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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Urban Dungeon Delving On An Abandoned Continent

    So here's the pitch:

    20 years ago, every living, thinking being on the central continent of Generic Fantasy World disappeared in the blink of an eye. Just, poof, gone. No harm to buildings, possessions or livestock, no portents of the apocalypse or divine proclamations. Just one second a bustling high fantasy Europe expy, the next second a ghost town spanning an entire continent.


    To this day nobody knows what happened, but 20 years after the Rapture people have gradually come to realize that it doesn't seem like it's about to happen again. So naturally, the next question became: 'if nobody on the entire continent is left, who owns all the stuff they left behind?' And, more to the point: 'why can't that stuff belong to me?'

    Enter the PCs. Adventuring guilds have assembled from around the world to send the curious, the desperate, the greedy, the vengeful, and the plain crazy into the abandoned cities of the empty continent to basically loot it for all its worth. That can be easier said than done, as things have gone a little...strange, since the Rapture. Plus, in case the spooky empty continent wasn't dangerous enough, there are plenty of fellow adventurers who are as happy to rob other expeditions as they are to loot abandoned treasures.


    And hanging over it all is the central mystery as just what in the black moon happened here.




    So I'm trying to pry open my schedule wide enough to fit a good old fashioned in-person game of D&D, with myself taking on the role of GM. It's been many years since I've played, and unlike my old crew it's looking like this game will be with a semi-rotating group of players at the local gamestore. So I want to do something that has some immediate impact, that can be pretty episodical, and that let's me make stuff up as I go along.

    The above campaign hook is what I've come up with so far, and I was hoping to get some feedback and ideas on what to throw into the setting! It's gonna be kind of a sandbox game, so having more ideas and seeds to plant is always a good thing.

    Ideas that I currently have for the game, in no particular order:
    • Humans are relatively rare in the setting. The abandoned continent was the homeland of humans, so most of them disappeared during the Rapture. Not all, as there were thousands who were away for business, diplomacy, exploration, etc., but they are a definite minority in the world at large these days.
    • I'm not locking down what all of the other races and places in the setting are, so that players can chose any of the more monstrous races as adventurers if they like without drawing too much attention.
    • Going for a melancholy Pripyat, Battleship island, ghost town sort of feeling in the abandoned towns and cities, which will also be the primary dungeon crawling locales in the campaign.
    • The continent used to be the most magically advanced area on the planet, so there will be plenty of fun consumable magic items, unusual trinket-type magic items, and randomly rolled magic loot for the players to pick up as they delve into the urban dungeons.
    • Constructs, wild animals (some a bit mutated), traps, and hazards will be easy to include in the abandoned cities. Rival adventurers will also be prominent. I'm trying to think of other recurring enemy types I can mix in to keep things fresh.
    • Probably going to have some sort of religious extremist faction choosing to try and make a home on the abandoned continent, since nobody else on the planet wants them. Puritan elves who burn wizards & witches? Cult of communist tieflings? Stoned lizardfolk who get bizarre powers from listening to the darkness between the stars? Not sure yet.
    • Airships because always airships.
    • Start off in a modest city near the coast which has some temporary adventurer guild camps around the outskirts, including shops and so on. The PCs can move slowly inland (if the game lasts that long) into larger, more dangerous abandoned cities as the campaign goes on, uncovering new secrets as they go.


    I've got some time before making a session 1, so I seriously welcome any and all feedback or ideas on this one. Hoping to turn it into a fun way to spend a couple days a month!
    For playable monster adventurers who would attract more than a few glances at the local tavern, check out my homebrew monster races!

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Urban Dungeon Delving On An Abandoned Continent

    Keep in mind that your continent will be very empty. For frame of reference, Europe has a surface area of 3.9 million square miles. From Medieval Demographics Made Easy I learned that the population density of medieval European was about 75 per square mile. That means that some 295 million people vanished from your continent.

    I guess you'd have to ask yourself what's left. In D&D terms, anything with an intelligence of 2 or less should have remained on the continent. That means dragons would be gone. Undead aren't living so they'd still be present. A Dracolich/Ravener would be a possibility. I guess what I'm saying is that your dungeons would be pretty empty. Most captive creatures would have died after 20 years without being fed regularly.
    There wouldn't be many farms to feed your adventurers. I suppose that refugees might decide to relocate to the continent to build a new country, but the population density would still be pretty low. Orchards might work as a good source of food.
    I'd say the theme of this campaign is a lot more "wild west". It's about adventurers exploring a "new" continent and a "gold rush". One thing you could include is brothels. I know, I'm crazy just because I bring this up. Apparently, madams were the ones who owned everything in the towns of the wild west. There were more men than women, so prostitution became a very lucrative business.

    I really hate the concept of adventurer guilds. It goes against everything that makes an adventurer an adventurer. And why would they live on the outskirts when there are loads of vacant buildings to choose from?

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    Default Re: Urban Dungeon Delving On An Abandoned Continent

    I think you'll need to consider where you want the main focus to lie. Is it on figuring out what happened tot he people that lived here, on finding fabulous treasures, or on competing with all the other adventurers? If it's a focus on the mistery, I'd keep meetings with other human beings few and far between, and try to go for a tone approximating horror at times, with hints of an observer, or something stalking the players.

    If it's about finding fabulous treasures, then add in some stories of really powerful artifacts these people had. Add in 1-3 competent rivaling parties that are trying to beat them to the treasure, and leave the focus on that, with 'what happened to these people' taking a more background position.

    Finally, you could use your setup as a story about human greed, with frequent clashes with other groups. Cities would become akin to 'Battle Royale' arenas, with groups competing with each-other for loot with frequent all-out combat and ambushes to take the stuff of other people.

    overall though, this sounds like ti could be very interesting, and I think it's a shame I'm nowhere near to you so I won't eba ble to take part.
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    Default Re: Urban Dungeon Delving On An Abandoned Continent

    Another approach you could take could be trying to set up some sort of settlement on the continent. You mentioned a city on the coast, and this could make sense because all the farms are in disrepair so most food is imported. So, you could have something where they are trying to scout out places to make their base. They can't go too far or else they'll run out of food, but if they start a settlement, they could start convincing ships to come deliver food there too.
    Hello. I hope you have had a nice day.
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    Default Re: Urban Dungeon Delving On An Abandoned Continent

    Thanks for the replies!

    Quote Originally Posted by the_david View Post
    I guess you'd have to ask yourself what's left. In D&D terms, anything with an intelligence of 2 or less should have remained on the continent. That means dragons would be gone. Undead aren't living so they'd still be present. A Dracolich/Ravener would be a possibility. I guess what I'm saying is that your dungeons would be pretty empty. Most captive creatures would have died after 20 years without being fed regularly.
    That's definitely going to be one of my main challenges. One thing helping a bit is that most 'dungeons' will in fact be the abandoned cities, so I can include wild and magically mutated ecosystems that have grown up trying to reclaim the urban environment. A D&D wilderness can be pretty threatening in its own right, at least for early levels, and between sewers, canals, parkland that has overgrown, forests poking their way between cobbles and through gaps in rooftops, and critters making lairs in old libraries and belltowers, I think I can keep that interesting for at least the first city. I do welcome any and all ideas for foes that fit this setting, however, as I think this is the main thing I'm trying to work on.
    Quote Originally Posted by the_david View Post
    I'd say the theme of this campaign is a lot more "wild west".
    It's funny, on the first version of this thread I totally got into how the adventurer towns absolutely have the Wild West boomtown feel! Complete with gold rush analogy. I cut it because I didn't want to throw up a complete wall of text for the first post, but great minds and all that. I hadn't had the idea of making brothels and madams a big part of the setting, but the plot hook tavern is such a D&D thing that I'll probably run with it. Thanks!
    Quote Originally Posted by the_david View Post
    I really hate the concept of adventurer guilds. It goes against everything that makes an adventurer an adventurer. And why would they live on the outskirts when there are loads of vacant buildings to choose from?
    To each their own, I personally love the adventurer guild thing. Especially because it helps push rivalries with not only other individuals, but other guilds as the game progresses. The reason they live on the outskirts of the city is that the city is currently very dangerous, and all manner of wild creatures and wild magic infest the city. As adventurers clear out the city, the guild encampments slowly move inward along with them, until eventually the city has been pretty well reclaimed and most everything of value has been looted. At which point, the whole group of adventurers and guilds picks up and moves on to the next mysterious haunted city.

    Another challenge I have is basically trying to come up with a 'boss fight' for a city that makes sense for what's going on.



    Quote Originally Posted by Randuir View Post
    I think you'll need to consider where you want the main focus to lie. Is it on figuring out what happened tot he people that lived here, on finding fabulous treasures, or on competing with all the other adventurers? If it's a focus on the mistery, I'd keep meetings with other human beings few and far between, and try to go for a tone approximating horror at times, with hints of an observer, or something stalking the players.
    I'm basically keeping the options open, for the moment. When on quests, the atmosphere will be rather elegaic and mysterious. I might take some inspiration from the recent movie Annihilation, which I thought had great atmosphere and imagery. I won't be going complete horror though, especially not to start, as I plan on having plenty of two-fisted action and Indiana Jones-style tomb raiding, bad guy archaeologist punching, and crazy magic item shenanigans.
    Quote Originally Posted by Randuir View Post
    If it's about finding fabulous treasures, then add in some stories of really powerful artifacts these people had. Add in 1-3 competent rivaling parties that are trying to beat them to the treasure, and leave the focus on that, with 'what happened to these people' taking a more background position.
    Great ideas, definitely plan on doing all those things. I'm thinking of letting the players roll on the random magic item tables at least once a session, as it adds to that "anything could be waiting out here for us to discover" feel. I'll sprinkle in hints about the overarching mystery as the game goes, and hopefully the players get interested enough to try and investigate.



    Quote Originally Posted by superninja109 View Post
    Another approach you could take could be trying to set up some sort of settlement on the continent. You mentioned a city on the coast, and this could make sense because all the farms are in disrepair so most food is imported. So, you could have something where they are trying to scout out places to make their base. They can't go too far or else they'll run out of food, but if they start a settlement, they could start convincing ships to come deliver food there too.
    Yeah, in keeping with the 'Wild West' manifest destiny motif, I'm thinking of having the players slowly march inland as they participate in clearing each city, with each new city becoming progressively more dangerous, of course. But supplies and commerce will be a constant issue. Food has to be either foraged or imported, for the most part, as the rural areas are less dangerous than the cities but still too dangerous for farming without a lot of guards to support them. And since anyone who might be a decent guard can make a hell of a lot more money by looting the abandoned city a few miles away, farming hasn't really taken off yet. It's like in the California gold rush, where some of the people who got the richest weren't the prospectors, but the merchants who sold them eggs and mining tools at ridiculously inflated prices. And of course, if food is that expensive and has to be shipped in (by airship because again, always airships), that means there is plenty of temptation for some adventurers who haven't had much luck recently to turn to banditry to make ends meet.

    Thanks you guys, that's helped me a lot already. I can picture the economy and society of these adventuring guilds a bit better. I think I'm going to start brainstorming some specific NPC characters who fit into the world, and some ideas for more baddies that I can throw in against the PCs to keep the dungeon crawls interesting. I welcome any and all further comments or ideas as well, of course!
    For playable monster adventurers who would attract more than a few glances at the local tavern, check out my homebrew monster races!

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    Default Re: Urban Dungeon Delving On An Abandoned Continent

    Quote Originally Posted by Steel Mirror View Post
    I do welcome any and all ideas for foes that fit this setting, however, as I think this is the main thing I'm trying to work on.
    • Some ideas:
    • Maybe the magic people who used to live there built automatons, golems, and other such constructs to protect them. When their masters mysteriously disappeared, they had... varying results. Some go haywire and attack things, some lie in wait for things to come, some shut down, and some of the more intelligent ones roam around trying either to find out where the humans went or to start their own settlements.
    • Yours wasn't the only neighboring island to discover what happened. On the other side of the continent, an empire is expanding its reach into the now abandoned continent. Scouts for this empire abound and occasionally, one might find a fortress with the purpose of either making a settlement or extracting magical items.
    • If you want to make things really mysterious, you could have ghosts that give cryptic messages about what happened.
    • In the prime of the continent, there was a guild of wizards who maintained a magic gate that sealed a portal to ?(elemental planes, demon/devil planes, far realms, etc). When everyone disappeared, the gate fell into disrepair and eventually collapsed. Now otherworldly beings are emerging from this portal.
    Hello. I hope you have had a nice day.
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    Default Re: Urban Dungeon Delving On An Abandoned Continent

    Medieval cities aren't particularly durable, and are highly fire prone, with significant numbers of fires burning at all times. In a situation where everyone disappears at once, the immediate consequence is that 99% of your cities burn down within hours. Somewhat more isolated structures would be more likely to survive, and stone buildings would also likely remain in place - most of what is left of medieval cities in Europe today are stone castles and city walls. Even those not damaged by fire would decay rapidly, wattle-and-daub and other common construction methods aren't exactly stable over the long term and without regular maintenance can decay rapidly.

    Another question to consider: what are you going to do about Fey? Technically they are thinking and alive, but it's not really the same thing, since they're representations of the ecology rather than a part of it. Rapturing all the Dryads and Nereids and so forth would presumably unleash some sort of horrible destabilized nature apocalypse.
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    Default Re: Urban Dungeon Delving On An Abandoned Continent

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    Medieval cities aren't particularly durable, and are highly fire prone, with significant numbers of fires burning at all times.
    This world is only very loosely based on medieval history, and I was planning on most of the construction in most of the towns being stone, brick, glass magically shaped into spires, etc. That said it would be nicely atmospheric to have whole areas that burned down, which have a different flavor of danger in them than the more complete sections of the city that survived more intact. Plus having to climb up, and eventually fight in, a building that was just a burned out shell and ready to collapse at any moment sounds like a cool encounter!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    Another question to consider: what are you going to do about Fey? Technically they are thinking and alive, but it's not really the same thing, since they're representations of the ecology rather than a part of it. Rapturing all the Dryads and Nereids and so forth would presumably unleash some sort of horrible destabilized nature apocalypse.
    I was planning on the having the fey be disappeared along with everything else. I was also planning on having a destabilized nature apocalypse. What I had NOT realized is that I could link those two things! That's an amazing suggestion, I'm going to steal it for sure. It's not something that I'm going to just tell my players, but it's something they could maybe discover or work out on their own, and perhaps there could be a plot thread that the whole ecosystem is headed for an extinction level spiral of self-destruction if someone doesn't manage to reintroduce some fey to bring balance to the whole thing. That's really cool, thank you for that!
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    Default Re: Urban Dungeon Delving On An Abandoned Continent

    I'm not clear why there's a 20 year lapse between "instantaneous disappearing" and "adventurers go to loot". I get that you want time for things to crumble, but how are you going to explain it? If everyone disappears on Tuesday, then on Tuesday afternoon there will be merchant ships coming into deserted harbors, expecting business as usual. Maybe some stay offshore when they realize the city is silent, fearing plague, but certainly some sailor is going to want to go ashore and find out why his wife and kids aren't at the dock waiting for him. And some of them will have to land just to reprovision.

    If the Rapture extends offshore, how far?
    Was it instantaneous or did it continue for years?
    Did 20 (or 100) years pass in the blink of an eye?
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    Default Re: Urban Dungeon Delving On An Abandoned Continent

    Most demihumans are rather long-lived, so with all the humans gone for the most part, I'd imagine the governments are made up of other humanoids, most which have times on their hands.

    Maybe the Elves (or whomever is the main race) granted the humans the land millennia ago, and since all the humans disappeared the lands revert back to them. Could say there was a human generation (20 years) clause of non-habitat. Or in the case of Elves, they're notoriously slow deciding things anyway. Also, they wouldn't really care about the human-built stuff decaying and reverting back to a more natural form.

    After 20 years of probing, flying airships over the area, gathering information and such, they begin to grant exploration and settlement charters to various groups in return for a share of the treasure found. Of course they'd send some of their own forces, either to collect said shares of treasure or to recover more prominent known magic and artifacts for themselves.



    I would say that there should be some people on the continent like fishermen blown off course, pirates that ran aground in a storm, or maybe a airship or two that crashed inland. Maybe Sea Elves, Tritons, and other water creatures pose a problem for adventurers around the coastal areas. Flying creatures, dragons and whatnot, should be encountered as well since in the 20 years they could have flown or swam to the continent. And started gathering treasure hoards themselves. And of course you can have whatever took all the humans away just happen on the surface of the continent, leaving those big, bad creatures underground and the Underdark largely unchanged. All of whom could benefit from raiding the surface world as well.



    Of course you'll need to settle on a definite reason why all the humans disappeared and if they're able/want to return. Their pantheon/god spirited them all away? An artifact was found with far ranging effects that devoured all the intelligent creatures? They're all still there, but trapped in the Ethereal Plane? Something caused a continent-wide Fey/Shadow Crossing and everyone got stranded in the Feywild or Shadowfell?

    All in all sounds like a fun campaign. Good luck!

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    Default Re: Urban Dungeon Delving On An Abandoned Continent

    Quote Originally Posted by Laserlight View Post
    I'm not clear why there's a 20 year lapse between "instantaneous disappearing" and "adventurers go to loot".
    The game takes place 20 years after the Rapture, but it's not like nobody has set foot on the continent since it happened. I totally see why you got that impression though, from my original pitch!

    The first folks who discovered the now-empty continent went ashore to see what the hifl happened, but the creepy emptiness combined with the spells and constructs formerly controlled by the nations now running amok meant that few decided to stay long or investigate much. Those who did head further in to investigate tended not to return; that's still true today, people who head straight into the heart of the continent far from the adventuring guilds' boomtowns tend not to be seen again. The various nations and mercantile interests organized several expeditions to the continent, petitioned the gods for clues as to what happened, divined all they could, and came up with some vague, dire warnings not to get involved plus a lot of missing explorers. That combined with the prospect of setting off a war if everyone rushed to colonize the newly empty real estate kept the powers that be from rushing in to fill the vacuum, while the sheer danger and fear of the place was enough to keep casual curiosity at bay.

    Now it's been long enough that people have basically gotten used to how weird and mysterious the Rapture was, and the PCs and the other adventuring guilds are the first cracks in the dam preventing people from rushing in to exploit the continent in earnest. Exploring the continent is still incredibly dangerous and most people are half expecting something else apocalyptically weird to happen at any moment, but greed has begun to outweigh dread, and that seems likely to pick up pace.

    Alternatively, if that still doesn't sound convincing to you, I could ramp up the weirdness and danger of the island with some kind of pervasive mysterious phenomenon. One of my inspirations when coming up with the setting was a novella by Brandon Sanderson called "Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell", wherein a new continent is discovered which is full of mysterious wraiths that consume people who don't obey "The Simple Rules". I'm thinking of maybe adding something like them as a pervasive hazard into the abandoned continent, something which can't be fought but can be avoided, provided you know the rules of how to avoid it. Maybe like a mist that comes out only at night and vanishes anyone not within a few dozen feet of a fire? Maybe anyone who drinks water from a source on the island, as opposed to water imported from elsewhere, slowly begins seeing visions of the missing people of the continent, then eventually goes homicidally insane. Maybe anyone who spends a night under the stars disappears just like the residents did.

    I'm not against ramping up the weirdness, but I'm not sure I want to throw too much mythology at the players from the very beginning, as this will probably be a fairly episodical game with a semi-rotating group of players from session to session. Tell me what you think!
    Quote Originally Posted by Laserlight View Post
    If the Rapture extends offshore, how far?
    It extended off shore for a ways, nobody knows the exact distance. Fisherman out a few minutes into the sea disappeared along with everyone else, but sailors just out of sight of the island were unaffected and arrived back home to find the place completely abandoned.
    Quote Originally Posted by Laserlight View Post
    Was it instantaneous or did it continue for years?
    It was completely instantaneous, as far as anyone knows.
    Quote Originally Posted by Laserlight View Post
    Did 20 (or 100) years pass in the blink of an eye?
    The flow of time has never changed for the continent, as far as anyone knows.




    Quote Originally Posted by Telesphoros View Post
    I would say that there should be some people on the continent like fishermen blown off course, pirates that ran aground in a storm, or maybe a airship or two that crashed inland. Maybe Sea Elves, Tritons, and other water creatures pose a problem for adventurers around the coastal areas.
    Definitely, and in fact I think I like the idea of having a faction of humans trying to refound their country and slowly reclaiming cities in the name of their old motherland. They are few in number, consisting entirely of people who were away for whatever reason on the day of the Rapture, but they have a charismatic leader and a serious chip on their shoulders due to the rest of the world basically seeing their tragic homeland as a big treasure chest. They tend to attack adventurers when they come across them for the crime of "looting the departed", but they will also sometimes hire adventurers of renowned skill when they come across a challenge that is too much for them to overcome in their process of reclaiming their homeland.
    Quote Originally Posted by Telesphoros View Post
    Flying creatures, dragons and whatnot, should be encountered as well since in the 20 years they could have flown or swam to the continent. And started gathering treasure hoards themselves. And of course you can have whatever took all the humans away just happen on the surface of the continent, leaving those big, bad creatures underground and the Underdark largely unchanged. All of whom could benefit from raiding the surface world as well.
    I think it would be cool to have a family of youngish dragons, basically like a gang of troublemaking youngsters, who have claimed a certain city as their territory and are now amusing themselves with gathering all the treasure they can and stacking it one place while killing adventurers who are lured to the promise of fame and glory.

    As for the Underdark, I probably will just skip out on including it at all. I was planning on having a drider be a possible recurring enemy for the PCs, so I'll have to find a home for lots of the Underdark standard creatures, but I think I have enough adventure fodder for this world that I don't need to include that particular part of D&D arcana.
    Quote Originally Posted by Telesphoros View Post
    Of course you'll need to settle on a definite reason why all the humans disappeared and if they're able/want to return. Their pantheon/god spirited them all away? An artifact was found with far ranging effects that devoured all the intelligent creatures? They're all still there, but trapped in the Ethereal Plane? Something caused a continent-wide Fey/Shadow Crossing and everyone got stranded in the Feywild or Shadowfell?

    All in all sounds like a fun campaign. Good luck!
    I have some thoughts on the ultimate answer, certainly, but I'm not spending much time fleshing them out (yet). Partly I think the mystery is more interesting as just that, a mystery. Mostly I think that's something that won't come into play until at least several sessions into the game, and I want to focus on making the first session a success before I worry too much about that.

    But thank you for the well wishes, and thank you for the comments! I'm getting lots of ideas from the questions you guys are posing, I'll probably throw up another bullet list of game elements soon as I get ready to actually start writing up a game primer for my players.
    Last edited by Steel Mirror; 2019-02-14 at 11:42 PM.
    For playable monster adventurers who would attract more than a few glances at the local tavern, check out my homebrew monster races!

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    Default Re: Urban Dungeon Delving On An Abandoned Continent

    Not a single person has mentioned dinosaurs? Ok, I can be that guy.

    If you are interested in pulling from some other genres, dinosaurs were a pulp classic for adding an otherworldly feel without going to aberrations and extra planar beings (or in conjunction with.) Just to keep things fresh, I would suggest upping Int scores to around 6. It's a tweak that your players won't usually see coming. There could be a humanoid tribe or two that has allied with a species of Dino and rules the outskirts of a city. Bonus points if it's a classic bottom wrung race like kobolds, gullydwarves, or goblins.

    Why are there dinosaurs here? I don't know. Could be from the same force that took all the humans. It could BE the humans. Might not be related at all. What's one more massive mystery that your players will ignore in favor of loot and blood?

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    Default Re: Urban Dungeon Delving On An Abandoned Continent

    First off, the whole premise (and info you've shared so far) sounds great -- definitely something I'd want to play! Now for a slew of random comments, questions, and suggestion:

    1) Given that is has been 20 years, people (and some/all the PCs) should know what this continent did. That may or may not be connected to what happened of course. Could be a good red-herring to say they have the most prestigious magic academy in the world at the capital near the center of the continent (rivers/lakes/foothills etc). Each major town/city could have a secondary school, or branch, or something like that. Might even make for a few good recurring boss battle locations, great treasure spots, or creepy clues (just a couple, don't want to get repetitive).


    2) This also means maps should be available (if not pricey). No reason maps can't be a little wrong to add to the mystery of course! What once was a river is now bone dry.

    3) Adventure idea: Whether it be related to the School of Enchantment Department, or a wizard's tower, Awakened Animals! Led by an awakened Badger with 4 levels in (druid, wizard, whatever), one of the cities seems to be functioning. Do the adventurers resort to diplomacy, or murder hobo their way to victory? Squirrels with one level of rogue, throwing 1d1 rocks with +1d6 sneak attack damage =D

    4) Elemental monsters that were being used to fuel/energize devices break free. What kept the world's first floating airship dock in the air? A few dozen imprisoned air elementals who broke free a few months before the campaign starts.

    5) Boss battle ideas:
    - Another Party with equal levels/numbers
    - Adventurer's Guild Leader who has a secret get out? Bosses need not be fought out in the wild, and dealing with the greedy adventurer guilds may mean more manipulation, plots, secrets, etc. Maybe their middle management boss they report to is trying to become guild leader. The guild leader is known to be greedy and awful, but at least he's not secretly working on behalf of a druid circle which wants to keep the continent free of outsiders so nature can have a continent to call its own. (Do PCs side with Lawful Neutral Guild leader, who is admittedly an *******, or the Druid double agent who is willing to kill by the dozens to ensure the 'greater good').
    - Zealots or Cultists! They're everywhere in D&D, so why not here? So many doomsday cult opportunities, or cults that wants to bring in a minor deity to form a kingdom on the 'mortal' plane =)

    6) Other interest groups or monsters:
    - Guilds for sure, all shapes and sizes. Some are greedy, some want magical power, some are legit explorer types, some are scholarly, some are private companies controlled by nations (since nations are still not officially entering?)
    - Holy Orders at some point. Gotta bring law and 'civilization'
    - Eventually nations (if not already on the other side like someone else said)
    - Humans who were away (diplomats for sure, wanting to find/fund ways to reclaim their kingdom/reform their kingdom). They might plunder some areas, but they might also do it just to finance the reclamation of another. More to that.... people knowledge of the continent who are still alive and lucid must be SUPER BENEFICIAL. Ambassador Bob, the nephew to the last King, probably knows more about the Kingdom than anyone else left alive, right?
    - Half Fey/Half Dryad templates applied to random things? If Feys disappeared, nature apocalypse to balance itself may start forcefully mutating animals to fill the void of fey energy. Problem is, that just ends up warping/twisting anything remotely living. Statue? Stone Golem that collects animals as pets. Hunting Dogs? Now Blink Dogs with bark skin that can burrow through the earth. Recently murdered street thug minutes before the rapture? Partially sentient chaotic half fey half wight. Reservoir? Slightly insane hive-mind of enchanted fish which have water manipulation (maybe the reason for dried up rivers down stream).
    - Dopplegangers, if you go the manipulation/intrigue route
    - Something undergoing a necromancy spell, timed such that they come back as an undead seconds after the rapture?
    - Living spells! So many fun magical experiments left unregulated =) What was Gretchen researching again? Oh, a living spell version of 'control weather' for the Royal Airforce ships to have on board at all times?

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    Default Re: Urban Dungeon Delving On An Abandoned Continent

    Quote Originally Posted by redwizard007 View Post
    Not a single person has mentioned dinosaurs? Ok, I can be that guy.
    Maybe I can link the reappearance of dinosaurs somehow with the sudden vanishing of all the fey and the subsequent upending of the natural order. Or it could have some kind of magical explanation. Either way, the thought of exploring an abandoned city and turning the corner, only come face to face with a grumpy stegosaurus protecting her nest which proceeds to wreck the surrounding buildings with her spiked tail as the PCs try to dodge and maneuver, sounds way too awesome!

    Dunno if anyone plays Magic, but I was a big fan of the recent dinosaur set, Ixalan, so I can see that creeping into the game.



    Quote Originally Posted by Jonagel View Post
    1) Given that is has been 20 years, people (and some/all the PCs) should know what this continent did. That may or may not be connected to what happened of course. Could be a good red-herring to say they have the most prestigious magic academy in the world at the capital near the center of the continent (rivers/lakes/foothills etc).
    It's definitely going to be true that the continent was the most advanced magical power on the planet, and will have the reputation for it. Putting some legendarily powerful city or academy at the center of the continent is a great idea. Gives everyone a target to be aiming for, and I can drop all sorts of references and clues about it along the way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonagel View Post
    2) This also means maps should be available (if not pricey). No reason maps can't be a little wrong to add to the mystery of course! What once was a river is now bone dry.
    I absolutely love giving out physical handouts to my players, and this is a genius idea! I'll give them a fantasy map with all sorts of tantalizing sounding locations noted down at the beginning of the game, plus maybe some notes scribbled in by their guild about things like "this is where Forrestal cashed in" and "infested by angry dire weasels: AVOID". A great way to plant a bunch of seeds and whet players' appetites. And even better will be if they start making their own notes on the map. If it does end up being a semi-rotating player group, it would even be fun to have one group of players read notes left by previous PCs and use them. Using this idea for sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonagel View Post
    3) Adventure idea: Whether it be related to the School of Enchantment Department, or a wizard's tower, Awakened Animals! Led by an awakened Badger with 4 levels in (druid, wizard, whatever), one of the cities seems to be functioning. Do the adventurers resort to diplomacy, or murder hobo their way to victory? Squirrels with one level of rogue, throwing 1d1 rocks with +1d6 sneak attack damage =D
    <snip>
    - Half Fey/Half Dryad templates applied to random things? If Feys disappeared, nature apocalypse to balance itself may start forcefully mutating animals to fill the void of fey energy. Problem is, that just ends up warping/twisting anything remotely living.
    I like the sound of linking these two ideas. Uplifted animals who were suddenly raised to sentience by the need for fey, but who know nothing about their origins. Some might be trying to live in the cities playacting as humans under the theory that their ancestors actually built them somehow and they just forgot. Maybe a whole animal farm religion that believes that they were the true builders of all the cities? A fun idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonagel View Post
    4) Elemental monsters that were being used to fuel/energize devices break free. What kept the world's first floating airship dock in the air? A few dozen imprisoned air elementals who broke free a few months before the campaign starts.
    <snip>
    - Living spells! So many fun magical experiments left unregulated =) What was Gretchen researching again? Oh, a living spell version of 'control weather' for the Royal Airforce ships to have on board at all times?
    Another pair that might be fun to combine. Maybe a magical city formerly known for it's perpetual pleasant sunny days, which as a result was the home base for the most powerful airforce on the continent as well as the site of the most prestigious annual airship race anywhere. But the imprisoned elementals that controlled the weather have escaped and it's now a storm-battered region that no airship has been able to fly through. The old aerodrome is reputed to be full of hundreds of airships, the finest in the world that made up both the continent's airforce as well many of the fastest airships ever built, so if someone could get through and still the constant storms, they'd be able to become very rich indeed!
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    Default Re: Urban Dungeon Delving On An Abandoned Continent

    If you're the campaign journaling type and this takes off, I'm sure a bunch of us would be love to follow along! If people are cycling in and out of the game, might be helpful for them too.

    Also, wild magic/wild magic zones might be relevant, whether related to the humans or occurring post Rapture. For that matter, null magic zones too! Everyone spends days of travel going around this one forest, because there are random wild magic and null magic zones -- crazy stuff happens in there. You're better off adding two weeks to your rations/travel then exploring a stupid forest...right? Industrious PCs might also find ways to turn a profit on random things like that, so be careful. Maybe they create a toll road through the forest. Not only do you save 2+ weeks, but you avoid random encounters/bandits/rival guilds on our carefully maintained highway.

    Reminds me of someone's campaign journal about how the entire campaign became creating a ever expanding inter-planar business empire around a originally random/useless gate to a Paraelemntal plane of salt...
    https://1d4chan.org/wiki/Tale_of_an_..._Rogue,_Part_I

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    Default Re: Urban Dungeon Delving On An Abandoned Continent

    The first folks who discovered the now-empty continent went ashore to see what the hifl happened, but the creepy emptiness combined with the spells and constructs formerly controlled by the nations now running amok meant that few decided to stay long or investigate much. Those who did head further in to investigate tended not to return; that's still true today, people who head straight into the heart of the continent far from the adventuring guilds' boomtowns tend not to be seen again.
    There's no particular reason people would need to go to the heart of the continent. Most--I'm tempted to say "all"--major cities of medieval tech were ports, either ocean or river, because it's vastly more efficient to transport cargo by ship rather than by wagon. So unless you go out of the way to have odd geography, an adventurer wouldn't need to go to, say, Switzerland to find a place worth looting; he could get that at Marseille, Amsterdam, Venice, Hamburg, Le Havre, and so forth.
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    Default Re: Urban Dungeon Delving On An Abandoned Continent

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonagel View Post
    If you're the campaign journaling type and this takes off, I'm sure a bunch of us would be love to follow along! If people are cycling in and out of the game, might be helpful for them too.
    I've never done a campaign journal before. I might give it a shot, the real issue is always just the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonagel View Post
    Industrious PCs might also find ways to turn a profit on random things like that, so be careful.
    I'd love it if my PCs got into it enough to come up with that sort of zany economic scheme! I'll lay the groundwork for that sort of thing, and let them decide if they'd rather play Tomb Raider or Skyship Tycoon.





    Quote Originally Posted by Laserlight View Post
    There's no particular reason people would need to go to the heart of the continent. Most--I'm tempted to say "all"--major cities of medieval tech were ports, either ocean or river, because it's vastly more efficient to transport cargo by ship rather than by wagon. So unless you go out of the way to have odd geography, an adventurer wouldn't need to go to, say, Switzerland to find a place worth looting; he could get that at Marseille, Amsterdam, Venice, Hamburg, Le Havre, and so forth.
    Fair enough, but remember that this society is more inspired by tropes and fictional traditions which were in turn influenced by medieval societies of Europe, as opposed to being an actual analogue of those places and times. These people had airships which could move people and cargo more economically than boats, warmaking magics to rival 20th century air or artillery bombardment, construction materials more durable, exotic, and plentiful than wood and stone, healing magic that puts modern medicine to shame, and oh yeah some decent percentage of the population had the ability to fly around, shoot fire out of their hands, read minds, and who knows what else. Hopefully needless to say at this point, expecting society to truly resemble historical medieval Earth cultures in anything but a few carefully chosen points isn't the best way to go!

    And people heading into the deep parts of the continent are sometimes looking for loot, but are just as often looking for answers or even just survivors. Nobody has been able to find either of those things on the coasts, so people who really want to find them often take the gamble of heading inland in the hopes that things might somehow be different this time. And who knows, maybe they are right; nobody really knows yet, and only the most confident or desperate are willing to try anymore.





    On another note, I've got a working term for the abandoned continent: Euborea. I'll be referring to it as such from now on, should save me some typing.

    Since we're talking about the societies on the continent and how they were organized, I'm thinking of having the dominant political unit before the Rapture having been City States, as opposed to what we consider nations or nation states today. For the most part, cities on Euborea ruled themselves and as much of the surrounding countryside as they could. On the border regions, towns and farm areas might switch allegiance back and forth as the fortunes of different City States waxed and waned. As a result, each City State had their own distinct culture, magical technology, political philosophies, and so on.

    That lets me give each city its own distinct feel and internal logic, like having one city that was known for vaulting towers and graceful bridges between skyscrapers, while another might have been built into a cliffside and have architecture reflecting deep social stratification. One city might have been known as an artistic haven, so lots of the loot and side-quests reflect that, while another was in the center of the continent's finest brewing country so finding a few intact bottles of aged specialty brandy that will never be brewed again in a cellar could end up being a more valuable find than any cache of minor magic items. I've always thought that the best dungeons were those that told a story, so hopefully this City State political arrangement will help me come up with ways to the same for the city dungeon crawls!

    I've got some stuff I've been brainstorming for the first session and for the player info packet, I'll try to post some of it tonight in case anyone still wants to read my rambling. You guys have been very helpful, so thanks for the comments and keep them coming!
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    Default Re: Urban Dungeon Delving On An Abandoned Continent

    Euborea now has a map! Courtesy of a kind person called Quabbe over on deviantart, who makes a high res image of the map free for use over on their profile. Thanks much kind madam/sir!
    Spoiler: The Map of Euborea, the Empty Continent
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    I'm not sure if I should mark it up on my computer, then print it with some notes already on, or print out the blank map and make all the note by hand.

    I'll be seeing Alita today so I might no have time to post until a bit later, but I have some notes about the ideas you all have been giving me and I want to put them up for your thoughts later. Cheers!
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    Default Re: Urban Dungeon Delving On An Abandoned Continent

    Just curious: Do you have any idea about what you want the rapture to have been caused by?
    Hello. I hope you have had a nice day.
    I am sorry if I come off as overly aggressive or disrespectful when arguing. The truth is, I love debating about random things, so I'd love it if you oblige me by debating things I say. Truth is revealed through constant and communal inquiry!

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    Default Re: Urban Dungeon Delving On An Abandoned Continent

    I love that map!!! Artist did a fantastic job!

    For the PCs, I'd suggest a B&W with hand written notes (assuming you have that kind of time). Might be worth scanning it before sharing it, so you don't have to hand write everything should it get messed up (or maybe that just means players will have to re-draw one if they want it lol).

    Now that I think we're beyond the comparison to Medieval Europe, I think the city-states work great. I love world building, but know players don't always care; however, it might be worth thinking about why the city-state model didn't change. If everyone had hyper powerful magic, I guess it puts everyone at a bit of a stand-off situation, with a network of alliances to keep any one League or Alliance in check. Maybe certain cities had teleportation circles to their closest allies or sister cities? Turning that back on would change the game I'd imagine!

    Also, might need to consider why there's only one major port city with the guilds right now. Is it just the other shores are more dangerous? More cataclysm took place elsewhere? Other empires from other continents have staked a claim in the west, so the guild approach is stuck with the eastern coast?

    Final thought for now -- center city-state looks like it has a nice little lake with a small mountain range around it. Could include something about the geography as to why it was the grandest of them all? Maybe the only vein of mithril on the continent is in those mountains? Maybe there's a lady of the lake situation going on (deity in the water, a celestial stuck in the lake granting boons in an attempt to gain followers and power, lake was a direct gate to the Elemental Plane of Water, etc.)?

    Good luck with the prep!

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    Default Re: Urban Dungeon Delving On An Abandoned Continent

    Quote Originally Posted by superninja109 View Post
    Just curious: Do you have any idea about what you want the rapture to have been caused by?
    I do have several thoughts, some of the them mutually contradictory, some of which can be woven together under a single explanation. I know it's probably dumb that I want to play my cards close to the vest, since I doubt any of my players will ever read this, but I'm going to keep from discussing too many specifics for now.

    I do know that I'm going to have a couple false explanations being floated around in the game. For instance, the feypocalypse that Mechalich recommended is a consequence of the Rapture rather than a cause, but I plan on having a possible questline with an NPC investigator who is convinced that the goddess of nature, who was horrified by how humanity had been twisting her creations with magic and industry, is somehow responsible. If they follow that line of investigation to the end they will reveal the truth, but along the way they'll probably uncover enough evidence and supposition to make it sound pretty plausible for a while.




    Quote Originally Posted by Jonagel View Post
    I love that map!!! Artist did a fantastic job!
    They really did! I'm incredibly grateful that they made it available for free use. I'll add the link here for anyone who wants to look at the high res download, it's big enough to make a reasonably large print without looking too blurry.

    https://www.deviantart.com/quabbe/ar...tion-645360640

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonagel View Post
    For the PCs, I'd suggest a B&W with hand written notes (assuming you have that kind of time). Might be worth scanning it before sharing it, so you don't have to hand write everything should it get messed up (or maybe that just means players will have to re-draw one if they want it lol).
    I'm thinking of printing a big version on like a poster size paper, then making it community property. I'll hold onto it between sessions of course, but during the game people can crack it open, peruse it, make some notes on it (with my permission). I do think I'll make the original notations on computer first, in some kind of pseudo-handwriting font, that way I can print a new one when it inevitably gets messed up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonagel View Post
    Now that I think we're beyond the comparison to Medieval Europe, I think the city-states work great. I love world building, but know players don't always care; however, it might be worth thinking about why the city-state model didn't change. If everyone had hyper powerful magic, I guess it puts everyone at a bit of a stand-off situation, with a network of alliances to keep any one League or Alliance in check. Maybe certain cities had teleportation circles to their closest allies or sister cities? Turning that back on would change the game I'd imagine!
    Yeah I'm of the same idea that a lot of world building players just don't care about, but I also think making a few more details on how the city states came to be sounds like fun all on it's own, even if my players never care!

    One thing is that I'm less thinking that hyper-powerful magic was common, and more that low and midlevel magic was all but ubiquitous. At least in the cities. Maybe each city was built on something like a leyline node, allowing anyone with even a spark of magical talent to be able to cast a few spells with the equivalent of a high school education. But those spells only work for such low grade talents within the city; out in the country, where magic levels are lower, they probably can't manage any actual magic at all. A real proper mage of course can manage a spell pretty much anywhere (dead and wild magic zones do sound fun though, and work well with this concept), but even they might notice a small bump in power within the confines of one of these great cities.

    Thus the cities grew up as centers of power on the continent, attracting the best and brightest to dwell within. It's not impossible for one city to conquer another, but sieges are tough when the defenders get a boost to their magic while those doing the attacking from outside the walls need to do things the hard way, and most residents might be able to muster up some magical resistance. So conquering another city tended not to be practical, although skirmishes in the countryside for territory and trade routes was much more economical. Subtler means of conflict also abounded of course, leading to a dense web of alliances, trade routes, backstabbing, cultural one-upsmanship, political meddling, espionage, and constant skirmishes.

    Damn, I'm starting to want to actual set the game in the continent without having any Rapture shenanigans at all!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonagel View Post
    Also, might need to consider why there's only one major port city with the guilds right now. Is it just the other shores are more dangerous? More cataclysm took place elsewhere? Other empires from other continents have staked a claim in the west, so the guild approach is stuck with the eastern coast?
    I think I'll actually have it that there are maybe half a dozen or so port cities that have been taken over by the guilds so far, with varying amounts of success. Most guilds only operate out of one city at a time, but there are several guilds racing for the priciest treasures in each city.

    Other empires will have varying amounts of presence on Euborea. I think there will be an expeditionary force from one of them investigating the ruins of the first city the players start in. I'm always in favor of more factions to play off of. I think I'll be making the local soldier contingent be dismissive jerks to the PCs most of the time, and also likely to try to "confiscate" particularly dangerous or important artifacts. Heck, maybe one of the early adventure hooks can be to break into the camp to recover some impounded artifacts, then frame a rival guild in the process. Would make for a cool diversion from standard dungeon crawls!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonagel View Post
    Final thought for now -- center city-state looks like it has a nice little lake with a small mountain range around it.
    I'll think about that one. Does seem like a good place to put the mighty magical academy or whatnot. I think I'll save the mythril idea for another city, one the PCs might encounter before getting to the center of the continent. Probably won't need to spend much time convincing them to spend some time in that city!





    For the first session, I want the adventure to be fairly simple, so I think I've come up with my basic adventure hook:

    "The guild is actively involved in clearing the port city of Vozhnoya, one of the minor cities of Euborea known mostly for controlling trade on the Starrun river and for exporting massive quantities of pearls from local shellfish farms. In their latest trip, the guild's top team (no, not you guys) discovered the local temple to the goddess of magic. As far as they can tell, the temple is untouched from the day of the Rapture, but the team was too busy to investigate any further. Take your group and see what there is to be found; traditionally her temples stored a lot of magical items, but they also tended to be guarded by cunning deceptions and powerful security arrangements. And be careful while you're out there, our parties have encountered Black Fox lowlifes in the nearby blocks, and they might just be desperate enough to cause some trouble."
    For playable monster adventurers who would attract more than a few glances at the local tavern, check out my homebrew monster races!

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    Default Re: Urban Dungeon Delving On An Abandoned Continent

    I got sidetracked working on the first adventure. I want it to be something that can be fairly quick, hopefully something like 3 or 4 combat encounters, 2 puzzles, and a bunch of exploration.

    They are going to be exploring the ruined temple of the goddess of magic. I found another cool map online I plan to use.
    Spoiler: Map
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    In the cardinal's office, I want to do kind of a fun encounter with his collection of bronze action figures coming to life and trying to stab the PCs to death with their tiny weapons, while plaster busts of old philosophers yell old-timey insults at them. If you don't mind giving me a little feedback on the monster design, I posted another thread over in the homebrew section.

    I am still doing brainstorming on the bigger parts of the setting, and I still welcome any thoughts on that. It's just that I got excited about designing some actual adventure content once I came across that temple map, so I got a bit distracted!
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    Default Re: Urban Dungeon Delving On An Abandoned Continent

    Some notes on a couple of factions so far.

    Spoiler: The Rekindlers
    Show

    Made up of humans (and a few other types of folk native to Euborea) who were away from the continent during the Rapture, but who have returned determined to reclaim their homeland. Because Euborea was broken up among hundreds of distinct city states, the Rekindlers have only their mutual mission and loss in common, and many factions exist within the organization. Some are extreme anti-outsider zealots, devoted to exterminating those from other races who are picking clean the corpse of their homeland. Others seek to assemble the most potent weapons of the fallen cities so that they can build their own empire in the ashes.

    The leader of the Rekindlers is Magister Hestia Caecilia, a former war mage of one of the more martially minded cities who was enjoying retirement in a far away tropical island when the Rapture struck. She was once one of the most powerful mages on the planet and a brilliant general, which gave her enough authority to bully the fractured human survivors into a single organization 18 years ago. At 106 years old, it's an open question how much longer she'll be able to keep it all together. High Commodore Santige Osonye was a notorious sky pirate and slaver before the Rapture, but his access to ships and aeronauts allowed him to snag the position of Hestia's second in command. There is little love lost between the two and their followers, and it is in some ways a miracle that things haven't erupted into full blown civil war already.

    The Rekindlers are based in a city in the far north, but maintain bases and spies anywhere on Euborea that the guilds can be found. Commodore Osonye's sky pirates have also been a persistent thorn in the sides of the guilds and the various militaries who have a presence there.

    Spoiler: The Free Nation Of Ulheit
    Show

    On the vast western planes of Euborea, a new nation made up of escaped slaves from the giant nations from across the oceans has grown up. These peoples, mostly hill and stone giants, see the empty lands in Euborea as a chance for their people to claim freedom after centuries of oppression in their native country. They deeply distrust magic and mages of any kind, and mostly just want to be left alone. So far they have proven more adept at making a living in the stark deserts of the west than the humans of Euborea ever were. More arrive in Euborea every month, but they aren't the only giants on Euborea. Slave-catchers from their home country, usually fire and cloud giants, are becoming an increasingly common sight among the guild encampments on the western side of the continent.

    Spoiler: The 113th Foresters
    Show

    Hailing from Naikabe, a lush woodland kingdom where centaurs, elves, orcs, dryads, lizardfolk, and more all live in harmony, the 113th is a military expeditionary unit that was dispatched to Euborea to investigate the Rapture. It is an open secret that it is also there to probe the possibility of perhaps establishing a beach head, in case Naikabe and the other powers of the world end up in a race to claim the continent.

    The 113th sends regular patrols in to cities and parts of the countryside as it carries out its orders, but while they are doubtlessly formidable in a pitched battle, they aren't trained or prepared for tomb raiding, and sort of suck at it. Still, they will sometimes pay for magic items (sometimes they attempt to confiscate them) and they've supported the guilds in a few desperate fights, so on the whole they make for welcome if frustrating neighbors.

    Spoiler: The Underwater Kingdom of Sylthriastar
    Show

    A kingdom of merfolk which had close relations with several Euborean cities. Thousands of Sylthri citizens living near the shore or working in ports and canals went missing during the Rapture, and the Sylthri desire answers as keenly as any Rekindler, but have even greater challenges seeking those answers. The guilds like dealing with them because they pay in hard silver for news and items from the cities, but dealing with them can be risky as they respond violently if they believe they are being cheated.

    Spoiler: The Grey Pilgrims
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    A fringe sect that worships the god of death believes that the Rapture was the culmination of an ancient prophecy, which states that in the end times, the god of death will throw open the gates of the afterlife in order to allow the living to enter directly without having to die first. Thus, they believe that Euborea was the site of a momentous miracle, and have begun to make the pilgrimage to the abandoned continent in order to see it for themselves.

    Most of them are harmless, if a bit humorless and evangelical about what they see as the need for others to face the weight of their misdeeds through self-flagellation. A few are dangerous fanatics who are worried that the Rapture somehow was stopped only partway through, and that they need to somehow kickstart the process in order to spread it to the entire world. Invariably these schemes involve killing as many people as possible on Euborea as quickly as possible, so the guilds tend to eye any of the Grey Pilgrims (so-named for the veils they wear) with suspicion.
    Last edited by Steel Mirror; 2019-02-17 at 04:48 AM.
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  24. - Top - End - #24
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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Urban Dungeon Delving On An Abandoned Continent

    Just commented on your monsters, in the original thread -- neat ideas!

    Overall, this looks like a great world/module. Plenty of possible hooks, factions, etc. I especially like the dynamics with giants. Also gives the player a bit of clarity on how to progress:
    1) Avoid western side/desert until level 10, giants can crit your rogue and one shot KO them if they're lucky
    2) Avoid wandering towards the center too quickly (for all the aforementioned reasons)

    Maybe the giants are doing so well in the desert because a family of Blue Dragon made it's home their, and they've banded together? From giant slaves to giant peasants under the rule of a Blue Dragon.

    More random ideas!

    Kingdom of Sylthriastar: With all sentient life gone, would these merfolk have scattered outposts all throughout the inner seas already? Unless they have a policy against it, in which case maybe some splinter groups have done so?

    Eastern Islands: Seem like good candidates for volcanoes! Island chain, mountainous. Maybe a special forge is there? Maybe all of the access routes by sea are useless because they are tons of ship wrecks (due to sailors dying). Maybe a recent eruption has scared away airship travel (for the next few months)?

    Random darker spots on the map: I know it's meant to be denser forests(?), but a few areas look extremely dark. Example, south center coast line just south of a lake, the northern edge of a inlet/bay. Maybe it's meant to be marshy, like the eastern coast with all the tiny lakes.... or maybe these can be areas that have already been deemed off limits/of no use? Entire area that was burned down, corrupted, etc?

    Doomsday Prep: If anyone on the continent knew about the potential Rapture, maybe you have some special Bunkers, underground silos, doomsday prep like locations. Might make for nice treasure, a clue to "Why", or just a little depressing reminder?

    Automated Library: With so much magic, maybe the PCs come across an automated (or AI) library that maintains a bunch of information?

    Pirates!: Sure there are Commodore Osonye's sky pirates, but plenty of others might be trying their best outside the guild structure. Raiding a pirate cove (or coming across one while the pirates are away) might be fun. Eventually, this same concept could apply to a legitimate war between two guilds.

    God-play: Come across sentient animals, AI, golems, etc. and be welcomed back as their creators...and expected to stay around forever

    Evil? NPCs: Make friends with a wandering adventurer, who turns out to be a highly wanted criminal back at the home continent. A few months in, they start seeing his face on wanted signs all over town (as a ranger, he did always choose to camp in the wilderness while the party went to the city).

    Floating Castle: With all that magical fun time, someone's bound to have made a flying castle (or tower, or more?!). Either these are crash sites, or the PCs can hear it happen one day as the energy runs out 20 years later.
    Last edited by Jonagel; 2019-02-19 at 12:46 PM.

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    Default Re: Urban Dungeon Delving On An Abandoned Continent

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonagel View Post
    Kingdom of Sylthriastar: With all sentient life gone, would these merfolk have scattered outposts all throughout the inner seas already? Unless they have a policy against it, in which case maybe some splinter groups have done so?
    I really like this idea. For some reason, I want to have them be kind of like those persistent item shops that you see in some CRPGs. No matter where you go in the world, you keep bumping into that one shop/travelling merchant who provides a kind of touchstone throughout the game, but who also mysteriously upgrades their goods along with your progression. In this campaign, any body of water connected to the ocean has a decent chance of hosting a few Sylthri merfolk, and they are always looking to trade for news and clues you've discovered on your travels.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonagel View Post
    Eastern Islands: Seem like good candidates for volcanoes! Island chain, mountainous. Maybe a special forge is there? Maybe all of the access routes by sea are useless because they are tons of ship wrecks (due to sailors dying). Maybe a recent eruption has scared away airship travel (for the next few months)?
    That all sounds awesome. Maybe I'll use this spot as the site of the mythril vein you were talking about earler, as the valuable metal is continuously brought to the surface by the constant eruption of the islands volcanoes. The PCs will hear about it in passing for the first part of the game, but people mention that nobody goes there because of all the shipwrecks clogging the few navigable ports and ash that chokes the air and makes approach by airship treacherous. Then, at some point, the volcano will begin erupting in earnest, threatening to bury the last of the great mythril cities under millions of tons of lava, and the PCs will have the chance to lead one last audacious party to explore the city and rescue its priceless stock of mythril artifacts before it is lost forever! Might as well come up with provisional names for these places as we go: this one can be the city state of Ulphegar.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonagel View Post
    Automated Library: With so much magic, maybe the PCs come across an automated (or AI) library that maintains a bunch of information?
    A huge abandoned-but-not-quite-empty library could definitely be a whole adventure(s) by itself. Maybe even a whole city state devoted to books, knowledge, and records that functionally acts like a giant extended library? Even if not that extravagant, it would naturally be a prime target for looting, and whatever automated force is still in charge of it won't appreciate that action one bit. This one can be called Sal Terann, The City of Scrolls.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonagel View Post
    Pirates!: Sure there are Commodore Osonye's sky pirates, but plenty of others might be trying their best outside the guild structure. Raiding a pirate cove (or coming across one while the pirates are away) might be fun. Eventually, this same concept could apply to a legitimate war between two guilds.
    I'm of the opinion that it's always a good time to fight pirates. If I can't find anywhere else to fit it, it would also be a good place to drop a quest hook from the merfolk. They provide some intelligence on how and when to raid the pirate cove in return for some gossip from the surface world about what the PCs have discovered in the cities so far.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonagel View Post
    God-play: Come across sentient animals, AI, golems, etc. and be welcomed back as their creators...and expected to stay around forever
    I love this one to bits! I'll stash it along with lots of the others in my back pocket, but that will definitely find its way in assuming the game lasts long enough.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonagel View Post
    Evil? NPCs: Make friends with a wandering adventurer, who turns out to be a highly wanted criminal back at the home continent. A few months in, they start seeing his face on wanted signs all over town (as a ranger, he did always choose to camp in the wilderness while the party went to the city).
    I'm working on some NPCs right now, this one's going straight in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonagel View Post
    Floating Castle: With all that magical fun time, someone's bound to have made a flying castle (or tower, or more?!). Either these are crash sites, or the PCs can hear it happen one day as the energy runs out 20 years later.
    Okay so we need to talk about this. You appear to be channeling an uncanny number of my favorite things in the world, some of which I'd somehow overlooked in my brainstorming despite the fact that I love them to pieces. It's getting kind of crazy.

    Heck why not a whole floating city? If I wanted to go full Castle in the Sky, I could combine this one with that idea for the city surrounded by perpetual storm, which is full of powerful airships and lost tech. Or I could do something else entirely with it, but a flying city is absolutely an idea worth going with.

    Maybe it's even the city at the center of the continent? It doesn't get much more magical than that, after all.





    Thanks for reading and commenting, always gets my brain going! I'm going to post up some of my ideas on the first city, which will also include my ideas for how I want to go about making each city feel unique from the others. Hopefully I'll get that up tonight.
    Last edited by Steel Mirror; 2019-02-19 at 11:19 PM.
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  26. - Top - End - #26
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    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Urban Dungeon Delving On An Abandoned Continent

    Quote Originally Posted by Steel Mirror View Post
    Heck why not a whole floating city? If I wanted to go full Castle in the Sky, I could combine this one with that idea for the city surrounded by perpetual storm, which is full of powerful airships and lost tech. Or I could do something else entirely with it, but a flying city is absolutely an idea worth going with.
    You could do a lot of stuff with a floating city, especially if there is some destroyable artifact that holds it aloft. Maybe, during a fight if they aren't careful, the city will start falling. The players now have 5 minutes before they all get crushed.
    Or, players could use this to defeat other foes by sending it crashing down on the enemies.
    Or maybe because the city has not been maintained, when journeying on it, they have to be careful because especially loud noises or impacts might send the whole city falling to the ground.
    Or, somebody has turned this city into his or her own unassailable base. If the PC's can sneak in (despite the fact that there is likely little cover), they can get a valuable prize.
    Hello. I hope you have had a nice day.
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    Default Re: Urban Dungeon Delving On An Abandoned Continent

    Vozhnoy, The City of Pearls



    What makes this city feel unique?
    Half-Drowned
    Spoiler
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    The city was built along the Star Run River, with a gate on the mouth of the river. At some point after the Rapture, the fortifications around the river mouth collapsed, forming a dam which held back the river's flow and submerged the southern half of the city. Most of the streets are only under a few feet or even inches of water, so it is still (for the most part) navigable by foot. Still, the water hasn't been good for the structures and artifacts in that area of the city, and some basement areas or low spots are submerged entirely. Care should also be taken when wading through the streets, especially at night, as the river's famous giant eels and other denizens have moved into the city enthusiastically, and spend the daylight hours resting in homes and other flooded buildings where the sun doesn't reach.


    What are the main threats?
    The Clay Company
    Spoiler
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    Vozhnoy was built for defense, especially along the western edge facing their traditional enemy, the city state of Lutka. The fortifications on that side of the river are made of mage-fortified stone, and were manned by the city's elite guard supplemented by a full company of mighty clay golems.

    The city guard are gone and there is nobody left in the city to protect, but the golems persist. Any attempt to approach the city from the west is met by a hail of ballista bolts and catapult balls thrown by the golems with lethal effect. Since the city is freely approachable from the unfortified east, nobody bothers coming from the west anymore, but adventurers are well advised to stay far from the walls and the central fort in the city lest they attract the attention of the city's tireless and ornery defenders. The golems have also been known to strike out at seemingly random times to patrol the city streets- if adventurers hear the CLOMP CLOMP of an approaching golem while exploring Vozhnoy, they have a few seconds hide quickly or make peace with their gods.

    River Creatures
    Spoiler
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    Not the most traditionally terrifying foes, but no joke either. From monstrous frogs to reptilian sailfins to rafts of stinging jellyfish, the half-drowned city is now home to an amphibious ecology that can claim the unwary or overconfident.


    What kinds of treasure are common here?
    • Pearls
    • Dragon turtle shell items (usually plates, serving utensils, ornamental boxes and the like) - worth a few gp to a few hundred apiece
    • Enchanted sailor's clothing - provides a few points of element resistance, magically floats wearer in water, provides advantage to keep footing in treacherous conditions, and other minor effects of use on a ship


    What are the Big Scores in the city?
    The Control Sphere
    Spoiler
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    According to the guilds' sources, the clay golems defending the city's western wall were all controlled via possession of an artifact known as the Control Sphere. With it, so the story goes, anyone could command the golems as their own personal army. No authoritative sources state where the Control Sphere was to be found, but most bets are that it would either be in the central palace near the center of town or the Guard Stronghold on the northwest shore. Given that both these locations are currently defended by the same nigh-indestructable golems and powerful magical wards that the Control Sphere is supposed to grant control over, no adventurers have yet been able to see if those bets are right.

    The Secret Vaults
    Spoiler
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    Vozhnoy was the center of much trade linking the interior of Euborea to the rest of the world. As such, the various guilds and mercantile houses of the city maintained large and very well guarded reserves of dozens of different currencies from around the world. These reserves were often hidden in noble estates, front businesses, secret vaults, and hidden banks in order to protect them both from rival businesses as well as Vozhnoy's taxmen. Several adventuring groups have already scored big windfalls for their guilds upon the discovery of one of these secret currency reserves, and almost any building that hasn't been thoroughly explored could secretly hide one of these stashes.
    For playable monster adventurers who would attract more than a few glances at the local tavern, check out my homebrew monster races!

  28. - Top - End - #28
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    Default Re: Urban Dungeon Delving On An Abandoned Continent

    Some reference pictures I forgot to post for Vozhnoy, to serve as visual aids for the PCs (and for me!).
    Spoiler
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  29. - Top - End - #29
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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Urban Dungeon Delving On An Abandoned Continent

    Hahaha, great minds think alike?!

    For real though, I find this kind of 'world building' stuff to be so much fun. These forums have been great for scratching that itch, or getting advice from others (it can be a little overwhelming at times!). That said, I could throw out random undeveloped ideas for a fun setting like this all day!

    I don't want to take over your ideas too much, but if you want additional thoughts on already existing things, do let me know. That said, everything you've developed/written sound amazing so far -- would you mind if I end up trying this same kind of idea some day?

    I really like the pictures/breakdown for "Vozhnoy, The City of Pearls" by the way! I think it could really help draw the PCs in, and given them a literal board of "Missions" to pick from, in addition to all the other unending opportunities =D You could even share updated 'adverts' of certain cities based on what PCs (or NPCs) do/find/explore.

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    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: Urban Dungeon Delving On An Abandoned Continent

    Looks like this is coming along nicely. :) So many great ideas.

    A few more thoughts from me.

    I like the thought of the Rekindlers, but I think there needs to be an opposition group as well. Perhaps saboteurs that don't wish things to be rebuilt or return to the way they were before. Criminals? Excommunicated clergy or worshippers of foreign gods? Nature worshippers or some sort of Druid sect? Nobles stripped of rank and lost their land? Even part of the Grey Pilgrims might be an opposition force who thinks this way.

    Do you have anything planned for the those that died before the Rapture or the few that died after? I always like to include religious death god zealots that don't believe anyone should be brought back from the dead. Stop defying the gods type of thing.

    What about Collectors? Surely there has to be some rich benefactors looking for a certain painting, ancient coins, sculpture, headdress, game set piece, or what have you that can only be found on the lost continent. The more eccentric the better hehe. Maybe they lost their initial group and want to hire the party. Or maybe they keep getting in the party's way.

    The 113 Foresters or similar group could hire themselves out as protectors of found treasures, returning caravans, message runners, personal bodyguards etc. Add in a Xanathar-type that is compiling all the information from what's found, everyone's interactions, travel movements, which places have been pillaged, etc. Secretive information brokers can add a lot to a setting. In my homebrew setting I have the Torchbearers Guild that serves this purpose. Adventures can join and get stuff to do, then report everything and get paid.

    Fractured artifacts can also be fun. They can start off low level and "level up" with new parts found in all sorts of places. Become sentient along the way, pass on information if the party gets stuck, all sorts of useful stuff. Maybe the floating city holds the key to its completion.

    More prophecy? The party can find another part of the prophecy dealing with after the Rapture. Natural disasters going to destroy the continent? Gates are going to open up and it's going to be attacked from outer planar monsters? Aberrations released from deep below the surface? The whole landmass is going to disappear next? If you need a ticking clock adventure...

    I'm sure golems, left behind familiars, simulcarum, animated armor/weapons, various triggered spells, etc. will all show up at some point or another. What about clones? The party finding a roomful of clones that suddenly come to life could be fun. Especially if they encountered simulacrums, paintings, statues, or something along those lines. Maybe the clones are an adventuring party that all got killed on another plane. Could be fun at higher levels. You just never know what you're going to find...


    Great map and pictures!

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