Friday, 18 August 2017

Hyperaustralis

This stretch of Hyperaustralis is an ice age Australia grating painfully up against the mystical Altai mountains. Chinese heroes wander through the region on their way to Shangri La and death. Mongolian peasants smile and grumble against the impossible cold. Caravans pass through and herbalists scour the land for duyao, rare and powerful ingredients in sacred medicine. The indigenes of Australia do their best to leave the place the hell alone; they understand that this is not a place for mortal arrogance.

Frozen Rainforest

The forest has three layers, each of which can be traversed. The branches of the eucalypts support a sheet of ice, thick enough to support a person's weight, a dripping glass ceiling suspended above the forest below. A layer of heavy moss carpets the tangled mass of roots and vines and broken branches that is the forest floor. Beneath the moss, wombat warrens and gullies cut twisting paths through the rootmass. 

The ground here is almost as great a danger as the denizens. Ice will crack, snow will slide away, wet moss will hide the fragility of the branches below. If you want to you could map the terrain of an encounter as a 10x10 grid, scattered with 3d4 loose, 2d4 weak, and 1d4 fragile sections of ground. A horsecart will break fragile ground, heavily armoured people fall through weak ground, heavy set people will break loose ground. Running, jumping, falling or getting thrown around upgrades your weight class; you move slow as hell or risk losing a foot, maybe dropping straight through.


Flora and Fauna Horrible Danger People Duyao
1 Moss
Frozen toads
A tawny frogmouth
Gu zheng spider - legs stretched over the arboreal web like it’s playing a gu zheng. Plucking strands shakes free icicles to drop on those below. Use the dangerous ground generator to find out where the icicles are Well-meaning, gullible young shaman wants to commune with an animal/forest spirit to find out what's wrong with the bush. Has no idea what the appropriate etiquette is Frozen green tree frog
2 Bracken
Bumbling echidna
Flittering waxeyes
Leaf curling spider - ground generator shows you which cylindrical bark cocoons the whole spider can push through, which are smaller traps that your legs will slip into, ready for grabbing. Generally found in mating pairs. An inseminated pedipalp is worth a small fortune as aphrodisiac Herbalist discovered a powerful-seeming new duyao, but one of their companions was badly injured by the wildlife. They think they know where medicine can be found, as well as the rare duyao Inseminated pedipalp
3 Staghorn
Inquisitive wallabies
Pair of currawong
Pit spider - makes thin web roofs over roo-sized pits. It’s surprisingly hard to climb out. The spider waits until you’re exhausted before burrowing through the wall to collect you Caravan forced onto the delicate ice-path above the trees by an enraged ’thunder bird’,a dromornis. The leader of the caravan is, quite unwittingly, wearing a cap decorated with the feathers of the bird’s mateBeech nuts
4 Lichen
Ghost moths
Black cockatoos
Pygmy possum den. Once you fall in, arm-length possums pour out of the exposed tunnels to gnash at you. You can't climb out, but you can bash through the snow around you to open out at even bigger pitCrew of furriers came out to hunt the thylacoleo, have instead spent the last few days trying to get pygmy possums out their den and most just getting bitten into retreat Witchetty grubs
5 Fallen eucalypt
Little red flying foxes
Unbearably loud lorikeets
A roost of flying foxes sleeps in the shadows above, guano dripping quietly down. There are three species. Little reds eat flowers, impart a rash. Black foxes eat bugs, cause madness. Grey-maned foxes mash people up to drink their blood. Their breathe is said to shred the lungs.Team of loggers camped above the canopy, most pruning leaves off eucalypt branches, a few abseiling down the bald tree, logging the trunk in sections. Would value help with the work, are going to be fucked if they wake up the foxes.Bushels of eucalypt
6 Cinnamon fungus
Cicadas
Kookaburra
The whole middle layer of the forest has been overgrown with wait-a-while, cut free from its surroundings and hoisted into the air by a band of tiger quolls. They're going to drop it on you. They do not have a plan for how to get you out once they've trapped you under itTiger quoll shaman. As smart as a dumb, hungry goblin, but surprisingly cogent when it comes to the cinnamon fungus; she can feel the threat it offers the forest, will assume you are its agent Cicada skins


Salt Flats

Lashed by a thin, bitter wind that kicks salt into your eyes and leaves a dry taste in your mouth. From the feet of mountains out to the shallow pockets of trapped ocean, dry grasses cling to life and herds of strange animals follow strange shepherds. Though there are monasteries here, forts and towns, most people are semi-nomadic, whether trading, hunting, droving, praying or politicking.


People AnimalsBreed Traits Tradegoods Secret Knowledge
1 Cook and herdsmen Bovine Flatulent. Enough dung to make a campfire every night. Impossible to be around after a meal Salt and animals Seeing of futures in fire
2 Wandering hero and sidekicks Porcine Inquisitive. Twitching nose can find food, water and lost friends. Loves treats Weapons and charms Reading of terrain
3 Shaman and attendants Equine Fecund. Enough milk to make a big ol' cheese wheel every week or half a ration every day. Picky about foodIncense and fabrics Etiquette of the spirit world
4 Merchant and bodyguards Hircine Alert. Twitching ears prevent ambush. Hates liars Spices and silk Leyline navigation
5 Minor royal and hunting buddies Canine Friendly. Will play with children, make adults chuckle, earn you friendship in most villages. Easily distractedGems and wine Language of a beast; bird, horse, goat, etc
6 Herbalist and monks Cervine Clean. Antibacterial saliva will help heal superficial wounds, protect against infection. Licks everything compulsively Aphrodisiacs and rare woodsHealing. Herbal medicine

echidnas: they are in snow sometimes

not quite this because this is in canada

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Kesselhaven

The first thing you see as you approach the shores of Hyperborea, the lost continent to the north of everywhere, is a dim red beacon guttering in the polar night. The flame atop the Ivory Tower - scrimshawed, soot-blackened, home to the Illuminators and the tallest building in the whaleport of Kesselhaven - never goes out. As your ship threads its way between jagged shoals and treacherous chunks of sea-ice, striving to reach safe harbour, you see smaller fires blazing in crevices of barren rock. Brass kettles, spitting and hissing. Men in leather aprons, streaked with grime and blood. Whales. By the hundreds. In varieties you've never heard of. All, expect for a few unlucky ones, dead. Long knives flaying the blubber from their corpses, carving it into strips and flinging it into the overflowing kettles. Sea wolves and piranha penguins lacerating the bloody shallows, snatching gobbets of whaleflesh and the limbs of men who stray too far from the firelight. Officers screaming, praying, cracking whips. Birds wheeling in their thousands.

The nights are long in Hyperborea and there is always a need for more heat. Whales are more plentiful than trees, more common than coal. The work of the oilmen never stops.


(Here is the rest of this post. It's in a Google doc because it was too long to put anywhere else. I am thinking of writing a setting guide to Hyperborea, the lost continent to the north of everywhere.)