Thursday, 6 July 2017

The Shore

The coast of the Southern Salt is an intertidal zone that stretches well beyond the sight of any eyeglass. The tides beat a slow, unsteady rhythm and the locals keep pace. The local measure of time, the fiveyear, follows the water - it hasn't been anything close to five years in living memory. Somewhere in the endless expanse of littoral variety is the Captured Sea and its resident islands but for the most part it's fishing villages, houseboats, seaweed farms, snail ranches and merfolk warrens.


The below table isn't going to cover your whole adventure, but should be useful for generating a stretch of tidepools in a pinch. I'm thinking most groups of people you meet can just be from Skerples' neat camp follower table, reskinned a little for the setting. Oh, and remember to roll a d20 to figure out how many inches deep the water mostly is right now!


Terrain Creatures Features People Threats
1 Round black stone, slick with algae Toadfish and salamanders Unfathomably deep pool. Suspiciously brackish Floating house. Family of fishers, tiny dogs. Huge lucky fish under floorboards Hermit crab. Cart-sized. Known for eating hermits
2 Jagged rows of orange rock Gulls and clams Massive ball of driftwood washed down from mangrove forests. Rustles Clade of nomads on stilts, picking at debris with hooks and spears. Odd philosophy Storm petrel. 20' wingspan. Lands like a thunderbolt
3 Thick layer broken, razorsharp shells Snails and octopi Dead animal, bloated and swarming with scavengers Gang of smugglers in cramped boat, happy to trade for smallest valuables you have Field of giant salt squirts. They begin erupting when you reach the centre*
4 Sucking mud, clumps of rotten seaweed Crabs and platypi Abandoned rowing boat. No oars, half full of rum, smashed chest in bottom Snail gaucho, performing one of the slow hobbies of the snail people. Hundreds of whittled idols for sale, keen to buy anything smokeable Bask of false gharials, ever smiling with those idiot mouths
5 Brittle, bleached coral  Silver fish and plankton clouds Ineffectual attempt at tower. Long ago abandoned. Tallest thing for miles around Salt witch on unidentifiable riding beast, pretending to not be a witch for comedic effect Sentient algae. Exposed to a cut it will do its sad best to communicate via hallucinations, prophetic visions
6 Water slick quicksand, reflecting the sky Silverfish and anenomes Raised peat mound, standing out like a sore thumb. How has nobody nicked this yet? Merfolk studiously pretending to be a "NORMAL HUMAN PERSON". Thinks there's nothing at all funny about this Riddle fish. Squat, ugly, not near as well camouflaged as it thinks. Laughs, spitting poison, when you can't solve its riddles
*Remember that falling over on rocks or coral is likely to cut your shit up and maybe crack your skull unless you're wearing armour. If you're wearing armour, falling over in mud could see you drown before your slip-sliding companions can get to you. In sand it's just a fun and light-hearted time!


And of course you need a bunch of magic junk washed up on the interminable shores.
  1. Spiral shell. Tip it and a pinch of sand pours from the mouth. Spin it around and other pinch falls. Spin faster and the sand begins to flow out in a stream. Held to the ear, one can hear the ocean, and the sound of someone very far away shouting into a near identical shell.
  2. Palm-sized, translucent jelly, washed up after a savage storm. If the skin breaks it bursts into a wave. Good throwing technique allows for increased control over the resulting wash of water.
  3. Knot of driftwood, snapped from a long-sunken ship. Molded by currents in the glacial rise to the surface, it now resembles a leering beast of the deeps. If returned to salt water, even just a bucketful, the wood will contort itself into a living, hateful creature and attack all in sight. Whittled into a religious symbol it will instead ward against the undead, evil, bad luck.
  4. Bubbling fulgurite, emerging from the sand just before a storm strikes. If exposed to a cloudy sky it will call down a bolt of lightning and explode violently. The stone will absorb magic moving above it. Larger specimens soak more power before shattering.
  5. Coral grown into jagged folds. When the right seam is found, and the coral twisted just so, the wielder is folded up into the piece. Fresh specimens may contain lairs of eels, labs of merfolk witches, troves of forbidden treasure. Some corals twist deeper and deeper, seeming without end.
  6. Forked mangrove root. Held by the forks it points to fresh water. Held by the shaft it points to dry land. Planted forks-down in a dish of salt water it grows a serviceable quarterstaff in about 40 minutes.
  7. Head-sized salt crystal, looks very nearly like it has a face. Touch the 'mouth' to anything and it will attempt to suck the water out of it. Wood can be rendered dry and brittle, flesh exsanguinated, pools of water greedily devoured. Also makes the air quite dry, if you don't cover it up.
  8. Cuboid lump of pumice. Clutched in the fist it lightens the holder. Gravity is about 1/6th as effective on them and anything they hold. If something would float in water, it floats now. Swimming through air is hard, but achievable with a pair of wings.
  9. Hard red jelly. Ingested, it causes the blood to thicken and grants immunity to bludgeoning, falling. A little more eaten and the limbs swell, crimson and heavy as cudgels. A little more seizes up the body and mires the heart. Repeat users are sluggish and mildly addicted.
  10. Sea's tooth. A fist-sized rock that, nestled into mud or sand, functions as if it were the tip of a boulder ten thousand times as large. There's an exceptionally sturdy iron ring embedded in it, for convenience.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! Thanks for linking to earlier stuff on the setting, it's all useful for my wave crawl game!

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