[Let's Read] The Nightmares Underneath

Random Goblin

Esquire
Validated User
#81
The party has to wait until another incursion happens, and it will, before they can enter the deeper lairs.
Meaning that they wait until the incursion forms or attaches itself to a level 1 Lair, and the PCs have to go through it first, and have the same problem? Or until the level 2 Lair attaches itself directly to the KoD somewhere potentially completely different, and the players have to hit the incursion one Lair at a time, like whack-a-mole? If they ever even find it again? Then what is the point of having the Lairs be connected to each other,

That is a good question. How I would interpret it is they are not lost in the inner lairs. When the party claims an anchor and the lair collapses, the party within it returns to the Kingdom of Dreams unless they move to another lair before then. Otherwise it would be much harder to play a higher level game. There is no version of Plane Shift in The Nameless Grimoire.
Right, but the payers certainly could move to another Lair before the lvl 1 Lair collapses. Unless you view the collapse process as relatively sudden and completely preventing entry into any room that doesn't usher the players back to the surface. But then we have the same problem as above.
 

DMH

Master of Mutant Design
Validated User
#82
Meaning that they wait until the incursion forms or attaches itself to a level 1 Lair, and the PCs have to go through it first, and have the same problem? Or until the level 2 Lair attaches itself directly to the KoD somewhere potentially completely different, and the players have to hit the incursion one Lair at a time, like whack-a-mole? If they ever even find it again? Then what is the point of having the Lairs be connected to each other,
A level 2 lair can not connect directly the the Kingdom of Dreams. A nightmare must obtain a level 1 anchor and form the connection between them.

And the lairs do not wander in some middle plane between Nightmare and Dream, so the entrance will be in the same general location as the previous Lair 1.

Right, but the payers certainly could move to another Lair before the lvl 1 Lair collapses. Unless you view the collapse process as relatively sudden and completely preventing entry into any room that doesn't usher the players back to the surface. But then we have the same problem as above.
What problem? If they are in the level 9 Lair, take its anchor and sit still, they will return to the Kingdom of Dreams, fading back into that reality. And really ticking off the nightmares who lost their connection to home.
 

Random Goblin

Esquire
Validated User
#83
A level 2 lair can not connect directly the the Kingdom of Dreams. A nightmare must obtain a level 1 anchor and form the connection between them.
(I'm not sure that's true--the level 2 Lair in City of Poison connects directly to KoD, but let's assume you're right)

  • Okay so a party of PCs goes into a L1 Lair, defeats the nightmare, retrieves the anchor, and goes back out.
  • The L1 Lair collapses, leaving the L2-L4 Tunnel Incursion unattached.
  • After an undefined amount of time, the L2-L4 Tunnel attaches itself to an existing freestanding L1 Lair in the immediate vicinity (if there is one), or forms a new one (if there isn't one).
  • So the players have to discover the second or new L1 Lair entrance, without any particular way to know when it attaches to the L2-L4 Tunnel left over from the first L1 Lair. (Like AFAIK there's no way to actively search to find out where the rest of your dungeon wandered off to this time.)
  • Once they have done that, they can enter through the new L1 Lair.
  • But if they defeat the new L1 Lair and take its anchor, it will collapse, leaving us in the same situation.
  • So if they want to get to the L2 Lair in the incursion, they have to leave the L1 Lair intact (and not get the XP from the anchor). But there's no real way to know ahead of time that this new L1 Lair is actually attached to the old L2-L4 structure (as opposed to just being, e.g., an entirely new Tunnel Incursion), so there's no a priori reason to leave the new L1 intact and not take its anchor. So that's a big problem there, but let's assume that the PCs know, somehow, so they thoroughly explore the new L1 Lair in order to find the way to the L2 Lair, but without disturbing the new L1's anchor.
  • So then they delve and defeat the L2 Lair and take its anchor, which causes it to collapse, ushering the PCs out.
  • After some unknown period of time, the rest of the L3-L4 Tunnel Incursion re-attaches; we'll make it simple and say it does this by forming a new L2 Lair link to the existing L1 Lair (i.e., the second one, that the PCs are purposely not defeating). How do the PC's even know when this happens? Do they keep checking back into the L1 Lair and thoroughly exploring it for new tunnels, but without taking its anchor?
  • So the PCs can try their hand at the L3 Lair, but again, the only way to do this is to thread their way through the L1 and new L2 Lairs without defeating them.
  • Process repeats: the PC's defeat the L3 Lair, they are ushered back out, the link is severed, and the PCs wait for L4 to re-attach tiself to the L1-L2 structure via a brand new L3 Lair link. Somehow the PCs know when this happens (periodically delving through L1 and L2 without defeating them, just to check if somewhere in the L2 Lair a new exit has formed).
  • Once the new L3 Lair link forms, the PCs again hustle through L1-L2 to the new L3 Lair, thoroughly explore the new L3 Lair without taking its anchor in order to find the way to L4 (if there even is one) without breaking the link again, and not really getting any XP for doing this any of these times.
  • Finally, when the PCs find their way to the L4 Lair, they can explore it and defeat it and scramble back through the L1-L3 structure.
  • So the players have finally defeated the incursion...except that they have left a completely intact L1-L3 Tunnel Incursion full of anchors and nightmares and monsters. Fully explored at this point, sure, but still fully intact.
  • So to really shut the whole thing down they have to hustle through L1-L2 to defeat L3, hustle back, then hustle through L1 to defeat L2, hustle back, and then finally actually take the anchor from the L1 Lair.

I'm just not sure this was thought through very well. It's like a video game where, after you beat the first level, but before you can beat level 2, it grows a new first level that you still have to beat (which would cause another first level you would have to beat) or run through without actually beating, in order to get to level 2, ad infinitum.

What are the alternatives? Doing it all at once and never returning to the KoD between Lairs? I don't think that was really supposed to be the idea. And anyway, you still would have to do it by exploring your way all the down to L4 without actually defeating L1-L3 (so they re-stock), and then fighting your way backwards from L4 to L1 and then out. But I also don't think that was supposed to be the idea either.

What problem? If they are in the level 9 Lair, take its anchor and sit still, they will return to the Kingdom of Dreams, fading back into that reality. And really ticking off the nightmares who lost their connection to home.
I mean the problem that if you do this in an L1 Lair, you can't actually get to the L2 Lair afterward without fighting through another L1 Lair first.
 
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Leliel

SJ Road Warrior
Validated User
#84
(I'm not sure that's true--the level 2 Lair in City of Poison connects directly to KoD, but let's assume you're right)

  • Okay so a party of PCs goes into a L1 Lair, defeats the nightmare, retrieves the anchor, and goes back out.
  • The L1 Lair collapses, leaving the L2-L4 Tunnel Incursion unattached.
  • After an undefined amount of time, the L2-L4 Tunnel attaches itself to an existing freestanding L1 Lair in the immediate vicinity (if there is one), or forms a new one (if there isn't one).
  • So the players have to discover the second or new L1 Lair entrance, without any particular way to know when it attaches to the L2-L4 Tunnel left over from the first L1 Lair. (Like AFAIK there's no way to actively search to find out where the rest of your dungeon wandered off to this time.)
  • Once they have done that, they can enter through the new L1 Lair.
  • But if they defeat the new L1 Lair and take its anchor, it will collapse, leaving us in the same situation.
  • So if they want to get to the L2 Lair in the incursion, they have to leave the L1 Lair intact (and not get the XP from the anchor). But there's no real way to know ahead of time that this new L1 Lair is actually attached to the old L2-L4 structure (as opposed to just being, e.g., an entirely new Tunnel Incursion), so there's no a priori reason to leave the new L1 intact and not take its anchor. So that's a big problem there, but let's assume that the PCs know, somehow, so they thoroughly explore the new L1 Lair in order to find the way to the L2 Lair, but without disturbing the new L1's anchor.
  • So then they delve and defeat the L2 Lair and take its anchor, which causes it to collapse, ushering the PCs out.
  • After some unknown period of time, the rest of the L3-L4 Tunnel Incursion re-attaches; we'll make it simple and say it does this by forming a new L2 Lair link to the existing L1 Lair (i.e., the second one, that the PCs are purposely not defeating). How do the PC's even know when this happens? Do they keep checking back into the L1 Lair and thoroughly exploring it for new tunnels, but without taking its anchor?
  • So the PCs can try their hand at the L3 Lair, but again, the only way to do this is to thread their way through the L1 and new L2 Lairs without defeating them.
  • Process repeats: the PC's defeat the L3 Lair, they are ushered back out, the link is severed, and the PCs wait for L4 to re-attach tiself to the L1-L2 structure via a brand new L3 Lair link. Somehow the PCs know when this happens (periodically delving through L1 and L2 without defeating them, just to check if somewhere in the L2 Lair a new exit has formed).
  • Once the new L3 Lair link forms, the PCs again hustle through L1-L2 to the new L3 Lair, thoroughly explore the new L3 Lair without taking its anchor in order to find the way to L4 (if there even is one) without breaking the link again, and not really getting any XP for doing this any of these times.
  • Finally, when the PCs find their way to the L4 Lair, they can explore it and defeat it and scramble back through the L1-L3 structure.
  • So the players have finally defeated the incursion...except that they have left a completely intact L1-L3 Tunnel Incursion full of anchors and nightmares and monsters. Fully explored at this point, sure, but still fully intact.
  • So to really shut the whole thing down they have to hustle through L1-L2 to defeat L3, hustle back, then hustle through L1 to defeat L2, hustle back, and then finally actually take the anchor from the L1 Lair.

I'm just not sure this was thought through very well. It's like a video game where, after you beat the first level, but before you can beat level 2, it grows a new first level that you still have to beat (which would cause another first level you would have to beat) or run through without actually beating, in order to get to level 2, ad infinitum.

What are the alternatives? Doing it all at once and never returning to the KoD between Lairs? I don't think that was really supposed to be the idea. And anyway, you still would have to do it by exploring your way all the down to L4 without actually defeating L1-L3 (so they re-stock), and then fighting your way backwards from L4 to L1 and then out. But I also don't think that was supposed to be the idea either.
Yeah, you're missing the part where stealth and escape are entirely valid ideas. It's entirely reasonable to send off probing missions to outline what the interior of the incursion looks like and then making a plan to steal the anchors in one fell swoop. Also, the Lairs don't restock-they have an endless supply of the Crown, but the monsters who die remain, and the traps remain disarmed.

It's a horror game, at least in part; having to think long and hard about whether or not you should break the connection to an Incursion that hasn't been entirely defeated yet and get stronger for when it reconnects, knowing it will be unpredictable, is entirely in-genre.
 

Johnstone

Registered User
Validated User
#85
It's like a video game where, after you beat the first level, but before you can beat level 2, it grows a new first level that you still have to beat (which would cause another first level you would have to beat) or run through without actually beating, in order to get to level 2, ad infinitum.
That's one possible option, yup, although that's kind of the weakness of tunnel incursions.

Another option is to have the mundane entrance then lead straight to the Level 2 area. Or if the PCs bypass the Level 1 area and destroy the Level 2 area, the passageways linking Level 2 to Levels 1 and 3 would now link with each other. The PCs could destroy the anchor in the Level 2 area and then move into the Level 3 area, but any rooms in the Level 2 area would disappear after they left them, leaving only the passageway(s) between Level 1 and Level 3. I probably could have described this more explicitly in the rulebook.

The multi-level tunnel incursion that always presents a new Level 1 area when it starts is a legit dungeon style, but if it doesn't appeal to you as a GM, it's cool not to use it. There are hive incursions and zone incursions too!

On the other hand, if the players get annoyed at waiting for incursions to show up, they do have the ability to invest in social institutions that could help them track down incursions. You just have to decide whether the thing they want requires a notable, significant, or exceptional institution.

All that said, the main reason incursions collapse is so that once the players finish with an area, I can just take it off the map and they don't have to wander through it again like they would in a normal megadungeon. It's not explicitly meant to be another method to give the players grief (that's just an option).
 

Johnstone

Registered User
Validated User
#86
A level 2 lair can not connect directly the the Kingdom of Dreams. A nightmare must obtain a level 1 anchor and form the connection between them.
Some of the illustrations do kind of suggest this, but it's only the nightmare creatures that have to be Level 1 to touch the mortal world, not the incursions themselves (also, I don't actually like this rule anymore! I like it better when higher-level nightmare creatures can also emerge into the world, just for a shorter length of time). A tunnel incursion could start at Level 3, and a hive incursion could be a single area that is Level 7, for example, whatever the GM thinks is best.
 

Johnstone

Registered User
Validated User
#87
There is no version of Plane Shift in The Nameless Grimoire.
Arcane Portal will get you to another plane! The description says it explicitly miscasts inside a nightmare incursion though, so it's not a reliable way to get out of them.

But yeah, I probably should have written that humans can't get trapped in a nightmare incursion that isn't connected to the Earth (or at least Faerie, maybe), instead of just anchor-less incursions.
 

Random Goblin

Esquire
Validated User
#88
Another option is to have the mundane entrance then lead straight to the Level 2 area. Or if the PCs bypass the Level 1 area and destroy the Level 2 area, the passageways linking Level 2 to Levels 1 and 3 would now link with each other. The PCs could destroy the anchor in the Level 2 area and then move into the Level 3 area, but any rooms in the Level 2 area would disappear after they left them, leaving only the passageway(s) between Level 1 and Level 3. I probably could have described this more explicitly in the rulebook.
Excellent, that sounds great and is what I am going to go with. Thanks!

All that said, the main reason incursions collapse is so that once the players finish with an area, I can just take it off the map and they don't have to wander through it again like they would in a normal megadungeon. It's not explicitly meant to be another method to give the players grief (that's just an option).
Yeah, I was pretty sure that was the intent, but it read to me like a finished level would always be replaced with a new level, which is actually seemed way worse, and grind-y.

Yeah, you're missing the part where stealth and escape are entirely valid ideas. It's entirely reasonable to send off probing missions to outline what the interior of the incursion looks like and then making a plan to steal the anchors in one fell swoop. Also, the Lairs don't restock-they have an endless supply of the Crown, but the monsters who die remain, and the traps remain disarmed.
I didn't miss anything at all--I'm a longtime OSR aficionado and I know all about stealth and escape as entirely valid ideas. The problem was that it read to me like they were the only viable ideas, and that didn't seem like it's what was intended.
 

vitruvian

Registered User
Validated User
#89
General question, because it is not entirely clear to me from the text of the main book... I understand that specific nightmare incursion dungeons collapse when their anchors are either destroyed or removed. However, if they are removed to be either hoarded or sold on as treasure, how often is it intended that they go on to spawn new incursions where they are now housed, e.g., in the treasure vaults of the esteemed caliph? As far as I can tell, if not destroyed, all the same factors which allowed them to serve as anchors in the first place would remain...
 

Johnstone

Registered User
Validated User
#90
General question, because it is not entirely clear to me from the text of the main book... I understand that specific nightmare incursion dungeons collapse when their anchors are either destroyed or removed. However, if they are removed to be either hoarded or sold on as treasure, how often is it intended that they go on to spawn new incursions where they are now housed, e.g., in the treasure vaults of the esteemed caliph? As far as I can tell, if not destroyed, all the same factors which allowed them to serve as anchors in the first place would remain...
Yeah, I tried to leave stuff for individual GMs to fill in, but mostly I assume that there is either some kind of instigating event or a special circumstance that allows the Nightmare Realm to attach itself to an anchor, rather than just the power of the emotions attached to the object itself. This is probably a good subject for a random table, so I should give it some more thought.

So like a tragic accident or some extreme violence that separates an object from its owner, or if a treasure has been lost in a dungeon for a long time, nightmares can creep up on it. Or the more obvious situation where a wizard messed around with powerful magics and the nightmares contaminated something / anything / everything nearby.

It would be kind of weird, and super dangerous, if they could just randomly snatch an expensive painting owned by the sultan, and bam! now his foyer drives people mad. But sure, some items could pull in strands of nightmare wherever they go, even after those strands are brushed away (for example, the knives of the Glass Thieves on page 337).
 
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