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Old 11-25-2017, 07:05 AM   #1
Astromancer
 
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Default The City in the Dungeon

Over the years from 1976 when I first got the D&D box set to the present I've several times set cities or towns in underground settings. Several times I've made a ruined or semi-abandoned area of the comunity the dungeon. I've also had new underground communities near ancient abandoned ones.

Once I set, at the confluence of two underground rivers which the dwarves had made navigable, a major city under an oasis. With river and caravan traffic meeting in one place there were lots of people around. However the ancient ruined cities in the area were filled with threats from vampires to ghouls to bandit armies. Brave adventurers were needed to protect the community, and the wealthy merchant's profits.

Have others on these boards set cities, human or otherwise, in the dungeon?
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Old 11-25-2017, 10:12 AM   #2
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Default Re: The City in the Dungeon

Back when I played Tunnels & Trolls, I posited that the dwarves had expanded their sprawling underground kingdom so much that any further tunneling would impinge on territories claimed by monsters. One direction led to trolls, another to dark elves, etc., with "down" being a route to chthonic demons. And as the kingdom was so sprawling, lots of technically law-abiding tenants had underground complexes that were used for secret magical research, worship of less-than-nice gods, and so on . . . and there were also forgotten tunnels that were home to gangs, savages, huge rats, and the like. Thus, there were de facto dungeons all around and even within the kingdom, and no shortage of wealthy dwarven quest-givers hiring adventurers for military scouting missions, deputizing delvers to clear out lawless areas, and so on.

Still, the kingdom was pretty civilized, and it was never all that long a haul from a dungeon. Town – and in fact good-sized cities, plural – were in a sense "in the dungeon." (Or sometimes the dungeon was in town: Evil Lich-Guy's Lab of Horrors was behind a secret door at the back of Ye Old Magick Shoppe.)

This would be an interesting default for town. Certainly, if most of the world's delving happens in a place like that, it would be easy to accept that just maybe, the surface world is almost normal, and that hack 'n' slash heroes are regarded as "crazy, dangerous mercenaries from the badlands" up there.
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Old 11-25-2017, 04:08 PM   #3
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Default Re: The City in the Dungeon

Civilization near the monsters was part of my settings too. In fact I like to put the monsters or other problems just over a very near border.
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Old 11-26-2017, 01:11 PM   #4
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Default Re: The City in the Dungeon

Kromm, I like the idea of the cultural difference between the underground society and the surface. You could have had the Fantasy/Magical equivalent of a post-apocalyptic desolation on the surface and the survival of civilization below. Maybe the surface is the dungeon.

This would also allow for Swashers and Barbarians in the same dungeon party. But I've rigged that by saying that the Swashers came from Western Europe (it was a fantasy/print the legend version of the late 1500s) and the Barbarians were Cossacks and other similar Eastern European types. And yes I know that late 1500's Eastern Europe had some very sophisticated cultures. They also had the available barbarians in period. Still, Sword and Sorcery above and Urban Fantasy/ Swashbuckling below is a fun mix.
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Old 11-28-2017, 04:58 PM   #5
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Default Re: The City in the Dungeon

My last DF setting was pretty much a Dungeon World. An infinite space filled with underground dwellings. The PC's soon learned that some weapons were not as great as others. Two Handed swords disappeared really quickly in favor of Short Sword and Board, Spear and shield, Crossbows and short bows over other ranged weapons.

I laughed so hard when they accepted a mission to retrieve a Dwarven artifact and the ceiling level of the entire dungeon was only five feet.
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Old 12-03-2017, 01:16 PM   #6
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Default Re: The City in the Dungeon

The real world city of Budapest gives another way to do a city in a dungeon. Much of Budapest used the natural cave system for basements. Later they connected many of the basements to each other. There were times in the past when the weather was foul or topside was dangerous when people could travel across the old city of Buda (pest was the German town on the other side of the river) through the caves under the streets.

In a dungeon fantasy world the levels just below the city would be a border area before you got to the real dungeon/wilderness below. Respectable houses of top, seedy taverns and questionable establishments beneath these, and the dungeons below these.
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Old 12-08-2017, 11:47 AM   #7
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Default Re: The City in the Dungeon

The Avernum series of video games from spiderweb software takes this idea to the extreme.
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Old 12-23-2017, 11:00 AM   #8
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Default Re: The City in the Dungeon

Does anyone here remember Badger's House in The Wind in the Willows? Badger's House was under a wood and built into the ruins of a Roman town. A Bunnies & Burrows campaign crossover with Dungeon Fantasy couldn't have a better setting.

And variants of the idea could be used in a normal Dungeon Fantasy game.
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Old 01-02-2018, 03:37 PM   #9
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Default Re: The City in the Dungeon

For years I have been running a game with a city built on top of a megadungeon, one that contains complexes that are vertically stacked neighborhoods, and intertwined lairs of Dark ones, trolls and the like.
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