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I Woke Up As A Dungeon, Now What is a Worm fanfic by Aku-Dono.

Following Golden Morning, Taylor finds herself turned into a Dungeon (the RPG kind, not the prison). Stuck on a fantasy world filled with adventurers, magic, and other weird things, the Queen of Escalation struggles to find her way and, of course, not die. She quickly learns, however, that survival might require far more than merely building a formidable dungeon...

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Tropes in this work:

  • A Mother to Her Men: Well, bugs, but Taylor makes a point of treating her insect minions (and pixie) very well - mainly because unlike her previous bugs on Bet, they are sentient (in that they feel emotions and have opinions).
  • Anti-Grinding: At least in regards to materials - if an adventurer kills a creature which they are vastly superior to, they are unlikely to get any drops, and the drops they do get are not going to be particularly valuable.
  • A Taste of Defeat: Taylor is on both the giving and receiving end.
    • Early on, a group of adventurers complete demolish her ants and easily reach her core, only sparing her because dungeons are valuable and she isn't a threat. A short while later, a pixie does the same thing on its own. Fortunately, it just wants to make a contract with her.
    • When the adventurers come back, Taylor easily defeats one of them (Gwen) in a mock battle. Gwen is grateful that Taylor didn't kill her.
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    • In Exploit 4.5, Ulfric leads a team of experienced adventurers in utterly annihilating Atlas, showing Taylor just what kind of opposition she'll face in the future, and how far she has to go before she can reliably stop even a single party of elite adventurers.
  • Bee Afraid: Taylor's go-to Mooks for combat are wasps. She has access to bees, but doesn't have any yet, since she cannot summon them without having them cut into her mana regeneration. She finally gets them after getting a Pixie Fountain, which can feed them, as she had just found out she can create Harrier Bees, which can fire their stingers at enemies.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Taylor's starting minions are bugs, unsurprisingly. Her current dungeon floor also automatically produces bugs as part of being set as an insect floor. These can't be controlled, but do provide her minion bugs (at least, the insectivorous ones) with an unlimited supply of food.
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  • Bug War: Taylor's dungeon could be considered a small scale version of this, seeing how everything in it - including her pixie - are either arthropods or have insectoid traits.
  • Cool Pet: Taylor's pixie counts as this, since it isn't one of her minions, but is instead a creature 'contracted' to her. It can also leave the dungeon, something her minions cannot do yet (Taylor finds out early on that her pixie can be upgraded to lead minions out of the dungeon with it).
  • The Corruption: Implied - the planet has things on it called impurities, and awards Taylor for removing them - namely, by eating them. Taylor wonders if that means that the Planet wants to wipe out human life, or if there is something much more complicated going on.
  • Crapsack World: While leagues better than the absolute hellhole of a universe Taylor came from, the world she arrived in (or at least the part where she ended up) isn't a nice place to live in - she's in a desert on the borders between two very powerful empires, who are not only rivals, but also regularly raid the area in the middle to loot dungeons, often killing them due to overlooting the place. As most of the towns in the region depend on dungeons to make a living, this has pushed most of them to the brink of collapse - the nearest village to Taylor, which can barely be considered a village, is on its last legs due to crop failure and poverty. It's also implied the two empires deliberately killed off all of the dungeons in order to keep Central poor, to act as a buffer between the two of them, which is supported by Taylor doing the math and realizing that with the mana gain from adventurers fighting minions and/or dying in the dungeon, the only way a dungeon could die from overlooting is if the minions didn't attack the invaders at all, which is practically unthinkable for normal dungeons.
    • As more is revealed about the world—or at least the region of it that Taylor finds herself in—the more this trope comes into play. The two empires Central is sandwiched between are both monstrous in their own ways—one practices widespread slavery, one practices genocide, both are heavily racist and ruthless, and both treat Central itself as not only completely expendable, but as a buffer zone to deliberately cripple and oppress. Since Central is where the races from both empires intermingle, they're caught up in the horrible racism and practices that both empires do, since both empires have thoroughly infiltrated Central.
  • Dungeon-Based Economy: More than a few villages seem to run on this. Also Deconstructed - the bigger powers in the region have raided dungeons for goods so many times that they apparently killed quite a few of them, which has forced several towns in the area into poverty. A later chapter reveals that no new ones have appeared for a while before Taylor's showed up. The closest village to Taylor is deliberately trying to hide her existence, since she will be of huge interest to them. It's implied the dungeons were deliberately killed off to keep Central poor, so that the two empires - the Kanits and the Velthians - can use it as a buffer zone between them. Taylor more or less confirms this when she does the math and realizes that the dungeons could only have starved like that if they didn't gain any mana from fighting with invaders, making it far more likely that they were killed deliberately.
  • Easy Logistics: Subverted - Taylor has to use her powers to maintain everything, which takes a massive drain on her income. She later eases this by converting her main floor into a 'bug floor', providing her bug minions with an unlimited food supply that costs her nothing, while also removing the bug's upkeep from her mana costs.
  • Empathic Environment: Taylor is one - as her dungeon grows, the world around her changes. She started in a desert, after being given a flower as an offering by a random passerby, grass begins to spring up around her.
  • Everything Fades: Any dead living creature in a dungeon rapidly disintegrates the minute it keels over, including its minions. Apparently, they are made out of mana, and once they die, they turn back into mana. This prevents their bodies from being hacked up for parts, unless you have someone that can use Harvest on them. And yes, this extends to everything made in the dungeon, not just the minions.
  • False Flag Operation: Central's King is behind a rebel movement which supposedly wants to kill him, knowing that both the Khanites and Velthians will both think that the other is behind it the way things are set up.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Khanites and Velthians do not like each other, to the point that the Velthians are willing to kill children and toddlers merely because they have Khanite blood in their veins. Apparently, this is because the Khanite Empire invaded Velthia sometime in the past and enslaved everyone who lived there. To this day, the Khans still see Velthia as a source of slaves, even if it is now an independent kingdom.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture:
    • Since their leaders are named Khans and they formerly were quite an aggressive nation, the Khannites obviously have shades of the Mongols.
    • Central is often compared to pre-WW 2 Poland for being a very poor country stuck between two nations hating the crap out of each other, right before a huge conflict.
    • The Ariman Empire is a little tricky. Obviously, the isolationism and mention of a Great Wall are reminiscient of Imperial China, but one resident's name sounds Arab and their physical phenotype is fair skinned and haired.
  • Genius Loci: There's Taylor, obviously, but it's also implied the planet she ended up on is this, as it rewards her for removing 'impurities'.
  • Giant Spider: Taylor's current go-to Mook for peacefully interacting with others. Apparently, they are jumping spiders.
    • In the latest non-Interlude chapter, she obtains spiders that can make webs.
  • It Can Think: Taylor provokes this reaction from Adventurers, and there is a very Justified reason why this is a bad thing - a dungeon that can use tactics is usually controlled by a warlock. This idea is ruled out early on by the natives, though, because Taylor hasn't tried to murder all for extra mana - something a Warlock would do.
    • This trope is invoked early on, as the veteran dungeon-diver notes that a fully sapient dungeon would grow into something terrifying, if given time and mana to build up. He gets considerably more calm about it upon learning that Taylor is not an omnicidal murder machine like all other dungeons, and is actually a fairly good person.
  • It Is Dehumanising: The Velthians' attitude towards any people from Khannite blood, mixed or pure. And since Khannites are not people, well, it's okay to murder them any time you find one.
    • Kamella insists upon calling Taylor "she" and "her" once she establishes her identity as a human girl who happens to be stuck within a dungeon core.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Velthian Empire's go-to punishment for heresy and cavorting with Khanites is the pyre. Oh, and the Empress is considered merciful when she lets the condemned be strangled before.
  • Lemony Narrator: The voice of the menu Taylor can pull up is written like this.
  • Loophole Abuse: As Taylor finds out, there is an easy way for her to generate extra mana without fighting/killing people - kill the random beasties that lurk around her dungeon, then take their corpses into the said dungeon, which eats them and turns them into mana. She also finds out that just sparring with adventurers gets her a fair amount of mana.
  • Made of Magic: Pretty much everything in a dungeon besides the structure itself is made of mana.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Maryk and his elder sister — he's a Pretty Boy who enjoys wearing girly attire, she's got very mannish features and works as a guardswoman.
  • Master of Illusion: Taylor grows interested into pixies because of this.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Some of the native wildlife just looks weird - there are, for example, birds with multiple sets of wings and harpoon-like tongues. The harpoon tongued birds are apparently called Loomas.
    • Among Taylor's minions, her bees resemble a cross between bumblebees and Honeybees.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Taylor's first boss, a giant beetle, is named Atlas, after her mount from Worm. Doubles as both a Mythology Gag and In Memoriam.
  • Puppet King: The King of Central is clearly meant to be this by the two empires boxing Central in. The current King has only lasted as long as he has by making sure as to delay and delay to keep from giving any ground to either, which would certainly result in an assassination from the empire that felt snubbed as well as making sure they each think his resistance movement is the other's doing.
  • Reality Ensues: Taylor, in an attempt to communicate with some of the locals, tries having one of her spiders write out what she is trying to say. As the natives speak an entirely different language than she does, they have no idea what she is writing.
    • She then attempts to communicate with them via drawing pictures. While this does end up working, it takes several guesses for them to figure out what, exactly, she means. For example, they have no idea she is a person stuck inside a dungeon core.
      • The next interlude, however, reveals that Kamella, the adventurer who first attempted talking to her, actually did figure this out, but was not completely sure she was correct.
  • Reset Button: Save for minion deaths, anything that adventurers do to a dungeon is undone/repaired when they leave.
  • RPG Mechanicsverse:
    • All There in the Manual: Taylor actually has a menu of sorts that tells her some information about everything pertaining to her dungeon. It's not very reliable, though.
    • Dungeon Bypass: Adventures are capable of tunneling through Taylor's walls, though she can upgrade them to stop this/make it harder. It's also possible to cast powerful spells on a dungeon to break some of the dungeon's "rules" wide open—both it works both ways, allowing the dungeon to break its own rules too. One such rule is a party size limit per floor, which in turn allows the dungeon to bring in all of its minion from all floors to anywhere else in the dungeon without penalty. Another is to create a tunnel to bypass entire floors, but this requires casting a long and difficult spell from within the dungeon...when said dungeon is pulling out all the stops to kill you with everything it has.
    • Dungeon Crawling: What adventurers do. What dungeons want them to do, since killing adventurers nets dungeons extra mana (and just fighting adventurers nets a considerable amount of mana regardless).
    • Inexplicable Treasure Chests: Taylor can put these in her dungeon. She initially has no interest in adding them, since they are an enormous drain on mana. Since dungeons get extra mana by killing adventurers, it's generally assumed the chests are meant as bait. After she decides to allow a nearby village to move closer to her, she begins considering adding some loot chests in for them. She's got about five by the time Growth 3.8 happens.
    • The Maze: An option for Taylor to become later on.
  • Scylla and Charybdis: Central is stuck in this situation with the Velthian Empire to the South and the Khanites to the North - both empires absolutely hate each other, but are using Central as a buffer zone. Anyone who wants to do anything has to contend with them. And if Central were to try to arm itself, one of the two powers would crush it. In this respect, Central's position is actually even worse than Poland's in 1939—by a rather huge margin, no less.
  • Tastes Like Chicken: After noting what some of things she's eaten taste like (like, for example, grass tasting like a freshly cut lawn), Taylor notes that, rather mundanely, the four winged sparrows her dungeon form has eaten taste like chicken. By contrast, absorbing the ashen remains of deceased humans tastes delicious, which disturbs Taylor greatly.
  • Translator Microbes: Taylor was (apparently) given something that allows her to understand the language of the natives, as well as their writing. It doesn't work both ways, though, which makes communication a problem.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Ulfric concludes this of Taylor. She doesn't have much in mana resources or level (yet) but her sheer ingenuity and tactical mind means she's a force to not be discountinuated.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Maryk typically pretends to be female in order to spy for Central's King, but his employer notices the boy is a little too into it.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Amnassah Ar'hiemal left his Academy from the Ariman Empire because he wanted to further his studies in Central. Unfortunately, the Ariman Empire is infamously isolationnist, so anyone who crosses the Great Wall once is unable to do it again.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: A Velthian caracteristic is the rainbow array of their hair-colour. It was a mite surprising for Taylor.

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