Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Unfocused Thoughts on the Hell-Caverns

Hercules in the Hell-Caverns is one of the least-recounted tales of that hero

While it's unlikely that I'll seriously develop another megadungeon in the near future, I thought I would spend a bit more time thinking about what I would do withe the Hell-Caverns.  There are three reasons I decided to go with the Hell-Caverns instead of Old Jerah.  First, the Hell-Caverns are much closer to my normal aesthetic, and therefore if I ever decided to run them I would be much less likely to experience the Gamer ADD that often overcomes me when I run things that aren't pseudo-medieval dark fantasies.  Second, the Hell-Caverns model offers a bit more flexibility.  It's much easier to imagine pseudo-Babylonian ruins in a dungeon beneath a medieval milieu than it is to imagine gothic ruins in dungeon beneath a Babylonian milieu.  Finally it fits better with the implied setting of LotFP.  

Here are some unfocused thoughts:
  • I'd probably place the dungeon near Conques since I have some familiarity with that region in the time period I wish to set the game.*
  • Narbonne might also work.
  • The wilderness around the caverns would mostly be populated with mundane encounters.  Robber knights, wolves, bandits, pilgrims, heretics, etc.
  • I might do separate encounter tables for day and night, with some small chance of encounter creatures from the nearest dungeon entrance at night.
  • Some of the upper dungeons will be the remnants of a monastery carved into the side of a mountain.
  • The caverns contain a mixture of medieval, Greco-Roman, Atlantean, snake-men, and old ones ruins.  Generally the deeper you go the older, and therefore more alien, stuff gets but there are isolated nuggets of the weirder shit in the upper levels.
  • I kinda picture this as the the Shaver Mystery during the Albigensian Crusade.  In other words: they'll be a shit-ton of heretics and morlocks.
  • Some areas of the caverns are miles across and are essentially lost worlds with their own ecosystems.  These will usually just have dinosaurs or ice age megafauna, but sometimes they'll have weirder things too.
  • I'd probably put more strange lights in the dungeon, rather than the pitch-blackness that clouds Nightwick Abbey.
  • CAS's Averoigne is once again a big influence (as is his Hyperborean Cycle).  Much like the Averoigne stories, many of the menaces will be Mythos (Smythos?) in nature, but the characters -- or at least the NPCs -- will contextualize them as Abrahamic demons.
  • If the Dark Country is my attempt to do Averoigne and Uz is my attempt to do Zothique then the Hell Caverns are all three of his big cycles pushed together.
That's it for now.  I'll possibly put up more later, but who knows?

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