Monday, November 29, 2010

Campaign Concepts: Northaven

The race of Man is dying. Over a thousand years ago the last seven ships of Man fled the Apocalypse and found a safe stronghold in the Haven valley. For a long time life was good for the refugees, and a great city was built, the great valley providing plentiful resources and food farmed by the gentle, semi-sentient Behemoths. The population swelled and the troubles of the devastated outer world were forgotten.

Unfortunately, the last century has seen a sharp decline in those good fortunes. The population is dwindling, each generation smaller than the last. Most of the city of Northaven lies in ruins, the palaces, squares, and gardens empty and untended. The great villas on the outer edges of the valley are abandoned, and Mankind seems lost to ennui.

You are members of the youngest generation to reach adulthood. You hold the complacency of the elders in disgust, and play at being heroes out in the ruined villas and winding forests of the valley. You know something is not right, but the elders only make excuses and ignore your challenges.

What lies beyond the valley now, 1100 years after Apocalypse? What secrets lie behind the elders' vague platitudes and evasive answers? Is there any truth to the rumors of the normally peaceful Behemoths lashing out at their masters? What treasures or knowledge may lie in the holds of the great seven ships, still in perfect condition and abandoned on the valley's icy western shore? Why does smoke even now curl into the sky high up on the valley's eastern edge? Is it mischief in the abandoned villas wreaked by youths such as yourself, a fire caused by lightning from last night's unusually violent storm? Or has some threat from the outside world finally found its way to the last Sanctuary of Mankind?

Northaven is a campaign concept that has been slowly gelling in my idle thoughts. Imagine a fantasy setting where the world has essentially ended, and the reasons for the Apocalypse are either lost to time or closely guarded by the elders who mistakenly believe they are protecting their flock. Where Mankind has a made a valiant effort at achieving a comeback but failed, slowly descending into a long, uncaring death-spiral. Where the whole world outside this one, safe haven is shrouded in mystery, myth, and legend.

The campaign objectives would be two-fold: exploring the unknowably changed world beyond the tall gray mountains surrounding the valley; and uncovering the rot that now threatens Mankind from within.

The PCs are the restless scions of an indolent, spoiled culture, indulging in the "lost" arts of swordsmanship, magic, and exploration, and must meet their fate head-on, whether it is to be the saviors of Mankind, or to be the fools who open the doors to an Apocalypse that has long been slavering for a chance to finish the feast begun a millennium ago.


  1. Interesting idea, and an interesting take on post-apocalyptic fantasy.

  2. I like the isolation of it, the idea that there is no greater society or other cities.

  3. I'm almost done reading a book on the Black Death, and this is very interesting...

  4. Very cool idea indeed. I'm rereading the entire Elric saga so the whole doomladen thing is really appealing to me right now (must be the onset of winter, heh).

  5. Reminds me a bit of the colony in "The Passage".

  6. Awesome idea for a setting, sparse, scary, isolated.

    Maybe a bit too "ember"-ish for my tastes, but definitely something that can be built on

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