Monday, December 23, 2013

Silent Perils of the Crystal World

The maniacs, they blew it up and were damned.

The world (or at least this vast expanse of it) is sick, silent and perfect.  Everything is now crystal, tinkling leaves on trees with trunks like cut glass, and shattered plains of broken fragments. Nothing can live among the majority of this beautiful ruin, though here places capable of supporting life endure.

Use the table below for any hex where you wish to emphasize that wizards did something stupid. Roll a D10 or D12 if your world is completely dead and a D20 if maybe some desperate holdouts still cling to terrible, miserable existence.

Beyond the Crystal Frontier
A plain of towering crystals pylons that act as prisms and sparkle with rainbows during the daylight hours.  Safe enough at night and during the day, but at dawn and twilight, anyone on the plain must save vs. paralysis or be permanently blinding by the coruscating rays.
A bog of milky acidic alkali water.  Various browning crystals cover the bog and are very slippery, and the drinking too much of the water (the result of swimming in it for example) causes death by slow ossification.
Endless dunes of tiny crystals that churn in a nightly scouring wind.  The deposits of crystal slowly separate by weight and color so the dunes have a beautiful and vibrant striated appearance.  After one night unprotected amongst the cyclones and dust devils of the dunes any fleshy creature will be reduced to a pile of scratched bones, forming the anchor for a new mound crystal sand.
A vast city, its white stone blocks unworn by time. All organic materials in the city have been transformed into translucent red crystal and the inhabitants of the metropolis stand, most staring upward in terror as faceted statutes.
A tinkling forest of indescribable beauty, almost perfectly preserved.  The trees, flowers and blades of grass have been transmuted into perfect, lightly tinged crystal copies of themselves.  The land however is dead, and every leaf, blade and petal a minute blade.  Walking through the forest will require a save vs. wands each turn or result in 1D4 damage.
A single enormous grey crystal stands blotting out the sun in midst of a huge crater.  The land around is a blackened waste of poison, leached from the crystal’s twisted roots.  It is honeycombed with passages and used as a base for a pack of  2D6 giant undead carrion birds (HD 4, AC 5, ATK 1 swoop DAM 1D6** MV 60’ (fly) SV F2 M 10) *diving attack is as a backstab, x4 damage , +4 hit may take a round setting up a dive.)
Crystals dangle from shards of earth floating above a pocked plain of white mica.  The floating rocks have a nasty habit of plummeting at those beneath and crushing them.  The rocks attack randomly (on a 2 in 6 per turn) as 8HD creatures doing 4d6 damage.
Blazing cracked expanse of crystal, like a lens of burning glass, it cannot be crossed during the day (1 point of damage per turn).
Ferrous Crystals from the size of a baseball to the size of a house rust rooted in a  landscape drained of color and polluted with iron.  Some say all the iron in the world has been pulled here, including that from magical armaments. It may be this curdled magic, but sometimes clusters of the ferrous crystals come to life as monstrous spider things (2D4 rust monsters) and devour anything else metallic that comes near.
Elaborate fractal cathedrals of pale yellow crystal hang above dells of black, poisonous bramble.  The brambles are slow going (1/2 speed), and loud noises will collapse the elegant structures in a rain of razor edged fragments (3D6 in 20’ radius vs. Save vs. Dragon Breath for ½ damage).
A forest of alien, silicon based life, vibrant and utterly deadly to humans and other terrestrial species.  The fruits of the skeletal trees are poison, and then flesh of the crab like animals acidic.  The land is watched by a phantasmagoric (blue) dragon of the largest size who inhabits a tested bower of blue thorns at the center of the slowly spreading forest.  
Dull brown mountains honeycombed with caverns filled with monolithic white crystals, occasionally breaking upward through to the surface.  The caverns are easy to traverse, but contain certain deposits of crystal capable of mesmerizing and enslaving travelers to do their unnatural bidding.
Broken crystals of blue laced with veins of gold surround an unnaturally (and poisonously) blue lake.  The shores of the lake are inhabited by a peaceful village of crystalline humanoids (as crystal statutes) who seek to repair the broken crystal.  They will feed organic guests with horded grain and canned goods, but will turn hostile if any attempt is made to mine the gold in the crystals.
A crude palisade on a hill ringed by black volcanic glass.  Within is a necromancer and his reanimated work force.  The undead have managed to dig a winding pit to more fertile soil and a well.  Hundreds of skeletal hands can scratch sustenance for 5-10 living souls.  The necromancer is lonely, depraved and furiously seeking the secrets of lichdom. 
A forest of perfectly preserved plants trapped inside large transparent amber deposits.  A few survivors linger here, chipping at the crystals to reach the trapped plants within and subsist of the nuts and preserved animals they find there.  The survivors are paranoid and hostile, willing to go to any length to protect their source of sustenance.
Glowing green crystals erupt from the earth here, amongst irregularly plowed fields.  The crystals leech poison into the land, causing all wholesome things to grow warped and stunted, while everything malignant swells.  The shrunken twisted inhabitants live well enough off giant dandelion fronds and potato bugs the size of pigs, but lately many of their children have emerged as monstrous brutes (ogres) who terrorize their kin.
The canker faced farmers of this region have broken through the dirty grey crystal crust of this land and live in burrows beneath, farming mushrooms, lichen and other fungus.  The crystal seeks revenge for these desperate intrusions, and burrowing crystal beasts (2D4 umber hulks) hunt the peasants in their burrows, alone or in pairs.  
Cracked wasteland cut with gullies, plants of red and green crystal grow here, and despite their dangerous appearance these plants are edible, even nutritious, though they contain powerful hallucinogens.  The primitive hunter-gatherers of these lands collect any confused wanders they find, leaving their goods as offerings to the crystal gods, and adopt them.  Once in the hands of a tribe, it takes only a few days of guided hallucinogen fueled reprogramming to make a wanderer forget their past and embrace the service of the crystal gods.  
A Broken land of salty robust grass and outcroppings of worn crystal.  Nomads with their twisted, cancerous herds roam this land, and they are a fierce people.  Bands of 2D12 horse archers patrol, ready to fight anyone who wanders into these lands.  They wear bone armor and use poison arrows, but will test invaders with a few volleys and may come to respect groups that do not scatter or charge under fire.
On the expanse of an evaporated sea, totems of salt loom amongst a dead and desiccated land.  The most common inhabitants are the vengeful ghosts of ancient mariners who still haunt long forgotten wrecks amongst the blinding white salt flats.  A few small bands of nomads, well warded against the dead, roam these lands collecting long dead fish, preserved by the salt, and building the totems to mark deposits of unspoiled sea life.


  1. Holy crap you filled that in like a champion.

  2. drained salt sea is fun sounding

    1. The sea, the burrowers and the mutant farmers are some of my faves.

  3. I was looking for something weird to spice up some lands my players will be encountering.

    This? This fits the bill nicely. *evil laugh*

    1. Glad you like it - I have a few more that are similar for science fantasy rust deserts:
      and a list of strange encounters for magical lunacyscapes:
      Also this one page dungeon:

  4. Digging through some old bookmarks and found this gem.
    Added to the Blog Database.