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View Full Version : In Regards to Dark Elves & the Underground



Octopusapult
2013-03-26, 06:49 PM
So I'm not a fan of forgotten realms. Faerun just never struck me as fun or entertaining. I've also never known much about Greyhawk, and never read Drow of the Underdark. Actually the only campaign setting I'm even familiar with is Eberron.

So I got this mapper for D&D called hexographer and there's a tile called "Underdark." which I just googled.


TURNS OUT. It's a massive underground dungeon / cavern-ish thing that spans the length of the world and is inhabited primarily by Drow and Illithids among other things...

This is a problem for me. In my homebrew RPG I'm designing, I've got Deep Elves who live underground and are responsible for building most of the worlds random dungeons as homes they've since abandoned or been run out of by various creatures. But their main home is The Labyrinth.

The only difference being that the Labyrinth only runs between two continents under an ocean, and is relatively safe in most places.

So how bad is it? Do you think people are going to see it and think it's an underdark rip? I honestly never knew about the Underdark until a few moments ago, and I wrote this sometime back in early 2012...

GnomeGninjas
2013-03-26, 06:56 PM
So I'm not a fan of forgotten realms. Faerun just never struck me as fun or entertaining. I've also never known much about Greyhawk, and never read Drow of the Underdark. Actually the only campaign setting I'm even familiar with is Eberron.

So I got this mapper for D&D called hexographer and there's a tile called "Underdark." which I just googled.


TURNS OUT. It's a massive underground dungeon / cavern-ish thing that spans the length of the world and is inhabited primarily by Drow and Illithids among other things...

This is a problem for me. In my homebrew RPG I'm designing, I've got Deep Elves who live underground and are responsible for building most of the worlds random dungeons as homes they've since abandoned or been run out of by various creatures. But their main home is The Labyrinth.

The only difference being that the Labyrinth only runs between two continents under an ocean, and is relatively safe in most places.

So how bad is it? Do you think people are going to see it and think it's an underdark rip? I honestly never knew about the Underdark until a few moments ago, and I wrote this sometime back in early 2012...
Yes, most will think it is an Underdark rip-off. They probably won't believe you if you try to tell them that you never heard of the Underdark until March of 2013, it is a pretty well-known concept in dnd. I've heard of it without reading Faerun, Greyhawk, or Drow of the Underdark. I believe it is mentioned in Monster Manual 1.

Octopusapult
2013-03-26, 07:57 PM
Yes, most will think it is an Underdark rip-off. They probably won't believe you if you try to tell them that you never heard of the Underdark until March of 2013, it is a pretty well-known concept in dnd. I've heard of it without reading Faerun, Greyhawk, or Drow of the Underdark. I believe it is mentioned in Monster Manual 1.

I've been aware that it's a thing. I didn't know I had almost copied it exactly to my own setting until a few hours ago...

I still want to keep the Labyrinth. But I'm thinking of changing it to be a gigantic petrified worm or snake or something, and moving the Deep Elves main kingdom to a different area. They'd still be the primary race in the Labyrinth, but it wouldn't be their "home."

Think that solves the issue?

Geordnet
2013-03-26, 09:36 PM
Really, it depends on how much the concept of "being a rip-off" bothers you.

Because, if you think about it there really isn't such a thing as a "new idea". Everything is just rehashed old ideas, in the end.

Anyways, I personally wouldn't see it as much of a problem. Every traditional fantasy setting ever could be seen as a rip-off of Middle-Earth, after all. But then again, your mileage may vary on this one.

The concept of the fossilized giant worm sounds really cool, though. :smallbiggrin:

(Edit: you could even name the giant worm Ouroboros, that would be very cool.)

Octopusapult
2013-03-26, 09:51 PM
Why not keep it as is? The Underdark has been a part of D&D since at least 1st Edition, and it's in almost every official campaign setting that I know. Eberron's Khyber could be seen as a rip-off of the traditional Underdark, but the Underdark itself could be seen as a rip-off of the mythical Underworld.

I'm not writing this for D&D. It's a new game entirely with a different level system.

Yeah Khyber could be considered as such, I didn't think about it...


Really, it depends on how much the concept of "being a rip-off" bothers you.

Because, if you think about it there really isn't such a thing as a "new idea". Everything is just rehashed old ideas, in the end.

Anyways, I personally wouldn't see it as much of a problem. Every traditional fantasy setting ever could be seen as a rip-off of Middle-Earth, after all. But then again, your mileage may vary on this one.

The concept of the fossilized giant worm sounds really cool, though. :smallbiggrin:

(Edit: you could even name the giant worm Ouroboros, that would be very cool.)

I think I've got something original with my world. Then again I thought the Labyrinth was an original idea, so what the hell do I know...

But thank you for the compliment. Ouroboros sounds like it's from Resident Evil.

Synvallius
2013-03-27, 11:54 AM
Just as Geordnet said, it's all a matter of how much "creative duplication" (propaganda speak for ripping something off) bothers you. If you really care, than hang on for the long hall (I know, I'm that way, if I realize that a name I've come up with is actually from something else, I can't use it, and I take an exceedingly long amount of time to come up with names), but I'd suggest just putting it aside and saying "who really cares?" In the end it's more about how the idea is pulled off rather than what it's based off of.

Octopusapult
2013-03-27, 12:33 PM
Just as Geordnet said, it's all a matter of how much "creative duplication" (propaganda speak for ripping something off) bothers you. If you really care, than hang on for the long hall (I know, I'm that way, if I realize that a name I've come up with is actually from something else, I can't use it, and I take an exceedingly long amount of time to come up with names), but I'd suggest just putting it aside and saying "who really cares?" In the end it's more about how the idea is pulled off rather than what it's based off of.

Good point... thanks, I'll probably change it to the petrified worm, but keep the premise the same. I feel like that creates enough of a difference to not be immediately identified as "Underdark."

Geordnet
2013-03-27, 01:10 PM
But thank you for the compliment. Ouroboros sounds like it's from Resident Evil.
You're welcome.

And the name "Ouroboros" comes from the truly ancient symbol of a serpent biting it's own tail (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ouroboros). Now, it sounds like this particular serpent (or worm, wyrm or whatever) isn't necessarily doing that; but as you've noted it's a very thematic name, which also happens to carry a bit of real-life symbolism.

(This, I think, is the exact opposite of what you're worried about: those few who actually recognize the name will think it's very cool that you included it.)


PS:
(Also, it sounds like you've used the proper definition of a Labyrinth, which is unicursal. That alone makes your Labyrinth better than most others, IMO.)

Octopusapult
2013-03-27, 02:31 PM
You're welcome.

And the name "Ouroboros" comes from the truly ancient symbol of a serpent biting it's own tail (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ouroboros). Now, it sounds like this particular serpent (or worm, wyrm or whatever) isn't necessarily doing that; but as you've noted it's a very thematic name, which also happens to carry a bit of real-life symbolism.

(This, I think, is the exact opposite of what you're worried about: those few who actually recognize the name will think it's very cool that you included it.)


PS:
(Also, it sounds like you've used the proper definition of a Labyrinth, which is unicursal. That alone makes your Labyrinth better than most others, IMO.)

I knew that... damn video games rotting my brain.

And yes. The idea was to create a tunnel so large and winding, but could be mapped out without ever lifting a pencil from the page. An important part of the world (and a job in a fantasy world which I've always viewed as underrated) are the Cartographers who put it together on paper. The world is always expanding around the civilizations, and the cartographers are always tasked to move to these literal fringes and see what new land is coming into creation.

And I wanted the Labyrinth to be a sort of running joke for them. That it's entirely possible to map it out accurately without lifting your pen, but only one person has ever done it and he's become a sort of revered demi-god of cartography for his efforts.

C.J.Geringer
2013-03-30, 07:50 AM
I would just like to say that both the concept of a subterranean world and elfs(or related creatures), that live there is much older than D&D.

The whole "subterranean world" thing is found in a lot of mythologies, so you really shouldnīt worry, the underdark isnīt really that original, like many things in D&D it is just a interpretation of old myths.

I also have large cave systems in my world spanning great distances because it is a concept I found interesting when reading mythology books as a kid.

Octopusapult
2013-03-30, 08:20 AM
I would just like to say that both the concept of a subterranean world and elfs(or related creatures), that live there is much older than D&D.

The whole "subterranean world" thing is found in a lot of mythologies, so you really shouldnīt worry, the underdark isnīt really that original, like many things in D&D it is just a interpretation of old myths.

I also have large cave systems in my world spanning great distances because it is a concept I found interesting when reading mythology books as a kid.

I don't mind that at all. Actually I wanted to implement a live version of Plato's Cave somewhere in the game for the PC's to find. (Which I realize isn't "mythology" but still...)

I just don't want people to see it and say "This is the underdark."

Even though I can say it came from mythology or make the argument that I made here, which is that I honestly didn't know any different, I don't think it'd work in a general sense. Plus changing it to a giant petrified worm and making it more popular and travel-friendly is easy enough, and hopefully different enough, that I avoid the correlation.

Zireael
2013-04-02, 08:42 AM
I don't mind that at all. Actually I wanted to implement a live version of Plato's Cave somewhere in the game for the PC's to find. (Which I realize isn't "mythology" but still...)

This is a nice idea!