The Drained Sea

Ruins of Metal by Quentin Mabille

So I was thinking about what has made setting that I’ve loved gaming in. A post that covered a lot of the same territory is from “OSR aesthetics of ruin”. I do indeed love the idea of exploring something ruined. Not knowing what it was, and having no instructions about it.

Possibly why some post-apocalyptic fiction is interesting as well – especially when it distorts the known facts of today into something… strange… To this end my little setting is going to be literal “Broken Lands”. At the time of the “big event” this little chunk of the world was thrown out into the magical void. Now it floats, with its own little moon(s?) and surrounded by the astral/nether/void or whatever you want to call it. When that happened, a lot of the oceans flowed away… What was left was a huge, muddy, convoluted area. With lots of rotting fish and sea-plants. Then the forest took over.

The feeling I want from the Drained Sea region

So what does this area look like? Swampy with scattered solid ground. Sickeningly fecund – everything in a constant rapid cycle of growth and consumption. Everything is mixed – plant/mammal/insect/reptile. I think the recent movie Annihilation gave a nice visual of a “magically broken swamp”

click to embiggen

Lets see what the random-generation-gods have for us…

  • D1
    • minor: wandering (scouting) monsters.
  • D2
    • major: Settlement
      • Ruled by magicians as a lawful oligarchy
      • Buy Arms, sell food
      • Given that the big city is just in the Hex north, lets make this a satellite town trying to colonise the swamps.
  • E1
    • Atlas Swampland Ruins.
      • This was the flooded laboratory turned into a warlock’s stronghold.
    • major: Monster Lair ((20-level)*d6)
      • Dragons, guarding, animal pets,
      • Thats a LOT of dragons. This is making me think of a nesting ground? Maybe there are a lot of eggs and younger dragonlings, and only a few big breeding dragons? What is a dragon in this instance anyway?
  • E2
    • Atlas Lair – Vicious Humanoids
    • minor: Sacred Grounds
    • minor: Fort
      • All of the above make me want to have a central mass of some kind humanoids
  • F1
    • Major: Monster Lair
      • Hive-minded, expanding, plant pets
      • Hmm, sounds perfect for mycelium-zombies!
  • F2
    • Atlas Cliff Enclave
      • The wrecked (star)ship that now supports a village and farms, and gives tribute to someone else…
    • minor: Ruin/Shipwreck
      • Another ship like the enclave, this one overtaken by the forest and its creatures.
    • I really feel that this area has a lot of wrecks, and the salvage is collected by the enclave and “taxed” by some other group?
  • F3
    • major: Ruined Tower
      • Ruined by Infestation
        Demon Majordomo w/Imps and constructs
        Interest: A Portal/Gate
    • minor: wandering monsters
    • Well, look at that.. a dimensional incursion! I made it from some kind of “firelands”

So now I have my first region. I like the “Cliff Enclave” as a starting town. The imagery is spot on for what I want – an advanced ruin (of a ship) that is being reused for something else (a secure town) while being on the edge of a very strange and dangerous wilderness.

Perfect for starting a game 🙂

The Journey by Il Kim

Next up I’m going to head down the coastal road – the broken remnants of the TimeBefore Hi-Way that leads through the Rust Plains.

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