Polishing off Dungeon Born today. Almost immediately after that train wreck scene with Rose, we go back to Cal and watch him try to make some weird rune network whose purpose I don’t fully understand, though in fairness that may be because I’ve stopped caring. Anyway, something goes wrong as he’s powering it up and he summons some kind of monster instead:
The paw alone was nearly twenty inches wide, the claws lengthened that by seven inches when fully extended. The leg revealed that it was connected to a large cat-like form. The powerful body was half again as large as a tiger, and pitch black. A tail twitched back and forth in anticipation, the creature obviously excited by this new hunting ground. Along its back four tentacles extended from each of its leg joints, each of them had its own mouth and was tipped with a sharp claw-like stinger which dripped venom.
This is a pretty cool looking monster.
But of course the book can’t go more than a couple of pages without fucking something up. After the cat monster kills Raille:
It hissed at us, ignoring the chance for a massive meal. I realized this was a creature that killed for sport. Obviously hating all other creatures, it didn’t even bother to eat its kills beyond what it wanted at any given point.
This is another example of the author beaming knowledge directly into the protagonists’ brain, not to mention something that would be better off left unstated. Let the reader figure out for themselves that this monster doesn’t seem interested in eating, and why that might be. Not that the options are particularly narrowed down. Raille attacked so it is hardly implausible that this is just a regular animal that killed an aggressor and didn’t happen to be hungry after doing so.
I doubt this creature’s sinister nature is going to be particularly plot relevant, unless someone recognizes it as a demon or whatever, in which case that moment of recognition offers a far more natural place to explain that it kills for giggles rather than “it didn’t immediately eat the creature it was defending itself from, clearly it’s evil.” Adventurers come down here and kill monsters without eating them on a daily basis, Cal never calls them evil. Sure, killing for treasure and killing for food are fundamentally pretty similar motives (despite what Captain Planet would have you believe), but for all Cal knows this creature does benefit from these kills in some way other than just entertainment.
Anyway, the cat monster reacts poorly to the silverwood tree and runs away. It then becomes the final boss when Dale recruits a barbarian and a cleric into the Team 2, along with Rose and Hans, the dagger-y guy from the original Team, enter into the dungeon. Now, when that cat escaped, it killed a bunch of people up on the surface before fleeing back into the dungeon when mages showed up to retaliate. So, Frank has the dungeon sealed off, unaware that the Team 2 is stuck down there. Thus, the Team 2 is forced to complete the entire dungeon, even though Cal has recently perfected and activated his mega-rune, allowing him to flood the dungeon with more monsters and control them more precisely than before.
The cat monster returns to the dungeon heart and starts trying to eat Cal, so Cal switches from trying to kill the Team 2 with his new powers and instead drops a bunch of cat killing loot and then clears out of their way completely in the hopes that they’ll kill it. They do. Everyone gets seriously jacked up in the fight, so Cal sends a bunch of his healer bunnies to save them, but it’s too late for Dale, who is mortally wounded. Cal is able to patch him up with his mad science, bringing him back to life.
I thought hard on my answer, <So, you know how I can feel all of my creatures, experience what they do, and influence them? If they were created by me they are always Mobs. . .>
Dani looked extremely nervous, “Yes. . .?”
<And when I use my Essence to give them life or whatever they also come under my influence, they become Dungeon born? Though if they are smart or strong enough I can’t directly control them, but they can hear my commands and experience what they do?>
“Spit it out Cal.”
<I think… Mind you I am not certain, but I think. . . I may have made Dale, um. Dungeon born.>
I was gonna dig up the same website I used to make the Threadbare title drop gag for this, but I can’t find it. Honestly, this limp “eh, I tried” reference to a joke that might have been is probably the ending that Dungeon Born deserves. Wrap up post coming on Monday and then let’s reads will be on hiatus until October.