Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Wandering Gods

Its no secret I'm a fan of 'Forgotten Ancient Apocalypse'-style campaign settings: Thundarr the Barbarian, John Carter of Mars, Warlord and the Hollow Earth. I love the idea of players finding mysterious Atlantean phaser pistols alongside magic swords and crumbling scrolls. Where foes can just as easily be malfunctioning robots as they could be goblin-men or displacer beasts.

Today I want to post about an idea for ancient-apocalypse sword-and-sorcery style settings I find most intriguing. A concept which is central to the campaign world of The Vorpal Chainsword...

The Wandering Gods

"Up in the skies live the gods. You can see them if you squint your eyes just right when the sun is low in the horizon. See that twinkle, just there? That's one of them. Wandering around the skies, never tiring or slowing down. It is said that the gods must always move, lest they die. Like the dreaded Gorgothian land shark or the flow of the silt river of Ta'sugga they must constantly move forward. To what end, not even our wisest elders can know for sure. Wise men for generations have watched the skies at dawn and dusk, trying to read the signs and portents told by the gods' strange wanderings. But who can truly know why the gods travel so under the stars? It is beyond the understanding of mortal men and beasts. But one thing is certain: the gods are aware of us as much as we are of them. Sometimes they send gifts of star-metal and wondrous artifacts down from the skies. Other times they punish, destroying villages or unleashing creatures of death and destruction. When the skies thunder and fire streaks across the heavens; that's when you know that the gods are watching, and passing judgment upon us."

Long ago the world was a place of high technology and interstellar commerce. Great space stations and orbital elevators were established around the planet, better to trade with other space-faring races and move goods to and from the surface. But then the great invasion began. The reason for the attacks is lost to time, but it is known that battles were fought both on the surface and up in the skies. Alien mega-armies rolled their death-machines into cities, blasting people and buildings to rubble. Large capital ships battled overhead, launching squadrons of fighter craft that swarmed like mosquitoes around the planet. In a final desperate act by the defending armies, the cataclysm device was unleashed, blasting cities to dust and pulsing out from the planet in an electromagnetic pulse, suddenly rendering all the space fighters and space stations powerless.

Trapped inside their metal coffins, the pilots and crew of those vessels slowly starved to death, or worse. Those same ships now float silently in orbit, occasionally smashing into one another, sending debris and broken bits of cargo down to the planet below. It is said that on some of the space vessels some power was retained, as the ship's auto-reactors partially reset, and those crew that had gotten into stasis pods were allowed to survive the great cataclysm. Now they float silently along with their ships, trapped forever above a planet they fought for so long ago.

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