The Pit Zine - Building the Adventuring locale

Let’s collaborate on the setting together. From there we can start delegating rooms and zones to those who want to contribute. Here’s the ideas so far.

Personally I think using the hub and the large network of tunnels would allow us to explore any of the following ideas and more. Basically it’s a two step process–1. we develop the pit and 2. we develop the areas that the pit leads to.

  • maybe a hub-style setting concept, kinda like planescape? I was kinda mulling this idea around of an insanely large network of tunnels, or catacombs, entered through a giant pit of course, that has many unexplored exits that could pop you out into practically any setting. This could give us a lot of freedom for in-and-out setting ideas, or we can approach it as if the zine is the explorers, delving down these unexplored paths and documenting what they find. Existing OSR settings could simply add the Pit to their world to start incorporating our zine.

  • What about some sort of Norse-inspired setting. Freezing tundras, all manner of huge beast coupled with mythic monsters. Viking raiders. Small villages. Explorations to find new sources of food. Savage cultures. A Norse-inspired setting with some sort of twist would be my vote for the theme of a potential adventuring locale

  • Fantasy

  • sword & planet

  • weird fantasy

  • horror fantasy

  • DarkSoulsian grimscape

  • Sword & Planet He-Man silliness

  • Cheap 70s barbarian fantasy

  • what about a big fantasy mining corp that’s delving into The Pit, robbing its riches while the native population/workers get used? So the PCs could fill a role either helping the big corp or helping the people. (I do recognise the White Saviour theme emerging here, but we could work on that…) Maybe The Pit is mining something weird, like the brains of an elder god, triggering psychic visions, or it’s a big pit of living meat, being mined for food. Sorry, got stuck on the mining aspect, but that’s what a lot of pits result from, right?

  • How about we make a random table with a bunch of community produced ideas/phrases (multiple columns), and have people roll some prompts from that? Just as a brainstorming method…

There were two discussions here about standards, one for monsters and one for wealth , we could start working from there.

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Adding to the Pit idea. What if once it was a prosperous town on the surface, but has fallen into the Pit? Now the townsfolk has to survive underground and explore the tunnels. And the town is of course in the process of being rebuilt.

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I’m liking this. The prosperous G+ community fell into the abyss, only to then begin rebuilding in The Pit to be prosperous once again, some day. This could be the discovery event of the Pit that obviously leads to the exploration of it, and the subsequent tunnels, that lead to all the great focused content that we generate. I like the amount of mystery this gives the Pit itself, let alone potential plots dealing with the event in general (spoiler: sinister Google man did it).

The only thing I would want to stress with this idea would be to avoid touching on the surface world that this city occupied before plunging into the pit. I would insist on keeping it ambiguous, so that the Pit, as a concept, could be dropped into any preexisting setting or campaigns already in session. We could certainly have one of the many Pit tunnels lead to a different surface, which we would create here.

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Exactly my thoughts! It can be justified by saying that the Fall happened a long time ago, and the surface is more of a myth nowadays.

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Oooh that’s good. A few of the upper floors of the bigger buildings partially intact. Otherwise is just repurposed wreckage being built into a kind of defensive encampment.

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I think we’re at a good place to get started. I’ll list some tables and if they sound good grab one and go with it. Obviously feel free to change the dice if you feel super inspired.

d12 reasons why the town fell into the pit
d20 things you might find in the tunnels
d10 resources that can be found beneath the earth
d8 reasons why exploring the tunnels is a bad idea.
d12 dangers from the surface world.
d10 kinds of people you’ll meet in the underground town.
d10 myths about the surface world.
d20 typical names for the undergrounders

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d12 Reasons Why the Town Fell Into The Pit

  1. The ore-rich bedrock under the town was mined hollow, until it finally collapsed.

  2. Great rains caused flooding, which eroded the banks of The Pit, dislodging the whole town.

  3. An Earth-Kraken pulled the town into The Pit with its mighty tentacles.

  4. The town’s foundations were destroyed by saboteurs with explosives.

  5. A massive earthquake opened the ground beneath the town, forming The Pit and plunging the town into it.

  6. The Pit is a living thing. It allows things to grow and prosper on its rim, but every few hundred years it swallows up everything that has accumulated there.

  7. The town was built on stilts. An embittered wizard animated the stilts and forced the town to walk itself into The Pit.

  8. An offended god pushed the town in.

  9. A fungus crept up from the pit and slowly gnawed at the town’s foundations of rock and the wood, until they crumbled.

  10. The town was built on a huge bridge across The Pit. As the town grew, the bridge sagged, and eventually collapsed.

  11. The town was built on top of an illusionary surface covering The Pit. Town sages discovered the illusion, it broke, and the town fell through.

  12. The Pit is the result of a huge mining operation, employing whole towns of miners, clinging onto its sides for generations. A landslide ended it all.

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This is awesome. Especially just casually inventing an earth kraken.

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Thanks! The earth kraken was my favorite too :smiley:

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  1. The Digmaids. Like mermaids, but with worm tails. They sing. They dig. They eat.
  2. The Lost Souls. Many explorers get lost while trying to explore the tunnels. The darkness, the hunger and the tunnels themselves twist them. And then they find new explorers…
  3. Some tunnels are not tunnels, but huge mouths. Nobody knows of what.
  4. The Vision Gas. Inside the tunnels, there are areas where gasses accumulate naturally. The Vision Gas will show the victim a terrifying vision, often of their own death. Many die or get horribly scarred.
  5. The Unvision Gas. Breath enough of this and there is no way to ever use divination magic on you. Good luck with the search parties.
  6. The Gems. They are beautiful. They shine in the darkness. You cannot stop looking at them. Ever.
  7. There are other, smaller Pits. Just as nobody has ever reached the surface from this Pit, nobody ever came back from the Small Pits.
  8. You might encounter the Dirty Folk. If you eat their mud cakes you’ll end up serving them for hundred of years.
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  1. Maelore - An amorphous metallic-liquid material often found in small deposits near magma or areas of extreme heat. Maelore is extremely explosive and is the cause of many cave collapses when near by magma ignites exposed Maelore deposits.
  2. Darkpops - Small fungi that develops in humid areas exposed to little light of any kind. Darkpops are great sources for food during foraging (and are sought after by many monsters for this reason) but prove problematic to harvest as they immediately decay when exposed to any light.
  3. “Mystery Meat” - It’s not uncommon for a creature’s mouth to be mistaken as a tunnel entrance, and the same goes for the other end of these creatures. Feces from these creatures, often called “mystery meat”, is the sole source of protein for some, and proves to be one of the more desperate options for sustenance in the Pit.
  4. Pale Curtains - These light pink, fleshy, leathery sheets of material are most common in damp, moist, and dank tunnels. They often hang across ceilings of tunnels, or are draped over large boulders. It’s theorized these curtains are living and appear to collect moisture by stretching their surface area out in damp areas, although no proof has been presented that they are living creatures - more importantly, though, their tough hides make for great armor.
  5. Dale’s Dust - An extremely fine powder found naturally in the Pit, although very rare. The powder is absolutely black in pigment and is often used by those wishing to remain invisible in the dark, as popularized by the infamous assassin, Dale Neverlight.
  6. Sauna Oil - An uncommon oil substance found throughout the Pit in small quantities. This odorless oil has no taste, is not flammable, and cannot be frozen, but produces healing properties when heated enough to dissipate into vapor. Upon inhaling this vapor, feelings of bliss flood the brain and wounds begin to rapidly heal. This is often use in “healing saunas” in certain regions.
  7. Magnastone - Extremely magnetic stone often found in deeper parts of the Pit. Used for many purposes, ranging from traps to complex devices using magnetism, this stone ore is sought after by many from all regions.
  8. Telespores - Rare and not fully understood, these extremely large mushroom spores omit powerful frequency waves that often deter creatures and explorers. Upon touching a Telespore however, the user is immediately teleported to another Telespore at random, seemingly not restricted by distance or time. Post teleportation, the user is subject to a permanent ringing in their head.
  9. Liquashoots - Hallow plants that grow more prominently closer to the surface, ranging greatly in sizes. The shoots of these plants have an open top theorized for collecting organic material dropping from ceilings or any foolish creature that finds itself inside of these plants. Anything organic inside of a Liqashoot will undergo a yet to be understood process that converts it into a liquid state at a rapid pace - allowing clever creatures to create their own source of hydration by depositing organic material.
  10. Mineral Maggots - Extremely rare and the dream of many treasure hunters. These maggots are no larger than a common rat but feature outstandingly beautiful gemstones, diamonds, or other rare minerals embedded on their bodies. Upon removal of these materials, the maggot will immediately die an uneventful death. However, there was been notably large earthquakes seemingly connected to the slaughter of these Mineral Maggots, theorized to be the bearer of these maggot offspring. The source of these earthquakes has yet to be truly discovered.
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  1. Tool mimics. Put your pick down for a moment and look away - now there are two and you don’t know which one will bite you.

  2. Stonebeasts. They seem like fossils until they can absorb enough water to revive. Ammonites make fun pets. Raptors should be left alone.

  3. Whispers. Some say they’re demons trying to lead people to their death. Others believe they’re dead adventures who want their bodies found and buried properly. Everyone agrees that following a whisper leads to very bad luck.

  4. Phosphorescent beetles.Tiny red ones that scatter in a confusing cloud of glimmers as you approach. Thumb-sized blue ones that sit where they are unless disturbed, then spray a stinking liquid and scuttle away. Hand-sized green ones that ought to be avoided unless you know they’ve eaten recently.

  5. Vertical shafts with hot gases billowing from below and a deep, distant red glow.

  6. Tomb complexes. The older, deeper ones were built by prehuman creatures that left behind magic stored in curious crystalline machines.

  7. Echoing caverns filled with a heavy, expectant darkness. People who enter them alone come back… odd.

  8. Bone pits. Old and sick cave beasts came here to die until there was no space left. Now they’re mazes of ribs and spines with floors of shifting bone gravel.

  9. Boulder crabs. They secrete a powerful acid to hollow out rocks to use as shells. They can get BIG.

  10. Underground rivers with huge glowing mushrooms growing on their banks.

  11. Stonegourds. Grey and rocky-looking vine vegetables with pebbles in place of seeds. Animals usually lair nearby.

  12. Goblins. They’ll steal if they can, or trade if the opposition looks too strong.

  13. Troglodytes. Unrelentingly hostile to town-dwellers but usually too disorganised to present a real threat.

  14. Stonefish. They can swim through some forms of rock as though it was water. Others are a solid barrier to them. Edible, but chalky. Undercooked stonefish may cause the eater to break out in tides.

  15. Dhole tunnels. The great worms aren’t constrained by the normal physical dimensions and their tunnels sometimes lead to other worlds and times. Usually inhospitable, but sometimes they have rich resources. Be careful following a tunnel, sometimes there’s a dhole coming the other way.

  16. Corpselights. Strange, dim lights that settle on the dead and drain all the moisture from the body, mummifying it.

  17. Carvings. Hieroglyphics on the ceilings of low caves. The few that the townsfolk have learned to read are not encouraging.

  18. Flat-floored caverns littered with spherical rocks that slowly move around. Under their own power? Tugged by the gravity of invisible moons? Impossible to say.

  19. Spark bugs. They have a power of magnetism and use it to lure prospectors to caves filled with flammable gas, which they ignite with a spark. Then the whole nest eats well.

  20. Immature earth krakens. House-sized or smaller. Best avoided.

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d10 Kinds of People You’ll Meet in Town

  1. A worm farmer maintains a plot of earth, which produces worms, maggots and other insects for consumption. The plot is fed with any organic matter the farmer can scrounge up: human refuse, dead creatures, weeds and leaves that sometimes fall from the Heavens. The farmer roots through their plot daily, plucking out ripe worms and killing unedible pests, to be fed back to the plot.

  2. A forager finds resources in the tunnels and brings them back for sale or consumption. They usually know a few good spots for renewable resources like Darkpops, Pale Curtains and “Mystery Meat”, and guard their secrets jealously. Knowledge of these spots is usually passed down to the next generation.

  3. A mortician prepares a corpse for burial, by extracting any precious fluids and substances from it. The controlled putrification process yields a wide variety of gases and liquids, including sulfur, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium. The family of the deceased is given some of these substances, as a death gift. The rest are sold off to alchemists.

  4. A scavenger is part miner, part forager. They dig into the ruins of Undertown, looking for artifacts or knowledge of the past. This hazardous trade combines spelunking, excavation and archaeology. There’s a rivalry between scavengers and tunnel delvers, and the two forever bicker about which is the more dangerous pursuit.

  5. Rat people originally came from the tunnels, and settled in Undertown, which they have claimed as their own. They fight with knives, take dustbaths to stay clean, and never steal from humies. They feed on what ever they can find or catch, and trade with scavengers any treasure they come across.

  6. Dustlungs suffer from a disease that slowly mummifies them from the inside out. It is believed their coughs carry the sickness, so they are forced to live in a separate community on the edge of town. Their gardens, fertilised by the dusty remains of their dead, produce the sweetest fruit.

  7. The grovellers are a religious sect who believe the ancient humans were exiled from the surface, because their towers reached for the Heavens, which belong to their bird gods. The grovellers crawl on their bellies like snakes and consider any building taller than 2 floors to be heresy, and a target for arson. Their pilgrimages take them deep into the tunnels, from whence few return.

  8. Vaqueros are herders of the holy aguabaras, large rodent creatures that graze the desolate Pit Floor. The aguabaras’ bodies retain large amounts of water, drawn from their teats. Because they preserve all their water for their offspring, their meat is extremely tough and dry, and if ingested, can shred a person’s insides. To kill an aguabara is a dreadful sin. To herd them is a sacred duty.

  9. Tunnel delvers are a loose community of scouts, adventurers and hunters who take it upon themselves to explore the tunnels. They have no club houses or insignia, and have little in common with each other. As far as common folk are concerned, the delvers’ forays contribute little and risk much, for a beast might follow them back from the tunnels.

  10. Two-Spirits resides in a two-storey house with no roof. They note the patterns of the Heavens and the paths of the bird gods, attempting to predict periods of sunlight, rain, and leaf-fall. Two-Spirit is a heavy user of psychedelics, and claims to have ridden a dragon and glimpsed the surface.

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I love this! So much potential political drama over these lil’ things.

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3 posts were merged into an existing topic: The Pit Zine - Art Stuff

Haha that is great. Welcome on board the zine train!

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How about a
d6 Fungi and Flora of the Pit?

  1. Porous Peniophora: Faint purple-grey, dotted with fine holes. A mold which grows on bodies left in the Pit. It is drawn towards moisture, and capable of animating the corpses it covers, marching them to the nearest water source, which it will contaminate in the process of consuming.

  2. Cave-Nettle: Thin, wiry stalks with long, twin leaves springing off every few inches, each growing up to half a mile long. Hundreds of stalks can stem from a single source root, which takes root in large gold deposits. Any metal in contact with the leaves is marred by a green, rust-like corrosion as the plant feeds on its mineral content.

  3. Miner’s Lantern: A soft orange fungus, dotted with red “hair”. Upon exposure to oxygen, it’s yellow interior glows with a faint pulsing light for up to ten minutes. Upon being eaten, infers weak darkvision for 24 hours, as well as extreme sensitivity to bright lights, as a dark elf.

  4. Lobe-Eating Mycelium: Easily mistakable for Miner’s Lantern, except with yellow “hair”. Glows as Miner’s Lantern. Upon eating Lobe-Eating Mycelium, a player must make saving throw against Poison. Upon failure, they lose points of Intelligence equal to the distance between their roll and their target number, to a maximum of 6, as well as taking 2d4 damage as the fungus begins to eat at their brain. Fortunately, it is not well-adapted to humanoids, and if they survive the initial damage, the Mycelium will quickly starve.

  5. Pit Truffle: Not actually a truffle. In fact, not actually a fungus at all, but a round creature about two inches wide akin to a jellyfish that survives off of the vibrations of the earth. Perfectly edible, though with a strange kick to it. Holding one to your forehead for five minutes offers it the nourishment of your own vibrations, and increases its radius by an amount equal to your Intelligence modifier over the next hour, making it a much heartier meal. Conductive of electricity and a very effective thermal insulator.

  6. Tumbling Tubers: Not nearly as funny as they sound. These small, nutritionless potatoes grow from incredibly resilient seeds which burrow their way into the solid stone of the caves - often in walls and steps that need to be climbed. Upon even the slightest shifting - for example, a careless adventurer reaching for the next foothold without looking - they come tumbling out, often surprising the climber and making them lose their grip.

Bonus:

Mountain Seeds: You may be forgiven for mistaking this for any ordinary pebble, but it is in fact one of the seeds from which the mighty mountains themselves spring. You didn’t think they just appeared out of nowhere, did you? Take it to a spot by a river, bury it, and nourish it for the next several million years, and you’ll have yourself a brand new mountain - and you’ll love it even more since you grew it yourself.

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I am loving these tables! So evocative. Here’s one way they might look when it’s all said and done.

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Everybody’s making awesome stuff! Let’s keep at it. Some more list ideas below. I feel we might want to combine and edit these lists down the line, or move the info into other formats. But for now, i think they’re a great way to generate loads of content quickly, without getting bogged down in structure.

D12 reasons the PCs need to go into the tunnels
D8 reasons the PCs need to go into Undertown
D10 things going on in town
D8 groups & factions
D6 obstacles to simply leaving The Pit

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How are people thinking about tunnel exploration? (Disclaimer: this post does NOT display correctly on a phone screen)

I envision a point crawl, with each tunnel being a closed, linear environment, like this:
TOWN----Stonebeasts-----Lost Souls----CAMPSITE-----Mushrooms----MonsterLair

A gamemaster could then choose to intersect the tunnel with another tunnel, at any point. This would break the linearity, and allow players to choose the type of adventure they want, whilst continuing to dive deeper into the tunnels. Who knows, they might find a shortcut to skip a difficult encounter this way. Example:
TOWN----Stonebeasts-----Lost Souls----CAMPSITE-----Mushrooms----MonsterLair
___________ ^--------BonePits------MagnastoneCavern----^ ______________

Here, a party departs from TOWN, goes to the are with the Stonebeasts, where the tunnel diverges, leading into the Bone Pits and to the Magnastone Cavern. From there they might go to the Mushroom area. They would have skipped the Lost Souls and Campsite areas. They could now continue into the Monster’s Lair, or approach Campsite and the Lost Souls from a different direction.

One might include notes on how long each leg of the journey takes, in hours, days, or whatever. Like this:
TOWN-----3hrs-----Stonebeasts-----20min-----Lost Souls-----3days-----CAMPSITE

Tunnels could be written in this very basic format (okay, not exactly this format), or maps could be drawn, with winding tunnels, mazes filling out entire pages etc. Maps could be very abstract, very precise, artistic, sketch-like, could contain drawings of the beasts, regional encounter tables, whatever.

Rough mockup (please image more cool detail, earth texture, buried bones, rat nests and treasure chests to fill the blank space):

Yeah so, in this example the gamemaster uses Tunnel 1 as their main adventure, while using a part of Tunnel 2 (Bone Pits and Magnastone Cavern), and ending it in the Mushrooms area. The gamemaster could also just let Tunnel 2 continue onwards, allowing the PCs to decide whether they want to hop off at the Mushrooms area, or explore this new tunnel to its end. Of course, it could also split up into a new tunnel…

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