Building a Rooftop Necropolis

I'm building a necropolis on top of my house and I need some advice.

I want it to be an open air labyrinth type deal, so I can toss sacrificial victims in from a platform and the gods can look down on them without obstruction. But I want to make absolutely sure nobody gets out, because that would offend the aforementioned gods. How tall do my stone walls need to be? What can I do to keep people from scrambling out, assuming a witches brew of desperation, human ingenuity, lack of full-time wall guards and plentiful bits of wood, bone and precious metal littering the floor?

I'm subcontracting with some excellent stone masons who can really cut a block, but I need advice and hints from other unholy patriarchs, blood mummies, deity impersonators, priest-queens, etc who have been through the construction process and paperwork. Thanks!
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Comments

  • Some sort of iron lattice over the top might help avoid escapes without obstructing the gods' view.

    Maybe you could coat the walls with some sort of acidic lichen/sludge to keep victims from climbing them? If you do this, don't use limestone for your construction.
  • It's not height, it's incline. If the walls are fairly smooth, and slope inward (see detailed diagram below), the chances of your victims escaping is reduced somewhat.

    DIAGRAM

    /___\

    Also, grease the walls with a water-based lubricant.
  • Do some Google searches on Squirrel Proof Bird Feeders. Those are designed to keep super resourceful climbers from getting in...but I bet there's some crazy ideas that would work for keeping resourceful climbers from getting out as well.
  • Also, grease the walls with a water-based lubricant.
    But it's open to the sky. Won't the rain just wash it away?
  • Excellent point.

    Line the walls with razor blades, and the victims will lubricate the walls with their own blood.

    Also, if you put a TV and some video games down there, or maybe some nice magazines (current), maybe your victims will just chill out instead of trying to escape all the time.
  • Posted By: Albert ABut it's open to the sky. Won't the rain just wash it away?
    No. Reexamine the little ascii diagram. The rain would run down the outside of the walls.
    The problem is, I can't see how you'd do this with any of the walls besides the outermost. For inner walls, the incline would make them easier to climb up, at least from one side.
  • Barring regular guard types, can you tie a jaguar or something atop the walls? I mean, if it's hungry and mean enough, no one will attempt to climb past it.

    Contrary to what Albert recommends, I've found from personal experience that captives will suffer through almost any amount of pain to escape. Acid on the wall won't work, though it might bring you some amusement.

    How about a sort of inward-tilting wall construction? As they try to climb the walls, the whole thing closes inward. If they climb too high, they close the hole entirely until they let go.

    Really, though, have you considered just chaining their ankles to the ground? Simplicity is best.

    Don't worry about the paperwork. Permits are a joke. When the inspectors come by, just throw them in the necropolis. If they get out, I guess you didn't pass inspection.
  • Posted By: Jason Morningstarplentiful bits of wood, bone and precious metal littering the floor?
    This sort of nixes anything really being fool-proof.

    However, if you're really after providing a worthwhile challenge for the sacrifices, that's a different story...
  • edited March 2009
    Convert your victims. Think Temple of Doom.

    EDIT: To clarify, our sacrifices are all already Servants of the One Fire, and, at each service, He simply selects the one who will best satisfy Him. I am still waiting to consummate my own union with the One, but as attested my burns, His favor already rests on me. It won't be long now.

    But I'm assuming you're not that lucky, and so you'll need bring your victims around to your way of thinking.
  • My experience in this field (9 years as a gardener) has taught me that you can't really expect fencing to be anything more than ornamental if it's less than 15 feet high. Lower than that and deer get in. You don't want deer in the necropolis, they'll eat your hostas.

    Assuming you have hostas in your necropolis, but you probably do. They love the shade.
  • edited March 2009
    Jason, we make great use of starvation in our necropolis. Starvation is your friend. If they're too weak to climb the walls, you needn't worry about what the walls are made of.

    Graham
  • Just remember the measure of any good escape is not what the holding cell can do but what can the captives do. While the inclined walls may stop one or two people when you start getting into sacrifices involving dozens of people to the elder blood gods, well, walls dont matter when people can make a human pyramid to get to the top of the wall followed by the human chain followed by the escaped human.

    Possession is 9/10 of security, so either drug your sacrifices/bleed out/ sick evil spirits/mental maladies or place guards on your walls (Presumably with appropiate weapons/mystical powers to prevent the sacrifices from getting to them.

    alternatively, consider using chains to ensure adherance to the schedual of sacrifice and dying.

    I always found the best rooftop sacrifitorum was one constructed by slaves, simply have your slaves working hellish hours for the bloodgod until they die. Plain view sacrifice + Constructive Man Hours.
  • edited March 2009
    Graham's got it. We use powerful opiates here at the Circle of Death (so the chosen might look upon the true face of Grokarr), but the principle is the same.
  • If you're sacrificing them anyway, snap their ankles before throwing them in.
  • Jason, is this where you're putting that minotaur you picked up at Dreamation? I'd worry about him getting fat if you cripple your 'guests' too much.
  • edited March 2009
    You will need THIS document first.

    I would also recommend a Sound Permit (possible the Outdoor Music Venue since it's good for a year)



    ara
  • Some sort of large funnel to amplify your manical laughter.
    Also, consider a pipe organ.
  • Posted By: Jason MorningstarI'm building a necropolis on top of my house and I need some advice.

    I want it to be an open air labyrinth type deal, so I can toss sacrificial victims in from a platform and the gods can look down on them without obstruction. But I want to make absolutely sure nobody gets out, because that would offend the aforementioned gods. How tall do my stone walls need to be? What can I do to keep people from scrambling out, assuming a witches brew of desperation, human ingenuity, lack of full-time wall guards and plentiful bits of wood, bone and precious metal littering the floor?
    How tall is your house?

    If you've got a tall enough house - really tall - nobody can escape alive, ever. The height of your labyrinth walls doesn't really matter, then.
  • edited March 2009
    Rafu - hole in the roof, escape through sanctum. Probably massacre your elite guard on the way out, maybe even find the self-destruct button. And you know they'll push it if they do.

    Unwilling sacrifices do all kinds of crazy things to escape, hence my suggestion above (conversion). If they won't accept the self-evident truth of your faith, well, just convert them harder.
  • Thanks, everybody!

    This whole thing is a huge pain in the ass. Let's just say we worship gods considerably more bad-ass than Grokarr, so I need to do this right.
  • On the killing floor I'd put something like big crochet needles.
  • edited March 2009
    Try placing your offerings in individual boxes, topped with clear plastic lids. It's easy to organize and cheap to maintain. I built my mother's Necropolis this way in a single afternoon, and now she loves showing it off to her friends.
  • Over here at Snap-Eye arms, we've made efficient use of the local wildlife. First, we toss a freshly killed horse into the labyrinth once a day. That attracts griffons. They get used to thinking of anything inside the labyrinth as dinner. We were using goblins, but they wanted to be paid. You wouldn't think it would be a big deal right? We just said no. But goblins are all kinds of wily. We're still trying to get them out of the sub-basement and the garage. Now we use slimes. They're astonishingly hard to kill, they lurk nicely, and they add to the ambience.

    Have you considered curses? We've got some evil eye orbs on top of the south wall where the parapets are lowest. That'll blind anybody under about 5th level, and toss 'em 10 feet in the air if they fail their save.

    Also, rusty iron spikes are nice. Smear them with the blood of a half-demoic purple worm. The stuff won't wash off in the rain, and it brings on fainting spell. It makes escapees easier to catch.

    We'va also got a couple of false walls. They look like nice, climable exterior walls, but they just lead into blind alleys full of fiendish traps--deadly AND demoralizing.
  • Posted By: tony dowlerNow we use slimes. They're astonishingly hard to kill, they lurk nicely, and they add to the ambience.
    I also hear that when/if they do die or are killed you can spread their remains on the walls. It acts as a serviceable lubricant and it's quite an irritant when it contacts bare skin.
  • edited March 2009
    I talked to Grokarr and he totally understands. Grokarr is cool, basically. Whatever you have cooking with the higher-ups, Grokarr would appreciate if you didn't mention his name.
  • edited March 2009
    Posted By: BurrTry placing your offerings in individual boxes, topped with clear plastic lids. It's easy to organize and cheap to maintain.
    Oh, yeah, maintaining a filing system, it's a nightmare. Luckily I've got a big human filing cabinet thing I got second-hand from a morgue.

    Rather than alphabetising, it's useful to file by date of birth, which means that, come sacrifice time, you know exactly who's reached their 15th birthday. Separate virgins from non-virgins, preferably in two different filing systems. It is dreadfully difficult to get people to give their date of birth. People have no regard for proper administration.

    Graham
  • Posted By: GrahamOh, yeah, maintaining a filing system, it's a nightmare.
    I always organize by sex, number of teeth, and hair/skin color.
  • OK, we need to think out of the box AND make the Dark Ones happy. Easy!

    Simply cap your Necropolis with a giant lens - it allows the Dark Ones to peer closer at the doomed AND it cooks the doomed before they get all "let's escape and make Jason look bad."

    Win-Win!
  • Posted By: JuddGSimply cap your Necropolis with a giant lens - it allows the Dark Ones to peer closer at the doomed AND it cooks the doomed before they get all "let's escape and make Jason look bad."
    My friend Zrachnarrr started something like this, but then he tried to convert it to one of those parabolic hologram thingies at the last minute. I hear he went mad.
  • Plus you get gunk and fingerprints all over the lens whenever you lift it up to put more of the god-chosen in.
  • edited March 2009
    Posted By: Mike SandsPlus you get gunk and fingerprints all over the lens whenever you lift it up to put more of the god-chosen in.
    I assumed a bottom feeding process of some sort, maybe a breach-loader. Getting them milled to any useful degree is hard, but worth it. You get a bad fit and you get arms and legs caught in the breach and then you are trying to clear the jam - with the Dark Ones watching! Embarrassing!
  • All right, listen up, people - I'm not made of money. I can't go buying gigantic lenses or half-demonic purple worms to exsanguinate, OK? Do you think this necropolis project is the only thing I've got going on? It isn't, not by a long shot. Come visit some time, I'll take you out for dinner and show you half a dozen major projects just on the way to the restaurant. Cash is a little tight and I'm highly leveraged right now. Even if my gods were cool with it, which they are not, I don't think I could swing an entire roof covered in metal lattice, you know?

    So simple, cheap, and effective are my watchwords. And another thing - enough of this "starve and cripple your sacrifices" talk. Some of your gods may be into that* but not mine - they like a good fight. They like "adventurers", who just want to steal my family gold. These are clever people and the gods prefer them to enter the necropolis intact and ready to seriously annoy my undead ancestors. I know this isn't ideal but what can I do?

    So help me out. What's the bare minimum that will keep these sacrificial mopes down?

    *Grokarr
  • Ah, you need only Google "open-air temple of Amun at Amarna" to see a fine prototype of what you're looking for. Of course, you'll need to make a few modifications like sealing the monumental entryways so your sacrifices can't just waltz out the doors. You'll also need to scale it to your roof. Make your walls 16-18 feet high (don't angle them, though: this will deprive Those Above of an unobstructed view -- the Nameless Ones don't like shifting around on the Celestial Futon to get a better look of a sacrifice huddled at the base of the angled wall), construct their inner core of brick and give them facings of seamless, polished marble. Make sure it's seamless! And you'll need to engage a work crew to come in on a regular basis to polish and glaze the surface. Don't carve anything into the walls, either . . . carvings are like ladders to Cimmerians -- in the event you capture a Cimmerian.

    Hope this helps ;)
  • Exterior walls should be much higher than the interior walls, to prevent climb-then-jump-across. Heroes love doing that kind of thing. Topping the walls with spikes is good as well, to make them difficult to stand on. Half-demonic purple worm ichor is creative, but much too expensive. Simple rust and dung will make them give quite effective infected wounds, as the Viet Cong showed with their punji stakes.

    I suggest giving them false hope. Litter the area with desecrated holy symbols, or holy symbols of the wrong religion to be effective against your undead. Some weapons that won't actually be effective against them are good as well, and also provide opportunities for backstabbing among the sacrifices, which should please your dark gods immensely. As zombie movie after zombie movie shows, the biggest threat to a cooped-up bunch of heroes is each other -- so give them some "safe" spaces where they can hole up for a while, and watch the fun.

    Oh, and as for whoever said that you needed to watch out for them building human pyramids to get out -- that's why you sacrifice adventurers in a necropolis, and not cheerleaders. There's a whole other set of evil uses for cheerleaders....
  • Posted By: BurrMy friend Zrachnarrr started something like this, but then he tried to convert it to one of those parabolic hologram thingies at the last minute. I hear he went mad.
    And he was so young... just shows that until we find a cure, there's no end to this tragic disease.

    But onto the topic at hand:

    Water, if used right, can be an excellent tool for both killing and tiring otherwise healthy entrants to your necropolis. Water can be collected from rainwater, and even a few feet can be a major hindrance for any adventuring party. Consider:

    1) Unconscious = Drowning
    2) Murky water obstructs the view of caltrops
    3) Hindered movement means much lower-budget creatures can be relied on to produce entertaining casualties. This is amplified when the water is deep enough that there's no stable footing.

    Unfortunately, a lot of water-based necropoli suffer from the neglect of proper application of water-movement rules. Most prominent symptoms include victims moving approximately 30 feet every 6 seconds through the water while fighting normally.
  • I'm astonished at the sheer incompetence shown in this thread. I mean, seriously, giant lens? Lattices? Come on! Is everyone on this board worshipping Grokarr?

    Anyway, I was responsible for a part of the construction of my mistress' labyrinth, and she has graciously let me watch a number of the sacrifices. First of all, Kevin above has made possibly the only educated comment in the bunch. Tall walls, at least 15 feet, are a must. To prevent scaling, here's a trick I used, which has the advantage of being both economical and highly amusing:

    Leave some cracks inbetween the stones. Yeah, I know, your peruvian contractors don't "do that", but you might want to reconsider them, anyway, as they're highly overpriced. And if you want the tall, 15 foot walls, cyclopean is the only way to fly. Now, I know what you're thinking: "The cracks will make it easier to escape, not harder!", but here's the trick: a number of the rocks are loose. Especially with big rocks this is great, as victims will have to rest more or less all of their weight on the same rocks. This will have the following effect:

    1. The rock tears loose.
    2. The victim falls on the ground.
    3. The rock falls on top of him!

    I don't know how your gods look at premature sacrifices, but with this kind of entertainment, I doubt they will mind. And anyway, it's just a matter of rock size to calibrate the perfect injury. Do a couple of test runs with local peasants to find the sweet spot.

    A second reason to pick a different contractor is that those peruvians, while being excellent at stone, can't do metal for shit. This makes trapwork difficult. If you do go with the peruvians, I suggest outsourcing the trapwork. My mistress used a fellow named Grimtooth, I'm sure she can give you his number.

    In case you don't want to harm the victims at all before the sacrifice (some gods are like that), you should hire a really good illusionist. Don't skimp on the gold here, as shoddy illusions will make you the laughing stock of the community and anger the gods. False walls and doorways, illusion bottomless pits, corridors that look like they're straight but really go around in a circle, &c. If you do a good job here, they won't even be thinking about climbing, as they'll think they can escape by figuring out the illusions. Also, illusory monsters to complement the real ones will literally cut your expenses in half, and the look on their faces when they realize this flesh-eating hellhound is a real one is priceless.

    I might have some more ideas for you, Master Jason, but my mistress calls, so I have to go now. Might be back later, if not dead. Best of luck to you!
  • edited March 2009
    Man, looking at the research, it appears I'm in pretty good shape - if I build a 6 meter wall on top of my 6 meter house, that adds up to even statistical odds of immediate death from a fall off the outer wall. And even the survivors will be in no condition to walk away, so that's something.

    Thanks for the practical tips, guys! I appreciate the sentiment, but water is definitely out - my undead ancestors will be hanging out in there and there's only so much mummy rot a guy can tolerate, you know? And you know what gaffed walls sound like to me? A LOT OF MAINTENANCE. I know I'm nit-picking, but me and the blood mummies really do appreciate your ideas.
  • Have your tried looking on e-bay for a couple of extra dimensions? Once in place they should provide the perfect defence against wall scaling, your victims will climb to the top of a wall only to find the plateau at the top is in fact the shear face of a wall elsewhere in the labyrinth.

    As an added bonus, nothing creates better acoustics for the laughter of uncaring gods than impossible geometry.
  • Back now, though one finger less, so slow typing.

    I realize now that what you're primarily asking about is keeping them from scaling the walls. We haven't got that problem here (our gods are watching from below, so ceiling is no problem), but I recently visited an ingenious Belgian guy with a necropolis. He had an open-air design, like you, and I asked him if he didn't have problems with victims climbing out. He answered me that no, he had no such problems. What he had done was so simple, it's brilliant. He got himself an assload of blood and splashed it on the walls, about four meters up in the air. He had to make a couple of passes to make sure the rain didn't wash it all off. The victims, seeing this streak of blood splashes, all at the same height, all over the necropolis, assumed there was some deadly trap there, making sure that anyone who climbed that high got instantly slain, even though there was no such trap. This overlord is surely a master of subtle tactics, and I am much in awe of his skills.
  • Damn, those Belgians are crafty.

    John, I love extra dimensions as much as the next guy, but I'm on a budget. You know what my ride is? A 1990 Ford Focus. Let that thought give you pause.
  • Be careful. Really clever "adventurers" will try to chisel down through the stone roof. Then, not only have they escaped the necropolis, they've also gotten into your house and let zombies into your bedroom (assuming there aren't zombies there already).

    Just for fun, I like to make sure that the room under the necropolis is even less inviting. In my vacation home in Boca, I had an alligator pool installed on the top floor, under the rooftop necropolis. Boy were those "clever" dwarves surprised!

    I have found that most ways to keep the walls slippery fail due to maintenance costs or impracticality. I had been experimenting with wildlife, but since the necropolis is exposed to bright sunlight most of the time, the bats would not stay long enough to produce guano and my molds and lichens were drying up. You might just dump your sewage down the walls. If nothing else, it really angers the captives, and that's always good for a few laughs.

    How do you plan to get the adventurers into the holding chamber? Remember, any passage in is also a passage out and can be tampered with or bashed down. If you must use doors, construct them carefully. I like to create the door out of a solid block of stone. I already have the stoneworkers. The stone of the door includes a set of protruding posts that form the hinge, so no separate hinge mechanism is required. I have these set directly into perfect-sized holes in the floor and ceiling. My doors always open in towards the holding chamber and of course there is no handle on the inside. They're easily blocked on the outside with a huge block of stone -- nothing complex. For extra fun, I like to set them about six feet above the floor. It's easy enough to shove adventurers into the necropolis, and the six-foot fall is enough to rough them up a bit but not kill them. If you're concerned about them opening the door, just put a couple of those windchime things on the "safe" side of it. You'll hear them trying to escape and can send a few dozen skeletons up there to push them back in and shut the door.

    Really, you mentioned that you couldn't afford 24-hour guards. Why not use cheap undead? They don't need to do much, really, than be glorified watch dogs. I swear, they're too dumb to do anything else anyway. Just order them to hit a gong if the adventurers try to escape the tunnel and focus on pushing the captives back into the necropolis if they start to climb out. Then you only need one or two guards to wake up and respond intelligently. Pushing adventurers back into the hole is pretty simple -- a lot easier than beating them in a real fight, for sure.
  • Posted By: Simon_PetterssonI'm astonished at the sheer incompetence shown in this thread. I mean, seriously, giant lens?Lattices? Comeon! Iseveryoneon this board worshipping Grokarr?
    You mean they aren't? That's why I joined this forum! I was assured it was a Grokarr fan club as well as a board for discussing games.
  • edited March 2009
    Hang on. In what way is this a necropolis? Aren't the people in it still alive?

    What you've got there is a "waiting room".

    Graham

    P.S. If Grokarr is reading this, I'd like to point out that we revere him as a worthy and mighty deity. I'm sure anyone in this thread who says different is merely displaying that well-known American irony.
  • Posted By: GrahamHang on. In what way is this a necropolis? Aren't the people in it still alive?
    I believe Jason said that his undead ancestors also "live" there.
  • The question is moot. The adventurers always escape, though sometimes due to the heroic sacrifice of one of their number. So don't focus on containment; rather, provide several opportunities to escape ONLY IF there's heroic sacrifice. That keeps your gods' odds up.

    But if you merely want to stop them from climbing out, removing thumbs and index and ring fingers will turn the trick, I'll wager. Surely your gods don't mind basic containment tactics? I mean, it's better than hobbling them. Or removing feet or similar.

    Wait! Does your realm have constant, roiling storms overhead, alive with jagged lightning? If so, then a very simple network of lightning rods, some copper plates, and a bit of acid (say, the acid you're using for the trap in Corridor E6?) and you can be assured of "tickling" any climber off the wall who nears the top. We're not talking a buncha iron grating, here--just the simplest mesh and an odd rod or four (one at each corner of the labyrinth is de rigeur, these days).
  • Jason, I'm getting tired of your complaining. No amount of praying to your eldritch god will overcome the basic problems of this sort of endeavor.

    Unescapable.
    Horrific.
    Cheap.

    Pick two.

    Every day you dawdle by trying to have it all is another day your ancestors go without their tasty sacrificial brains and another day your god goes to watch some other high priest's content.
  • Don't overlook the importance of flooring as well. It's all well and good to build high walls, but if the sacrifices can just make human pyramids or chains, they'll be over the top in no time. May I suggest metal rollers? If you can find a supermarket or other large store with basement storage that's going out of business, you may be able to buy their little roller tracks cheap. Set them into the floor so that they spill toward the corridor center and people who try to reach the walls will have their legs slip out from under them.

    Also, consider a similar approach to the tops of the walls. A large metal pipe supported by ball bearings or rollers recessed into the top of the wall will roll out from under the hand of any climber
  • Posted By: GrahamSeparate virgins from non-virgins, preferably in two different filing systems.
    Also, let me tell you from experience, that you need to keep the virgins themselves separated, or else you'll quickly find you need to update your files, and that's just a mess.
  • Oh, you're dealing with Adventurers! In that case, I suggest false hope.

    Etch a riddle in the side of the wall that implies that escaping from the top opening is fatal. Also, make sure the riddle has no true solution. If possible, arrange a buzzer that goes off anytime someone makes a guess that gets steadily more shrill and mocking.

    Adventurers will spend the end of days trying to figure out the riddle and, and this is very important, make no physcial attempts to escape that do not involve trying to solve the puzzle or riddle.
  • I recommend some kind of cryptic inscription on the sacrificial alter that suggests, once translated, that once a sacrifice is made the remainder of the adventuring party will be set free. Most adventurers of the "good" persuasion won't turn on each other to escape, but if they should happen to have a neutral or evil member (possibly their thief) you might get lucky and they might end up doing their own "sacrificing" for you, which is a hoot to watch. I don't know about your fancy, shmancy gods, Jason, but Grokarr definitely enjoys a good intra-party bloodbath.
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