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General Forge Forums => First Thoughts => Topic started by: baron samedi on October 17, 2006, 08:29:45 AM

Title: [LCoE] Strange places: ideas ?
Post by: baron samedi on October 17, 2006, 08:29:45 AM
Hello Forgeites,

After building a set of game mechanics that allows a game effect bonus for using a specific landmark or building, I'm trying to find ideas about strange places and buildings with a creepy dream-like quality, e.g.:

The Silent Isle of the Whispering Stone
The Palace of Dolorous Revelations
The Creepy Tower Over the Hill
The Road That Leads Nowhere


At best, most novels, movies etc. have only one or two such "famous buildings/landmarks", and I'd like to have a reserve of perhaps four dozens interesting places described with one-liners...

I've got a few ideas so far but I wondered if anyone knew where I could find resource inspirations for such ideas, such as compilations or books about creepy places?



Title: Re: [LCoE] Strange places: ideas ?
Post by: crowyhead on October 17, 2006, 09:09:34 AM
Hi Erick,

Not sure if this is QUITE what you're looking for, but something like Janet and Colin Bord's Atlas of Magical Britain might be helpful.  It's a geographical listing of pretty much every standing stone, folly, keep, graveyard-with-black-dog-associated-with-it in Great Britain.  I think it may be out of print, unfortunately, but it might be worth hunting down.


Title: Re: [LCoE] Strange places: ideas ?
Post by: David Artman on October 17, 2006, 09:49:24 AM
A quick clarifying question: Are you seeking actual places with evocative names, or original (generic?) evocative names? We could probably spooge out all sorts of suggestions for the latter; and I think too much use of the former could bring along too many (unwanted?) connotations.

Title: Re: [LCoE] Strange places: ideas ?
Post by: Narf the Mouse on October 17, 2006, 09:50:27 AM
Why not make a list of verbs and nouns and mix them in pre-made sentences randomly? The GM could then drop any that sound silly.

Title: Re: [LCoE] Strange places: ideas ?
Post by: David Artman on October 17, 2006, 10:52:46 AM
Why not make a list of verbs and nouns and mix them in pre-made sentences randomly?
This is a good idea. You could make it a set of tables that one rolls on:
Table 1: Adjectives (Roll a dX)
1) Chilling
2) Dark
3) Ancient
X) Unmentionable

Table 2: Nouns (Roll a dY)
1) Moor
2) Tower
3) Plains
Y) Road

Then, folks could hit the tables as often as they like, threading it together with any appropriate articles and prepositions:
Roll a 2, 1, 3, 2 = Dark Moor + Ancient Tower -> The Ancient Tower on the Dark Moor

Make your tables about 50 items, and a group could have a blast rolling (or picking, of course) a HUGE variety of options (502 x2 = 5000). It shouldn't take more than an hour of clicking around to find 100 (or 200 or 500) evocative nouns and adjectives.

Title: Re: [LCoE] Strange places: ideas ?
Post by: baron samedi on October 17, 2006, 04:49:16 PM
Hi guys,

1) I'm checking for number 2: new places, inspired or not from real life, but for a Bronze Age fantasy-oneiric setting.

2) This is material for a few campaigns I'm working with, so that I will actually describe each of these places in a few sentences, which will be where key scenes happen. Think "theater stages" for cool scenes; the Greek Parthenon for a political debate, the distinctive clock of Prague's old square; the Hadrian wall for a battle against picts, etc.

So a randomizer wouldn't do... I actually need to specify what happens in these decors. Thing is, I'm too stuck in my intrigues (about 20 in chained links ŕ la Savage Worlds) and I can't think of cool oneiric places to set them in. So far, my ideas turn around historical things such as the "Cromlech of the Three Crones" (i.e. Macbeth), the Jester's Tomb in the Royal Graveyard (i.e. Hamlet), the Moutain Pass of Thermopiles (Greek history), the Tower of Babel, etc. Then I'd precise what these place have that make them unique, their ambience, and what'll happen there...

Any crazy ideas would be welcome... Thanks!


Title: Re: [LCoE] Strange places: ideas ?
Post by: Narf the Mouse on October 17, 2006, 05:06:08 PM
So you're only looking for actual places? Because if not, I think a randomizer could incorperate that, too.

'The Dire Tower of the Stagnent Swamp, where was held The Moot of Cheftains',
'The Mist-Shrouded Tower of the Dire Moors, where was held The Battle of Witches'.

Title: Re: [LCoE] Strange places: ideas ?
Post by: baron samedi on October 18, 2006, 05:00:55 AM
Not quite. I must have expressed myself poorly... Here's a genuine example of the kind of things I'm looking for, in this case a moving landmark (an immense dirigible air-balloon). This "landmark" will be the stage of a coup d'État by rebellious generals in the first adventure. (The avoidance of proper nouns (e.g. Albert, Sauron, France) in the text is deliberate; there are none in this world by design.)

Here you go with example #1:

The Imperial Sky-Palace

The Invisible Emperor-God is a forbidding deity, indifferent to his people’s lives as long as worship is due and tribute paid. His seat of power, the Sky-Palace, is a magnificent dirigible of gold, purple, blue and scarlet silk in perpetual movement over the Isle of Harmonium Trees. Its every surface is lavishly covered with baroque engravings, grotesque sculptures and wondrous artworks in a grandiose yet barbarian splendour, alas lost in eternal darkness for no light may touch the Invisible Emperor-God.

The Sky Palkace orbits the isle for most of the year, driven by wind spirits. Only during the monsoon season is it land bound, fastened inside the deep crater in the Volcanic City of the Living God. None but the god’s harem and Blind Hallowed Eunuchs may walk the holy ground of the Sky-Palace, though high-ranking Eunuch-Priests are sometimes carried there in palanquins to address the sovereign, wearing blindfolds. Legends tell that the dark beauty Invisible Emperor-God is so pure that none but his concubines can cast their eyes him without instant incineration.

With about forty such places to design, I'm in need of a bit of a refreshment to avoid variants on the same theme... Essentially I'm just looking for neat, original ideas that make a landmark distinctive and marks the imagination, such as a public fountain where the faithful drink from blood sacrifices or a palace of pure pearl where musicians soothe the emperor's cannibal flowers. (My game's motto and theme is "horrific beauty" as in morbid poetic reverie, i.e. Maeterlink's puppet plays, Dunsany's demons & marvels, Lovecraft's dreamlands, Henson's Dark Crystalm, Burton's Corpse Bride, etc.)



(c) Erick N. Bouchard 2006. All rights reserved.

Title: Re: [LCoE] Strange places: ideas ?
Post by: Narf the Mouse on October 18, 2006, 08:56:49 AM
What about a living island, with a beutifull oasis in the center - That is actually the islands throat?

Title: Re: [LCoE] Strange places: ideas ?
Post by: baron samedi on October 18, 2006, 11:21:54 AM
Good one, Narf!

I did manage to type a few more I had in mind, to give you all a general idea of what I was looking for...

The Triple Fountain of Maternal Deliquescence
From this public fountain of cherry agate and ivory, the Theocrat masses drink blood from sacrifices slain to honour the Cannibal Mother.

The Four Gardens of Gruesome Efflorescence
Beneath the palatial parapet are four walled courtyards of pink coral and orange pearl, joined together by a maze of cannibal flowers. Inside the maze, dozens of Ironfolk musicians bearing blasphemous firebrands play flutes made from their predecessors’ bones to soothe the cherished blossoms of the sadistic Matriarch.

Title: Re: [LCoE] Strange places: ideas ?
Post by: Simon C on October 23, 2006, 05:43:01 PM
It's kind of derivative of Elric, but how about:

The Orchestra of Pain: 
Where elaborate brass pipes turn the screams of tormented victims into beautiful music.

Title: Re: [LCoE] Strange places: ideas ?
Post by: baron samedi on October 24, 2006, 08:09:19 AM
That's a cool one, Simon! Unfortunately I had a similar idea a bit earlier, which proves it's a good one:

The Isle of Harmonium Trees
Its gigantic bamboo trees with bright red and green leaves would overshadow towers by their immensity. Monsoons, hurricanes and earthquakes are recurrent menaces, making travel by sea a perilous journey.
Oddest amongst the North’s inventions are perhaps the “harmonium trees” that bestow the northern island its name. Among the jungle’s titanic bamboo trees, the tallest are hollowed to serve as immense pipe organs. Pumps provide air pressure channelled through the pipes. By opening the pipe holes with kite-like strings and keys, musicians can convey complex messages across vast regions of the island.

Thanks for taking the time to reply to my queries; I've recently though to look at the "Wonders of the World" on Wikipedia (e.g. Colosseus of Rhodes) for a few ideas.

With this Landmark concept, I'm now considering to do "Monkey Island" style maps where landmarks are grossly enlarged on a stylized map to emphasize their importance. :)


Title: Re: [LCoE] Strange places: ideas ?
Post by: TroyLovesRPG on October 26, 2006, 04:28:44 PM
It sounds like you've got all the good ideas and are willing to acknowledge yourself for them.
Give us a list of everything you've thought of and we'll tell you if they're interesting enough.

Title: Re: [LCoE] Strange places: ideas ?
Post by: baron samedi on October 26, 2006, 07:45:17 PM
Troy, I was not intending to be condescending. I'm not acknowledging nor pretending anything. I simply did my homework before asking and did a lot of searching before coming out of ideas to fill out about forty. The sarcasm isn't appreciated. If my posts are a bother to you, Troy, or the fact that I searched things by myself before asking help, than please ignore me and let it be. I find no interest in starting a flame war with you or anybody. I was simply looking for ideas on strange places which I hadn't found yet. Not for hostility.

So far my list so far includes cannibal gardens, moaning prisons, natural musical sites, places where dreams and memories come alive, islands that sometimes don't exist, labyrinths and mazes of all sorts, castles on the moons, vaults of liquefied gods, flying dirigeables, morbid gates that cannot open, hollow giant statues, palaces of various gemlike things, mortuary, designs inspired from the Ancient Wonders of the World, mirrors through which one can travel, a city under a glacier, another perched on stilts, another with a spire that reaches the moons, and the like. Most of this was inspired by classical litterature, for which I have little merit. I just happened to look for it and collected a lot of ideas already.

The living island/site idea of Narf, I didn't find previously and I do appreciate a lot the hint and thank him for it. Thanks also everyone for helping. It's appreciated.

Moderators, please close this thread. I've been answered to my satisfaction.