A lot of tabletop fantasy settings have races who live primarily underground, like dwarves, kobolds, gnomes, drow and so on. Forgotten Realms has its Underdark, most fantasy games have dwarves holed up in mountains and goblins emerging from caves to wreak havoc.I've been thinking about the base assumptions of a lot of this stuff. First, for people to live underground full-time, there's got to be an ecosystem that can support people all the way up to large, people-like omnivores. Typically, cave ecosystems in the real world only support creatures up to the scale of salamanders and centipedes... and in some cases, the majority of the initial biomass comes from bat guano. For underground kingdoms to work, you've got to up the amount of biomass found underground significantly. Mushrooms are detrivores, so they typically need something lower on the scale to piggy-back off of.When you grow mushrooms, you’re using dead trees or manure, you can’t just put it in dirt and expect it to work.In most fantasy literature, you see dwarves and goblins armed in much the same way you see the humans and elves of the surface. The best historical parallel we have to the kind of war fought underground would be the military mining of of the medieval period. One typical response to tunneling under walls would be to build another tunnel down, and then smoke out the enemy. How do underground kingdoms deal with someone setting large fires at their entrances or gassing them all?Anyone else put some thought into subterranean races? My big idea from all of this is gas-mask toting kobolds who breed bats in swarms that black out the sky in the area to keep their underground mushroom agriculture functional.
>>40202533More on the subject of sapping and mining: some historians think that around 256 AD, Persians killed Roman counter-sappers with poisonous gas created using sulfur and bitumen. If they could figure it out then with the occasional siege to worry about, clever underground races who only ever fought tunnel battles would have as well. Most underground warfare could become indirect: collapsing tunnels, setting fires to make your foes suffocate, gassing them, using pumps and access to aquifers to drown enemies and so on. This is satisfying in that it helps solidify the dwarven/gnomish engineering and craftsmanship aspects, while also still preserving a place for the occasional fierce melee in a tunnel, as the goblins swarm over the dwarves, attempting to set fire to the wooden supports to collapse the earth upon them.Thinking about battles in tight, narrow tunnels, I can't figure out exactly what weapons would be optimal. Anyone who can find historical manuals on the subject would be great, while there's plenty of information on how people tunneled and whatnot, no one that I can find mentions how countersappers were armed relative to other soldiers of their day.
>>40202533More on food thoughts: Terrace farming and an inside/outside mountain approach is an effective if inelegant solution to the problem. If dwarves use the outside of the mountain regularly, then terraced farms dug into cliffs and mountainsides could take care of their food needs. Pros: You can inject some Asian/Incan style into the dwarves for some aesthetic differences. Cons: Dwarves have to spend a lot of time outside, makes them less dwarfy.
>>40202910Well yeah, but it's fun to futz around with in depth world building. I'm not trying to be all "Fantasy worlds are wroooong!" just trying to come up with cool ideas. Do goblins require as much oxygen as humans do, proportionally to size? What does the Otyugh eat when adventurers aren't around?
>>40202533Going off the guano-based agriculture idea, that would make for some good atmosphere in some situations. The first sign that goblins/kobolds or whatever have moved into your area is an increasing number of bats. Depending on if you want the subterranean critters in question to be evil or whatever, this could either be a big problem as vampire bats start spreading disease among your cattle, or a boon as the mosquitoes of the local swamp have their numbers cut down... or potentially, both.I like the mental picture of a kobold clan splitting once it gets big, and the kobolds hauling with them cages full of breeding pairs of bats to jumpstart their new colony with, searching out an area with good digging ground and enough insects to keep the bats fed.
>>40203051>What does the Otyugh eat when adventurers aren't around?Dead bodies and excrements
>>40202533Other potential food:Cave fish .Requires large, underground river with more inflow of nutrients than found in real world. Cool and workable, but some may not like it aesthetically. This could be a secondary food source. Requires them to dig only in places attached to the river.Non-photosynthetic autotrophes. An underground hot spring could grow plant-like fantasy organisms serving as the base of the ecosystem. Once again limits living locations to places with specific underground features, if you don't have a hot spring or thermal vent get fucked.
>>40203358Which works if they're under a major city and got made by a wizard I guess. They're really more sewer monsters than cave monsters now that I'm thinking about it...
>>40202533Check out Dwarf Fortress for ideas. Magma is always good, and if you have a large enough airvent, nobody is going to crawl through it anyway if you set it up properly. The food is harder to understand, but that is not my kind of a thing.
>>40203538I think that many hard to access air vents would definitely be an important part of underground security... because if they can block or set fires at all of them, you're screwed. Definitely establishes a need for underground folks to have some surface power.
The big question: Why live underground at all? Energy is less common, your ceiling could collapse and kill you, and you need oxygen from the surface.Reasons why things live in caves full time in the real world: Few competitors, very stable weather. That's pretty much it.Potential reasons things want to live underground:The surface is an unlivable hellhole due to nuclear winter/ a sun with way too much radiation/ horrific beings that require sunlight to function.There are way more underground rivers with thermal spring and connections to above ground places that allow biomass to be accessed by those who dig down to the water.Certain races are well suited enough to living in caves and hated sufficiently that even a minor detrivore based ecosystem is better than living on the surface, where others will attempt to eradicate them.
>>40204074You forgot "unable to stand the sun due to being cursed by God"
>>40204133Yup. Also, the surface is inhabited by 27 different sapient species and over 500 different monsters who are more powerful than Man. Slight difference between our world and most fantasy worlds.
>>40202734It seems that weapons used in boarding actions would be a decent stand-in. They both are very cramped environments. Short, stabbing swords, boarding pikes, blunderbusses once the tech got that far.
>>40204889On the other hand, people on boats didn't want to wear armor because of the whole drowning thing... which wouldn't be an issue for tunnel fighting. A well braced dwarf in full plate in a space only slightly larger than he is would be pretty difficult to get past... does anyone know any weapons that you didn't swing that were used against heavy armor before gunpowder? It seems that tunnel fighting would favor thrusting.
>>40205289The British used bill hooks, which were shorter than spears and could be used for stabbing and slashing. I feel like javalins and stabbing daggers would be ideal.
>>40205498Adding to this, I feel like spears could be good or bad. They're good because you can keep people out of reach in an enclosed space. The obvious negative is that if they get past the spear you're kind of fucked.
>>40205289Swords of the 15th century designed for knight on knight combat were thrusting weapons, their edges were blunt low on the blade so they could be grabbed further up for leverage. The point (heh) was to stab the other knight in the joints of his armor. Plated dwarves in narrow tunnels dueling each other with two-handed, thrusting longswords would be pretty cool.>>40205538Another reason they could be bad is turns. If you've got space in front of you, you can stab with your spear, but going around a corner you'd have problems. Bill hooks, halberd, and poleaxes would suffer because they need space to swing around to get the momentum needed to dent plate armor and fuck up knights (or in this case, angry plate wearing dwarves).
>>40202734Most ranged weapons would have significantly less utility, but I can see a place in long tunnels or in the defense of a main entrance for crossbows or composite short bows.>>40205289The bigger crossbows could probably also punch through armor, which would be a benefit.
>>40206207That also could be interesting. Essentially dwarfs carrying around massive crossbows on their backs, along with plate armor and a stabbing sword. When an enemy is spotted they fire of a massive bolt with huge stopping power and almost no chance of missing. Then they proceed into close combat.
>>40202533I actually do a LOT of underground fantasy stuff. I find the inclusion of an underground "world" to be absolutely necessary for any good fantasy world and to be deprived of such a trope is just a shame.. so naturally I've thought a lot about it.>Underground EcosystemThe Main Source of Energy within an underground environment comes in the form of Geothermal heat. Just like how the sun provides energy for the surface world: Hot Springs, Lava Flows and sometimes even just the insulated earth itself provides all the necessary thermal energy for the most basic of underground producers to subsist. Everyone's "go to" to organism is going to be Fungi, but I went with YEAST. LITHOTROPHIC yeast that grows, multiplies, and has diversified into a number of both independent and symbiotic organisms and species that can leach and convert inorganic minerals from the earth and convert them into nutrients using heat or chemical reactions. Basically most "plants" are actually symbiotic combinations of both plant and yeast organisms that work together to make food for themselves out of "seemingly nothing". These organisms come in the form of fleshy or waxy like plants, mosses, lichens, and the most virile or abundant being thick, braud-leaved, succulent plants that grow adjacent to sources of lava or other forms of extreme geothermal heat. These subterranean "plants" are a vital to stable and diverse subterranean ecosystems as they break down rock layers and slowly convert them into softer more nutrient rich "sub-surface" soils. These environments though are also aided and assisted by a number of micro and macro organisms that survive through the process of CHEMOSYNTHESIS; absorbing harmful gases and fumes from volcanic black smoking channels to converting and purifying them into harmless nutrients and minerals. The Underground is basically filled with lava-powered plants and "surface" tube-worms that can survive due to the hot, humid, environment.
>>40203481I've always liked that idea for underground stuff. Mostly it's barren shitty tunnels, passages, chasms, and whatever. In some places, where there's like a portal to the elemental plane of fire or some magic fairy circle or some crazy shit like that, verdant growth.
>>40207446Due to the nature of tunneling, the vast majority of combat would have plenty of prior notice, and you'd know exactly where it was going to happen... which means people are ALWAYS going to have barricades, fortifications, and so on.You have a dwarven listener, pinpointing where the goblin tunnel is going to break through... and there at the gap, a spiked embrasure, with crossbowmen ready to plug up the hole with the dead.Basically, every battle is a siege.
Bumping for interest.
>>40208903While defending a gap would be nice, if you can't take it afterwards then it can get widened, or they can divert a river down it, or so on. The dwarves would have to collapse the tunnel afterwards, which means that defenders don't get a huge advantage... not to mention, they may be putting the tunnels in places that threatens the integrity of the dwarven constructions, so they have to tunnel out themselves to countersap.
>>40208903You're discounting that the fastest way to tunnel is some sort of magic or tamed beast. More advanced civilizations can make man-sized tunnels at hundreds of feet per day.
>>40209263Architect has probably got to be right at the top of most prestigious/high pressure careers that dwarves can have, given that their calculations and craftsmanship are all that stand between the whole group and instantaneous death.
>>40208429Continuing my thoughts because why the fuck not.>FungiFungi require their own obligatory mention, but in a subterranean world they require their entirely own "section" of explanation and information. Underground you've got all these cool plants, yeasts and worms making all this great soil and dirt n' shit, but not a lot of complex organisms can readily feed on that- especially considering a lot of what they produce is laced with heavy metals and chemicals.Fungi for the most part convert the heavier minerals into nutrients that can be consumed by more complex organisms and animals: They suck up the converted nutrients, spread their mecelium, and then fruit mushrooming bodies that contain consumable nutrients and spores to be spread. Fungi are ironically more lenient about organisms eating them and provide much in the way of vitamins, nutrients, protein, and even antibodies and so forth in exchange for creatures spreading their spores through contact, fecal passage, or through a benine kind of fungal infection that takes place inside their hosts digestive tract. PLANTS on the other hand usually want nothing to do with you underground and would very much like you to NOT eat them: they usually withhold heavy metals and toxic minerals or just make themselves horrendously poisonous to discourage consumption. Some plants though are edible by design function or flaw: subterranean fruit is a thing and it is usually supple, delicious, fragrant, and appealing. It also might sound cliche, but tubers, bulbs, and other starchy roots are also quite readily available and abundant- especially near water sources. A lot of underground plants will make it their business to "section" off their roots and extend them to outrageous lengths: their hardier, coated, leafy portions growing near heat sources while their soft and "tender" starchy edible portions grow near water sources to keep them safe and hydrated like an enormous straw.
>>40208429this is pretty cool. I like this.
>>40209777You had my attention, Now you have my interest. If you got more, keep going.
>>40208429>>40203481>>40203247I imagine you could do both of these in the same universe. Shallow-digging kobolds and weaker groups subsisting on their bat-guano powered mushroom farms, while deep underground the stronger, established kingdoms jealously battle over the huge thermal lakes that can sustain sprawling cities on their bounty.
>>40205538That is what backup weapons are for. Once an enemy gets too close you drop what your using and pull out your back up getting back into the fight without getting slaughtered.So your common underground soldier would have two weapons with them at all times.
>>40208429>>40209777I always figured it was something like this but never went into detail about it unlike this anon. Very good though I never looked into the exact correct terms one would have to use.>>40209434It would indeed be an especially brutal and well respected field, because if you fuck up just how many lives are going to be lost?
>>40209777>Aquatic LifeAnother Excellent source of nourishment and energy is Aquatic and Amphibious life: an ample supply of minerals and nutrients are constantly being channeled through to the subterranean world through the use of run off and aquifers pouring and releasing into the underground and carrying with them all manner of minerals, organic waste, and chemicals that a number of organisms can use -as is-. The Subterranean world is rife and rich with a diverse display of bottom feeding shellfish, bacteria, and the fish and complex organisms that consume them further up on the food chain.The Rivers can also be home to Geothermal energy sources of their own: Black smokers, Hot Springs, and even rivers of ACID all of which provide both ample chemical and thermal energy for organisms to take advantage of for energy use.Plants though are as well no Stranger to these energy sources. A great abundance of soluble minerals and geothermal energy sources make hot springs and the boiling lakes/rivers they produce make them excellent places for aquatic vegetation to set up shop and provide further sources of food for organisms. A Typical Underground River or Lake will host a number of shellfish and mollusc species that make a living by eating microscopic organisms, filter-feeding or even clinging to the surface of water falls or damp cave walls (one could argue that a ROPER subsists off of filter-feeding nutrients while it waits for MONTHS for larger prey items). These organisms in turn provide food for larger fish species that would typically grow slowly, steadily, and to the "size of their container" before breeding continually. Underground Lake's would no doubt be sensitive to changes in their predatory and prey relationship: Fish species quickly overpopulating and bodies of water filling constantly with unappetizing juveniles and meekly sized adults lacking space and proper nutrition.
>>40209431>Floki held his hearing horn to the wall, listening intently.>With the end of letters from their brethren at Glowing Rock in the North, they had to be on guard against the goblins, sentries were posted at every extremity to listen for the sound of goblin picks.>And then he heard it... a sucking, grinding sound, light as a feather, but steadily growing, until the wall vibrated.>Floki threw down his horn as he ran down the tunnel, screaming wildly through the echoing scouting tunnel:>"PURPLE WORM!"
>>40210242The final, most extreme environment though -one requiring magical/spiritual/elemental assistance to live in would be:>LAVALava, or technically "Magma" in this case is an incredibly important source of energy underground: it provides the thermal energy necessary for yeasts to metabolize their nutrients and so forth, but can anything truly "live" inside Lava? Short Answer: maybe. Lava's composition includes: Oxygen, Silicone, Aluminium, Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron as well as a number of varying minerals, gasses and combinations there of...The Vast majority of "life within Lava" is composed of the heartiest and most durable of microscopic organisms and bacteria: Volcanic organisms resembling plankton or zootoplankton that make a humble and earnest living dealing with the intense heat for the sake of all those glorious, pure, concentrated minerals. The most complex forms of life that reside entirely in lava would be "Lava crabs" and "Lava Slugs". Insanely heat resistant Molluscs that use a combination of mucous and their ability to absorb minerals through their semi-permeable skin to coat themselves in a membrane that protects them from the horrendous heat while their boneless, "muscular" bodies twist and turn to "drill" through the lava. These creatures can leave lava for short periods, but to come into contact with water will cause their bodies to "boil and explode" due to the radical change in temperature. Due to their unique abilities though, they can also develop shells of interesting and spectacular design, often in the shape of cones or drills so as to facilitate "swimming" through such a thick substance as Magma. "Lava Ammonites."
I don't know why but I really can't imagine slender drow mining anything. Did they just get banished to the big natural caverns of the Underdark and say, "yeah, these are our natural borders, we're going to worship spiders now."Someone should divert a river onto them.
I don't know if this makes any sense, but hey, magic right?Back when I was worldbuilding, I had the dwarfs of my setting raising what were essentially very deep rooted trees, if trees had evolved symbiotically with Dwarfs from yams. So over the dwarven kingdom there was a huge forest of trees that bore plentiful nutritious roots instead of fruit. This also was the source of dwarf-elf hate. Elves were seen as pests by the dwarves because they lived above and favored different trees to live in. The Elves saw Dwarves as a blight on the forest, corrupting nature with their domesticated trees.Because the roots could only go so far down, the peasants of the kingdom would farm relatively close to the surface, while the cities that were fed by them were deeper down. The deeper you were, the more prestigious your family was, with the king ruling from an underpalace warmed by magma.
>>40210474Finally, the fun post: Fantasy Races.>DwarvesDwarves are the most common, the most abundant, and one of the most adapted for life underground. Dwarves host a number of adaptations (beyond their intelligence) that assist them in their survival underground: Dwarves possess enourmous guts that not only absorb as much water as possible from their food, but also efficiently purify heavy metals and toxins allowing them to pass through them safely (This also allows them to eat a limited quantity of dirt). Dwarves are significantly husky, muscular, possess very long arms, large hands, thick limps, and marvelously sturdy bones. This all translates over into not only impeccable strength and an almost "mole like" ability to dig, but allows Dwarves to survive deadly falls and the crushing pressure of thousands of pounds of soil or stone from cave ins; Dwarves are natural shock-absorbers. Dwarves also possess a number of other heightened senses: Dwarven foreheads and inner-ears are susceptible to magnetism that allow them to know where "up" is at all times, but also assist in maneuvering through the underground without getting lost. Dwarven barrel chests and large nostrils more efficiently breath within low-oxygen environments as well as scrutinizing and siphoning off harmful gases and airborn particulate. Dwarven eyes are capable of dark vision, and quickly adapt to more comfortable low-light vision, but in true darkness they rely on the sensitive hairs, beards, and moustaches they grow to sense their surroundings. Dwarves do not typically handle the "outside world" very well because their low-light vision makes them nearsighted and their "inner-ear" is usually adapted for a life underground where magnetism typically dictates what is "up" and "down". Dwarves suffering from Cave-adaptation experience Nausea because discrepancies between what they sense and feel gives them the experience of constantly falling.
How various subterranean races would fight underground:Dwarves: Armor up, take their military picks, thrusting swords and crossbows, counter tunnel out, murder with great enthusiasm, then collapse the invaders' tunnel.Kobolds: On the offensive, lots of simultaneous tunnels. They seem like the type to use poisonous gas against their enemies. Kobolds are small, so they can have local numerical superiority at all times, especially if they get a spear formation going. On the defensive, they'd probably fall back on insane amounts of traps.
>>40210733That's pretty cool, very mythological sounding. The ecosystem starts at the top, but you still get dwarves living underground.
>>40210658Armok wills it.
>>40210774>QuaggothsQuaggoths are one of the few Animal-person species that dwell underground; The Subterranean world may be full of rich diversity and so forth, but it still remains a constant struggle and conflict for resources, territory, and fertile grounds for hunting and farming. Quaggoths are a relatively primitive people, but are not entirely given to unreasonable behavior or savagery: They usually dwell within rustic or simplistic hunting and gathering communities by sources of water or game trails (usually large chasms or tunnels where in larger subterranean organisms will travel through). Quaggoths by nature display a number of interesting adaptations that both limit their progress and guarantee their survival. Quaggoths are first and foremost are not "obligate" Carnivores and they can consume a variety of fungi and tubers to supplement them until a proper diet of fresh meat is available. Possessing Qualities both seen in Cats and Bears; Quaggoths possess dexterous and sophisticated grabbing paws with both retractable claws and tough, leathery, palms that allow them to climb cave walls with impeccable grip and ease. The distinct, bright, yellow Eyes of the Quaggoth allow it to pick up even the scarcest light underground, but above ground their eyes are a horrible hindrance as they are easily blinded by direct sunlight and even partial sunlight irritates them greatly. Quaggoth white, velveteen, soft, short fur (like all Subterranean animals) is something truly spectacular; Quaggoth fur is so dense and reflective that water is unable to permeate it and rolls off it like a ducks back. no soil, dirt, or filth is as well capable of sticking to it or coating it- all particulate sliding right off their seamless pelts.
>>40211131>waterproof fur that never gets dirtyNon-good races are going to hunt the shit out of these guys for clothes. 10/10 would wear.
>>40211206Seriously, just imagine a drow matriarch decked out in her formerly sapient fur coat. It'd be a fashion trend across the underdark within a week. These guys better be veeery tough or they're going to get poached to extinction.
>>40211317Well, considering how swole they look, they probably are at least decent at defending themselves. Plus I'd imagine that they would be too bothered by fighting, since all the blood will just flow right off their fur
>>40211206>>40211317Oh good heavens, yes.Quaggoth fur is of EXCEPTIONAL quality, but so is the fur of a lot of other fur-bearing animals in the Underdark/Subterranean world. Moles of all kinds have incredibly DENSE and Velvetee fur so that Dirt, Soil, and Water completely sweep off of the animal so that it doesn't drag or interrupt the animals digging or cause it to become moist or moldy within it's environment. Their fur is constantly sweeping away soil while at the same time that soil is picking up moisture and anything else that would try to cling to the mole and brushing it away along with it.Golden Moles are a great example because they possess illustrious, beautiful, splendorous fur and this allows them to "swim" through sand without being harmed or sanded into shreds.. It also makes them look DAZZLING because the sun reflects on their fur. But at any rate: Quaggoth fur would indeed be valued, not just for it's practical features, but also for it's pure, white, dazzling beauty as well as the risk and danger of hunting down a Quaggoth to retrieve the fur. A Quaggoth is capable of climbing on the walls and ceilings of caves and has all the strength and cunning of both a grizzly bear and a leopard.... as it is essentially a combination of the two.
>>40202533... How would you make a gas-mask out of medieval technology?
>>40211529Oil-canvas mask with a wet sponge like material as a filter. You would usually have to change or wash them out every few hours or so.
>>40211131I also have Driders, but I do them a little bit differently since I've never really done "Drow" and am not familiar with them.>DridersDriders are large, monsterous, black-haired, taurine humanoids possessing the distinction of a Tarantula-like lower-sections and dark almost black blue-hued skin. Driders are Matriarchal given their arachnid nature and as well as due to their species possess quite noticeable sexual dimorphism with the females being significantly larger, more muscular, and having much longer, thicker, bovine-like Horns atop their heads. Driders are aggressive and dominant by nature due to their "obligate" carnivorous diet requiring them to consume the flesh of other animals- they are unable to subsist off of any kind of fungi or vegetation, but they can supplement their diet with insects, fish, worms, rats, and moles in desperate times. Driders organize themselves in small matriarchal tribes lead by the largest female Drider acting as a Brood Mother whom only allows her Daughters to reproduce- all competitors eggs being eaten. Male Driders take a laborious role in society: crafting tools and clothing, butchering and preparing meals, domestic chores, but also hunting, fishing, and foraging. Drider females usually fit into a military or ruling role where they protect their territory and domain from other tribes or threats.Being not entirely unreasonable; Driders prefer to swap or trade males with other neighboring Drider Clans before resorting to Violence- though, communities that become too large will usually splinter into smaller competing family tribes than to unify under "dual" leadership. Driders most famous feature though is their Silk; which is impeccable strong, durable, and excellent for making both armour and high quality clothing. Drider do not have "explicit" genitals and so they usually only wear small pieces of clothing or personal effects; preferring to either trade their silk or use it for it's intended purpose.
>>40205289Poignards, daggers, gladius - stab at the joints in armour.Swinging weapons are fine too, if they're short enough. Tunnels don't have to be *that* cramped - if they're too cramped to swing a short axe or shortsword in you probably don't want to be fighting in them in the first place, even if you do have a thrusting weapon.
>>40210733This works with the Norse elements that Dwarves tend to draw on too. I like this one a lot.
I've always been a fan of the descriptions and what little was shown of Azjol'Nerub from Warcraft. A massive city state built into the sprawling caverns underneath the entirety of Northrend, populated by sentient spider people. A damn shame it was reduced to a pair of mediocre dungeons.
Only thing I've really got to add is that in a setting I did ages ago, my Dwarves were basically ancient Greeks. City states with wide cultural differences, haughty attitudes about their superiority, and phalanxes.Lots of Phalanxes.Think about a Dwarven Phalanx in a tunnel. You can't flank it because tunnel. The shields are the size of the Dwarves because Dwarf. It's literally just a wall of shields and spears advancing down the tunnel towards you.
My dwarves evolved from a different species to humans. They are insectivorous, but otherwise followed a similar evolutionary path. They used to be quite small, but grew rapidly with the onset of agriculture.
>>40212276Thats a good point. How do you beat that? Lobbing an incendiary over their heads?
I was actually thinking of running a campaign where the world is constantly expanding. Outwards. Gravity is reversed due to magic shenanigans, and the planet is hollow, with a tiny sun in the center. It's always daytime, and the main habitable area is the interior of the world. The surface, or the outworld, would be inhabited by monstrous creatures that are constantly digging down into the civilized world in search of the rivers that flow down, spilling out into the empty void where the monstrous races live in their hanging cities - beneath them, the empty void.
Bumpin' while I read the thread.
>>40212445That's in Poland.I'm liking the idea of the heat-using "plants" mentioned in the thread. Seems pretty cool.Actually, all of this>>40208429>>40209777>>40210242>>40210474>>40210774>>40211131>>40211423Stuff is neat, and I'd certainly use some of it in things.I'm wondering if there's any particular reason, other than magic, that you might find a particularly extensive cave system, especially in areas that aren't soft rock that forms caves easily, like limestone
>>40213792Dude that is awesome. Where is it from/ Who drew that ?
>>40213890No idea, got it from a background imagedump thread. Those tend to have a lot of good art.Water is often an issue underground - it's why pumping engines were invented, after all - how do you think this would effect living and building down there?Big storm drains? Canals? Tunnels flooded, on purpose or by particularly wet years? Pumping out to the surface?
I usually make a pair of assumptions in my worldbuilding that help direct a lot of my subterrene development.1. Mythical explanations for a magical worldAnything that needs explaining should be part of the myth culture of different civilizations and shouldn't be the same as in the real world. In different regions of the world earthquakes are caused by different things, but none of them are plate tectonics (the burrowing of the ancestor moles, the shivering of brown-mama Beddoe &c) I tend to make the vast majority of the myth cycles for different cultures more or less right in different aspects of their explanations for phenomena, but make sure one of them is fairly close to the mark, at least in their ancestral locale.2. Nobody's been there foreverEvery sentient species has had diasporae. While it's possible that some particular group might live near where their species originated it's fairly likely that they are re-colonists from a secondary migration. In a lot of cases, there are no members of a species anywhere near their original habitat.Obviously I make a lot of other assumptions and follow a lot of other rules, but these two influence a lot of my subterre worldbuilding, as I say. One of the major upshots of this is that I tend to use a selection of different explanations for the existence of the 'underdark' mega-caves; some will be the result of groundwater washing vast live tunnels through the stone, draining into a single, unfathomable underground sea at the very roots of the world. Some will be the tearing wounds of the Father-Who-Is-Sky when he raped Brown-Mama Beddoe and left her naked and shivering beneath him.I tend to like mythology in my settings, in case you couldn't tell.
Bumping for interest
Oh hey.I wanted to make a setting that took place underground so this thread is great. I think it would be pretty dope to have a city build around/inside giant mushrooms in a massive cavern.
>>40214332Big storm drains into natural caverns, that themselves drain through the bottom of the world and into the seas of the heavens.
All this talk of flooding makes me think that the most feared raids would be by some sort of blind cave fish merfolk
Ecosystem anon, you are such a cool dude, that I decided to save your stuffAlso, apparently captcha thinks that lotion is a beverage
>>40203247>These bats were bred for one purpose....>SHIT
One fun underground-centric setting would be an ice age. A cataclysmic change in weather has decimated the surface world in a torrent of blizzards and encroaching glaciers... but the underground kingdoms of old remain the same temperature. Some of the surface races have fled underground as well, learning to cultivate the nutrients needed to avoid cave-sickness, while others remain on the surface in severely reduced numbers, trading with the underground empires only occasionally.
>>40220260(1/2)Beneath the Mariana and Yap Trenches, 6,010 fathoms[...] On one such morning, before Ike came in from his night patrolling, Ali woke and walked down to the sea to clean her face. A boggy mist had come in off the water, but she could see to place her feet on the phosphorescent sand. Just as she was about to skirt a large boulder, she heard noises.The sounds were delicate and bony. Instantly she knew this was not English, probably not human. She listened more keenly, then gently worked ahead several more steps to the flank of the boulder and kept herself hidden.There seemed to be two figures down there. In silence she listened to the voices murmur and click and slowly dial her into a different horizon of existence. There was no question they were hadals.She was breathless. One sounded little different from the water lightly lapping against the shore. The other was less joined at the vowels, more cut and dried at the edges of his word strings. They sounded polite or old. She stepped from around the rock to see them.There weren't two, but three. One was a gargoyle similar to those that Shoat and Ike had killed. It was perched upon the very skin of the water, hands flat, while its wings fanned languidly up and down. The other two appeared to be amphibians, or close to it, like fishermen who have no memory but the sea, half man, half fish. One lay on his side on the sand, feet in the water, while the other drifted in repose. They had the sleek heads and large eyes of seals, but with sharpened teeth. Their flesh was slick and white, with small black hairs fletching their backs.She had been afraid they would flee.Abruptly she was afraid they would not.
>>40221204(2/2)One of the amphibians stirred and twisted to see her, showing his thick pizzle. It was erect. He'd been stroking himself, she realized. The gargoyle flexed his mouth like a baboon, and the dental arcade looked vicious.'Oh,' Ali said foolishly.What had she been thinking, to come here alone?They watched her with the composure of philosophers in a glen. One of the amphibians went ahead and finished his thought in their soft language, still looking at her.Ali considered running back to the group. She set one foot behind her to turn and go. The gargoyle cut the briefest of side glances at her.'Don't move,' muttered Ike.He was hunkered on top of the boulder to her left, balanced on the balls of his feet. The pistol in one hand hung relaxed.The hadals didn't speak anymore. They had that peculiar Oriental ease with long silences. The one went on stroking himself with apelike bemusement, not at all self-conscious or purposeful. There was nothing to hear but the water licking sand, and the skin sound of the one fondling himself.After a while, the gargoyle cast one more glance at Ali, then pushed forward against the water's surface and departed on slow wings, never rising more than a few inches above the sea. He diagonaled into the mist and was gone.By the time Ali brought her attention back to the amphibians, one had vanished. The last one – the masturbator – reached a state of boredom and quit. He slid below the water, and it was as if he had been drawn into a mouth. The lips of the sea sealed over him.'Did that really happen?' Ali asked in a low voice. Her heart was pounding. She started forward to verify the handprints in the sand, to confirm the reality.'Don't go near that water,' Ike warned her. 'He's waiting for you.'
>>40221320>> thick pizzle>>The last one – the masturbator
I'm extremely flattered you all enjoy my Ecosystem info dump. I know it isn't entirely 100% accurate or scientific, but I'd like to think it's the small mundane details that really make them up the bigger picture.>Ecosystem AnonIf it makes any difference I'm the QM who Runs the Cyclopes Civ Quest. >>40213792>I'm wondering if there's any particular reason, other than magic, that you might find a particularly extensive cave system, especially in areas that aren't soft rock that forms caves easily, like limestoneCaves can be formed by about four different methods:>Water Worn Caves/Soluable Caves.These are caves -usually in limestone, but can be chalk, marble, dolomite, salt- that have been worned down by the constant, steady, flow of water either from run off, underground rivers, or just rain waiter or aquifers being drained into the underground. They're your standard cave with stalagmites and stalactites. >Lava Tubes/Primary CavesLava Tubes are what you'd expect them to be: Lava flowing underground and then pouring out somewhere on the surface forming large hollowed out black ingenious rock lined cavern channels that can go on for MILES. I've actually been inside a Lava Tube before in Galapagos; vegetation is EXTREMELY eager to colonize any of it's light-visible volcanic surfaces due to all that delicious fertile volcanic nutrients. Roots can actually pierce and dig through some of the more porous rock it's so delicious to them.>Sediment worn/Erosional CavesSometimes Water just doesn't get the job done; either the rock is too hard or the area is too dry and it needs some assistance.. some sedimentary assistance. Erosional Caves are smooth, worn out, caves that slowly erode into either drained chasms or wind tunnels as sediments carried either in the wind or water SAND-BLAST the cave into a hollowed out structure. These are different from Water Worn caves because the stone isn't being dissolved by water/wind it's being CARVED by it.
>>40221925Don't feel limited to these three methods though as if Caves can "only" be defined by one or the other as in real life some of the LARGEST caves in the world got that way due to being carved and hollowed out by multiple methods.The DEER CAVE on the island of Borneo is 4.1km long (2.5 Miles) and the largest most hollowed out portions of it are usually 140 by 140 meters (459ft'ish). The Deer got to be so large because it originally started out as a perfectly normal cave: formed and carved away by rain water dissolving it's limestone, but due to it's specific location it was able to withstand the various threats of time (earthquakes, cave-ins, etc.. ) and became larger and larger. Eventually it got so large that wind was able to get into it and form a channel; causing air-born sediments and other such shit to carve it out even further.The Deer Cave is the second largest cave in the world, but it's still so gosh-dang-huge that it still manages to support thousands of bats, birds, and even more 'normal' animals in it's well-light portions: Deer, Boar, Bears, Gibbons, and weird hornbill birds.
Bumping for prosperity's sake.
Underground oceans. Imagine what it must be like to sail those seas.
>>40225660Ever heard of the game Sunless Sea set in the world of Fallen London? It's probably be a lot like that with more or less insanity. And wood boats depending on the setting.