Ringworlds in Twistasy
The Dante solar system, within the Twistasy setting, is made up of concentric ringworlds. Each of the nine realms a ring. This brings it into line with the concept of Dante's Inferno, where each circle of hell is now a ring. The rings take on aspects from the poem, with the first circle as the first ring, and the ninth circle the outer ninth ring. The twist of the Twistasy Ringworld is that it's no sci-fi, it's fantasy and based on 'magic'. The result of a psionic event and the power of the Infinity to distort reality.
This opens up old ideas such as a flatworld, and falling off the edge of the world! The seas pour off the edge and into the abyss, but instead of disappearing into deep space, they are captured in a plasma inducing power-field and recycled. The lighter elements egress inwards (towards the star Dante) and heavy outward before being brought back to the centre. Earth and metals washed out to sea, fall off the edge and burn (plasma) and are returned to the underside of the Ringworld. While lighter elements of the plasma move towards the top, cool and hydrogen and oxygen fuse together and fall as rain. This rain includes other elements towards the centreline of the Ringworld, with the water becoming more pure towards the edges. The centre line of a Ringworld is mountainous.
There is no horizon when looking along the Ringworld, and one only comes into focus when you are near the Edge. Looking along the Ringworld the land goes on forever, and slowly rises up. Atmospheric scattering limits the amount you can see, so the 'horizon' is not a definite line, but a blur, a haze.
When mining on a Ringworld, you can dig so deep that you fall out the bottom of the world! And get plasmarised!!! This creates a hole in the ring, that can let light through to outer rings. When looking into a 'bottomless pit', you can see stars at night, and a line of an outer Ringworld. It's a little tricky to fill in a bottomless pit once it's made. However, the recycling effect means rocks appear in the hole, levitating, and slowly it will fill in naturally. In areas where there has been damage from meteors, this can create a wonderfully topsy-turvy landscape like the Hallelujah Mountains from Avatar.
Day and Night cycles are caused by the oscillating of the Ringworld orbits, as they rotate around the star in multiple axes. The effect is that outer rings have less light than inner rings. The central ring has no day and night cycle and is always hot. From the poem, the first circle is 'Limbo' and a place of the lost. In Twistasy it's a flat open desert that is disorientating. Whereas the far outer 9th Circle (Treachery) is frigid, a lake of ice, with people frozen screaming in the ice. It might be interesting to combine poems and introduce the spheres from Paradiso. Each circle of hell would then match up to a sphere of heaven. Each Twistasy ring would hold heaven and hell. Light and Dark. The result would be that limbo would match up with The Moon (The Inconstant).
The whole point of Twistasy is to mess with a Player's preconceptions and wrong-foot them. Bringing back old ideas from history and making them real and true in the game world. All the misconceptions of our past. Nothing is as it seems.
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Funny you should mention mining to the bottom of the world. Many years ago I was pondering about a fantasy setting with 'evil' dwarfs that are mining 'upwards', their world was very similar to the Hallelujah Mountains, in the sense that they can fall from the bottom of the mountain into the endless void. Their cities/homes/mines are on the tips of those bottom parts and move upwards. So basically they dig upwards. In the Dante system this could be kinda similar, but a bit scrappier, I'd imagine that the bottom / endless pitt are sort of the outskirts of these worlds, akin to the Underhive in Necromunda. Most people don't venture there, only the lowest of the low. Scavangers are probably there, collecting the waste from the uplanders and what not.
As for Paradiso, what if Dante was a binary system? Two stars (Inferno and Paradiso) that push and pull on one another, each with their own worlds/rings/spheres.
I like this, and it seems a shame to waste a whole side of a ring! It seems reasonable that there is gravity on both sides of the ring. It would also play a part in the recycling of the water. The Paradiso side would be on the light side of the ring, and the Inferno on the dark side. The question is why one would not invade the other? There needed to be an inbuilt balancing act.
To tackle the dark side first, I naturally thought of all the creatures of the night, like vampires, werewovles, and goblins (oh my!) that do not like the light. It harms them. So they naturally return to the dark side, and the dark side would offer protections. Instead of a vampire sleeping in a coffin, hidden on the light side, they sleep on the dark side. They come to the light side at 'night' to hunt, through old caves and deep mines.
That's the dark side sorted, but then I wonder why would people go to the dark side? I guess the same reason anyone goes on an adventure, to gain something: treasure or resources. The problem for those visiting the dark side is they become more like the dark side creatures, and may gain powers. A short visit may grant you 'night-vision', and after a longer visit you may develop abilities like 'life-sense', and if you stay too long, maybe you can never come back to the light. Dark side powers 'burn off' in the light, and it hurts. If you think about it, a famous adventurer could stay too long in the dark, and not be able to come back and resent that fact, cursing the world above they once loved.
Your Dwarves could be on the dark side and come to light to capture slaves for their mines. With a Brother Grimm theme, the Dwarves are small, so they may target human children. These children may grow into the lesser night terrors.
All this means that; caves, tunnels, and mines would be scary places, full of superstitions and horror for the inhabitants of the light side. Whereas the inhabitants of the dark side may hate the min-maxing Paladins massacring mooks on their latest crusade through the underworld. When those Paladines exit the dark side, they may not be as righteous as they went in. Some may enjoy the 'burn off' pain of their new dark-side abilities, a penitence accepted gladly, while others may come back with unnatural blood lusts, avoid the light and go insane.
UPPER AND LOWER WORLD:
I can't help but think of the Upside Down world from Stranger Things here, so that the world below is a dark parallel of the lighter upper world. This kinda deviates from my previous concept, but it might be applicable for some worlds in the Dante system. Also, the way you describe it now is that the light side seems rather 'normal' whilst the dark one is a deviation of that. What if both are the norm? Light folks travelling to the Dark side are altered, but the other way around as well.
I think these work both ways as well, Dark forces will try to conquer the upper world, Light Paladins go on crusades to plunder the Dark world. It's an everlasting conflict, very yin-yang in a way. Can't help but think of the Jedi and Sith here...
I'm not sure the light side is the good side, and I'm not sure the dark side is all bad. I like the idea that both are 'normal' or at least normal to those within it. I like the idea of Yin-Yang. I also like the idea of the Jedi and Sith, as I can imagine far better arguments for the Empire to make.
One idea is to create civilisations analogous to our world, but twisted, and defined by their enemies.
So the ring of Greed could be remade as Mercantile, or a Crony Capitalist, world similar to Victorian London back in the day, shrouded in smog. All powered with gas to light the streets, and oil to power the machines. A nocturnal industrial nightmare. The realm of Ever Night... (quick search, nope), Evernight (nope), more London: Evvanite? Yep. Sorted. A mix of steam-punk and Cthulhu; where the light side is ocean.
Envy could be socialist, where socialism is fundamentally defined as stealing labour from others. Remember, I want 'twisted', and 'defined by their enemies'. This could be on the light side, and full of righteous anger and all about 'equality'. The envious are crusaders, literal 'social justice warriors'. The crusaders are angry the dark side does not give away their riches freely, and the crusaders claim the resources of the dark side are for all. The dark side say their land is theirs, and call the crusaders lazy and have nothing they want, but they are welcome to a job. These crusaders reject the job as a form of slavery, and then raid the 'greedy' as they have superior numbers. The crusaders view all the greedy have made as a natural resource to be plundered and shared among all. This destroys the economy of the dark side, the machine operators are murdered, and the machines fail. The crusaders do not know how to make the machines world so eventually the crusaders leave once they have filled their pockets. This would be a primitive light side, peasant farmers and such, who have vast numbers, verses a technologically superior dark side with far fewer people.
Another idea is the Oathbreakers in the first Paradise sphere may be re-constituted Artiloids. The oath they broke was the Mars Accords, but according to them, they did not break their oath. They wonder the desert, writhed in fire, lost forevermore; looking for a master to serve. This does not sound like a good fate, and it seems bad in the same way that Paradiso 1 is not a good fate. Not exactly a reward, and not exactly a punishment. In a role-playing game, setting foot on this realm might yield odd results, I imagine the lost would follow the players about, they'd collect up the lost, into a massive army.
Goblins and Orks, the various 'Orgs', could be 40K like, and part of a lush ecosystem. They would be on the light side, and constantly attacked by humans from the dark side, who are seeking resources. It might be nice to see the world from the Goblin perspective, and have them as nature-loving hippies, terrified of rampaging genocidal min-max PCs slaying droves of goblins, including wives and children, while grinding out 'xp'.
I feel as if your versions for Greed and Envy could both take place in crony capitalist like worlds. Both have a very Dickensian feel to them. I feel both worlds are a bit too similar at the moment. I feel that the socialist angle you're going for here might be more suited for Greed.
I think you are right, as crony capitalism would include both these emotions and more. I'm not saying only one emotion is at work on any given ring; what I am looking for is the dominant emotion, the emotion that has been psyonically amplified. I imagine it would be similar to 'the spirit of the age', and perhaps the rings can be thought of as a perpetual 'era'. To use an era from our world as an analogy; the French Revolution started for many reasons, but the heroic fight for enlightenment values and overthrowing a tyrant was the narrative. While in reality, it ushered in the reign of terror, and Robespierre was a far worse tyrant than the King! Only the French could get liberty wrong 😛 It implies that under all the fine words deeper, baser, emotions were at work too. I'd imagine that not wanting to pay exorbitant taxes to pull France out of war debt, the commoner suffering as the King pranced around in luxury, was the driving force. A mix of outrage at the unfairness, if the King is acting selfishly then so can I, and perhaps a little spite in wanting to tear down those who have power and abuse it. What would be the dominant emotion? Unbridled zealotry in ideology? Arrogance, a feeling of self-importance, of having no doubts?
A ringworld with arrogance as the amplified emotion, perhaps we have never-ending revolutions, fracture upon fracture. Perhaps getting into post-modernism, rationality above all, where we see the degeneration of borders, language, and extreme tribalism lacking any forgiveness. Brutal revolution after revolution, and each worse than the last. As the ringworlds are so large, with a surface area many times a planet, these revolutions could flow in waves, sweeping around the ring. New ideas bringing war in their wake.