Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mageai and Sea of Boulders

Southwest of Orobia is a pitted vale stretching the distance from the Orobian highlands to the western gulf. This span is over 100 miles in length and is known as the Caustic Plains or the Sea of Boulders. It is an inhospitable place that is laden with round boulders of all sizes, ranging from the size of a small house to a pebble. This creates a virtual maze of crags, canyons, pitfalls and other broken hazards. Sulfurous plumes seep into the landscape and create a perpetual low hanging fog near ones feet and a damn caustic footing. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the Sea of Boulders is the dark sheet of thick glass it is apparently sitting upon. Under the fog, under the boulders, and under the sand an endless sheet of thick smoky glass sits sturdy and ageless. In some places where the terrain can be cleared the glass can be seen clearly; meters thick, dark, swirling, with movement underneath, and seemingly unbreakable.

The terrain of the Sea of Boulders is free from grasses, shrubs or other low hanging plants. Spindly tree do reach up in some areas with foliage attached only to the very top. The most noticeable creatures are the Rock Tossers, bipedal tusked behemoths which move boulders in search of smaller creatures to devour. They do so by leveraging their tusks against the ground and boulder and shifting it weight while their flabby trunk reaches under to grab any morsels.

Smaller creatures have also adapted to the sulfurous fog and call the plains their home. Most are poisonous to eat or even touch. Swarms of putrid toads, lithe fog-snakes, boulder morays, sticky yellow slugs, furred flight-less birds and a plethora of other strange beings eek out a defiant existence. Lichens, molds and yellow toadstools often grow under boulders or in the damp crags. Few humanoids travel within but it is known that a few oasis are cast into the deeper areas of the plains, usually in large sinkholes with fresh water at the bottom.

One of these is Mageai, a small Dwarf village in a particularly large sinkhole. The sulfurous fog seep into the sinkhole but apparently is drained down into the crevasses. Water leaks from the side of the sinkhole and makes the appearance of constant light rain on the bottom. No more than 100 Dwarves dwell here and they are a paranoid and primitive lot suck in the age of bronze and copper. They will trade with peaceful travelers but it is difficult to attain their trust and most are not allowed to come inside their sinkhole home.

The Dwarves know of the thick glass that lay under the Sea of Boulders and say that another world lay beyond it. They believe it is taboo to travel under the glass but are well aware of several entrances, one of which is their own sinkhole home where the crevasse reach under the glass. The Dwarves also know of a handful of other breaks in the deep reaches of the Sea of Boulders, although they do not speak of such information and often intentionally hide these entrances. Once the Dwarves fully trust a visitor, that visitor is assumed to be a part of the village and is obliged to all manner of strange traditions, rituals and knowledge. Those who betray their trust are quickly exiled to the world under the glass and usually never heard from again.

What lay under the glass is a matter of speculation. No reliable accounts exist and no known explorers have returned from such a journey. It can only be said that glass extends throughout the Sea of Boulders and perhaps beyond under the mountains and under the sea as well.

This is loosely based upon the Moeraki Boulders. I had a distinct sense of deja'vu when I wrote this up. I looked over previous articles to see if repeated any ideas but did not see any. Hopefully I did not do so. I generally am prolific enough that I often forget what I previously wrote leading to the occasional contradictions. I suppose that is what editing is for when I eventually put the thing together.


  1. I very much want to take a higher level character and retire to the land beneath the glass. Great imagery and feel.

  2. The 'land beneath the glass' was one of the initial ideas for Valley of Blue Snails. It is nearly fully designed as an open exploration adventure. I will not be putting it out on the blog however, so I won't spoil the surprises. Maybe after its ran.