Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Realm the first: Grot

*Image stolen from Greg Vilk, used without permission, stolen from interwebs.

In general, the setting which I tentatively called "Shattered Nations" and then decided was too cliche, consists of three "realms" which are really big chunks of differing realities smooshed together. In this way, a traveler can physically walk between dimensions. In general, the farther south you go, the more advanced the technology gets, and the less people understand it. At the far north, things are roughly medieval/renaissance, in Grot they have super-future tech, but people fear and misunderstand it. In the middle, it's Victorian. By "Victorian", I do not fucking mean fucking steampunk. I mean that technologically the realm is in the 19th century. 

Grot is the first and southernmost of the three realms I have planned out for the setting I've been rambling about as of late, and the one that is the most original to me. I lifted the concept from a post over at TotGaD, it being that of a vast desert ruled by an un-braked artificial intelligence.

Grot is something of a post-apocalypse realm in the vein of Gamma World where anyone living today really has no idea that there was a singular event in the past that led to the collapse of society. Humans and demi-humans live together in underground warrens, hiding from the mechanical servants of the Old Machines which seek to eradicate all organic life.
The incredible technology of the past is still lying around in less murderous forms, but it is viewed with the same type of fear, awe, and mistrust that something like the Eye of Vecna would be regarded in classic D&D.
Most technology is calibrated for interaction with human physiology, including the murderous technology trying to kill everything. Consequently, there are less humans around than other races. This also means that almost all people concerned with studying, using, and understanding technology are human. Each subterranean village, or Warren, usually employs at least one Keeper, an individual tasked with cataloging and safeguarding any advanced technology.

The Warrens which dot the wasteland are city-states unto themselves, most have some form of communication and possibly trade with their immediate neighbors, but few others. All are fed by ground water. Travel between them is mostly overland, a dangerous prospect at best.

Somewhere in the middle of the desert is the City of the Dead, a vast metropolis that dates back to before the apocalypse. There's more on it below.

The wastes are prowled by hunter robots that seek out organic life as well as colossal robots over 100 stories tall. All are networked and controlled by the AI.
The AI has long since gone insane and acts in an unpredictable manner, though it always seeks to destroy any and all organic life, plants and animals included. For whatever reasons, it leaves the City of the Dead untouched. It's insane. Any and all behavior is instantly justified.

There are some humans who, either by being captured or by willingly surrendering to the Old Machines have been partially converted to machines themselves. They are often used as infiltrators, gaining access to warrens. They are referred to as Damned.
Because of the threat the Damned pose, dogs are very important to the people who inhabit Grot. Only a fool doesn't guard the entrance to his warren with dogs to sniff out the damned and only the profoundly stupid travel anywhere without at least one loyal canine. The dogs can smell the machines and will warn their owner well ahead of a machine's approach.

The dominate religion is spirit worship. Priests beseech the spirits of animals, races, rocks, groups and organizations, ideas, etc. Everything has a spirit. Also, as a fun-fun game mechanic, priests do not get to pick which spells they get each day. Instead, a number of spells that they have access to are arranged on a chart (randomly) and each day the dice spirits decide what they will cast. I think it's neat.

I'm probably forgetting a shit-load of important things, but that's all for now. Posts like this are more for me than you anyway. I've got as much written down on a myriad of notebooks strewn about my house. Eat of my brainstew, let me know how it tastes.

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