Calamities for Lost Civilizations

Well, things are a bit fucking bleak today, eh? Let's talk about the end times. Between current events in the US of A, my work on my archeological hearth-fantasy setting, and my revisiting of the storyline of the latest Final Fantasy XIV expansion, I've been thinking a lot about dysfunctional, decaying and all-around disastrous empires and their ends. All of Ben Robbins' West Marches posts are incredibly useful, thought-provoking, and entertaining reading, but my favorite has always been his musings on Layers of History . I'm trying to invoke this especially in the stuff I'm writing lately, and it always helps to have some jumping off points for the Big Foundational Questions of a setting - the character of the ancient people that came before, and the reason they're no longer here. So here's some sparks for the long-gone, half-forgotten kingdoms of your setting. Be forewarned that bad vibes follow. Ruine Eldena, Caspar Friedrich 1825 Roll d4 to determine the

The Sprouted Stump: Thematic Musical Tables

In Crimea, Ivan Shishkin When I was very young there was a stretch when I was absolutely obsessed with Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf . For those unfamiliar, the piece is a narrated children's story accompanied by an orchestra, with each character represented with a specific instrument and theme. I loved  it, and would listen to it over and over again until I had every bit memorized. Not so much every word, or even the specifics of the story, but every turn of the music was etched into my imagination. The characters spoke to me not through their literal actions, but through the way they were portrayed by the orchestra. Soon I was imagining entirely new stories, new configurations of characters and their interactions based on the way their themes were woven together as the narration rattled on, entirely ignored. Music has such a deep-seated emotive effect, even for kids (or adults!) with no formal musical literacy to speak of. We should be leveraging this inborn sonic empathy be

Songs of Travel, and the Path

Road, Ivan Shishkin The Road goes ever on and on, Down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the Road has gone, And I must follow, if I can. I have been on a journey. I have walked the road, first one foot and then the other. Through chilling wind and snow, down many errant trails, and o'er the most treacherous peaks I have taken my way. And though my destination still awaits me many, many miles down the track, I am here . On the path that is every path and no path, the grand river delta of earth and stone and root that branched out from my front door the day I took my first step. I cannot return to that home. None of us can. But there are homely places on the path, and a home at the end of every branch. I am not ready to rest my weary feet. I will keep walking. Packing  is key. Now, I'm hardly a roadly expert of any note, but I do know that if you're a halfling of any sense you'll need the following on your travels, at the very least: A solid walking stick (4d4)