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The Eighth Pinned Down (Compiled by Matthew Cramp)

[DROD is set in a world called 'The Eighth', and we thought it would be in any budding hold architects' or fiction writers' interest for this site to have an idea of how the world's set up.

Problem is, there's little rhyme or reason to it - it's just not a 5-minute job. Seeing as it's late and I want to have some M&Ms, I sent a crack team of DROD enthusiasts to the Eighth to find out more about it, then compiled their results. It's certainly informative, and it means I didn't have to slog across the place, which is always good.

What follows is pretty much all we know about the Eighth. The best authority on it, of course, is Erik, who fills in little sections of it when he isn't doing anything interesting. Whether or not he stops as soon as he starts depends on how interesting he finds creating odd pockets of geography.]

Hi Matt,

We landed, conveniently enough, at the bottom of Throdinger Hill, on which Beethro lives. So we decided to visit him first, being closest and coolest at the same time.

Beethro was reluctant to let us in because he suspected we were from King Dugan, trying to weasel money out of him, and Wesley smelled funny. Eventually, we got in and tried to find a seat (Beethro's house is filled to the rafters with junk) and asked him about the noble art of exterminating.

[There are many terms for dungeon exterminators - delvers (little used), dungers (derogatory), the aforesaid dungeon exterminators (preferred), and smitemasters (this last really only applies to Smitemasters' Guild members).]

Beethro Budkin (Smitemaster, responsible for clearing out King Dugan's Dungeon among other such great works): "Noble? Bah! Delving's a dangerous, difficult and disgusting occupation! It doesn't even pay well. I know it gets glamorized in stories and the like, but those sissies never go underground and see for themselves!

Anyway, basically our job is to go down and clean out dungeons that kings and the like have built. Huge places, totally unnecessary, and there's bound to be monsters turning up somewhere in the place. Sometimes they'll even be created down there - I know I was one of the first to see brains, but they've spread to other dungeons, and no-one knows how.

Anyway, then we organize with the king to go down and clean the place out, then they get in their architects and they install green and blue doors - they close soon after monsters wander in, and open again once they're all dead - so they can't spread all over the dungeon. Never works, of course, because the doors are too slow to close, but handy to tell if you've got everything on the level. Some kings don't bother installing them, but most do.

Then they'll turn around and try and accuse us of leaving monsters down there, roach eggs and the like, so the place can just get reinfested! Seeding, they call it. The little jeebers will turn up one way or another, and there are enough kings that won't accept it that the rumors keep going around. But it doesn't happen, not any more. We don't need any more work.

Of course, then they ask how they get in there in the first place, and then we'll just look slightly stupid. The problem is that we don't know. Some say that it's just the way the place works, underground monsters will just appear because there's no light, and there's some places we just can't go, down pits and things; others say that customers will breed monsters then try and blame the exterminators when they get loose; and I've heard some say that monsters turn up because the architects plan for them. Codswallop.

Down in Dugan's, probably around the tenth level or so, maybe less, I found a door I couldn't open. There was an orb on the other side, but I couldn't reach it. And there were a few things in that dungeon that got me thinking, not least what the 'Neather said right at the bottom, which is weird enough as it is. I've got my restaurant. Someone else can find out what's behind that door, and I'll stick to getting roachmeat. It just doesn't concern me." [Suspicious.]

We thanked Beethro, and were just about to leave when Tim spotted a letter amongst Beethro's junk written in Sihmpuhl Englihsh, a rather difficult alphabet that is widely used on the Eighth. [There are a few examples of Sihmpuhl Englihsh around - the two largest we have access to are an old Eighth legend named The Wormspeaker (the first part of which is on and a blackboard of possible explanations for seeding complaints. There's also some during DROD's ending sequence, as well as on the certificates given to beta-testers.] Tim asked if he could keep it, and Beethro replied by shoveling some of the letters into the fire, then nodding. We left him to it.

[Lazy buggers didn't even include the letter. We need some more examples of Sihmpuhl Englihsh, preferably long ones, and keeping a letter for yourself won't help any.

If you're looking to write Sihmpuhl Englihsh, you'll first need to work out how. Erik has stated that he'd prefer others to work it out. We've worked out some rules, we think, and we know there are some because we've seen the cipher. It occurs that some of you will want to work out Sihmpuhl Englihsh on your own steam, so I won't describe everything we know about it. If you want it spoiled, go no further than this forum thread.]

Our next stop was a man named Mafinot Budkin, a distant cousin of Beethro's. Mafinot was a shipwright, and as Dugandy is landlocked and has no major rivers, seemed a bit odd, until we actually asked him about it. Like most tradespeople, Mafinot lives in the Low Spaces of Dugandy, which is where those too poor to afford a place to live with a decent view (or, as we found out, a reasonable chance of surviving floods) tend to live. It also tends to be a very temporary place to live, so don't get settled in.

Mafinot's house, however, was not a house per se, but a large ship that had seemed to take root in the ground. Surely, the house of a boat-builder, and we soon learnt that this was a house that had both style and function.

Mafinot Budkin (boat builder and fairly regular guy) : "Ohh, uhh, welcome! Were you after a boat, by... oh, oh, I see. You're visitors, are you? Well, sit down, sit down! I'll fetch you some tea, although I probably can't afford visitors because I have all these boats to finish. Sigh... and I'm never making any progress."

When Mafinot returned, we asked him about his trade. "Aah. I make boats, my speciality being houseboats, much like mine. A perfect way to survive the Onsuary floods."

"Umm, okay. See, it starts with the sun. How high it is in the sky depends on what time of the year it is. Onsuary is summer, and it gets colder as the sun goes higher in the sky. Novender is, umm, winter. But the next year, the sun rises back in Onsurary, so the temperature change is massive, and all the ice melts, snap! Just like that. So the Eighth, except for Glorthorred and their big wall and, uhh, bits of Tueno, I think, is all flooded, which is where my houseboats come in. With a houseboat, you don't have any problems with water covering up your house! Except when they first come, but that's no problem so long as you close up the windows."

[Mafinot did show our heroes a map to accompany this, however it's still in Mafinot's book. Thankfully, we do have a map made up especially for us by those fine folk at Glonning & Co, Mellenfral - take a look.

The wall Mafinot refers to is the Hundred-Foot Wall built around most of the continent of Glorthorred. How they got it up in a year is beyond me.]

He gave us permission to poke around his houseboat, and quickly found the calendar, as well as a now very annoyed cat (we dared to disturb a mote of dust near it). From what we can tell, the date system for the Eighth works like this:

Calendar (owned by Mafinot Budkin, though with any luck not for very long) : There are nine months of thirty-seven days, making three-hundred and thirty three days altogether, a nice round number; much better than Earth's random going-around-the-sun nonsense. This is 148 B.D. - B.D. meaning Benedat's Discovery, which we plan to ask about next. [It's amazing how people won't notice how similar things are if they're convinced they're different. That or no-one had up till then bothered to take a rather long walk and given themselves the opportunity to be surprised that all the natives in a distant land knew their name and had wondered where they had gone off to.]

The months are as follows:

1. Onsuary
2. Twisuary
3. Thrisuary
4. Quarsuary
5. Quinsuary
6. Sensuary
7. Septender
8. Octender
9. Novender

[An Eighth nursery rhyme goes as follows, according to Erik:

Thirty-seven days hath Septender,
Onsuary, Twisuary, and Novender.
All the rest hath... uh.... thirty-seven.
So this rhyme is pointless to remember.

Children, being contrary creatures, remember it anyway.]

Mafinot had already returned to his current job, so we left him to it and pocketed the calendar.

We tried to talk to King Dugan next, but the guards tried to charge us a hundred 'greckles' (that's what Dugandy uses for dollars, as well as a few other city-states after they found out that everyone in the city was already using greckles instead of the local currency. Because massive inflation hasn't taken hold yet, there's also room for 'grubbles', small, very thin bronze coins, each one valued at one-thousandth of a greckle) to get in. We didn't really want to pay, so instead we admired the view, which was a lot cheaper. Dugan's castle is on the very top of the mountain of Dugandy (you can see it during DROD's ending sequence) and the rest of Dugandy is spread out below it. The higher up you go, the more valuable the land is. Most cities on Ephelna, the continent Dugandy is on, follow this pattern. Very few people (i.e. idiots) live away from the mountains because the flatlands are infested with wraithwings, and that's not counting the floods, the lack of building materials, and the sheer remoteness of it.

This seemed like as good a place as any to turn in, but all the inns are booked out, except one, which unfortunately could tell the difference between grubbles and greckles. So now it's dark, we don't have anywhere to stay, it's cold and it's raining and Neil's disappeared. How come you didn't go? You're the webmaster, after all.

And where's our pay?