Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Where the Veins begin.


"Dost thou forget
From what a torment I did free thee?

No.

Thou dost, and think'st it much to tread the ooze
Of the salt deep,
To run upon the sharp wind of the North,
To do me business in the veins o' th' earth
When it is bak'd with frost."


At the deepest point of the dungeon, behind the throne, beyond the rooms where the battles took place, after everything is done and the enemy dead, there is a crack. A black empty space where the wall joins the stone floor, a foot and a half high and three wide. A breeze comes out. You'd never notice it. You could lie on your belly and fit inside.

It never ends.

Or; Miners heard a noise. They stopped hammering, but someone else did not. Now there is a space they did not make in the wall of the mine between the props and the the vein is mined out from the other side.

Or; On a distant island there is a dead volcano and no metal, but the people living there carry swords of unknown make and they know the names of ancient kings from distant lands.

Or; Beneath the city streets there are buried roads and cellars where the sewage runs through. Below those are forgotten colonnades, and under those are caverns, and right at the deepest point is a black gate and the gate is guarded, from both sides, by guards who never speak.

Or; A maelstrom in the ocean swallows ships, but once, after an earthquake, it vomited one up. A ship lost long ago, but not wrecked or sunk to the bottom of the sea, but still in use, its sails of grey silk, its broken planks replaced with shards of some enormous bone, its mast of something almost as strong as steel but lighter than wood.

Or; On the dirt-poor land where the river runs into the cave, there are walled farms. The people there are pale and rarely speak. They hunger for fresh fruit, workable wood and meat and they pay with uncut gems and slivers of gold. No-one knows where the gold comes from, no-one knows where the goods go.

A spider that walks across your outstretched hand might tell itself tale of what you are. It does not know. There are veins beneath the skin it takes to be the whole. The world you think you know is nothing but a shell, a thin, carapace over the skin of the, deeper, unbound world below.

You have existed, up to this point, on the illusion of a plane, bordered by mountains, rivers, seas or the politics of maps, and this life has been a lie. Its borders are made up, its seas are gateways, its mountains are cradles of deep life. There is no plane.

You were raised within a history running back through recorded time, written in ink, carved in stone, scooped from clay, hidden in songs. Your primal myths are an eye-blink of the memory of that place. Your history is a candle burning out.

The real world, the deeper, more true world, is bordered only by light above and fire below, and perhaps not even by that.

It is one invisible day distant from you now. If you proceed directly down, doing nothing but travelling for 24 hours, and go a whole day without sight of the sun, you edge upon its realm.

It is where the paths cannot be mapped.

It is where the worked stone gives out.

It is where the weight of your flesh is worth more than your weight in silver. They are wealthy there, and they hunger.

It is the ocean-of-stone, and there are seas within it.

When you loathe gold for its weight and, and count your wealth by a radius of illuminated rock and think yourself lucky to do so, then, you have passed into its realm.




What Happens When the Lights Go Out?


Combat

Experienced underground fighters will never simply stride around swinging blindly, they will freeze, grapple or re-group depending on the conditions.

If freezing they will go silent and wait for the other side to give away their position or actions with sound.

If close they may risk a grapple in order to stay in physical contact with their opponent.

They may use the darkness to re-group. Trained military teams will have a process in place to do this. They will make a minimal use of sound to achieve this and will move after evey deliberate sound they make.


Exploration

Only at ¼ speed. The Rapture now grows at 2HD per day.

STR and DEX fails apply only to the PC's with the lowest of that stat.

Stat
Fail
CON
All further fails cumulative.
STR
Dropped pack, lose ½ equipment.
DEX
Fall d10x10 feet.
INT
Encounter, team ambushed.
WIS
Loop back, team goes nowhere.
CHA
Breakdown, xp freeze till one PC assaults another.
Retreat

PC's can go back a way they have already been. In this case the encounter die work like this.

1. Encounter.
2. Fall d20 feet.
3. Lost.
4-6, no result.

Encounters.

As always, if a party without light encounters a party with light and does not give themselves away, they gain a free surprise round. After that point they lose initiative on each round.

Climbing

Routes that have already been climbed can be attempted at ¼ speed. No leaps or dyno's can be performed. Everything is a hard roll. Any fails simply result in a direct fall, no tables need be rolled on.
 


1 comment:

  1. let's die mad in a cave chewing on bones and begging the dark

    ReplyDelete

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