Sunday, 21 October 2012

Notes so far, and some questions

Notes so far-

The language is beautiful

biospeleology
stygofauna
troglomorphic characterisitcs
Troglobiont
Troglophile
Trogloxene
Stygobiont
Thalassostygobiont
speleothems – cave decorations
troglobitism is not an evolutionary dead end.”

Questions/Things I need to think about/need answers to.

HOW FAR UNDERGROUND CAN YOU GET ON MEDIEVAL LIGHT TECHNOLOGY? - comments appreciated on this one.

Currently looks like you can get down to a certain depth on secular/sensible light tech. Then in the bottom reaches civilisations would grow around exploitable light sources. Bioluminescene, whale oil from albino whales in the hidden oceans, lava conduits? But the long dark reaches in-between would be wilderness, can only adventure there with magic light or exotic sources.

Fluorescence, Phosphorescence, Bioluminescence, and Chemiluminescence all a bit different.

Aim to have a clear page plan by Christmas.

How the fuck does Infravision work. Infra-red of what? How does darkvision work?

Need some way of working out light per kilo/pound for illuminating materials. Hight LPH = survival value.

How quickly do you hallucinate underground and how much and what of?

TIME – A sliding scale as the human time sense changes underground.

The dangers are many and constant. The rewards should be few but mighty. Not only material but aesthetic.

Book to be arranged from the centre out. The centre pages that fall open naturall and stay open most easily should be those the DM needs RIGHT NOW. Moving outwards from the centre pages should be those which the DM needs most frequently and the tools which can be learnt most quickly. As we move towards the front and back covers we find the pages which are used less frequently or which require more time to use effectively. Book-as-tool. Is this a clever/stupid idea?

Climbing is a remarkable thing and intelligent climbing twice remarkable.

Have knots drawn on page, if fighting while hanging on, player must place pencil on page and trace pattern continuously while throwing dice, without removing pencil from paper or going over line. Clever/stupid?

The most vital parts of underdark travel are the least interesting parts of the game. Encumbrance and slowness. Need to energise choices.

Caves isolate individuals. Tactical scale game will usually be about using innovative thinking to overcome separating effect of the environment? >Take Risks To Work Together<

dark life” colonies of microbes thriving in acid-drenched pitch black netherworlds. Extrapolating from microbial extremophiles to alternate evolutionary paths?

An underground silk-road with the oasis being eruptions of wild environments, each inhabited by different extremophiles. For them these are distant trading posts. Extremophile Treasure Chemistry? Treasures from impossible environments?

Vornheim has tools for generating different scales of action. City plan, street plan, building plan. Start with the smallest and work up in scale and down in depth. Scale and volume

Cavers remove the cardboard tubes from toilet rolls to reduce weight. Lightness is a powerful value multiplier underground. Drow swords would have a much of the blade removed a possible, like bike riders who drill holes in the frame to remove mass.


15 comments:

  1. What about MAGMA PULSATING THROUGH THE VEINS OF THE UNDERDARK AND INCINERATING ALL WHO COME INTO CONTACT WITH IT?

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    1. I PUT IN LAVA CONDUITS? IF IT'S UNDERGROUND IS IT STILL MAGMA???? IF YOU ARE IN A CAVE AND SEE SOME MAGAM IS IT NOW LAVA BECAUSE YOU SAW IT OR STILL MAGMA BECAUSE YOU ARE UNDERGROUND? WIKIPEDIA HAS NOT ANSWERED THIS QUESTION.

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  2. As long as the book makes linear sense, too, I like the work-from-the-center-out scheme. The tracing a knot thing sounds like something I would skip.

    As for hallucinations, check out the ganzfeld effect, prisoner's cinema, and anechoic chambers.

    Some things to think about with caves are temperature and claustrophobia. The one time I went caving (though it wasn't remotely close to the intense stuff you see in National Geographic or whatever), it was as cold and wet as it was dark. Everything was coated in a thin layer of mud. On the other hand, there are caves that are incredibly, inhospitably hot. It seems like you are focusing on vast subterranean space, but the entrance to the cave I er, caved, was pretty small. I was really aware that we were in a tiny, tiny cavity in the Earth. People talk about the bowels of the earth, and that's what it kind of felt like.

    More fun words to consider are hadopelagic and abyssopelagic--the areas of the sea that are incredibly deep, but are still above the ocean floor. China Mieville has a talent for mashing together Greek words.

    I wonder if light would be dangerous? It seems like it would attract attention. Sound and smell might be issues, too--I vaguely recall deep-sea creatures hunting by feeling subtle changes in the flow of water around them.

    Wikipedia sez "All matter with a temperature greater than absolute zero emits thermal radiation," and I imagine infravision would detect that.

    Anyhow, this has turned into an essay. Your project looks awesome.

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    1. Light is going to be inceadibly dangerous. Not having light is going to be even more dangerous.

      Every caving descritpion I've read talks about the wild shifts in perspective, tiny crawl spaces leading to vast cathedral chambers and visa versa. Which is actually quite handy when it comes to random generation because you can jam together aesthetically and tactically different spaces right next to each other without being massively unrealistic.

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  4. Magma is under pressure, lava is not. This allows magma to retain gasses which escape as soon as lava erupts and also helps magma remain much hotter than lava, which cools quickly.

    Lava flows in rivers, magma flows in pipes. If it is touching air it is lava.

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  5. "Book to be arranged from the centre out. The centre pages that fall open naturall and stay open most easily should be those the DM needs RIGHT NOW. Moving outwards from the centre pages should be those which the DM needs most frequently and the tools which can be learnt most quickly. As we move towards the front and back covers we find the pages which are used less frequently or which require more time to use effectively. Book-as-tool. Is this a clever/stupid idea?"

    I think this is a good idea _IF_ you can get ahold of a dummy or equivalent book that will be produced the same way yours will be with the same page count and paper quality etc and check. Different books land different ways.

    Also: pay attention to the pdf formatting. You can multiply the utility of the book 2 or 3 times just by making the searching work easily

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  6. All sounds really intriguing!

    Purely technical/scientific question, asked because I am ignorant:
    Is there an issue with air pressure the deeper that someone goes? A healthy individual at sea level is OK to breathe normally. If that same person climbs Everest they have to take breathing gear because air is thinner. And if they go diving then they can only go so far unaided because pressure on their body increases.

    I think I've described two different phenomena there (possibly unconnected as well), but wonder if they have any bearing on when someone is spelunking miles down beneath the earth. I know that there are coal mines that extend miles beneath the earth, but can't remember off the top of my head whether or not they are dependent on technology to make sure that miners can breathe.

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    1. So far as I can tell at this point, Air pressure is a factor, but mainly due to its effects on temperature. Its at the bottom of a long list of things trying to kill you. That may change as I find out more.

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    2. "Its at the bottom of a long list of things trying to kill you."

      I hope that that statement makes it into your book. Awesome.

      Oh, re: tracing knots on page, could you show me tomorrow at games night what you mean?

      Have I told you before that my PhD was in knot theory? (seriously)

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  7. You need to find a way to make weight/encumbrance both easy to keep track of and also meaningful and important. Not a simple matter.

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    1. I am thinking on it. Possibly, when you generate a valume around yourself, having low encumberance lets you use more dice, access more and smaller passages, so you have many more optios for movement.

      I'm thinking a possible CON roll before travel, with the level of failure being the number of encounters.

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  8. Encumbrance needs to be about meaningful choices, not math. And probably not even choices backed by math (because of encumbrances' historical baggage <- hah, see what I did there). So, no modifiers to combat or rolls. Just pick A consequence or B consequence.

    The idea of "well your bulky bags of crap won't fit through this passage" is great. The original choice of encumbrance "carry stuff or move fast" is still good. Needs to be brought back to the forefront. Perhaps exchanging speed for time or distance. "Carrying this much you won't make it back to the surface before your light/food runs out"

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  9. Hi, I stumbled on your blog a few weeks back and have been reading through the archives - I *love* this idea! Put me down for a copy when it comes out!

    I think the above comment on encumbrance hits it on the head. One thing a friend of mine used to do is tell the PCs to draw a picture of their character, including *all* their gear. It's easier to say "you can't fit through that tunnel" or whatever when you can point to a picture of the fighter with the entire contents of a Winnebago strapped to his body.

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