. The orc thuds against it, letting out an annoyed grunt.


[Magical Barrier] absorbed {16} DMG
[Magical Barrier]: 04/20


Look out!”


The orc turns around just in time to see the regenerated golem’s fist, twice the size of her own body, flying her way.


She is crushed between the magical wall and the force of the leviathan stone hand. Blood and viscera sprays out in all directions, painting the stones and the floor all around them. It lands in the channels of water and trickles through the stream.


[Magical Barrier] absorbed {04} DMG
[Magical Barrier]: 00/20
[Magical Barrier] has been shattered!


- [Incursion {1}] -
Floor {06}

Intruders Remaining: 03



“RED! RED! RED!” shouts Isaiah, flapping around and jumping down from its tree in a panic.


Red appears. “It’s going pretty well, right?” it asks. “Didn’t expect it. But I guess floor six is a real doozy after all. Must be some glitchy mechanics or something.”


Isaiah grabs Red in an unusual act. “Stop this!” it orders. “We can’t let them die!”


“Uh…” Red looks around the roost and then down at Isaiah’s hand, wrapped around its body. “What do you want me to do about it?” she asks.


“Stop the fight!”


Red shrugs. “Not much I can do about that, boss,” she says. “Floor six is open-faced, why don’t you just fly down there and stop it yourself?” she asks, pointing to the side.


Isaiah blinks.


It immediately lets go of Red and then jumps into the air, flapping its wings as it falls over the edge of the tower, spiraling down a couple of floors to floor six.


- [Incursion {1}] -
Floor {06}

Intruders Remaining: 02



The tower shakes as the golem charges, pressing the human caster against the stone ceiling and smearing her from one side of the room to the other like a matchstick as it runs across the room.


“REGROUP!” calls the dwarf. The priest comes back together with him by the staircase. The golem charges towards them, constantly regenerating because of the holy water and the priestess, who, in the chaos, has been completely ignored by the panicked inspectors. “RETREAT!”


Isaiah flies in, watching as the two remaining strangers turn back around, stepping down into the staircase.


The shadowy priestess lifts her hands.


“DON’T!” orders Isaiah. Its voice is overpowered by the deafening roar of the golem.


(Shadow Priestess) used: [Magical Barrier]


A magical wall, like before with the orc, appears in the middle of the staircase and blocks the two of them off.


Isaiah watches in horror as the golem, dropping the goop stick that was once a person from its hands, rolls itself together into a boulder and crashes down into the now dead-end staircase.


The tower shakes.


[Magical Barrier] absorbed {20} DMG
[Magical Barrier]: 00/20
[Magical Barrier] has been shattered!


- [Incursion {1}] -
Floor {06}

Intruders Remaining: 00


- [Dungeon Breached Concluded!] -

Killed Intruders: 05

Average Level: 47

Fled Intruders: 00

Killed Defenders: 17



~ [Isaiah] ~
EXP: 125/125
EXP: 250/250
EXP: 500/500
EXP: 565/750


Level Up!
~ [Isaiah] ~
You are now a level {06} dungeon-core!
You are now a level {07} dungeon-core!
You are now a level {08} dungeon-core!
Level: 08 Experience: 565/750
Attribute: HOLY
Soul-Points: 27/27
Presence: 2.50375 km Obols: 000


~ [Isaiah] ~
[+3 Ability points]
You may choose {3} new abilities.


Now, all of a sudden, everything is oddly quiet.


Isaiah stands there, feeling the continuing vibration run through its legs, becoming indistinguishable from the sensation of its own shaking body.


It lifts its foot, looking down at the thick, red smear beneath itself, trickling into the water. The entity stares down at the bloodied channels, leading through the floor and its eyes follow them towards the edge of the tower. Not sure what else to do, it wanders to the edge and looks down towards the world below.


Red water runs down the facade of the tower, flowing along the outsides, flowing all the way down to floor one and to the grounds below. Every connected floor is marked by the blood spilled on this higher one.


This is it.


This is the end.


It’s over.


Isaiah turns its head back towards the carnage.


The golem rises back up out of the stairwell, mostly unbothered and the shadowy-priestess walks over towards it. The giant bends down and she dusts it off with a loving touch, climbing back onto its hand. It lifts her onto its shoulder, where she takes a seat again.


A chunk of viscera falls onto her robe, down from the ceiling. There appears to be a tooth stuck in it.


“…Red…” says Isaiah. “RED!”


“What?” she asks, appearing next to it. “I’m not cleaning that. That’s Crystal’s job. Hey, Crystal!”


“Yes?” asks Crystal.


“Great job with the floor. You really nailed it with this one.”


Crystal tilts its head, looking at Red. “That’s unusual for you to say? Thank you. Anyway, cleaning detail is for Black to do,” it says. “I believe the meat is spread to the graveyard and the river, yes?”


RED!” snaps Isaiah.


What?!” she barks. “I’m right here. Stop yelling.”


“What does this mean?” asks Isaiah with wide, feverish eyes.


The golem and the priestess walk on by, continuing with their lives, which mainly consist of walking in a circle all day around the viewing platform.


“Oh, it means we’re fuuucked,” says Red, lifting a finger into the air. “So, again, I’ll go hang out in the forest, until you die, okay?”


“How bad is it?” asks Green, popping up. “I’ve never had an inspection before.”


“I’ve never seen an inspection killed before either,” says Red. “Guess they were slacking.” She looks towards the open face of the tower. "I suppose being high up on a wall-less tower is very unusual for a dungeon inspection team. They weren't ready." She looks over towards the golem and the priestess. “Really powerful combination here, actually. I bet it's the crush damage. It bypasses the system,” she explains. ”Health-points won't help you if a twenty ton rock flattens you.”


Black, White and Gray appear.


“So are we going to go back to the spirit-world again?” asks Gray.


“Not until they kill Isaiah,” says Red. “Which is going to be a thing that people are going to want to do now.”


The tower is quiet, apart from the trickling water and a few odd splashes now and then.


“How long?” asks Isaiah.


Red shrugs.


The others look around at each other, not having an answer either.


“— I guess until they notice the inspectors are missing?” guesses Red. “Then they’ll send in the tough guys,” it explains. “The human city isn’t far from here. So… a week? Maybe?”


A week?


A week…


It only has that long left until its clutch hatches too. This is a disaster!


There’s no going back from here. There will be no way to reasonably explain this to anyone.


- A smear of what might once have been some cartilage plops down from the ceiling, landing into a channel of water.


“…Build,” says Isaiah, staring at the floor. It looks up towards the uthra. “BUILD!” it commands, pointing up towards the sky. “NOW! HIGH! FAST!”


The uthra, perhaps seeing the unusually wild look in Isaiah’s eyes, recognize the danger and set to work immediately, flying away.

A note from Razzmatazz

The bad news is that we're probably not going to get OSHA approved. The good news is that the demon-king might give us a thumbs-up though! That's gotta be worth something, right? =)


Thank you kindly for reading!

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About the author


Bio: Socially awkward witches, sad hugs, dramatic adventures, spooky stuff, and comfy dungeons: My name is D.M. Rhodes, but I love to write about those things under the moniker 'Razzmatazz'. (Hopefully full-time, one day soon!) I’m a hobby occultist and, more boringly, I’m an XR expert, as well as a government-trained media and information specialist.

The main genres that I write in are litRPG-fantasy, action, adventure, romance, tragedy, horror, and slice-of-life. I seriously vibe with religious and occult overtones mixed in with super obscure story concepts. °( ~ )°

Thanks for taking an interest! Because of supportive readers like yourself, I can keep following my socially unacceptable dream! (I'm going to become the wizard-king.)

– Always open for feedback!

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Shreddy62 ago

Sorry for double posting but I thought about the "crush damage ignores the HP mechanic" thing after closing the page and it really fucked with me.

Why would that not be what everyone exclusively focused on? What's the point of being a sword or spear user if having a hammer is outright better? Why would any mage use a fireball when they can just telekinesis grab them and throw them in the air to die from the fall?

Who the fuck would be an archer at higher levels? It would be useful at low levels where you can deal enough damage to an enemy before they grab you and slam you to death against the ground but after a point unless you can keep up with the HP curve damage wise you're fucked.

It would reflect in the evolutionary development too. If crush damage was king ALOT more creatures would have no bones, be predisposed to being fucking massive to avoid being crushed, have the ability to fly to avoid fall damage. And on the flip side you would see more pincers, birds would have a 'pick up and drop' hunting method, predators would be in a size arms race to be big enough to crush prey.

EVERY DUNGEON TRAP would just be a variation of 'drop a rock on them'. Cause why WOULDN'T it be? If you die from a rock slamming into you regardless of how high your level is, why the fuck not? Make a 100ft hallway right in front of your core. Make the trap close the door and drop the whole ceiling down with the off switch on the other side. You're an unkillable core. Why bother shooting arrows or acid traps? Why bother with spikes or fire? Just make alot of slippery pits, moving walls, and falling ceilings.

Idk that sentence fucked me for a minute with the implications.

    Razzmatazz ago

    Thanks for reading! There's a fine line that's really hard to balance in system-based worlds. On one hand, health-points are vital to keep the system intact as a whole concept. However, there also needs to be a way to avoid suplexing an entire train like in that one old FF game. As for the development of monsters, this is probably what led to the slime family, now that I think about it.

    N0b0dy ago

    the world’s original gods that they existed could have just created beings and they system this way. Who need evolution or allow its existence. Humans like us have changed a lot including our features over thousands of years. To expect humans in a fantasy would to look like us when Magic’s creatures that can outrun a cheetah and mixed breeding with other humanoids with completely different genesis would be impossible without magic and it being made specifically to be able to do so

Dream45 ago

Ehh maybe is me I simple don't like crush damage ignore HP is such an underhand method, as a DnD player this simple is asking for the QM to make a sure kill method with no chance of winning like what is the point of being high lvl or even go there if is sure death that's the type of stuff that gets you ban and no players lol, this chapter didn't do it for me.

    Razzmatazz ago

    I suppose the calculation is either that crush damage works directly. Or that it simply does the damage at a rate of X/second until the heavy object is removed. But the result is the same I think, with a several ton heavy rock on you. Thanks for reading! Hope the future ones are more enjoyable for you!

AnonyGuy ago

YEEEES!!! YEEEESSS!!. LET THE BLOOD FLOW!!! BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD.. or for the biblically accurate angel anyway.

lolwaffles258 ago

Yeah sorry I don't buy the priest not hearing them. How do they not prioritize commands from the core, that's how all the spirits act.

    Razzmatazz ago

    Thank you kindly for reading! She's a homunculus, not a spirit, so she works off of human-biology


    I made a mistake on chapter 15 and accidentally labeled her class as 'spirit'. It should be 'priestess'. Apologies!

tylerre ago

thanks for the chapter razz, and now it's time to panic and go go go, we must be the fastest tower of them all, we must work to be the very best like no one ever was!

DataSpike ago

asks the caster, wiggling her fingers and causing the water on the bridge to shake and bubble up

Not sure why I didn't realize this before, but water on every floor will make the entire dungeon much easier for water mages; While the theming is cool, it's not a great idea to leave such a gap in the defenses.

Red water runs down the facade of the tower, flowing along the outsides, flowing all the way down to floor one and to the grounds below. Every connected floor is marked by the blood spilled on this higher one.

Ah. Oops. That gives things a decidedly evil air, huh? It might be worth setting up some shutoff valves, to give the option of not painting the tower red.

I wonder if Rorate will wake up in time to see the holy water running red with blood.

I bet it's the crush damage. It bypasses the system

That seems like a pretty major loophole. But it got us into this mess, maybe it can get us back out. I say milk the crush loophole for all it's worth; we're going to be needing it soon, from the looks.

There’s no going back from here. There will be no way to reasonably explain this to anyone.

Yeah, uh, so, there's a larger problem than extermination teams: unlike normal dungeons, which are holes in the ground (and thus difficult to physically destroy), this dungeon is a tower. That means it can be relatively easily destroyed without ever entering. Siege engines (or seige magic) would shatter the tower in fairly short order, especially seeing as each floor is only a single room wide. (Why is that, by the way? It seems terribly wasteful.)

Thanks for writing.

    Razzmatazz ago

    No, no, the red-water is critical for our future marketing developments. We need it so that we can sell overpriced umbrellas and ponchos downstairs at the gift-shop for anyone who was in the splash-zone.

    So far the dungeon design has been pretty simplistic with just one room each. But as it grows and gets revamped as time goes on, the layouts will continue to evolve.

FlavorTown ago

Rorate is annoying, her curse/gimmick is not funny or interesting.

Mister Bill ago

Thanks! Good ending to the book.

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