[????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

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[????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby Blacky the Blackball » Wed Sep 29, 2010 1:17 pm

It's about time that Dark Dungeons had its own dedicated setting.

So let's build one together.

I think the basic requirements for the setting are:

  • It's supposed to act as a default setting. Therefore it should use the standard races/classes/monsters from the Dark Dungeons book. It shouldn't be full of non-standard races and classes.
  • It should showcase the prominent aspects of Dark Dungeons that distinguish it from other retro-clones, such as the cosmology, the Red Powder, Skysailing, Immortals, etc.
  • It should mostly emphasise the blend of feudalism and meritocracy that the Dark Dungeons dominion rules assume is the case.

So - first things first. It needs a name. Any suggestions?

IMPORTANT LEGAL NOTE: I am intending to release this setting into the Public Domain. Any suggestions you make that become part of the setting will be released in this way and may therefore be re-used by anyone for any purpose. If you do not agree to that use of your suggestions, then please do not make them!
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby masque1223 » Wed Sep 29, 2010 1:39 pm

I don't know about a name for the entire setting, but I know that I'm planning on including some major pirate elements in my upcoming game, both sea and air, what with the skyships and the pistols and whatnot. I came up with The Shadow Coast for the name of the particular region where the pirates have their free cities. Just a working title at the moment, not really that distinctive. Since I finally got the (gloriously system-free) Pirate's Guide to Freeport, I was planning on stealing a bunch from it.
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby masque1223 » Wed Sep 29, 2010 1:52 pm

And of course, being pirates, there wouldn't be any law to speak of (more like guidelines), I'm thinking having those areas set up along anarchist collective lines, albeit with more drinking and fighting. Band together against external threats, go back to doing their own thing afterwards, etc. Definitely higher tolerance of "monstrous" intelligent races, compared to the more feudal areas elsewhere.
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby Angel Tarragon » Wed Sep 29, 2010 5:56 pm

How about a Dark Dungeons Freeport companion?
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby masque1223 » Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:13 pm

Twin Agate Dragons wrote:How about a Dark Dungeons Freeport companion?

Actually, that sounds like a really good idea for a Freeport game in the future. At the moment, I'm not planting on porting Freeport into my game whole-cloth, just grabbing various elements from it, as it's currently the only piracy related fantasy rpg book I own.
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby geekgazette » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:25 pm

I've actually been using a world that I've been building for the past several years that is mostly islands. There was a devastating magical/celestial event that destroyed most of the landmasses, leaving behind a world of mostly islands. The largest landmasses are about th size of Great Britain. So I get to use a lot of Pirate/seafaring themed material.
The only thing is I do use Lizardfolk and Goblins as a common races. The control a large group of islands around the equator. I just think that Lizardfolk & Goblin Pirates are fun.
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby masque1223 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 9:56 am

I've also noticed that in Dark Dungeons, alignment isn't really much of a big deal. There's only a handful of things that interact with it, (mainly the spells Know Alignment and Holy Word) and even they are easily altered if the nature of alignment is changed. What I'm toying around with in my upcoming game is setting alignment up as more of a cosmic faction thing, like in Moorcock's Eternal Champion stories, rather than a morality stat. It's already described in the DD book as more related to the way civilizations choose to organize themselves rather than a good vs. evil thing as assumed in the Rules Cyclopedia (a vast improvement, in my opinion).

So I'm toying with having the default for everything be either Neutral or unaligned, and individuals make a conscious choice to align themselves with larger forces or not. I say Neutral or unaligned because I haven't yet decided if I want Neutral to be simply unaffiliated with Law or Chaos, or if I want Neutral to be more representative of another force, the Cosmic Balance (again, straight out of Moorcock) and have unaligned be the one for people who want nothing to do with any of the cosmic forces.

I don't know if this would be something one would want to include in a Dark Dungeons default setting but I'm throwing out ideas as they come to me for my own game, so if people like them they can consider them.
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby cab » Fri Oct 01, 2010 2:50 pm

I'm hoping to have time to get back to the module this weekend, and with luck we can use Maganshire as part of said default setting; you'll note I've already started laying the foundations for that in the (as yet tiny) text. Not enough hours in the day, or days in the week...
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby Blacky the Blackball » Fri Oct 01, 2010 3:24 pm

masque1223 wrote:I've also noticed that in Dark Dungeons, alignment isn't really much of a big deal.


That's by design.

There's only a handful of things that interact with it, (mainly the spells Know Alignment and Holy Word) and even they aren't easily altered if the nature of alignment is changed. What I'm toying around with in my upcoming game is setting alignment up as more of a cosmic faction thing, like in Moorcock's Eternal Champion stories, rather than a morality stat. It's already described in the DD book as more related to the way civilizations choose to organize themselves rather than a good vs. evil thing as assumed in the Rules Cyclopedia (a vast improvement, in my opinion).


That's largely how I envisioned things too.

So I'm toying with having the default for everything be either Neutral or unaligned, and individuals make a conscious choice to align themselves with larger forces or not. I say Neutral or unaligned because I haven't yet decided if I want Neutral to be simply unaffiliated with Law or Chaos, or if I want Neutral to be more representative of another force, the Cosmic Balance (again, straight out of Moorcock) and have unaligned be the one for people who want nothing to do with any of the cosmic forces.


That's reasonable, but the way I saw it there would be many creatures whose very nature drew them into alignment with one or the other without necessarily making a conscious decision to actively support that side. For example humans' empire building pushes the world towards Order, and the barbaric humanoids that tear down such empires pull the world back towards Chaos. Neither side is deliberately aligning themselves with cosmic forces, but they unwittingly serve them nonetheless.

I don't know if this would be something one would want to include in a Dark Dungeons default setting but I'm throwing out ideas as they come to me for my own game, so if people like them they can consider them.


I haven't decided yet whether to put something "above" the Immortals. If I do, then it may well be Order vs Chaos vs Balance - although I don't think I'll have any "Lords of Order" or "Chaos Gods", just impersonal forces.
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby Big Mac » Sun Oct 10, 2010 11:20 am

masque1223 wrote:Since I finally got the (gloriously system-free) Pirate's Guide to Freeport, I was planning on stealing a bunch from it.


Be careful not to "steal things from Freeport" and pass them to Blacky as your own ideas, as that could get his project into trouble.
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby Big Mac » Sun Oct 10, 2010 11:28 am

Twin Agate Dragons wrote:How about a Dark Dungeons Freeport companion?


You know, that would probably take some sort of licensing deal (and I'm sure that Green Ronin would want some sort of payment to be made to them, especially if it was going to be sold on Lulu). I know that Blacky wanted the original Dark Dungeons to be non-profit (at least from his end) but I think that a "Dark Dungeons Guide to Freeport" would need to have some sort of commercial aspect (even if it was just payment to Green Ronin, but not Blacky).

I don't know if Green Ronin, themselves, could be persuaded to publish something. I'm not sure that Dark Dungeons is widely enough available for that to work...yet. (Maybe Frank Mentzer's "RPG family format" concept could be used to create a book that provided support for Dark Dungeons and a few similar versions of the old school rules.)

I think this concept needs to be forked off into another thread, as it isn't going to be the "default setting for Dark Dungeons".
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby masque1223 » Sun Oct 10, 2010 12:20 pm

Big Mac wrote:
masque1223 wrote:Since I finally got the (gloriously system-free) Pirate's Guide to Freeport, I was planning on stealing a bunch from it.

Be careful not to "steal things from Freeport" and pass them to Blacky as your own ideas, as that could get his project into trouble.

No, I was just referring to my own campaign for that. If I was going to contribute specific pirate related stuff for a DD setting, I'd use historical and semi-historical books on piracy, like "Under the Black Flag" by David Cordingly, "Pirate Utopias" by Peter Lamborn Wilson and "The Devil's Anarchy" by Stephen Snelders (looking at what's in eye range on my shelf), and then riff on themes in those.
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby Big Mac » Sun Oct 10, 2010 12:52 pm

Blacky the Blackball wrote:It's about time that Dark Dungeons had its own dedicated setting.

So let's build one together.

I think the basic requirements for the setting are:

  • It's supposed to act as a default setting. Therefore it should use the standard races/classes/monsters from the Dark Dungeons book. It shouldn't be full of non-standard races and classes.
  • It should showcase the prominent aspects of Dark Dungeons that distinguish it from other retro-clones, such as the cosmology, the Red Powder, Skysailing, Immortals, etc.
  • It should mostly emphasise the blend of feudalism and meritocracy that the Dark Dungeons dominion rules assume is the case.


It seems to me that old school rules (from the sort of era that Dark Dungeons emulates) have a variety of cultures that emulate a lot of real-world cultures.

Perhaps the "Dark Dungeons Campaign Setting" should also have a wide variety of cultures. The "out of the box" monsters could represent a core area (like Forgotten Realms has Faerun), but you could also come up with ways to reboot your standard races, and monsters to fit in with lands that are far from your core area.

Imagine, for example, turning one of your monsters upside-down and making it into the hero of a far-away kingdom. Imagine a land dominated by evil necromancers, that has a hero-medusa come in, kill them all and become a benevolent queen. You could have that land turn into a peaceful place, where the natives are greatful towards "she who must not be looked upon". She could wear a veil (and maybe inspire a fashion where all beautiful women cover their faces) while in public and her advisers could wear blindfolds while having meetings with her in a darkened room.

That suggestion might be a bit cheesy for you, but I think you get the point I am trying to make.

Blacky the Blackball wrote:So - first things first. It needs a name. Any suggestions?


"Chickland", perhaps! :P

Failing that, how about looking at the early history of role playing. The Commedia dell'arte will be out of copyright by now, but it is a bit of a mouthful. Perhaps you can look into its history and find a nice name within it (or several names that can be used for various countries). There

I certainly like the fact that the word "vagabond" seems to be associated with this role-playing theatre style. Even dropping in travelling groups of thieves, who give travelling performers and travelling adventurers a bad name, could help give the Dark Dungeons world a bit of character. (As far as I know, most campaign settings make organisations like thieves guilds into stationary things, so making mobile organisations that travel as much as the PCs do, could be a way to make this game seem different. The PCs could be just one of many mobile group and adventure could come to them as much as they go out to find it.)

Blacky the Blackball wrote:IMPORTANT LEGAL NOTE: I am intending to release this setting into the Public Domain. Any suggestions you make that become part of the setting will be released in this way and may therefore be re-used by anyone for any purpose. If you do not agree to that use of your suggestions, then please do not make them!


I hereby give you a non-revocable licence to use any suggestions that I make about Dark Dungeons. If you are interested in anything I say elsewhere, feel free to drop me an email to discuss it.
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby Big Mac » Sun Oct 10, 2010 1:27 pm

masque1223 wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
masque1223 wrote:Since I finally got the (gloriously system-free) Pirate's Guide to Freeport, I was planning on stealing a bunch from it.

Be careful not to "steal things from Freeport" and pass them to Blacky as your own ideas, as that could get his project into trouble.

No, I was just referring to my own campaign for that. If I was going to contribute specific pirate related stuff for a DD setting, I'd use historical and semi-historical books on piracy, like "Under the Black Flag" by David Cordingly, "Pirate Utopias" by Peter Lamborn Wilson and "The Devil's Anarchy" by Stephen Snelders (looking at what's in eye range on my shelf), and then riff on themes in those.


Aha. I stand corrected.

I look forward to seeing what you knock up.

BTW: I don't think I've seen you before, so welcome to The Piazza.
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby masque1223 » Sun Oct 10, 2010 1:59 pm

Big Mac wrote:Aha. I stand corrected.

I look forward to seeing what you knock up.

BTW: I don't think I've seen you before, so welcome to The Piazza.

I'm still brainstorming at the moment, hence my prior contributions to the thread being of a fragmentary nature. I'm starting my campaign with Keep on the Borderlands, and how the wider setting develops will depend quite a bit on where my players go afterwards.

Thanks for the welcome, I haven't explored the rest of the site much, mainly just the Dark Dungeons section, because it's exactly what I was looking for in a retro-clone, and so I've quickly become a big fan.
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby BillionSix » Sun Oct 10, 2010 6:45 pm

There are only 1,001 elves. A new elf can only be born after one dies, so a pregnancy is seen as a source of sadness as well as joy.

The 1,001st elf is very powerful, and is seen as the emissary of the elven gods. The Elven King (or Queen) as he or she is known,can only be killed by violence, and is unaging. When he or she dies, a Contact Other Plane spell is used to find where and when he will be reborn, similar to how the new Dalai Lama is found.
There have been less than half a dozen Elven Kings since the dawn of time. The first one committed suicide a few centuries after humans appeared on the scene. This is seen as an amazing and noble sacrifice by the elves. The King knew that he would not be able to handle the unpredictable changes that humans would make in the world, and chose to make way for a new, less hidebound monarch.
The current monarch is an Elven Queen, and she has ruled wisely for over a millennium.
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby Blacky the Blackball » Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:02 am

Big Mac wrote:It seems to me that old school rules (from the sort of era that Dark Dungeons emulates) have a variety of cultures that emulate a lot of real-world cultures.


I've always liked that idea. While some pooh-pooh it as being unoriginal, I find it's far easier to say to players "they're like vikings except for XYZ" (for example) than to have to spend ages describing my wonderfully original culture only to have to stop the game every five minutes to explain vital yet tedious minutae of the culture to players that their characters would know but that they keep forgetting. So I definitely agree that real-world cultures with the serial numbers filed off is the way to go.

Imagine, for example, turning one of your monsters upside-down and making it into the hero of a far-away kingdom. Imagine a land dominated by evil necromancers, that has a hero-medusa come in, kill them all and become a benevolent queen. You could have that land turn into a peaceful place, where the natives are greatful towards "she who must not be looked upon". She could wear a veil (and maybe inspire a fashion where all beautiful women cover their faces) while in public and her advisers could wear blindfolds while having meetings with her in a darkened room.

That suggestion might be a bit cheesy for you, but I think you get the point I am trying to make.


I've already used "benevolent monster as ruler" in a couple of previous campaigns, so I'm used to that. In fact one of those was a pair of medusa sisters. (The other was a vampire whose state was an open secret but who was both a just ruler and also the legitimate heir to the throne.)

Blacky the Blackball wrote:So - first things first. It needs a name. Any suggestions?


"Chickland", perhaps! :P

Failing that, how about looking at the early history of role playing. The Commedia dell'arte will be out of copyright by now, but it is a bit of a mouthful. Perhaps you can look into its history and find a nice name within it (or several names that can be used for various countries). There

I certainly like the fact that the word "vagabond" seems to be associated with this role-playing theatre style. Even dropping in travelling groups of thieves, who give travelling performers and travelling adventurers a bad name, could help give the Dark Dungeons world a bit of character. (As far as I know, most campaign settings make organisations like thieves guilds into stationary things, so making mobile organisations that travel as much as the PCs do, could be a way to make this game seem different. The PCs could be just one of many mobile group and adventure could come to them as much as they go out to find it.)


For some reason the name "Landfall" popped into my head, and I think I might use that.

I like the idea of travelling groups, but one thing I've made sure of in Dark Dungeons is that I haven't made any mention of a "thieves guild". Sure, there may be organised crime in some places, but no single thieves guild with branches in each city.
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby Blacky the Blackball » Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:14 am

BillionSix wrote:There are only 1,001 elves. A new elf can only be born after one dies, so a pregnancy is seen as a source of sadness as well as joy.

The 1,001st elf is very powerful, and is seen as the emissary of the elven gods. The Elven King (or Queen) as he or she is known,can only be killed by violence, and is unaging. When he or she dies, a Contact Other Plane spell is used to find where and when he will be reborn, similar to how the new Dalai Lama is found.
There have been less than half a dozen Elven Kings since the dawn of time. The first one committed suicide a few centuries after humans appeared on the scene. This is seen as an amazing and noble sacrifice by the elves. The King knew that he would not be able to handle the unpredictable changes that humans would make in the world, and chose to make way for a new, less hidebound monarch.
The current monarch is an Elven Queen, and she has ruled wisely for over a millennium.


I like this, with a couple of modifications:

1) Not elves. Too many people use the "elves are special" and "elves are better than you and make sure you know it" tropes for that - it seems to encourage it too much. I think it would be better with dwarves, or maybe even halflings, not elves.

2) 1,001 is far too few - that's barely a town's worth. I'd make it 100,001 or something - enough for a whole small country.

If we're going for the Dalai Lama type search for a successor then halflings would fit better than dwarves since they're more spread through the human populations so it would be more of a search. Besides, halflings never get enough uniqueness when it comes to setting and plot so I like giving them something like that.

Given the way Dark Dungeons Immortals work, the best way to do this might be for the ruler to actually be an immortal in a long-term mortal form - maybe the various immortals who made/patronise the halfling race take it in turns to be their mortal ruler.

Of course, this would only apply to the single world. Maybe there are halflings on other worlds too, and maybe they have the same (or different) limits.
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby masque1223 » Mon Oct 11, 2010 9:04 am

Blacky the Blackball wrote:I like the idea of travelling groups, but one thing I've made sure of in Dark Dungeons is that I haven't made any mention of a "thieves guild". Sure, there may be organised crime in some places, but no single thieves guild with branches in each city.

I know for my campaign, I'm setting up an adventurer's guild, roughly along industrial union lines. Kinda silly, but I'm going for a lighter tone in contrast to the epic drama of my current, soon to be finished HARP campaign. The way it works right now in its very sketchy form is that in exchange for a percentage of loot, members get access to discounted equipment, healthcare (healing and resurrection spells contracted out to local churches when adventuring clerics aren't handy), and of course, new adventurers and hirelings when the inevitable deaths occur. Right now I'm calling it the Itinerant Adventurers of the World in tribute to the IWW (of which I'm a member), but since the campaign hasn't actually started yet, nothing is set in stone.
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby BillionSix » Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:17 pm

Blacky the Blackball wrote:
BillionSix wrote:There are only 1,001 elves. A new elf can only be born after one dies, so a pregnancy is seen as a source of sadness as well as joy.

The 1,001st elf is very powerful, and is seen as the emissary of the elven gods. The Elven King (or Queen) as he or she is known,can only be killed by violence, and is unaging. When he or she dies, a Contact Other Plane spell is used to find where and when he will be reborn, similar to how the new Dalai Lama is found.
There have been less than half a dozen Elven Kings since the dawn of time. The first one committed suicide a few centuries after humans appeared on the scene. This is seen as an amazing and noble sacrifice by the elves. The King knew that he would not be able to handle the unpredictable changes that humans would make in the world, and chose to make way for a new, less hidebound monarch.
The current monarch is an Elven Queen, and she has ruled wisely for over a millennium.


I like this, with a couple of modifications:

1) Not elves. Too many people use the "elves are special" and "elves are better than you and make sure you know it" tropes for that - it seems to encourage it too much. I think it would be better with dwarves, or maybe even halflings, not elves.

2) 1,001 is far too few - that's barely a town's worth. I'd make it 100,001 or something - enough for a whole small country.

If we're going for the Dalai Lama type search for a successor then halflings would fit better than dwarves since they're more spread through the human populations so it would be more of a search. Besides, halflings never get enough uniqueness when it comes to setting and plot so I like giving them something like that.

Given the way Dark Dungeons Immortals work, the best way to do this might be for the ruler to actually be an immortal in a long-term mortal form - maybe the various immortals who made/patronise the halfling race take it in turns to be their mortal ruler.

Of course, this would only apply to the single world. Maybe there are halflings on other worlds too, and maybe they have the same (or different) limits.


Actually, I chose elves for that reason. To me, elves in a lot of games are just another race. They are woodsy, they have pointy ears, they live a long time. As a Lord of the Rings fan, I think that elves should have an otherworldly quality to them. Not be unbeatable or super-powerful. I'm not trying to Mary Sue them, but they are the ones that get spells just for being elves. They are intrinsically magical, and I like the idea of their reproduction being a little odd. Plus, it explains why their long lifespan doesn't cause them to cover the earth, by limiting their population.

And halflings? I disagree with you as to the idea of giving them weirdness. To me, they are almost aggressively non-weird. They are the quiet, normal ones. Let's be honest, if not for copyright reasons, they'd be Hobbits. You don't make Frodo and Sam cooler by giving them magic powers. They are cool because they are normal Hobbits who go out and do brave things.
I see the halflings and dwarves as being very non-magical by their very nature, so their reproduction wouldn't have too much strangeness to it.

I do agree with you that 1,001 is far too few. I would say maybe 10,001. I don't see them having a massive nation or even large cities. A few forest based towns, plus a few wanderers. Remember medieval populations were much smaller. Even human nations wouldn't have the crowds we have now.

Here's an interesting thought. Imagine how the elves reacted when the human clerics came along and started resurrecting their elven friends. I can imagine elves running around flailing their arms screaming "Balance of nature! Balance of nature!"
How would Raise Dead affect things?

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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby Blacky the Blackball » Mon Oct 11, 2010 10:13 pm

BillionSix wrote:Actually, I chose elves for that reason. To me, elves in a lot of games are just another race. They are woodsy, they have pointy ears, they live a long time. As a Lord of the Rings fan, I think that elves should have an otherworldly quality to them. Not be unbeatable or super-powerful. I'm not trying to Mary Sue them, but they are the ones that get spells just for being elves. They are intrinsically magical, and I like the idea of their reproduction being a little odd. Plus, it explains why their long lifespan doesn't cause them to cover the earth, by limiting their population.


The problem (at least to my mind) isn't about making them unbeatable or super-powerful. It's about giving them an even more "special" background than before. Giving them extra otherworldliness - particularly magical/supernatural otherworldliness - just exacerbates the "Elves are so special" aspect. If anything I'd want to downplay the high-magic mysticalness of the elves, and make them more mundane than you'd expect rather than less.

One thing that has occurred to me though - having talked about using cultures similar to real-world ones...

Why not make the elven culture a faux-Japanese shogunate? Rather than having clerics, they can revere the elements and nature spirits; and their fighting styles and weapons would emphasise speed and grace rather than the emphasis on power that western fighting styles use.

And halflings? I disagree with you as to the idea of giving them weirdness. To me, they are almost aggressively non-weird. They are the quiet, normal ones. Let's be honest, if not for copyright reasons, they'd be Hobbits. You don't make Frodo and Sam cooler by giving them magic powers. They are cool because they are normal Hobbits who go out and do brave things.


That's exactly why I do think they should get this particular brand of weirdness. On the one hand, it doesn't change the appeal of playing a normal halfling; because other than the ruler the rest of the halflings are all "normal". On the other hand it gives the race a bit more cultural depth than making them the generic just-plain-simple-folk.

I see the halflings and dwarves as being very non-magical by their very nature, so their reproduction wouldn't have too much strangeness to it.


I'm leaning towards proper Viking dwarves (with a large sea-faring fleet, and proper Nordic culture with moots and skalds so forth - not just the "angry beard on legs" cliché). Again, it is familiar enough to give the players a big handle on the culture to start from.

I do agree with you that 1,001 is far too few. I would say maybe 10,001. I don't see them having a massive nation or even large cities. A few forest based towns, plus a few wanderers. Remember medieval populations were much smaller. Even human nations wouldn't have the crowds we have now.


Don't forget that we're not talking about a real-world medieval population - we're talking about a fantasy population with magic and Immortal aid and so forth. Also don't forget that it's a big old setting. We're looking at a whole planet (which is just one of thousands), not just a continent. To give a real world example, a "few forest based towns" would be fine on a map of Britain, or maybe even on a map of Western Europe, but on a map of the world it would just vanish. With that few halflings (or elves) in the whole world they may as well not exist, unless every adventure is contrived to take place within a few hundred miles of their homeland.

Here's an interesting thought. Imagine how the elves reacted when the human clerics came along and started resurrecting their elven friends. I can imagine elves running around flailing their arms screaming "Balance of nature! Balance of nature!"
How would Raise Dead affect things?


That is an interesting thought - one key element of the Dark Dungeons rules that might need to be incorporated in the setting is that there is something different about elves, dwarves and halflings. Other humanoids can become shamans or sorcerers, and they can't. But on the other hand, they can be raised and other humanoids can't.

Clearly there's something about a demi-human's soul that's different from the other humanoid races.

In fact, it might be an idea to start from the top as it were, and look at the metaphysics of the setting before zooming in and talking about specific cultures...
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby masque1223 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 3:04 pm

I've always found monks (mystics in RC and DD) to be somewhat out of place in fantasy roleplaying, but since my plan is to populate a world with different cultures based on real ones (like Mystara did), I figured out where to stick the monks. I'll have my Asia pastiche somewhere, probably with some crossover with the pirates, and I think I'll go with the assumption that the Boxers had an accurate apprehension of reality to build their society:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Righteous_Harmony_Society
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby Lucifer_Drake » Tue Oct 12, 2010 5:02 pm

Blacky the Blackball wrote:
BillionSix wrote:There are only 1,001 elves. A new elf can only be born after one dies, so a pregnancy is seen as a source of sadness as well as joy.

The 1,001st elf is very powerful, and is seen as the emissary of the elven gods. The Elven King (or Queen) as he or she is known,can only be killed by violence, and is unaging. When he or she dies, a Contact Other Plane spell is used to find where and when he will be reborn, similar to how the new Dalai Lama is found.
There have been less than half a dozen Elven Kings since the dawn of time. The first one committed suicide a few centuries after humans appeared on the scene. This is seen as an amazing and noble sacrifice by the elves. The King knew that he would not be able to handle the unpredictable changes that humans would make in the world, and chose to make way for a new, less hidebound monarch.
The current monarch is an Elven Queen, and she has ruled wisely for over a millennium.


I like this, with a couple of modifications:

1) Not elves. Too many people use the "elves are special" and "elves are better than you and make sure you know it" tropes for that - it seems to encourage it too much. I think it would be better with dwarves, or maybe even halflings, not elves.
Like me..I love me Elves , ya heretic BillionSix.

2) 1,001 is far too few - that's barely a town's worth. I'd make it 100,001 or something - enough for a whole small country.

If we're going for the Dalai Lama type search for a successor then halflings would fit better than dwarves since they're more spread through the human populations so it would be more of a search. Besides, halflings never get enough uniqueness when it comes to setting and plot so I like giving them something like that.

Given the way Dark Dungeons Immortals work, the best way to do this might be for the ruler to actually be an immortal in a long-term mortal form - maybe the various immortals who made/patronise the halfling race take it in turns to be their mortal ruler.

Of course, this would only apply to the single world. Maybe there are halflings on other worlds too, and maybe they have the same (or different) limits.
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby BlU_sKrEEm » Thu Oct 14, 2010 5:37 am

BillionSix wrote:And halflings? I disagree with you as to the idea of giving them weirdness. To me, they are almost aggressively non-weird. They are the quiet, normal ones.


This reminds me of an idea I've wanted to use for a long time:

Halflings are everywhere. From the the frozen north to the souther tropics, wherever Demi-humanity exists Halflings can be found. A traveling adventurer can always find a familiar face in Halflings, however they aren't likely to be able to predict their actions. Haflings go by a myriad of names (Hurthlings, Hin, Menehune, Leprechauns, etc,) they speak different tongues, and have a myriad of cultures. The one common thread found amongst Halflings of the world is that they ALWAYS fit in.

You see Halflings have no culture of their own. They psychically imprint on the dominate cultures and stereotypes of other Demi-humans at birth. In the area where Elves rule the Halflings are simple spiritual folk. Where Dwarves rule the Halflings are greedy and hardy folks. In the frozen north Halflings take after the savage cultures of trolls and Orcs. Halflings that are born under the influence of different cultures may not even recognize other Halflings as kin.

This can lead to some odd situations where in areas where cultures conflict Halfling parents may not recognize their children. This might lead to the extinction of a clan, or a war amongst Halfling Shires over stolen children.
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby Blacky the Blackball » Thu Oct 14, 2010 8:05 am

BlU_sKrEEm wrote:
BillionSix wrote:And halflings? I disagree with you as to the idea of giving them weirdness. To me, they are almost aggressively non-weird. They are the quiet, normal ones.


This reminds me of an idea I've wanted to use for a long time:

Halflings are everywhere. From the the frozen north to the souther tropics, wherever Demi-humanity exists Halflings can be found. A traveling adventurer can always find a familiar face in Halflings, however they aren't likely to be able to predict their actions. Haflings go by a myriad of names (Hurthlings, Hin, Menehune, Leprechauns, etc,) they speak different tongues, and have a myriad of cultures. The one common thread found amongst Halflings of the world is that they ALWAYS fit in.

You see Halflings have no culture of their own. They psychically imprint on the dominate cultures and stereotypes of other Demi-humans at birth. In the area where Elves rule the Halflings are simple spiritual folk. Where Dwarves rule the Halflings are greedy and hardy folks. In the frozen north Halflings take after the savage cultures of trolls and Orcs. Halflings that are born under the influence of different cultures may not even recognize other Halflings as kin.

This can lead to some odd situations where in areas where cultures conflict Halfling parents may not recognize their children. This might lead to the extinction of a clan, or a war amongst Halfling Shires over stolen children.


I do like that idea for the halflings...

In fact I think it is a better fit than the "limited numbers". I may shift the "limited numbers" thing to dwarves instead (I still don't like the idea of it making elves even more "special snowflake" than they already are...)
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