Thy Dungeonman Instruction Manual

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400 page manual inside!

On May 13, 2020, Matt Chapman read an excerpt from the 400-page instruction manual of Thy Dungeonman for the livestreamed second episode of the "Worst First Chapter" YouTube series, hosted by Paul and Storm. The full manual is described as consisting of 395 pages of lore and 5 pages of PC instructions, and was written by Lem Sportsinterviews.

[edit] Chapter 1

"Wake yourself, boy!" rasped the old codger, sloshing a mug of cool, refreshing oatmeal square in the young man's face.

Panicked, Collagen jolted up quickly from his bedroll of pulled pigeon, whole oats oozing from the patchy beard on his tender face of five and five and five years.

"I love wagons!" he cried deliriously, wiping sleep out of, and oatmeal into, his bleary eyes. The room was dark. A silver sheen on the stone walls told Collagen that the moon was still up in the autumn sky outside, and a dull clanking announced that the barmess downstairs was gathering up the stoneware, about to close the Plodding Gentry for the night.

"It must be around two full ticks past night's middle!" he thought to himself, wondering what could be so important that it couldn't wait until morning's griddle. "What is it, uncle?"

The old man didn't respond and just sat blinking, as if each closing of his gray eyes added a protective layer between himself and the life-altering news he knew he had to impart on this oat-slick boy.


"A dungeon's been murdered."

Collagen sucked in breath, and a couple of oats actually, causing himself to choke. "A dungeon? But how?" he sputtered.

"Of course ye'd ask that. The youth... always questioning how a dank room what's made for the holding and torture of prisoners could ever be alive in the first place, so as to be eligible for the act of murderin'! You lot with your trendy jangled jester hats and your—"

"Uncle Prevacid!" barked Collagen, sounding suddenly one and two years older. "I believe you!" the boy said softly, and laid a hand on his uncle's, immediately thinking better of it after his fingers touched something warm and jelly-like. He shifted his hand to one of Prevacid's knees— no, no, that was worse. He withdrew his hand altogether. "Which dungeon?"

"The Roost of Remington, poor devil. And it was due for an adventure next feast-harvest! Mighta been your first dungeon if—" Collagen's uncle stopped short.

"My first dungeon?" the boy stiffened. "But I'm just the son of a son of a salvemonger! What's a murdered dungeon — or any dungeon for that matter got to do with me?"

Prevacid attempted to soften, but it clearly hurt, so he went back to ornery and sighed, "'Tisn't your father or your grandfather that's important!" The old man leaned closer, a streak of moonlight cutting jagged across his jagged face, effectively cancelling out any jaggedness. "Your mother was a dungeonwoman."

If Collagen had been holding the mug of oatmeal, he would've dropped it to the floor and it would've shattered in slow motion to great dramatic effect. Since he was only holding the hem of his flea-ridden burlap blanket, he dropped that instead and it just kinda went, "phfff" into his lap, although this action had a devastating effect on the fleas.

"But father always said me marm was a bookstacker! Plain and dimpled, with a sallow face and a disposition like an unremarkable tree. He said such lovely things about her."

"It was all on her orders! She didn't want the dungeon life for you! Too much danger and not enough Vitamin D! So she made your dad promise that when he made verbal her memory, it would sound like she was pleasant enough. A loving marm and a right perpendicular bookstacker, but fierce plain, so as not to merit any further investigations into her past."

Collagen reeled, his gaze wandering about the room trying to find an anchor on which to hang this new reality, although a coat hook would probably have been more appropriate. Suddenly, a memory jumped from the dusty underbed toy box of his mind and into the fore. The paint was scratched off and its batteries had that dusty green corrosion stuff on them, but he recalled it with full clarity.

"That's why someone wrote 'Collagen's marm was a dungeonlady' on the wall of the public privy that one time! I always thought it was just old Pendace from salve school rubbin' the beef on me!"

"'Tis no beef rub, boy, 'tis the goat's truth!" His uncle paused. "Also, stay away from the public privy. I hear Lek the Creepo's been sleepin' in there nights."

A contradiction suddenly occurred to Collagen. "But if me marm asked me da to hide her dungeon history, why're you tellin' me now?"

"Because she gave special orders to ol' Prevacid," said the old man, a proud glimmer or possibly just festering cateract in his eye. "Back when you were just a wee budgie, 'fore she left on any dungeon adventure, your marm would take me aside — roughly, mind you — had a grip like a pork viper, that one," he remembered, rubbing his shoulder, "And she'd say, 'Remember, Cid, if I don't ever return and there comes a day when you get word o' dungeons being murdered, it's time to tell the boy the truth!'"

"I'm a dungeonman?" asked Collagen hopefully.

"Ho ho!" laughed Prevacid, "Don't go diaperin' yourself just yet, your royal highness." The sarcasm made Collagen blush stupidly. "At best you're a dungeonlad, I s'pose. And by birthright only. No, ye've got quite a road to travel yet if you're ever to be a proper dungeonman."

Collagen's shoulders sagged. He felt foolish. Just because he found out his mother was a dungeonwoman didn't mean he would all of a sudden be amazing at dungeon adventures, and breeze through thy dungeonschool thanks to his smarter friends, and unnaturally excel at the dungeonsports despite no experience with them, and generally be at the center of every world-endangering dungeon conspiracy. That would be stupid and make him a very blank and uninteresting hero in the end, more defined by those around him, with his best traits feeling entirely unearned. That would work okay for his first couple of stories maybe, with the young children who read them inserting themselves into the blank canvas of Collagen's character, but as the stories went on, readers would disconnect, finding Collagen's colorful friends and enemies more interesting, relatable, and cosplayable. He was just Collagen Salvemonger the Third, a lad of five and five and five years who secretly loved wagons, and still kinda believed in the tooth rot fairy.

"Now stop your potterin', boy," said Prevacid, sensing the boy's self-consiousness. He tried to put a warmth in his tone, which mostly sounded like a sinus infection, and continued, "Inexperienced ye may be, but your role is of great input nonetheless! It's on you to find out who murdered that dungeon, and put a stop to it lest we lose anymore!"

"You mean I don't have a choice? What if I want to keep mongering salves? Dongering ointments? Hongering balms?" Collagen pented desperately.

"Ye do have a choice, ya dolt boulder!" spat Prevacid impatiently, swatting his nephew with his flat, dillow-fur cap. "Why'd you think I'm waking you up in night's middle? So if you want to run off and disappear into the har hills before the village awakes, ye have the chance! What, did you think I'd tell ya, 'This is your destiny and you have to follow it'? I know how those stories go! They're long! And fulla dangers! And pages and pages of really boring songs meant to add to the mythology and all that! I'd not force that on you, boy! Not unless you wanted it!"

"Thank you, uncle," Collagen said softly.

His uncle motioned to the floor where two pouchels lay like obedient pets. "I've packed two pouchels for ye. One has all you need to flee to the har hills and start a new life with a new identity as a travelling goat-pretender. T'other has all the tips, tricks, and cheat codes your mom left ya, to take up the mantle of thy dungeonman! The choice is yours." Prevacid stood from where he uncomfortably squatted at the foot of the bedroll, picking off puffs of pulled pigeon from his patched pants, and left the room. "I'll be downstairs in the Plodding Gentry when you've made up your mind," he called back from the hallway.

Collagen stared long at the pouchels, seeing his various potential futures stream out of them like fumes in the moonlight, before realizing they were actually real fumes from the grody old cheese that his uncle had packed in each.

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