Posts Tagged ‘Otherplaces’


Underworld (A to Z Challenge, U)

24 April, 2015


Wonders are hidden beneath the groundThere are underground complexes, networks of caves, deep mines and hidden seas nestled in the hearts of the islands of the Sea of the Stars.  Some of the islands are miles thick and have immense areas to be explored and exploited.

The dwarves, of course, have dug deep but cautiously, they use proven techniques and technologies, expanding at a measured pace.  The dwarves wish no surprises and to loose no lives, if possible.  They still have a lingering fear of dragons and they wish to husband people and material in case that conflict does materialize.  But they wish to refine their skills and gather new resources and develop new materials, they take the long, institutional, view of what needs to be done to protect their people and culture.

The Sen’tek are more willing to takes risks, using exotic technologies, slaves and unusual beasts to aid in their excavations, to expand their Homewarrens.  The Sen’tek -unlike the dwarves- know that the dragons are actively seeking to destroy them and they need all of the weapons they muster to defend themselves.  The threat is so great that they consider the risks to be justified.

Humans and others explore the depths of the shattered world as well, indeed some of the Draconic Houses have vast mining concerns, but they rarely dig as far down as the dwarves and Sen’tek.

But within the underworld are lost kingdoms, fragments of hells, fae palaces and other wonderful and strange things waited to be found . . . waiting to be freed.  Mysterious cults hold occult rituals in hidden caves, wizards and alchemist build underground labs away from prying eyes and criminals and revolutions make their plans in caves, a wealth of opportunities hidden below your feet.

Notes: More places to explore and adventure to find.

Photo from colourjungle and used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic lisense.


Portals (A to Z Challenge, P)

18 April, 2015


Will you pass through?Following the Sundering, the dragons ruthlessly attempted to close any permanent link between this world and another seeing them, reasonable, as potential invasion routes.  Stone circles, holy windows, gates to hell, all were forcible sealed often destroying them in the process.  Though there were so many that some, inevitably, escaped, a few were hidden before the dragons could chase them down, and some that require specific alignments of circumstance to open were either missed or ignored.  Some of the more ambitious dragons hid gates with the intention of using them to their advantage, not all survived to do so.

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Incursions (A to Z Challenge, I)

10 April, 2015


Here or thereWhether it was planned or it was a side effect of the Sundering, after that event, transitioning to other places, such as the realms of the Fae, the Shadowed Land and the various heavens and hells become more difficult or nearly impossible without extremely potent magic.  At least, most of that time, that is true.

But sometimes, the walls between the world and one (or more) of the worlds beyond thins.  One of the reasons that the study of astrology is such a refined art in the Sea of Stars, for the alignment of the stars predicts and reveals these periods of thinning.  Yes, the stars will be right.

Even with the walls between worlds being thin, it usually takes some sort of event to create a door.  A storm, a stone circle, a good old fashioned ritual, these and more can all act as the final key to open the door between worlds.  These doors can be opened by accident as well as by design and occasionally dangerous -or just odd- creatures are released into the world.  Sometimes they are snapped back to their side when the alignments change, other times they are trapped.

These alignments are the best time to summon creatures to be bound.  Summoners call and bind angels, demons and other more exotic metaphysical creatures for different tasks, usually considering them to be nothing more than tools for various jobs.  It is said that the Empress disapproves of such dealings with outer beings but she has not imposed legal sanctions against such actions.

Notes: In one of the earlier adventures, the player characters had to deal with a guardian angel who tried to warn them off and almost killed their best fighter.

Photo by Forest Wander and used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license


Edge of the World (A to Z Challenge, E)

6 April, 2015

Edge of the World

While the Sea of Stars is large, almost unimaginably so, it is not in fact infinite and if you travel far enough in one direction the islands start becoming fewer and fewer with more distance between them until finally there is nothing but space as far as can be seen.

Flotsum and jetsom on the edge of the worldThese outer lands and islands are home to many strange things, as they lie so far from the heart of the Imperium while they are all technically owned by some Draconic House or Dragon as their personal property, many are neglected or even actively ignored by their owners.  Some rulers have contracted rule out to distant cousins or tax farmers rather than trouble with it themselves.  Pirates, criminals, venturers, revolutionaries and cultists flow outward into these sparsely watched regions to avoid the watchful eyes of the dragons and in search of wealth and lost magic and forbidden knowledge.  It is said that forgotten temples, missing castles and the hidden laboratories of wizards who perished in the sundering are waiting to be discovered . . . and looted.

Odd and dangerous things hide and lurk in the distant isles: the last of the giants, creatures from the dark between the stars, beings summoned by obscure magics that have not returned to their point of origin, people transformed by magical accidents and bad bargains, Sen’tek, and other, stranger things.  Many of these creatures have parts that are sought by alchemists and wizards for those brave, foolish or desperate enough to go hunting them.

Even dragons who go hunting in the far isles do not always return, though that does not stop them from hunting and such hunts are an expected rite of passage among some of the draconic houses.

Notes: A good place to seek adventure in.

Photo by NeilsPhotography and used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license


Mapping the Lost Lands

5 April, 2014

On Wednesday, one of my RPG groups meets and we play a variety of things, including most recently AD&D and playtesting some systems being developed by the various members.  But, as we have had some unscheduled disruptions to playtesting, we generated Rolemaster characters and started an exploration based game with the game world being defined by our choices and the crazy random tables of Rolemaster.

You can read about our first adventure here:

Mapping the Lost Lands

Which is a site put up by our GM.  I am playing Orlyn the warrior, and (from my perspective) the only one of the group with any common sense.


Otherplaces – Zand, Gold Stream of (A to Z Challenge, Z)

26 April, 2012

Yes, it is true, it is out there.  I have seen it.  It is a river of liquid gold, but not burning hot, not like molten gold should be.  More like water for tea hot, you can burn yourself but you can avoid it if you are careful.  But taking gold from the steam, an art and a challenge, it does not give up its bounty easily.

Gold Stream of Zand

Among the jagged hills, sheer cliff and blasted valleys that make up the land known as Higher Zand, there is one thing -and one thing along- that draws people up into them, the gold stream.  At dawn it appears, running a new course through the sharp stones, cutting through loose rock and pouring into pools, and then vanishing back into the earth, as the entire stream does as duck before reemerging again the next day.  When it vanishes at night, it leaves almost nothing behind, a few nuggets might be found where it passed but that is rare.  If you want the gold, you must pluck it from the stream while it is flowing.

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Otherplaces – Yotenschlachtfeld, Blasted Plain of (A to Z Challenge, Y)

25 April, 2012

When the giants heard that the gods had been slain and felt the world shatter, their rulers called their armies and began to prepare for war.  But the Empress was already prepared and the massed flights of the dragon descended on the giant as they gathered.  The battle lasted a day and a night but the giants were not organized and the dragons were flying powerfully on the strength of the godsblood they had consumed.

At the end of the battle, the nobility of the giants had been slain and their army shattered.  Thus the Giantkin would not be a serious threat to the Dragon Imperium.

Blasted Plain of Yotenschlachtfeld

Even a millennium later this place is still recognizable as a battlefield, and one where terrible things happened, the ground is torn and rent, columns of unmelting ice are lit by pools of ever burning flame.  The only thing lacking is bodies and a few of those can be found where a dragon or giant’s body was melded into the earth through powerful magics and no one has been willing to risk breaking them free.  All of the loose bodies and other items have long since been looted, leaving it a quiet, haunted place of reflection.

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Otherplaces – Xarixes, Stone Army of (A to Z Challenge, X)

24 April, 2012

The hilltop had been fortified, the walls were lined with guardians, it was only as we crept closer did we realize that they were statues, carved and armed as though they were soldiers dating from a distant age.  Inside the walls was a palace surrounded by parade fields and a small number of barracks.   Even there, the statues of soldiers were everywhere, a army of them.  But all was quiet, no living being seemed about.

It was as we moved among them, closer to the central palace, that someone observed that the grounds and buildings were in perfect repair, as were the statues . . .

Stone Army of Xarixes

Abandoned by people

The Fortress

The Emperor Xarixes defeated by an alliance of petty city-states in his drive to conquer, retreated to gather a new army and resume his conquest once all was prepared.  His advisers and his children were worried about his obsession, and slowly maneuvered him out of power, moving him to a newly build fortress-palace to “oversee the raising of the army” and cycled small numbers of soldiers through to keep him happy.  Once he was seen talking to suits of armor as though they were soldiers, they started replacing some of the soldiers with statues, and as Xarixes demands for new and varied troops increased, it became easier to assign sculptors than to send new troops.  Then, at some point, all of the living people vanished from the fortress and all that were left were the statues.

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Otherplaces – Wollanfuft, Bottomless Well of (A to Z Challenge, W)

23 April, 2012

Wells should have a source or at least a bottom, the well at the center of the village of Wollandfuft has neither.  The water is so clear that you can almost see all the way down and, yet, it seems to go down forever.

Bottomless Well of Wollanfuft

The mountain village of Wollandfuft is in an otherwise unremarkable place apart from the well, the neat stone houses with steep roofs are just like any other in the region.  But the well is known all around the area, almost everyone withing a days travel has visited it at least once.  The well is steep sided, descending straight down and the water is clear, oh so clear, when the sun is above the well you can stare down into the depths forever and ever.

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Otherplaces – Vys, Silver Tower of (A to Z Challenge, V)

22 April, 2012

The rulers who founded the kingdom of Vys sought a land ruled by justice and virtue.  The silver tower was an attempt to ensure that goal.  It is said that the wall of tower are only pure when the ruler is, as a ruler falls to vice and corruption, the surface of the tower tarnishes.

Silver Tower of Vys

At the heart of the capital city of the kingdom of Vys is a tall silver tower surrounded by a walled garden.  It is in this tower that the princes and princesses of the kingdom are raised and educated under the watchful eyes of the Knights-Tutorial.  During special occasions, the public is allowed into the garden but never into the tower itself.  It was thought that the heirs of the kingdom should be raised where they could see the people they would be responsible for on a daily basis.

The exterior of the tower is plated in a thin layer of silver, magic has been used to make it seamless, though there are windows and doors, the same magic keeps it beautiful and uncorrupted as long as the ruler is just and pure.  The heirs of Vys are raised in a highly structured and competitive way, with moral instruction being the centerpiece of the curriculum of the Knights-Tutorial.  As all of the children of the extended royal family are in competition for Crown, the word of the Grandmaster of the Knights-Tutorial weighs heavily as to deciding which heir will inherit the kingdom.

Occasionally outside scholars or specialists, occasionally even venturers, are invited in to the tower to teach specific lessons or tell their stories to the heirs.  It is considered a great honor and, as such, only pays a token amount.

As no one is entirely free of temptation, the reading of the patterns of tarnish on the tower has become a cottage industry among the townsfolk.  The exact amount of tarnish on the tower that will trigger the removal of a reigning sovereign is unknown but it is known that a level of one part in ten is not sufficient to do so.

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