Monday, November 7, 2016

Bound in Ruin

"This post is inspired by the Pan-Dungeonism belief discussed over at Hill Cantons. The blog has some great stuff that has really inspired my hexcrawls. Lots of good stuff here to look at, but the Pan-Dungeonism has really struck a cord in my meat noodle, so here we go!"
All things die in the end. People, animals, even the gods themselves will fade away into the afterlife. This has been the way of the world for eons upon countless eons. Though we ourselves have never set foot upon the blessed paradise of Heaven nor the blasted halls of Hell, we know well that our souls make their long trek home with the guidance of grim, sullen-eyed psychopomps.

And yet, who says that creatures and man are the only ones that descend to oblivion?

There is a tablet from an ancient age when men huddled in mud huts for warmth, and the riddle of steel still hung unanswered in the minds of artificers. Written by pressed reeds is a tale of a world of ruins. An entire universe containing the spiritual remnants of civilization. Ancient ziggurats and step pyramids litter the world as testaments to the ephemeral nature of man. Sullen-eyed spirits troll the blackened wasteland, scavenging for information, architecture, or souls hiding in the rubble from damnation.

There is much to pick from the carcass of civilization. Pieces of broken technology can be found and with the right knowledge, refurbished and reused. Lost knowledge can be discovered and traded for the right price. True names, missing people from one's lineage, architecture secrets, lost treasure... the realm of Ruin is the multiverse's landfill. And if someone could find a way to travel there like the ancients were able to, then they can truly make one man's trash into their own treasure.

But how does one make it into the World of Ruin?

There is the current belief that all places of ruin in our world can lead to the World of Ruin.  Places of decay and destruction... like a dungeon. Ruined temples and keeps, old forts from wars long done, steadings razed to the ground, and crypts and tombs can all take us to the World of Ruin with the knowledge of the right ritual to open up a sinkhole in reality. Entering the World of Ruin through these sinkholes is believed to take you to a mirror image of the dungeon you were in, as it sinks further and further into oblivion. From there, it is theorized that you can travel to other sinking dungeons and come back to the real world in its mirror image. You could start your adventure in a ruined temple in a desert and end it at an ancient alien city frozen in the South Pole. All dungeons in the world are connected by the World of Ruin as a sort of network of crumbling dungeons. The implications of travel are incredible to those looking to exploit it. Colonization, military mobilization, trade. All can be improved if these sinkholes were mapped and the ritual was discovered.

Even without the ritual, dungeons can, after a time, have natural sinkholes form. The older the dungeon is, the further it has sunk into the World of Ruin and the greater a chance that one or even more sinkholes into the World have spawned inside. There have been tales of adventures that have traversed between two dungeons in completely separate continents via these portals. But when taken back to the dungeon, the sinkholes have disappeared. Do they only appear for a small amount of time before vanishing? Do these portals change locations for each adventurer that enters the dungeon? Or is this just another case of adventurers telling tall tales?