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Old 02-02-2017, 07:08 PM
Mutterscrawl Mutterscrawl is offline

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Runes Shameless Self-indulgent World Building Thread

For Random Thoughts on original content you whip up in your spare time, think Carbots "idbcoolif" as opposed to our semiprofessional thread

First topic to start us off is a personal favorite of mine though, complementary opposites


Lately I've been stuck on the notion of industrial hobgoblins as a counterpart to woodsy style elves, crossbows or early firearms vs longbows and such, benefits of machinery mass production vs its destruction of older style masterwork guild based craftsmanship
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Old 02-02-2017, 07:45 PM
Anansi Anansi is offline

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Orb of Lightning

Certain areas on this Earth inspire a primal dread, the deep places and the dark. Black forests, abyssal trenches, silent caverns. We fear them, even more at times than the monsters we fear they house.

Idbcool if there really were ancient, unspeakable forces, worthy of our terror, that inhabited these places. A rustling shadow without name that watches from the wood. A paralyzing chill that rises from the oceans' furthest corners. A heavy void that quickly stifles any light brought to illuminate the earth's most secret cavities.

It's my opinion that of all fears, the most beautiful are the elemental, with no basis in what we know of life. I am dissatisfied with teeth and claws and eyes and tentacles and gore. There is a potential for still greater monsters in the cosmic darkness. Let there be demons without form, without voice, without teeth. A hunger disembodied, a hatred beyond recognition.

In the deeper darkness you will find no wolves, no sharks, no beasts to threaten you with injury and death. You will find only silence and shadows, into which you have entered forever.
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Old 02-02-2017, 07:55 PM
Mutterscrawl Mutterscrawl is offline

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I couldn't agree more Anansi but how do you represent such nameless, shapeless, alien terror in media aside from a few skilled writers that make it more environment than entity?
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Old 02-02-2017, 08:55 PM
Anansi Anansi is offline

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Originally Posted by Mutterscrawl View Post
I couldn't agree more Anansi but how do you represent such nameless, shapeless, alien terror in media aside from a few skilled writers that make it more environment than entity?
It's tricky, especially because I want them to be too dangerous to study very closely. For example, even the most intensely prepared of heroes, magi or woodsmen cannot approach one of the black forest's wakeful groves without disappearing too quickly and too completely to return any data. Fire doesn't catch or spread in these woods, and few are foolish enough to make any serious effort to fell the trees.

I'm thinking, though, that people develop the sense that certain places are Not To Be Spoken Of. They circumspectly invent tales of curses and evil spirits, in those mortal terms they are willing to understand, and forbid their children from playing too near. Few choose to live on the borders of these places, and those that do are Strange. The fear becomes instinct, and even the most timid of wildlife will fight to the death to avoid being driven into darkness.

These are places feared even by the mightiest of immortals, and beyond the power even of the three gods in the sky.

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Undergood
There are a few reasons why this couldn't plug into my primary setting, but I like the cut of its jib. Archetypal inversion is one of my favorite modifiers.

Aren't Duergar and Dwarves cousins of some sort? Dwarves seem to me like they're the most likely to regularly interact with the Underdark races, and it might be interesting if there's a bit of grey area where the most benevolent of Dwarves and most malevolent of Duergar have a bit of cultural friction.
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Old 02-02-2017, 09:16 PM
HlaaluStyle HlaaluStyle is offline

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There are a few reasons why this couldn't plug into my primary setting, but I like the cut of its jib. Archetypal inversion is one of my favorite modifiers.

Aren't Duergar and Dwarves cousins of some sort? Dwarves seem to me like they're the most likely to regularly interact with the Underdark races, and it might be interesting if there's a bit of grey area where the most benevolent of Dwarves and most malevolent of Duergar have a bit of cultural friction.
As I recall, AD&D has the duergar simply as the dwarven equivalent of drow. Evil dwarves with gray skin, basically. There are also the derro, who are evil and pale (and, in recent editions, somehow connected to monstrous Old God-type monsters).

There could be some friction. In Undergood (or maybe Underlight?), the dwarves are stifled by their rulers, and basically work as slaves. The duergar are much more independent, living in democratic market cities where everyone has at least one vote (possibly more, based on one's accomplishments). Rebellious dwarves might even find sanctuary with the duergar.
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Old 02-02-2017, 09:52 PM
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Originally Posted by HlaaluStyle View Post
As I recall, AD&D has the duergar simply as the dwarven equivalent of drow. Evil dwarves with gray skin, basically. There are also the derro, who are evil and pale (and, in recent editions, somehow connected to monstrous Old God-type monsters).
Most things in the Underdark are related in some way to the ancient Mind Flayer empire (which may or may not have only existed in the future).

Not that this should constrain your own world-building, mind you.
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Old 02-02-2017, 09:17 PM
Mutterscrawl Mutterscrawl is offline

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Anansi I really need to get you to read The Monster blood Tattoo series, I think you'd really like the concept of Threwd

Threwd: The sense of watchfulness and awareness in the land around you

@HlaaluStyle

I really love that underdark variant, I've been a sucker for hobgoblins lately and I love "evil" light and plant factions, green dead make me think botani a bit, I've got something similar called plaguewrought in my own setting, how would mycons and goblins and orcs and such fit in all that though?
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Old 02-02-2017, 09:31 PM
HlaaluStyle HlaaluStyle is offline

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Originally Posted by Mutterscrawl View Post
Anansi I really need to get you to read The Monster blood Tattoo series, I think you'd really like the concept of Threwd

Threwd: The sense of watchfulness and awareness in the land around you

@HlaaluStyle

I really love that underdark variant, I've been a sucker for hobgoblins lately and I love "evil" light and plant factions, green dead make me think botani a bit, I've got something similar called plaguewrought in my own setting, how would mycons and goblins and orcs and such fit in all that though?
Not sure. The Underlight would need a few native hostile races to keep things interesting, so maybe normally benign entities like myconids and svirfneblin would go bad. Orcs might be good up on the surface, but that's been done a lot.

I figure the drow would still maintain some of their classical AD&D roots. Though good-aligned, they can be viciously competitive when it comes to social rank, and there's a fair amount of intrigue (though murder is rare, and would still be treated as murder). Their spider goddess represents the cleverness and instinct of the solitary predator; her distance from her brood is her way of teaching self-sufficiency and independence.

Like spiders, the drow wait for their opponents to make a mistake before striking. This is one reason for their inactivity; they're waiting for the surface races to overextend themselves. It's a bad idea on their part though, since they just aren't numerous enough to win the war on their own.
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Old 02-02-2017, 07:56 PM
HlaaluStyle HlaaluStyle is offline

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I'm a little reluctant to publicly upload ideas I plan to actually use in stories, so here's one that I never intend to use (and I have posted it before, but it was a long time ago).

A setting where the Underdark races (drow, duergar, illithids, and hobgoblins) are heroic, while the surface races (humans, elves, dwarves, and maybe firbolgs or some kind of giant) are evil.

The hobgoblins hold the line in the upper caverns. A society of heroic militarism, they are organized into regiments, some of which have served for centuries. Everyone is born into a unit and serves in some capacity. Though on the side of the angels, they are a bit darker than the other races; constant warfare takes its toll.

The duergar keep the hobgoblins supplied with food and metal (though the hobgoblins prefer to manufacture their own equipment). Extraordinary merchants, duergar caravans roam even the most desolate caverns, and their trade network has created a sense of unity through most of the Underdark. Their greatest city is an engineering marvel, where palaces and markets sprawl on the floor, walls, and ceiling of a single grand cavern. They've also built the great aqueduct system that supplies the frontiers with water.

The languorous drow pursue magic and beauty in their pallid cities, where curving palaces rise like frozen flames from the ground. The elegant boulevards and luminescent fungal groves seem a world away from the war raging in the upper caverns, but the drow are slowly taking notice. Their formidable rangers and wizards are an increasingly common sight among the hobgoblin regiments. Though others might resent their aloofness, they are growing in value.

The peerless illithids are attuned to the world's subconscious. For centuries, their priests and healers have roamed the Underdark, sharing the secrets of civilization with all they encountered. The duergar were their best pupils, and the two races enjoy a close relationship. As is the case with illithids, they eat the brains of sentient creatures in order to survive, but they must do so only rarely. Duergar near the brink of death will offer up their brains to the illithids. The act of consuming ensures that the deceased's memory will live on within the illithid gestalt, and the duergar see this as an honorable afterlife. Hobgoblins and drow are less sure of this, though they appreciate illithid wisdom (and hobgoblin generals have been known to donate their brains, so that their wisdom can continue to serve the cause).

The surface races are a nasty bunch. The dwarves have plundered the surface deposits, using ore to create machines that dig out even more metal while their impoverished population shuffles through gray cities shorn of healthy decadence.

Elves see the forest as the ideal state, and send creeping roots and monstrous plant creatures deep into the caverns in order to colonize them. Unfortunates who fall victim to their druids will endure an agonizing unlife as the green dead.

A single human empire conquered its rivals and now turns its attentions below. They worship the burning sun, and seek to crack open the earth itself so that unholy light will burn all that is good.

The cannibalistic firbolgs rampage through the upper caverns, their strength matched only by their dark ritual magic.
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