What is this?
I am suggesting that a new dimension be added beneath the Misty Mountains. Its mechanics will be based off of Utumno (with differences) but the environment will be very different. This will be the primary place where mithril ore is found. It will be a fantastic adventuring environment with breathtaking natural wonders, dazzling treasures, and challenging foes.
This is a way to make mithril more of a challenge to obtain. Less monotonous strip mining in the Misties, and more exploring the wonders and fighting the dangers in the deepest parts of the earth.
“The roots of those mountains must be roots indeed; there must be great secrets buried there which have not been discovered since the beginning.” - Gollum , as quoted by Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring
“Goodness knows what the striking of matches and the smell of tobacco would have brought out of dark holes in that horrible place.” - The Hobbit
“...And he thought, too, of nasty slimy things, with big bulging blind eyes, wriggling in the water. There are strange things living in the pools and lakes in the hearts of the mountains: fish whose fathers swam in, goodness only knows how many years ago, and never swam out again, while their eyes grew bigger and bigger from trying to see in the blackness; also there are other things more slimy than fish. Even in the tunnels and caves the Goblins have made for themselves there are other things living unbeknown to them that have sneaked in from outside to lie up in the dark. Some of these caves, too, go back in their beginnings to ages before the goblins, who only widened them and joined them up with passages, and the original owners are still there in odd corners, slinking and nosing about.” - The Hobbit
“We fought far under the living earth, where time is not counted. Ever he clutched me, and ever I hewed him, till at last he fled into dark tunnels. They were not made by Durin’s Folk, Gimli son of Glóin. Far, far below the deepest delving of the dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he. Now I have walked there, but I will bring no report to darken the light of day.” - Gandalf in the Two Towers
How it is different from Utumno
The Roots of the Mountains are indeed a dangerous place where many dark things live, but they are not just another Utumno. This dimension will be an opportunity for much more variety underground with caves and chasms and ruins. It will primarily be constructed of vanilla stone, and therefore players will be able to mine and dig much more easily. Portals will not take a player to a random place, but rather reliably take them to the same spot each time, making it easier for players to create large builds down here if they like. There will not be a magical beam of light to get you out - you have to climb back up to where you came in. There will be beautiful places as well as dark places. Durin’s Folk and Gundabad will both have some presence here, even if only in ruins, so any player will have a faction they can ally with. They will each have spheres of influence so that players earn alignment here. The monsters will be widely varied. Balrogs will not spawn here unless Durin’s Bane is added as a lore character. Tolkien is very, very vague about what is down here, but the few tantalizing hints he gives are inspiration enough, and the rest is up to our imaginations and creativity!
The Roots of the Mountains will be another underground dimension with portals similar to those of Utumno. These portals will not have a magical feel, but rather transition as smoothly as possible so that it feels like the player has just climbed down a little further into the depths of the earth.
How you get there
You will have to explore caves in the Misty Mountains. Very rarely portals will spawn, more commonly around Moria and Goblin-Town. Just above the level of the lava there will be a tunnel traveling downhill. This tunnel will be unique in that it will not get full of lava as it goes deeper. There will be two types: a natural / goblin tunnel, found throughout the mountains, appearing like a natural cave, and a Dwarven tunnel, which will be straight with a staircase traveling down. The Dwarven tunnel will only be found in a new Moria biome in the Overworld. This will end in a black wall, which is a portal. When the player steps into the portal, they will be transported to the Roots of the Mountains dimension, into a tunnel that continues downhill like a continuation of the one above. To get out, the player will have to go back to this portal and walk through. There will be no warmup time as with a Nether portal, rather the player is instantly transported more like an End portal, so it feels like they are just walking along a tunnel and no difference has happened (other than the loading screen of course). However once they go through the portal there will be a cooldown, probably about ten minutes, for which time they cannot use it again (cooldown is specific to the player / NPC rather than the portal - you can push a bunch of units in then go through). Perhaps there will also be one-way traps: vertical shafts which have a flat portal at the bottom. There will be no way to go back through these. One of these portals will spawn in the chasm beneath the Bridge of Khazad-dûm when Moria is added.
What is down there
The dimension will correspond to the Overworld geographically. It will have its own map, and different biomes and sub-biomes. It will be limited in size to the general area under the Misties and their foothills. Most of it will be the generic Roots of the Mountains biome, with a couple other biomes. There will be a Moria biome, centered under Caradhras. In this the difference will only be an increase in artificial delving generated in the upper reaches of the dimension. Other waypoints will include Roots of Celebdil, Roots of Caradhras, Roots of Fanuidhol, and Roots of Mount Gram. These waypoints will be at mid-depth and spawn caverns around them. Gollum’s Lake will be a waypoint on the shore of an underground lake (this will be where Gollum is found from now on). NOTE: I am not entirely sure if waypoints in this kind of dimension are possible so if this would not work that is ok.
There is one thing that will lure nearly every player into these dangerous depths: an unquenchable lust for mithril. It is so valuable that players will go to any lengths to get more of it. This will be the new main place for mithril to spawn. The Moria biome in the Overworld would have greatly decreased chances of spawning ore and the ore would be removed from everywhere else in the Misties. However in the Moria biome in the Roots of the Mountains dimension, mithril could be found. It will have at least a minuscule chance of spawning at any depth, but will be most concentrated between, say, levels 30-70. The ore will not be found anywhere else in the dimension, but mithril and mithril items will be slightly more common loot throughout the dimension. Most of the dimension would be made out of vanilla stone. I think it would be good if white and black marble were added. These would spawn in huge sections underground, adding variety. Caves would be far more common here than in the Overworld - it should be nearly impossible to strip mine for more than a couple chunks without running into one. Crystals could be found in caves, and perhaps some unique gemstones would only spawn down here (as well as all the conventional ones). Caves would be full of exotic features and strange types of terrain. This would be controlled by sub-biomes. For example, caves in one sub-biome would tend to be full of giant mushrooms and crawling with mycelium, while caves in another sub-biome would have extra crystals. Here are some ideas:
- Mushrooms (giant mushrooms and mycelium in caves)
- Crystals (much more common crystals)
- Tunnels (narrow, fairly featureless but confusing winding and branching tunnels abound
- Caverns ( slightly larger than the current caves, ordinary features)
- Great Caverns (enormous cathedral caves where monumental stalactites and stalagmites abound)
- Volcanic (caves would be made out of obsidian, lava is common flowing and in pools)
Water would fill all caves below a certain deep level, say for example level 30. Mithril would be more rare deeper than this level. From now on Diamonds and Opal would be exclusive to this dimension.
The player can place torches to see better in the caves. However this foreign light is likely to attract unwelcome visitors. If you place a torch, the spawning rate of creatures within a certain radius will increase. Additionally there is a minor chance of a swarm of Gundabad bats spawning and attacking you. Any of the other Earth Gnawers and Forgotten Things will be able to perceive the light from very far away, and begin burrowing quickly towards it.
This mechanic will not be limited to torches. Any light source artificially placed, including fire, burning furnaces, glowing bricks, etc. will attract enemies. Smoking will have an even higher chance of attracting enemies.
Blindness - Two Options
Players who spend their time in the deep will eventually experience a deterioration of their sense of sight. This blindness will be more subtle than the regular effect - maybe it could be called “Cave Blindness” or something. It will be another challenge of the deep. There are two ways it could be implemented:
1. The player would go blind in the cave. After a somewhat randomized, very long period of time, blindness would slowly overtake the player until they could see nothing. It will leave if they return to sunlight.
2. The player would slowly adjust to the darkness. The more continuous time they spent in the Roots of the Mountains, especially without torches, the more they would adjust to it and the better they could see. However, upon surfacing again, the sunlight would severely blind them for a long period of time (say 5-10 minutes). Milk buckets would not get rid of this blindness, but Athelas Brew and Jungle Remedy would. If this scenario is chosen, upon experiencing blindness when resurfacing the player would get the achievement [Hibernation Sickness].
Since the portal reliably takes players to the same place each time, and most of the blocks are mineable with ordinary equipment, players will be able to make epic fortresses in the deep. These places are dangerous, however - only Banners placed on mithril blocks will successfully claim land (they will claim as much as a gold block).
- White marble - a very hard stone taking 1.5 seconds to mine with an iron pickaxe (anything lower and it will drop nothing). Four white marble can be crafted on a Dwarven crafting table to give four polished white marble. There are no marble bricks. White marble spawns exclusively in the Roots of the Mountains dimension, in large pockets.
- Black marble - functions the same as white marble, except takes 2 seconds to mine with an iron pickaxe. Like white marble, it can be crafted into a polished variant but not bricks. It spawns in much larger but less common pockets than white marble. It can be found throughout the Roots of the Mountains, as well as occasionally in the Moria biome in the Overworld.
- Gundabad Bricks: Dark bricks with a crude appearance crafted on a Gundabad crafting table, will have a pillar, carved, and slab variant. The carved variant will have an ugly face on it.
- Wooden Spikes: Crafted on a regular crafting table, these resemble stalagmites except that they can be placed on any surface, and will point away from the surface they were placed on. They continually damage anyone standing on them by very little.
- Iron Spikes: These can only be crafted on a Gundabad or Angmar crafting table. They look rusty and act like wooden spikes, except they deal much more damage.
- Quartz Crystals: These would not spawn in an ore, but rather as crystals themselves. They would be constructed from two flat planes in an X shape like a plant, and spawn in patches on the floors, walls, and ceilings of caves.
All these would be in the upper reaches of the dimension, limited to the Moria biome. They would also be in the Moria biome in the Overworld. Most of it would be looted; chests would have rotten flesh, orc bones, Dwarf bones, dirt, gravel, and Gundabad and Dwarven weapons and armour. Mithril could be found but it would be very scarce. Skulls are littered on the ground, and spiderwebs occasionally spawn on the ceiling. It would be cool if the player walking made louder noise and echoes here.
- Moria Tunnels: These tunnels would be larger than the current Dwarven mines, and dark, partially lined with Dwarven bricks. They would travel in straight lines and follow staircases downwards.
- Moria Wells: Rather annoying shafts, only a couple blocks wide, spawning randomly in the floor of any Moria structure, and plunging down to unknown depths.
- Moria Shafts: These would be large vertical shafts with some Dwarven bricks, similar to the entrance to current Dwarven mines. Some would have spiral stairs going down.
- Moria Smithies: Large underground rooms with many Dwarven forges.
- Moria Storehouses: Mostly looted, these would contain little bits of food such as bread, cram, cooked chicken, steak, and Dwarven ale.
- Moria Guardrooms: These would be long rooms lined with armour stands, most of these would be empty but there would be a small chance for a piece or two of Dwarven armour to remain on each stand.
- Moria Weapon Storehouse: A room with the walls lined with weapon racks, many weapons would still be here.
- Moria Strongholds: Sprawling fortified places with broken gates. They would contain larger and more frequent guardrooms, more storehouses (especially weapon storehouses), and smaller tunnels.
- Moria Treasury: A room where the Dwarves of Moria used to store their treasures. There is a 95% chance it has been looted. Every so often there will be a treasury intact full treasure piles and chests with valuable loot (including a little bit of mithril). Goblets and golden ale-horns will be scattered around, and there will be a few armour stands with Trimmed Dwarven Armour (any kind) and even possibly Mithril Armour.
- Goblin Tunnel: Basic tunnel, winding and confusing, lit occasionally with torches, and branching into other tunnels. If they intersect a large cave, the bottom of the tunnel will be lined with wood planks and sloppy fences topped with torches will spawn on either side (similar to how a bridge spawns in water), making hanging bridges passing through caverns.
- Spider Colony: A small maze of tunnels filled with cave spiders and spider webs.
- Cave-Troll House: A crudely fashioned house cut into the stone with a doorway opening on a cave. There would be chests with large amounts of items such as leather, rotten flesh, cobblestone, mushrooms, string, orc bones, troll-bones, roast mutton, cooked beef, cooked chicken, flint, clay, dirt, gravel, pebbles, coal, and other similar items. Occasionally some nuggets of metal (even mithril) or a ring. There would also be a chance of spawning a few treasure piles and a chest of treasure, like a regular Troll-hoard. There would be two variants: occupied and abandoned. The occupied variant would be lit with torches and contain a Cave-Troll, and the abandoned variant would not. Both variants are fairly common.
- Gundabad Bats: Enormous bats hanging on the cave ceilings on upper reaches of the caves. They will only be present at Goblin Town and north of there. They will have 5 hearts and deal 2 attack damage. They will attack anything not allied with Gundabad.
- Cave Spiders: Not the vanilla mob, but a larger and stronger black spider that inflicts poison for a few seconds.
- Cave-Troll: See here. They will be frequently found wandering the deep caves.
- Cave-Fish: Blind pale fish swimming in the lakes and streams down here; they are the only fish that can be caught if you fish here. They will not restore as much hunger as regular fish, and they will not tame Gollum as easily as regular fish (he is tired of them).
There will be other creatures down here as hinted at by Tolkien, with names like Earth Gnawers and Nameless Things. They will be hostile to everyone (even each other) and fairly rare. Physically they will vary enormously - some will be like the Watcher in the Water. Maybe some could be like giant bugs such as centipedes, others will be humanoid. They will spawn at any level in the dimension, more frequently the lower levels. They will have very high health and attack strength. Some will be able to dig through stone and carve long winding tunnels. They will be the most frequent danger encountered by players mining deep for mithril. The ones able to dig will spawn in cavities in the rock, and if a player is nearby they will begin to burrow towards it (otherwise they will burrow randomly). This will make strip mining much more dangerous than otherwise.
All the structures and creatures listed above are optional. This is just my idea on HOW to implement this suggestion, but it can be implemented differently. These things also are not all necessary - this dimension could be done just fine without the addition of, say, Balrogs or Dragons.
- Most of this suggestion is based off of the idea brought up here.
- I had not seen this suggestion at the time I made the original post, but I have derived some minor ideas from it since it was brought to my attention.
- Credit to Fandalf for the names Earth Gnawers and Forgotten Things and some ideas about the portals, also the awesome cave-fish textures and some ideas about them.
- Credit to TheblueWizard for the idea of quartz spawning here and obsidian-lined volcanic tunnels.
- Credit to FANDOM User 126.96.36.199 for the invertebrate body type idea.
- Credit to FANDOM User 2A02:120B:C3EE:E400:F879:CECC:BA9F:8A36 for the echoes and the relic Dwarven armour ideas.
- Credit to Rocket Engineer for this thread. A few of the ideas (like marble) in this suggestion are derived from / inspired by it.
- Credit to S’moregoth for cave fish’s decreased ability to tame Gollum and the idea of claiming requiring mithril blocks.
- Credit to Legoarmy505 for the idea of more creatures spawning when you plant a torch.
- The idea of blindness was my own, but it was inspired by a comment from Lord Ironbeard.
- If you think your idea is in here and not properly credited, do not hesitate to let me know.
EDIT: Added portal cooldown (my own idea).
EDIT: Removed Dragons (though I still think they would be awesome).
EDIT: Added quartz texture
EDIT: Removed Goblins and most of the ideas and variations for them. I like a lot of the ideas brought forwards, but ultimately this suggestion is not about adding goblins whether or not they are included in this dimension (and the community has decided that they should not be included). Changed cave fish and added mithril block banner requirement from S’moregoth.
EDIT: Added dangers of planting torches and blindness effect.
Here are some possible textures for some of the things suggested here. There are the cave fish textures for the mob and the item. There is also a possible obsidian retexture to improve the appearance of obsidian caves (as suggested in the caves thread by Rocket Engineer), black marble, polished black marble, white marble, and polished white marble. Last is my attempt at a quartz crystal texture to replace Nether Quartz. This would be the texture for both the block and the item.