The Wastelands

For all that could have been - By Noah Bradley

This area caused trouble for me.

I really couldn’t wrap my head around a desert so close to hot/wet swamplands… then some of the lovely people on the OSR discord explained to me about rain shadows, and “a wizard did it”. Which changed my perception of the whole Broken Lands.

The low/wet Drained Sea, surrounded by cliffs (the old ocean drop-off) with the Rust Plains on top. Then another step up with mountains into the Shatter – then beyond the shatter lies the Wastelands. I figure that the winds (what there are) carry the remaining waters out of the drained sea to wash across the central lowlands and against the shatter… and beyond it no water reaches.

Add to that some scary magical places that seem to dislike anything living, and we get the Wastelands

Hex Map
Click to embiggen
  • D8
    • Atlas Edge Enclave
      • Government: Theocratic
        Core: Academic Facility
        Tech: T3 – oasis of advanced tech
        Tags: Psychic Masters, Educated.
      • These guys seem like the descendants of the magical traditions that caused a lot of the trouble? Wizards instead of Psychics?
    • major – Natural Phenomenon
      • Fire vents – hazardous, portal
        (portals portals everywhere)
    • minor – natural resources, rare herbs
    • This is not a nice place to live, there must be a damn good reason for the magicians to stick around
  • E7
    • major – monster lair
      • “Dragons” raiding, with hybrid pets
        w/ portal
      • This place is fracking swiss cheese! The Shatter is not just physical , reality itself is coming apart here!
    • minor – crossing (pass)
      • The only pass through the shatter? I get the feeling that getting lost in this terrain is bad for your sense of reality…
  • E8
    • minor – wandering monsters
  • E9
    • major – Ruined Temple
      • Ruin: Evil Magic
        Interest: recovery of lost secrets
        Majordomo: Mage w/Undead and constructs for minions
    • minor – Ruined tomb
    • Hmm, Undead Mage? A miracle gone wrong?
  • F7
    • Atlas Cursed Earth
      • This area contains twisted plants and animals, the undead roam.
    • major – ruined tomb
      • Ruin: sacked
        Interest: Artefact/Relic
        Majordomo Cleric w/undead and construct minions
      • Feels like a necromantic lair?
  • F8
    • minor – supernatural feature – dimensional gate
    • again?!?
  • F9
    • Atlas Desert Ruins
      • Origin – Mandate Base
        Destruction – Madness
        Inhabitants – Beasts
        Tags – Cyclical threat, Radioactive
      • something very bad went down here, and is still going on…
    • major – Monster Lair
      • Planar
        Searching
        Keep weird things for pets
        At a Portal (surprise surprise)
      • Are these the guys in E9 and E8 as well?
  • G8
    • minor – settlement
  • G9
    • minor – pagan shrine

There seems to be a few main factions here. The magical “school” in D8, the Draconians blocking the pass in E7, and the undead(?) things in E8, E9, F9. It makes me feel that this is not a “hot” desert, but an expanse of cold dust – fields of entropy and twisting holes in reality… A magical nuclear winter wonderland.

The undead interest me. With so many portals around the place, I feel that they might not be local… An incursion of the forces of unlife? Although the “Planar” boss in F9 is making me think a little..

Next we follow the High-Way through to the northern reaches of the Shatter.

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