Once again – Happy New Year to all you readers out there! This month’s RPG Blog Carnival post is taking us to Fantastic Places.
After role-playing for so many years in so many different genres, systems, and settings, I have grown bored with the 10 foot hallways, random villages and wooded areas just as this month’s host, Keith J Davies, has. What this boredom has led me to in recent months is to blur the lines between the different genres. Often times people will see a laser gun in a fantasy game and say “Eeww, you got sci-fi on my fantasy!” I, however, like to think this is what veteran gamers need to keep gaming enjoyable. There are only so many times I can play a moody, brooding vampire in the modern day without having a want to travel into VR space or live in ancient days and control cavemen.
So, my fantastic place is meant for a fantasy game, but it can be used in other genres if you blur the lines one way or another.
The Ghost Outpost & The Great Beyond
The basic setting is a city of your choice, only this city has two things that make it quite unique. First, a small moon known as The Ghost Outpost is locked in a geosynchronous orbit with the world, directly overhead the city. This small moon blocks out the stars directly above and the light of the sun as it approaches noon each day. Within the city, the second unique feature is a wizard’s tower in the shape of a massive leaning “L” that towers over it’s surrounding neighborhood. Atop this tower is the only means to travel to and from The Ghost Outpost.
The details of the city are relatively unimportant – that’s up for the GM to design and should be tailored to fit the existing campaign. What’s important here is the small moon orbiting above this urban expanse and the teleportation device located at the top of the wizard’s tower. When activated (again, how this is done is entirely up to the GM), characters are instantaneously transported to the Ghost Outpost in the sky via a bright, but brief, beam of light. They then find themselves in a small frontier town of the same name.
Some believe the strange realm the hangs overhead in the night’s sky to be another plane of existence, but those who are knowledgeable of the planes understand that the Great Beyond simply sits upon the outer edge of the material plane; or the World at it’s center.
The Ghost Outpost
The Ghost Outpost itself is a small frontier town. This town is only settlement on the moon that dominates the sky over the city on the planet below. The residents of The Ghost Outpost largely live below the surface, inside craters and canyons that dot the surface on the asteroid.
The city with the teleportation hub is quite literally invisible to the naked eye, a spec on the surface of the World lost in it’s epic beauty. Characters who have seen maps of the world can look up from the shadow barren rocks of the Ghost Outpost and recognize the World above’s continents, oceans, and rivers that stretch for thousands of miles. Along the horizon line, the World and the Ghost Outpost share the same Moon – which orbits into view twice each day.
The World is visible in all its beauty to everyone who looks up, looming overhead like a great blue and white pearl in the sky. What little light that reaches the surface of the Outpost comes early or late in the day, or is reflected back up off the surface of the world from the passing Sun.
There is a fortified primary structure on the surface that is a transportation and commercial hub of the moon and the Great Beyond. It is run by a powerful merchant cartel that is fair, but expects everyone to on the moon to respect one another no matter what the dispute is over. This fortification is where anyone teleporting to the moon from the surface first finds themselves (such as the PCs). It’s a tough place, since most of the Outpost’s residents represent powerful noble houses and wealthy wizards from the World below. Nonetheless, the purpose of the outpost is to serve as a foundation on which expeditions can be staged for heading deep into the voids of the Great Beyond.
The Great Beyond
The Great Beyond is a deep, dark blackness that is filled with very few solid objects. There is no ground to walk upon. It is essentially space as we know it. To travel at a reasonable pace, characters have to rely upon Utineech, creatures that were first found after the discovery and establishment of the Ghost Outpost. The merchant cartels and noble houses use the Utineech as a means to explore the furtherest reaches of the Great Beyond. From fields of distant lights that punctuate the blackness, to floating bodies of rock drifting the depths of the Beyond; it is these places and more that hold the secret treasures of the universe that the nobles and wizards seek.
As was mentioned above, The Great Beyond is navigated by making use of Utineech. These creatures are flat, board-like creature of super-animal intelligence. They are naturally docile when left to their own whims, but what makes the Utineech special is their psionic link they can form when first “boarded” by a World-walker. When a character steps upon a Utineech’s back, a link instantly forms with the character that allows the Utineech to take them anywhere in the Great Beyond they desire. The Utineech travel at exceptionally fast speeds, and confer near total protection to their passengers, often called Pilots, while traveling.
The tight knit bond between human and Utineech strengthens over time, and some Pilots have become almost acrobatic in their abilities to control the Utineech while in flight. Many of these “Dogfighters” have taken residence at the outer reach of the Great Beyond and often fly in groups to raid and pillage expiditions heading to explore new areas. Combined with spell casting and other forms of traditional weaponry, these space pirates make the outer reaches of the Great Beyond a terribly dangerous place to visit.
Couple this with space debris, sub-lightspeed comets, shifting asteroid fields, and blackholes and you’ve got a great place to run some crazy space fantasy adventures in the Great Beyond. Together all these locations are a compelling attempt bring a feeling like a 1980′s style sci-fi fantasy surf board riding action flick. Enjoy the idea and make it your own!
Anyone played Spelljammer lately?