Daydreaming about a Hexcrawl

Thinking about Quinn’s posts about Drow and thinking about West Marches, I’m daydreaming about a hexcrawl.

Your maps are a thousand years out of date as you make your way to the surface…

It is one thousand years since the Drow exodus to the Underdark, soon after which the Web Matriarchs went to war against the Star King in the West. The Drow cut themselves from the fate dictated by the stars’ song, bound themselves instead to the Matron’s Holy Web.

Every nation was drawn in to this elven civil war. Gnomes, dwarves, drow, quaggoth and githyanki allied against elves, humans, hobbits and githzarai. On both sides, there were those who went against the majority. Undead were split – Ghouls and zombies made alliances on the surface while vampires and liches made alliances with the under-kingdoms. Orc were found on both sides.

Terrible arcane powers were unleashed that have left scars above and below, unleashing fell powers into the world. The gods sent visions to make it clear, this war would end the world if it continued. The holy gathered under a cessation of violence and crafted the treaty, binding a devil, angel and demi-god to enforce it. The treaty demanded that everyone choose above or below and stand by that choice for a thousand years: tunnels, stone and secrets buried in the earth or sun, moon and the heroes depicted in the stars.

Your ancestors chose tunnel, stone and secrets. In that thousand years, drow matriarchs have established vast city-states ruled by a complicated alliance of noble houses and priestesses. The githyanki attempted to take over the tunnels some years ago but were shut down by the combined might of their former allies; they are still present, though diminished – all of their red dragons slumber. The dwarves were driven into debt by the war effort and blamed their allies, always threatening to break the treatise as their princes and holdfasts faded from their former glory. The gnomes have quietly migrated deeper and deeper. The quaggoth ride underdark-bred dinosaurs, riding their steeds along ancient tunnel highways, following their mushroom herds.

Your maps are a thousand years out of date as you make your way to the surface…

Question: 1000 years or 10,000 years?

7 thoughts on “Daydreaming about a Hexcrawl

  1. 1000. Things change more quickly than any of us expect. Think about what the world was like 1000 years ago, and how it is nigh unrecognizable. Even countries that are 1000 years old are not the same thing that they were 1000 years ago. 1000 years is PLENTY of time for any crazy changes you want to have happened to have happened. Plenty of time for the kingdoms in the original war to have fallen, new to have risen, and fallen again, perhaps even 4 or 5 times.

      • I was thinking about half-lives the other day: reading up on various long half-lives of various isotopes. And I got thinking about magical fallout: no one ever really discusses this. Vance does vaguely in the first of the Dying Earth books, Moorcock does, and Mieville, too. But, in fantasy gaming, no one has a magical half-life – a time limit until the massive energies unleashed calm down enough to make an area liveable. The closest thing I think anyone has ever come close to this was the Invoked Devastation in World of Greyhawk. There is still a vast desert on the farside of the Hell Furnaces where dust devils of rogue magic swirls about. No one really lives there. Nothing can grow. Nothing takes root. A lot of stuff is hidden there, but I never read a specific module that dealt with it. So, I think magic has a half-life of 500 years, give or take. So that after 3000 years, the magi-rads have decreased to a liveable level in devastated areas. Things have take root again. Secrets are returning to the sun and moon to show their faces.

  2. Pingback: D&D begins | The Githyanki Diaspora

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