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Old 09-21-2017, 06:51 PM   #1
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Default New Monster: Dungeon Demon

This idea came to me from another thread: perhaps dungeons are demons. I think it actually works pretty well:

Dungeon Demon

A dungeon demon is a peculiar form of extradimensional horror, not even recognized by most sages, but recent research has confirmed that it is a real, and growing, threat.

Unlike demons that possess animals or people, a dungeon demon possesses a space, such as a building or a cave. It is thought that they initially appear in a space that is abandoned for a long period and contains the unburied body of a sapient creature, possibly making it a form of ghost, but the details of its early life cycle are not well known. In any case, the primary nature of a dungeon demon is as a trap, similar to a pitcher plant: it contains attractive bait (typically ‘treasure’), and when people are attracted to the bait, it attempts to devour them, by generating internal antibodies (aka ‘monsters’ and ‘traps’). Success causes the demon to grow and generate more bait. Note that a dungeon demon is in fact a space, not a structure; it will first expand to fill the entirety of the structure in which it is found, and if it cannot expand further, it expands underground, creating tunnels and caverns. If a dungeon demon is truly killed, any expansion beyond its initial dimensions will gradually or rapidly cease to exist.

Despite its malign nature, dungeon demons are actually fairly inefficient predators; a significant fraction of people going into them will successfully escape with bait. This apparently serves two purposes. First, bait is more effective if its victims think they can successfully escape with it. Secondly, some part of treasure found within a dungeon is in fact seeds: while normally proper burial prevents formation of a dungeon, if a human is buried or interred with dungeon treasure, that burial place has a high probability of seeding a new dungeon (and, in fact, dungeon seeds can corrupt the living, turning them into monsters about which a dungeon forms).

Some individuals have experimented with farming of dungeon demons, feeding them corpses and retrieving the treasures this generates. On the short term, this does seem to work, but over the long term this inevitably corrupts the farmers, turning them into monsters.

Current theory is that the best way to kill a dungeon demon is to kill everything within and remove the corpses; dungeon demons are perfectly capable of devouring the dead bodies of its own monsters, though they will not grow by doing so and eventually starve if provided no additional food. Treasure should be removed and then burned or melted.
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Old 09-21-2017, 07:36 PM   #2
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Default Re: New Monster: Dungeon Demon

This concept forms a significant part of the back story for the (unfortunately named) Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? franchise. If it seems as if the Dungeon is actively hostile and out to get you -- you're right.
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Old 09-21-2017, 07:47 PM   #3
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Default Re: New Monster: Dungeon Demon

Pitcher Plants generally have multiple pitchers, with nectar, but only one is an "active" trap at any given time. This means that the pitcher plant encourages ants to come to it; the colony as a whole benefits more than it loses from the calories it gains from the plant vs the individuals lost. The plant gains a small steady source of nutrients, and the ants guard it fiercely from herbivores as it is a ready source of nutrition for them.

The bait doesn't even need to be seeds. Farming a dungeon demon could set up the same relationship, particularly if clever humanoids figure out that feeding it livestock makes it less aggressive.
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Old 09-21-2017, 09:57 PM   #4
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Default Re: New Monster: Dungeon Demon

You may want to crib a little from 13th Age where dungeons are sort of living things. "Chaotic spasms of hate-filled architecture that swim up from the depths and erupt on to the surface, their corridors and chambers spreading out like a cancer beneath the ground" according to one of the authors.
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Old 09-21-2017, 11:18 PM   #5
Anthony
 
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Default Re: New Monster: Dungeon Demon

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
The bait doesn't even need to be seeds. Farming a dungeon demon could set up the same relationship, particularly if clever humanoids figure out that feeding it livestock makes it less aggressive.
Feeding a dungeon result in an evil temple with evil cultists for dungeon crawlers to come loot.
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Old 09-22-2017, 01:05 PM   #6
Joe
 
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Default Re: New Monster: Dungeon Demon

I like it. I'd be tempted to say that Dungeon Demons feed on souls rather than bodies, just to explain why they go to all the trouble of preying on people. If they just want calories, then there's much easier prey around!

Also, if they're after meat, then it's a bit more difficult to explain how they manage to pump out so many meaty monsters on such a regular basis. Thus to my mind it would be better to say that they're powered by sentient souls, which allows you to hand-wave the whole energy issue.

You could even say that they get more juice out of heroic souls, which is why they sometimes try to lure in really heroic types by capturing princesses etc.

This would also have the benefit of solving the "I decide to raise some dungeon demons of my own" problem. Anyone who decides to do that will have to feed the little baby dungeons, not just corpses, but living, sentient beings - which is definitely a good way to become corrupted, just as you say.
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Old 09-22-2017, 03:39 PM   #7
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Default Re: New Monster: Dungeon Demon

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe View Post
I like it. I'd be tempted to say that Dungeon Demons feed on souls rather than bodies, just to explain why they go to all the trouble of preying on people.
Hm. Guess I should have been more explicit. You're right, it's a demon, it doesn't care about the meat.
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Old 09-25-2017, 06:36 PM   #8
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Default Re: New Monster: Dungeon Demon

This could be an interesting thing to add to a non-DF world, as a new entity carried as a seed by a world-jumper. Some of the 'treasure' might include magical how-to books for various DF jobs, in a world that may only just now be getting magical (or regaining a useful mana level).
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