Hey buddy, can you spare an Apocalypse?

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Shadowslayer
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Hey buddy, can you spare an Apocalypse?

Post by Shadowslayer »

I've reached an imagination roadblock and wonder if anyone can give me a hand. I have a post apocalyptic kind of campaign setting brewing up for my new group, but am having a hard time coming up with a satisfying and D&Dish nature for said apocalypse.

I need it to be the sort of thing that left very few survivors. I considered a disease, like in the Stand, and I considered a Walking Dead zombie/undead kind of thing. But the disease didn't seem fantasy enough, and the undead one left me with a continent full of walking undead, which isn't exactly what I'm shooting for either. And magical cataclysms, wars, and/or Dragon flights left too many survivors in my mind.

The nature of the thing won't be completely central to the campaign, just a backdrop...an explanation of why there are so few people. (actually this apocalypse ended over 100 years ago....so the land and people are still rebirthing themselves.)

Anyone wanna toss me a ball I can run with? Been pondering it for a little while but thought I'd put it to the group. (Sometimes cool things happen when you do that.)

Thanks for reading :)

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NJPDX
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Re: Hey buddy, can you spare an Apocalypse?

Post by NJPDX »

How about this: The sun went out for several years ... maybe it was magical, maybe it was natural, but whatever you come up with it devestated food production, started massive fights over dwindling resources and/or allowed the creatures of the cthonian underworld to pour out of their holes and further devestate the land.

About 100 years ago the lights came back on because <fill-in-the-blank>

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Re: Hey buddy, can you spare an Apocalypse?

Post by alcyone »

Most of the people of the world simply disappeared. People woke up to find many of their loved ones completely, physically missing. No one ever found out why, and no magic could find them, and people eventually gave up. While this affected everyone equally, the goblinoids in the past 100 years have shown their ability to bounce back with a vengeance, with shorter lifespans and larger broods. The elves are the hardest hit, barely increasing their numbers and giving special status to half-elves.
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docdoom77
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Re: Hey buddy, can you spare an Apocalypse?

Post by docdoom77 »

In one of my homebrew campaign worlds, the Elves grew worried at the growing strength of the younger races and decided to remove themselves to a higher plane through a great ritual. No one knows if it worked as intended, but the elves are gone, along with their homeland. The world was rocked (natural disasters galore), was made a smaller place and the magical disruption caused about 1 in 10 members of the civilized races to transform into monsters (dwarves became the first goblins, humans became orcs, etc).

Anywho, between the disasters and the ensuing wars with newly made aggressive races, the world has taken 100 years to reach some semblance of balance and civilization.

You could take a similar ideas to extremes for a true apocalypse.

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dachda
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Re: Hey buddy, can you spare an Apocalypse?

Post by dachda »

You could go with the dinosaur extinction theory - giant asteroid strikes planet, huge explosion, dust and ash block out sun, ice age wipes out masses of people and flora and fauna. Could play it as a natural occurance, or as punishment from the gods, or prelude to alien invasion, or well just about any reason.

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docdoom77
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Re: Hey buddy, can you spare an Apocalypse?

Post by docdoom77 »

dachda wrote:You could go with the dinosaur extinction theory - giant asteroid strikes planet, huge explosion, dust and ash block out sun, ice age wipes out masses of people and flora and fauna. Could play it as a natural occurance, or as punishment from the gods, or prelude to alien invasion, or well just about any reason.

Or perhaps some evil god, sprung from the mind of another dead god could create an ice age by sucking up the magical layer surrounding the world and blowing out a dark, poisoned shadow, ushering in an ice age.....

Wait.... that's Airdhe.... :P

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Lurker
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Re: Hey buddy, can you spare an Apocalypse?

Post by Lurker »

docdoom77 wrote:
dachda wrote:You could go with the dinosaur extinction theory - giant asteroid strikes planet, huge explosion, dust and ash block out sun, ice age wipes out masses of people and flora and fauna. Could play it as a natural occurance, or as punishment from the gods, or prelude to alien invasion, or well just about any reason.

Or perhaps some evil god, sprung from the mind of another dead god could create an ice age by sucking up the magical layer surrounding the world and blowing out a dark, poisoned shadow, ushering in an ice age.....

Wait.... that's Airdhe.... :P
:lol: You beat me to it ....

The idea I have for my home brew is a mix of the Mongol invasion, Islamic expanse, and the plagues of the Black death. An invasion of evil barbarians from all of the uncivilized lands shattered the good(ish) kingdoms and civilizations. The wars lasted over 100 years until they finally defeated the hordes. This scattered the invaders (whose own home lands were devastated because they had been depopulated to send the said hordes to the invasion forces) began to migrate back home. However, their dark gods were not happy at being defeated so unleashed a plague sickness on them. This spreads throughout the world killing both invaders and the shattered good kingdoms. I'm figuring with the 100 years of fighting and the sickness there would be about 50% decrees in the population of the world. If you want more dead, increase it as needed.
dachda wrote:You could go with the dinosaur extinction theory - giant asteroid strikes planet, huge explosion, dust and ash block out sun, ice age wipes out masses of people and flora and fauna. Could play it as a natural occurance, or as punishment from the gods, or prelude to alien invasion, or well just about any reason.

That, or the beginning or ending of an ice age. Any of the good mass extinction theories out there could be the nucleus of your apocalypse
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Sir Ironside
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Re: Hey buddy, can you spare an Apocalypse?

Post by Sir Ironside »

A group of Druids observed the world and mans place in it. Their conclusion was that man was a scourge upon the world, destroying everything they get into contact with, in other words evil.

This desperate Druidic faction, through a long complicated ritual, created an "invisible flood" that radiated out from the ritual site indiscriminatingly killing all human/humanoids in its path. You could not see, taste, feel, smell or hear the oncoming "flood" but it did have properties that resemble water in that it flows, reaches a certain height and obey's the law of gravity. (Therefore there are chances for individuals and groups to be able to survive the "flood".)

The "flood" spread quickly, without warning and killed almost instantly. (I always picture a "drowning person" more like the air we breathe ceases to be and they suffocate.)

All plants, animals,insects and monsters were generally unaffected by this "flood".

After the Druidic conclave achieved "ridding the world of evil." they entered into a suicide pact and killed themselves.

There are a ton of plot hooks in this story.

Learning how some humanoid individuals or groups survived the flood.

Did all of the Druidic group really kill themselves?

Were is the original site and is the ritual written down somewhere, to be used again?

Could you now restructure your world from being race defined to community defined? (Which in turn, redefines the world from a kingdom/country definition to a more city-state definition.)

Even after 100 years you could still have the PC's come across scenes where it shows people in the middle of something and just dropping dead. From mundane things like, having a meal to grander things like two armies in the midst of a battle.

etc.
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Fiffergrund
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Re: Hey buddy, can you spare an Apocalypse?

Post by Fiffergrund »

If you aren't looking at a global apocalypse, you have a larger number of options. Plausible global scenarios are harder to pull off.

If it is big enough to affect an entire globe and kill off 90% of the population, then you have some work to do to explain why 10% survived. The danger is that many of these stories have been told many times over to the point of cliche'.

However, regional or semi-continental disaster is much easier. Consider that most fantasy worlds aren't connected globally. A large tsunami that wipes out an entire coastline is a world-shaker, even if other continents aren't affected. Since there is no interconnected global travel or communication network, it might not even matter.

A massive Yellowstone Caldera sort of eruption would be a continental level disaster, with global implications. Perhaps the volcano was on the other side of the world, eliminating the population on that continent, but creating an extended volcanic winter for everyone else. Temperate climates would be devastated, leaving semi-tropical to tropical bands as the survival zones.
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Shadowslayer
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Re: Hey buddy, can you spare an Apocalypse?

Post by Shadowslayer »

Fiffergrund wrote: The danger is that many of these stories have been told many times over to the point of cliche'.
heh...I don't have to worry about that. This campaign is for my 14 yr old daughter, a couple of her friends, and my wife. "A dark stranger approaches you in the tavern and tells you of a mysterious dungeon full of orcs that may threaten the town" is NEW to these guys. :D

Besides, I'm a sucker for a good cliche. They're cliche for a reason.

Anyway, thank you one and all for your input. I'm leaning towards Sir Ironside's ideas, only because I was hoping for a way to get the Druids mixed up in it. Maybe I can even incorporate a kinda-sorta "Shade of Allanon" kind of thing.

As I've said, the cataclysm is just a part of the world's backstory...its really just a backdrop, free for the PCs to look into or ignore as they will.

My real reason in doing this is a bit of nostalgia. I'm using FR, as this is where we did most of our campaigning way back when. Its the only setting I ever had more than a passing acquaintance with, and is the only setting where I can still pull tidbits of flavor and imagery out of the air without really thinking about it.

But...I also want a clean slate, and for the setting to be a lot less cheezy and breezy than it was. Its a bleak land, all the old iconic places like Suzail, Shadowdale, Waterdeep etc now all lie in ruin and the land is ripe for exploration with ruins everywhere and small petty kingdoms and bandit strongholds dotting the map all over. And needless to say, none of the iconic NPCs, or even their organizations, survived, other than the odd sigil or bit of lore found in the course of adventuring.

So, its old, but its new...and its mine. Admittedly, FR got tiresome after a while. This is just my way of trying to make it new again.

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Re: Hey buddy, can you spare an Apocalypse?

Post by Lord Dynel »

The first thing that popped in my head was a fulfilled prophecy of a god.

Said god's prophecy got fulfilled and this set the world to disaster. Fires rained from heaven, all his faithful was saved and people who remain struggle to survive.

Maybe a battle between two massively powerful magic factions (or just individual wizards) had a battle so titanic, that it caused earthquakes and other disasters. This might have led to the triggering of a volcano (or five) and this plunged the world into darkness. Ash filled the skies, killed all vegetation, which killed much livestock, and the world is now only recovering. This could be a lead-in to a time with less (magic, education, technological advances, etc.) as the people of the world are bent on survival (or have been).
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Relaxo
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Re: Hey buddy, can you spare an Apocalypse?

Post by Relaxo »

Cliche done well is a meme...

I was thinking sun was quenched like MJPDX suggested. I actially did this in a campaign once, long story short, the mind flayers won. it was the massive cliff hanger that never got resolved.

anywho, that might work for you, and a pile of heros got the sun turned back on... maybe the mind flayer sunquencher was magical or psionic, and the heros broke the maguffin that makes psionics work... so the thingy stopped working and teh sun lit back up, forcing the mind flayers and other baddies back underground.

or maybe some one or some group made a pact with a sun god to reignite it... but at what cost? maybe it's a wicked sun god who requires his cultists to sacrifice young people to it every year a la the hunger games, and this cult may be the major antagonists in your world. thing is, to wipe them out, the sun goes out again... catch 22.
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Sir Ironside
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Re: Hey buddy, can you spare an Apocalypse?

Post by Sir Ironside »

Shadowslayer wrote:[Besides, I'm a sucker for a good cliche. They're cliche for a reason.

Anyway, thank you one and all for your input. I'm leaning towards Sir Ironside's ideas, only because I was hoping for a way to get the Druids mixed up in it. Maybe I can even incorporate a kinda-sorta "Shade of Allanon" kind of thing.
For the record my cliche may not be the cliche you think it is.

The whole "flood" part is almost a direct ripped idea from an awesome book by Margaret Atwood called; The Year of the Flood. Her story is about a future apocalyptic event. I just quickly added the whole Druidic part. Reading the book her flood was definitely inspired by the biblical event.

If you're interested it is actually the second book of a trilogy. The first being; Oryx and Crake and the third being; MaddAddam.
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