Celestial Empire of Jade
On Monsters and Dungeons
Monsters are creatures born from the Chaos wave the over took the world. The records that survive are clear that they did not exist until the Wave. Most of them now live beyond the Ward Walls. But, not all of them.
It is well known, that when the Ward Walls are pushed back to reclaim more of the world, pockets of Chaos, Monsters, Chaos Holes, known as Dungeons are left behind. The major hordes tend to cleared out by the Imperial armies. The dregs, Dungeons, and reclaiming Pre-Chaos Ruins are left for Adventurers to clean up, why else do they exist?
When Monsters are killed, their Chaos stones are harvested. These are orbs of Magic power that has collected in the Monster’s body, giving it life and animation. These Orbs are then sold to the Adventurer’s Guild, as they have the monopoly on the stones.
Magic Orbs, or more commonly known, Magic Stones, are used by the people of the Empire to power various devices, such as ovens, lights, furnaces and many other simple things. Lesser stones can even be converted into simple items that allow normal people to use Magic in the form of tools, like fire starters and water purifiers (alchemical items or simple, minor magic items).
The more powerful the Monster, the larger and more pure the Magic Stone is. And the more it is worth. Damaged or cracked Stones are, naturally, worth less that intact ones.
Monster also provide Drops. Usually this is coinage and Creature items, such as bat membrane, bone dust, meat or scales. This, if brought back and sold to the Adventurer’s Guild, are used to create armor, weapons, food or other sundries.
One thing that is not well known, except to those higher in the Celestial Court, Military and Adventurers in general is that Chaos always exists behind the walls, even in the core of the Empire, centuries after being reclaimed. These eddies flow like currents along Dragon Lines, or the flow of raw Magic through out the world. At times this Chaos settles into “pools” withing forests, city sewers or the like, mutating creatures in to Chaos Monsters. The true dangers lie if the Chaos pools in caves, Ruins, or abandoned Villages.
If this occurs, the Chaos begins to create more and more powerful monsters as the Chaos collects and gets deeper. These are things like Goblins, Kobolds, Orcs and so on. Even low level Undead.
It gets especially dangerous if these nests aren’t found and cleared up early. If left unchecked long enough, Dungeons begin to form. A solid mass of Chaos forms and sinks into the earth, creating a layer. As the Dungeon Core absorbed more Chaos and grows in power, it sinks deeper, creating more and more layers. The deeper these layers go, the more powerful Monsters appear. The greatest Dungeons even house true Chaos Demons in the lowest levels.
Over time the Dungeon Core spawns or re spawns the monsters that are slain on it’s levels. The Monsters can be thought of as anti bodies to the Core’s body, the Dungeon it self. Indeed, some Sages speculate that the Dungeons might even be Monsters, in and of them selves. They even regenerate damaged parts, such as walls and floors.
The only known way to eliminate a Dungeon is to destroy it’s Core. Unfortunately the Core is universally protected by a Unique Monster that grows in power, and sometimes, is replaced by more powerful Monsters, as the Dungeon grows deeper.
Unfortunately, the only way to even GET to the bottom floor of a Dungeon is to go down, layer by layer. Exiting floor to move to the next also involves defeating the Floor Boss, a Unique Monster with unusual abilities. The upside, is the Floor Boss usually leaves behind the gear of the Adventurers it has killed as they attempted to pass it, as well as Uncommon to Rare item drops.
All is not bad, however. There are several major cities that have formed around truly massive, or Great, Dungeons. The cities, with the assistance of the Adventurer’s Guild, manage the Dungeons, allowing Adventurers into them to collect Magic Stones, Ores, materials and Items. These are then sold, items are made and sold, resulting in thriving, rich, communities and cities.
In these situations, Imperial soldiers contain the entrance to the Dungeon, allowing only Carded Adventurers and their porters and followers inside, and keeping Monsters from leaving the Dungeon to ravage the city.
Of course there is danger in this. Once in Imperial history, a swell of power from inside a Great Dungeon, resulted in a powerful Monster Swarm, lead by a Demon Lord, that erupted from the Dungeon and destroyed the city. A powerful Hero of the Empire and his companions managed to defeat the Demon Lord, but were driven back by the sheer number of Monsters. There were few survivors. The Imperial Edict was erect a Ward Wall around the city, containing the menace. Now only truly strong Adventurers are allowed, or dare, to attempt to set foot in the City of Monsters. Most of those don’t come back the same. If they come back at all.