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

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

Postby Angel Tarragon » Thu Oct 14, 2010 8:09 am

May I ask why you chose 'Landfall' and not something more evocative?
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

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

Twin Agate Dragons wrote:May I ask why you chose 'Landfall' and not something more evocative?


I thought "Landfall" was quite evocative!

It's supposed to evoke the feeling of a new land that people (of all species) have arrived on. Given the emphasis in the setting on ships (both sailing and flying) I thought that was quite suitable. It's also short and easily remembered.

But if you've any better ideas, I'm open to them...
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby Varg » Thu Jan 16, 2014 7:37 am

Hi, I hope you don't mind the topic necromancy, but I would like to throw in some ideas.

I’d advice having humans be the most common sentient race of the setting, having little contact between the races, and to have humans be spread around with a vast variety of cultures while, in contrast, giving Dwarfs and Elves smaller, more concentrated and uniform cultures. Mainly because I feel that kind of world is what works best with RC/DD's race-as-class system.

Blacky the Blackball wrote: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.


Personally I’ve never really understood why dwarfs are so often made into Vikings. Apart from surviving Norse runes usually being written on stones (which has more to do with most runes written on wood having rotted away than anything else) and the occasional battle axes and beards I don’t really get it. If anything I think the Norse would make a better pick for elves: Swords and bows being the primary weapons (rather than axes), very high cultural focus on honor, reverence of nature and woodland, unusual (for the time) focus on personal hygiene and appearance and the belief that fate is predetermined and unchangeable are things that I feel would fit right in as part of a traditional elven culture. The Norse belief that man was created by the gods from trees would also be fitting to apply to the elves (about the elves, not man). Dwarfs being made from maggots in some Norse creation myths would also be nice to incorporate into elven beliefs if you want to have the typical antipathy between dwarfs and elves. Something inspired by the concept of Einherjar could also be used to explain the first Immortals in elven myth and how Immortals have divine authority and be legitimate objects of worship will still allowing the elves to focus on more abstract nature deities.

As a replacement for Vikings to Dwarfs I would recommend the Mesopotamians and ancient near-eastern culture in general. They have a cultural focus on earth, clay and stone, on architecture and on the importance and authority of keeping recordings in written language (on the aforementioned clay and stone). Nature is usually seen as something foreign and unreliable that should be controlled and physical strength is usually valued over skill and tactics. Giving dwarfs the ancient near-easterns' belief that the gods created them from clay or similar (stone might work best here) would also be a good parallel to Elves if you have them believe themselves to be created from wood. The hands-on approach of gods and their technical mortality in these cultures could be used as a base for the dwarfs seeing the Immortals as actual gods who can also lift others to divine status. The first gods/Immortals may ether be considered to be dead or may have ascended to some even higher plane of existence of some sort.

Blacky the Blackball wrote: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.

While they were not Immortals, and there had to be more than one of them at the same time, this makes me think back to the Halfling Master sub-class from the Five Shires gazetter (GAZ8 I believe). Being a fan of the concept of sub-classes (at least as handled by RC and DD) I would like to see it return. Maybe I should try and rewrite it for use with DD myself. It does seem more compatible (and less vaguely formulated) than the Elf Lord and Elf Wizard classes at-least.

Blacky the Blackball wrote: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.

Maybe souls themselves could be the difference? I mean; humans and demi-humans actually having an metaphysical, immortal (or at least semi-immortal since Immortals can be permanently destroyed) soul while other humanoids are only made up of their physical components. So if a dwarf dies there is an actual soul to bring back, but if a Kobold die the electronic signals that makes up their entire consciousness are gone forever. You could also tie this in with the dwarven and elven creation myths I suggested above by giving halflings and humans similar myths about the creation of their own races thus implying a common supernatural origin for all four races. The presence of a soul may also be what disrupt their magical abilities since both are metaphysical in nature and might operate on the same plane of existence or some such thing. Maybe having a soul makes learning to use magic much harder, but ultimately gives you much better abilities with it?
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby Ashtagon » Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:41 am

How about this as the default setting:

viewforum.php?f=53
viewtopic.php?f=53&t=9846#p121015 (most recent working document update)
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby Zurunir » Thu Jan 16, 2014 6:00 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.

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!


Huh. That's just what I attempted 2 weeks ago on this very board. No. Luck. But at least I now know where that "red powder" came from!

But it's good to know that you also want an campaign setting for DD. Okay, let me read the rest of this thread and see what I can do for you.
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby vito » Thu Jan 16, 2014 8:03 pm

How about NPC's for your setting?

Stenn Thunderson, Grand-Master of Hand Axes
Dwarf 21
Has trained from birth to be the best fighter in the entire world with hand-axes.
Will train player characters to use hand axes.
Wields a Hand-Axe (returning) +2.
Stenn is estranged from his family due to an unresolved conflict regarding inheritance. Stenn will waive the cost of one week's training for any hero that helps him with one of the following:
a) Recover one Thunderson family heirloom and return it to Stenn
b) Reunite Stenn with one of his six brothers and reconcile their differences

Stenn's brothers are:
Logan Thunderson, Grand-Master of Battle Axes
Urist Thunderson, Grand-Master of Throwing Hammers
Saul Thunderson, Grand-Master of Warhammers
Doom Thunderson, Grand-Master of Horned Shields
Bjorn Thunderson, Grand-Master of Sword Shields
Max Thunderson, Grand-Master of Knife Shields

The Thunderson family heirlooms are fragments of some kind of unfinished machine built by Mighty Thunderson. The seven Thunderson brothers believe the machine to be some sort of super-weapon, and all seven covet it for themselves.
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby Zurunir » Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:23 pm

Okay, here's my two cents:

Naming is utterly irrelevant at this stage. The world doesn't even exist yet. so what use is giving it a name? If we take the project by working on the final bits (such as NPCs, giving the campaign setting (not even the campaign world even-- worser: the final campaign setting) a name already, etc), we'll never get anything usable, because everybody only wants to indulge himself.

That said, if you absolutely have to name the setting (even though it doesn't exist yet-- a big, big mistake), "Landfall" seems so good as any name, so why don't we use that name so that we can stop stalling and start to get creative?

1) Let's work on the basics first. Is our campaign setting a globe, a disc, a Gargantua Dragon Turtle on whose back the world rests?

(I suggest a globe.)

2) How many continents does the campaign setting have? Or doesn't it have any continents and all adventure settings are on islands?

(I would suggest 3 continents. One of which we should single out and inhabit it with several nations and lots of adventure settings as soon as possible. We need to stop stalling and actually create something usable instead of just fooling around with tangents such as finding a name for the setting or a logo for it. If we created a dozen or so adventure locations and adventure nations, the rest will practically take care of itself.)

3) Does the setting have a mega-dungeon? A deep, deep dungeon that never seems to end yet all the same seems central to the campaign even if the players never enter it?

(I strongly advise it have one. And I'm even willing to write up the basic description for it - like the short "Gazetteer" summarizing from the D&D Rules Cyclopedia - , if Blacky gives the okay for adding a mega dungeon to the first official DD campaign setting.)

4) Do we have a village with several small dungeons in a day's distance? Just so that new players can cut their teeth without getting overwhelmed by wilderness dangers?

5) All locations should be created from the perspective of a good game master. Not: "Oh, LOOK how FASCINATING my piece is!!!", but rather: "What are the adventure possibilities here? What relevance will it have for my players? Will it be interesting for them? Or am I just indulging myself without producing anything of true use?"

Also, remember, we need to start small. Let's create a few adventure locations first, then we can can worry about politics between nations, naming the setting or adding frill like NPCs.
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby Varg » Thu Jan 16, 2014 10:28 pm

Zurunir. This project is currently on-hold until Blacky finishes Masks, so stalling is essentially what we are here for. That being said I do agree that it is way too early to create NPCs, but I also think we need to set down the basics of how this world and it's cultures actually work before we can start creating individual villages and dungeons lest the whole thing becomes an inconsistent mess.
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby Darkanth » Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:24 pm

How about instead of casting spells as a Magic-User, Elves cast Clerical spells instead. It's a break from the standard cliche and makes them more "otherworldly" imho.
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby Zurunir » Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:35 am

Varg wrote:Zurunir. This project is currently on-hold until Blacky finishes Masks, so stalling is essentially what we are here for. That being said I do agree that it is way too early to create NPCs, but I also think we need to set down the basics of how this world and it's cultures actually work before we can start creating individual villages and dungeons lest the whole thing becomes an inconsistent mess.


Hello Varg. Okay. But while we're stalling, why not at least answer the questions I asked together? For starters, what shape should the campaign world have? A globe (the usual shape of choice for game worlds)? A disc? A giant wheel? What's your suggestion/advice for the shape of the world?

That said, I doubt it's a good idea to worry about "how the cultures work".

For one thing, we don't have any "cultures" yet because nobody did bother to create the places where those cultures could live in.

For the other, I thought we were creating a campaign setting for DD? Worrying "how the world and its cultures work" smacks of secondary world design instead.

The explicit mission statement was to create a playable campaign setting that utilizes the rules of Dark Dungeon-- not to create some elegant (and essentially boring) secondary world.

Let's create the places first. First we need a basis to work with. Then we can worry about grafting add-ons (cultures, NPCs, Magic Items, Immortals, new Monster) to that basis.
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby Zurunir » Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:37 am

Darkanth wrote:How about instead of casting spells as a Magic-User, Elves cast Clerical spells instead. It's a break from the standard cliche and makes them more "otherworldly" imho.


Shouldn't we create a game setting for the standard rules first before adding variants?
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby vito » Fri Jan 17, 2014 5:54 am

Varg wrote:Zurunir. This project is currently on-hold until Blacky finishes Masks, so stalling is essentially what we are here for. That being said I do agree that it is way too early to create NPCs, but I also think we need to set down the basics of how this world and it's cultures actually work before we can start creating individual villages and dungeons lest the whole thing becomes an inconsistent mess.


I think we need to hammer out the basics of how we're going to design the world before we even start on the world and its cultures. Many people design their settings differently.
Some people start with the outlines of continents and start filling things in. Some people start with the people, locations, and events most immediately relevant to the player characters and then expand out from there. Some people like to start out with a theme or with a genre or trope they wish to deconstruct or reconstruct.
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby Varg » Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:19 am

Zurunir wrote:Hello Varg. Okay. But while we're stalling, why not at least answer the questions I asked together? For starters, what shape should the campaign world have? A globe (the usual shape of choice for game worlds)? A disc? A giant wheel? What's your suggestion/advice for the shape of the world?

Sure. Since there were mentions of traveling to other planets and such in DD I agree that a globe would make the most sense for this world. It is also the easiest to make believable. Of course it is a bit harder to map out than a disk and a disk is used in many mythologies so I wouldn't mind that too much either.

I don't care much about the exact number of continents. 3 is as good of a number as any. I think we should start with focusing on one landmass and see what we can fit into there vs. what we feel would be better suited on other potential continents. Since Blacky has expressed an interest in making his cultures thinly veiled pastiches of earth cultures we may go all the way and and have the world map be a pastiche of earth as well; possibly without America and Oceania for more of that medieval-Euroasian-worldview feel. Alternatively we do what Mystara itself did and use a map of prehistoric earth and place the counterpart cultures roughly on the landmasses their inspirations would eventually blossom.

Both "village[s] with several small dungeons" and mega-dungeons are things that could exist. For the first all we really need is to have a town or something near a few ruins and we are good to go. An pseudo-endless mega dungeon would take more work to justify, but is not undoable. The easiest way to go around would probably just be "an immortal did it", but that is a tad boring.

Zurunir wrote:For the other, I thought we were creating a campaign setting for DD? Worrying "how the world and its cultures work" smacks of secondary world design instead.

The explicit mission statement was to create a playable campaign setting that utilizes the rules of Dark Dungeon-- not to create some elegant (and essentially boring) secondary world.

I had the opposite impression, that the mission was to create a world to justify the rules (essentially all the fluff that Dark Dungeon itself had to lack) so that we could more easily create specific campaigns in it later. Also I disagree that world creation (and the reading there of) is boring. I appreciate "there is a hole in the ground, go down there and fight monster" a whole lot more when I have at least an idea of who the people going into that hole are, what this hole actually is and why all these monsters are there. Also the rules of Dark Dungeons goes much further than just dungeon exploring and I would like a setting that acknowledge this.

Zurunir wrote:Let's create the places first. First we need a basis to work with. Then we can worry about grafting add-ons (cultures, NPCs, Magic Items, Immortals, new Monster) to that basis.

Well I consider culture to be part of the basics, not an add on. Even in a simple dungeon crawl knowing about the culture that created the dungeon and the cultures of the characters in it would be much more useful to me than an atlas ever would.

Darkanth wrote:How about instead of casting spells as a Magic-User, Elves cast Clerical spells instead. It's a break from the standard cliche and makes them more "otherworldly" imho.

I think you misunderstood. This is not an attempt at making a new set of rules, but to provide a setting for those that already exist. Also Blacky has expressed an interest in making Elves less "otherwordly" in this setting, not more.
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby Blacky the Blackball » Fri Jan 17, 2014 2:39 pm

Ashtagon wrote:How about this as the default setting:

viewforum.php?f=53
viewtopic.php?f=53&t=9846#p121015 (most recent working document update)


I'm not sure the Dark Dungeons rules are a very good fit for Thalassa. Dark Dungeons is quite high-magic with flying ships and immortals and so forth, and that doesn't seem to fit the intended feel of the world.
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby Blacky the Blackball » Fri Jan 17, 2014 2:42 pm

Zurunir wrote:But it's good to know that you also want an campaign setting for DD. Okay, let me read the rest of this thread and see what I can do for you.


Well, I did four years ago (check the age of the thread!)
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby Blacky the Blackball » Fri Jan 17, 2014 2:59 pm

Zurunir wrote:Naming is utterly irrelevant at this stage. The world doesn't even exist yet. so what use is giving it a name? If we take the project by working on the final bits (such as NPCs, giving the campaign setting (not even the campaign world even-- worser: the final campaign setting) a name already, etc), we'll never get anything usable, because everybody only wants to indulge himself.


Actually, I'd disagree. The name and theme should be the first things decided on. After all, look at the differences between "The Known World", "Greyhawk", "The Forgotten Realms", "Dark Sun" and "Ravenloft". Even just at the name stage you get the idea that these are very different settings.

Just throwing random elements into the pot and mixing them up will result in a very generic and bland setting. Having an idea of the bigger picture first (i.e. a name and theme) gives you a criterion on which you can judge whether suggested elements fit the setting or not, and it will end up more "alive" and less generic.

1) Let's work on the basics first. Is our campaign setting a globe, a disc, a Gargantua Dragon Turtle on whose back the world rests?

(I suggest a globe.)


I'd suggest a globe too, since it fits Dark Dungeons' cosmology better. In fact, with the ability for even quite low level characters to travel from planet to planet, I'd suggest a solar system rather than a single planet.

2) How many continents does the campaign setting have? Or doesn't it have any continents and all adventure settings are on islands?

(I would suggest 3 continents. One of which we should single out and inhabit it with several nations and lots of adventure settings as soon as possible. We need to stop stalling and actually create something usable instead of just fooling around with tangents such as finding a name for the setting or a logo for it. If we created a dozen or so adventure locations and adventure nations, the rest will practically take care of itself.)


I think this is the sort of thing that can be left till later. I'd suggest sorting out more about the races and people first, and then the geography can be laid down. Remember, flying ships are common and they can encircle the globe quite easily; so there can't really be such a thing as far off and unheard of continents. All the continents and major islands will have regular contact and trade with each other, and that will make the planet somewhat more culturally homogeneous. That isn't a problem, because if you want obscure or lost parts you can put them on other planets in the system (interplanetary travel is much rarer than intercontinental travel).

3) Does the setting have a mega-dungeon? A deep, deep dungeon that never seems to end yet all the same seems central to the campaign even if the players never enter it?

(I strongly advise it have one. And I'm even willing to write up the basic description for it - like the short "Gazetteer" summarizing from the D&D Rules Cyclopedia - , if Blacky gives the okay for adding a mega dungeon to the first official DD campaign setting.)


Personally, I can't stand them. But it's up to you.

4) Do we have a village with several small dungeons in a day's distance? Just so that new players can cut their teeth without getting overwhelmed by wilderness dangers?


There will be lots of such things, and they can wait until the rest of the setting is done and then dropped in wherever it makes sense to have them.

5) All locations should be created from the perspective of a good game master. Not: "Oh, LOOK how FASCINATING my piece is!!!", but rather: "What are the adventure possibilities here? What relevance will it have for my players? Will it be interesting for them? Or am I just indulging myself without producing anything of true use?"

Also, remember, we need to start small. Let's create a few adventure locations first, then we can can worry about politics between nations, naming the setting or adding frill like NPCs.


I'd argue that starting big (races, Immortals, planets, that sort of stuff) is better than starting small when it comes to design. I'd also suggest that while adventure possibilities should be a higher priority than simple interest; matching the cosmology and verisimilitude towards the implications of the rules is higher priority.
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby Blacky the Blackball » Fri Jan 17, 2014 3:02 pm

Varg wrote:Zurunir. This project is currently on-hold until Blacky finishes Masks, so stalling is essentially what we are here for.


I am currently finishing off Masks, and then I'm completing the new edition of Darker Dungeons. If I were doing a setting now, it would be for the new edition of Darker Dungeons, not for Dark Dungeons.

A setting for Dark Dungeons is currently way down my list of priorities.

So feel free to carry on without me, and I'll chip in my opinion occasionally.
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby Zurunir » Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:10 pm

Blacky the Blackball wrote:
Zurunir wrote:But it's good to know that you also want an campaign setting for DD. Okay, let me read the rest of this thread and see what I can do for you.


Well, I did four years ago (check the age of the thread!)


Hello Blacky,

Ulp. Sorry.

Still, it took those people four years and they still didn't get started?
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby Zurunir » Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:44 pm

Varg wrote:
Zurunir wrote:Hello Varg. Okay. But while we're stalling, why not at least answer the questions I asked together? For starters, what shape should the campaign world have? A globe (the usual shape of choice for game worlds)? A disc? A giant wheel? What's your suggestion/advice for the shape of the world?

Sure. Since there were mentions of traveling to other planets and such in DD I agree that a globe would make the most sense for this world. It is also the easiest to make believable. Of course it is a bit harder to map out than a disk and a disk is used in many mythologies so I wouldn't mind that too much either.

I don't care much about the exact number of continents. 3 is as good of a number as any. I think we should start with focusing on one landmass and see what we can fit into there vs. what we feel would be better suited on other potential continents. Since Blacky has expressed an interest in making his cultures thinly veiled pastiches of earth cultures we may go all the way and and have the world map be a pastiche of earth as well; possibly without America and Oceania for more of that medieval-Euroasian-worldview feel. Alternatively we do what Mystara itself did and use a map of prehistoric earth and place the counterpart cultures roughly on the landmasses their inspirations would eventually blossom.

Both "village[s] with several small dungeons" and mega-dungeons are things that could exist. For the first all we really need is to have a town or something near a few ruins and we are good to go. An pseudo-endless mega dungeon would take more work to justify, but is not undoable. The easiest way to go around would probably just be "an immortal did it", but that is a tad boring.

Zurunir wrote:For the other, I thought we were creating a campaign setting for DD? Worrying "how the world and its cultures work" smacks of secondary world design instead.

The explicit mission statement was to create a playable campaign setting that utilizes the rules of Dark Dungeon-- not to create some elegant (and essentially boring) secondary world.

I had the opposite impression, that the mission was to create a world to justify the rules (essentially all the fluff that Dark Dungeon itself had to lack) so that we could more easily create specific campaigns in it later. Also I disagree that world creation (and the reading there of) is boring. I appreciate "there is a hole in the ground, go down there and fight monster" a whole lot more when I have at least an idea of who the people going into that hole are, what this hole actually is and why all these monsters are there. Also the rules of Dark Dungeons goes much further than just dungeon exploring and I would like a setting that acknowledge this.

Zurunir wrote:Let's create the places first. First we need a basis to work with. Then we can worry about grafting add-ons (cultures, NPCs, Magic Items, Immortals, new Monster) to that basis.

Well I consider culture to be part of the basics, not an add on. Even in a simple dungeon crawl knowing about the culture that created the dungeon and the cultures of the characters in it would be much more useful to me than an atlas ever would.

Darkanth wrote:How about instead of casting spells as a Magic-User, Elves cast Clerical spells instead. It's a break from the standard cliche and makes them more "otherworldly" imho.

I think you misunderstood. This is not an attempt at making a new set of rules, but to provide a setting for those that already exist. Also Blacky has expressed an interest in making Elves less "otherwordly" in this setting, not more.


I'm sorry, Varg. But let's be honest: You people are never going to create something, will you? You folks had four years time to create something.

What exactly did you "create"? About 2 pages of message board communication, and that includes my suggestions and advices.

Any maps. No.
Any setting information? No.
Any adventure locations? No.
Any usable stuff at all. No.

Let's be frank. You people are like the guy who always says he's gonna write that great fantasy novel. But when the chips come down, he couldn't even produce the first draft.

Frankly, I'm ashamed of you people. You had four years time to create a campaign setting, and I did more with one post (that took me 7 minutes to write) over there at the "Campaign Setting for Dark Dungeons" thread than the lot of you combined managed here. It's a shame, really.

And you still want to explain to me how there are different ways of campaign building. That worrying over tangents like "how the (not even created yet!) cultures work together" could be a valid world-building start, as opposed to creating several locations first. After all, we wouldn't want to create content that would be inconsistent now, wouldn't we?

I guess you people are right. There are several ways for building a new world: Ways which work and ways which don't, even can't work.

You people have 3 choices now.

1) You can either ignore my advice, or claim I'm too inflexible or act as if my honest and well-deserved and well-justified criticsmn was "insulting" and use that as an excuse for just continuing to pretend "Some day we'll create a campaign setting. Honest!! We just want to make certain it will all fit together before we create it."

2) You can drop the whole pretense. If you continue in the current vain, you'll never create anything usable anyway, so why don't you just forget the whole thing? It's obvious you're totally overwhelmed with the task. Game setting creation requires great creativity, after all. It isn't for everybody.

And considering what you concentrating on in this thread, it isn't for you. For you do everything in your power, from contemplating the "cultural interaction" of cultures that simply don't exist yet, not even as a one-line draft to writing up stat blocks for NPCs that haven't a setting to give them context yet, to avoid doing the creative stuff, namely creating the locations. And with "locations", I certainly don't mean dungeons, caves, cities or abandoned ruins!

3) Or you can take my wake-up call to heart and start to get creative. It's not difficult. Honest! Simply create a small setting, anything but your usual dungeon, NPC-infested village/city or thieves guild.

C'mon. I dare you. Take my challenge. Are you just armchair-RPGamers? Or can you create something new?
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby Zurunir » Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:48 pm

Blacky the Blackball wrote:
Varg wrote:Zurunir. This project is currently on-hold until Blacky finishes Masks, so stalling is essentially what we are here for.


I am currently finishing off Masks, and then I'm completing the new edition of Darker Dungeons. If I were doing a setting now, it would be for the new edition of Darker Dungeons, not for Dark Dungeons.

A setting for Dark Dungeons is currently way down my list of priorities.

So feel free to carry on without me, and I'll chip in my opinion occasionally.


Blacky, I have a suggestion. I want to create a campaign setting for DD, but I don't want to do it alone.

And going from the evidence of this very thread, nobody else but you and me have the creativity and competence to do so.

So why don't we two work together on this? If just we two would do it, we can make a smaller campaign setting, but still one that supports play from level 1 to 36.
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby Varg » Sat Jan 18, 2014 8:38 pm

Blacky the Blackball wrote:I am currently finishing off Masks, and then I'm completing the new edition of Darker Dungeons. If I were doing a setting now, it would be for the new edition of Darker Dungeons, not for Dark Dungeons.

A setting for Dark Dungeons is currently way down my list of priorities.

So feel free to carry on without me, and I'll chip in my opinion occasionally.

Oh, I'm sorry. I was under the impression that returning to this was going to be your next project after Masks and Darker Dungeons. Not sure what gave me that idea.

Zurunir wrote:I'm sorry, Varg. But let's be honest: You people are never going to create something, will you? You folks had four years time to create something.

I only first heard about Dark Dungeons a few weeks ago and only registered here right before I made my first post on this thread a few days ago. Blacky have had more important tings to do. I assume the same is true for most other people who frequents here. Also you seem to just assume that creating a campaign of maps, adventure locations and "usable stuff" is what most people who are here wants out of this begin with, just because that is what you wants. Not everyone motivations are the same as your own. Both I and Blacky have given you feedback on your ideas and come with suggestions of our own, but in stead of replying to them you just wrote a long-winded, guilt out. I fail to see how that is productive in any shape or form. Regardless this is not a business, it's just a few people using their occasional free time to produce something that, frankly, doesn't even need to exist. I for one don't actually have the free time to give my full dedication to this project regardless of how much I might have liked to.

zurunir wrote:So why don't we two work together on this? If just we two would do it, we can make a smaller campaign setting, but still one that supports play from level 1 to 36.

He have already said that he is too busy for this project and after your only response was to say that you were "ashamed" that he hadn't spent four years of his own time to create content in anticipation of your arrival I doubt he will throw away all his plans for the chance of a two people project with you. And even if he did, he have just said that he does not want to start with smaller campaign settings but to start with the theme, peoples and the larger picture, you know, exactly the things you feel are useless.

So are we going to start with that and actually get something done or are we just going to sit here and have a useless playground-fight over who is the most "creative"?
Last edited by Varg on Sun Jan 19, 2014 12:46 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby Ashtagon » Sat Jan 18, 2014 8:49 pm


viewtopic.php?f=59&t=11566#p137741

Hi Zurunir,

You may have missed the warning I left in the last thread in which a Dark Dungeons campaign setting was being discussed. No matter — I have linked to it for you. You are acting incredibly confrontational round here. It's not nice.

Although this thread started four years ago, not everyone got here four years ago. What have people been creating in that time? Lots of things. Most of them haven't been related to building a DD campaign setting, because it wasn't on their priority list. Some were struggling through language barriers. Some have day jobs to go to. Some have been making fan magazines (Threshold). Some were working on fan settings (The Edge) or more professional work (Calidor). Some have been getting involved in political activism. Some of us have been working to keep games forums running. Lots of people have lots of different interests. just because their interests don't align perfectly with yours doesn't make them bad or wrong or not fun, and it certainly doesn't make it badwrongfun.

I notice that you gave an ultimatum ("You people have 3 choices now."). In the spirit of ultimatums, here's one for you.

You have four choices now.

  1. Play nice.
  2. Leave.
  3. er...
  4. that's it.

C'mon. I dare you. Take my challenge.
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby Varg » Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:43 pm

Blacky the Blackball wrote:I'd suggest a globe too, since it fits Dark Dungeons' cosmology better. In fact, with the ability for even quite low level characters to travel from planet to planet, I'd suggest a solar system rather than a single planet.

[...]

I think this is the sort of thing that can be left till later. I'd suggest sorting out more about the races and people first, and then the geography can be laid down. Remember, flying ships are common and they can encircle the globe quite easily; so there can't really be such a thing as far off and unheard of continents. All the continents and major islands will have regular contact and trade with each other, and that will make the planet somewhat more culturally homogeneous. That isn't a problem, because if you want obscure or lost parts you can put them on other planets in the system (interplanetary travel is much rarer than intercontinental travel).

Edit: I somehow skipped over that last part in parentheses, please disregard most of the following paragraph:
Interesting, I kind of assumed that the flying ships was a very rare commodity that most common people never had a chance to interact with. This raises some important questions: did the races come from the same plant or from different plants? And if they did the latter is there one "dwarf planet", one "elf planet", one "human planet" and one "halfling planet" or have interplanetary travel been around for so long and become so commonplace that the origins doesn't matter anymore? Regardless I think the smartest from an actual playing perspective would be to focus on a single planet as the default planet for starting adventures, but I have no experience what so ever with settings like Spelljammer so someone who knows more about these kind of things might disagree and they would probably be correct.

What about considering 6 planets to begin with and then we can add some if we need more or remove some if they become superfluous?
Edit: Since interplanetary travel is rare I think we should start by focusing on one planet and settle on the specific number of other planets later. We just need to keep in the back of our minds that, yes, there are other planets and that travel between them have been around for a while.

Blacky the Blackball wrote:I'd argue that starting big (races, Immortals, planets, that sort of stuff) is better than starting small when it comes to design. I'd also suggest that while adventure possibilities should be a higher priority than simple interest; matching the cosmology and verisimilitude towards the implications of the rules is higher priority.

If it isn't painfully obvious by now, I agree.

Varg wrote:Blacky has expressed an interest in making his cultures thinly veiled pastiches of earth cultures we may go all the way and and have the world map be a pastiche of earth as well; possibly without America and Oceania for more of that medieval-Euroasian-worldview feel.

I need to specify that I don't mean we should actually copy earth 1:1 (which I find to be kind of tacky, unless the setting is specifically design to be an alternative earth), but that we create something vaguely similar. We could for example take inspiration from old, incorrect world maps like this:
http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/05/ ... 34x426.jpg
It would at least give us a basis to work from.
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby Big Mac » Sun Jan 19, 2014 5:47 pm

Varg wrote:I only first heard about Dark Dungeons a few weeks ago and only registered here right before I made my first post on this thread a few days ago.


Hi Varg. Welcome to The Piazza! :)

I don't get much time to check into the Dark Dungeons forum these days, but I was here a lot when Blacky the Blackball was building Dark Dungeons and it was really fun to see stuff getting made. So if you are going to help revive this on-hold concept, I hope you have as much fun talking about Dark Dungeons as I did back then.

If you want to say hello to the broader community at The Piazza, there is an "Introduce yourself here" thread in a forum called The Philosopher's Stone.

If you are looking for a campaign setting to use with Dark Dungeons, you might also be interested to know that the webmaster for a website called PelinoreRevived (a website which is on friendly terms with The Piazza) has been using both Dark Dungeons and Darker Dungeons rules for some of the content he has put up. He writes at The Piazza under the name Kneverwinterknight and mostly writes in the Pelinore forum. Kneverwinterknight is kind of doing the opposite thing to you (he is trying to make Dark Dungeons fit an existing campaign setting - rather than trying to make a campaign setting optimised for Dark Dungeons) but you might find some inspiration from what he is trying to do. (And you might be able to raid some ideas from PelinoreRevived and use them in your Dark Dungeons games...while you are waiting for a bespoke campaign setting to get finished.)

PS: I see you are from Norway! So thanks for the tree! :D
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Re: [????] A default setting for Dark Dungeons

Postby Blacky the Blackball » Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:53 pm

Varg wrote:Edit: I somehow skipped over that last part in parentheses, please disregard most of the following paragraph:
Interesting, I kind of assumed that the flying ships was a very rare commodity that most common people never had a chance to interact with. This raises some important questions: did the races come from the same plant or from different plants? And if they did the latter is there one "dwarf planet", one "elf planet", one "human planet" and one "halfling planet" or have interplanetary travel been around for so long and become so commonplace that the origins doesn't matter anymore? Regardless I think the smartest from an actual playing perspective would be to focus on a single planet as the default planet for starting adventures, but I have no experience what so ever with settings like Spelljammer so someone who knows more about these kind of things might disagree and they would probably be correct.

What about considering 6 planets to begin with and then we can add some if we need more or remove some if they become superfluous?
Edit: Since interplanetary travel is rare I think we should start by focusing on one planet and settle on the specific number of other planets later. We just need to keep in the back of our minds that, yes, there are other planets and that travel between them have been around for a while.


As far as the frequency of flying ships goes, I'd always envisaged that they'd be kind of like sailing ships in the Age of Sail. They're a common enough sight (especially around major cities and docks) that most people would have seen them, and many people would have paid for something to be transported long distance on one (or even paid to be a passenger for a long distance journey on one); but most of them belong to either governments or rich merchant companies. It would be very rare (but not unheard of) for a private individual to own one.

For me, the main implication of the interplanetary travel is that we don't need a creation myth for the world. If we assume there are a near infinite number of celestial spheres out there, most of which contain their own worlds full of people, then it would be a bit contrived to have this world be the one where people (and presumably Immortals) first developed. I'd therefore assumed (and the name "Landfall" was an indication of this) that the reason humans and the other races exist on the planet is because they've arrived (either by skysailing ship or by the actions of an Immortal) and settled. Since humans are by far the most populous, presumably they were the first arrivals.

The ancient history of the universe would therefore be something along these lines:

1) The first humans appeared on a planet, and so did the first Immortals. Either could have come first - maybe some of the first humans achieved immortality or maybe some of the first immortals made the humans.

2) Some immortals decided to go off and create their own races on their own planets. These are the other intelligent (and often humanoid) races. Because these were the immortals who were less suited to working alongside others, the races they created tend to be that way too.

3) Other immortals take their favoured humans and transplant them onto numerous other worlds. Immortals with their own pet races do the same. As more and more immortals (both formerly human and formerly of the other races) are created, this becomes more common.

4) Someone invents skysailing. The various races can now move from world to world themselves. Although most worlds contain a single dominant species, colonies and settlers of many other races start to appear on other worlds and the mixing causes strife for both mortal and immortal alike.

5) The immortals get mixed up in mortal wars, and there is lots of chaos and destruction - with whole worlds being destroyed or devastated.

6) The original world where humans and immortals first arose is one of those destroyed. This shocks the immortals into coming up with their pact of no direct intervention.

7) Although all the races have the favour of some immortals, humans are by far the most popular - as the majority of immortals were once human. Unfortunately, humans seem to be coming off worse as the other races are almost all more powerful than them. A large group of immortals gets together and hatches a plan. They create three races specifically designed to be co-dependent with humanity: Elves, who are naturally magical and can provide magical support to humans; Dwarves, who are naturally tough and magic resistant and can provide physical support to humans; and Halflings who are natural farmers and cooks and who can provide logistical support to humans. In order to make sure that these races cooperate with humans, each race is made without the ability to become clerics or shamans (but with the ability to be affected by human clerical magic such as "Raise Dead". Therefore the demi-human races need to work and trade with humans, providing their skills in exchange for the clerical magic that humans can provide.

8) With the help of the demi-humans, humans become dominant on most of the worlds that contain them.

Now I've just made up the above, so it's in no way "canonical", although the bit about demi-humans being made specifically as helpers to humans is something I've always assumed - it's a nice explanation for the fact that unlike the humanoid races they can't become shamans or sorcerers; yet things like the Raise Dead spell work on them.

With this sort of background, Landfall isn't anything special. It's just a random planet in a random celestial sphere. The dominant species is humans, with demi-humans and some other humanoids living there too. The immortals of the sphere are mostly human-centric, but patrons of the humanoid races take an interest too. However, the non interference pact amongst the immortals limits what any one of them can do.

Most other planets in other spheres are similar, although in some planets one or more race of humanoids is dominant and humans are rare to non-existent. They're the ones where it's more likely that the immortals don't hold to the pact. In those spheres you'd better not annoy the locals too much!

Blacky the Blackball wrote:I'd argue that starting big (races, Immortals, planets, that sort of stuff) is better than starting small when it comes to design. I'd also suggest that while adventure possibilities should be a higher priority than simple interest; matching the cosmology and verisimilitude towards the implications of the rules is higher priority.

If it isn't painfully obvious by now, I agree.

Varg wrote:Blacky has expressed an interest in making his cultures thinly veiled pastiches of earth cultures we may go all the way and and have the world map be a pastiche of earth as well; possibly without America and Oceania for more of that medieval-Euroasian-worldview feel.

I need to specify that I don't mean we should actually copy earth 1:1 (which I find to be kind of tacky, unless the setting is specifically design to be an alternative earth), but that we create something vaguely similar. We could for example take inspiration from old, incorrect world maps like this:
http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/05/ ... 34x426.jpg
It would at least give us a basis to work from.[/quote]

Sounds good. Another inspiration could be from maps of prehistoric (or future!) Earth where continental drift means that the landmasses are in a different configuration. The setting of Mystara, for example, has a map that represents Earth circa 135 million years ago.
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