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Underdark Adventures

Lord Zack

Explorer
I'm presently trying to set up an Underdark area for my campaign. I'm wondering how to do it. Primarily the map. I do have the D1 module, but I'm not sure how well the map there will serve as a model, since I'm using a 5 mile per hex map for the surface and I want the two maps to line up. If I used D1 as an example each hex should have multiple tunnels running through them.
 

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Corathon

First Post
Why is it a problem if there are multiple Underdark tunnels beneath each surface hex?

If you want to know how your Underdark and surface maps line up, you can just eyeball it, or you can pencil in the five mile hexes on your Underdark hex map. This is easy to do (see Hex Maps!
for an example, albeit with the large hexes being 4 times the size of the smaller ones, not 5).
 

Mark Hope

Adventurer
Some other large-scale underdark regions are covered in Dungeoneers Survival Guide for 1e (maps with sparse fluff), The Night Below for 2e (immense campaign-in-a-box), and the Forgotten Realms Underdark hardback for 3e (crunch, fluff, maps, the works). These should provide plenty of material to work with, whatever edition or setting you play in, with varying amounts of work required. 3e's Dungeonscape is also good, if you are looking for general advice and 3e-specific crunch.

There was also an awesome, awesome thread here on ENWorld about games set in and around the Sunless Sea, but I lost the link and can't remember what it was called. It was fantastic, though, brimming with outrageous ideas - cities built on stalagtites, ships made from giant undead beetles, weird climactic effects etc etc. Anyone got a link to it?
 

Hand of Evil

Adventurer
Epic
There was also an awesome, awesome thread here on ENWorld about games set in and around the Sunless Sea, but I lost the link and can't remember what it was called. It was fantastic, though, brimming with outrageous ideas - cities built on stalagtites, ships made from giant undead beetles, weird climactic effects etc etc. Anyone got a link to it?

Think this may be it: http://www.enworld.org/forum/genera...n-layout-map-flow-old-school-game-design.html

May be this one: http://www.enworld.org/forum/general-rpg-discussion/194818-sail-sunless-sea.html

Could be: http://www.enworld.org/forum/genera...-tell-me-about-your-underdark-campaign-s.html
 
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Lord Zack

Explorer
Why is it a problem if there are multiple Underdark tunnels beneath each surface hex?

If you want to know how your Underdark and surface maps line up, you can just eyeball it, or you can pencil in the five mile hexes on your Underdark hex map. This is easy to do (see Hex Maps!
for an example, albeit with the large hexes being 4 times the size of the smaller ones, not 5).

The problem is, with that density the tunnels will be really packed together, making the map pretty confusing.
 


Gilladian

Adventurer
There's also no reason every region has to be that dense. In fact, I suspect it should be fairly unusual. When I did a huge area of underdark tunnels for my campaign world, I had lots of regions that were virtually empty of passages, and then small dense knots of caves and tunnels, and then more regions that were pocked with large caves and caverns and seas. All connected up eventually, one way or another, but not all were equally densely packed, nor equally populated.
 

DrunkonDuty

Adventurer
As well as colour coding for depth use different line styles for different 'quality' tunnels. Unbroken line for a series of large tunnels/galleries/chambers that are (relatively) easy travel through; Dashed line for a smaller series of tunnels/et.al. with more travel hazards (sudden drops; narrows; unstable tunnels) ; Dotted line for a series of very difficult tunnels/et.al. (lots of crawling on your belly through tunnels so tight that a medium creature can't turn around in them; sudden plunges; water hazards/flooded tunnels.)

And I'd go for something like a small circle around junctions between different levels to make them more obvious.

And another icon to mark exits to the surface.

just some thoughts.
 


Lord Zack

Explorer
I was thinking of having three levels, each with it's own map. The Upperdark, Middledark and Lowerdark. In any case there would be variance in depth within a "level" as well, so color coding for depth seems like a good idea.
 

Hand of Evil

Adventurer
Epic
I was thinking of having three levels, each with it's own map. The Upperdark, Middledark and Lowerdark. In any case there would be variance in depth within a "level" as well, so color coding for depth seems like a good idea.

My "levels" are:
  • The Halls - mostly dwarven passages, cities and mines -- dungeon crawls are found in the level.
  • The Deeps - Natural caverns and such, this is the no man lands, lots of combat and monsters.
  • The Underdark - Home of the drow and older things.
  • The Vastdark - connections to other planes and forgotten creatures, Mindflayers mmostly.
 


Lord Zack

Explorer
Well actually I'm not sure whether or not I'm going to use the drow in this setting, the primary inhabitants of my Underdark are dwarves and goblins. While we're on the subject how often (w/regards to distance) should settlements occur?
 

Hand of Evil

Adventurer
Epic
Well actually I'm not sure whether or not I'm going to use the drow in this setting, the primary inhabitants of my Underdark are dwarves and goblins. While we're on the subject how often (w/regards to distance) should settlements occur?

I follow the following rule of thumb:
  • 5 to 20 miles out (up, down or sideways) are support settlements to a major city, normally these are five to ten in number and poplulations are as for towns in the DM Guide.
  • 25 to 30 miles out (up, down or sideways) are the outpost settlements to the major city. These are villages and they are few in number and are found on the safer more travelled paths.
  • 35 to 100 miles are the wilderness areas.

If you are color coding, this is easy done as zones around your cities.
 

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