Eh, I guess I was comparing the underdark (from forgotten realms) to the darklands.
Yepp, so was I :)
TSR just left the Underdark mostly, well, dark :)
Except for the city states...which I always assumed were in vaults, more or less.
None of the FLAIR or PINACHE that Paizo gives it's vaults though :)
Hmmm. Differentiates? I'm not 1000% certain of that. I mean, frankly, it's a unique idea, the vaults and the idea that they may be jungle, or basalt black sand, or have their own sun...but, honestly, that's nothing that couldn't have been easily incorporated into "the Underdark"...I kind of feel as though that sort of thing was intentionally left up to the DM in the Underdark, as much other than the vaults containing the drow cities were left uncharted.
I could be wrong, but I am working off of the assumption that vaults are merely that, stupendously large caverns, sometimes forming even stupendously larger cavern systems. Honestly, those do exist today in our world. The chinese cave I mentioned previously Er Wang Dong is just one such massive cavern, so large it has it's own micro-weather system....
I do admit that Paizo has put it's own personal stamp on it, with the promotion of fun fantasy ideas such as some of them being jungles, others basalt black sand and Pyramids with a sun of blacklight above (Dude, pass me some of that maui wowie...)...which of course is fun and really just spurs me on to create my own.
But the maui-wowie cavern gets two thumbs up from me!!!
Pax Veritas wrote:
I kind of think that my main viewpoint on the Darklands / Underdark is that it is nothing but 100% pure flavor...I tend to plan out the environment first, then worry about the enhabitants.
To me, in the Darklands, the terrain and environment are the show stoppers....sure, the encounters are fun, but this is a wholly unique opportunity for pure unadulterated fun!
The 1st edition Dungeoneer's Survival Guide had lots of information on the hazards of underground travel, including some great ideas on mapping. The old D1, D2 and D3 modules would be good to draw on since they pretty much introduced the Underdark to rpgs. I recall DL1 (the first Dragonlance module) had part of a city that had collapsed down a sinkhole or something, so buildings were on their sides or upside down... And I believe it was DL 4 where the characters went into Thorbardin, a massive underground dwarven kingdom. If you are looking for bits and pieces to inspire and make your own, there is lots of stuff in some of the old material.
Good stuff. I remember the Dungeoneer's Survival Guide when it came out. Lots of good info for DM's on natural stone formations, etc.
I tend to just let my mind go free when coming up with this stuff for underground. Remembering that shafts can be in *any* direction, any angle...rooms too :)
Imagine a grand tomb room, that was hit by an earthquake...but while it wasn't destroyed, it's now at a 45 degree angle ? :) Imagine some sort of spidery creature that could maneuver on this surface without problem, or an ethereal critter like a wraith..and the fun a party might have there. Sure, slightly higher levels and you might have spiderclimb, or flight...but who knows, maybe a crystal outcropping has strange anti-magic properties that suppress these effects ? :)
Of course, that one outcropping won't take much to destroy...but what if it is only ONE out of MANY outcroppings to chose from ? :) Multicolored ? :)
Yeah, I'm a sadistic SOB !
Here's a Google search link...I found the name of the caverns I was referring to. The one you are talking about I've seen in the past and is beautiful, but not quite to the scale that the Er Wang Dong caverns of China are....
And here is the exact cavern I was thinking about when I was talking about the Crystal Forest...just look at this....
I don't know about you, but when I look at the photo of Cueva de Los Cristales, it almost looks like an M.C. Escher drawing where up can be down, or not.....
So, just imagine incorporating a bit of Escher laws of gravity into your special little cave...muwahahahahaha :)
It's THAT kind of thinking that constantly screws with the plans of my players, and makes the game FUN !!! :)
Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
For me, I have always enjoyed using different accents and the like with NPC's. Well, with a Mind Flayer, considering their mouths are within a tentacle enshrouded rectum of a mouth, I kind of imagined an almost gurgling and very nasal/sinus like quality to the voice. I think this absolutely caught the players off guard, as I did my best to bring that to life. Then, I made sure to let my thoughts and comments linger completely off topic during conversation...like (sadly) talking with someone who has Alzheimer's or some other such debility.....but from a standpoint of the mind of Mind Flayer being off in some other psychic realm...possibly even interacting with ethereal or astral beings and not realizing it wasn't keeping the two conversations separate from one another. I'm also pretty good at extemporaneous speaking, so going off topic like that is pretty easy for me :)
I *do* love the idea of opening the brainpan right there and snacking, now that *is* cool :)
I had the MF introduce the players to another NPC I like to play in such scenarios, named Stumps. Stumps is a gnome that specializes in gnomish alchemy/engineering of bombs and explosive (yes, thank you WoW). Stumps is most definitely hard of hearing, damned near yells when he talks (fun to roleplay), constantly smells of spent chemicals and ozone, and doesn't understand why he isn't the best at retaining customers let alone inspiring repeat customers...his stuff just works TOO well sometimes :)
And then of course, there's the reason WHY he's named "Stumps" which is always fun...he actually wears something like a wooden/stone fashioned exo-suit for his lower extremeties that have complex gears and pumps and a furnace / steam apparatus which effectuate his ability "walk" :)
The Underdark is just SUCH a fun place to explore, have fun, and let your mind go a little berzerk!
Maybe we should talk about my interpretation of demons in Golarion and how they were the ones that give the knowledge of fleshwarping to the Drow that worship them. Well, suffice it to say, I have fun with that as well, and go to something of an extreme. Imagine Vrocks with some sort of reasonably sci/fi cannon grafted onto their armstumps...or a fleshgrafted mechanical laser sighting device (Think Robot Chicken) over the eye that gives them a small bonus to hit...etc. I don't look to overwhelm players with any of this. The example of the vrock above is one where I really don't increase the damage that they would do with their "replaced" physical attacks. I simply look to add a unique spin, tons of FLAVOR (like your first foray into Indian food), and fun memories!!!!
It also keeps the players on their toes with the worst enemy they could ever have, their own overactive imaginations :)
Also, I think that Raging Swan Press' offerings are wonderful to begin with. But, I particularly liked the "Dark Oak" adventure. Did I forget to mention you can buy this adventure RIGHT HERE on Paizo.Com ? :)
The potential for riffing and expanding on the underground adventure is omnipresent. I just had the caverns go on another 50% with various insidious ideas I came up with on the fly. The underground, underwater portions ROCKED!!!
Gotta love it when someone in plate decides "Oh, I'm simply going to jump and swim across that pool which I have NO idea how deep it goes"
Perhaps I should say at this point that I do not agree with the PathFinderization of the swimming rules when it comes to armor penalties. I am a FIRM believer that armor penalties should be quadrupled when swimming. Sorry, ever swam in jeans? Imagine it in PLATE...or CHAIN...or even LEATHER....
So yeah, considering the next chamber is essentially a tidal pool, that happens to be the main haunt of a crocodile? Hehehehehehe...yeah :)
Good times. Good times :)
Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
Hey Thanks Doug! Am I correct in the idea that you flagged me as a favorite post on this one?
I *love* the underdark, and try to drag my players into at EVERY chance. For instance, I *immediately* signed on to the Throne of Night kickstarter from Fire Mountain Games.
I think what has always caught my imagination is the physical conditions, the potential for daydreaming about natural hazards that can occur as truly fun ways to impede the party, and the overall fun you can have with it. Want to throw in a crack caused by some seismic activity into a long lost Dwarven tomb? Sure...go for it. Have a "neutral" city that lives under an uneasy truce deep down. One of my favorite NPC's here is a Mind Flayer who is an apothecary / rumor monger, and I love role playing the otherworldness of the mind of a Mind Flayer...and the fact that at first, players go "Oh CRAP...we're not talking to THAT"...and slowly realize, well, we may NEED to talk to him...
As for naturally occurring hazards...I think far too often fire and cave-ins are the main consideration here. Think WATER & GAS. These are HUGE aspects underground. A thin wall between you and a gushing underwater river? stale air? This is commonly known as a hazard today, especially with the catacombs of the Necropolis under the streets of Paris, which is a common destination for modern day explorers...and bored kids looking for a place to party. Think of it this way....relive the magic and mystery of discovering that cave or tunnel or sewage/storm drain tunnel when you were about 9-12 years old...think about the possibilities you felt for adventure.
Also, let's talk wood. Above ground, I really don't bother players with restocking arrows and quarrels as they can be readily found, retrieved, bought, etc. But, on a desert island (with no markets or fletchers to be found)? Underground? Wood is a rare commodity. In some case, may be considered worth more than gold. I typically charge in the "neutral city" I mentioned above 1gp an arrow for a "standard" arrow (which may be poor quality and cause -1 to hit and or damage, limited flight range too), but if the shop keeper doesn't like the players too much, guess what, that price just want to 2-3gp per arrow. Supply and Demand are a b*tch, aren't they ? :)
To me this is where good DM'ing comes from. Dungeons are fantastic, but far too often thrown into the mix with no real forethought about WHY the dungeon is there. Who built it? what was the LOGIC? Well, caverns and natural tunnels don't *need* that so much. They DO exist. Many of us have seen them in person. They are magical :)
I often think of movies like Goonies, Temple of Doom, The Hobbit (an untold Story), etc for inspiration.
Have fun!!! Remember, nothing is as much fun as seeing your PC's sweat a little :)
Hey guys, my party that im running the campaign for is headed into the darklands, Any advice on tactis/monsters that may help drive the point home that this isn't kansas anymore? Party is 5th level, will remain in the darklands until the adventure is complete.
Why limit yourself to having the players experience the Underdark / Darklands simply by the flavor of monster they encounter?
Oh, look, it's a kobold. We must be underground now. Funny, the hallways are all perfectly smooth and 90 degree angles. Other than that, doesn't it feel like the castle we were in last week?
One thing I've always done, given that a DM took the time to do it back in the day (he was actually a spelunker, so he felt it necessary), was show good photos of underground caverns, the types of formations, underground rivers...photos of spelunkers that visually confirm how tight the quarters can be (claustrophobia, anyone?), etc. Have photos that match the specifics of the encounter locale, and say THIS IS WHAT YOU SEE....that truly helps people not only understand the situation far better (logistics, tactics, etc) but also puts their head in the right "space", too. He always made a point of vividly explaining how humid it was, sweat dripping into your eyes as you struggled with gear, hitting your head on jagged ceilings, constantly discovering a new scrape or scratch, or even worse.
Just recently, a cavern system was found which was SO vast, it actually had it's own climate and temperature zones....complete with thin whispy clouds. Unfortunately, I didn't save the link, but I'm sure if you google it it is worth the effort as there were tons of jaw dropping photos.
If nothing else, they serve as EXCELLENT inspiration for you as the DM. Take for instance, the massive set of caverns in (I believe) central america...the temperature is so hot and humid, it somehow worked with the right combination of elements to create massive (and I mean MASSIVE, larger than man sized) milky white crystalline structures that take up the entire cavern, not unlike a forest of crystal....
And to add even more fuel to the fire, I remember reading a few years ago about an ant's nest that was so vast, it stretched for miles throughout underground caverns from London (if I remember correctly) under the channel and into France. Pretty crazy stuff, all of it VERY inspiring for the dastardly DM.
Have fun with physical features. Have fun with the unique features only found underground. Underground waterways ARE A B*TCH !!!! Don't forget your handy dandy breathing / drowning rules :), it not only applies to water, but also to caverns with "BAD AIR" or actual poisons such as methane that take up the entire atmosphere of that cavern. Radiation sucks too!!! And it's THERE!!! Hey, you won the lottery by finding that vein of PLUTONIUM!!! I know there *are* rules for this I believe in the DM's guide as a natural hazard, not unlike green slime and molds...
Also, don't forget the temperature differences. Often, underground areas hover perpetually at a rough 55 degrees Fahrenheit. This can be comfortable for awhile, but lead to cramping before long. Proximity of natural geothermal sources (such as magma flows) can DRASTICALLY alter this temperature.
Also, BE CREATIVE....add your own touch! Make the crystals the source of heat, or light, or even the poisonous atmosphere! Make beasts that for some reason worhsip/protect/revere/eat the crystals! Have kobolds or drow that cake themselves in mud for a +5 or even higher skill check to their stealth check as they stand perfectly still along the walls! Or use the natural features as cover, too!!! Let's not forget fungi.... is it smelly? Does it secrete anything? Will it emit spores that make it easier to DIGEST YOU? Is that a silver winged helmet I see half covered in the fungi? The light down here sucks, can you see it any better? I'm going to go a little closer...hold my torch....
This is just the tip of the iceberg.
Go visit an actual cavern system if you can, you won't regret it. You start thinking to yourself "Wow, there's Drow RIGHT BEHIND THAT COLUMN over THERE!!!!"
Check out http://luraycaverns.com/ for INSTANT inspiration!!!
Lord Fyre wrote:
That's not being defensive, my friend, that is me pointing out the ludicrous notion that a woman cannot be a woman unless dressed in an "appropriate" manner. Or "posed" in an "appropriate" manner. Or "drawn" in an "appropriate" manner.
Is it time to change certain things, such as the way women are depicted in art? Certainly. Do we all have to drink the kool-aid, and step into line repeating the party manifesto? Absolutely not. There was nothing degrading about the pose that Seoni was painted in. There was nothing obscene about it. There is absolutely nothing about that cover artwork that would prevent me from allowing my five year old daughter to see it.
If the topic comes up with my daughter, and I am sure it will, I'll explain that just as with men, there are many different ways we can be portrayed and or shown. I'll explain that there is nothing wrong with being beautiful and allowing others to see it. I'll also explain that it is not something that has to be seen as a measure of self worth. That not everyone looks like the images we are blasted with in the media. That the true beauty is on the inside.
The beauty of appearance is the frosting. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being appreciative of both, or portraying either the inner beauty of a person or the outer beauty.
Lord Fyre wrote:
My point was, that a burka would have covered her completely, head to toe.
If the image bothers you so, let's cover it up completely. A burka it is for Seoni. And let's advance the burka a bit. Black is so yesterday...let's go pink, or lavender. Yes, I personally like lavender. And no offensive anything to be seen!
As an official representative of the red blooded male gender of the human species, I fully support Seoni's choice in clothing!
We should *not* dictate what anyone, male or female, wears so as to fit within social norms.
Seoni is a wise young woman. She chose the clothes from her wardrobe the morning this picture was painted. Leave her alone!
Still looking for a few more to add to the group. Go ahead, drop me a line!!!
Hey, brand new to the area but not to gaming, I'm looking to put a weekly game together to get some RP going and meet new folks !!!
So, I'm looking for the following
-Adult (Age 25 or older)
Looking to play Pathfinder ? Get in touch with me...my email is flynnster at rocketmail dot com...looking forward to hearing from you soon!
There was no snark there at all.
In your opinion.
Thanks for everyone's input over my little rules question.
Sorry for ruffling (so many) feathers.
Perhaps I should attend next PaizoCon with the printout of this thread as my own bit of cosplay ? :)
Have a great day everyone.
Umm, yeah, ok. Feel better now that you've tossed in your two coins ?
*chuckle* Yeah..ok...sure...some violin music would be wonderful right about now.
James Jacobs wrote:
James, his response came across to me as "what, you haven't memorized every single factoid from THE players guide?"
Thanks for your time :)
Love your work...