Since then, I've been toiling and musing about how to use it for my two home campaigns. It's gone through several iterations. I think I'm ready for the nitty gritty work. It'll use one of these ideas as well.
The Leviathan Dungeon will be about three things:
1. (Un)Dead Arcology
2. Utilizing Language
3. Statecraft Magic
Mixed all together: a fallen Leviathan, the avatar of a now-dead State, preserved underground. Its arms of fortresses and churches, its body made from a nation's people. Its face the Face of The Sovereign. Its greatest servitors still shuffling about, undead. The Sovereign sits dead and defeated upon his throne of corpses, blood-rusted knife in back.
The walls in Leviathan, dead though they are, can still speak. They speak a hundred dead languages, each one tailored to a caste. It was a society where word was social standing. Where servants spoke a different language from the priests, who spoke a different language from the criminals, who spoke a different language from the Sovereign.
You know how in George Orwell's 1984, the government develops "Newspeak" in order to align peoples' capabilities of thought to limit their function to rebel? It's like that, but a bit more variation.
Thousands upon thousands of peasant-class undead, holding up the structure of Leviathan to this day, because in their bequeathed artificial language there are no modes of "No", of negative. Linguistic-neurological workarounds were sealed. Their last command to form Leviathan stands, so even their dead bodies prop up the megastructure to this day.
Inquisitors of Word, with Staffs of Lingual-Interdiction, who still shuffle about, smiting heretical language where it may be found. To them, surface intruders will be as aliens. They will attempt to wipe all modes of communication in the invaders until there is naught but a blank slate. To lose all of one's languages is to become a disordering of chaotic neurons, stunned until some basic mode of understanding is imparted.
The Sovereign, a dead giant, who knew the Language of Command. Every command spoken was of the Command spell. Every word was a Power Word. Every phrase had internal-control forget-syllables to ensure that they could never be reused. Such terrible power, and still he was undone.
Carriers of the Betrayer Language - the disease that ultimately undid the culture. Those who know it are subconsciously driven to betrayal. To understand its words is to unknowingly flirt with disaster.
Babelers, gibbering monstrosities. As Mouthers but without eyes or teeth - they sense by word and breath. The people of the dead society fought and nearly eradicated them with the Deaf Legion, but not in entirety. Hearing their words scrambles comprehension. Those under the progressively worsening Gibbercurse acquire a neuro-associative disease to improperly associate word and object.
The Main Mechanic
Languages Known will be the mode of Hit Points in this dungeon. There will be mechanisms for bequeathing language, and mechanisms for taking it away. To lose all of ones Languages from the surface is to suffer an Ego death. To have nothing but Leviathan's languages is to submit to their culture.
To be left knowing only dead languages is quite a predicament indeed. Moreso for ones that limit modes of thought. Your languages from the surface, even they are savage like Gnoll or Orc, will save you when Common and Elvish are wiped out.
Before it all there is an office building-sized cavern, its entire height taken up by the serene face of The Sovereign. You enter at the face, right through the pupil. There, through the aperture, sits the Master, dead upon his throne.
|Coincidentally, this captures the idea perfectly.|
One Punch Man, S1E3
Additional outline posts TBD.