Not sure if its common to ask for campaign advice but I really need some creative input. I have a simple problem in that I need some kind of enemy grunt that can be a threat to the world because they are seemingly infinite in numbers.
Now the setting is a mix of different things. If you have played dragon age origins you know about the deep roads which I thought was a cool concept. So I wanted to make my players be in some sort of nights watch organization from a song of ice and fire but placed underneath the earth fighting creatures from the "underdark" so to speak. Now for gameplay reasons there will be more than one kind of enemy in the caves like bandits, goblins, liches/necromancers. Perhaps buried dragons even.
But I still need an enemy that just infinitely spawns from the abyss. Which I ripped off from Dark Souls. But I just cant decide on how they should look or if they should talk or not talk at all. Should they appear seemingly intelligent but not interested in communication? I cant decide what would give the best gameplay and hopefully a good dramatic and scary atmosphere.
Pic is their base of operation.
Black pools in the ground or walls. Its just completely black. If they enter it they die. A character they will meet in the beginning stuck his hand through and it turned all gray completely dead. Its not all set in stone since I have a lot more time to plan this but it is most likely another dimension. At one point they can probably enter it though. Lots of strange creatures inside though.
There's a particular strain of Victorian/turn of the century dealing with survivals of subhuman races as explanations for yeti and little peoples (E.F. Benson's 'The Horror-Horn'. Arthur Machen's 'The Red Hand' and to a certain extent Lovecraft's 'The Lurking Fear'). It's never scared me or anything, in fact the whole thing stinks of stuffy Victorian racism, because discovering a new race of surviving humans adapted to subterranean life would be pretty amazing for anthropology.
However, they'd make a great fantasy enemy. Imagine this night watch of yours discovering, after a wall caves in, fucking thousands of these pale, stunted morlock things pouring out the darkness. The entire underdark is absolutely honeycombed with their tunnels, who knows just how deep into the world this goes, how far out across the continent it spreads. There seems to be no end and you can't really tell if they're devolved humans, some other devolved species or their own thing now.
They could have primitive weaponry made of strange dark stone or even have accomplishment smiths making cruel and efficient weaponry. Probably not a lot of armour since their tactics revolve around being fast and silent, never intending to be seen or overwhelming the victim with sheer numbers. They could be blind or see in the dark, or even bioluminescent. Maybe the further down in the planet you go, the freakier these things become. Maybe there's mothers or great brutish fathers. Some kind of terrible progenitor. However, I wouldn't advise introducing too many different types, you really need to hammer in the horde concept so you need many, many identical monsters at once, maybe mix in a few worse mutations.
I don't know what the magic level is in your setting, but they probably have some loathsome totemic cult worshipping monsters that live underground, or ghosts, or some nameless spirits. They might be able to control or direct or manifest these monsters or ghosts.
This might be perfect. Do you have any pictures? Any yes they need some sort of weapons. Do you have any idea how intelligent they would be? And I have this idea now that they can somehow close off these pools of abyss but the caves somehow become deeper and the pools spawn further down into the planet making for more dangerous expeditions. It is seemingly hopeless and the surface world made of 3 kingdoms that hate each other does not seem to cooperate much only sending the dwarfs (who established this nights watch to protect themselves) criminals and beggars. Every once in a while great heroes volunteer or are forced to join because of political reasons.
You could model it after the Greek idea of the underworld - a place where people are stuck in whatever mood and frame of mind they were in at the moment of their death. You would have a hellish landscape of people raging furiously, sobbing inconsolably, or walking around utterly lost and desolate, etc. These 'undead' could be actively hostile, react to player stimuli, or utterly passive as you see fit. You may want to read the portion of The Odyssey where Odysseus visits the underworld to get a good feel for this whole bit.
>I made a setting based off of Dragon Age, Game of Thrones and Dark Souls
First of all, what this anon says >>43057248
The Descent is a great start for underground subhuman cannibal things. Also try the Guy Pierce Time Machine movie just for how the Morlocks in that look. Orcs in the first Lord of the Rings movie, the stunted and nasty looking little fuckers in Moria are another good reference point. The way they crawl and look is great. The Falmer from Skyrim are good for intelligence level, pic related is a Falmer. The Morlocks from the 60s Time Machine movie are larger and more brutish, but also really goofy looking.
Intelligence-wise, less than a man, more than a beast. They're intelligent and cunning, but not in any way that's really relatable to a surface dweller. They probably have some kind of metal weapons since the material is everywhere for them to experiment with. They have ample room to breed and farm all kinds of nasty underground creatures. They might have slave pens and breeding farms for surface races if you want to get weird, but I'd stick with mass kidnappings from the surface to sate their heinous cannibalistic tendencies.
Yup, it's The Lurking Fear. Hundreds of inbred canniabl hill folk monsters living on a mountainside, it's pretty good. The reveal of the sheer number of them always stuck with me.