For the long term living residents (such as the dwarves) of Dwimmermount is it ever explained where they get their food from? I’m reading through the ACKS version, and I’m currently in the middle of chapter 5. Maybe I haven’t reached the explanation, or maybe I skimmed over it, but it seems like something that should get an answer. I know they have a plentiful water supply available so that takes care of a lot of the requirements for long term residency, but the dwarves still need food, don’t they? Is there a Great Food Machine somewhere? If there isn’t an explanation does anyone else have any ideas they’d like to throw into the ring?
Generic Fantasy Answer: Deep Mushrooms, which grow via thaumasynthesis, (making use of the ambient magic as an energy source.)
Dwarf Fortress answer: dwarfs have a butchering tradition that would impress a plains Indian. They use every part of the mule/wardog/kitten/whatever else they can lay their hands on.
It’s not really discussed in the book, but the following should be plausible enough to satisfy most campaign purposes:
Prior to the arrival of the Termaxians, the Dwarves gathered some of it from the Deep Hollows as part of a trade deal with the troglodytes, and imported other supplies through the Stone-Wrought Stairs. (Remember that Dwimmermount’s outer barrier was active but not sealed, so the Dwarves have been able to traverse it throughout the time period that it has been sealed.)
Since the arrival of the Termaxians, their supply situation has become increasingly precarious. One could assume Thobek and Harsten were exploring The Deep Hollows to see if they could find a secure source of food for the Dwarves above…
I think that could sound plausible enough to my players for the most part. I also came across an entry last night about a table that supplies food to anyone that sits down. The consumers of the food would just need to avoid the side affects as best they could.
When we start there’s going to have to be a social contract that:
- Despite their strong desire for hyper-realism these days in our campaigns, this campaign will be using old-school levels of realism we had when we were in middle-school.
- Despite their strong desire as players (perhaps speaking positivelyto constantly involve “the authorities” in almost every situation that poses a significant threat, they will not run to Adamas (or other nearby power) to have them invade and take over Dwimmermount. (This would pretty much end the campaign.)
- For sure.
- Why would they want to do that? That’s the least…adventurous…behavior I can imagine. In any case, my tendency as a GM is to be let players end campaigns through their foolishness if they want. Perhaps I’d have the authorities invade and get utterly splatted/defeated and announce they were re-sealing Dwimmermount, forcing the characters to sneak in thereafter and ruing the day they want to Mommy.
Or, perhaps the Termaxians have unknown levels of influence over the authorities at Adamas (the Despot is charmed?) and as a result their cries fall on deaf ears. They are arrested for even mentioning Dwimmermount.
It isn’t very adventurous, but many of my players’ prior gaming experience always involved the PCs being nobles or agents of the state always acting for the greater good. I was not gaming with this crew until we were in our 30s, but their homebrew idealized fantasy world that they built since middle school involved:
- The outlawing of religion by the state, and banishment of all gods.
- State licensing of all magic-users who then were drafted into public service.
- Universal health-care/eugenics
- Absolutely no democratic or populist reaction by the populace to the authoritarian aristocracy that was radically transforming the previously medieval like society.
I wasn’t gaming with these guys until we were in our 30s, but I suspect much of their earlier gaming was a reaction as lefties reacting to the Reagan 80s. They were kind of proto-Blue Rose before Blue Rose was actually created. Nothing necessarily wrong with any of those elements, but they took them all and seemed to have fallen into a rut.
It wasn’t until I ran for them some Deadlands and HellFrost campaigns that they ever played PCs that fit more of the mold of Josey Wales, Beowulf or the generic murderhobo. They seem to enjoy the change of flavor when I run a game, but sometimes I have to be on guard that they don’t fall into old habits.
Of course, sometimes when they run a game I wind up playing a character on the side of authoritarianism, but I grin and bear it, and it is a change of pace for me.
Wow. That’s their ideal world. Clearly they would score quite differently than I would if they took the YourMorals.org quizzes.
(PS Who provides the health care if you’ve banished the clerics? Haha!)
Healing magic was just another spell that a mage could cast. From what I understand it was around this time they transitioned the rule set they were using from AD&D 2nd edition to GURPS.
The setting does come across as a bunch of ideological masturbation, but this has been the only group that I’ve seen ever do something like this, and over the years I’ve played with plenty of people across the political spectrum. In their defense:
- They started this when they were in middle school.
- I think one of them is an honest to god red diaper baby.
- They played in a fairly closed group until from the 1980s through the early 2000s. Approaches to settings have become more diverse since some of us “outsiders” have joined the group. Sometimes you can wind up in a kind of echo chamber without noticing, and if you were a kid who supported Walter Mondale because he was barely leftist enough for your parents to support you were probably in great need of a fantasy world like the one they had set up.
This is totally fascinating. There is probably a really interesting Escapist article here about how we shape our fantasy worlds in unexpected ways. (Certainly the Auran Empire conveys many of my own political beliefs in odd ways.)
So are you running ACKS in their world, or is it a new world?
My plan is to adapt Dwimmermount to run in the Red Tide setting along the borderlands between the Shou (humanoid) lands to the west and the human nations to the east. I don’t really create home-brew worlds for my campaigns, but mix and match existing materials.
The other players have a well developed background to their home-brew world that Dwimmermount wouldn’t fit into. Also, while I play in their world I couldn’t run a game in it due to ideological differences between myself and the setting they created. Despite my ideological disagreements with their world it is very well developed. The time frames we’ve played in range from the equivalent of medieval, Rennaissance, 23rd century scifi and post-singularity transhumanist.
I agree that there could be some interesting articles discussing the different kinds of escape people seem in their roleplay settings.
You have a genuinely bizarre group of friends you play with. For years I’ve played in pen and paper RPGs in worlds where you could cast detect evil to know for sure if someone was evil and where you could solve problems by just killing the people who were making your problems. At no point did I think that this was a reflection on what my actual morals were. I hope they never pick up Sid Meier’s Civlization, they might think that playing as the germans and going for a conquest victory meant they were pro-war.
A new Harvard study has revealed that playing as Germany in Axis & Allies in childhood can lead to fascist tendencies in later life. See http://www.everyjoe.com/2014/11/19/play/study-reveals-effects-axis-allies-children/
Interesting. I tend towards the SJW crowd myself, but whenever I design a setting it’s fairly dystopian, with strong Warhammer vibes, which is why in my campaign the PCs are beset with chaos from all sides and bureaucracy and glory-mongering from within.
Also I’m pretty sure that no utopia could survive prolonged contact with the party.
Exactly how I run. “Law” in my setting tends to be fairly dystopian, but with “Chaos” much worse. The adventurers need the resources of the kingdom to defeat Chaos, but the kingdom’s resources are being squandered by wicked people. This leads the players to eventually seize the kingdom in order to carry the fight against Chaos, even if they personally had no interest in conquest/usurpation.
If the existing government were utopian there would be little need or justification for the “conquering” part of the game. E.g. Part of why we can accept that Conan killed the king of Aquilonia and took his throne is that the king of Aquilonia was a mad, evil king. (Or, imagine if in LOTR, Denethor the Steward of Gondor was a beloved, wise, and amazing ruler who surpassed Aragorn. We’d have a lot harder time stomaching Aragorn taking over Gondor in that case).
I do think the setting details you and Susan decribe are more typical. Outside of the current group I game with that’s been my experience as well. For most “adventure” gaming the setting has the state as a weak actor. Whether this is because the state itself is weak, or the action is happening on the frontier (like Westerns), the result is an environment that grants the player characters a wide latitude of action. However, the current group I play with came up with a different approach for their fantasy setting.
Pardon the thread necromancy, but I think I came up with a possible food source for the inhabitants. The stasis chambers on level 2 have the capacity to hold hundreds of occupants, but by the time the PCs come along it seems only a very few still had occupants. What if at the very beginning of when Dwimmermount got sealed all of those got occupied by residents of Dwimmermount as their food supply ran out. However, there wasn't enough room for everybody. Eventually the few left outside the stasis chambers started to harvest the occupants of said stasis chambers. They eventually became the ghouls of Dwimmermount transforming some occupants into more ghouls rather than eating them all to boost their numbers. Some of this harvest could have been traded to the dwarves on the lower levels over time. I'm thinking the dwarves may not have realized where some of this "jerky" originated from, but perhaps also the more neutral faction of the dwarves may have become a tad "ravenous."
[quote="wmarshal"] ...However, there wasn't enough room for everybody. Eventually the few left outside the stasis chambers started to harvest the occupants of said stasis chambers....
Note to self, site needs both a 'Like' tag and a 'F-ing Awesome' tag for posts like that.
...However, there wasn't enough room for everybody. Eventually the few left outside the stasis chambers started to harvest the occupants of said stasis chambers....
Note to self, site needs both a 'Like' tag and a 'F-ing Awesome' tag for posts like that.
Thanks! I often do my best/most horrific thinking as I wake up on Saturday mornings and I'm not distracted by having to get ready for work.
I'm also glad that I didn't run Dwimmermount immediately after I recieved it, and that my players have been slower than others working their way through the dungeon. It's given my mind some time to mull over ideas on how to plug the "holes" that exist in almost any module.