Elves. Long haired, pointy-eared, dandelion eating, pompous, lithe assholes that've become a staple of modern fantasy. Why? Because J.R.R. Tolkien was crazy for them. Just loved them. Went so far as to write a language and songs for 'em. Obsession, plan and simple. Nerds, in turn, being the most sway-able of creatures, latched on to them. There was, however, one man who stood against Tolkien, One man, a Hugo Dyson, who, when faced with unending hordes of Tolkien stories containing elves, was brave enough to roll on the couch, face covered, and scream "Oh, God, not more elves!"

Truly, the hero we deserve.

And really though, why elves? Why? They've all benefits and no downside. Unaging, walking on snow, seeing things perfectly, hanging out with gods when they get bored of not having to do anything for a living. Besides their ability to be killed by sadness and their apparent lust for dwarves, what faults have they? None. How interesting is that? It ain't. What do they know about the human condition? Nothing.

I say get rid of them. And, as a replacement, I offer:

The Woodwose

The Woodwose are mortal creatures of the Forests, rather than City or Stone. Given years limited just as the humans and dwarves, though shorter by far (forty years at best), they do not fill their days with the hassles of government or apprenticeship. They instead fill their days with song and drink. And fornication. So much fornication. Where the other mortals sport on football, stickball, or some dwarf game (probably involves drinking and headbutting), the Woodwose so sport with seduction.

As with the other two mortal races, there are various types of Woodwose, the two predominant sort being the Bush and Deep Woodwose

Bush Woodwose
The Bush Woodwose, sometimes called Fauns, live the closest to other civilizations. Appearing as half men (and women), half goat creatures, Fauns stand roughly five and a half feet tall. While goat horns are the norm, individuals with deer antlers are not unheard of and are almost always a natural at magical arts. As quick with a song as they are climbing cliffs, it is said the Bush Woodwose gave the gift of music to humans, who, in return, tried to offer the strange concept of clothing. While they do not prefer it, Bush Woodwose will often dawn the strange woven fabric when in mixed company, as humans are cursed by modesty. They're largely against anything heavier than leather armor.

  • Charisma stat must be higher than strength. They are known for their charms, but not their physical prowess
    • (or +2 charisma, -2 strength for d20 system)
  • Bush Woodwose are known to help travelers lost on the road. Any Faun with Wis 13+ instinctively know which way is North. 
  • Probably got some bonus to climbing cliffs, what with the goat hooves. Get a minus when trying to sneak on stone though. You also lose the ability to wear boots. 

Drink Booze, Play Pipes

Deep Woodwose
Deep Woodwose, are Satyrs, live the farthest from the other civilizations, deep in the mysterious places of the forests. Usually standing six foot even, the Deep Woodwose tend to be more bestial in their appearance. Further, they tend to be more in touch with nature and the secrets of the world than their Faun cousins, giving to pursuit of knowledge rather than drinking and song, privy to secrets whispered on the forest breeze or gleaned from the depths of arboreal ponds. However, like their cousins they aren't prone to clothing, but do wear armor of living wood (or perhaps they're partly wood), carved in intricate patterns.

  • Wisdom must be higher than strength. Deep Woodwoses are known for their council, but not feats of strength. 
    • (+2 wisdom, -2 strength)
  • Once per day, while gazing into at least a gallon of fresh, clean water, Deep Woodwose may ask questions up to their Wisdom in word length
    • example: a Wisdom 12 Satyr can ask 3 four word questions; 4, three word questions; 2 six word questions; 12 one word questions, etc. per day
  • Their armor will repair itself, if left half planted in fertile soil  
  • Can't climb as well as Fauns, as their hooves tend to be bigger, but still have trouble when stealthing on stone. You also can't wear boots. Clop clop, motherfucker. 
  • Take extra damage from oxidized iron.
OBVIOUSLY, this is what I was picturing


While the Woodwose acknowledge gods, they don't tend to worship them as the other races do. For the most part, with such limited years, and so much to drink, they just can't seem to spare the time. The closest approximation to the Woodwose religion would be nature worshipping.

Gender for the gods is meaningless, and not entirely correct, but for the ease of typing out this dang thing, they're referred to by the form they usually take.

Talamh, the Sleeping Earth
The Father who gave life to all things, He sleeps eternal, his work completed. Occasionally he stirs, troubled by dreams, creating earthquakes. His blood is lava, his bones minerals.

Sruth, the Exploring River
The Mother who gave life to all things, She embraces her husband, soothing his wounds and comforting his sleep. The babbling of water is her loving whispers.

Speir, the Everwatching Sky
Servant of the Mother and Father, He watches over their creations. He provides sun when growing is needed, and rain when they grow thirsty. The wind is his voice, providing secrets to those who know how to listen.

Doitean, the Tricking Fire
The Lover who is jealous of the Talamh, for He could never have the attention or affection of Sruth. He waits, plotting, and has given his secrets to men, who unknowing serve in his works. Often he strikes out against Cran, who he sees as the product of a love he could never know.

Cran, the Shepard of Trees
The Child of Talamh and Sruth, They tend to the Trees that give shelter, food and material to all things. They're closest to the Woodwose, and often provide gifts to the Wood Folk. The Birds and Bees are They're servants, taking care of minor tasks.

Yonny Fawn
Not really a god of the Woodwose, but rather a celebrated traveler who long ago visited the Wood Folk bringing hordes of stories and song still sung by the Woodwose to this day. Also called the Apple Bringer, he brought with him apples, and taught them how to get juice from the fruit, which then became cider.


Woodwose society is loosely organized at best. While they don't form structured governments, whoever is fermenting the strongest brew at the time can usually get their way for a spell. Of course, payment will be expected in the form of a jug or two of the product. 

Agriculture is light and largely consists of grapevines and small patches of wheat, malt and barley grouped off in the woods. Some orchards are also kept, for the fruit squeezings. Animal handling is limited to bee keeping and deer or boar hording, though they're not above hunting. In fact, next to seduction and drinking, the Woodwose love hunting. 

Kids (baby Woodwose) grow like weeds, coming to adulthood within a year. Trials of Adulthood involve, believe it or not, the fermentation of the Youngling's first batch of their own drink. The Youngling is expected to ask Adults for help, and the Adults, more often than not, are all too happy to help. Once aged, the drink is shared in celebration with the Tribe (for lack of a better word), welcoming the new Adult into adulthood. This night is also the beginning of the new Adult's career of seduction.

While clothing is rare, body painting and horn jewelry is common in both male and females. Often the paintings are of symbolic patterns telling stories, or deeds done. Sometimes, they're just pretty patterns. Jewelry for Fauns tends to come from the closest civilizations, while Satyrs tend to wear feathers and bones of woodland animals.

Should danger come to the Tribe, all Adults are expected, and are well able to, defend their home.

The Woodwose typically live only forty years, given survival of the dangers of life. Funerals are held around a pyre holding the body, and consist of a huge party celebrating the Fallen's life. Songs are sung and stories are told about the Life. If possible, portions of the dead's Trail of Adulthood drink are shared. As the sun crosses the horizon, the pyre is lit, and the dead is shown off to the Fields of Leisure with a ritualistic dance.


More Joshing

The Task
"okay so the generic premise of Katabasis is that there is one big city (all roads lead to Rome, equivalent) called The City, and underneath the city there is The Dungeon, which goes on forever and has lots of treasure but also monsters and you gotta go down there and get the treasure
write up 300 words as to how the dungeon was discovered adn what people think it was chop chop"

The Response 

In the time long ago, almost lost to memory now, the sky fell. A star broke free from the heavenly dome and came to earth in a moment of fire and violence. The ground shook, forests were flattened. For three days strange screams and the smell of burning flesh drifted on the wind. Within five days, plants began to die as the land blackened. Within a week, the first adventures grew brave enough to investigate. 
In the center of the ashy wastes a crater was found, lined with chunks of strange metals, and a shaft delving into a system of caves, where none had been known before. The adventurers returned to civilization with reports of strange creatures, lurking in the tunnels, as well as pieces of the new metal - now named void iron and platinum by metallurgists - and bars of pressed gold struck with strange markings. This was enough to suppress fears and attract interests. 
Centuries passed and, despite the poisoned landscape and tainted water sources, a town formed, overtime growing into the City, center of an economic empire built around the Dungeon. Merchants grew rich and fat selling last minute items to adventurers heading into the Dungeon. Wizards, Potionists, Willsmiths (heh heh), Rope makers. All turned a profit. 

Save the cartographers. 

The nature of the  Dungeon is such that even the most detailed of maps become unusable within seventy six and a half hours. Caverns shift, slopes form, rivers appear. There's even rumors of masonry found deep within, and further levels to be found beyond a stone door. Despite centuries of adventuring and plundering, treasure still seems to appear. Void iron, gold, items of master craftsmanship. Their source remains unknown, as does the source of the monsters. 
For safety purposes the City Council - composed of the seven richest merchants in the city; membership determined by strictly kept books - emptied the homeless population from the upper levels of the Dungeon, and built the Gate, an adamantine portcullis built to keep dangers of the Dungeon out, and to charge hopeful adventurers an entrance fee. Though, as urban homesteaders are as difficult to track as cats, it is likely some found their way deeper inside and have devolved into strange halfmen creatures "surviving" on fresh adventurer meat. 
Many questions (obviously) surround the Dungeon. Where did it come from? How was it built? Just what in the nine hells is going on? For answers, some have attempted Divination upon the Dungeon, only to have their senses and wits wrenched from them; many screaming about being watched as they gouged out their own eyes, or of being listened to as they cleaved their tongues from their mouth. 
Only one is known to have survived, by loosest terms, divination attempts against the Dungeon: Arcanist Cumberpatch, 12th Degree, A.A, Torch Lighter. It is said that as the Divination Madness overtook him, he lunged for the throat of an elven servant, and drank the more thing dry. He had shown no vampiric tendencies before, nor since. When asked about his experience the poor man will only drift off, his gaze becoming distant, and whisper "The Dungeon has never truly be entered. Find the door. All answers await within." 

Things Josh is probably stealing from me

Things I made today with/for mead brother Josh. Posting it to amuse myself.

RNG, God of Chaos
"He" and "him" are but customaries, for he lies somewhere between the two. His voice is the sound of the falling rain that will water your crops and flood your fields. His breath is the wind that carries the scent of roses and fuels the forest fire. He once heard the cries of a starving people and sent into them a beast who would give meat eternal. The baby tarrasque soon destroyed the town. Another time he heard the prayers of those who had lost their way in the woods, and guided them safely to the nearest camp. The lost were soon put to the axe by the enemy soldiers. He is RNG, Lord of Chaos. Helper and Harmer. Child Godling. He is RNG, and he's super trying, but it's just SO hard.

A prayer to RNG:
"Lord RNG, gracious and kind. You have smiled upon us, and we have all that we need. Your people are content and happy. Our lives are full, and we need nothing else. Please, smile upon our enemies. Give them what they lack. Let them know your love and generosity."

But, yeah, he just doesn't "get" causality. Like the gods in Middle Earth. They tried helping, but just made it worse. Unlike them, however, he keeps trying.

"It is true what they say about children that run away and live with the elves: they find immortality and never grow up. They do, however, grow old. The human body was never meant to live forever.

These children - or gnomes - soon find themselves twisted by elven food or perhaps even the land itself. The gifts of adulthood become corrupt. Beards grow whispy and white. Breasts sag tiredly. Neither have known fullness. The gnomes, in an effort to mimic elven garb (the height of fashion), construct crude red cone hats. Through their retained innocence, which the elves lack, they are able to speak to the wildlife of the forest, who in turn whisper secrets and teach forgotten lore.


Magic Words

Lately, the thought of dynamic spell lists has appealed to me. It's magic after all. If it worked exactly the same all the time, every time, it'd be science. Also, creating such a list for custom settings is a huge pain. So, given lessons learned from Legends: Make the players do it.

The thought appeals to me for several reasons. Firstly, after the brief rule structure to follow, little further work is necessary. Second, it allows the players to feel they have some sense of agency and allows their sad little hearts to be full, if even but for a moment. Third, it allows for more customized and quickly created setting related spells. Wizards of an alternate 1920's America can summon gin to guzzle while quickly mending their three piece suit. Magi of a generic fantasy world can rain down fire upon peasants. You know, general magic things.

So, with that, I've hammered vague ideas into a magic system: Words of Power.

Novel? No. Oh, my, no. But every system I've seen for it has lacked...something. They've never felt exactly 'right'. Especially the monstrosity Pathfinder jammed together.

The idea is fairly simple. Words are learned just as a wizard would learn a spell. The number of syllables are the level of the word. Spells are effectively created by stringing together syllables, with effects of such spells being fairly obvious.

Defenestration - Fifth level spell that defenestrates the target.
Summon Beer - Third level spell that generates one unit of beer
Kill - First level spell that kills the caster
Create Fireball - Third level spell that creates a ball of fire

Yes, there are some issues in this. "Create Fireball" would be a third level spell, while "Summon Fireball" is a forth. The solution would be that the forth level fireball is obviously bigger. Also, most spells don't really become useful until level three. But that can be chalked up to being an apprentice of an insanely versatile magic system. Or first level casters can start with three syllables, and just subtract two from everything to determine power level. Not terribly hard. Another issue would be the use of the word "kill." Over powered however you look at it. That's why, as in all things, the GM has the ability to say 'No.' (Or would it be? See below for a drunken edit.)

Power increases (xp spending, level ups, magic items, etc) apply through increasing the number of syllables allowed per day and/or per level.

Thoughts on the "kill" power word have lead to the following examples

  • Kill - kills the caster
  • Kill orc - kills an orc, somewhere, randomly through random means. May be coincidence. 
  • Kill that orc - kills that orc in a random fashion. "The hardships of a life lived long and well" are a valid death. 
  • Kill that orc now - Finally kills that orc, right now, through a random means. 
Given this, the players and GM are encouraged to work together to generate something that seems fair and world fitting. Read: Make the players figure out what want to do, then the GM says 'No' until the spell is actually balanced.

Best system? No. Worst system? Probably not. A thought has occurred to me that this system could also be applied to a LARP environment, but I'm in no rush to perform the trails on this one.

So, yeah, there is it. Remember: Make the players do all the work.

Maurice and the Ugly Kid

In a certain kingdom, in a certain city, in a certain back alley, should you seek black market antiquities or illicit goods of the highest quality and even higher prices, you'll want to find Maurice and the Ugly Kid. Should you have need to purchase items without the slightest chance of a receiving a speech on Morality or Responsibility, you'll want to find Maurice and the Ugly Kid. Should you require to separate yourself from large sums of gold in exchange for large sums of power, you'll want to find Maurice and the Ugly Kid. Should you seek discounts and guarantees, you'll probably want to check with the wagon folk.

They, however, will not have what you want. For, truly, few have in stock what items of rarity that Maurice and the Ugly Kid carry.

To find Maurice and the Ugly Kid is simple enough, just pass a Knowledge (Local) check of appropriate DC to follow up with locals on rumors of their presence within the city. If they're within the city, you're sources can usually give you an approximate set of directions. They will always lead to a back alley. Opening bargaining processes, is also fairly simple, just give the Ugly Kid a sweet roll.

Allow me to explain. In following the set of directions to the designated alley, one will find a lone boy, with unfortunate features playing with a small kitten. Should one place a sweet roll within the bowl next to the hideous child, the pitiful thing will eagerly feed upon it, usually in a manner best not watched. Just...just awful. The kitten, in turn, will chirp happily, and run off. Moments later, an older man, with a lot of rough recent years, will appear. This, presumably, is Maurice. He'll dote on the Ugly Kid for a moment, then unlock the sealed door on the stoop the Kid and kitten were playing on. Afterward, he'll be more than happy to take your gold for what ever items you find inside. Stealing is not advisable.

However, if instead of sweet roll, you offer the Ugly Kid violence, say in a moment of kindness to end the string of unfortunate circumstances that will surly be the Ugly Kid's life, the kitten will attack using a full array of "intending to fuck your shit up" sorcerer stats.

And, ultimately that is what the Ugly Kid's life will be, a series of unfortunate events, followed by death. Let's take how he met the kitten as an example:

Three years ago - maybe longer, maybe sooner - the Ugly Kid lived happily with his parents in a Wagonfolk caravan. Still horrendously ugly, mind you, just happy as well.

Just...Just awful...

In their travels, near the warm Marshes of Jhurmi, the caravan came across a kitten; lost, alone, motherless, and pierced with a bolt made from the local holy wood. Despite cats being bad luck and considered unclean, the Ugly Kid took it in, and cared for it in secret. Surprisingly, the thing survived, and for a while, the Ugly Kid was happier. Finally, he had a true friend that lacked a conceptual understanding of beauty. 

Then, the murders started. 

First it was single people, caught unawares and alone in the night. Wolves were blamed, signs of protection were crossed, and with heavy hearts the people continued. Then, wagons were broken into and entire families were slaughtered. On more than one occasion screams echoed into the night, as families cowered, too scared to intervene and all to thankful it was not them. The Wagonfolk claimed the land they traveled in was cursed, and attempted to outrun their misfortune, but, sure enough, the murders followed them. 

After a rather troubling night, the father of the Ugly Kid found the kitten, it's mouth stained red and the strong smell of copper upon it's breath. Cursing the beast, the Ugly man struck the kitten with his weighted walking stick and kicked the limp body as far away from the caravan as he could. Once more giving hand signs of protection to the road behind them, the wagons rolled on. That night, there was peace. And once more the next night. On the third day, the kitten returned. Having been brokenhearted at the lost of his first and only friend, the Ugly Kid eagerly welcomed the feline back in secret, even going so far as to steal the last of the milk rations for it to sup upon. 

That night, the father and mother were slain in silence. to be found cold and still come morning. Whispers and rumors spread through the skeletal remains of the caravan. Why had the Ugly Kid been spared, when so many entire families had not? Was it the child performing the killings? Perhaps a demon the child conjured? The Ugly Kid's look was obviously from consorting with demons, it was clear now. And with that, the boy and wagon were abandoned. 

For four nights the Ugly Kid wept. For four nights the kitten attempted to cheer the child up. Games of fetch, cute tricks, general kitten tactics for attention. None would cheer the Ugly Kid up. So, on the fifth day, tired of the Ugly Kid's sniveling, and out of ideas on how to stop it, the kitten revealed itself truly to the child. Taking the form of an older man, with a rough recent years, the Kitten told the child that he was the Ugly Kid's guardian angel, sent to protect him from the evil that plagued the caravan. But, now with the moving on of the caravan, so too was the evil gone. From here on out, the Kitten would take care of the Ugly Kid. 

This, is perhaps not the strictest of truths. 

Rakshasas are not known as "protectors" or "care givers." In truth, the Kitten - now calling himself "Maurice" -  eventually intends to consume the Ugly Kid. Perhaps even hunt him for sport. At the moment, though, he enjoys doting on the Ugly Kid and operates a black market supply to fund himself. 

A sampling of the inventory:

  • A mummified elf hand - The hand will grant any wish (albeit with scornful consequences) to the owner. When the wish is granted, a finger curls down into a fist, showing how many wishes are left. Upon finding the hand, it still holds 1d5 charges and smells slightly of barbecue sauce. Once completely a fist, the hand loses all magic. 
  • A glass jar full of rust monster antennae squeezings.  
  • A sarangi that only plays sad songs. 
  • Memories of a random event (1d8 to be useful in someway) 
  • A flower whose blooms whisper forgotten knowledge in the moon light, but must be watered in blood. 
  • Agile Ghost Touch Brass Knuckles - for punching ghosts in the face
  • Fairy in a bottle - A foul mouth fairy trapped in a corked bottle. Smashing the bottle kills it. Shaking the bottle and biting the head off restores 2d8 of health.
  • Keif
  • Wand of Summon Goblin - Note: these goblins will be completely confused as to what just happened
  • Mask of the Luchador - Gives bonuses to combat actions related to wrestling maneuvers. Once worn, it loses power if removed. The character also enters a disabled related state. 
  • A kobold skull with the word "Anguish" artistically carved on the side. 
  • Cleric hide gloves - Allows for use of artifacts aligned to leather source. 
  • Soup Stone - Once per day, when submerged in still water, will generate enough soup to feed four people
  • Shadow Staff - Made from the same material as a shadow. Impossible to pick up. It is a shadow. Destroyed by a bright light source. 
  • An intelligent weapon that has recently converted religions, and REALLY wants to tell the adventurer about it, even attempt to convert them as well.  

Should it come up, for some strange reason, the Ugly Kid's charisma (or related attribute) can never move about the bare minimum (ie. 3 for d20). Poor, poor Ugly Kid. 

The Old Man in the Desert

Four days West of horizon from the Free City of Ankh'eth, North of the pyramid pocked desert, deep into the sand wastes, lies the Old Man; a gigantic, half buried iron bust of a vague, yet grim - though some say stoic - figure. Who built it and why is lost to the shifting sands of time, as no civilization has been know to inhabit the region. What is known, however, is the curse that lingers over the odd metal sculpture. Those who spend an extended amount of time within the presence of the Old Man soon contract a mysterious wasting disease, accompanied by painful weeping blisters. It is said that, in the still of night that only the sand wastes can truly reach, should one press their ear to the iron, and echo of scurrying and crashing can be heard. Because of the superstition surrounding the place, along with its remoteness, no one has ever bothered to explore proper.

But, maybe you will. 

Should adventurers find a way to gain access (be it the hatch buried under the dune containing the pressure release for the mouth, or some violent magical way in) they'll be faced with two very obvious features of the interior: An overwhelming smell of stale moldy air and a rather large room full of assorted bones scattered about strange levers and lumped in various piles. Those with the appropriate knowledges can tell the bones are dwarven, due to the rings of iron laced through out the calcium. 

Continued exploration produces a mostly vertical iron city of twisting, rusted hallways. Homes and shops lie empty, save for moldy, decayed textiles and tarnished keepsakes. Armories caked in dust and rusted, dull blades. Artificial lights adorn the walls, still pulsing with a soft pale glow. Ancient machines continue their unknown tasks, pumping, grinding, and belching steam, attended to by clockwork automatons. A constant hum echoes through the halls, reverberating from the very walls. The deeper one delves, the deeper and louder it becomes. Oh, yes, and then there's the hordes of the inhabitants. 

Short and wiry creatures, pallid and hairless, they stand roughly just over four feet in height. Too long arms allow them to drop to a four-limbed shuffle with relative comfort and without hindrance to their movement. Floor, wall, ceiling; their orientation makes no difference, as they climb along with equal dexterity. Emaciated frames hide the deadly strength that their bodies deceptively contain. Should one have the unfortunate chance to compare, their gnarled pointed teeth match perfectly with the constant bones that litter even the deeper reaches. With over sized eyes, they're able to see in low light with full detail. From their mouth spews an incoherent form of gibbering, perhaps a language known only in this forgotten place. The creatures will usually attack an adventurer on-site, eager for the taste of strange, new meat,  but they are not above ambushing, or even using their overwhelming numbers to their advantage.

Should one survive the hordes and descend even further, able to withstand the bass reverberations, one would find the potential source: The Demon Core; a 14 pound, 6 inch wide sphere of what appears to be platinum, etched in dwarven runes and pulsing with a sinister glow. Arcane energy arcs from the stone in one of seven surrounding collection rods, seemingly at random. What's more, the sonic assault of the reverberation becomes bearable, focusing into a voice echoing inside the adventurers' minds. The deep voice will bid the characters to free it, offering power, strength, and protection from the wasting curse in return. The voice will respond to questions, and even relay the story of the place and it's entrapment, should it be asked. However, while the story of the place and of it's entrapment is true, any deals made or bargains struck soon fall apart, should the characters find a way to free to trap the entity within: A bound Glabrezu demon.

Countless centuries ago, when this area of the world was still green and teaming with life, the Old Man was a movable city (Variant: Depending on the tech level, and how much credit you wish to give the dwarves, maybe it was just a fancy underground city). Fashioned in the shape of a dwarf, the city stood hundreds of feet tall, bipedal and with arms ending in ax and hammer.  The Old Man roamed the landscape, searching for mineral deposits and other natural resources, to fuel the economy within, as well as itself. In time, more resources were being diverted to the upkeep of the city, rather than the people. Talk spread, rumors burning like wild fire, would the city have to be abandoned? Presented with the possibility of such a change, the populous responded in traditional Dwarven fashion - panic and infighting. Chaos reigned; crafting ceased. Forges grew silent and the great steam machines grew cold. But then, in a moment of renewed hope and order, Telkar, a summoner and powerful runesmith, conjured forth from beyond the ethereal a monstrous Glabrezu demon, and bound it's soul to a pure ball of platinum. After nearly being consumed in the task - both spiritually and physically - creating a machine to slowly sap the demon's life force to generate a form of usable energy, was Apprentice's play. With this new source of unlimited energy, the city was free from its constant need and hunger, and, now able to focus solely on crafting, entered an age of Renaissance. Telkar the Binder, Crafter of Energy, was seen as a hero, and his sons, and their sons were held in high esteem.

But, then, the whispers came.

Quietly, at first, able to only be heard in the stillness of night, or when one took their daily meditation. The words were never the same, different for each dwarf that heard them, but the goal was similar. Promises of Power, Skill, or Riches for those that would betray the city - be it through violence, sabotage or theft of the core. Eventually, as evident by its current state, a great sabotage took place. The city moved no more. Lacking redundant systems, with all aspects of the city relying upon the Core, the inhabitants were trapped within. Panic once again grasped the city. Madness soon followed as the food began to run out. But, as before, so again, an alternative was found. In the beginning it was merely upon the dead, and there were so many. In time, though, want for fresh meat took hold. Cannibalism became the new norm. The ways of the Ancestors were forgotten. The ways of the Surface were forgotten. All that remained was a cult like lusting after the Core and a hunger for Dwarven flesh. In time, the dwarves devolved into the creatures plaguing the adventurers. In time, the demon once again found a voice.

So what now? Do the players release the demon in hopes of quick power? Perhaps quick cash from stealing the Demon Core, though with or without the bound demon, it will still continue to inflict the wasting sickness to any one around for several generations. Maybe they take what smaller treasures they can, bury the place back, and never speak of it again. The city is unmovable, and repairable, but maybe the upper levels become a fancy new base, protected by superstition, for their operations as desert raiders. Who knows, it's your problem now. 

Oh, yes, the wasting disease. In short, it's arcane radiation. A Constitution check is made at a rate dependent on the proximity to the core (1/day on the surface; 1/hour within; 1/minute near the Core - adjust as needed). Failing the check brings a penalty of -1 Con and -1 Str, as well as some tumors. Passing the check leaves you with just tumors.

Sometimes, the past should remain buried.