Thursday, 10 March 2016

The True Dark

The dungeon hates you.

The dungeon is the true dark.

You can go outside at night, and still see.

You can go down a well, and still see.

You can go into a mine, and still see.

But at some point, underground becomes something more. The veins of the earth twist and grow, the dungeon spins itself up from the core of the earth, the autochthonous death machine that will consume the whole planet someday.

And you will not see. All the daylight people will be blind.


A dwarf will dig and dig and dig, goaded on by greed, until he pushes too far and no light connects him to the world. If he survives, he will turn back, and dig that way no more.

The orcs still see in the true dark. The dungeon welcomes them. Their half-breeds have clarity in the night time of the above world, but down in the true dark, they grope as blindly as newborn pups.

The drow see in the true dark. The duergar and the svirfneblin and the ghostwise see in the true dark. They have given up the day. The first change a halfling that eats meat will notice is that the dark holds no secrets for them anymore.

Torches strain and sputter; lamplight is feeble and thin; magical light strains and taxes the user, and takes up their concentration. The light knows it is not welcome there. The dungeon does not mind. The light just creates more shadows.

In game terms:

Darkvision does not work in dungeons (what is and isn't a dungeon? You'll know when you can't see anymore).

Torches and lamps are unreliable and burn out faster (how will you know when your light will run out? You'll know when you can't see anymore).

The Light spell requires concentration.

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