Merry Christmas to me and Dungeon Rationalization


So, I got some black Gamescience dice already, and just yesterday I finally got what I had spent my christmas check on: an actual, hardcover, copy of the Rules Cyclopedia. I was worried I was going to have to use Dark Dungeons instead- not a bad thing, but definitely not the same thing. Upon getting the book, I noticed that it really is amazingly complete and amazingly light. My Pathfinder RPG core rules must weigh a 1/2 lb. more, not counting cover. The pages are actual paper, too, and feel than the Core Rules pages, which just feel- laminated. I hadn’t even noticed the War Machine and Siege Machine rules contained, either. When it comes to this, I would have had no qualms trying to pirate a pdf if the one copy under USD 80 was already taken.

I’ve also hit a problem, in that try as I might to ‘stop worrying and love the dungeon’, I can’t love dungeon backstories. I had the idea that perhaps, through some twist, the lords Varghare were not only long-lived but immortal, and that they had a tradition of retiring rule after a while to go and mine underneath the castle, resulting in huge catacombs. Of course, on further contemplation I realized that this idea sucked. It wouldn’t allow for stonemasonry or interesting monsters and places, because I have envisioned these people as weird people, maybe even immortal people, but still people. People can’t do things like that. The idea of one of them using powerful magic to create a dungeon that expands on its own, spreading like roots through the ground, didn’t feel right. I don’t much like the dungeon backstories of Dwimmermount, The Gloomrisk, or Stonehell either, which are all megadungeons being built by the authors of blogs I read. None of them felt right. I needed a backstory that would let me fly, let me build something more like this:

So I didn’t make a backstory for the dungeon. I made an adventure hook, obviously. Lord Marmadoc was a powerful magician, who used his magics to form the entire castle of raw earth, including a secret room just underneath the cellar in which to conduct his studies. However, when that room was formed, he noticed that part of one corner overlapped with an underground cave, largely filled with water. The cave is really extremely small, being little more than an underground pond with space to walk around it. But on one of the shores is an ancient staircase, leading down to level 1 of an immense structure. One day, Marmadoc simply lent the throne to his son and disappeared into the labyrinth. And all those of the family who did not die of violence have done the same and carved out their own pieces of it.

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