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Dungeons as source of lost technology
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OgreBattle
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 8:28 am    Post subject: Dungeons as source of lost technology Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

So I love post apocalyptic settings where people dig stuff out of the ground that they can't build and that's why there's adventurers.

Has there been a DnD kind of game focused around this concept at its core? like what kind of economy and society would be formed around it. wizardry games and mordheim has adventuring communities built around dungeon delving but don't go into much detail on how society as a whole is affected.

Nausicaa comes to mind as being well fleshed out with one city state known for digging up engines, an empire built over old world labs and psychics. RIFTS sorta does this but its post post apocalypse where the power armor blueprints and robot factories were unearthed generations ago already. There's also fallout, with the first game being about finding the tech bits to fix the water purifier.
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Stahlseele
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Classic Battletech. / Mechwarrior/ A time of War RPG
Warhammer 40k. / Dark Heresy RPG
To a limited extent Shadowrun.

And a bit much more obscure:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadillacs_and_Dinosaurs_(role-playing_game)
due to being at work with limited internet i can't add any more information.
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shlominus
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

isn't this the basic theme of numenera?
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Harshax
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Earthdawn justified the existence of dungeons by making them bunkers for civilization while the apocalypse raged on the surface. The ones that got overrun my demons and monsters probably have lots of forgotten technology. Never played the game, so I can't add more.
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Stahlseele
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Earthdawn is SO high Fantasy that i am wondering what kind of technology you expect to find in such a Kaer as they are called.
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DrPraetor
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 12:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Lots of JRPGs have this trope - the ancients have left some technology or magic in the dungeons that you have to recover? Doesn't Septerra Core have this premise with technology rather than magic? Admittedly, these games tend to be somewhat thin on the society.

Likewise, anything influenced by Evangelion or HP Lovecraft or both will have dungeons with Crucified Angels and Shoggoth Eggs or whatever. Evangelion has a society remarkably similar to 90s Japan, just with disaster preparedness for invading aliens.

That said, if you had alien supertech in Antarctica fueling a 19th century southern hemisphere empire, they could totally take nordic women as slaves to mine the Elder Thing technologies...
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hyzmarca
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 1:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Stahlseele wrote:
Earthdawn is SO high Fantasy that i am wondering what kind of technology you expect to find in such a Kaer as they are called.


Magicial items are a type of technology.

And D&D is also predicated on this.

Greyhawk, Mystara, and the Forgotten Realms are all predicated on the idea that the World used to be a lot more awesome than it was, high-tech/high magic civilizations rose and then fell and ancient ruins are full of their old shit, that was perfectly common and mundane to them, but are totally beyond the understanding of anyone alive today.
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hogarth
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 1:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Gamma World was one of the original games of this type. The "Pure Strain Human" PC race was kind of like a D&D thief -- relatively weak, but necessary to get past certain dungeon traps (e.g. robots would only obey non-mutants). Of course, they also got the coolest loot like powered armor.
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Dogbert
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 5:29 am    Post subject: Re: Dungeons as source of lost technology Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

OgreBattle wrote:
So I love post apocalyptic settings where people dig stuff out of the ground that they can't build and that's why there's adventurers.

Has there been a DnD kind of game focused around this concept at its core?


You mean dnd 4E?
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rasmuswagner
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

hyzmarca wrote:

Magicial items are a type of technology.

And D&D is also predicated on this.

Greyhawk, Mystara, and the Forgotten Realms are all predicated on the idea that the World used to be a lot more awesome than it was, high-tech/high magic civilizations rose and then fell and ancient ruins are full of their old shit, that was perfectly common and mundane to them, but are totally beyond the understanding of anyone alive today.


Yeah, I remember a sidebar from the AD&D2 DMG telling me outright that the history of my own campaign setting should be golden age->age of suck>current age of recovery.
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tussock
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

In that a lot of D&D is based on the Dying Earth books by Jack Vance, were science is magic but no one understands why any of it works any more, and people who figure anything out keep it secret for personal power, D&D was that in 1st edition.

The further back you go in D&D, the more it's full of Eldritch horrors, space men, psionics, little notes that the wands look a bit like ray guns because they're ray guns, and most of the weird monsters are from crashed space ships ...

Hell, in early 2nd edition, they totally clarified that everything was from crashed space ships, through Spelljammer, Gnomes and Drow and Illithid and Beholders and the lot, that big cities had secret active space ports, and most of the magic items were from visiting high-tech people who died on site with their native-look science-magic. But then later got all pretentious about it and tried to make D&D very serious JRRT stuff instead.

--

Anyway, Gygax said the answer was dungeons full of random treasures like miniature submarines, talking swords, force cubes, cloaks of flying, and a book that tells you how to make explosives out of bat guano that the Mage won't let anyone else read. That people who dig up enough high tech gear end up running the show, becoming leaders of religions, baronies, scholarly efforts, or the local criminal syndicates. Maybe raid the other player's fortresses for shits and giggles when the game runs out of things to do.
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Stahlseele
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

right, i still remember the sudden disconnect when playing Might and Magic 6 i think and suddenly you stumble into a spaceship and fight insectoid aliens.
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Thaluikhain
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

In WHFB, in addition to Mordheim (which was going to be a big deal, but wasn't), there was also the Albion treasure hunt stuff (which was also going to be a big deal, but wasn't), both featuring Bel'akor.

tussock wrote:
Hell, in early 2nd edition, they totally clarified that everything was from crashed space ships, through Spelljammer, Gnomes and Drow and Illithid and Beholders and the lot, that big cities had secret active space ports, and most of the magic items were from visiting high-tech people who died on site with their native-look science-magic. But then later got all pretentious about it and tried to make D&D very serious JRRT stuff instead.


With the exception of Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, weren't almost all of those spaceships magic ones, not sci-fi ones?

Though yeah, infravision instead of boring generic magic darksight or whatever, had to make sure to fantasy that sort of stuff out.
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deaddmwalking
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Stahlseele wrote:
right, i still remember the sudden disconnect when playing Might and Magic 6 i think and suddenly you stumble into a spaceship and fight insectoid aliens.


Ah, but if you had played Might & Magic (the Original: Secret of the Inner Sanctum) you would not have been surprised. There was a crashed alien ship in the desert and their escaped prisoner was posing as the King. I really only played the first one, but I believe in the second one you definitively learn that the world of Varn exists on a space ship and you follow the legendary explorer Corak to a second space ship.
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Stahlseele
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Not sure with which M&M i started, might have been 3, but it's been literally half my life ago by now. .
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jadagul
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Every M&M game has the "alien spaceships" plot twist happen somewhere. Because the setting is "fantasy-like worlds deliberately created and nurtured by a race of sci-fi progenitors". But they don't tell you this up front, so in your first game it's always a surprise when you get to the final plot twist and suddenly robot alien spaceships.
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OgreBattle
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2017 2:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

How would the recovered artifacts be distributed, do you see major organizations sponsoring treasure hunters, a guild that mediates trade, an empire built over the dungeon and excluding all others from entering, etc.
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DrPraetor
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2017 2:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Obviously the artifacts would be traded for child-slaves, some of whom have symbiotic relationships with the artifacts and get magic powers. Only children can attempt to assimilate the freshly acquired artifacts for reasons.

Do I have to draw you a diagram?
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Maybe other children turn into monsters turn into monsters or whatever? Maybe only children can safely work the artifact mines, because the monsters don't (usually?) attack them?

Personally, I think a decadent merchant guild or pseudo-catholic church is a better trope than an Empire.

You might look at the world building material for the Trails in the Sky series; the http://kiseki.wikia.com/wiki/Septian_Church does more or less exactly as you describe, but they seal the artifacts rather than using them to sustain an economy. Still, the society and economy in the Trails games (which are also maximum-level JRPG melodrama) are based on technology recovered from a fallen ancient civilization, and some of the plot tropes would translate even if they dug all the magic items up instead of reconstructing the designs of the ancients or whatever they're doing.
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Harshax
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2017 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Whenever there's some kind of authority claiming ownership of a dungeon, you'll find that authority conscripting criminals into scavenging the dungeon with the promise of freedom if the convict recovers enough treasure to compensate society for their crimes.

You might have governments declare that it's illegal to own sell or export treasure from dungeons within their border. Some countries might claim these artifacts as part of their cultural heritage. Where dungeons exist in regions shared by multiple nations, there will be state funded piracy, to steal smuggle and raid treasures from each other's dungeons. Treasure important to the survival of the species or the nation will be confiscated outright.

Artifacts need to be registered and certified writs of ownership are required to own or carry those artifacts not claimed by recognized authorities. Some artifacts require the owner to respond to musters of defense by those same authorities.

Within individual realms, organizations will seek writs allowing them to claim artifacts as well: religions and colleges will all try to claim these treasures to bolster their prestige and diminish their competitors.

Lords and merchants will take advantage of laws that allow exclusive rights to new discoveries and will fund expeditions to find these dungeons before anyone else.
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Ghremdal
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

That kind of falls apart in DnD land when level 5 characters are capable of avoiding the law, and at level 10 are the law. Some other system where characters dont get so much power, so quickly.

The other question is what the artifacts do, and how valuable they are. A +1 dagger is nice, but nothing to be excited about. While a trap of major creation might not be combat useful, but is certainly a kingdom power up.
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Harshax
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The first party that rises to power doing the same thing will establish the town, economy and power structure around the dungeon. They will surround themselves with loyal vassals or henchmen to enforce their authority. They will send their A-Teams or personally alpha strike the main vaults on each level, employing scrubs and convicts to scout or clear out the the dangers with the least rewards. If you find a +1 dagger you might be lucky. If the region is plagued by creatures that can only be injured by magic weapons, you're going to get conscripted or have your stuff confiscated. Since the entrance to the dungeon is guarded, like a tollbooth, you'll have a hard time getting out unnoticed. If you do find a secret way out, you're an outlaw, which might prevent you from getting access to other dungeons in the region and may be hunted outright.
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hyzmarca
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Alternately, no one rises to power doing the same time. People pull crap out of the pit, but most of it is just trinkets, since the dungeon used to be an actual city, and the +5 Rifles of Select Fire are all in a police armory near the bottom, so most people are just going to scavenge Ovens of Rapid Cooking, instead.Which are, admittedly, a lot more useful, or would be if they didn't require a power transmission infrastructure that doesn't actually exist outside the ruins and wouldn't actually do anything until some adventurers turned on the old nuclear generators down there and unfortunately died horribly shortly afterward from a mysterious curse that strikes anyone who enters the facility.


So the infrastructure that rises up above the dungeon is to support the adventurers, who mostly come with their life savings, spend it all on overpriced gear, and then die horrible in the dungeon. It's litterally the opposite of the standard adventure setup. Instead of the dungeon dumping fabulous wealth on the surrounding cities and destroying the economy, the dungeon town extracts wealth from the surrounding area and beyond through the medium of wannabe adventurers, of which there is no shortage.
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Harshax
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

That sounds allegorical to the towns that were drying up after the gold rush ran its course.

I think it's important to illustrate that the town, the economy and the authority that keeps all that viable is going to treat the dungeon like their domain. The authority has to control the means of production and that means troops, taxes, laws and exploitation of the have-nots. You can swap dungeon for pelts, buffalo, gold, prospecting whatever. There's a wealth of examples of predatory practices by provisional authorities, predatory merchants and charlatans. The 1st edition Player's Handbook flat out says that equipment prices are inflated and cite practices during the aforementioned gold rush. That money didn't just sit in a box under a bed, waiting for a murderhobo to take it. That money was spent on bribes and unscrupulous officials that squeezed every penny generated from a dangerous endeavor and they enforced that level of corruption through threats and bribes to the local strongmen. Profitable dungeons are going to have the worst examples of these practices, while sites that seem dried out will probably have a less rampant level of corruption. However, if a new area is uncovered, or a new vein of technology is discovered, you can bet that the local robber barons will be back in full force.


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Harshax
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 1:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I could also see the local authorities stocking dungeons with criminals. Maybe even running the upper levels as a prison for the region. Orcs or kobolds captured in the wild could be seeded in a well defended dungeon and their presence would be advertised to draw foolish young people to the town, where they'll buy exorbitantly priced gear, fake maps, snake oil and other useless charms and then die horribly and end up as food stuff.
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Blade
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

That's more or less the pitch of the Dungeon comic book (except that monsters aren't prisoners, they're employees).

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