Geological Disasters and Campaign Prep

Yeah, I know it’s a strange combination. But after two devastating earthquakes in Nepal, I was thinking about the power of nature to change the environment. I feel awful for all the people killed, injured, displaced, or otherwise affected by these events, but it’s made me think about how they might affect a campaign world.

tectonic-shiftIn the Lost Age world, I’m basing it largely on Pangea – the huge conglomerate of continents that existed before tectonic shifts started the process of morphing our world into the map that exists today. As such, there would be constant geological upheaval. I keep referring to one particular event known as the Cataclysm – a huge geological shift that buried entire civilizations and knocked everybody back to a more primitive existence. I’m not saying everybody lived in an Atlantean paradise, but there may have been one or two islands of technological advancement amidst the primitives.

One of the places I’m detailing is the village of Nifton’s Well, which is situated on the coast of a small lake with some unique properties. It’s a deep lake fed by two freshwater rivers and an underground inlet from the Tethys Ocean to the east. The earth at the bottom of the ocean rose up to cut off one part of an underwater civilization from the rest of their people, creating a pocket where fresh and salt water mix.

The ocean itself is nearly a hundred miles to the east – but each time the tide comes in, salt water shoots through a gap all the way back to the well. Unfortunately it’s not enough for the beings at the bottom to be at full strength, nor can they climb out of the water and make their way back to the ocean – so they’re stuck.

Yes, this sounds like a strange place – wouldn’t it be brackish? But there are horizontal layers of fresh and salt water providing a very unique environment for the beings at the bottom as well as different species of fish and plant life. (This kind of environment exists in our own world too.)

But I’m wondering what other kinds of places might be formed, covered, or uncovered in a similar way?

This is a massive tectonic shift in this case. But what about earthquakes and volcanoes or other funky events such as meteors and comets? Mother Nature is full of entertaining ways to mess with the world. I’m wondering what other kinds of upheaval I can use to create unique environments in the Lost Age…

Any ideas?

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1 thought on “Geological Disasters and Campaign Prep”

  1. With all of the wacky fantasy stuff that goes in so many games I love to toss in natural disasters. In my games I run with the system it works out awesome because I can create all kinds of havoc. Not just barriers or changes in geology but wacky effects and other environmental issues to keep the PCs on their toes. For years I threw up different maps of effectively the same place and the players never quite put the pieces together because I used cataclysmic events as sort of campaign separators. This way there was defining moments in history (no matter where or how isolated) and it also gave me excuses to mix things up. It is tons of fun and can often be overlooked.

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