The Rift Mazes: A History


Apr 22, 2013
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In an attempt to add something of value to the world of Arum, I present to you, my dear readers and fellow developers, a thread to discuss a possible cultural response to the dangers of magic, the Rift Maze. 

This idea may seem too obvious, but I felt the need to share anyway, because it may be something you wish to use...and because I know I'll leave something out, working on this alone. Now, most dungeon maps are naturally multicursal mazes, so why bother with a thread about it? Well, the real topic is the Maze as a cultural phenomenon on Arum, with this first post being more a foreword to get everyone on the same page, so to speak. 


Magic works by tapping into other worlds or dimensions and bringing power (in whatever shape or form) over. The active use of magic weakens the limits between worlds, and with time, it causes cracks or rifts that can affect the world, such as letting in other worldly creatures. []
For my setting, rift size and stability is determined partially from the scale and duration of the spellcasting. Rift source (the dimension it opens into) is varied, and depends in part on the magic used. Larger, and generally more stable, rifts form around large or extremely concentrated spellcasting, like magic academies and military research. I'm working with a country that uses thaumatologically advanced technology for dealing with rifts, but I'm including ruins of old containment complexes as major plot points and my country's lore. 

Back to generalities, these ruins are based on the idea of The Labyrinth of the Minotaur (though, as a technical aside, a "labyrinth" wouldn't require string to navigate. They have two directions: in, and out. A multicursal maze would have splits and dead-ends, but those aren't true labyrinths). The idea is that before the development of the containment technology used in my country, older civilizations either arranged for the rift to form in a pre-built maze, or built the maze around an existing rift. As time passed, these old rifts either went dormant, or were...dealt with. My idea is to use some of these old mazes as part of the plot, and others for "bonus" exploration. 

  • For example, one of my larger maps is a multi-level ruin built around the throat of a dormant volcano. The volcano was created, using magic, to be a weapon (specifics will be included in the game's lore), but was inactivated by a rift connected to dimension of COLD, all generations before the setting of the game. There MAY be a bonus dungeon created that can only be reached by breaching the rift. 

I'm constructing a set of maps of different mazes, mostly because I think they're fun to design, but also because, if you look at our world's history, there's a lot of convergent evolution of ideas. Since it's a unified world, it would make sense to see these ruins in other countries, too. The maps in the set are pretty basic at the moment, because the idea is to leave room for the developer to modify them to suit his needs. (Traps, treasure rooms, tilesets, etc.)  

FINAL NOTE: I'm new to mapping, and I'm using this resource set as a way to improve my skills too, so feedback is appreciated. 

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