They were criminals being punished for a reason? Why should convenience be a consideration? Better they not have use of their fingers until their 'sentance' is up. Teach them dependency on others :) Go to Comment
How used? Simple - your party finds the ruins in some out of the way place. Perhaps some spirits or things drawn to chaos and insanity if you need the ruins to be a little less lifeless. I think the odd ruins sitting silently by themselves works.
It brings to mind the speculative cities the Chinese have been building, well before anyone is ready to occupy them, and now sit largely abandoned. Go to Comment