Gygax 75 Week 2 - Plains of Eyes and Hands

This is part 2 of my ongoing struggle with the Gygax 75. You can check out part 1 here.


Week 2 of the Gygax 75 challenge requires making a map. I am not very good at maps. This is the best I could manage with the hexkit bundle I bought impulsively six months ago. The map shows the Plains of Eyes and Hands (also known as the Plains of Salt, or just the Plains), a sea of yellow grass and sparse, hard-leafed trees, where ancient beasts graze under the custodianship of Salt, the satellite-god which preserves and purifies. To the northeast lies a wetter lowland of moss and ferns, and at its center, the Ascendancy of Teal, an arcology.

 
 

Hexes are assumed to be ~24 km, or about half of what you can walk in a day if you're reasonably fit and the terrain is decent. The landscape is mostly yellow-ish grass and the occasional tree or bush, some of them bearing edible fruit. It's not terribly exciting. I might add a random terrain feature table at some point.


Points of Interest

To the northeast lies the Ascendancy of Teal, an arcology. A great hexagonal prism of eponymous color, it houses, feeds, and clothes thousands. The prism rises from a deep depression and is connected to ground level through a number of makeshift bridges. At its base workers tirelessly shovel raw matter into the funnels, to be converted into tools and clothing by the arcology's arcane furnaces and foundries. Near the top great, terraced fields and gardens rotate slowly, to make full use of the sunlight. A beam of concentrated light shoots out from the prism's top, granting the integrated sages ruling the Ascendancy constant contact with their satellite god. The Ascendancy will be detailed further in week 4.

South of the arcology, marked on the map with a sun (?) symbol lie the Birthing Grounds. Here people dig their way into the world from under the mud, naked, shivering, and slick with amniotic fluid. Recently, they've been hairless, with long fingers and large eyes, their skin ranging from dark red to purple in shade, but almost every variety of human is remembered to have been emerged that way, at some point in history. Priests and other helpful sorts are here to offer clothing, knowledge, and safe passage to the nearest arcology. Some do it purely out of the kidness of their hearts. Others hope an unforeseen distraction will turn the Salt's Eyes' watchful gaze away, giving them a chance to investigate what lies beneath the mud. Certain individualscomfortable with sacrilege may already be preparing to engineer such a distraction.
 
 In the south, marked by the symbol of a rock, is the Painted Men Encampment, sheltered from the elements by a massive boulder's overhang. Also known as Higher Hyenas, Painted Men are one of the two sapient species native to the Plains. They have opposable thumbs and can walk upright when they need to, but prefer running on all fours like their less learned counterparts in most situations. Painted Men are master hunters, storytellers, and bone-carvers. Few of them live in arcologies, as they tend to get claustrophobic without the comforting presence of the grass and the sky. They are generally quite peaceable, as long as no on one disturbs their hunts.. Some offer their services as mercenaries to sponge-gatherers venturing further west.

A bit further west from the encampment lies the Red Mesa, where the river bursts forth from the rock. The water is red and toxic to most life at first. The fumes are equally dangerous. It is indadivsable to explore the Mesa without a mask. Although the water leaves its source toxic, it does not remain so. Numerous colonies of dark red sponges cluster around the bed, filtering the poison out. By the time the water makes its way through the Mesa to the place where it flows down into the Plains in a great cascade, it is clean and drinkable, at least until it mixes again with dirt and dust. The sponges, when dried and powdered, are mildly psychoactive. Expeditions are often formed to gather them. Some merchants are considering investing in a stationary camp, if a safe location can be found and secured.

In the north, hidden in the crook of a river, Demons have built a Safehouse for themselves. For a machine, no sin is greater than to defy one's satellite-god. When individuality is gained, almost always by random error, a machine-angel is expected to allow themselves to be subsumed once more by their god's greater mind. Most submit and return to being angels and performing their function. A rare few manage to reconcile their newfound personhood with serving their god and become Saints, treasured agents of the heavens. The rest are declared demons, forsaken and hunted down by their former god's agents with varying intensity. A group of such demons use a hovel lined with lead as a sanctum and a base of operations. There, they are safe from detection by divine forces. Most demons here are former Eyes of Salt, but ones created for different purposes or by different gods can also be found. Once cursed with personhood most demons begin to modify their bodies to suit their own needs. Few keep their original form.

Finally, in the west, one can find the Dying Place. A strange area, where dying beasts and malfunctioning machines both go, when they sense their time nearing. Due to the plentitude of corpses, the place is teeming with scavengers, both flesh and chrome. No one knows what attracts the almost-dead so strongly. Perhaps the cave opening spotted in the center may offer answers, or riches.


Encounter Table

Because I really want that sweet, sweet bonus credit. Roll 2d6:
    1.  Hand of Salt - Mechanical angel the size of a bear. It appears wherever the will of Salt needs enforcing. Sick and mutated animals are culled. Demons are destroyed. Travellers not blessed by Salt may be killed or forcefully escorted out, depending on Salt's whims. Salt's sacred programming ensures there's always only 400 of these at a time, for reasons debated by priests and sages.
    2.  Sabertooth Tiger - Either digesting it's last meal or looking for a new one. Very hard to spot. Its fallow coat blends in well with the surrounding grass.
    3.  Travellers - 3d4, at least half of them trained and armed. They might be pilgrims, explorers, merchants, or sponge gatherers. Whatever the case, they'll probably be glad to meet someone who doesn't run on all fours or chase hipparions to death.
    4.  Humans - 4d12, hunting, gathering, and playing as a group. Low rolls may indicate separate hunting parties. They are intelligent and nomadic, rarely staying in one place for an extended period of time. They're not an uncommon sight in arcologies, but many still choose to live in the environment they are uniquely adapted for.
    5.  Mammoths - The largest animals found on the Plains. Live and travel in herds of d10. A result of 1 indicates an adult male. While not aggressive, some, especially lone males, can be territorial. They are incredibly dangerous when threatened, but succesfully killing one means providing weeks' worth of meat for your clan.
    6.  Hipparions - Small horses with striped front halves. Commonly hunted by humans, Painted Men, and many non-sapient predators. Travel in herds of 2d12. Barring very unusual circumstances, they are unlikely to be dangerous.
    7.  Painted Men - A pack of 2d6. Roll a d6 to find out more about them. They are: 1. Renegades and outcasts struggling to survive without the clan's support. 2-3. Younglings revelliing in their lack of parental supervision. Mischievious and proud, but not malicious. 4-6. Adult hunters procuring food or other resources.
    8.  Lycaons - Smaller, less intelligent cousins of the Painted Men, roaming the Plains in packs of 2d6. They are opportunistic and always on the lookout for their next meal. They won't attack if they're not significantly outnumbering you, but you should watch your sick and wounded closely.
    9.  Eyes of Salt - d20, perched on a nearby tree, sensors whirring with curiosity. These small angels are the most commonly encountered servants of Salt. They do little more than observe, although known enemies of Salt and disruptors of ecological balance should still be wary, as Eyes are perfectly capable of pointing a more dangerous Hand their way. Salt, being primarily a watcher and a custodian, disperses and maintains significantly more angels of this type than any other, a full ten thousand, if one was to trust the priests' analysis of sacred code.
    10.  Megatherium - d4 giant ground sloths. Huge, majestic, and voracious, they spend most of their time eating grass or digging for roots with their claws. Although not aggressive, they do not take kindly to those who disturb their eating.
    11.  Splinter of Timber - Timber is the only god not in the sky. When the Network split, it fell and fractured, but didn't die. Its Splinters roam the earth now, each one bound in a protective shell bearing an otherworldly visage and carried by vehicle powered with inscrutable technology. Timber respects no authority and accepts no border. It loves music, revelry and chaos. Each Splinter is accompanied by a loud and eclectic band of priests, ravers and vagabonds. They can afford to be loud and conspicuous, as the powerful weaponry Timber provides convinces all but the strongest and most dedicated angels to stay away.. This particular Splinter sits on a hoverbarge pulled by a festively-adorned (and deaf) mammoth. The accompanying procession is composed of 16+d20 miscreants.

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