Charting the Underworld

Today’s inspiration is a campaign idea. Enjoy!

After death, the souls of the departed must find their way across the Underworld to reach the Heavenly Realms. Monstrous beasts, cruel demons, and unnatural hazards riddle the Underworld and claim many of these souls, snuffing them out of existence forever.

For generations, people have had to endure that their beloved may have never reached the promised lands, but perished in the jaws of a dire crocodile or been burned by a demon. Most spent their lives sacrificing to the gods, hoping they will guide them to safety.

When a goat herder accidentally found an entrance to the Underworld in the remote Green Mountains, King Ovin knew he could change all that. He hired teams of adventurers to chart the Underworld and publish the findings in a guidebook all could use to reach safety. Unfortunately, the dangers of the Underworld do not limit themselves to the dead, and three teams have already fail to return, save for a lone adventurer, too traumatized to be of much use. The King has had to search ever wider and up the reward to find any adventurers brave enough, or stupid enough, to face the Underworld.

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Sleepy Ridge: The Town Built Out of Gravestones

Today we visit the town of Sleepy Ridge which was built out of the stones from a forgotten cemetery.


Although the town of Sleepy Ridge lays less than half a day’s travel from a major trade road, the citizens keep to themselves and the only visitors are those seeking the town’s famous mediums. In fact, houses in Sleepy Ridge all have walled gardens topped with broken glass and the few shops operate on a written-order basis only. A catalogue hangs on a string outside each store along with paper and writing implements for customers to write down their order. Once finished, they place the order through a slot in the wall and within the hour, the order is ready for pick up. However, there is one form of socialization accepted in Sleepy Ridge: the Smokers’ Lounges. Inside these cloudy rooms the mediums of the town set up shop. They’ll see anyone for a price.

Box Texts:

Paved streets march between the walled gardens of the residential houses and an eerie quiet lays heavy in the air. Broken glass stuck in the walls’ mortar glints in the moonlight. The corpses of cigarette clog the streets’ gutters and their stink mixes with the city’s general perfume of  urine and mildew. The snap of someone lighting a match breaks the silence and the bright flash of light  momentarily illuminates a doorway where several figures stand. A pair of gloved fingers lifts the flame to a cigarette squeezed between two painted lips which take a heavy pull and then exhale spirals of smoke. After a moment, the smokers retreats into a doorway. Continue reading “Sleepy Ridge: The Town Built Out of Gravestones”

The Order of the Stars

This week’s inspiration is based upon a session run by a friend using the Mutants & Masterminds system.


 

The Museum of Human History has recently acquired the complete collection of Pharaoh Cletokep, a newly discovered pharaoh of ancient Egypt. Famed archaeologist Eugene Bullstein found the tomb in the remote Sahara far beyond where people previously believed the ancients lived. Scholars believe the pharaoh may be the person referred to in later Egyptian writings as “the enemy” or “the blasphemer.” Unknown to anyone, the sarcophagus serves as a portal to a pocket dimension where the soul of the fallen Pharaoh and her army await the day they will rise again to bring about the Order of the Stars.

Box-Texts:

Inside the Museum

Hushed voices echo off the polished stone of the museum’s floors and walls. The museum boasts an impressive collection filled with dioramas, interactive displays and multi-media. The curators have even reconstructed rooms from long-gone periods down to pens on desks and tables set for tea. A gilded dog cage, its originally occupant dead for hundreds of years, still sits with pride alongside its dead king’s throne. But few patrons admire these impressive displays and instead flock to see the newly acquired Pharaoh Cletokep Collection.

The Egyptian section

Crowds of people peer through the display cases’ thick glass at the carefully labeled artifacts and sarcophagus. The cases and people fill room after room. School teachers attempt to quiet their charge of students while a curator lectures. In the last room, stone tiles cover the walls. Hieroglyphics and pictures coat each one so that the entire room appears as a giant storybook. Pharaoh Cletokep’s ebony sarcophagus dominates the center, its gold hieroglyphics shimmering as if just painted. Continue reading “The Order of the Stars”

The Splendid Spa of Two Angels

Today’s inspiration is a setting and plot idea for a one-shot adventure, an abandoned spa reachable only by a portal in an alley. Terrible monsters who feed on thoughts inhabit the spa and caused its ruin.


 Background:

Long ago, the City of Two Angels was the most fashionable place to be seen. The streets lined with shining cobblestone, the shops windows filled with expensive clothing and exquisite jewelry. Artists, politicians, entrepreneurs all called Two Angels home. Tourists came from far and wide to spend a few days being part of the hustle and bustle of the influential city. But mostly they came for The Splendid Spa, a luxury resort existing inside a pocket universe in Two Angels. The Spa claimed its hot springs cured all ailments. The salts, it said, made a person more beautiful, wiser, and even younger. But then one day, shadow creatures began to secretly visit the Spa. Strange creatures that at first appeared as only a haze, but grew more solid and stronger from feeding off a person’s thoughts, especially those of imagination. And few thoughts are more imaginative than that of fear. Guests began to die, found withered up like raisins. The resort was at a loss to explain this, but as the deaths grew more frequent, the creatures grew more plentiful. The Spa was forced to shut down, and the portal to it blocked and buried, least the creatures break through. After the news of the deaths spread through the population, Two Angels began to decline as people moved avoided it out of fear. Today, no one remembers exactly why Two Angels became the cesspool of poverty and crime it is today.

Box-Texts:

The Portal’s Opening

Elderly mansions line this street, their once proud awnings now torn and faded. Trash clutters the yards and banks of mailboxes crowd the space next to the doors. In the alley between two of the houses, cats fight in the piled-up rubbish. But from a crack in a bricked-up door, a blue light glows. A closer inspection reveals that it appears as some kind of window looking out onto a grassy meadow.

Inside the portal:

A deep blue sky peppered with wispy clouds hangs over a grassy meadow, blue mountains obstruct the horizon in the distance. The remnants of stone walls peek through the tall grass and overgrown flowers. Cottages with sagging roofs stand in a semi-circle.

Inside a cottage:

Dead ferns in cracked pots flank a reception desk. An iron sculpture of fish swimming hangs on the wall. Whenever one looks away, the fish appear to move, but when the viewer looks back, they hang still again. In the next room, rows of tubs sink into the floor. Mud fills them, and a few plants have taken root, fed by the sunlight streaming through the cracked roof. A rotten smell wafts in from another room, making one instinctively cover their nose. On the wall, someone has craved the words “Don’t Think” in jagged letters.

Attack of the Riftsquid!

Happy New Year! Today’s inspiration is an outline for a sci-fi one-shot adventure using the Dungeon World Front system. I plan on expanding this adventure into a full campaign, so check back!


The Triwip People knew their sun was dying. Knew they had to find a way to escape to a new planet if their species were to survive. So they built Deliverance, a massive self-sustaining spaceship that would use the force of the sun’s explosion to propel itself to a suitable planet in a nearby system. It worked. The sun exploded and they sailed its dying winds through the void of space. But then, in year ten of their fifty year voyage, an extra-dimensional space monster attacked. Materializing out of nothing, the Riftsquid latched onto the spaceship and punched its limbs right through the hull. It deposited into the ship gross creatures, writhing balls of tentacles and clashing teeth. While most of the crew joined in to fight the monsters, some did nothing and others even turned on fellow crew members. During the chaos, someone changed the course of the ship to a close, but hostile, planet. Unknown to anyone, safe within the bowls of the ship, cloaked by their natural rift biology, sat a clutch of Riftsquid eggs. Continue reading “Attack of the Riftsquid!”

Contessa Moldred’s Mad Winery

An adventure prompt for Halloween! This is slightly darker than I usually like to write, but it is Halloween. Hope you enjoy it and please let me know what you think in the comments.


The cold floor seeped through her dress, through her skin, through her muscles and came to rest in her bones. She waited for It to start again. The clawing, the screaming, and the pain. The door squeaked open, a figure slipped in.

“Hold out your arm.” Continue reading “Contessa Moldred’s Mad Winery”

Meeting the Nomadic Queen

Just one ‘box-text’ description this week. I was planning on doing a few ‘Meeting Nobility’ box-texts, but then started working on a Halloween Adventure. If you have any ‘nobility’ scenes you’d like to see me write about, please put them in the comments.


Lines of black tents crouch low in the desert sands, the roofs of each sagging upon their supports; one tent toward the center of the encampment towers above the rest. From a distance, the tents look abandoned aside from some small black goats. Inside the tall tent, however, many people in billowing black dress lounge on low couches covered in colorful cushions. Rugs completely cover the sandy ground. An updraft sweeps through the tent and through the tent’s roof, providing much needed relief from the heat. On the finest couch sits a woman whose black dress is embedded with golden thread shimmering even in the dim light. White diamonds and gold hang heavily from her ears, fingers and neck. She holds a long pipe in one hand and with her other, sips from a dainty cup smelling of strong coffee.