Aufstrag Levels Discussion

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TheMetal1
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Aufstrag Levels Discussion

Post by TheMetal1 »

TLG Tweet - July 17, 2012 wrote:Just designated the 21+ levels of Aufstrag. Peter is running ideas on how to show their interactive nature with ramps, stairs, etc
Ok, so first assumption we're looking at a massive dungeon along the lines of Castle Greyhawk, The Castle of the Mad Arch Mage, World's Largest Dungeon, Castle Zagyg, Castle Whiterock, Rappan Athuk, etc. The massive tree dungeon of Aufstrag with it's huge branches and deep roots, will be something. I'm curious though, I figured Aufstrag was going to be the culmination of the A-series. What is the expected starting level. I'm actually hoping it is like 15 to 18, and takes the Players through to the Castle Keeper Guide's expanded levels. Thoughts?

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Re: Aufstrag Levels Discussion

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TheMetal1 wrote:
TLG Tweet - July 17, 2012 wrote:Just designated the 21+ levels of Aufstrag. Peter is running ideas on how to show their interactive nature with ramps, stairs, etc
Ok, so first assumption we're looking at a massive dungeon along the lines of Castle Greyhawk, The Castle of the Mad Arch Mage, World's Largest Dungeon, Castle Zagyg, Castle Whiterock, Rappan Athuk, etc. The massive tree dungeon of Aufstrag with it's huge branches and deep roots, will be something. I'm curious though, I figured Aufstrag was going to be the culmination of the A-series. What is the expected starting level. I'm actually hoping it is like 15 to 18, and takes the Players through to the Castle Keeper Guide's expanded levels. Thoughts?
Aihrde doesn't really have a "hell". Not in the traditional sense of where the damned go. Evil finds its final resting place upon the wretched planes, where the lords are all either chaotic or lawful evil, or rather somewhere in between. Or it is cursed into the undead or finds some other reckoning. But regardless, I don't think of the Wretched Planes as a "hell" where people are tortured for their life's crimes. The Wretched Planes are evil for sure, but not designed for any kind of punishment. They just are.

But as I was working on Aufstrag, whose whole design was for the suffering of others...whether mental or physical or both...where the evil is so oppressive that it inhabits the very stone of the place. Keeping in mind it was created from the still-occupied city of Al Liosh, so all those people who lived there, the good, the bad and the ugly were drug up and into the fabric of Aufstrag, where their bodies remain. This act of senseless violence was so terrible that it lingers. Added to that that this is where Unklar spent a thousand years, torturing the living and the dead...keeping the dead in a state in order to torture them...lording over all and forcing them to do his bidding that it occurred to me that if there is a hell in Aihrde, it is here, in Aufstrag. This is the place where the souls of the truly damned go.

That is the first thing I am trying to capture. Its not a dungeon to be explored and plundered, not in the traditional sense of here is someone's abode where his forgotten treasures lie; he's left traps and tricks and hordes of monsters to confound you. No. This was a city. The chosen home of a god. There are no traps. There are no tricks. There are only the lost souls and the remnants of a city once so utterly tortured and abased that their evil echoes in every hall and corridor.

There is no end game. No final room. No final conquest. No one treasure greater than the next...unless you count taking the Horned God's Throne and ruling Aihrde from the high towers one's goal. Their city is a living city in that it has many powers, some greater than others; but powers that rise and fall. Coburg the Undying rules from the Throne Room. But what does he rule? He dares not travel in open war to the Klarglich as there are powers there beyond his ability. The same goes for the Cabal of Thul wizards. They are powerful on levels that span the Klarglich and the Citadel, but the cannot leave the city by the front gates. The lists go on.

Aufstrag is living. Entering it is a grand adventure; conquering it not really possible. Finishing Aufstrag? I can't imagine such a concept. Even if you cleared all the monsters out of a level, filth would creep back in behind you, settling in the vacant spaces.

As for level spread. If a first level party entered through the Front Gate into the Bone Pit they would most assuredly die. The Bone Pit is first level above the swamps of Aufstrag, but it is the bottom of the Klarglich, all the dead and undead refuse from those Forges is tossed or driven down into the Bone Pits. So the undead madness here alone would be challenging. So beyond the front gate are no halls of welcome, a place for weary merchants to rest tired pack animals and supply a city. Its a massive network of undead terror. So higher level would be advised. However, if one slips into the city through the side of trunk, say 100 feet up through some open window, then perhaps a first level could survive...how long? don't know, maybe he finds a magic crown lying in the dust and rises in power swiftly.

I can't speak for other dungeons, but I don't think of this as a traditional dungeon. Its something different. I don't know what. Its one of the reasons I've shied away from this project. But The Codex is coming out and the "A" series finally winding down. Its high time I did start assembling all those discordant thoughts, concepts and the many adventures into something of a playable whole. And the more I do, the more I want to get into this sucker.

Its the how that we are struggling with. Peter and I are working out a system to bring it to life. One of the hardest things is the levels. Each of the discernible levels has sub-levels.They range from 100-200 feet in height, with corridors, ramps, staircases, etc criss crossing the levels. To make matters worse, Aufstrag is constantly changing. There are those who live there still. They rip down walls, build corridors, new roads, etc etc.

The nice thing is that my plate is finally clearing. So many problems that erupted over the past 2 years are solved and so much more off my plate (with Todd taking over Office Management) that I at last have time to do this.

I hope this helps understand it a little better.

Steve
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Re: Aufstrag Levels Discussion

Post by mgtremaine »

:shock: Awesome that's al I can say.....

Thanks for taking the time to tease us with the delights of your thoughts on this one. Clearly more then a few brain cells went into this.

-Mike

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Re: Aufstrag Levels Discussion

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Troll Lord wrote: Aihrde doesn't really have a "hell". Not in the traditional sense of where the damned go. Evil finds its final resting place upon the wretched planes, where the lords are all either chaotic or lawful evil, or rather somewhere in between...
But as I was working on Aufstrag, whose whole design was for the suffering of others...whether mental or physical or both...where the evil is so oppressive that it inhabits the very stone of the place. Keeping in mind it was created from the still-occupied city of Al Liosh, so all those people who lived there, the good, the bad and the ugly were drug up and into the fabric of Aufstrag, where their bodies remain. This act of senseless violence was so terrible that it lingers. Added to that that this is where Unklar spent a thousand years, torturing the living and the dead...keeping the dead in a state in order to torture them...lording over all and forcing them to do his bidding that it occurred to me that if there is a hell in Aihrde, it is here, in Aufstrag. This is the place where the souls of the truly damned go.

Steve
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Re: Aufstrag Levels Discussion

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Troll Lord wrote:Aufstrag is living. Entering it is a grand adventure; conquering it not really possible. Finishing Aufstrag? I can't imagine such a concept. Even if you cleared all the monsters out of a level, filth would creep back in behind you, settling in the vacant spaces....There is no end game. No final room. No final conquest. No one treasure greater than the next...unless you count taking the Horned God's Throne and ruling Aihrde from the high towers one's goal.
I don't think any of the traditional giant dungeons are about occupying it, Castle Zagyg didn't appear to have an end game, and areas explored ended up reoccupied. So I get the idea of just delving being a grand adventure and of course free some poor wretch or at least putting his or her soul to rest whose been trapped there is motivation. But what do you see as the motivation to get there, why would a party want to go to the very heights or depths of Aufstrag then?

Considering that Aufstrag was designed to be a mockery of the Tree of Life, I though there were be a quest or something dealing with the two. Consider A0 - The Rising Knight you have the mention of the prophecy of the elvish watch towers are mentioned as the means of pointing the Tree. Though what would be interesting is if the Tree of Life did end up being Aufstrag, and that was reason for going there. You know some sort of place the special rose on the throne in Aufstrag and there is a release. The good guys win, etc. Of course the rose they bring won't actually do the job, it will be the half-elvish ranger named Laflana (which means rose in elvish) and her shed blood starts the change in restoring the tree of life.

Or you could just have wastral adventures and murder hobo's come to Aufstrag for bragging rights and the loot. Both work just fine.

Oh yeah, has the gaming group you Trolls run made it to Aufstrag?

I still think that wouild be an interesting idea, along the lines of Balin's intent of going to Moria. Taking a foothold and growing a community while continuing to explore.

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Re: Aufstrag Levels Discussion

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mgtremaine wrote::shock: Awesome that's al I can say.....

Thanks for taking the time to tease us with the delights of your thoughts on this one. Clearly more then a few brain cells went into this.

-Mike
+1 on that!
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Re: Aufstrag Levels Discussion

Post by Omote »

This explanation alone is why Aihrde is such a cool setting.

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Re: Aufstrag Levels Discussion

Post by Rhuvein »

Just beginning to absorb Steve's post. :ugeek:

Pure excellence so far.

Man, . . PCs who are big and bad will be SO drawn to the depths of Aufstrag!!!

I just can't wait for this release!!!

:)
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Re: Aufstrag Levels Discussion

Post by Troll Lord »

TheMetal1 wrote:
Troll Lord wrote:Aufstrag is living. Entering it is a grand adventure; conquering it not really possible. Finishing Aufstrag? I can't imagine such a concept. Even if you cleared all the monsters out of a level, filth would creep back in behind you, settling in the vacant spaces....There is no end game. No final room. No final conquest. No one treasure greater than the next...unless you count taking the Horned God's Throne and ruling Aihrde from the high towers one's goal.
I don't think any of the traditional giant dungeons are about occupying it, Castle Zagyg didn't appear to have an end game, and areas explored ended up reoccupied. So I get the idea of just delving being a grand adventure and of course free some poor wretch or at least putting his or her soul to rest whose been trapped there is motivation. But what do you see as the motivation to get there, why would a party want to go to the very heights or depths of Aufstrag then?

Considering that Aufstrag was designed to be a mockery of the Tree of Life, I though there were be a quest or something dealing with the two. Consider A0 - The Rising Knight you have the mention of the prophecy of the elvish watch towers are mentioned as the means of pointing the Tree. Though what would be interesting is if the Tree of Life did end up being Aufstrag, and that was reason for going there. You know some sort of place the special rose on the throne in Aufstrag and there is a release. The good guys win, etc. Of course the rose they bring won't actually do the job, it will be the half-elvish ranger named Laflana (which means rose in elvish) and her shed blood starts the change in restoring the tree of life.

Or you could just have wastral adventures and murder hobo's come to Aufstrag for bragging rights and the loot. Both work just fine.

Oh yeah, has the gaming group you Trolls run made it to Aufstrag?

I still think that wouild be an interesting idea, along the lines of Balin's intent of going to Moria. Taking a foothold and growing a community while continuing to explore.
Yeah, I meant not disrespect to any of the other larger dungeons. Its all good stuff so far as I'm concerned.

However, to me, Aufstrag has a mythology about it that goes beyond the workings of wizards and delvings of man. Its more like tartarus, in that it looms upon the horizon as the horizon.

In our own games its been such a back drop of the setting and all our adventures for over a decade now that it probably has a much greater standing than in most campaigns. If you just play the world of Aihrde as presented in the Codex, Aufstrag in a city where the dark lords rule. Its a failing of mine when it was first presented. In our game not more than a game or two passes that the dread city is mentioned in some capacity. For instance Chris, who presently plays the mage, constantly refers to. "To the pits of Aufstrag with you!" or "That creature comes from the bowels of Aufstrag." and so on and so on.

That I failed to impart in the Codex of the AWD folio book. Of course, fiction would help and I have several pieces I would like to finish and get out there.

But to answer the whys and wherefores. That is an interesting problem. If you pick up where the A series loosely leaves off you goal is to stop Coburg the Undying from marshaling his armies and invading New Aenoch. To do that you have to enter Aufstrag climb its heights and destroy that immortal soul. Passing through Aufstrag is of course is the real problem.

Otherwise you can do what we are doing in our weekly game. They tangled with a Cull Devil, a devil much more powerful then they. She watched them crawl into a rope trick to rest and then summoned weather to blanket all in snow. She cast a mirror spell from the runes and set it beneath the rope trick. Davis woke up first and came out, seeing an identical rope trick before. If you ever played with Davis he loves doing stuff like this and just crawled from one to the other...the other being into the mirror. Mac was right behind him and dove in. The rest of the party tried to avoid but several failed saves later and they were all in a room far far away. Turns out said room was in Aufstrag.

So the fun began. That was about 6-8 games ago I think. Right now there only objective is to get the heck out of Aufstrag. (Of course Davis cast an Augery and was told the way out is up, so they've climbed 700 feet up to the Citadel and things are getting a little crazy).

So my plan is to seed A13 with a host of reasons why and levels to do with info. From low level to high.

The current project release is set out like this. The Codex of Aihrde will have a ton of new info on Aufstrag with a better description of its place in the mythology of Aihrde. Outline of the levels, main realms within, etc etc. This will give fodder to any desiring to tackle it, but in the meantime work will continue on the Aufstrag by me and Peter.

The largest problem is the maps. Each level has multi-levels and I'm not sure how to do that. Peter assures me it can be done. I asked my son to make me a mindcraft version of Aufstrag but he told me it wouldn't go that high. :shock:

Campaign Note: The party climbed out a long tunnel last night to a ledge overlooking the swamps some 2800 feet below. They were in bad need of rest to get spells and hit points. The ledge lay underneath one of the "branches" of Aufstrag, those long spans that jut out of the roofs of Aufstrag. This one was several hundred feet across and hundreds of feet long (they couldn't tell in the mist). While they were resting they noticed black things falling from the branch above, they were large and plummeted a amazing speeds. Just after passing the ledge they falling stones opened their wings and began flying. It was a pack of wyverns gone a-hunting. Shortly there after Karaghi was knocked off the ledge, the mage turned into a wyvern and went after him. The actual wyverns saw this and a crazy air-borne battle ensued. It was a wild night!

Steve
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Re: Aufstrag Levels Discussion

Post by gideon_thorne »

Troll Lord wrote:
The largest problem is the maps. Each level has multi-levels and I'm not sure how to do that. Peter assures me it can be done. I asked my son to make me a mindcraft version of Aufstrag but he told me it wouldn't go that high. :shock:


Steve
Ya, its not impossible, what Steve wants. Its just complex. There are several ways to approach it, but in the end its not difficult to make a workable product. 8-)
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Re: Aufstrag Levels Discussion

Post by TheMetal1 »

Image

I agree. :)

Following the resurrect an old thread discussion elsewhere in the forum, I felt this one was appropriate with the completion of the Kickstarter for the three sisters. In that kickstarter, 5 stretch goals included the release of 5 levels of the 21 level+ Mega-Dungeon that goes up (and maybe down?) known as Aufstrag. For many of the backers, we'll get to see a map of th entire thing as well. As we wait, I figured this tread would be a great place to gather all the facts as we know them so far. And wild speculation is welcome too. ;)

Here's what we know so far.

Part one - The Bone Pit

Part two - The Horned God's Acre Explores the second floor of the 21+ level megadungeon

Part three - The Gallery of Souls: Climb ever higher into the bowels of the most wicked place in all the world of Aihrde. Here the souls of the wicked and foul are harvested.

Part four - The Red Fort: Climb ever higher into the bowels of the most wicked place in all the world of Aihrde.The abandoned barracks of the Unklar the Horned God's first host. The halls were emptied in the long Winter Dark Wars, but since those days, other creatures have taken up residence. Tis rumored that here lie the interests of the Lord of Flies

Part five - The Hall of Chains: Now you've entered the Klarglich. the second Ward of Aufstrag, here gather the souls of the damned. This level with full size poster art rendering the profile of Aufstrag, the mightiest fortress in the world.

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Re: Aufstrag Levels Discussion

Post by Snoring Rock »

After reading that, I have this strong urge to have my new campaign in Airhde. I have had it set in the Wilderlands like forever. But the nice over-arching backstory to the Aihrde setting keeps luring me to it.

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