Farydia
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Stonegarden and the Descent

Tue 08 Jun 2021, 11:56

I'm about to run Stonegarden soon-ish. I expect the first one or even two sessions to take place overground with players exploring the city part and getting familiar with the dwarves and they could use a few days of respite right now :P. But I'm also preparing for them to delve into the depths and here I encountered this thing with the "thick air", which lets the dwelvers speak only once at least 200m below the surface. Physically, that is total nonsense, isn't it? I mean, mines nowadays go deep down and air pressure does change with altitude and it impedes your breathing - but not even close to explain this hearing and speaking issue of the dwelvers. (It would basically mean that humans cannot speak when visiting Peru or other high altitude locations.)

So right now I'm not sure if I will just throw out the whole "they cannot speak above ground" or explain it some other way, like a vow they took or just spite / mischief, because they seem to have a low opinion of their surface dwelling descendants anyway.

What did you do with this and how did your group(s) take it? I'd like to collect some ideas here. Thanks :).
 
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Fenhorn
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Re: Stonegarden and the Descent

Tue 08 Jun 2021, 12:10

This is a fantasy setting not a setting based on real life. In real life there are no dragons, magic, elves, trolls, etc. (well, who knows).

So the backstory for the Dwarves, Stonegarden and the Dwelvers are written to fit this setting. Erik Granström (the main setting writer of the game) have written it this way to create an interesting fantasy setting with interesting stories in it. This game and setting, like many other fantasy games and settings aren't based on some sort of kitchen sink realism.

My players knows that this is a fantasy setting where elves have a ruby inside them that somewhat contains their soul so they play their characters with the setting.
“Thanks for noticin' me.” - Eeyore
 
Farydia
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Re: Stonegarden and the Descent

Tue 08 Jun 2021, 12:27

Thanks for the reply. I should maybe have added that I run all my games with the basic premise that in the absence of immediate magical influence, the basic laws of physics apply. It makes running things a lot easier and fairer to the players, if they know that unless there is a mystical influence, the law of gravity will mean that things fall down, high up on mountains it is hard to breathe and the rotation of the planet means that night will follow day and vice versa. Things must make a certain amount of sense within the logic of a setting, otherwise players are not able to devise solutions based on these rules and are not able to distinguish between "this is just goofy" and "there is something actually manipulating things".
And this is one of these occasions where the explanation makes no sense at all. So I'm just trying to come up with something that makes more sense - I'd even take "there is a spell that prevents them from speaking above 200m underground, because...".

Take Vale of the Dead for a much better example: "The sound of the crumhorn damages the Hollow Rock." That's plausible enough and is something the players can work with. "The high pitch of the whiners' voices don't trigger the spores in the temple." Perfectly fine.
But the thick air comes with all sorts of logical problems, e. g. the dwelvers shouldn't be able to breathe before they lose the ability to speak, what effect would air of such density have on surface dwellers? And I don't have answers to these questions, which will inevitably come up during play, because there is no logic behind it.

I hope that made my troubles clearer ;).
 
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Konungr
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Re: Stonegarden and the Descent

Tue 08 Jun 2021, 12:27

You are talking about 1) Not humans. And 2) A world that has quite possibly literally been built up layer by layer by an ancient race (or maybe not. That could just be legend nonsense).

So as to 1. Their biology does not have to make any kind of sense when compared to real world and humans. Something about THEM could mean they need "denser" air to speak properly. This isn't an issue with a 1 to 1 comparison to how humans behave in different altitudes. These things are not even really Dwarves either.

And as to 2. Physics could be anything. There is tower in this world that literally pierces other dimensions as you ascend it and traverse different doors. Even containing entire cities or worlds. Anything could be true. Don't over think it.
 
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Brior
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Re: Stonegarden and the Descent

Tue 08 Jun 2021, 14:07


So as to 1. Their biology does not have to make any kind of sense when compared to real world and humans. Something about THEM could mean they need "denser" air to speak properly.
.
I was thinking along these lines that Konungr mentions. On the other hand, if something feels silly or wrong, you should go ahead and change it! The whole point is to have fun and keep the immersion working. Perhaps the dwelvers simply pretend not to be able to speak ”up there”, as not to have to yap along with the brutes …
 
Farydia
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Re: Stonegarden and the Descent

Tue 08 Jun 2021, 17:44


So as to 1. Their biology does not have to make any kind of sense when compared to real world and humans. Something about THEM could mean they need "denser" air to speak properly.
.
I was thinking along these lines that Konungr mentions. On the other hand, if something feels silly or wrong, you should go ahead and change it! The whole point is to have fun and keep the immersion working. Perhaps the dwelvers simply pretend not to be able to speak ”up there”, as not to have to yap along with the brutes …
I think I could work with #1 somehow, I would just have to think of something that differentiates the air "up there" with air "down below" that sounds halfway plausible. I'd even accept that there's something magical to them that causes this, I just need a qualifier that I can consistently use.
But I also am increasingly warming up to the idea of them just pretending they couldn't speak, just for the heck of it. This sounds like something that would fit the character of the two^^.
 
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Konungr
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Re: Stonegarden and the Descent

Tue 08 Jun 2021, 18:23

They are pale and pasty and live in the really deep recesses of the earth. It could be as simple as they require a different mix of gasses. We choke and wheeze and have a hard time breathing let alone talking in areas with lots of smoke or other gasses. They could require more of a mix of volcanic gasses from closer to the mantle. As they get higher and the air clears more they have a harder time just breathing let alone talking.
 
Farydia
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Re: Stonegarden and the Descent

Tue 08 Jun 2021, 18:32

They are pale and pasty and live in the really deep recesses of the earth. It could be as simple as they require a different mix of gasses. We choke and wheeze and have a hard time breathing let alone talking in areas with lots of smoke or other gasses. They could require more of a mix of volcanic gasses from closer to the mantle. As they get higher and the air clears more they have a harder time just breathing let alone talking.
I like that! That's an inspiration I will definitely start working with. It also implies lots of interesting complications for those whiny surface dwellers^^. My group has that unhealthy tendency to get killed by the environment anyway...
As it turns out, I will have more time to think about this, as they just decided to stumble into the wrong direction (again). :D
 
Mr Oldtimer
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Re: Stonegarden and the Descent

Tue 08 Jun 2021, 18:44

So… don’t explain it. Maybe no one knows why things are the way they are. Or just remove it all together If you don’t like it. Just be prepared your players will have some serious in depth questions on what to encounter down there If they’re able to communicate before they set out.

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