Friday, November 16, 2012

The World Beneath the Broken Moon




A sun, red and flaccid with considerable age, moves slowly across the sky.  It's journey is marked first by a pale pink blush amidst the stone gray of pre-morning.  As the thing rises, the sky warms slightly to orange and finally a sickly sort of yellow settles upon it until the red disk crosses the zenith and begins its languid drop to the far horizon.   Soon the shattered remains of a once round, white moon rises above the earth's rim.  It is a dim reminder of some great and ancient calamity that none seem willing or able to now explain, for the wold beneath it is as tired and broken as the moon itself.

Humankind's numbers are shrinking, and most now dwell in varying degrees of  squalor or opulence amidst the unaccountably ancient ruins of their ancestors.   These few hollow souls embrace both a frantic libertinism and a morose ennui, vacillating between the bang and the whimper of their world’s ending.   Some few still make use of the ancient magic wielded long ago, but even the greatest amongst these minds no longer fully understand it.  Their knowledge burns like a torch in a black space once inhabited by suns.  Humanity is a fickle and fleeting thing at the world's end; a small tempest of the arbitrary, the decadent and the ridiculous spinning without apparent purpose amidst the still considerable shadows of its lost civilization.

But as one thing ends, another thing must begin.   The land is not becoming an empty one in the absence of mankind.  But rather, one informed by a certain cruel manifest destiny.  Terrible things sliver from the dark recesses of the world’s far corners to claim or reclaim, perhaps, what has until now been humanity's bounty.   Ancient and alien spirits forge dark pacts with the desperate and the devious.  Brutish and cannibalistic sub-humans haunt the remote hills and mountainsides, preying upon the weak.  The revived civilizations of ancient simians and snake-men reclaim the jungles and deserts of their ancestry; architecting mighty stone ziggurats and temples built upon the backs of human and sub-human slaves.  All this while unfathomable  forces of slumbering cosmic chaos and entropy stir from their eons-long sleep, preparing to usher in a new epoch upon the earth.  

Welcome to the World Beneath the Broken moon…

So this is the next campaign I'm selling to my players, and to get everybody in the mood I'm pulling together a list of inspirational sources appendix N style. The inspirational sources need not be entirely mine.  What I'm looking for is a set of comparisons, a means to set a mood or a source for liberal kyping and lastly, a list somebody could actually go check out if they wanted to. What could I possibly add to the below?  Don't feel compelled to stick to literary sources.  Movies, comics, cartoons... the more easily accessible the better, probably. 

T.S. Eliot, The Hollow Men (poem)
H.P. Lovecraft (almost anything)
Jack Vance, Dying Earth Stories (picaresque stories)
Clark Ashton Smith, Zothique stories (picaresque stories)
H.G. Wells, The Time Machine (novel)

* I found this image here, after a Google image search, and later discovered it is a frame from Origin: Spirits of the Past (Gin-iro no kami no) thanks to fadedearth in the comments below.

2 comments:

  1. This sounds like a great setting concept, & I'm pretty taken with your inspirado (though even half that list would make lightning in any head).

    The image is a screencap from Origin: Spirits of the Past (Gin-iro no kami no), a 2006 anime from Keiichi Sugiyama that is a pretty inspiring post-apocalyptic fantasy in its own right.

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  2. Hey, thanks for the info on the image. I'm going to see if I can track that anime down this weekend.

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