Friday, March 20, 2015

The World Gates of the Whispering Kingdoms - a Dungeon Crawl Classics Campaign percolates from the primordial ooze of an Old One's flipper-print

I've had this one percolating as a filler post for a while, but I want it out now that my Vosjin Wood thing is done so I might feel motivated to work on this more....

The Seer of Adeptos Awaits the Return of the Star Gods
I admit, D&D 5E has consumed my attention and interest in fantasy gaming a great deal lately. However, behind the scenes I have quietly labored with a deep fascination for.....Dungeon Crawl Classics. Why DCC? Because...well...I just can't stop thinking about the weird fun that game propagates, and I really want to try it out. I have...geez...all of the modules, most recently including the Chained Coffin. I have five sets of weird dice. I've been doing a great sell job on Wednesdays and may have convinced the group to give it a go soon. I want to see a funnel in action, and I want to see someone botch a spell and make Cthulhu mad.

I really want to run DCC. Or play it. Both.

I was mulling over the sort of setting one could imagine for DCC, and worked up a short list of ideas that, if strung together, create the barest framework for a setting....but one which I think DCC would be innately suited for. Here it is...so far....perhaps this is the start of more focused development on the blog? We shall see....

The World Gates of the Whispering Kingdoms

1.       Premise: Earth, the impossibly distant future, after eons of change and apocalypse. Mankind and his demihuman kin, all descendants of a time long lost, are living in peace and harmony in an era when the lost technology of man is indistinguishable from magic, and the simplicity of a medieval life is once again the center of human culture. Amidst this simple land of medieval kingdoms lie ancient relics that can, if activated, open up to other worlds. Meanwhile rumors of a darkness from beyond stir concerns among the people.

A Star Banshee
2.       The Darkness: Across the depths of space and time comes the Empire of the Star Banshees, five sisters of the unending Darkness who harken to the call of Azathoth’s mad dance through time and space. The Veil of the Great Attractor has been penetrated and the power of the old gods pours into the world once more. Behind the Star Banshees is a army of evil that is set to engulf the entire galaxy in its grip of death and chaos.

The Darkness is a broad term for many evils, all aligned with different factions. The Star Banshees are just the most powerful with their dark cults of Azathoth and their vampiric starfleets commaded by undead helmsmen navigating through eternity. They conquer slowly....so much of their technology is scavenged from the ruins of old empires, and much of the fleet moves at sublight speeds, but to the undead it hardly matters. Finding a working Transitional Gate, though? Those are the golden gems the fleet seeks, for it immediately opens up luscious living worlds to the Star Banshees' endless hunger....

The Wyrm Lord of the Darkness
3.       The Immortals: As the stirrings of the old ones awaken slumbering beings of old, so to do the immortal beings of light, ascended men and women from a lost era of man, return from their extra-dimensional explorations in time to discover the dire peril to the worlds of man. These beings, a handful though they may be, set about awakening the inner magic and spirit of those souls who can call upon the arcane forces of the Dimensions Beyond to harness magic against the onslaught of the darkness.

The immortals are a motley collection of ancient transhumans and AI constructs who barely remember the various epochs from which they originate, although a few may be more "contemporary" in their memories thanks to time travel. Their migration through higher dimensional space was rudely interrupted when they discovered that the entire higher dimensional universe was being twisted into a cosmic singularity by the all-consuming manifestation of Azathoth, who is literally pulling himself through from an entire other universe into our own, ripping up higher dimensional space as he does so.

4.       The Interstellar Expanse of Man: Unknown to most on Earth, the empire of man at one time ranged across the Galaxy, having expanded to include hundreds of inhabitable worlds. The network of this ancient empire was powered by the Transitional Gates that allowed creatures to move freely from one world to the next with minimal cost. It was only when the ancient humans discovered the threat of the Old Ones and their minions from beyond the universe itself that they shut the gate down to keep mankind and his allies safe.

The old Interstellar Empire lasted for tens of thousands of years before they realized that the transitional gates were weakening the boundary between universes.....and even then, it wasn't util the first "exonauts" to try and explore what lay beyond the expanse of the universal membranes discovered that the neighboring universe was an all consuming force known only as Azathoth, which had been quietly harvesting the near-infinite souls of other universes, that they were warned of the threat. But it was too late. 

The Reaver of Worlds
5.       Hydroska and the Whispering Kingdoms: Today, in the pleasant kingdom of Hydroska which is said by many to be the greatest kingdom in all of the Whispering Kingdoms, the men of the land know something is amiss, as new dark cults awaken to the call of strange gods, and the oracles and mystics feel the power of magic returning to them, a gift of the almost forgotten immortals. The king sends out a call: will any adventurers stand up who can take the challenge of the Immortals, the prophetic declaration made by his own daughter as she channeled their power, declaring that the strongest of Hydroska would stop the forces of darkness and the vile Star Banshees?

Hydroska is a smallish realm on a large continent that was formed when North and South America mashed together, and not long after a vast array of extinction-level planet killer asteroids ripped the solar system apart untold ages ago. Despite this, the ruins of untold eons dot the landscape, and there are many strange myths and folklore of "those who came before." The men of Hydroska do sense the antiquity of their world....but few truly understand the magnitude of it.

6.       Transitional Gates (World Gates): These are the relics of the Ancient Men, left behind when they ascended to the heavens. With the return of magic and the rise of darkness some of these portals can be reactivated with the right process, ritual or sacrifice. The portals open up into strange and terrible worlds of mystery, each one a doorway to another planet across the Galaxy, or sometimes another terrifying dimension entirely.

 In the lands of Hydroska and its neighboring kingdoms of the Whispering Kingdoms, the World Gates as they are known are both a boon and a bane. Gates sometimes have keepers who know how to open the portals to other worlds. Sometimes those worlds contain other civilizations, and a brisk trade can begin....other times they contain dead worlds, or lands filled with beasts or conquering armies. There are perhaps three dozen known World Gates in the Whispering Kingdoms, but its the many, many more buried in the underlands and hidden in ancient ruins that most fear. Wizards, in their incessant desire for power, have found that the World Gates are the quickest means to finding the ancient patrons which can teach them dark magic. It is considered a heresy and crime punishable by death to awaken a World Gate in secrecy, but the practice is exceedingly common.

Lord Garon of Hydroska
 In this world of the Whispering Kingdoms are young heroes made...through blood and sweat only the strongest and sturdiest will survive, and even then they may yet face a greater doom if they hear the pleading call of the Immortals to stave off the endless armies of darkness that lurk beyond the edge of the stars....


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