Sunday, December 18, 2016

Some notes on the UNDERGROUND setting

I love implied or obliquely defined settings, and Into the Odd and one of +Joel Priddy's hacks of it, UNDERGROUND, do this well. Priddy has written a version of Into the Odd which takes place in modern day North America, where the PCs are living in a town or city above a megadungeon. Things seem normal but aren't. I had written up some setting principles a long time ago, and happened upon them today. Figured I didn't want them to just be another forgotten thing in a notebook. Chris McDowall's notes on the Into the Odd setting are mostly just bullet points, which I sought to emulate here, as 100 pages of notes on how Erotalia's honey trade is destablizing the region reads like the dialogue from the Star Wars prequels to me.


  1. Things seem normal on the surface.
  2. Nothing is really normal.
  3. The world recedes from itself.
#3 is meant to say that the world is stretched out. Distances which were once trivial are now perilous and fraught. People generally don't think about this; they tend to ignore it. Travel just isn't done by normal folks. Fortunately, PCs are never normal.

  1. City-states more than countries.
  2. No one is in charge.
  3. Everyone cleaves to strong opinions
  1. Balkanized into neighborhoods.
  2. Things rise from the Earth when it rains.
  3. It's raining more and more these days.
  4. People are stuck here from all over.
I'm in Atlanta, and I wrote this in 2015, when we had record-level rain. Flooding and water issues and the like. Now we're in a drought, but I still like the idea of Atlanta looking more and more like a horror Atlantis.

If I did this, I'd have the PCs start in Atlanta, but they'd've heard things about the rest of the country at the very least. Some of the following is true.

  1. 'Crypto', the soil bacteria, now makes enormous mounds and columns.
  2. From here the moon looks like the Earth.
  3. Days of the long suns burn things up.
  1. Oil rigs go dark and become places of treasure and danger.
  2. Daily storms reshape the coast.
  3. Giant crabs wander about.
  1. The dead live (mostly in Midtown).
  2. The lower necropolis connects to the Underground and Elsewhere.
  3. Bankers bunker down and are bringing back feudalism.
  1.  Frost giants stalk the tiaga.
  2. The twin cities are besieged.
  3. Lake Superior is endless.
  1. There used to be a mighty river here.
  2. Places were pulled in when the Earth split. Sometimes they come back.
  3. It goes deeper than it should.

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