Thursday, April 16, 2015

The World of Meikyuu Kingdom 15 - Duties of the Land Makers

[Part 15 of my ongoing translation of "The World" chapters from the Meikyuu Kingdom GM's Book 2nd Edition. This continues the chapter about Kingdoms with some discussion of the various duties that Land Makers are expected to perform. This can be found on page 117. Original Japanese text and art is © Bouken]

Duties of Land Makers

Going on quests outside the kingdom is not the land maker's only responsibility. The tedious and cumbersome daily work administration of the kingdom is arguably more important.

First of all, the people expect the land makers to listen to their petitions. The kingdom depends on land makers hearing their complaints and grievances and somehow solving them. They do this through various methods: direct appeals, tearful pleas, angry protests, sexuals seduction. To tell the truth, most of the problems are often far too trivial for the land makers' attention. But, wise rulers know that no petition should be neglected. The people might be privy to information unknown to the the court. The consultations they bring before the court can be a valuable source of information for uncovering a potential future problem for the kingdom. In dismissing a boring story as a pointless waste of the court's time, you might be missing the early signs of a possible crisis drawing near the kingdom. Impending signs of an invasion or a natural disaster, even rumors of an assassination, are just some of the important things that a land maker can find out from his people. When land makers keep in touch with the people sincerely and without contempt, they gain more of the people's confidence and trust. With the support of the vox populi, the court will come a long way.

Examples of the land makers' duties to their kingdom are given below.

Law Making and Enforcement

Laws are necessary for the kingdom. When a problem occurs that can not be handled by the current rules and customs, a new law must be made. When people break the law, the punishment must be swift and just. When people appeal their case, it is very important to investigate the matter thoroughly before making a decision. It is the land maker's responsibility to ensure that the appropriate penalty is carried out.

Arbitration of Disputes

People with conflicting interests will sometimes approach and ask you to resolve their dispute. Making a wrong judgement here will have a negative effect later on. Sometimes, the land makers themselves will be sued! Land makers should hear both sides of the story and weigh the facts before making a decision.

Ceremonial Functions

It is the land maker's duty to assign the people to positions where their talents would do most good and also bestow honor when they do exceptional work. Talented people will eventually benefit the kingdom if you can assign them to the right job. When there is a vacancy in the court, the next land maker can be appointed from the people.

Among the problems that people will consult you with, those about their love life would probably be the most difficult to deal with. Things like asking you to act as the matchmaker or maybe someone is suspicious that their lover is having an affair and want you to investigate... Or someone might ask you to marry them, but their family might have ulterior motives so you can not afford to be careless. When such stories are brought before you, you might just want to shout for them to stop and then walk out. But people who are in love tend to lose sight of their surroundings. If you do not handle it now, there might be bigger trouble later. So you have to hear their stories out without losing your temper.

During weddings, the land maker's duty is to play as the good host. You might even be asked to be their child's godparent when it is born. It is essential to do your duty properly during these occasions so as not to put a damper on the start of a new family.

On the other hand, the land maker also have to handle funeral rites when his people die. We recite a eulogy to the bereaved family, followed by a prayer, and usher the dead into the Elevator. The food that arrives in return should then be distributed by the land maker among the attendees.

Of course, the land maker plays a central role in celebrations. Festivals are held with the land maker taking the lead. And while the people get drunk on spirits and liquor, they shall raise their cups high, cheering, "Long live the King! Long live the Kingdom!"

Public Education

If a kingdom takes pride in being cultured should have a strong focus on public education. It raises the rate of literacy, teaches loyalty to the court and kingdom, and exposes people to the precious knowledge found in books and from foreign kingdoms. A system of education is hard to implement without trained teachers. In most kingdoms, someone who can read just gathers the children and teaches them because there are no established formal schools. Kids with good grades help develop the entire kingdom further, and there might even be programs allowing them to study abroad in some highly-cultural kingdom. The entire kingdom will surely rejoice if you can manage to send someone to study at the Perpetuum Royal Academny of Wizardry, the best school of all.

Promotion of Trade

To increase your economic power, trade with other kingdoms should be promoted. Through multiple trade agreements with other kingdoms, a kingdom can become rich without resorting to war.

However, contraband must be stopped at the border. Many hazardous items are sold on the black market like dangerous drugs, high explosives, live monsters and Angel eggs. The prevention of smuggling is an important issue for the safety of the kingdom.

Domestic and Foreign Policies

The kingdom's population will naturally fluctuate unless a policy of isolationism is adopted. This laissez-faire principle looks good in theory--you accept whoever comes to you and you don't stop anyone who wants to leave--but the reality is harsh. land makers must be very careful to block the infiltration of spies, to prevent the kidnapping of the kingdom's population be kidnapped, and to stop any inciting of rebellion. Even if you do not intend to be isolationist, you can not just leave the kingdom on its own.

Also, there are treasonous citizens who intentionally take the foreign kingdoms' sides, working behind the scenes. It might even be that prodigy whose education abroad your kingdom paid for, only to have him return as a traitor or cultist. These kinds of stories are actually quite common.

Population Control

To regulate the population, there will be times when  you want to encourage child making or restrain it. land makers are expected to lead by example, whether they are promoting the use of contraceptives or working hard at making a child! I don't know if you've noticed by now, but being a land maker is a difficult job!

In addition to those listed here, the Court has many more duties and responsibilities. With hundreds of people gathered together living in a small area, plenty of problems are sure to crop up. Sometimes, these people might even be able to solve whatever problem is plaguing the Court.

[SIDEBAR] Encyclopedia of the Endless Dungeons

You are probably wondering where you can learn more about the Endless Dungeons. There is a colorful world guide highly recommended for you: "The Endless Dungeon Fantasy Setting". This 128-page supplement is chock full of text and illustrations. This supplement specializes in stuff never seen before anywhere else. It has even been cited in other publications like this book (the history and timeline pages). If you are interested, by all means, read it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The World of Meikyuu Kingdom 14 - Religion and Magic

[Part 14 of my ongoing translation of "The World" chapters from the Meikyuu Kingdom GM's Book 2nd Edition. This post covers religion and magic in the kingdom. This can be found on page 116. Original Japanese text and art is © Bouken]

Religion and Belief in the Small Kingdom

In the Endless Dungeons, cultures and customs vary from kingdom to kingdom. Religion is no exception. A deity revered in one kingdom maybe denounced as a false or evil god in the neighboring kingdom even if they were only separated by one wall.

The oracle's will has a major influence not only in choosing the kingdom's state religion but the interpretation and application of religious dogma as well, particularly in small kingdoms that have little interaction with other kingdoms. People who do not know any other alternative are easily swayed by the oracle's religious zeal.

Because of this, oracles of small kingdoms who worship some obscure deity have a tendency to distrust outsiders importing new religions. There are horrible stories of such oracles inciting their congregation to sacrifice the offenders to their elevators.

Fortunately, most kingdoms are not as extreme, particularly those with a healthy traffic of visitors. Most missionary priests and their laity are often mild-mannered.

There are countless different religions in the Endless Dungeons, but a few have a lot of supporters and have grown into very influential religious organizations. The six most famous major religions are listed below.


Worshipping the Archangel Quetzalcoatlus Northropi, this is a religion with long history. There is an emphasis on tradition and formality, a hierarchy of seniority within the clergy and frightfully long ceremonies.

According to the teachings of Hazardism, mankind's sinful existence caused the Dungeon Hazard and its progression can only be stopped through intent prayers of self-reflection. Being the state religion of the Millenium Dynasty, it has considerable religious influence. Because it is a relatively simple religion requiring only daily prayers, there are a lot of followers.

Haglma Faith

This religion worships Haglma, the founder of the Holy Capitalistic Republic of Haglma. Haglma was originally a man who traveled to the Deep Floor, became a Deep One, and later worshipped as a god. Its teachings are known for strict utilitarian and capitalist ideas. It is, of course, the state religion of the Holy Capitalistic Republic of Haglma, but there are believers from all over, like merchants, who are naturally charmed by its teachings, and Land Makers of smaller kingdoms, who are obsessed with money.

The Way of the Ways

The belief in Wild Goose, an angel symbolizing travel, adventure and an entertaining story. Wild Goose is a deity who uses various forms when it appears in the dungeon. When she appears in the guise of a female storyteller, she is called Mother Goose. In the Way of the Ways, all of the dungeon's countless passages are considered holy places. Its faithful believe that the Dungeon is a Mother, nurturing them her children, rather than a terrible, all-corrupting Hazard. This is the state religion of the Metro Khanate, and is popular among charismatic travelers like bards and adventurers. It has a famous hymn called the 13 Chapters of the Way of the Ways.

Victory Church

A militant group worshipping St. Victory, one of the Six Heroes and a knight of Herculean strength.

It does not have many supporters, mostly fanatics who delight in random acts of violence, burning and pillaging the countryside. Practice of this religion is often outlawed as heresy, because its faithful often infiltrate peaceful kingdoms with the intention of inciting war, civil or otherwise, from within.


A religion worshipping Tangaroa the Turtle God, dedicated to exploring knowledge and magic. Tangaroa is a turtle who has lived for many years supporting the world, and possesses immeasurable knowledge carved upon its shell in the form of labyrinthine patterns. Many scholars and wizards are among its believers who have a great passion for collecting uncommon lore, unique monsters and rare treasures. Their temples, called the Room of Wonders, often hold various rare curiosities and treasures. Its priests are often experienced fighters, on account of having to fend off thieves and assorted would-be plunderers from their temples on a daily basis.

Orgy Church

This faith worships the maelstrom god, Charybdis. Charybdis, often drawn in the form of a sea anemone, represents change, chaos, and aimless wandering. The faith affirms mankind's instincts, teaching its faithful to live as they are. While often banned as heresy in more conservative kingdoms, this is actually quite a peaceful religion and has many supporters. It recommends sating one's appetites and lusts, before smoking weed and sleeping. Its shrines can often be found in training centers and crossroads where four roads meet.

These six religions also have the side benefit of being a "common language" in the dungeon. When you arrive at a strange foreign country and it turns out you share the same religion with them, the tension is relieved. Many people are attracted these popular religions because of this, which helps with foreign relations. However, just like everything in the Endless Dungeons, travelers can not afford to be careless, because local beliefs, customs or sub-cults may have twisted the religion.

Art and Magic

Magic permeates the Endless Dungeons, but full-fledged magic-use has remained the domain of Land Makers and adventurers. Most people are busy enough with their daily lives without bothering with dubious tricks like magic.

Astrology is a different matter altogether. Among the practitioners of the three main paths of magic (Astrology, Summoning and Science), only Astrologists, who can talk to the stars and manipulate them into helping the kingdom, are widely accepted by the people.

While good kingdoms would otherwise avoid evil stuff, they would still have citizens who know enough about Summoning and Science to be able to do reasonable business. Both paths offer convenient uses in everyday life like delivering small packages via Summoning magic and clearing clogged drains with a solution synthesized using Science. Many enterprising merchants have profited from this fact.

On the other hand, a lot of people also know about common cantrips, which are a minor form of magic. These are various subtle techniques like putting the yolks of two eggs in the wash to remove the bad smell from half-dried laundry. There are also those--like mothers who tell her children bedtime stories or storytellers at campfires--who use a strange art called "Grimm Grimoire" which draws the power from stories.

The prosperity of the dungeon crafting industry is different. They undergo severe training, along with enlightenment from deep meditation, to acquire the skills needed to manipulate the dungeon. Therefore, despite the use of esoteric lore that are often mistaken for magic, they are respected as craftsmen.

[SIDEBAR] Against the Invaders

Many of the Angels and Deep Ones consider the human world only as a object of conquest. When using them in a scenario as an enemy, tokusatsu TV programs are a good source of inspiration. Either the head of the good Angels or the leader of the evil Deep Ones who's plotting the "alien" invasion. The huge monsters of such shows can be represented with strong enemy party combinations, such as island whales or archangels. If you're having trouble coming up with scenarios, consult the Scenario Booklets for reference.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The World of Meikyuu Kingdom 13 - Daily Life

[Part 13 of my ongoing translation of "The World" chapters from the Meikyuu Kingdom GM's Book 2nd Edition. This post covers daily life, discussing food and transportation in the kingdom. This can be found on page 115. Original Japanese text and art is © Bouken]

Daily Life

The Endless Dungeon's biggest problem is the lack of natural resources. It just isn't easy to forage for food in a dungeon made out of stone. Many died of hunger during the period of darkness following the Dungeon Hazard. Since then, man has worked hard looking for ways of producing self-sufficient food sources through trial and error. People are able to eat regularly today thanks to the accumulated knowledge and technology of those who have come before. 

Great halls or huge caverns are usually found in the Dungeon. Such places are first reserved as possible farmland. Having a star installed in the great hall is the minimum condition for growing crops. Residential spaces can then be built in small rooms or even narrow passages nearby. Kingdoms that build their royal palaces or market squares in a great hall should have a plan for where to grow their food.

The only crops that can be produced in a poor kingdom that does not have any great halls for farmland are mushrooms and dungeon bean sprouts (the beans can yield even in poor light). Wheat bread is considered a feast, and it is even believed to cure disease if place by a sick person's pillow.

Schools of migratory fish and flocks of birds that swim and fly through the dungeons are another good source of food. These can be captured in large quantities by using net traps, and are usually either preserved with salt or smoked.

In small communities, cooking parts of monsters that have been slain in the dungeons are common delicacies. Some species are even prized as rare and delicious luxury delicacies. Some kingdoms even specialize in producing monster food as their primary source of income.

Elevators are also important sources of food for a kingdom. If you're trading with angels, you can easily get chickens; if with deep ones, you would get lots of fish. Be warned about the wildly varying prices. Sometimes, the only trade they will accept in return are human babies.

Sheep are the best livestock: they can be eaten and also provide raw materials for making clothes. They are absolute necessities. The Endless Dungeons' sheep are omnivorous creatures that eat moss off the walls and also prey on small animals. Shepherds are treasure to a poor small kingdom with no space for farmland. The sheep wander off into the dungeons at noon to eat and return in the evening. Small kingdoms that raise sheep will soon be crawling with them. It is common to have more sheep than there are people. One of the more important duties of knights is protecting the shepherds and their flocks. Cows are generally only used for farming.

Long ago, there were apparently animals called horses that were good at running, but they were not suited to the dungeon life and eventually became extinct. Tamed goldfishes and horselizards are widely used as riding mounts and pack animals nowadays. Goldfish swim in the air so they have no trouble with movement and horselizards' sticky footpads enable them to dexterously traverse difficult terrain. Caravans load baggage on the back of these creatures, moving from city to city.

The rivers and waterfalls that flow throughout the dungeon also has many uses. Because of the sudden changes in elevation, basket-type boats which hard to capsize are used. These are very light, made of hide stretched over a wooden frame, and can be folded when not in use for easy carrying. Another important issue is ensuring water supply. A small population might be able to survive by collecting water condensation on walls but it is not possible to feed people with that method. Drilling canals to channel water to fields and residential areas takes some serious work. When I first founded my kingdom, I had to make do with fetching water and filling in a water tank for a while. Human and cattle excrement are carefully used as fertilizer. Pigs and Giant Earthworms can be kept to process organic waste.

With stone all around us, there is no shortage of materials for constructing buildings. However, there is seldom any reason to make an entire building from scratch when you can just renovate the Dungeonized room into your house.

Wood is cut down from Dungeonized forests. Woodcutting is actually hard work involving considerable risk because dangerous monsters often haunt the forests. Because of this, this job is often relegated to scoundrels and similar delinquents.

Kingdom management becomes relatively easy upon finding a vein of metal ore. Much more so if said ore is precious metal. However, a lot of complications can arise during mining, from triggering sudden Dungeonization to unearthing sleeping monsters. It is common practice for kingdoms to outsource this job to dwarves because of their expertise.

[SIDEBAR] A Strange Form of Government

The nations across the Endless Dungeons are all basically monarchy, save for one which is based on a strange ideology.

This Bureaucratic System is mostly composed of court ministers. Kings do not reign indefinitely but change according to the results of elections. Sometimes, the priests of the angels or the deep ones or some other religion even have more power than the king...

Socialist states without distinction between Land Makers and commoners are notorious for the disease known as "revolution". Kingdoms that suffer from revolution are vulnerable and Haglma is eager to speed their collapse.

Because of their collective nature, socialist kingdoms also become the unwitting minions of Abaddon, Lord of Ants.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The World of Meikyuu Kingdom 12 - About the Kingdom

[Part 12 of my ongoing translation of "The World" chapters from the Meikyuu Kingdom GM's Book 2nd Edition. This is a new chapter within the World section that discusses various aspects of Kingdoms. This can be found on page 114. Original Japanese text and art is © Bouken]
About the Kingdom

The world itself has been turned one huge dungeon of despair, the Endless Dungeons. After seeing its mysterious nature in the previous chapter, we'll be discussing some aspects of daily life inside a dungeon.

Man vs. the Dungeon

In the past, there were no walls or traps that blocked "Ground Zero". Therefore, there was only one kingdom. But when the world was turned into a dungeon, people were isolated in many place, and so there were countless kingdoms. Whether a village or a town can call itself a kingdom is irrelevant. Most major nations are composed of dozens to no more than hundreds of people, and travel between them involved considerable risk.

It is difficult to expand and build a great kingdom by conquering the Dungeons. Dungeonization can cut off or move parts of a Dungeon in an instant. However, living in the dungeon for many years have taught people the art of controlling the Dungeon to some extent. Although not Dungeon Masters, people are able to push back the Dungeon attempting to erode their Kingdom, maintaining a fleeting peace. In fact, some countries have successfully maintained and expanded their territory, steadily gaining power.

A Small Light in the Darkness

While the Endless Dungeon is in fact endless, kingdoms must contend with territorial problems and lack of greenery. There comes a point when people need more liveable space. It isn't little, but surplus land is a premium. In other words, an increasing population will eventually and inevitably require reclaiming a dungeon. Therefore, every kingdom must always expand its territory. If expansion stops, a kingdom will be swallowed by the ever-encroaching Dungeonization and its royalty and people scattered and lost in the dark dungeons.

It has already been mentioned that Dungeonization also affects the human body. Dungeonitis is a terrible disease that changes the shape and form of things. Therefore, people regard the Land Maker as a hero for maintaining and expanding their territory inspite of the effects of Dungeonization. Even if he is doing it out of his own self-interest, no matter his wickedness, the Land Maker is seen as a leader who confronts the dungeon personally.

The hero worship has a limit though. People are mercifully smart and demand a resolute/determined King. An inept ruler will be served with a full-course meal of an uprising, disturbance, usurpation, or an assassination. The Endless Dungeon are not the sweetest place for the incompetence of a ruler to be tolerated. If a ruler is incompetent, other Land Makers must rise to take his place. Otherwise, the kingdom will fall.

In order to avoid such a situation, Land Makers must give it their all. They are then no doubt a hero if their kingdom, though small, burns bright in the darkness of the dungeons, a beacon for the hope of mankind.

Court Scene

The court where the Land Maker's live is also the foremost headquarters for confronting the Dungeon. The most important room is the conference room. Detailed maps of neighboring dungeons cover the walls and table, where the Land Makers conduct a heated discussion to develop strategy.

Audiences with the emissary of other kingdoms are carried out in the Throne Room. Funds may be lacking for building a magnificent throne but it is customary to wear something nice. With stylish clothes, even a humble stone bench can be turned into a respectable throne.

A large hall is used during occasions of an important dinner or a ball. Initially, this hall also doubles as a multipurpose facility: as a square for large assemblies or open space for trading and other purposes (like as an operating room to analyze a large monster's anatomy or as an execution ground for notorious criminals). Other luxurious facilities such as a Seraglio, a garden and orchard, or a museum for monster trophies and loot would have to wait until more funds are available.

The court is probably the most decorated place in the kingdom. Because it is the center of the resistance, art and interior decoration are arranged to give the feeling of open space as much as possible. Mirrors, candles, and vibrant colors are used basically to give the impression of a wide space. Sometimes, a scene is painted on the walls and ceilings. Landscapes from before the Dungeon Hazard and star maps are preferred subjects. The "blue skies" or a "starry sky", "rainbows", and the "moon" have a therapeutic effect on the mind trapped in the Dungeon. It is also good to draw windows or stairs or passages to give the illusion that a room is wider than it is.

Land Makers

The King is a Land Maker, but one man can't run the entire kingdom all by himself. Land Makers also include a vassal corps of ministers, knights, and priests within their ranks. The King is a strong symbol. But his court of officials, each assigned his own task in running the Kingdom, is definitely essential.

The relations among Land Makers differ by kingdom, but they are basically equal. Each of them shares followers, and the King combines them all into one nation. Because of this, Knights and Oracles, through their direct interaction with the people, are sometimes more popular.

Even so, a King is not necessarily out of reach by the common man. After all, it is not unusual that the royal palace is right next door, so people can conveniently drop by for a petition. A kingdom's outside borders are also notoriously ambiguous enough that someone might stumble through a secret door that no one knew about and then you suddenly have a stranger in the throne room. Such vagabonds are often welcomed as a new citizen. Although, sometimes vagabonds may have some ulterior motives....

Talking Beasts

Some beasts are intelligent and can speak a language. These "talking beasts" are the leaders of their kind, very strong monsters that are able to build their own kingdom. In other words, they can become Land Makers.

There are also famous countries, like the cat nation of Jedsounferoux and the monkey nation of Congoland. Rumor has it that the cats of Jedsounferoux who are known to decorate their bodies with strong magical items and accessories are building quite an empire somewhere in the depths of the dungeon.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The World of Meikyuu Kingdom 11 - Timeline of the Endless Dungeons

[Part11 of my ongoing translation of "The World" chapters from the Meikyuu Kingdom GM's Book 2nd Edition. This one gives a detailed timeline of the history of the Endless Dungeons' five eras. This can be found on page 113. Original Japanese text and art is © Bouken]

Mythical Era ~ Dark Ages Era

50 B.C. Birth of the Hazard King in the "One Kingdom".

35 B.C. Coronation of the Hazard King.

0 A.D. The Hazard King calls to the God of the Three Realms and is sealed inside a dungeon curse. The Dungeon Hazard begins.

50 A.D. (approximately) The Dungeon Hazard divides the "One Kingdom" into ten smaller kingdoms: Sol, Mercurio, Venere, Terra, Marte, Jovi, Saturno, Urano, Neptuno, and Plutone. The Ten Kingdoms Era begins.

100 A.D. (approximately) The Dungeon Hazard completely covers the world, the "sky" can no longer be seen, and fairies, who were friends to humans, disappear into the darkness of the dungeons. The Fairy Twilight. In contrast, horrible ogre races appear, spreading throughout the dungeons and devouring everyone in their path.

102 A.D. The Angel, Quetzalcoatlus Northropi, descends from the Sky Floor to Venere. Birth of the religion of Hazardism. Partial secrets of the Elevators are taught to man.

110 A.D. (approximately) The ogre hordes that now infest the dungeons destroy the ancient kingdom and green forests of the Dwarves. Several of the more powerful ogre tribes band together, forming the Great Ogre Empire, subsuming the lesser tribes and expanding their power.

151 A.D. One of the 10 Wise Men of the Hazard King, the Sage of Sol, dispatches an expeditionary force to map the dungeons.

200 A.D. (approximately) The Magic Academy of Urano discovers the process of manipulating stars. Birth of Astrology.

300 A.D. (approximately) The map-making expedition force encounters the Dragon King, Umm Al Maradim. They are wiped out, leaving only one survivor to bring back a map of the world. While this map is being transcribed, it begins to undergo Dungeonization. Carta Munda devises a system of cutting the map into separate cards to prevent the spread of Dungeonization.

500 A.D. (approximately) The Magic Academy of Neptuno publishes the 100-volume "Summoner's Key", the definitive guide to the magical path of summoning.

620 A.D. Discovery of the Lost Star Light. Dungeon farming begins.

668 A.D. Uniting 108 tribes of the Great Ogre Empire, "Rock Saddle Emperor" Gorka leads the invasion of the Ten Kingdoms. Fall of Plutone.

670 A.D. (approximately) Priests who have escaped from Neptuno receive a great revelation from God in the dungeons. They must impart what they learned through oral instruction alone, without scribing their knowledge into a books that can be easily bought. The birth of Dungeon Crafting.

666 A.D. Locust swarms led by the Locust Lord, Grasshopper, wreak havoc on farmlands. Great famine around the world.

670 A.D. (approximately) Fall of Urano and Neptuno to the invasion of the Ogre tribes. Height of the Great Ogre Empire. 20 more colonies are added to the Great Ogre Empire. Books from Urano and Neptuno, which contain great magical knowledge, are scattered and lost.

681 A.D. To solidify their defense against the Great Ogre Invasion, Marte forms and leads the Mars Alliance, along with Jovi and Saturno. Three other Kingdoms--Sol, Mercurio, and Venere--also form the Solar Union with similar goals.

791 A.D. Skirmish between the defense forces of the Solar Union and Mars Alliance. The Conflagration Wars begin.

802 A.D. In the huge dungeon of Rudos, a great battle is fought between the Betelgeuse Army of Venere and the slave soldiers of Saturno. The Battle of Tetras.

845 A.D. Increased infighting between the human defenders allows the Ogres to conquer three more territories. Venere, the center of the Solar Union, falls and the capital is moved to Perpetium in Sol. The Solar Union signs a peace treaty with the Mars Alliance, and the Conflagration Wars end.

900 A.D. (approximately) The Angelic Dragon People, nomads who live near the Sky Floor, join the battle against the Great Ogre Empire.

964 A.D. Proud "Fairy Queen" Ariadne falls into an ambush by the Black Muffler gang of ogrekins and is captured. Fairies search throughout the Endless Dungeons but could not find their captive liege.

965 A.D. Phobos, leader of the Mars Alliance, meets with the fairies. He offers help in finding the Fairy Queen in exchange for the fairies' aid in the war against the ogres. Phobos gathers 3,000 Astrologists and performs a huge ritual. They discover that the "Fairy Queen" is hidden in the mouth of the "Laughing Emperor" Gundari.

Six heroes from the Ten Kingdoms infiltrate the Laughing Emperor's kingdom. Victory the Knight, a warrior known for his superhuman strength, defeats Laughing Emperor Gundari after three days of single combat, freeing the Fairy Queen. With this quest completed, the Fairy Queen rekindles the old covenant of friendship between the fairies and mankind. Victory is sainted and founds the Victory Church religion.

970 A.D. (approximately) The joint armies of the Ten Kingdoms, Fairies, and Dragon People routs the ogre invaders. The ogre tribes retreat into the lower depths of the dungeons.

998 A.D. In celebration of the victory against the Ogres, the Archangel, Wild Goose, descends among the nomadic dragon people. Invention of the organic locomotive.

1000 A.D. The First Grand Vizier Janus unifies the Ten Kingdoms. Birth of the Millenium Dynasty.

The Star Light Era

1001 A.D. The hero Victory secures a strong alliance with the Dwarves and founds the Victory Empire. Ogre stragglers, remnants from the Great Ogre Empire armies, are hunted down and slain.

1003 A.D. St. Victory goes on a dragon slaying quest, encounters the Great Wyrm "Sleepy Lacertid", and is slain by the dragon's fire breath. Lacertid is wounded grievously also and falls into a deep sleep.

1106 A.D. Khan Tigertansudragon forms the Metro Khanate, becoming its first Great Khan. The Metro Khanate begins the large-scale laying of railroads. The Way of the Ways becomes the Metro Khanate's state religion.

1172 A.D. The Millenium Dynasty starts manufacturing and selling its maps of the Dungeon. Carta Mundi oversees production of the revised maps.

1237 A.D. Research into the lost magical paths of Astrology and Summoning becomes popular.

1250 A.D. (approximately) Barbarians from the Deep Floor led by Elves start migrating upwards through the dungeon levels. Migration of barbarians.

1289 A.D. Gauss is crowned Emperor of the Victory Empire.

1292 A.D. In the Millenial Dynasty, the priest Yuggoth preaches about the Reformation. The Brotherhood of the Wrath of God is formed.

1295 A.D. (approximately) The genius dungeon crafter "Minos" is born in the secret society of dungeon crafter. Discovery of the Kernel.

1298 A.D. In the Millenial Dynasty, the Council of Sages is formed. Sages start meddling in politics.

1300 A.D. Scholars of the algorithm publish the "Optical Atlas". Development of the star processing technology. With this development, stars can be installed in dungeons without one, providing a liveable environment for mankind.

1302 A.D. The priest Yuggoth publishes the "Monster Manual". Advances in the study of dungeon monsters.

1308 A.D. To counter the barbarian migration, the Victory Empire enacts the Operation: Bombarda. Gauss has appointed a dwarf as chief technology officer and his plans stop the migration of the barbarians through the floors.

1310 A.D. (approximately) The Exposition Church gains followers in the Millenium Dynasty. Countless secret magical societies abound.

Metro Khan assimilates many small kingdoms and vassal states. Rise of Metro Khan. Fangdragon becomes Great Khan.

Great Khan Fangdragon commissions the master mapmaker Pastel to map the Metro Khanate.

1333 A.D. The dungeon core infects Horaana. Horaana Castle is lost.

1334 A.D. Emperor Gauss of Victory Empire orders the construction of a large harem, Babylon.

1339 A.D. The Metro Khanate dispatches Adventure Trains on an ongoing expedition to build new train lines and stations.

1340 A.D. The Orsini Comet, a huge broom star, crashes into the Victory Empire's territories. The Empire is devastated. The astrologist Orthanc predicts that the Orsini Comet will return in 666 years.

Warring Kingdoms Era

1364 A.D. Great Emperor Gauss dies. The Victory Empire is split by all-out civil war among would-be successors. The Succession Wars begin.

1400 A.D. (approximately) The Millenium Dynasty denounces the Church of Exposition as heresy.

1486 A.D. Inspired by writings about the Declaration of the Republic, the vassal states of the Millenium Dynasty rebel one after the other. The Antelope Revolt. Remnants of the old Mars Alliance are rumored to be behind this.

1500 A.D. (approximately) Metro Khan major expansion. With neighboring vassal states of both Millenium Dynasty and Victory Empire as its targets, tension increases among the Great Powers.

1507 A.D. Master mapmakers excavate the Declaration of the Republic.

1520 A.D. (approximately) Widespread epidemic caused by Roach King Blatter.

1537 A.D. Miss Reticle becomes the first female Grand Vizier of the Millenium Dynasty.

1542 A.D. Lacertid's lair is discovered. The Cursed Sword War begin.

1600 A.D. (approximately) Tributary trade with the Millenium Dynasty becomes popular. Active colonization of small kingdoms occurs.

1699 A.D. Victory Empire's alchemist Poe, who has been researching the secrets of eternal life, publishes the recipe for making Elixirs, medicine which can resurrect the dead.

1716 A.D. The hero Georgi slays Sleeping Lacertid with his favorite spear, 'Dragonslayer'.

1775 A.D. Distinguishing himself as trader/explorer of the dungeons, 25-year old Haglma founds the small kingdom of Haglma Adventure Alley.

The 3rd Adventure Train Expedition Group of Metro Khan discovers an empire of big ogres. Their king was called Pobedonosets.

1780 A.D. (approximately) Haglma Adventure Alley starts selling Backpacks for adventurers. With the adventurer boom that began with the mass production of Elixirs, they make a huge profit.

1789 A.D. Mercedes finally wins the long-lasting Succession Wars. Mercedes is proclaimed 'God Emperor' and orders an invasion of neighboring nations.

1800 A.D. (approximately) The Orgy Church gains many believers in the Victory Empire. An armed invasion train of the Metro Khanate disappears in the Millenium Dynasty's vassal state of Zebea. This triggers large-scale wars between the Metro Khanate and the Millenium Dynasty's vassal states.

1810 A.D. (approximately) God Emperor Mercedes urges neighboring small kingdoms to form an alliance against the Millenium Dynasty.

1814 A.D. Haglma's Adventure Alley becomes a vassal state of the Victory Empire.

1815 A.D. Victory Empire starts its invasion of the Millenium Dynasty. The Great Dungeon War begins.

1822 A.D. The Pope of Hazardism Keparlay intercedes and reaches a settlement of peace between the Millenium Dynasty and the Metro Khanate. The Goose Edict.

1827 A.D. Battle of Balthazar. An ambush by the cannons of Metro Khanate forces and a Millenium Dynasty mercenary company using astrological star weapons achieves complete victory against the brave army of the Victory Empire.

1830 A.D. Haglma Adventure Alley declares independence from Victory Empire and becomes the Holy Capitalistic Republic of Haglma. Its founder, Haglma, leaves on an expedition to descend to the Deep Floor.

1831 A.D. The Fall of Victory Empire.

Small Kingdoms Era

1833 A.D. The alchemist Poe performs forbidden experiments in the ruins of the Victory Empire. The Kingdom of the Dead, Rostomundo, is founded.

1848 A.D. Hazardism priest and alchemist Tropaion denounces Poe in his treatise "Masteral Studies". The study of Science is established.

1855 A.D. A large-scale Dungeon Tsunami is caused by the "Betrayal of an Island Whale". The geographical positions of a majority of the Ground Zero nations, still recovering from the Great Dungeon War, are randomly swapped and scattered. Because of this, most vassal states declare independence. Countless small kingdoms are founded haphazardly all over the world.

1857 A.D. Black Dwarves from Victory Empire embrace the straight edge philosophy.

1867 A.D. Master Fomalhaut becomes Grand Vizier of the Millenium Dynasty. Carta Mundi produces the 3rd Edition card maps.

1919 A.D. Narniadeth discovers the Demon Floor. "The Route to the Demon Floor" is published.

1921 A.D. The Metro Khanate's 7th Adventure Train  Expedition Group discovers the cat kingdom of Jedsneferoux.

1926 A.D. Angels start construction of El Dorado, a huge nesting site. Oracles from the Brotherhood of the Wrath of God and Hazardism assault the Deep Floor.

1928 A.D. The Millenium Dynasty officially prohibits the practice of Necromancy.

1930 A.D. An oracle receives a copy of "Gold, Gold, More Gold!" through the Elevator from Haglma, who has been gone from the city for 100 years.

1931 A.D. A black pearl fortress is built in the Deep Floor and Dark Elf Queen Squatinella starts enslaving mankind around it.

1950 A.D. Master Argorab publishes "Secrets of the Deep Floor and the Sky Floor".

1952 A.D. Reports of meeting a Rare Person named Tolkien who apparently came from outside the Endless Dungeons. Discovery of more Rare Persons on the Deep Floor.

1974 A.D. An lost book of forbidden magic from the Ten Kingdoms Era is discovered by an oppressed faithful of the Church of Exposition. A forbidden magical ritual is performed, summoning the legendary Mosquito Lord, Moscamoscamosca. The ritualist is accepted into the Footsteps of Corruption.

With support from the Millenium Dynasty, mercenaries establish the Sieben Lilien Kingdom.

1976 A.D. The Holy Capitalistic Republic of Haglma constructs branch offices one after another. Invention of the mobile phone.

1980 A.D. The Millenium Dynasty offers a huge bounty for the head of the Archmage, Hadrian Gregorius. Even now, 25 years later,  landmakers and adventurers are yet to beat this challenge.

1982 A.D. Dynamite, a 12-year old would-be Emperor, frees the Basquiat Monastery, a Hazardism church suffering under the tyranny of the Great Ogre Empire.

1984 A.D. Dynamite the Great achieves more renown as an adventurer. He joins up with the Sieben Lilien Mercenary Company.

1988 A.D. Dynamite the Great resigns from the Sieben Lilien and travels to the great cavern of Piranesi, slaying the great ogre Behemoth who lairs there. Emperor Dynamite hires 200 dungeon crafters to construct a huge fortress. Founding of the Dynamite Empire.

1990 A.D. Fall of the Central Stardust County, a vassal state of the Millenium Empire. Domitor forms the Knights of the Order of Reckless Dispute.

1991 A.D. Professor Argorab, who is currently writing "Daily Life in the Deep Floor", is found dead in his study.

1999 A.D. The Kingdom of the Dead Rostomundo begins an invasion into the Millenium Dynasty. The Insomnia War begins.

2001 A.D. One of the lords of the capital of Haglma--Theremin--invents the Training Center.

2002 A.D. The Metro Khanate's 14th Adventure Train Expedition Group discovers Mangamanga Kingdom of the amazons.

2003 A.D. The Capitalistic Holy Republic of Haglma invades 12 neighboring territories. Territorial expansion begins.

2005 A.D. Major artifacts of the Hazard King are excavated in the ancient ruins of Chamberland, bringing the attention of the Great Powers to the region.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The World of Meikyuu Kingdom 10 - History of the Endless Dungeons (Overview)

[Part10 of my ongoing translation of "The World" chapters from the Meikyuu Kingdom GM's Book 2nd Edition. This one gives an overview of the History of the Endless Dungeons. This can be found on page 112. Original Japanese text and art is © Bouken]

The following passages are an overview of the history of the Endless Dungeons, excerpted from the book, "A History of the Millennium Dynasty".

History of the Endless Dungeons

There are countless different histories in the Endless Dungeons, one for each of its countless kingdoms, both large and small. For example, like the Metro Schedule of Metro Khan, most kingdoms mark their founding as the first year of their history. In addition, the Necromancers have their own special calendar called the Twilight Calendar. The years of this calendar strangely count down towards the end of the world called "Doomsday". And then there are those kingdoms where time does not pass at all, like the Wonderland where fairies live.

However, when talking about history, there is none other more prestigious than "A History of the Millennium Dynasty" as adopted by the Millenium Dynasty. The small kingdoms that have ties with the Millenium Dynasty have adopted the Unified Dungeon Calendar and its use have spread far and wide.

"A History of the Millennium Dynasty" is based upon the model of "time" fixed by Hazardism (which is also the estimated time that Quetzalcoatlus Northropi descended), rather than upon the founding of the Millenium Dynasty. According to this system, the history of the dungeons can be classified into five general periods. They are, in order: the time before Dungeon Hazard (Mythical Era), the dark years immediately after the Hazard (Dark Age Era), the middle ages when star light has been discovered and mankind is starting to rebuild civilization (Star Light Era), the period of wars between the kingdoms (Warring Kingdoms Era), and the current age (Small Kingdoms Era).

The following descriptions present an overview of each era, with more information about the actual events within each era in the timelines that follow.

Pre-Hazard (Mythical Era)

The Mythical Era refers to the time of the "One Kingdom" which is said to have flourished before the Dungeon Hazard. The Millenium Dynasty claims descent from this "One Kingdom", but other theories exist about the world before it became a dungeon. However, few to none of the documents from this era have survived. The few sources documents that were found offered very little reliabiility for the most part, such as the oral traditions passed down through a clan of dragons who take pride in their longevity or the writings of Deep One scholars who lived well before the Dungeon Hazard. There are even some historical experts who doubt that the Dungeon Hazard happened at all, but everyone agrees that more research about the Mythical Age is definitely needed.

Dark Age Era (0~1000AD)

The Dark Age Era refers to the period when the "One Kingdom" was split into ten by the Dungeon Hazard. These Ten Kingdoms are Sol, Mercurio, Vénéré, Térra, Marté, Jové, Saturno, Néptuno, and Plutoné. During this time, the chaos and hardship caused by the darkness in the dungeons reaches a fever pitch, rightfully earning the name Dark Ages. The Ten Kings of these Kingdoms were kept busy dealing with food shortage, rebuilding, fighting threats from the dungeon (including an hostile horde of ogres) as well as threats from the other nine kingdoms. Verifying these facts is a difficult process, because like the Mythical Age, you just have to accept the Millenium Dynasty's claims about what this period was like since no surviving records exist. The Dark Ages Era ended with a final battle against the Ogres for the fate of the human race, and the formation of the Millenium Dynasty.

Star Light Era (1001~1340AD)

At the end of the violent wars between humanity and the great ogres, large kingdoms such as the Victory Empire and the Metro Khan were born. As these newborn kingdoms engaged in talks to re-establish the One Kingdom, the Era of Star Light began. Many of these kingdoms assumed that the Unified Dungeon Calendar's 1001st year was the beginning of history, but the Millenium Dynasty, along with the kingdoms who were friendly with them, included the preceding eras, Mythical and Dark Age. The Star Light Era marks the time when Astrology was developed and new technologies were invented to improve life in the dungeon. Valuable books of lore were written for unlocking the secret of the dungeons, such as the "Optical Atlas" and the "Monster Manual". This is also the era when the dungeon craftsmen arose. In this age of productivity, human civilization is finally getting gradually rebuilt. The arrival of the Orsini Comet ended the Star Light Era.

Warring Kingdoms Era (1364~1831AD)

Culture in the dungeon have flourished during the Star Light Era. As men's lifestyles improved, so too did they greed and pride. The trigger for the Warring Kingdoms Era came with the death of the Great Victory Emperor Gauss and the Succession Wars that followed. Repeated oppression against the faithful of Expositionism, The Antelope Revolt, The Cursed Sword War, and many other incidents soon embroiled all the Great Powers in the Great Dungeon War. When the war ended 15 years later, Victory Empire, among the top three great kingdoms, had fallen into ruin. With this, the Haglma's Adventure Alley, a vassal state of the Victory Empire, declared independence and became the Capitalistic Holy Republic of Haglma.

Small Kingdoms Era (1833AD~Present)

The end of the Great Dungeon War was also the end of the Warring Kingdoms Era. Now the Small Kingdoms Era begins. As the war ended, colonies that were under the rule of now-fallen Victory Empire declared independence one after the other, aided by the Millenial Dynasty. In addition, mankind experienced the biggest disaster since the Dungeon Hazard: a Dungeon Tsunami, caused by the "Betrayal of an Island Whale" devastated the entire Dungeon in 1855. People who became separated from their homes banded together and formed small kingdoms. As a result, countless small kingdoms were established across the Endless Dungeons. New kingdoms were founded one after the other and there were some who prospered like Dynamite Empire. This small kingdom boom continues to the present age. However it should also be pointed out that, despite the boom, countless small kingdoms have also fallen.

The above-mentioned five ages is the Hazardism religion's view of history and was conceived during the Star Light Era. It started with the ideal era of the "One Kingdom", then moved on to the world after the Dungeon Hazard which was considered the Dark Ages Era, and on to the era of rebuilding. This idea has carried over to the subsequent Warring Kingdoms Era and is the generally accepted view of history since the 1900s.

At first glance, the Hazardism view of history stands up strongly, even under the rationalism of science. However this view of history is being questioned more and more frequently in recent years as more research into the Ten Kingdoms of the Dark Ages Era are conducted. Major artifacts of the Hazard King have been unearthed in Chamberland and are currently being studied, and everyone is focused on what the findings will be. There is allegedly growing unease among the upper levels of Hazardism's religious leaders about the possible repercussions of the artifacts.

[SIDEBAR] Adventurers

Landmakers are not the sole explorers of the dungeon. Freelance adventurers, seeking treasure and fame, also regularly challenge the dangers of the dungeons. Many kingdoms establish inns and taverns to cater to these adventurers in an attempt to get them to spend their foreign currencies.

These temporary residents account for a percentage of the population of small kingdoms. Experienced adventurers may also be retained long term as a Talent. They can be tasked by the Court to scout the unexplored regions around the kingdom while the Court waits for whatever treasures or information they might bring back.

Perhaps a kingdom somewhere has hired adventurers to scout out your territories without permission?

[Detailed timeline coming up next!]

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Meikyuu Kingdom - The Deep Floor

[Part 9 of my ongoing translation of "The World" chapters from the Meikyuu Kingdom GM's Book 2nd Edition. This one covers the Deep Floor and its inhabitants, the Deep Ones. This can be found on page 111. Original Japanese text and art is © Bouken]

A Look at the Deep Floor

The Sky Floor corresponds to the former "sky" while the Deep Floor corresponds to the "sea". On the border between the Deep Floor and Ground Zero, there is dark waters that spread as far as you can see. Thanks to luminescent moss and noctiluca, the area is illuminated with hazy light. A stone dungeon entrance rises half-submerged in the still waters. A deep darkness swallows the ceiling above while below the boat teem schools of glowing blue and green fishes.

Various things fall from the deep darkness overhead. The water that circulated through out the Ground Zero becomes a great waterfall bringing things of all sizes daily, from garbage to corpses to collapsed dungeons. However, stars are the most interesting falling object. Stars that have burned out and disposed still give off their final blazes of brilliance as they fall to the Deep Floor through secret routes.[1]

Under the water's surface, the collected debris from collapsed dungeons offer a perfect hideout for fish. Diving deeper, the accumulated dungeons are being crushed by their own weight. Deep Floor fish that have not been seen before swim in the darkness of this high-pressure labyrinth.

Dungeonized coral forms a networked pattern of bright pink and orange in the sea. These and dungeonized snail shells are said to grow to tremendous sizes. These biological dungeons are re-purposed by Elves and other Deep Ones as fortresses. The giant snail dungeons can house a large army of Deep Ones and are often used as mobile fortresses for an expedition to the upper world.

The Deep Ones

The residents of the Deep Floor generally have the characteristics of aquatic organisms. They have physical structures that are suitable for swimming including fins, powerful tails, and screw/petal-like propulsion organs. While the Angels fly through their dungeons so do the Deep Ones swim through theirs. The commonly known species are the various types of passage fish. A lot migrate to Ground Zero in search of food so it is common to encounter a large school.

The Deep Ones mostly think the humans are an insignificant race. Their attitude is indifferent rather than arrogant, seeing humans as insignificant small fry. In fact, they emerge in Ground Zero like a natural disaster, suddenly appearing to claim a roost inside a kingdom or running amok in anger for no apparent reason. It is a hard time to draw their attention, and equally hard to negotiate with them (although you can certainly try). The medium to large sized Deep Ones are intelligent and understand the pros and cons of good "negotiation". Although they have a horrific appearance, they are able to collaborate with humans as seen with the Capitalistic Holy Empire of HAGLMA. However, as you dive deeper, their spirits  become more varied as well as their appearance. Mouths that can not even close because they are full of long tusks, complex light-emitting organs, an odd number of eyes rather than just two... Despite their varied appearance, these creatures of the abyss are highly powerful and can be very dangerous enemies. Small Deep Ones are like animals, just like small High Rises. This is quite obvious when you meet migratory fish.

Deep Ones also try to breed with humans. A common proposition when they approach a financially-challenged king is to ask for his daughter in return for whatever aid or business the Deep Ones provide.

[SIDEBAR] Elves and Dwarves

The Elves are mysterious inhabitants of the Deep Floor. Some people,charmed by the mysterious beauty of their slender bodies that tinged with phosphorescent light, are dizzily lured away to vanish forever. The most well known are the true elves but many other subraces exist, like forest elves who live in forests of seaweed, brutal dark elves waiting for light sources, and the hair elf covered in downy hair.

The dwarves are a star-born Deep One race. They are believed to have evolved from moles, and every one of them is a born miner. Brown dwarves are the most common, and they can frequently be found trading with humans with a contract for a smithy or an excavation project. White dwarves are a subrace whose eyes have deterioted so they use huge pink light stars to search unlit unexplored dungeons. Black dwarves are a highly warlike subrace whose entire bodies are encased in iron. Red dwarves are an entire subrace seized with inexplicable madness and all of them are known to be fools.

[1]・・・・・・Stars that fall onto the water's surface from a great height shatters with a flash of light. It should be noted that when this happens, dungeons manifest as ripples on the surface of the water. Isn't this the same mechanism as the those dungeons created by the Kernel? We discussed how star seeds fell to Ground Zero in the section about the Sky Floor and now, with the information that stars can also be Kernels, comes a wacky hypothesis. Seed stars, kernel stars, and the Deep Floor stars falling into the water: are all of these the same? Since seed stars grow up to promote life in the dungeon, are kernels just stars that failed to grow up? The author does not know whether this hypothesis is worth asking. Even if the cause of the Dungeon Hazard comes from outside the worlds, this would not change the situation. But when studying the mechanics of the Dungeonization process, this writer's conviction that knowledge about the stars are indispensable grows by the day. 

Meikyuu Kingdom - The Sky Floor

[Part 8 of my ongoing translation of "The World" chapters from the Meikyuu Kingdom GM's Book 2nd Edition. This one covers the Sky Floor and its inhabitants, the Highrise/Angels. This can be found on page 110. Original Japanese text and art is © Bouken]

The following two pages were taken from the writings of a scholar of the Millenium Dynasty, Argorob Tanbaborg, who mostly wrote travelogues but claimed to have traveled to the Heaven and the Deep Floors. Although there his work has received much criticism, it remains the most reliable source we can find for the moment.

A View of the Sky Floor

The Sky Floor is mainly composed of a "blue sky" that stretches as far as the eye can see. This was once the "Sky" above Ground Zero, lost from the previous world. Dungeons built on the Sky Floor take on aspects completely different from the normal labyrinths found on Ground Zero.

Sky Floor dungeons are a mysterious combination of passages, squares, stairs and myriads of doors, all ignoring gravity. White "Clouds" float about unrealistically interlaced with long stairs, and residents of the Sky Floor walk about passages and rooms with neither ceiling nor walls. Because there are no walls, doors may seem kind of pointless. But when I opened the door, it would seem as if you have dug through space itself, and a room and hallway can be seen beyond the door. Apparently, the main city of the Angels can be found behind one of these doors, but I have yet to discover where it is.

Towers dot the landscape. They vary in appearance from low to tall, simply straight or bulging with brances and offshoots. Some towers are connected together via bridges that form a grand arch between them.

Huge creatures such as Roc Birds and Thunderbirds dance leisurely up above. Flocks of these birds build their nests everywhere, screeching as they defend their territory.

This quirky labyrinth spreads infinitely in all directions, except below towards Ground Zero. Occasionaly, from far up in the sky, small brilliantly-shining things rain down to Ground Zero. The angel acting as Master Agorap's guide called these Star "Seeds". If that is true, stars fall down to Ground Zero from somewhere high above the Sky Floor and grow into the shapes we are familiar with. We will discuss this once more in the section on the Deep Floor.

Angels (The Highrise)

The residents of the Heaven Floor have wings, feather, and various parts integrated into their anatomy that are common features of flying creatures. They can "fly" through the dungeon itself as if it were air. That is, they can slip through the walls and floors of the dungeon at will[1]. With this ability, angels can even make a one-way trip to Ground Zero.

The attitude of angels towards us is downright haughty and imperious, to say the least. Their motives are very difficult to determine, let alone understand. They might appear in a small kingdom with a sudden unreasonable demand (such as, immediate back rent for using the stars of the kingdom) with their arrogant and self-centered behavior knowing no bounds. They might also demand that humans wage a holy war on the Deep Floor, which would be a deadly undertaking (although some priests will thank them for the glory). But they are not all the same. The larger the angel's size is compared to a human's, the more arrogant it is; the smaller angels are generally more cheerful and friendlier. These smaller ones can be tamed and kept as pets. In fact, the smaller ones can be treated just like normal animals.

Angels occasionally settle down in Ground Zero, making a nest and raising a family quietly in a corner of the dungeon. It is understood that they are hatched from eggs. Although angel eggs sell at a very high price, enraged parents relentlessly chase down egg thieves, so no one in their right minds trades eggs openly. Surprisingly, angels often attempt to mate with humans. Supporting this story is the fact that angels sometimes demand healthy men and women as tributes. I shudder to think of the horrible fates that have befallen those who were taken away.

[SIDEBAR] Funeral Rites in the Dungeon

In general, burial rites involve the priests putting the deceased in an Elevator. While those in attendance pray, the elevator moves at high speed towards either the Sky Floor or the Deep Floor, and then returns. When the Elevator arrives, the doors open with a ding sound, revealing food inside. The food is shared among those who attended and the funeral ends with a banquet in honor of the deceased.

[1]・・・・・・When they touch a dungeon wall, their bodies get assimilated into the wall. The reverse happens when they emerge on the opposite side, where they transform from a dungeon pattern to their original shape. Since this series of processes is performed instantaneously, they look like the angel is just passing through the walls. This is a very exhausting process for them and the larger species cannot carry anything with them, so they often just use an elevator.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Meikyuu Dungeon: Monster and Traps

[Part 7 of my ongoing translation of "The World" chapters from the Meikyuu Kingdom GM's Book 2nd Edition. This one discusses the monsters and traps in the Endless Dungeons. This can be found on page 109. Original Japanese text is © Bouken]

Wandering Monsters

The origins of monsters date back to before the Dungeon Hazard. Ancient documents often show names of such monsters as Griffons, Unicorns, Basilisks, Minotaurs, and Goblins. These ancient races of monsters can also be seen in the dungeons of today. Of all the races, the most ancient are the Dragons. They have always been Ground Zero's strongest race since ancient time and have continued to reign on top of the ecosystem of the Endless Dungeons. But even they can not completely resist the effects of the Dungeon Hazard. After the Dungeon Hazard, several varieties of false dragons appeared and spread like the Mushroom Dragons, Jabberwockies, and Dragon Modokis. True dragons can not bear the shame of these mock dragons' existence and kill them as soon as they are found.

On the other hand, more than a few species have disappeared after the Dungeon Hazard. One good example is the race of Giants. The giants once said that since their heads reached the heaven, they were a smarter race than humans. But since the Dungeon Hazard, records of the Giant race stopped. They probably would not have survives the dungeonification of the world because they were too big. You can see remnants of the Giant race in the bestial Ogres, the stupid Cave Giants and the travesty that are One-Eyed Giants.

Such deterioration and extinction, as well as increase in subspecies, seem to be a universal phenomenon of dungeonification. Some critics do point out that it is not the encounter with unknown monster that have previously been unrecorded that is a horrible thing, but the sudden individual changes that can happen within one's own body.

Relationships with Monsters

Well, it is easy to say that many monsters do bite. Flame genies that spread destruction in their rage, demons which embody malice, the wild saw boar that attacks people by instinct and the Bandersnatch which can be called the ancient enemy of humankind all with whom there's no possibility of a dialogue at all. Then there is Abaddon, the terrible monster that seeks to devour all creatures, whether they be Angel or Deep One. But not all races are bloodthirsty monsters. More than a few of the races have the intelligence to speak. You may also come upon a kingdom consisting only of monsters. With mutual compromises, you may be able to find a way to become the friend of such a kingdom. It is up to ruler to come up with a compromise when living with some mutant tribe in a remote region. Humans are overwhelmingly outnumbered in the Dungeon, and it is a foolish attempt and hard on the nation to fight all monsters surerounding one's kingdom. As an example of this kind of agreement, we know of a tributary relationship between a fairy nation and a Dungeon Master Dragon.

There are also those Monster species that have been domesticated by humans. Examples of these would be the Goldfish and the Horselizard. Goldfish are a kind of migratory fish used as a cargo work beast. Horselizards are reptiles that can either walk on two legs or on all four. They can move very quickly even in narrow dungeon passages and are often used as mounts by Knights. Depending on their type, they can move along the walls or ceiling and with a skilled rider can function as a Dragoon unit.

Also, monsters provide precious resources. Craftsmen, who anatomize a slain monster and process it as material for various foods and goods, are just as important as the national guard who protects the kingdom. Weapons can not be made without the monsters' nails and tusks, just as armor can not be made without their fur. Also, many monsters are also delicious to eat, despite their non-pleasing appearance. The earlier mentioned Goldfish and Horselizards are can also be eaten in an emergency. People may fear the man-eating monsters of the dungeon, but we kill, and always will continue to kill, those same monsters and eat them as food.


Traps are familiar to anyone who has explored the dungeon, but I wonder. Who here have experienced such indignation as minding your own business walking down an apparently worthless corridor and suddenly finding yourself caught in a trap? The Endless Dungeons have too many traps. Moreover, there does not seem to be any coherence as to their purpose or connection to the dungeon; most seem stand-alone.

Who on earth sets and maintains these traps, and why?

The way I see it, there are two kinds of trap. One is natural trap, the other is an intentional trap.

Intentional traps are easy to understand. There is something that someone wants to protect and the trap is installed in order to interfere with an intruder. Technical skills are necessary to set an intentional trap effectively, so it's common to employ a trap master for installation and maintenance.

On the other hand, there is a trap that is automatically generated along with the dungeon. This is the natural trap. Because this kind of trap is made regardless of what is lying around so sometimes it does not act as an actual trap. But they reset automatically after they are sprung without need for the time and effort of maintenance. When a natural trap can be used successfully, it is an effective defense against intruders. This is actually the worst threat for intruders because a strong Dungeon Master can generate natural traps at will.

Furthermore, traps can be classified according to purpose. Killing, Alarm, Stranding, Malicious Jokes... Special mention goes to the trap intended for capturing. These aren't just installed by Dungeon Masters to catch intruders. Hunters also use such traps to catch monsters. Nets for catching migratory birds and fishes can be said to be this kind of trap too.

In addition to these devices, there is also the tactics trap. The most often used is Ambush. Lure an enemy group, get them into a compromising position, sieze the opportunity, and strike quickly. Once thrown into the front, even a powerful group will have a hard time. The Ogre race like to use such tactics. Trap/monster combinations can be very brutal sometimes. Great Dungeon Masters know this fact well, of course, and devote time everyday to finding newer, more effective combinations.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Meikyuu Kingdom: Types of Dungeons

[Part 6 of my ongoing translation of "The World" chapters from the Meikyuu Kingdom GM's Book 2nd Edition. This one is all about the different types of dungeons comprising the Endless Dungeons. This can be found on page 108. Original Japanese text is © Bouken]
Types of Dungeons

〇The Basic Dungeon

The dungeons of Ground Zero are composed primarily of straight passages and rooms. Floors, walls and ceiling are usually made of stone masonry, soil, brick or hewn stone. Doors between passages and rooms are usually made of hard wood. There stairs to ascend or descend levels which are also produced by Dungeonization.

However, in addition to this "basic" dungeon, other types of dungeon landscapes exist. The Endless Dungeons are never uniform in appearance. Terrain and the elements vary depending from place to place.

〇Dungeons of Diversity

Plant life are lush in areas with strong star light. There's dense undergrowth is dense and extends high to compete. Sometimes plants grow so huge, their roots and branches can be found on multiple dungeon levels. These roots and branches break through stone, causing a massive collapse in the dungeons. At this stage, the plant itself is usually already Dungeonized.

There are also submerged areas in the dungeon. Water level varies from being knee-deep to a flood that reaches the ceiling, but both are dangerous. Cold water saps physical strength, filthy stagnant water is a breeding ground for disease and pests. In high water levels, there might be small air pockets near the ceiling but you could end up swimming endlessly trying to look for the hidden exit or get caught by a strong current and dumped somewhere else. There are often water monsters from the Deep Floor waiting to prey on people splashing about. On the other hand, a submerged area with continuous water flow has the potential to become a valuable fishing spot. Near the Deep Floor, submerged areas become much more common and it not unusual to find hundred year old sunken ruins that have not yet been explored. Those who dive for ancient treasure in such areas run the risk of joining the countless bones at the bottom of the water, where even starlight can not reach.

Some areas are mechanical, with working pistons and moving gears. Steam often impairs visibility, and there are often elaborate traps in these places just as they are filled with resounding metallic noise. Noone has yet discovered whether these continually-growing machine areas are the effect of Dungeonization nor what purpose the moving parts serve.

Furthermore, the dungeon does not necessarily only extend horizontally. Sloping passages and steps can be found everywhere, and there is also a dungeon that primarily extends vertically through several levels. These dungeons often grow around the remnants of unused elevators. There is a frightening risk of slipping while climbing up a narrow staircase around the walls of a bottomless shaft.

Also stay away from abandoned kingdoms, that has been overrun by Dungeonization. The discarded city might keep intact but eventually, either gradually or all at once, will be incorporated into the dungeon. However, even then, features of the original town remain. In other words, the castle and houses might look the same, but their internal structure have become horribly complicated because of the Dungeonization. When secret doors and traps are found in an otherwise normal-looking house, it might seem stranger by far than other dungeons[1].

The landscape of the Endless Dungeons is a kaledoscope, and mazes of every kind and form that is remotely imaginable can and do appear. By the way, the dungeons of the Heaven and Deeps floor also have very strange characteristics, but those will be discussed later.

It is important to pay attention to changes in the dungeons. A dungeon can be made, changed, or destroyed by the act of men, nature, and of course through Dungeonization. Inhabitants of a dungeon (which aren't always human) often do reconstruction. A wooden door replaced with a more sturdy one made of iron or stone, ladders placed to access levels where there are no stairs, a Dynamite Empire dwarf drilling teams, or a Metro Khanate advance railway-laying team--these can be seen everywhere in a continuing, untiring, day-and-night effort to change the dungeon and improve day-to-day life.

[SIDEBAR] The Tongue

The Tongue

One of the strangest monsters in the Endless Dungeons is the "tongue". The tongue is sticky, fleshy, soft and wet, and zooms through the winding corridors at a fast rate. A person rolled up in its folds is taken away and never seen again.

Originally thought to be something really long. More specifically it is assumed to be the tongue of an really, really huge anteater. Somewhere in the Endless Dungeons, an anteater the size of a dragon has his tongue inserted into the dungeon, preying on monsters and people as food.

[1]・・・・・・Because of the remaining vestiges of daily life, these dungeons are extremely melancholic. When I am walking down the winding aisle of an abandoned castle and I am seeing the star light shining brilliantly through a window, I can not help but think about that surge of Dungeonization swallowing it all and be reminded of a sense of impermanence that whatever we build can not last.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Meikyuu Kingdom: Dungeon Astronomy

[Part 5 of my ongoing translation of "The World" chapters from the Meikyuu Kingdom GM's Book 2nd Edition. This one is all about Stars which play a big part in the every day life of the Endless Dungeons' inhabitants. This can be found on page 107. Original Japanese text is © Bouken]

Dungeon Astronomy

Before the Dungeon Hazard, the stars hung an unfathomable distance high up in the "Night Sky". This story is hard to believe, but evidence from various sources suggests it to be true. The expanding dungeon swallowed up the "Sky" and the stars which were all so far away are now near enough to touch.

Various Stars

There are many different kinds of stars. In common everyday life, people use Calendar Stars[1] whose light waxes and wanes over a constant period, Firefly Stars used as portable lights, and Polaris Stars which always point at a single direction. A Searchlight Star, casting a ray of light in one direction, is also useful. An white-hot Incandescent Star can boil water in a relatively short time while a moderately hot Infrared star can be carried as a portable body warmer. The dungeons are often very cold, so heat from these stars is very valuable. Such small stars are "harvested" like fruits from Star Fields near the kingdom. Generally, star hunting is a job assigned to under-aged children. Not only is this a good way for a kingdom to find good star handlers but the next generation's astrologists as well.

Astrologists are also good for using small~medium-sized stars. These have uses beyond being merely light and heat sources. Spiny Shooting Stars will surely hurt even thickest-skinned multi-headed Hydra. Other known attack stars include: Pulsars that fire straight or rippling beams, Multiples that track and mimic the Astrologist's attacks, and jet-black Collapsers that swallow everything.

A large star is an important resource for the industrial development of a kingdom. It is difficult to provide food without light shining down on farmlands. Before a blazing star can be installed in the ceiling of a kingdom, the star must be rolled through the Dungeons which might claim many lives due to traps, monsters, attacks by enemy kingdoms, thieves, or burning by the star itself. Star relocation is a major engineering endeavour important to the fate of a nation.

There are also special stars: Broom Stars which tunnels and saps the structure beneath dungeon walls, causing them to collapse, Omen Stars that are used in fortune-telling, and Pseudo Stars which are not really stars.

Broom Stars follow a fixed cyclical route for decades, much in the same way comets return over hundreds of years, and may raze an unlucky kingdom unaware that it was built along the star's route. Since it is impossible to make an accurate map of the Dungeons, it is likewise impossible to tell a broom star's path until it is very near. One of the astrologist's most important duties is predicting the course of broom stars by researching ancient maps and documents. An Omen Star is an ever-changing star whose form either foretells auspice or doom. But the omens are often vague, and could be interpreted many different ways. Pseudo stars, also known as Mocking Stars, are monstrous aberrations that mimic the form of stars to bait the careless land makers which they eat.

Some stars are of sufficient size to live in. Migratory fish live in stars made of water while flying creatures resembling kites or balloons live in a stars that are like gas planets. Dungeon Masters often remodel stars into some sort of living space. Cat-like "Star Princes", thought to be the larval form of some kind, can also sometimes be found living in stars.

Massive stars whose movement cannot be controlled by man's hand form a star system in the dungeons. The passage of orbiting stars creates can permanently create large corridors. Such spaces are not suitable for habitation because the stars will eventually return periodically as they complete their orbits, with nomadic hunter-gatherer monsters following in their wake.

[1]・・・・・・Calendar Stars are the basis for the Endless Dungeons' calendar systems. Even if seasons differ by area, it is confirmed that all calendar stars wax and wane at the same time. One period of waxing and waning is called a month. A calendar stars are also called Moon Stones, and are actually fragments of an ancient celestial body called the "Moon". This moon seems to have been made of cheese, and moon stones are likewise edible. A calendar star's period of waxing and waning corresponds to approximately 30 days, for no apparent reason.

There are four seasons on the calendars, but the climate in the dungeons does not follow them. It could be the height of summer in one kingdom, while its neigboring kingdom is caught in the grip of a raging winter snowstorm.

Day and night in the dungeons is distinguished by the brightness of the star. Starlight does not completely go off even at its dimmest, but the twinkling light would not be of use much as a light source. Generally, the period when the star is cheerfully bright is called "day" and the period when it is dark is "night". A pair consisting of a day and a night is called 1 day.

Meikyuu Kingdom: Dungeonization Algorithm

[Here's part 4 of my ongoing attempt to translate "The World", from the Meikyuu Kingdom GM's book. This particular piece about the Algorithm that transforms everything into dungeons, Kernels and Dungeon Masters is from page 106. Original Japanese text is © Bouken]
Dungeonization Algorithm

Dungeonized Denizens of the Endless Dungeons
An introduction to Dungeonization involves talking about a lot of other processes. Walls and rooms can grow overnight and turn a great hall into a dungeon. There are also slow-growing dungeons that form several feet per year. A trap transforming the surrounding terrain is also a kind of Dungeonization. It is natural to assume that these various Dungeonizations are based on the Dungeon Hazard Algorithm.

In other words, it is thought that the Dungeon Hazard has been caused through reckless use of this algorithm. Perhaps the engine can be reduced to a simple numerical formula[1]. Maybe the magical experiment that caused the Dungeon Hazard was the casting of this numerical formula onto some substance with the intent of creating a complicated building automatically.

The Zone of Influence of the Dungeonization Algorithm

The algorithm's area of effect is not limited to just the so-called "dungeon" consisting of corridors, doors, and rooms. The fingerprint of a person who has spent a long time in the vicinity of a kernel (discussed below) changes into more complicated shape. Altered fingerprints are relatively harmless, but Dungeonized blood vessels, nerves or other life-sustaining organs would cause serious harm. In fact, miners, speculators, adventurers--the kind of Dungeon scholars who leave the safety of civilization to delve into the mysterious depths of the dungeon--are generally short-lived, even if they survive the myriad dangers lurking in the Dungeon. Dungeonization of the body clearly exacts an extreme toll on a living creature's health[2]. Another theory is that this algorithm is also deeply involved with the rise in the appearance of wandering monsters. Genetics being still an esoteric lore, it is unknown whether Dungeonization affects the birth of life and heredity, but it does promote mutation.

Involving the birth and genetics, this is still an unknown area but Dungeonization seems to promote mutation. There are many more members and types within each monster race now than those found in ancient myths and legend. This theory cannot be easily dismissed as absurd.

By exploring the true nature of the dungeon algorithm, the Dungeonization may be stopped someday. Dreaming of that future, a Dungeon scholar sets foot into the Dungeon today.

Kernels and Dungeon Masters

In the Endless Dungeons, the Algorithm is run by a "Kernel"[3]. The kernel is the wide variety of items or creatures that facilitate Dungeonization. This entity can take a wide variety of forms, from small pieces of jewelry to a huge monster, with no consistency. Anything can become a kernel.

Things that have a high tendency to become a kernel include certain monsters like Minotaurs, expensive Artifacts that attracts people, and stars. In addition, some of the most powerful wizards and dragons dare to become kernel voluntarily, building their dungeons around themselves. How their bodies manage to survive harnessing the power of Dungeonization is a mystery. They can control the kernel power and build a dungeon through willpower alone as easily as they can control their own body. Thus, these "Dungeon Masters" are feared throughout the Dungeons. They aren't always evil and malevolent, but they are very territorial and often compete violently with one other.

Famous Dungeon Masters


An immortal king who rules the . Neighboring small kingdoms live in dread of his undead legions.

・DARK ELF PRINCESS Squatinella Rosestorm

Queen of , a major Deep One outpost in Ground Zero. Known to command a clan of the most evil elves.

・DRAGON KING Um Al-Madarim

A great wyrm sleeping in the . He has amassed a huge hoard which he guards jealously.

・ARCHMAGE Hadrian Gregorius

Employs a wide variety of monsters. His territory is so vast, he claims an entire Dungeon level as his own.

・MAD KING Naijajan

A madman who wanders the Endless Dungeons. Everywhere he goes is Dungeonized. He seems to have been a renowned wizard once....

・LION KING Nyangwe

Blue-furred man-eating Cave Lion. Highly intelligent and leads a host of beasts. Lurks within the hellish .

[1]・・・・・・Basic dungeons can be drawn using a concentric circle, a pyramid, a spiral, and even the combination of geometric shapes such as the zigzag lightning pattern. These can all be expressed mathematically. You can think of the Dungeonization Algorithm as a magical representation of mathematics.

[2]・・・・・・The effects of Dungeonization on the human body is also called Dungeon Disease. There are harmless changes, like altered fingerprint whorls or hair, but most cases of Dungeon Disease are fatal. In very rare cases, the changes to the body are beneficial. Like increased intelligence from a more wrinkly cortex or a second heart in a Dungeonized circulatory system.

[3]・・・・・・The dungeon builder is called Daedalus.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Meikyuu Kingdom - Structure of the Three Layers

[This is part 3 of my ongoing series about translating those parts of the Meikyuu GM's book that deals with the world background for the Endless Dungeons (a.k.a. "One Million Labyrinths").

This one is from page 105 of the Meikyuu GM's book, which discusses the three layers of the world. Original Japanese text ©Bouken]


・Ground Zero

We live on the layer of the Endless Dungeon called "Ground Zero"[1]. However, the actual structure is composed of tens, maybe hundreds of actual floors. Ground Zero is made up of familiar elements. In other words, it is a passage, a door, a room, stairs, a trap, and a monster. When the terms "labyrinth" or "dungeon" are used, they are referring to this layer.

All Ground Zero isn't filled in with dungeons. There are relatively large spaces where people might live. Land Makers often start building their kingdom in such a place. It is not difficult to find an uninhabited area, but care must be taken. It may look empty now, but something may regularly visit it. A large room with geothermal heating[2] and stars might be the roost of a gigantic monster. It is a common story that some fledgling kingdom is annihilated by intruding into the lair of a furious Dragon or Behemoth. Care must be taken when an uninhabited large cavern is found.

Ground Zero continues horizontally forever and ever. There is a growing rumor that someone has seen the end of the labyrinth with their own two eyes, but this is mostly a tall tale told in taverns. As far as everyone knows, there are no exits from the Endless Dungeon.

・The Sky Floor and the Deep Floor

If going horizontally is no use, how about vertically? It gets a bit complicated. It's because, above and below Ground Zero, two different realms exist. Above Ground Zero is the "Sky Floor". The denizens of this upper floor are called "Highrise". Priests and sorcerers call them gods and angels. Beneath Ground Zero is the "Deep Floor" where the "Deep Ones" live. They are feared by most people and worshipped as devils and demons by those who practice witchcraft.

These spirit worlds are not a product of the imagination, they no doubt clearly exist. Trade and exchange of goods through an elevator with either the Heaven Floor or the Deep Floor is an important element of the economic activity of a small kingdom. Migratory fish and Elves, Jubjub Birds and many other creatures from the Heaven and Deep Floors wander around on Ground Zero.

However, this exchange is a one-way traffic. We can not enter either the Heaven Floor nor the Deep Floor from Ground Zero. Not that there is a physical barrier. Rather, the opposite. No clear boundary exists between Ground Zero and the Sky Floor or the Deep Floor. For the ongoing Dungeonification, a boundary as a concept does not make sense. If you wander the labyrinth and continue going up stairs, it stands to reason that you would reach the Sky Floor someday. The reverse is also true.

But, as you get close to either of these two realms, the danger in the Dungeon increases proportionately. Monsters are more ferocious, traps more brutal. There would not be anyone who can survive such a journey so far from his kingdom. Some people say that maybe an elevator can be used, but residents of the Sky Floor or the Deep Floor interpret anyone arriving via an elevator to be a sacrifice with no exception, and there is noone who have tested this method and returned.

The Highrise like the Deep Ones are alien to us. We do not even understand how they view us. These two races hate each other, and if they have both been put together in one place in the Endless Dungeons, war would soon engulf the place. Humans caught in the middle of a battle between the Sky's Mach Penguins and the Deeps' Gun Fish will definitely be wiped out. Ground Zero acts as a buffer zone sandwiched between the two mighty camps, where only weak races like humans live.

[SIDEBAR] The Legend of the Giant Race

Deep-rooted rumors of encounters with Giants, which should have been extinct, have been handed down through the generations. Coming into a huge passage while wandering the dungeons and fleeing in a hurry because they heard footsteps and voices like thunder coming from around the corner, or a large hall where the ceiling can not be seen and from the other side a huge foot can be seen coming past, or the ceiling of a room or corridor suddenly coming off and peeking into the gap was a huge face, and so on. There are also the fossils of giants discovered during dungeon excavations. Such bones are highly prized as building materials or as raw materials for medicine; they have about the same value as gold ore for miners.

[1]・・・・・・Elevation zero; also, the Dungeon Hazard's vertical epicenter.
[2]・・・・・・Or some hot springs, which further increases the risk of a previous occupant. Because monsters may want to revisit the hot springs, a Landmaker who builds a kingdom there might suffer from periodic attacks.