Saturday 9 June 2018

Dungeon Concept - L-Space

With apologies to the late Terry Pratchett, who's ideas I'm unashamedly nicking.

Here's the basic foundation from the diskworld novels.
Books are collections of knowledge, and Knowledge = Power
Anybody who has studied high-school physics knows; Power = Energy over Time
And according to Einstein, Energy and Mass are interchangeable, and mass warps space time.
So the power contained in a book will warp spacetime as time progresses. That's just logic, right?
Ergo, any sufficiently good library will have highly warping effects on the space it occupies. To quote Pterry,  "[a] good bookshop is just a genteel blackhole that knows how to read." The books go on to posit that all sufficiently dense libraries connect into one huge extradimensional 'L-Space'.

So, there's your setup. A library dimension accessible through any good enough normal library. Corridors and shelves that wind around and fold in on themselves and multiply fractaly. A non-euclidian layout with imaginary dewey-decimal numbers.
If I end up making this, it'd be a similar setup to how I did Ynn. Procedurally generating points of interest that form a linked network that goes ever deeper, and gets weirder as you get deeper. The same basic structure (location + features, roll for events every turn, navigate by 'Go Deeper' vs 'Go Back' vs 'Explore Here', depth shifting you up and down the random tables).

So, why is this interesting? Well, L-space is effectively a genteel megadungeon. Remember, Knowledge = Power, and Power Corrupts. Thus, the warping effect of the books on the world around them will produces all sorts of interesting weirdness. Monsters might be transformed librarians, characters escaped from the books written about them, animated books, things that have made their way in from other dimensions via shared L-Space. Weird features like rooms filled with candles, spacial anomalies, sealed vaults of censored materials. Spellbooks that have gotten even stranger under the altering effects of L-Space.

Why go in? The place is obviously totally packed with books, so in order that it's not a total XP-For-Gold bonanza, I'd say that only particularly noteable books are going to be worth XP. On the other hand, L-Space contains all the books you could want. Need an atlas that maps that new continent you're voyaging to? Go to L-Space. Need the historical records of that ancient evil? L-Space. Looking for a particular rare spell? L-space. Dictionaries of dead languages? L-Space.

So yeah. Not sure when I'll develop it, but the idea is there knocking about in my head.


  1. aka Borges' Library of Babel ...

    1. Key difference: The books in L-space are full of information, whereas the books in Borge's library contain zero information.

      If you take a description of a rhinoceros from L-space, you are drawing from all existing descriptions, past and future. There is a good chance you will get something misleading, but the vast majority will be at least somewhat correct.

      If you take a description of a rhinoceros from the Library of Babel, you are drawing from all possible descriptions, and you will get something completely incorrect with a probability very close to 1.

  2. If you develop this I will IMMEDIATELY buy it.

  3. This got me thinking about bookshops, second hand especially, and then curiosity shops I’ve seen depicted on film/tv. Perhaps even tenuosly other second hand shops if they also have stacks of books. So as a way of travelling between places or worlds from locations joined to L-space by the “book essence” via l-space. And room perhaps for odd things, curios, whatever.

    And for experience, some games use trips/adventures rather than xp. Sharp swords and sinister spells, maze rats, into the odd, rats in the walls. So many adventures and you level up. For an L-space game that may be a viable alternative.

    1. Second-hand book stores were also mentioned as being connected to L-Space in the original bit from the Discworld book. Guards! Guards!, I think.

  4. Another thought. Knights of the Book - an order that links L-space with your knightly orders. I can see a rather odd feeling game coming out of these ideas.

  5. "Thus, the warping effect of the books on the world around them will produces all sorts of interesting weirdness."

    Libraries are Chaos! They will be destroyed and the books burned!

  6. I need this in my life. Is there a Kickstarter? An Indiegogo? Should we just fire cash at you with one of those t-shirt cannons?

  7. There could be times when the PCs find the information they need, but it's in an incomprehensible format, so they need another quest, to find a copy of it they can work with, or find someone who knows how to read Quipu, or whatever. I could also see potential for conflict through misunderstandings with librarians from species so different that both parties mistake the others for monsters. And then, of course, there are the actual monsters. Kickstool Crabs and such.

    Don't forget your ball of string!