In-between Bastweald and the Smolder Scrub are the dangerous waters of the Bay of Lost Souls. Here dark waves hold the faces of the long dead.
This is not a friendly region. A drowned and corrupted celestial lairs in ruins at the north end of the bay, and shipwrecks dot the northwest coast. Elsewhere, an ancient aboleth gathers history and lost knowledge in a deep underwater crevice.
I had fallen a bit behind in posting my #Dungeon23 updates, but only because I was doing so much prep for the Holy Rollers retreat! Now that the retreat is over and I’ve had a bit of time to get back into things, I hope to catch up and share the regions I’ve been developing.
Across the Bay of Lost Souls from my week 1 region of The Bastweald is an area called Smolder Scrub. This 26mile x 18mile region was blasted by a large eruption from the nearby volcano, Grandpa Snurre, around 20 years ago. Thick ash fell across the region, killing nearly all the trees and plant life. The ground remains overly soft and difficult to travel upon, but plant life has returned. Dense scrub of variegated colors has sprouted up everywhere and proper trails are all but lost. Between volcanic smoke, moisture from the bay, and dirt kicked up by passing creatures, a persistent gray haze plagues the Smolder Scrub, lightly obscuring the terrain and reducing visibility to just 1 mile.
It’s a rough land but hides multiple secrets. An old military outpost was lost after being buried by the explosion and was said to be a storehouse for multiple magical armaments. Also a young halfling has a dark secret in the village of the Scrubfellows.
In 2023 I’m diving into the #dungeon23 design challenge, a challenge to do just a bit of game design each day of the year and have a huge body of work at the end of the year. Since I’m exploring West Marches-style design lately, I’m going to take this challenge in a West Marches direction and I’m calling it #marches23.
Each week of the year I’ll focus on designing 1 region. Regions are complex areas with a lot of design bits, kind of like a group of thematically connected rooms in a dungeon. Each day I’ll work on designing a small part of the region I’m working on. I’ll start a new region every Sunday and will post the finished region here on my blog each Saturday. Daily updates will be posted on Mastodon (https://dice.camp/@TheDMPastor)
Design Days (in no particular order)
Basic map, environment
Entrance, defining features, landmarks, and/or modifier – first thing(s) you notice on entering
Hazard or dungeon
Legendary “boss” monster and their lair
Secret loot or lore
Random encounter chart
The Marches of Rodinia
Here’s the overall map that I will be filling in with 52 regions over the course of 2023.
We’ll set out from the town of Bastion to see what we can see.