Onion-, Zone-, Layer-, Shell-, Down-, Pancake, Gobstopper … Crawl

I’m not very fast at bringing stuff together …

Sometimes I wonder how long things take me. For example, I recently began to think how long ago I came up with the idea of an Onion-, Zone-, Layer-, Shell-, Down-, Pancake-, Gobstopper- Crawl for use in my adventure Carapace .

Aside – Onion/Zone-crawl what?

I’m sure we are familiar with Hex-Crawls and Point-Crawls. But what is an Onion/Zone-crawl anyway?

The idea is that, like layers of an onion, you can press through the various layers/zones of the adventure, or you can backtrack out again, or stay in the same zone. The onion could have a infinite number of layers!

So, basically, there is no map. Each layer can have its own theme, or could be more dangerous, or chaotic than the last. So in practical terms what’s happening in each zone is procedurally defined. For example you could be working your way through the planes of the 9 Hells etc.

My Zone-Crawl adventure >> Carapace << (about procedurally exploring a maze like giant insect colony) was published 11 December 2018.

Hrrmmmm … I wonder how long the idea of a Onion-Crawl has been out there? For example DriveThruRPG shows that adamantane bestseller Gardens Of Ynn (the best selling example of a Zone-Crawl) was published on the 20 March 2018. So it seems this idea was circulating around 2017/2018 – was there an Onion-Crawl Zeitgeist circulating back then? Quite possibly as this was arguably at the high-tide of the G+ era.

Aside over – back to my delays

Anyway, but looking back, I noticed lurking in my email account was part of a discussion I was having about Zone-Crawls & Carapace back in the 9 December 2017 on G+ (then with a working title of ‘The Hive’ or some such):


So, I suspect I had been working on Zone-Crawls for Carapace for some months before that. My best guess was that I was toying with this idea in about September 2017. Maybe.

Shamefully, I even now have new art for Carapace from Marcin s (probably for more than 2 years now).

This, or more probably next year, I want to buff this all up and finally put this out as a hard copy adventure.

Soooooo, if we say this idea has taken from ~ September 2017 to (hopefully) ~ September 2023 – that’s only 7 or so years !!!!!!

Summary of Carapace Timeline todate:

  • First idea of using a Zone/Onion-Crawl, probably ~ Sept 2017
  • First (found) shared draft of this idea ~ Dec 2017
  • First PDF on DriveThruRPG ~ Dec 2018 (so, only about year later)
  • –> HOPEFULLY an updated print version with new art ~ 2023 !!!!

This is probably my most delayed project, my note to self, must do better.

> WHAT’S your longest yet unpublished work that you (still) hope to get out? <

– – –

Me on DriveThru; some of my things:
:: High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea,
:: Wilderness Hex Crawl – In the Heart of the Unknown,
:: Dungeon/network generator – In the Heart of the Delve & Dangerous

4 thoughts on “Onion-, Zone-, Layer-, Shell-, Down-, Pancake, Gobstopper … Crawl

      1. Richard

        It is really a campaign meta structure, where you have the big bad at the top of the metaphorical pyramid and expanding layers of a conspiracy/obstacles that players need to navigate to get from the campaign start to end. Each layer has a (decreasing) number of obstacles, like the rooms in a dungeon, with varying paths through. Seems a cool idea could fit the idea of zones, as the layers are themed with different levels of threat much like the gardens of yin. Sort of street level leading to city wide to national to world wide.

        Liked by 1 person

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