No play report this week, as I wasn’t able to convene my usual Sunday session. We should be back on track next weekend however.
In the meantime I wanted to share the map of Vaarn that I’ve been working on. I’m sometimes reluctant to create maps of fictional spaces; for some reason I feel that they constrain my imagination and sense of possibility rather than enhancing it. I know that when a lot of people want to build a fantastical world, the map is the first thing they draw, but I’ve never felt that way inclined. However, I also felt that Vaarn needed some kind of rough geography, if only so I knew where my players might end up if they decided to walk north for two months.
I’m pretty happy with what I’ve got so far. I didn’t think the traditional Tolkienesque pen and ink aesthetic would really work for my far-future science fantasy world, so I’ve gone with an ASCII map that’s meant to evoke retro-futurism, 70s sci-fi, and old school RPGs.
I’m going to write up more about each individual region in their own posts, but for now, here’s the notes I’m working from to make each region distinct:
Lazul Mountains (North): The northern mountain range of Vaarn. Tall, new, blue peaks. Lattices of hard light in the sky overhead – ‘the cobwebs’. Mountain-dwelling Cacklemaw, rock lizards, goat-herding Faa, deep silent cave systems. Too far north and you’re in Golgotha.
The Interior (Central): Trackless blue ergs. The ‘dune sea’ of central Vaarn. Waterless, difficult to navigate. Sandworms, Faa nomad tribes, a few oases. The ‘Stone Wedding’ in the middle of the desert.
Badlands (South): Parched blue reg. Stony, hard, cactuses and martyr tree groves. The most densely populated part of Vaarn. Hegemony patrols, farming communities, arcology domes, Autarchy tombs. Gnomos is here.
Gnomos (South): The trading city, the great southern market. Ruled by the Hegemony Governor Larke xan Lonrot, and Ancamulla the Water Baron, in uneasy alliance. Big chrome gnomon in the centre, crumbling blue-stone walls, crowded blue streets and shaded souks. Wine sinks, opium dens, gladiator pits, chariot racing, theatres.
Sky Islands (East): Pink-banded mesas. Raised plateaus. Floating sky-seeking stones and structures. Outlaw and anarchist communities living above the ground. Interesting rock formations. Valley of Faces. This is where sky-seeking stone is mined.
Mooncradle Mountains (Far East): Eastern expanse of Vaarn. Banded blue and pink rocks. The Almost Moon of Ardar-Uz. Mining for various minerals, sky-seeking stones, arcane tech and vaults beneath the mountains. Gold Rush vibe. More water and more settled than the Lazul Mountains. Hegemony presence in fortified mines and refineries.
Gulf of Vaarn (Far West): The western coast of Vaarn, sheltered by the Great Wall. Flooded complexes, gleaming chrome spires scoured by salt water. Sea monsters. Scavenger communities, squid-men, the House of Tides.
The Wall / God’s Backbone (North-West): Six hundred foot, broken white wall. Has people living inside it; bizarre vertical theocracies and intricate blood feuds. Has its own weather system. Was backbone of Titans. Leaking toxins into the Ikor Quag. Gecko-men, Harpies, predatory apes.
Ikor Quag (South-West): Huge garbage waste, slick with the poisonous blood of the Titans. The detritus of millennia. Rusting hulks of war machines and spacecraft. Yurlings, hivey-men, carnivorous frogs, poisoned water and acid rain. Orbital debris falls here.
Golgotha (Far North): The grave of the Titans. Poisoned, irradiated, ontological collapse. Time paradoxes are strongest here. Self replicating nano-spires. Lightning without thunder. The machine gods are trying to reboot but cannot.