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Old 10-20-2019, 03:24 PM   #11
thrash
 
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Default Re: dungeon fantasy evolution

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Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
Yes, but it would tend to produce local catastrophes with fairly short cycles, which isn't enough to cause a fall of civilization. You need something that is quite large area and pretty long cycle,...
I see your point. I was thinking that most civilizations don't get past a primate city stage (all their eggs in one basket, as it were) before getting knocked back when that city is destroyed, but that may not make sense.

It may be more plausible to have the fracture zone phenomenon repeat on a random 2-4 century cycle: too long for long-lived races to remember clearly, long enough for civilizations to arise, but not so long that they are strong enough to survive the event as a coherent entity. If the phenomenon occurs in uninhabited areas, the monsters it brings can be well-established before the civilizations even know they are there. If the type of invasion changes every time, they are even less likely to be prepared.
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Old 10-20-2019, 04:49 PM   #12
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If there hasn't been a whatsit attack for a century population will expand outside the city walls and money will not be "wasted" on expanding the unneeded walls. Magical artificers will devote most of their time to making magic items that help industry and agriculture etc. All the normal human patterns of this time the bad stuff is gone for good thinking. So when it hits magic weapons are not common, large parts of the population are in undefended buildings, etc.
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Old 10-20-2019, 11:39 PM   #13
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Default Re: dungeon fantasy evolution

For me, dungeon fantasy (as in the genre) is post-post-holocaust. The holocausts are back beyond living memory.

At least one of those holocausts was an invasion from other worlds. In fantasy, usually via gates.

My homebrew D&D gameworld has multiple imports. One every 4320 years.
  1. Bearmen, Troglodytes, most normal animals.
  2. Dragons, Drakes, Wyverns, Kobolds, some more normal animals
  3. Elves. (3 imports - they managed to control the gate, sorta.) Also Fairies, pixies, and similar elf-cousins
  4. Dwarves (Svirfneblin), Trolls, many surface monsters.
  5. Dwarves (Mountain, stone) and Gnomes. Many subsurface monsters
  6. Humans. Yeti.
  7. Orcs, Goblins, Hobgoblins.
  8. Beholders, Neogi, Cave Men
  9. An entire city of demons. no, not tieflings, demons. And a cloud city of Aasimar.
  10. Tieflings, More Neogi. Gargoyles. By this point, all MM species are present.

Each one's arrival is a bit of a catastrophe...
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Old 10-21-2019, 06:08 PM   #14
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My work-in-progress Oubliette DF setting is post-apocalyptic, except the apocalypse is kind of still going on at a slow burn. Essentially, the society was something like TL5+1^ (superscience clockwork devices) when dungeons started appearing en masse, with monsters pouring from them and devastating civilization. A dungeon basically starts as an underground "Dungeon Core" (big glowy crystal, break it for treasure and the dungeon collapses shortly thereafter), which forms a small underground space. It starts populating the space with monsters, small ones at first that primarily serve to expand the space (via digging) more rapidly than the core would do passively. As the underground space gets larger, the core becomes more powerful, spawning more powerful monsters as well as treasure of various flavors to entice delvers. Modern dungeons spawn relatively rarely and grow slowly, but in the early days they spawned frequently and grew at prodigious rates, creating extremely powerful monsters in short order. Occasionally, they'll do so again, typically restricted to a kingdom that is becoming too powerful, is trying to advance TL, or is taking too concerted of an approach at conquering dungeons. Underground cities are a Bad Idea - if a dungeon connects to one, the entire city will be considered part of the dungeon, giving it a sudden spike in power and, more problematically, allowing it to spawn monsters virtually anywhere within the city. Mines are often designed with multiple "collapse points" so if a dungeon does happen to connect to one, it can be cut off quickly (a sufficiently large cave-in will break the link to the core).

The reality is, the dungeons are basically power generators for otherworldly entities. A young core will use more energy than it produces, but once it's large enough is a net gain. Adventurers fighting within the dungeon actually produces more energy than replacing the treasure and monsters consumes, and adventurers breaking a core actually produces a good deal of energy for the masters (it's a complex ritual/shellgame in which the dungeon's "losses" are basically sacrifices). When the dungeons first invaded, their masters had to burn a huge amount of energy to drop the natives to a manageable level, and the masters burn up energy again anytime they need to put down an "uppity" kingdom, but it's worth the cost for maintaining a world they can basically farm for unlimited energy. Characters in the world are unaware of any of this, but there are superstitions warning against the kind of behavior that tends to cause the dungeons to smash a kingdom. Some adventurers have also caught on to the fact that actively-delved dungeons seem to become more powerful more quickly than those that are left relatively undisturbed (although you can't just ignore dungeons, as they'll start sending out raiding parties to kill and capture villagers and the like), but aren't certain why this is the case.
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Old 10-22-2019, 09:07 AM   #15
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Default Re: dungeon fantasy evolution

Though I don't have much to add, this conversation is fascinating.

It does occur to me that this would describe a good metaphysical background for Jürgen Hubert's Doomed Slayers d20 project.
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Old 10-22-2019, 10:04 AM   #16
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It isn't dungeon fantasy so much, but the limited thought I've put into a "conventional" fantasy setting is that it diverged from our world very long ago (the alternate races being the descendants of pre-human hominins that evolved in the presence of magic), and then briefly reconnected (bringing humans, domestic animals, the PIE religion, etc.).
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Old 10-22-2019, 10:59 AM   #17
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Default Re: dungeon fantasy evolution

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It's an interesting question. Due to clearing humans out of a fortified dungeon complex, I was imagining liches with hordes of undead, organized invasions by demons (does that make them devils?) or your non-corporeal soul-suckers, or something like the xenomorphs from Aliens, but there's plenty of room for variation. A dragon or kaijuu-type might depopulate the surface and starve the city out, instead.
Dragons should 100% make the list of city-ending threats. They force you to do so much with architecture, they can be difficult to counter, and they're already in the public consciousness.

Infectious monstrosities are a likely city-killer. Imagine a monster like a werewolf that turns everyone bitten into a killer. In the wild, its just a simple monster that has an odd reproductive cycle and is unlikely to do well. In a community, its going to tear through the population, decimating their numbers and destroying their social cooperation at the same time. Slow diseases that take longer to overwhelm a population are a possibility as well.

We need city killers that are defeated by sunlight. We have reasons for dungeons to exist, but we also need monsters that kill the dungeons but don't threaten the above-ground cities. Make the city pick their poison.

Insubstantial threats need to be considered. When the cities have wrapped themselves in a protective blanket of walls, hunters come that can walk right through them. I'm not sure how you turn that into a city-killing threat though.

Demons could work as an organized threat, I suppose.
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Old 10-22-2019, 02:24 PM   #18
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Default Re: dungeon fantasy evolution

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Insubstantial threats need to be considered. When the cities have wrapped themselves in a protective blanket of walls, hunters come that can walk right through them. I'm not sure how you turn that into a city-killing threat though.
Combine it with being infectious. If those killed by a wraith rise as wraiths themselves in a few nights, you can quickly depopulate a city, replacing those who fail to escape with wraiths. Alternatively, have the insubstantial threat be a harbinger of sorts - perhaps it can spawn new (corporeal) monsters, teleport others in, and/or bring down the city's defenses for the forces waiting outside to enter.
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Old 10-22-2019, 02:25 PM   #19
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Default Re: dungeon fantasy evolution

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It does occur to me that this would describe a good metaphysical background for Jürgen Hubert's Doomed Slayers d20 project.
If that's the one I'm thinking of, I tend to make use of the concept from it of "adventurer" being a formal profession that reduces the sorts of restrictions one is under, like very weak legal enforcement powers/legal immunity. Otherwise-second-class (or lower) citizens - monstrous races, women, etc - tend to be overrepresented compared to what one might expect amongst adventurers, due to being an adventurer giving them rights they'd otherwise lack.
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Old 10-22-2019, 03:12 PM   #20
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Dungeon Fantasy is a weak platform to build a game that makes sense on. The setting has no organic basis to support the existence of any of the classes. The economics of that kind of world would be untenable. Villages or even towns would just collapse from mountains of coins washing over them from randomly timed dungeon crawls. I'd suggest you build something from Dungeon Fantasy instead.

If I was going to create a justification for underground complexes I'd start with the homes of underground dwellers overtaken by monsters or disease or other problems.

If was going to create a world with cyclic apocalypses I'd base in celestial alignments. That way you could have several years or even generations before the end of the world. The alignment might awaken a sleeping breed of monster that's particularly nasty or open a gate to another world with a rival expansive race like Orks.
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