I'm thinking about the variations that might occur within the Darkhive setting, and how these variant stories might expand and deepen the setting.
The typical stories I imagine being told in Darkhive are dangerous, mysterious adventures that echo fairy tales. But that doesn't mean these are the only tales that might be suitable to the setting.
There are various ways that conflict may emerge in the setting, and various ways that the characters could be agents with respect to those conflicts. In some ways the characters could trigger conflicts, they could deal with the side effects that arise from conflicts, they could work to resolve conflicts... quite often they might cause new conflicts as they try to solve old ones.
Some examples might derive from...
Settlements don't always trade with one another, in every cluster of settlements there will always be some kind of feud between two of them, maybe some kind of argument over resources or men.
Groups of individuals might wage conflict against one another for control over a settlement, for the right to control a specific trade route, or even the chance to earn glory through fighting the Shellbrood.
Individuals might be competing for a source of power (a resource, a mystical relic, a specific fungal recipe, access to a hidden cache of ancient technologies/power/fresh water, etc.)
Every character has a conflict within themselves as well, and that's where things pull back into the fairy tale paradigm. There is always something that a character needs to confront in themselves before they are able to ascend to a new level of power and prestige in the setting, and the various types of empowering effects that lie in wait around the setting catalyse the unveiling of these dark secrets within.
Characters must break out of their habits to transcend. They must leave the settlements and cultures they know in order to learn new things, the enter a liminal space in a spiritual sense (as ghost women), or in a physical sense (as hunters). But they enter this space with companions, assistants and associate wanderers.
At this stage, I don't know. There are a lot of other things I've love to inject into this world, but such things should be rare and meaningful... otherwise they simply spoil the mix with too many ingredients.
I could easily see this setting as the basis for pseudo-post-apocalyptic armoured battlesuits based in a crashed ship. The warrior women piloting such battlesuits might need to clear paths to settlements where they can find potential allies to resupply their ship, but for every journey the take and every conflict they fight, they eat away the energy reserves that empower their suits. Perhaps they might find new ways to empower these suits, but this would require specific negotiations with existing groups in the setting.
I could just as easily see a story of dark exploration in a fungal chaos jungle on the inner layers of the Darkhive. Perhaps something was accidentally dropped the 25km fall from the middle layers to the inner layers, and now a quest is sent down to find it. The innermost layers have been left deliberately vague, but such a setting would become more psychedelic, more twisted, more about survival in a world that doesn't make sense rather than trying to sort out political issues or conflicts between people/factions/settlements. There is something down here, and it is something that distorts reality itself...something that the hive was designed to imprison.
I'd love to see deeply emotional stories in the setting. Rather than physical violence being the measure of the story pacing, it is simply something that occurs, instead the game is paced by emotional impetus and twists in the relationship between people. In this way I'm starting to imagine the setting in more of a mange/anime feel. I actually chatted to an artist today at Sydney's OzComicCon, I thought he had some illustrative ideas that would have worked well for the setting, but his prices meant that I'd have to carefully budget to get anything into the book...but that's another story.
More to think about...