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File: NGM_0714_ChinaCave1.jpg (357 KB, 1938x1000)
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Have you ever run/played in an adventure focused on subterranean exploration?

How do you make/what has made caves interesting places to adventure?
In real life there's the inherent physical challenge, not unlike climbing a mountain, the awe of discover that you're in a place few have ever seen before, and while the geological features may be, the ecosystems that exist within deep caves, however minimal it may be, while fascinating, are hardly the subject of vivid descriptions and fantastical tales.

Realistically how would complex life survive completely isolated from the surface in it's own underground world?
Though since this is fantasy I will accept "magic" as an answer as long as the explanation has sufficient thought put into it.
>>
>>86797762
>Have you ever run/played in an adventure focused on subterranean exploration?
No.
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I haven't been able to get my hands on a copy myself but I've heard Veins of the Earth is a pretty good sourcebook, including mechanics like cave generation tables.
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>>86800146
I cannot recommend veins of the earth enough for this kind of environment.
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>>86797762
>Have you ever run/played in an adventure focused on subterranean exploration?
Sort of. We played through D1-D2-D3 back in the day. The party's effort wasn't based on only exploration for exploration's sake, though--we had goals/a reason to be there, generally, to mess with the Drow. As players, we were there to have fun discovering through our characters all the cool, wondrous stuff of a fantastical underworld, so it did really occur to us to care too much about realism and such--we were there to play a game.

Check out https://www.npr.org/2010/06/20/127937159/a-blind-descent-into-the-deepest-caves-on-earth
--you might like it.

>>86800146
>I haven't been able to get my hands on a copy
It is available in pdf at drivethru (and the share thread.) It is indeed excellent.
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>>86800146
get a copy so you can tell us about the MACHINE WHO ARE THEY IS IT BETTER THEN OURS?!

trival ofc continue with your everyday life and eat protein and rewards will ensue
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>>86797762
Before I had to become an expert on caves and underground spaces for work, I enjoyed this. Now I hate it. I don't want to go dungeon delving any more, because everything you're doing with underground spaces is wrong and it blows up my suspension of disbelief.
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>>86801606
>everything you're doing with underground spaces is wrong and it blows up my suspension of disbelief.
Such as?
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>>86801606
How do you do it right then, Mr Geological Science-Man?
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>>86801606
Please elaborate
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>>86797762
Well, what about the races that would inhabit such a realm, and their reasons for doing so in the first place despite the hardships? Dwarves and dark elves are classics, but I don’t remember a lot of settings explaining why.
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>>86797762
One of the things you could play with here is the idea of more natural traps. Rock falls, floods, or even cracks that are so narrow they require taking off armor and gear to pass through.
>>
Have you realized or even thought to consider that "adventure focused on subterranean exploration" is literally the only correct way to play Dungeons and Dragons and similar games?
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>>86805336
In my setting the dwarves believe they are born of the caves, stalagmites given warmth by the "spark of life" (what they believe the core of the planet is)
In this world, Dwarves have just always lived underground, they evolved as a species within the vast caverns and tunnels of the subterranean world and naturally find themselves at home taming the cave ecosystems and carving massive halls out of the surrounding stone.

A combination of volcanic activity, geothermal vents in the depths of underwater lakes, ground and natural deposits of magic in the form massive growing crystals provided the ingredients for an ecosystem to develop in the sunless passages of the underworld. Dwarven life originated in this rich and self-sustaining world, these caverns now forming the rural agricultural support structure that sustains the urban population of the carved Dwarven cities.
They are not blind, nor are most creatures native to the Dwarven ecosystem, the magical crystals that sprout from the walls illuminate these caverns, bathing them in a ethereal light that provides the energy required for the organism that aren't equipped to draw their energy from the geothermal vents of the underworld, or in caves that lack such features. Though some creatures lack sight as we know it they are still quite aware of their world through other senses, able to see in the thermal range, echolocate, navigate with highly tuned senses of smell, or even sense the magic energy of life itself.
But thanks the the abundance of light from the crystals and the many bioluminescent properties creatures have evolved, proper sight in not uncommon among advanced lifeforms in the cave, but by no means a given.

These rich and fertile "garden" caves are not common, being rare and far between in the normally hostile underworld, but these lush areas allow richer amounts of nutrients to be introduced into the entire system, in the same way openings to the surface allow shallower caves to gain energy
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>>86802207
What he said Anon. Give us more information please.
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>>86805387
Definitely my favorite way.
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>>86797762
Besides just leaving it to magic, how have you justified the existence of an Underdark equivalent in your setting? What about where the ecosystem of said realm gets its energy from?
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>>86812577
>What about where the ecosystem of said realm gets its energy from?
Geothermal? Chemosynthesis? IRL ecosysems that don't rely on sunlight exist.
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>>86812926
I meant where specifically does the ecosystem of your setting get energy from. Especially in ways that can support several cities worth of sapient individuals, because I don't think those methods you mentioned are very efficient sources compared to photosynthesis.
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>>86815924
Cities of sapient individuals don't have to rely on the same energy source as nature. "Efficiency" is also a weird thing to care about in biology. Photosynthesis isn't so common because it's "efficient", it's because sunlight is available almost everywhere.
Anyway, MY giant caves have huge deposits of decaying radioactive material and the ecosystem is based on bacteria utilizing ionising radiation to perform synthesis. For no other reason that I think it's metal. Sapient races use radioisotope thermoelectric generators, because they feel more ghetto than proper nuclear reactors.
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>>86801606
I do it wrong to spite you faggot.
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>>86797762
Have you tried playing D&D?
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>>86797762
My group is running Tomb of the Mad Artificer, which I believe was supposed to take place in undermountain, but we’re doing it in the Sharn Cogs. Turns out having a climb speed is really OP once you go into the deep sewers.
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>>86816005
I take it that there’s a lot of cancer? Because even if the bacteria eat most of it, there’s bound to be a lot.
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>>86797762
Dwarves man
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>>86812577
I use the explanation of magic, but it's not "just" magic, there are magic ores, with the purest of it being crystalized magical energy. See here: >>86807207

The Dwarves will use mud-to-stone and many other techniques to terraform caves they find to be more like their preferred "garden cave" biome, and in caves that lack these magical crystals the dwarves will carve out chunks of crystal in areas where there is excess and hang them as lamps to illuminate new caves

It's essentially radiation but without the tumors. It has different effects though, as the crystalized magic and magical ores can interact with magically conductive metals in rock (gold, silver, mithril, etc) and occasionally cause random, unplanned spells to fire off in the form of wild magic. (Think anomalies from the STALKER games) This makes earthquakes, cave ins, and other seismic events especially dangerous, and carrying in whole chunks of solid magic to hang in a cave can often have unintended consequences.
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>>86797762
Since cities were mentioned, how might an underground realm's buildings and settlements be different compared to those on the surface? They obviously wouldn't need pointed roofs due to the lack of rain, unless there's enough water dripping from the cavern ceilings for it to be an issue.
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>>86805382
Why wouldn’t these cracks be expanded over time? Or jut with a spell of pick axe?
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>>86826143
They would be I'd assume, but if you're going through tunnels others have already built an expanded, isn't that just traveling, not exploration?
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>>86828151
Okay, I misunderstood you a bit then. Still, wouldn't explorers have means to try and make cracks that small wider, if just to avoid potentially getting trapped?
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>>86830538
That's a miner's job, not an explorer's.
When explorers go mining they can end up like Floyd Collins.
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>>86832121
To elaborate better this guy was crawling in and out of an incredibly dangerous cave, trying to widen the routes into the caverns and make them more accessible and got buried alive by causing a cave-in.
The image just mentions the rock, but in reality he was under hundreds of pounds of gravel and sand with only his upper chest and head uncovered.
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only climbing route up a shaft or canyon or whatever stops, but another one begins on the opposite wall, so you must dyno flip over and
up to it (climb/jump/tumble)

area of cave where the floor is far below, fast rushing water, or otherwise dangerous, so you have to traverse the wall sideways (if water, its wet)
if large sized, you can reach the opposite wall (you may be able to carry others on your body)

cave with muddy slopes that you can run up with a balance check, otherwise you need to climb

Cave quest
Series of caverns/tunnels under a woodland.
-woodland is mapped; they can leave the caves in a few areas and try to navigate back to town overland
-potential locations of interest/encounters
-multiple exits from caves, of various sizes/elevations
Caves consist of areas of interest separated by unmapped sections of uninteresting tunnels, must be navigated with survival checks
-can leave markers for easier time on way back; lowers DC by x amount
-unmapped sections may be walking, crouching, crawling, climbing (various difficulties), or swimming (with air or without)
how to handle where to go? how long something takes?

vertical chasm dungeon
-one big pit, several smaller branching pits
-very bottom has the remains of whatever has fallen, plus scavengers and maybe undead
-wood/rope bridges, some collapsed so have to jump or fly
-jump across chasm to grab hanging collapsed rope bridge to climb up it
-lots of climbing
-odopi

signal mountain, squeeze into narrow hole in rock floor (can widen with tools with time/str/endurance/noise)
-escape artist to squeeze in if medium sized, or just squeeze normally if small, can grease to make easier

must pick routes while climbing, easier DC's if planned or proper route intuited, climbing interspersed with balance & jump checks, also lots of crawling/squeezing
climb up short rock wall to small hole, crawl along narrow tunnel like a snake
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dead leaves floating on still water, blocking sight
muddy water creek exit; strong current, clouded water, cold
area of cave with strong/fast/deep/muddy water > practically blocked
slick slopes (with thin layer of running water; sort of a waterfall)
areas with running water (creek crevice in larger tunnel, one half of tunnel is "river" - winds back and forth)
areas with standing water (pools, submerged or partially-submerged tunnels/caverns, some have chutes that go up to pockets of air)
waterfalls, creek-exit waterfall flowstone thing
drop through hole in ground that leads to partially submerged tunnel
tunnel that connects with lower tunnel over a cliff; like rope-ladder area, crawl tunnel, backbreaker, coliseum, squeeze sideways,
-connects with higher tunnel through stalagwhatever and ceiling crevice, climb ceiling crevice to higher area (waterfall?)
goblins/wolves/wolf-riders/skeletal wolves (elite goblin scouts? wargs?)/were-rats/rats/dire rats in tunnels
-goblins drop down from ceiling?
ghouls sneak up in darkness to paralyze stragglers?
ghouls/big zombie rises from pool?
caves of narshe
two intersecting tunnels, one is a creek but basically the same level
-a bit of a canyon? have to jump over it
collapsed passage crawlspace near ceiling, has a viper, have to use tight weapons, crawling backwards is harder
glowstone loses its light after a period of time if removed from its chunk, but will always glow if supplied with a spell point for
-10 minutes like a torch
-5 minutes like a lamp
-5 minutes like a candle
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goblintown/rat town
rickety wooden cave village in tunnel nexus w/pools of or running water (grotto/bay, aquatic monsters, fishing, boats to elsewhere?)
speak goblin, negotiate backstabbing gobbo politics, secure favors/bribe individuals/etc, probably have to run errands/complete tasks (kill so and so, retrieve stuff)
-maybe help one faction wipe out another or take over the town (or territory within)
-maybe have big running battle with faction or whole town
blinding sickness/filth fever tainted water
controlled by ever-growing rat-tail tribe (wolf fang tribe, ...?), rat-tail tribe is small and threatened? gecko king? wall-crawling medium geckos
-spider? viper? slaughterfish? bat? gecko? red clay?
rat trainers (pipes of the sewers?), lots of trained 2hp rats, rathounds? (small; dogs/dire rats)
-sorcerers/adepts with rat familiars?
disease ghetto (darkrot, leprosy?, filth fever, slimy doom, blinding sickness, ghoul fever?), guaranteed to get attacked
-used as buffer between town and caves of undead or other predators? anyone trying to leave gets attacked by guards
-good place to hide from rest of town
evil shaman/witch (anti-disease totem?), striped toadstool farm cave (dung? corpses?) & slimy doom (whatever that is from)
-mudball, burning gaze, living bomb
-striped toadstool fanatics, contract slimy doom before big battle? (so enemies contract it when grappled)
nearby rat dungeon
chokers are mutated goblins? goblin ghoul/vamps somewhere? lower tunnels blocked by prismatic ropers?
female goblin skeleton in lateral waterfall, pouch purse with healing salves
mutation-causing sorcerer?
spider-climbing/gecko-riding sorcerers with scorching ray or other rays?

rusty weapons dipped in poo (lockjaw + filth fever)
Goblin weapons break on roll of 1
shields break if hit @AC
bone armor

do some have metal armor/weapons like moria orcs?
-manage to mine and build, just artlessly, wastefully, and poorly
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>>86832153
Ouch, that sounds like a painful way to go.
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>>86833109
It's an incredibly tragic story, I'll spare the details here but he's one of the most well documented cave related deaths in American history if you want to research it further.
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>>86833109
he actually had a chance at escaping even with the tech level of 1925, but there were a bunch of dropped balls that led to him dying of exposure before he could be recovered.
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>he doesn't use the Underdark as the campaign equivalent of hollow earth
shig
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>>86800146
It's GOAat but unfortunately between the reputations of those involved with its production and high demand it's almost impossible to get a physical copy that I've seen. Just know it's considered "weird" rpg. Like one of the monsters is a shark's dismembered head in a sort of levitating gelatinous prism
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>>86797762
No but I really wanted to and did a lot of work on random encounters.
Floods, steam vents, cave ins, pitfalls, crevices, and sound play are all great environmental hazards.
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>>86807207
>>86822731
What's the dwarves are going about the surface world, if I may ask? Surface seems to be nicer for farming.
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>>86837806
They're very sensitive to the sun, it's not harmful but it's incredibly unpleasant.

They like surface crops, but that's why they made deals with the once-nomadic halflings centuries ago to settle a few tribes in the fertile mountain valleys that make up the overworld above their subterranean homes.
Their underground has it's own ecosystem of unique produce that are considered luxury foods by surface dwellers, the same way dwarves look at what surface dwellers would deem completely mundane food.

Dwarves are also very stubborn and resilient, and when they're pushed with military pressure from the surface they just turtle up deep below the earth, and survive in their self-sufficient, closed-garden mountainholds until the threat blows over or they've recuperated enough to counter-attack.
They're also just incredibly traditional and set in their ways, they had been well established as a species before anyone who ever attempted to venture to the surface ever returned alive to tell the tale.
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>>86838119
Thank you for explanation.
So I assume the crystals' light is fairly dim compared to sun's. I wonder if they ever considered going out at night, tho.
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>>86838297
>So I assume the crystals' light is fairly dim compared to sun's
Correct, dwarves can see in non-abyssal darkness (abyssal darkness is created by magic and can found in "pockets" like a gas throughout the deep underworld, an opaque light absorbing haze) as long as there is any degree of visible light in the chamber they're in, in addition to having rudimentary thermal vision (they can see if areas are hotter or colder than the average ambient temperature but not much more detail than "colored" blobs) it's great for living in caves, but the surface during the day is a blinding sensory overload until you get used to it and learn to filter the excess information out.
Colder, cloudier days are far more pleasant if a Dwarf must absolutely visit the surface.

In game terms, dwarf players will be blinded for 1d6 rounds when they see sunlight for the first time in their life, with a fort save to half the duration, and have a penalty on sight based perception checks equal to the number of rounds they were blinded when in daylight until they've spent enough time in the sun to acclimatize. And if they spend a week or more underground they relapse into sunlight sensitivity (though in subsequent exposures they only get the perception check penalty, not the blindness, the blindness is just for dramatic effect to emphasize it's the first time they're seeing sunlight)
Besides that as a DM, I'm going to just constantly reiterate how unpleasant it is for my dwarves to be in the sun. (This game is centered around Dwarves though so it should be the whole party for at least the beginning parts of the campaigns before they start picking up more diverse hirelings)
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>>86839305
Nice, but I assume players are just going to metagame by just sitting out in the sun until they get used to it.
How about a small penalty that won't ever go away?
>>
I'm working on a very simple castle builder game for a few friends. I'm calling it Z-level as a WIP title. the idea is that players roll a D6, highest number picks a race and floor first. It is essentially a 3D wargame/base builder where the players can make alliances, declare war, etc throughout their tunnel system. It can be played cooperatively as a traditional TTRPG style, or a head to head wargame. I haven't decided on what system to base my combat rules on yet, as I'm focusing more on the city builder and terrain generation for now.

Each faction gets a unique leader, that is used for diplomacy, and exploring. it has a very strong "Lifeguard" unit in combat. The factions themselves are very tropey fantasy.

Goblins are sneaky, theiving, pillaging shits, they include orks, uruks, trolls, all the LoTR style orcish units. They're weak in industry, but they have cheap, spammable units and pretty good shock troopers with Armored Trolls.
Dwarves are dwarves, super heavy infantry and siege weapons. Kobolds have some pretty funky magic abilities, and good warbeasts.
Demons are busted powerful in combat, but they can't produce new units without capturing civilians from other players or the ambient villages. They have to possess mortals, or sacrifice sentients to summon greater demons.
I'm working on a homebrew race of elfy type vampires that are bitter enemies with the dwarves, and their religion is essentially "The demons are the gods, and they made us to have a worthy foe" They are strong all around, spider cavalry, good tech, etc. but they have to raid for blood bags to feed the population. Druhkari-esq without the torture porn.
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>>86838297
>I wonder if they ever considered going out at night, tho.
It's probably more like a trip to the beach for them if they do. In the current status of my setting dwarves haven't been seen on the surface in almost a millennium, after a crushing defeat in a cataclysmic war, the remnants of their society retreated to the hidden Imperial City deep beneath the surface in the core of the Heartland Mountains as the dwarven capital the world knew of was only a diplomatic and economic capital specifically placed for the people of the surface to be able to visit.
My campaign starts in the tail end of the Dark Age of the Dwarves with a colonization/reclamation effort known as the Rekindling, where groups of adventurers outfit themselves to go beyond the gates of the Imperial City and crawl through dungeons deep and caverns old to establish places for the now-overpopulated Imperial City to spread out into a proper empire again.

There is a small handful of dwarves who don't live entirely underground in this time period though, as anyone who was brave enough to venture to the peak of the world's tallest mountain will find an isolated stonecut monastery-observatory populated by elderly dwarven astronomer-monks.
The dwarves believe the sun to be a celestial forge, and all other heavenly bodies, including their own planet, to be sparks thrown from this great furnace. These monks serve the holy task of observing these sparks and recording them.
Any visitor would likely assume they were witnessing the last individuals of a long dead race, ignorant of the hidden tunnel beneath the monastery, winding miles down into the heart of the mountain and straight to the Imperial City, ascending or descending this shaft considered a pilgrimage in and of itself.

>>86839368
>How about a small penalty that won't ever go away?
Maybe, I was considering just making perception checks based in sight in daylight harder for dwarves without actually informing the players of this.
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>>86797762
No anon, nobody ever did that, you are the first to even think about it. I mean dungeoning aside, there is a good chance pic related is as old as you are.
So go fuck yourself, you fucking child
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>>86839904
I'm not asking if anyone has ever done it before.
I'm asking if YOU have, dipshit.
It's called discussion.
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>>86832577
>>86832599
>>86832610
>effortposts
>get no replies
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>>86840684
>this new
What did he mean by this?
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>>86841424
>falling for bait
lurk moar
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>>86832121
>>86832153
>>86833109
>>86834655
>>86834814
The Internet Historian on youtube actually did a big recent video on this, with a bit-by-bit recreation of events: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ip9VGZeqMfo

I think it is quite a nice video and it really did get me into the mindset of CAVE EXPLORING. It's astonishing just how hard it is to get anything done, the sheer claustrophobia. And yeah, it's only afterwords that people started asking questions like, "how come we didn't give him a feedtube? Run a copper wire for a telephone or try to keep him warm?"
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>>86841488
>more newfaggery
kek
gr8 b8 m8 1/10
What else ya got, kiddo?
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>>86840684
4chan went to shit years ago, kid
get with it
>>
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>>86840684
It's too much all at once, unformatted word-vomit
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>>86843493
its exactly what OP asked for
its valuable; if the format filters you, you dont deserve your free material
>>
>>86797762
It's called the DUMBS a Tron like environment allegedly controlled by computers used by humans working with tall Grays to manipulate warp fields

Also known as "they found a way to chuck an entity at me and now I'm making shit up to get rid of it" syndrome

Strongly associated with portals and the psychos that do said chucking

Typically involves losing your identity at the beginning reasons vary.

Watch in horror as you periodically are visited by your own soul with a man's face acting like a total psycho

While the man's demons are in you expressing beliefs that are not your own

Failing to leave because you failed to make a deal with a non existent cabal or whatever shit excuse they're coming up with at the time

Pretending to care about your knowledge
Never listening to it
Only doing crime because it worked, they got in and your not in your own life!

A hellish realm where only evil men exist and men only learn they are evil by watching others outdo them in the evil stakes

Bonus points if your soul is living in man's body that dv to thieve you and is advertising that is house is safe for women and children all while your soul is being held hostage by his body and his demons are abusing you

That's called MK ULTRA DARVO,. Nobody general edition

Six million dead and counting
1 in 6 COVID deaths in the USA
Alpha strain from London/UK
Yet apparently it started in Wuhan
And he has saved thousands of lives and does good work for his countrymen

Confused yet?
>>
>>86839717
>Maybe, I was considering just making perception checks based in sight in daylight harder for dwarves without actually informing the players of this.
Nice, but what about morale penalty due to mild agoraphobia?
>>
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>>86844852
I don't usually make players roll morale checks, they can decide how their character feels and if they're foolhardy enough to stand and die instead of running away then that's on the players.

I'll keep it in mind for subterranean species hirelings and NPCs though.
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>>86841584
Yeah, if we’d done that he might still be alive. Poor guy.
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>>86797762
Well, a lot of cultures have their afterlife take the form of an underworld beneath the Earth, right? What if you go too deep underground, you risk wandering into portals to the Underworld by accident?
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>>86851468
Would the underworld literally being a layer deep below the surface be too much?
>>
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>>86797762
They should start banishing people into this cave, it'd be interesting, maybe add some animals and low light plants, and knock a few holes in.
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>>86852884
No. That's how D&D 4E did it. One of the few good 4E books, btw.
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>>86797762
>Have you ever run/played in an adventure focused on subterranean exploration?
No, how strange
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Pic related is quite nice. It's kind of a stripped down VotE with much less purple prose. It cleaves a bit closer to actual caving and has a nicer mapping system.
>>
>>86797762
Besides oversized versions of creatures from IRL that live underground like spiders or moles, or mutant albino horrors like picture related, what are some interesting choices for monsters that we could use in a campaign in an underground realm?

Also, given that there's limited oxygen underground, what could an Underdark-adapted dragon species have for a breath weapon instead of flame?
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>>86861975
Maybe ice? Freeze its prey in place before they can sneak away?
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>>86861975
They don't need to breathe, they use fire to starve chambers of oxygen to suffocate their prey
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>>86820463
It isn't inconceivable for creatures to evolve defenses against radiation. Hydrocarbons can protect against neutrons and metals can protect against beta particles. X-rays are quite penetrative however clearly calcium can provide some protection. Additionally numerous substances have been shown to improve cell reproduction resilience against radiation damage. These things are operationally/evolutionarily expensive however if they're what's required for life -- to hit that "reserve wage" of energy then I see no reason why denizens of the hot darkness wouldn't end up with those kinds of adaptations.
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>>86864348
Alright, what about other monsters besides Beholders then?
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>>86834655
I wouldn't call it tragic, Floyd was an idiot playing fast and loose with his life. It wasn't the first time he had been trapped down there, and the area was by and large considered unsafe by pretty much everyone else. Obviously it sucks that he died but really its difficult to feel bad about it.
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>>86864246
>>86864348
What about spores for a kind of fast-growing symbiotic mushroom that overgrows and parasitizes prey? I found this image online and it gave me the idea.
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>>86800146
It is. I don't even like D&D and its siblings - it's just a good source book. Though, I do think it does get a bit to up its own arse at some points, like others have said. Can't recommend it enough.
>>
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>>86807207
What about Dark Elves/Drow? How do you feel about the origins for them, at least in regards to why they live underground?
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>>86875996
Aren’t the drow underground because of their spidery goddess, IIRC? Or maybe they could have lost a war?
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>Campaign is basically "We found a half-collapsed dwarf mine of absolutely massive scale, we need it cleared out, made safe, and so on"
>In many areas the dwarves simply tunneled into existant caves, and now untended, these areas are repopulated with various fauna and flora
>Have to drag along a surveyor who is also handy for telling us about areas likely to cave in, etc
>Can only carry a given number of magical instant-support-beam things, because they are very heavy
>steady taming of a dangerous yet lucrative locale

We're on session four of this so far, and it's been a lot of fun. I'm thinking of introducing some larger scale/scope threats, but I dunno about involving sentient beings like drow. Maybe some giant ants, or something. Already threw Grues at them (small but vicious ambush predators that create areas of supernatural darkness) and various undead left behind by a dead necromancer.
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>>86800146
Seriously hands down one of the best sourcebooks, highly recommend

>>86801484
I appreciate you
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>>86836893
The one monster I can't wrap my head around is the magical sperm whale trapped in a physically-manifesting nightmare coming to life around it

Like, is it meant to be just floating about the underground caves? How the fuck did it even get there?
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>>86879568
its an ideas book, not a "here's useful shit for you to use" book
I dont think people actually play that game

psihemoth, btw
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>>86800146
Oh yeah, this book is a good 'un
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>>86879658
Well of course, that's how I use it too

Some of those ideas are fucking amazing though
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>>86879670
>There is, in theory, no end to this number. You may awaken the entire stratum.
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>>86879129
What are some other kinds of monsters that we could use for such a campaign? Also, any major encounters so far in yours?
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>>86801460
This guy knows
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>>86797762
I really want to

I would like some good ideas for campaign frames

I really like the idea in >>86882544
but that looks like it doesn't really capture the necessity of subterranean exploration like Veins of the Earth does

So far the best ideas I've had include:
>something busted through a dwarfhold's basement, they want this investigated (put that thing back where it came from)
>a supernaturally long winter (or some other contrivance) has set in making overland travel inhospitable: scout out a way through the mountain/underdark/etc to a remote location we haven't heard from in months
>deep rock galactic
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>>86879670
this is a pretty unique concept, are there any other interesting monsters?
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>>86888151
interesting, almost all of them
playable? different question, YMMV
the tachyon troll or whatever which experiences time backwards was *super* intriguing. I have precisely zero ideas about how to actually run the fucking thing, even with the guidance on its page
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Yeah.

The way to keep the caves interesting is literally add in environments you find on the surface then think how that environment would reasonably adapt to exist inside a cavern. The most exciting thing you can find in the unknown is often the most mundane things.

A campaign I ran few years ago had a jungle section in a cavern, with all the local wild life themed around consuming and operating at different levels in the trees which were upwards of a couple of km high: which had adapted to grow at stupid speed like a kind of super bamboo that healed from the core so various societies built on them rather than inside them (any door you cut would scar over and heal inside out in a few days etc). It was all fed by natural rivers and basically was inspired by a load of Amazon River footage and how that would be like if it was encapsulated.

Another was a geyser filled swamp which had natural pit traps where all the heavier toxic rich gases and bioproducts would drop down to; made for some interesting terrain and poison themed encounters and that was basically based off underwater rock crevices in real world oceans where saline levels basically create a kill zone.
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>>86888151
Book's chock full of em
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>>86888177
I'd love to hear more about this, and any other Underdark monster ideas that you have please.
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>>86889733
>>86888177
Yeah i found a pdf and have been going through them, Some are a bit silly or overly edgy, but there are some genuinely creepy/weird things in there. Fossil vampires are probs my favourite but the golem, neanderthal ghosts and the giant spider ant thing (ridiculous edginess aside) are pretty interesting. Others like the sonic pigs, silichomids and fungal slaves kind of make sense, and I feel like stormsheep are somewhere between anomalies from metro and actual sheep. I dont understand why the olm would have evolved to stand upright in a massive endless cave system. Some dont make much sense at all though, like the stiltormen, cambrimen, oneirocetean, spotlight dogs, that enegerau caterpillar which gives you parkinsons, or radiolarans.
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>>86800146
there is a pdf in the share threads if you dig back far enough

https://archive.4plebs.org/tg/thread/52619001/#52750093
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bumpfag bumpfag he aint smart
posts dumb questions and tasteless art
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>>86864348
Why not just use poison gas then? It's a much more straightforward way to do the same thing.
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>>86797762
Steal from videogames.
Huge cavern with a bioluminescent fungus forest and buildings like the falmer have in skyrim.
Also the magical fake sun suspended from the ceiling in that cavern.
Huge cavern with normal plant and animal life. illuminated by crystals set in the ceiling like stars, it looks like you are on some celestial plane, as well as a gigantic and fallen city towering over the floor in many interconnected levels, like in the forbidden city in Elden Ring.

Or borrow from real life.
Gigantic mossy caves with glittering walls, jungle groves and lakes, where you can see sunlight streaming in but also the vastness of the cave ceiling, like son doong cave or mulu cave.
Huge and mostly underwater areas of blue water and white stone
Semi flooded mines and bunkers.
Cities carved out of the rock in a honeycomb maze, like in cephalonia.

Or add spiciness yourself
Like lava caverns where one wrong step can mean your end, giant crystal structures, huge underground seas. Or an undeground river intersecting a massive fault line, spotted with the passages of an ancient mine and intersected by the burrowing of some giant creature, the mines lead to god knows where and you dont want to follow the burrow.
Dangerous fungal forests where the air is full of spores and things come out of the walls.
Sunken cities which have been swallowed by the earth.
A winding city which leads in, up and around a mountain chain, when you go overland its to explore surface areas or take shortcuts to places otherwise inaccessible, and vice versa. So you can have your mountain pools, hidden valleys and plateaus, but also cavernous depths, impossible falls, forests of pillars and underground resevoirs.

For animals:
Fish
Salamanders
Snakes
Insects
Bats
Or regular animals like boar, deer, birds, squirrels and weasels, if you include above ground, or the giant cave with an opening for the sun or the gigantic cave illuminated by crystals with regular trees and the like.
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>>86875996
I honestly haven't really considered dark elves being underground in this setting, the underground is the dwarves' world (though the goblins and kobolds and trolls and reavers may disagree), while the plains are the domain of men, the skies belong to the giants and the elves are the watchers of the woods.

I was gonna have elves be weird, Dwarves are (as far as they think, it's technically true but not quite as directly as the Dwarves think it is) animated stalagmites at their core, and Elves are fruit from giant sentient trees. (which themselves are incredibly ancient Elves)
Though perhaps there is a sect of underground elves that comes from their own strange form of parent-tree.
I'll have to think about that idea some more.
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>>86912747
>reavers
What are those supposed to be? How are the elves weird exactly, and what's the truth about dwarves? Glad to see that we're giving you ideas.
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>>86913338
>>86912747
Whoops, wrong image. Just ignore that.
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>>86879129
If you wanted to get bigger in scale, maybe you could have some sort of Hive Queen style monster in the lower levels of the mine that’s been steadily turning the tunnels into its dominion, raising an army of underling creatures in the meantime. Might be something there.
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>>86797762
I've wanted to run a game where everyone is a bunch of dwarves doing dwarven things like finding veins of gold, searching for long lost treasures in the deep, and caving in elven skulls with pickaxes for a while. Haven't found the time or proper system for it though
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>>86797762
Yes. Im actually banned (well, under caution) from ever doing it again. 1/?
I've got some caving experience. My friend asked me to run part of a tester for a oneshot he wanted to run, with some players from his group involving them being part of an attack on a city ruled by an evil overlord. They were meant to be the core of a rebellion against this king (apparently he was really evil, but he had also held legitimate rule with no uprisings until now over several centuries) and one of the players was the descendant of the real heir, etc, etc.
Anyway, I prepped the city, and several ways in, one of which was an option to infiltrate through an ancient cave system under the city that the sieging armies miners, some now missing, had found. I had intended for them to go in as part of the assault, but no, they chose to go in first and infiltrated under the city. So I let them descend into the mine tunnel, then enter the caves. Of course they were expecting the standard pathfinder "cave system" of rough but easily traversed 10'+ wide tunnels. Lolno.
The first tunnel, the one the miners had found, was easy enough to traverse, at least until they wandered too far, found a steep slope, and slid down it, around a bend, suffering some bruises and scrapes. At the bottom they found the stripped and shredded bones of the missing miners. A brief check proved that the slope was too slippery to climb, and they grimly pressed on into one of the openings that quickly narrowed into a crevasse. The characters in armour had a hard time, but incentive was provided by the clicking noise coming from some way away. The party then found themselves at the bottom of a steep, twisting, but climbable shaft. Only problem was the opening at the top, that led to a small chamber, was too tight for anyone in bulky armour to pass through.
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>>86920052
2/?
They had to strip and rope their gear up, then climb, squeeze through, and haul it up as odd noises (most of which were actually natural, caves are scary) echoed around them. By this point the players were getting paranoid, and only their self inflicted delusion that something was on their tail prevented them from going back.
They squeezed into a narrow tunnel and rested as best they could, then crawled onwards, dragging their armour and gear behind them. Those lovely magical 2 handed weapons? Useless. Anything bigger than a dagger was hard to use, and even the arming swords were almost impossible to actually use effectively.
Eventually the players found a spot they could stand upright in, and managed, awkwardly, to get back into their armour. By this point they were determined they were being followed as they kept hearing odd noises (again, mostly ambient sounds), and didnt rest for long before pressing on through a series of tight, twisting, tunnels, and crevasses. Twice they had to remove armour and gear to pass, and there were several moments when members nearly got stuck. Being a 7' mountain of muscle is great until you have to squeeze through a 2' wide crack.
Finally, they stopped to rest again, exhausted and scared in a narrow gap between two rock faces. Then a long calcified arm descended and hooked into the cleric, trying to pull him up and into the shadows. Two of the players grabbed his legs and the wizard blasted the arm, blowing it off and drawing a pained shriek and frantic scrabbling from above. Several cries answered the shriek, and suddenly the caves were filled with a rasping skittering. The players ran.
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>>86920188
3/3
They came to a larger cavern in which a river was flowing. One of them pulled a portable boat out and dropped it in and the party piled in as several splashes echoed further upstream. They paddled towards the outflow and lay flat as the ceiling allowed for but one inch of clearance.
They eventually came to a cavern beneath a wellhouse, and used magic to get up to the grate, cut through it, and then climbed the rest of the way out. Exhausted they flopped out, into the wellhouse where they found a little girl who had been drawing water and was now hiding in a corner. They tried to calm her, failed, and she screamed, alerting the garrison at the nearby fort. We agreed to end the run there as the party, now worn out, was facing an entire army that had just been alerted. Im actually kind of sad, I had so much planned for the city. The caves were all improv.
The players found the caves terrifying, and one of the most uncomfortable experiences they had ever played through. I cant say I wasnt proud.
The caves themselves I mapped by turning the map of the city onto its back and loosely drawing my pencil over it whenever they advanced on, interpreting the lines, jiggles, and loops, as whatever felt right. They came up where they did because that was the wellhouse they were under.
If theres any takeout from my ramblings, its to remember that caves are rarely the easy going tunnels most RPG's use. Caves are tight, random, often interlinked, and challenging. They can break expectations and force groups into circumstances where their gear and experience is useless. Heavy armour becomes a problem, large weapons are unusable, magic can be earthed or interrupted. Odd sounds put the players on edge whilst threats can appear from anywhere and will often have a critical home field advantage.
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As comics go, I really enjoyed pic related.
It's about a rescue party looking for a lost explorer in a cave network.

As you can guess from the cover, it quickly goes weird. The good thing is, you never know where the next page will lead you.
It's on readcomiconline
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>>86913338
>>reavers
>What are those supposed to be?
Oh they're giant intelligent insectoid creatures that live deep underground, they're from David Farland's Runelords series and I'm literally just stealing them because I think they're neat.
My friend told me about that series and I really liked the reavers.

>How are the elves weird exactly
Just culturally, unlike most races they don't reproduce sexually in the traditional sense or have romantic relationships, though community is still very important, because juvenile elves are humanoids born from the pods of the sentient trees that are fully mature elves.
I'm still fleshing this idea out more, but personally I really like what I have so far, especially because of the horribly cultural misunderstanding it would cause when the dwarves were completely ignorant of this fact and just felled one of the elves' ancestors for timber.
Currently in my lore the elves are just more a "they exist" status in lore besides the fact that they were the ancient adversary that drove the dwarves to near extinction, with the help of dragons, over a thousand years ago.
Their homeland is pretty distant from the main area the campaign I'm planning will be taking place in and humans and hobgoblins and halflings have since filled in the space between the old dwarven empire's mountains and the elven forests, but I do need to work on covering them a little better still.

>what's the truth about dwarves?
Dwarves are actually the descendants of trolls.
Trolls weren't always the brutish troglodytes we know them as today though. In a time far before any recorded history the trolls used to be a fairly advanced civilization that spanned the sprawling tunnels of the deep underworld as a collection of loosely unified city states, they encountered the reavers and over centuries of struggle both races degenerated into more savage forms, the dwarves are a subspecies of trolls that evolved to be smaller and regained their intelligence.
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>>86889733
>>86879670
This is great, I gotta look for the PDF, the monster ideas are so cool.
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>>86920376
Ok, I'm going to need you to start writing at least a few articles about using caves in games.
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>>86921315
Honestly, I wouldnt mind if your serious. But I will say that for starters you should actually visit a cave, and/or listen to ambience recorded in them.
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>>86797762
Hey, what would the inhabitants of such a realm use as mounts? Giant rats or spiders maybe?
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>>86923116
Beak dogs
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>>86924921
Do you have a bigger pic? Also, why that and not a giant spider or something?
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>>86927715
Sorry, didn't realize I grabbed the thumbnail, but it's just a crayon drawing from Zach Adams, the older brother of Tarn Adams, the creator of Dwarf Fortress.

>Also, why that and not a giant spider or something?
Because Dwarf Fortress has beak dogs as goblin mounts and I like Dwarf Fortress.

Goblins can also be seen using elk birds (bipedal flightless birds with antlers), giant cave swallows, giant olms, giant bats, cave crocodiles, rutherers (a large, furry, clawed canine kind of looking creature that fills a buffalo-like role in the ecosystem), jabbers (larger, antlerless relatives of the elk birds) blind cave bears, and voracious cave crawlers (enormous fleshy caterpillar/grub/worm kind of creatures with huge toothy maw on the front) as war mounts.
Though the player can't actually train cavalry in the current version of Dwarf Fortress, there exists code for non-player controlled dwarf armies to field mounted units with the same selection of animals as goblins have access to, since they're all cavern native species.

I don't see anything wrong with using spiders, DF has giant cave spiders, but they're mostly treated as dangerous, predatory livestock for farming spider silk, because insects are stupid and hard to domesticate.
Though maybe you could hollow them out and turn them into organic vehicles by pushing on their organs and nerves like the Dunmer do with Siltstriders in Elder Scrolls lore.
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>>86924921
Reminds me of those fossil mashup Pokémon from Galar. That's how weird it looks.
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>>86832577
>>86832599
>>86832610
Yo thanks for this. There's lots of neat ideas in here that get my juices flowing. Saved.
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>>86923116
I imagine you'd want things that could travel up walls, and would need special mounts for keeping you strapped in if you're upside down or going up a sheer wall.

Slugs, Spiders, Bats, and Lizards come to mind. Slugs would have the benefit of being able to squeeze through really tight and narrow passages.
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>>86797762
What's your favorite take on what would form the caverns of an Underdark equivalent and keep them from collapsing on themselves? Personally, I like the idea of it being because of some kind of monster or something like picture related creating them.
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Been a great thread! Any ideas on how we can spice up dark elves/drow from the D&D standard before it ends?
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>>86920052
>>86920188
>>86920376
top tier
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>>86936175
Why are they always a matriarchal society again? Anyway, based art.

>>86935953
Sounds cool, why would it do that and how though? Some kind of tunneling instincts?
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See you next time!
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>>86941387
Fuck you, your thread was shit, bumpfag



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