Friday 22 December 2017

Colony Quest in the Underland

Have updated some buttons on my blog and sidebar links - made a page for murder highway too. This was winning option in a G+ poll which I am pleased by. A bit inspired by dreams, american indian myth and HPL stories of the great tribes in the sunless red and blue lit cavern civilizations deep in the earth. I might do a post specifically on the things a tribe encounter on travels and another on strange great chasms deep in the earth. Veins of the Earth and Dungeoneer's survival book two of my fave ever dnd books. I sent Patrick Stewart a book on Naracoorte caves once and now i'm thinking he probably grokked it. d1oo caves table might be good for wilderness exploration too. You cant have a enough holes full of angry murder hobos eating each other. If you think this format is worth more like it I could consider a Island colony table set or something else. I quite like the master of magic game where you could send colonies to another plane and out maneuver rival races.

My underground mutations might be handy too
Lots of my underland stuff in my blog directory in sidebars under emo rules

Migration of The People into the Great Deep

Sometimes things get so bad a whole people must uproot themselves and flee. This campaign path is about such a people forced to flee into the underland to survive. Here are some old posts to ruin the homeland of your people. Sadly Dragonlance kinda did this with refugees and slaves fleeing the draconians led by the heroes. The people might start as a near surface underland race and be driven into the more alien darker depths.

You could try this format adventure on surface world too - i could do others like a lost world island colony on monster island? or the mountain frontiers in barbarian lands. Let me know if this could be a series like my warzones.

Doom of the Kingdom

Changes for wilderness hexes and dungeons
Ruin your setting I dare you - apocalypses 1
More world ruining shenanigans - apocalypses 2

or here are some excuses or why not use several or all

d10 Reasons your people must flee into the underland

1 A enemy race have launched a war of extermination determined to hunt your kind to extinction
2 A natural disaster threatens to destroy everyone and the only escape is down
3 Apocalyptic disaster forces everybody into ancient dungeons and the only escape is deeper
4 A plague of monsters lay waste to the surface and only those who hide in deeps survive

5 The last people are trapped in a siege, they must flee into the depths, the only escape or perish
6 The people were enslaved and to avoid slow extermination they flee into ancient tunnels to escape
7 The people have been cursed by some god, perhaps they can no longer bare the sight of the sun
8 Plague or mutation or undead is contaminating everyone and only escape is down
9 Kingdom is doomed and massacres have begun, a prophet warns everyone to flee into the deeps
10 Gods are waging war and burning mountains are raining from the heavens destroying everything

So give your people must flee some problems emerge.

Set a population figure for the people. The bigger the number the more impossible they will all make it. a d10 with a extra d4 zeroes if you want to be mean. Then roll a d6 for how many months food they have with them. The bigger the number the more likely many will die and the more turmoil will hit the community.

Factions and group Alignment

For each zero the people have a extra faction arise in the group who disagree on how to survive. More might arise or perish. A dictatorial or military leader might just eliminate the opposition of suppress them. Some prefer a council which makes every decision slower. You should set a basic Alignment for your people to start with like neutral or good. Many faction feuds emerge over the best alignment to survive.Players should help the faction process initially using their charisma to influence the group. Some factions they may have to destroy or weaken. If things go badly for them they may have to split and flee or the group may fight it out or peacefully allow a faction to lead. Some factions might merge or agree and then later form new divisions.

d10 Faction Policies

1 Split the group to have more chances to survive is the only choice
2 We must stick together no matter what to survive as one people
3 Change religion, the gods have failed us we need new gods to survive in the new world
4 We need to adapt to the ways of the new world to stay independent or we will be doomed

5 We must stay strictly to what defines our people and not dilute our essence or we will perish
6 We need to find protectors and accept our fate and await the strength to rise again
7 We can't argue and waste time we need strong leaders and rules to survive
8 The group must survive at any cost, the old ways won't work, we need to make tough choices 
9 We need to care for each other and stick to strong principles to save everyone
10 We need to let everyone have choices and be free and must be flexible

Assets of the People

Those races of the deep are driven and many citizens have character classes rather than just being zero level mooks. The harsh journey forges the survivors into a tougher people over time. In a year many people will be 1st not zero level.

Initially the group should start in a great cavern or dungeon complex. This may not be a viable refuge and will have imminent danger like limited food. Players will have important role such as expanding territory or exploring the stronghold. Resources should be a problem. Clerics will be important assets by creating light and food. Without magic the group will probably perish in darkness. Adventurers will need to find food. More space. A great refuge for long term living space. Detect enemies. Seek a safe route for the migration or find a better refuge. The initial refuge should be under threat, probably from whatever drove them here or lack of resources.

d10 Group Assets

1 With relics, portable shrines and a strong faith in a god many people become clerics
2 With arcane scholars and texts many are able to use wizardry to survive
3 Some being offers it's patronage spawning sorcerers among population
4 Many have brought relics of the old ways and druidism is thriving
5 Prepared to fight to survive the people have taken arms and are training for war
6 People are scrounging to survive and learning underground survival to gather resources
7 Great treasures were brought with the people which might buy aid or resources (gp/person?)
8 With great foresight the people gathered more resources and have a extra d6 months food
9 Advanced knowledge of the deep and are aware of a d4 extra feature locations
10 Allies native to the deep share a d6 extra feature locations but they have problems already

Challenges are problems adventurers and scouts can support and provide high stakes adventuring opportunities. The challenges provide the bulk of play and eventually the people will reach a homeostasis or even thrive. New problems will emerge of course but the first year will be the hardest. The heroes will be important leaders and members of society. Their deeds will be long remembered. Some factions might see adventurers as a threat. Many races of the deep gained strange abilities to adapt and perhaps such powers can gained to help the people. Natural abilities alone will fail. Without magic the peoples health will suffer and decline. Some forces called on will have a cost. Powers of the deep will change their subjects but demand worship.

Players will have the most influence but NPCs should have some too. Perhaps they will fail and create problems or present aid with a dreadful cost. Once the most important issues are dealt with other problems will emerge monthly or yearly. Large periods of time might pass in the campaign after the first year. Perhaps a year per level. Eventually the people will be a tough, adapted, independent underland race. Or they will be miserable slaves, degenerating and doomed.

d10 Challenges types
1 Factions - fraction of people threatens the group survival
2 Food - a temporary or even permanent source is needed
3 Refuge - a safe shelter free of danger is required
4 Water - a supply is needed and might provide food and trade
5 Enemies - rival people need to be located and defended against
6 Hazard - health problems and natural disasters await
7 Patron - some group might help the peoples survival but at what cost?
8 Territory - a secure area recognised by other peoples and explored
9 Monsters - strange creatures keep the deeps dangerous
10 Magic - new gods, magical resources, gateways and who knows what

Faction Challenge
Various groups in the tribal assembly squabble and divide the comunity

1 Several religions struggle for supremacy requiring reconciliation or total victory
2 A hidden cult with evil agenda seeks to corrupt the people to degeneracy and evil
3 A new faction emerge with a strange new agenda set by a outside influence

4 A faction has a strong prejudice which threatens peaceful relations
5 A faction has a deathwish, it is better to die than change, there is no hope
6 A corrupt but charismatic faction leader promises peace and hope but really a maniac
7 Faction is making deals on the side with some outside power without group consent

8 A faction murder another faction in a well orchestrated plan 
9 Someone spreading lies and propaganda to scare the group into supporting a bad idea
10 A faction plan to leave the group and take important resources with them

Food Challenge
These locations provide food but should not be over exploited or ecological disasters or destruction will occur. A druid is the best expert for these cases
1 A cavern of fungus forests is discovered but is home to goblins and dark fey folk

2 A cave has a limited food resource that if misused will be exhausted in a d6 months
3 A series of caverns with excellent hunting but is claimed by some other people
4 A huge cave of edible bats good for a d3 months a year
5 A huge cave of giant bugs is found but they hunt back, good for d3 months a year
6 A disgusting pool of protoplasm discovered good for a month of food per year with refining
7 A gate to some colossal fleshy being, good for a d3 months a year before it resists violently
8 A great cave good for fungus farming if you know the secrets and have right spores
9 A great cave of albino dinosaurs with good hunting but high risk good for d6 months a year
10 A abandoned farm cavern could be restored with know how or one month if consumed and rendered barren, may have problem like pests or require fertilizer

Refuge Challenge
These caves are possible habitats but need some work
1 A great cave with many side cozy side caves and tunnels but has some inhabitants 
2 A ruined dwarf citadel overrun by orcs long ago a perfect home if orcs removed
3 Dark elves offer a abandoned cavern but expect a 10% tithe and aid in any wars
4 A damp flooded cavern with some engineering could be a good home
5 A thermally heated cave with engineering could be amazing if dangers controlled
6 A ancient citadel built by lost race aeons ago inhabited by orcs or beastmen 
7 Cavern complex has some toxic material if removed could be safe
8 A mine complex overrun with a crazed goblin horde to fight or bribe 
9 A great aurora lit cavern inhabited by degenerate mutant cultists welcome you
10 An ideal cavern but sacred to a local race who are unwelcoming to settlers

Water Challenge
Water is a needed resource but offers other benefits like trade or food
1 Area prone to seasonal flooding but might be fixed by engineers
2 A vast sunless sea inhabited by horrible sea monsters since ancient times
3 Body of water is tainted by a mutagen but locals know secret to make safe
4 A aquatic race dwell here and ae hostile to newcomers
5 River already has traffic from local races who regard as no-mans land 
6 Water is rich in minerals and cave filled with crystals and calcium formations
7 Water used for breeding by amphibious race who don't want to share
8 Undersea pirates use waters as highway to travel and raid
9 Water elementals and beings frequent here and expect to be appeased or worshipped
10 Water flows down great whirlpool to deeper realm full of alien horrors

Enemies Challenge
Hostile forces of the deep
1 A army of orcs hear about settlers and mobilize to eat and enslave them
2 A race of albino awful mutants are sent by their demon god who need fresh bloodlines
3 Dark elves skirmish, prank and torment settlers but remain hidden
4 A horde of goblins arise in thousands to protect the deep from invaders
5 A lich awakens his army of the dead planing to use newcomers corpses and souls
6 A race of beastmen who serve a wizard or cult mobilize to enslave newcomers 
7 Dwarves have claimed mineral rights and resources and demand gold, fealty or war
8 Race of elemental abhumans demand their gods be worshipped or war
9 Race of changeling spiritfolk have dwelled here in hiding are not welcoming
10 Race of trolls dwell here with their treasure and regard strangers as thieving squatters

Hazard Challenge
Health and wellbeing of the people under threat

1 The people spirit is broken with despair needing a spark of hope
2 Strange auroras from minerals provide light and mutations over time
3 A planar gateway brings influence from another world which grows over time
4 An ancient disease has lain dormant in spores and arises again
5 People grow sick requiring some essential food or a quality of light to thrive
6 Producing enough light to prosper is a problem that limits colony expansion
7 Damp condition produce lung related problems possibly treated with engineering
8 Food or water or resource is distant requiring improved transport and defence
9 Strange dreams from some underworld or planar power produce a new cult
10 Cave ins or bad air or flammable gas pockets require a engineering solution

Patron Challenge

Someone offers aid at a price
1 Goblins offer secrets of fungus farming and food if humans aid them and give trade deals
2 Dark elves offer protection in return for a tribute of slave children each year
3 Dwarves of construction aid and minerals but demand gold and trade preferences
4 Orcs will protect you if they are provided people for slaves, sacrifices and food 
5 Fishmen will give you access to underground river trade in return for human mates
6 A lich lord offers his protection and will teach necromancy but wants all your dead
7 A race of albino mutants offer part of their territory if you accept their demon god cult
8 A planar power offer you protection and adaptive transformation if you worship them
9 A race of giant spider wizards offer you aid in return for sacrifices and obedience
10 A cosmopolitan mixed race culture ofer you join and mix with them as junior partners

Territory Challenge

Asserting the peoples domain and getting the recognition of other powers
1 Multiple races claim your territory and are offended by your upstart claims
2 Several races at war demand you pick a side to sway the balance
3 Local races expect you to erect border stones on your boundaries and to protect them
4 A race demand free passage through your land as they have used it for aeons
5 A nomadic race pass through seasonally and are surprised by settlers
6 A race claim access to a traditional resource such as hunting or mining in your area
7 Race skirmish on borders as a tradition but resist open warfare
8 Area requires exploration to find what local races occupy area and claim territory
9 Warring races for aeons fought in your territory and both are shocked by your appearance
10 Your claimed land is actually a nomas land agreed on in ancient treaties between races

Monster Challenge

Creatures of the deep cause problems for settlers
1 Some gigantic beast hunts or grazes in peoples territory
2 Undead roam the region and harass citizens
3 Degenerate mutants seek to kidnap victims and mates and food
4 A form of lycanthropy keeps breaking out among your people
5 Some plague carrying creature has been infecting population
6 A dangerous predator thrives in colony area
7 Slumbering kaiju is discovered in area
8 A creature in plague proportions swarms every few years here
9 Seasonal migrations of monsters come through here
10 The area has many monster filled dungeon complexes

Magic Challenge

Strange powers of the deep are encountered
1 A god offers underland adaptations in return for a favour
2 A great machine is found buried since ancient times in some primordial war
3 A god claims he brought your people here as planned and demands worship
4 A great magical dungeon complex has been expanding in area for aeons
5 Some hidden force is changing inhabitants slowly
6 A great old one or cursed elder race is imprisoned beneath the colony
7 People find primordial ruins and somehow begin adopting the customs of the lost people 
8 A monster summoning portal or monster machine or relic is hidden in area
9 Someone keeps making or summoning monsters in area from a hidden lair
10 Great teleportation pads or gateway is discovered built by some ancient race

more in this series comming


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. sorry i accidentally deleted this with accidental click - i appreciate comment and yes the mound a big influence


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