Advanced Search

Worldbuilding Power: Underground
Quick Preview
Full‑size Preview

Worldbuilding Power: Underground


Use Underground Realms in Character Development, Adventure Design, and Worldbuilding

The concept of an underground world comes straight out of the classic hero’s journey. The hero leaves home, descends into the underworld to be tested, and returns a changed person. It’s the part of the story where the challenges are faced, the glory is earned, and the treasures are acquired. Other mythologies portray realms under the earth to be the land of the dead, where souls go after a person dies. A lot of folklore, and quite a bit of fantasy fiction, depicts underground as the place where evil dwells.

For characters, underground realms are places of legend. Any adventurer worth their salt has descended into the earth to battle all manner of bizarre and terrifying creatures. There are stories of entire civilizations that have fled the light to dwell in darkness, carrying with them an abiding hatred of the surface world that shunned them. Parents frighten their children with tales of the monsters that come up from the deepest caverns, simply to eat naughty boys and girls who don’t finish their porridge.

Antagonists will find the underground to be a place of sanctuary and power. There will be allies there possessed of the same loose morals and twisted ethics. It may be that the underworld is their home, their point of origin, providing a metaphorical if simple explanation for their distorted views and baser desires.

Among common folk, the underworld will represent the unknown. As a place few have ventured, it will be a source of folklore, fear, and superstition. While there may be truth to what passes for common knowledge, it will likely be greatly distorted. The popular version of underground realms, for surface dwellers, will be rooted more in theme and motif than fact.

In this book, we’ll show you how to utilize the underground in your worldbuilding endeavors. You’ll see how it can influence character, setting, and story elements. By the end, you’ll understand how to better utilize underground realms as essential, useful, and entertaining parts of your campaign.

This book is system-agnostic, usable with the fantasy game of your choice. Most of the information, however, is geared toward the familiar tropes and terminology found in “classic” or “legacy” fantasy roleplaying. In the final section we’ll look at how underground realms might affect the mechanics of the Lighthouse System, the universal story game system published by Dancing Lights Press.

 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (0)
Discussions (0)
Narrow Results
 Follow Your Favorites!
NotificationsSign in to get custom notifications of new products!

Product Information
Electrum seller
Publisher Stock #
File Size:
0.88 MB
Original electronic
Scanned image
These products were created by scanning an original printed edition. Most older books are in scanned image format because original digital layout files never existed or were no longer available from the publisher.

For PDF download editions, each page has been run through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to attempt to decipher the printed text. The result of this OCR process is placed invisibly behind the picture of each scanned page, to allow for text searching. However, any text in a given book set on a graphical background or in handwritten fonts would most likely not be picked up by the OCR software, and is therefore not searchable. Also, a few larger books may be resampled to fit into the system, and may not have this searchable text background.

For printed books, we have performed high-resolution scans of an original hardcopy of the book. We essentially digitally re-master the book. Unfortunately, the resulting quality of these books is not as high. It's the problem of making a copy of a copy. The text is fine for reading, but illustration work starts to run dark, pixellating and/or losing shades of grey. Moiré patterns may develop in photos. We mark clearly which print titles come from scanned image books so that you can make an informed purchase decision about the quality of what you will receive.
Original electronic format
These ebooks were created from the original electronic layout files, and therefore are fully text searchable. Also, their file size tends to be smaller than scanned image books. Most newer books are in the original electronic format. Both download and print editions of such books should be high quality.
File Last Updated:
November 12, 2019
This title was added to our catalog on December 13, 2018.