[Night Below] Extrapolating a world from Haranshire

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[Night Below] Extrapolating a world from Haranshire

Post by Big Mac » Wed Oct 09, 2019 6:47 am

Back in 2010, I was thinking about buying Night Below, raiding the elements from it, and using them in a Spelljammer crystal sphere.

Now I've bought a Print on Demand copy, I'm trying to figure out how the book works on it's own merits.

I was kind of hoping this would be a standalone campaign setting, when I bought it, but page 3 of The Evils of Haranshire says this:
Welcome to the Grand Dungeon wrote:Night Below has been expressly written so that a DM can integrate it into any ongoing AD&D campaign whether Toril (home of the Forgotten Realms campaign), Oerth (the setting for the Greyhawk campaign), the Mystara campaign setting, or one of the DMs own creation.
There are several mentions of Priests and the text gives a Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk and Mystara option each time...but no option for anyone running Night Below as a standalone world. So it doesn't feel like a standalone world that can be adapted to Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk and Mystara. It feels like it is set up specifically for those three campaign settings.

I'm wondering how hard it would be to treat Night Below as a campaign setting. So I want to find any world-building details (like a mention of "a moon" rather than "one of the three moons") or the number of days in a month to give the world some unique selling points.

What have people seen that can make the "world of Haranshire" stand apart from Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk and Mystara...and be it's own thing?
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Re: [Night Below] Extrapolating a world from Haranshire

Post by Seethyr » Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:52 pm

I’m going to have to locate my old copy (an attic treasure), but I think that specifically, this boxed set and Dragon Mountain both were intended to be as generic as possible. I wanted very badly to build something around it because the whole concept even of Shaboath was a very cool one and the adventure is imo one of the best purely underdark romps out there.

But I think they succeeded in their intention of making it mega-generic. You can literally dump it anywhere and even replace Haranshire with just about any small town.
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Re: [Night Below] Extrapolating a world from Haranshire

Post by ScrivenerofDoom » Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:43 pm

Matt Colville is a fan of Night Below and it seems to have a significant place in the world he built. I'm not sure if that's the same one as his current streaming game but it was certainly often referred to when he first started posting videos online.

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Re: [Night Below] Extrapolating a world from Haranshire

Post by Havard » Wed Oct 09, 2019 7:42 pm

ScrivenerofDoom wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:43 pm
Matt Colville is a fan of Night Below and it seems to have a significant place in the world he built. I'm not sure if that's the same one as his current streaming game but it was certainly often referred to when he first started posting videos online.
I think it might be. He does at least use characters and concepts from previous campaigns, like Lady Sariel and Ajax the Invincible Overlord, but I can't remember if those were from the same campaign(s) where he used Night Below...

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Re: [Night Below] Extrapolating a world from Haranshire

Post by Big Mac » Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:24 am

Seethyr wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:52 pm
I’m going to have to locate my old copy (an attic treasure), but I think that specifically, this boxed set and Dragon Mountain both were intended to be as generic as possible. I wanted very badly to build something around it because the whole concept even of Shaboath was a very cool one and the adventure is imo one of the best purely underdark romps out there.

But I think they succeeded in their intention of making it mega-generic. You can literally dump it anywhere and even replace Haranshire with just about any small town.
I believe that Dragon Mountain jumps from world to world. So I probably wouldn't put that with Night Below myself.

I saw your topic and wondered how hard it would be to build a world around Haranshire.

I think there was some GM advice about how easy or hard it would be to get assistance from elsewhere. (Preumably, there would be a Sherif of Haranshire, for example. Presumably, there would be other shires around Haranshire.)

Anything like that implies what Haranshire's relationship is with the outside world.

I'll have to have a skim and see if I can find specific examples.
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Re: [Night Below] Extrapolating a world from Haranshire

Post by Big Mac » Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:31 am

ScrivenerofDoom wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:43 pm
Matt Colville is a fan of Night Below and it seems to have a significant place in the world he built. I'm not sure if that's the same one as his current streaming game but it was certainly often referred to when he first started posting videos online.
Interesting.

So he has done the "add this to your world" thing, which is sort of the opposite of what I'm wondering is possible.

Perhaps, if he hasn't hacked it too much, to fit in with his world, he has built some stuff around Haranshire that is designed to fit in with it. :?

Do you know if he has put any Haranshire-relatred documents online? Or does he only talk about it in videos?

Even if he has hacked Night Below (and changed things to fit in with his own world) it would probably be worth looking at.
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Re: [Night Below] Extrapolating a world from Haranshire

Post by ScrivenerofDoom » Thu Oct 10, 2019 2:17 pm

His website is squaremans.com and I know he has posted PDFs there about his world but I stopped following his stuff a while ago. Sorry; I'm not a lot of help.

You could always ask his current fans over at his group on Reddit.

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Re: [Night Below] Extrapolating a world from Haranshire

Post by ScrivenerofDoom » Sat Oct 12, 2019 9:07 am

By the way, I thought this site was lost but I just saw a link to the archived version: http://web.archive.org/web/201003261403 ... index.html

It has some interesting ideas I had forgotten about but now I have saved to add to my eventual Return to the Night Below.

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Re: [Night Below] Extrapolating a world from Haranshire

Post by ghendar » Sat Oct 12, 2019 2:42 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 6:47 am
What have people seen that can make the "world of Haranshire" stand apart from Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk and Mystara...and be it's own thing?
Night Below is its own thing. Just because there are suggestions to integrate it into those published settings, it's still not based in those settings and therefore there is no reason why it isn't by default, its own thing.

However, to answer your question, my imagination is all I would need. Seriously. That's really all anyone needs to take Night Below and make it their own. It's no different than taking any D&D supplement and/or module from any era and tailoring it to your own world.
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Re: [Night Below] Extrapolating a world from Haranshire

Post by Big Mac » Mon Oct 14, 2019 1:01 am

ghendar wrote:
Sat Oct 12, 2019 2:42 pm
Big Mac wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 6:47 am
What have people seen that can make the "world of Haranshire" stand apart from Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk and Mystara...and be it's own thing?
Night Below is its own thing. Just because there are suggestions to integrate it into those published settings, it's still not based in those settings and therefore there is no reason why it isn't by default, its own thing.
Sure, but I'm not making that argument. I'm saying that there isn't so much detail about using it as it's own thing and that detail needs to be extrapolated from what is there.
ghendar wrote:
Sat Oct 12, 2019 2:42 pm
However, to answer your question, my imagination is all I would need. Seriously. That's really all anyone needs to take Night Below and make it their own. It's no different than taking any D&D supplement and/or module from any era and tailoring it to your own world.
Ah, but I'm not trying to reboot Night Below to get it to fit into a world of my making. I'm trying to see how easy it is to expand what is there.

Maybe I need to trawl through book one and make a list of the interesting background elements of Haranshire, so people can see what I think the baseline of the (surface) setting is.
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Re: [Night Below] Extrapolating a world from Haranshire

Post by Big Mac » Mon Oct 14, 2019 1:13 am

ScrivenerofDoom wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 2:17 pm
His website is squaremans.com and I know he has posted PDFs there about his world but I stopped following his stuff a while ago. Sorry; I'm not a lot of help.

You could always ask his current fans over at his group on Reddit.
I tried a Google Site Search for Night Below and Haranshire, but couldn't find anything. Maybe I'll have to go to Reddit. :?

Thanks for trying to help. You had better leads there, than I had. :)
ScrivenerofDoom wrote:
Sat Oct 12, 2019 9:07 am
By the way, I thought this site was lost but I just saw a link to the archived version: http://web.archive.org/web/201003261403 ... index.html

It has some interesting ideas I had forgotten about but now I have saved to add to my eventual Return to the Night Below.
That's an amazingly useful website! Shame it isn't still up. It look like it was a major Night Below resource, in it's day.

This quote gave me a bit of reassurance:
David Ross at The House of Zimri wrote:Selected Critiques of Night Below
Book I

Rick Swan labeled the first book in the box "the weakest of the three books". He blamed most of that on "the bland rural setting", and that it gave him a feeling that "it's all a warm-up". Most regular posters to rec.games.frp.dnd didn't mind the setting, but they seem to have agreed that the pace was a little slow in places and undernourished in general. Chris Anderson told me that if you play Book I as written, "you won't be able to get a larger sized party up to the levels necessary to deal with Book II." Remy called it 1/5 the adventure and dismissed it as "leading the characters around until they discover the dungeon entrance".
I'm probably not thinking that The Evils of Haranshire is as bad as Rick Swan thinks it was, but with me seeing an issue of Haranshire deities being thin on the ground and others telling me "you can do it" it's good to see someone else that had some sort of concern about the writing of the above ground area.

I think that Carl Sargent put a lot of detail into the underdark (and that that is the most rewarding part of the adventure/sourcebook).

I do want to see a bit more detail for the surface, though.

It would have been nice if there was a full-blown local pantheon of deities, so that players that wanted to have PC priests had options to choose from.
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Re: [Night Below] Extrapolating a world from Haranshire

Post by Big Mac » Mon Oct 14, 2019 1:18 am

Big Mac wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 1:13 am
It would have been nice if there was a full-blown local pantheon of deities, so that players that wanted to have PC priests had options to choose from.
I'm thinking that the Sample Priesthoods, from PHBR3 The Complete Priest's Handbook could be used as the local pantheon of the world that Haranshire is part of.

I'm not sure if I would use all of them or some of them.

What I do know is that PHBR3 didn't give any of the deities names, so I would need to knock some up.

I would also have to assign a few of them to the NPCs that get given options for Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms and Mystara faiths. (So I'll probably have to look at those gods/Immortals to see what is closest in the PHBR3 list.)
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Re: [Night Below] Extrapolating a world from Haranshire

Post by ripvanwormer » Mon Oct 14, 2019 4:41 am

The advantage to basing a crystal sphere on The Night Below is you can call it The Night Above.

I'd make the aboleths colonists from an aboleth planet somewhere in the same sphere.

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Re: [Night Below] Extrapolating a world from Haranshire

Post by Big Mac » Thu Oct 17, 2019 12:22 pm

ripvanwormer wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 4:41 am
The advantage to basing a crystal sphere on The Night Below is you can call it The Night Above.
Oh wow! I like that. :cool:

I think it should be the local name for Wildspace (like Toril calls space "The Sea of Night").
ripvanwormer wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 4:41 am
I'd make the aboleths colonists from an aboleth planet somewhere in the same sphere.
Aboleth's travel from world to world (without a doubt), but I think they move from world to world via gates or something of that ilk.

I wasn't even thinking of "Extrapolating a crystal sphere from Haranshire"...

...yet... :twisted:

...but I think that's brilliant logic. If the aboleth's have another world in Haranshire's crystal sphere, I think it would be logical to play out the worse case scenario of Night Below (for that other world) and either make it an aboleth answer to Falx (the illithid world from Spelljammer) or at least take things to Nentir Vale/Points of Light levels and have a number of towns and villiages that struggle to retain control of the land around them.

This is a genius post. I have to look into this further.

Meanwhile, I'll have to try to continue to extrapolate the world around Haranshire, so that I've got a baseline for anything weird like that.
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