D&D General How would you finish Jeff Grubb's unpublished TSR setting - Storm Front?

Grimmstorm?

I like the concept, but I would reuse some ideas from Spelljammer, undersea creatures and the Astral Sea from 4th Ed.

The cataclysm was a planar rift caused intentionally by the kami lords to steal the water from the oceans. The seas aren't dry but replaced with mists and "incorporeal+invisible water".

It was gradually, allowing enough time to escape (more thanks prophet's warnings) or ot create floating strongholds. There are artificial floating islands thanks carvorite, a special mineral from the kami realm. Other island are created accidentally by falling meteors.

Those mists can be recycled and purified to become ordinary and potable water again.
 

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delericho

Legend
Assuming it isn't bound by the "everything in D&D has a home here" rule that seems to apply to published settings, then for that setting I think I would be tempted to at least imply that this is some sort of post-apocalyptic, possibly-alternate, Earth. As such, I'd be inclined to rule that it is humans who had retreated to the tops of mountains, and that they are the only playable race.

I'd be inclined likewise to either remove arcane magic entirely (and use psionics in its place), or handwave arcane magic as a new and unexplained result of the disaster that occurred. Likewise, I'd probably posit a largely-undefined religion based around "The Source" that empowers divine magic, and that has only just started to respond in that manner.

I would also seed the world, both in the mountains and the covered lands, with some remnants of old technology, but it is old, oddly-specific, and largely understood. So those ships that the PCs use exist, and people know how to maintain and repair them, but they don't know how to make new ones (or, really, how they work). Likewise, I would have various radio signals going around, mostly in the form of odd number stations and other bizarre transmissions - but have the radios be large, unwieldy, and solar-powered. But no computers, not much modern medicine, and lots of other gaps. Oh, and there are probably some nuclear reactors still running somewhere under the clouds... (A lot of that leans into "The Long Tomorrow" by Leigh Brackett.)

For the mutants, I'd tend towards beasts and abominations, and away from outsiders. I'd also tend away from using intelligent races, though I would almost certainly have lots of different tribes of mutants of one sort or another - but underneath the strange appearance these would also be human. That said, I might well have duergar and drow civilisations on the surface of the world, with the implication being that they were down below all along and have now migrated. Just because.

One other thing: in contrast with most post-apocalyptic settings, I would be inclined to make this one hopeful in nature. Yes, there has been a disaster that ruined the world. But people survived, they're making a living, and things are gradually getting better. In fact, the biggest opposition to things getting better are various factions opposed to it - leadership councils that have prospered in the new normal and don't want to give up their new power, doomsday cults that want to complete the job of wiping us out, and the like. Oh, and from less-successful mountaintop cities somewhere in the North, young men and women would set sail and go raiding.

As for a name, I'd be inclined to reflect that the cities lie on the crown of the mountain with the problem posed by those raiders, and call it something like "The Corona Vikings". Or maybe not. :)
 


delericho

Legend
If WotC can't put their content in your setting, they have no use for your setting.
Indeed. That's one reason I called that out - what I would do if fleshing this out for homebrew use (or, indeed, for independent publishing) is very different from what I would do if fleshing it out for publication by WotC as an "official" campaign world.
 

If WotC can't put their content in your setting, they have no use for your setting.
the "everything in D&D has a home here" rule that seems to apply to published settings

WotC have shown with more recent settings that they're willing to self-limit in some ways, at least. Theros, for example, lists the races that exist in Theros, and there aren't many (just humans and the ones in the book IIRC), rather than taking the approach at everything has to be available.

So I don't think it's correct to suggest there's a mandate that everything be available, at this point. I mean, it demonstrably isn't.

However, I do think WotC would want there to definitely be a selection of lineages available, and probably would want most classes to be available also (I suspect you could get away with cutting a few though).

Naming-wise I'd probably go with something slightly OTT for the setting book like "Hell is beneath the clouds", but I've always liked that kind of book-name, and I'd probably have a different name for the actual setting, like Cloudsea.
 

hopeless

Adventurer
Do they have submarines that resemble heli-carriers?
How long can they survive beneath the clouds?
Maybe its a simple matter of a sealed chamber and something like an airlock allowing travellers to enter and leave but have to use elemental adaption devices such as rings or just casting something Endure Elements allowing 24 hours to travel about beneath the clouds reaching domed settlements where they can rest and have the spell cast again so they can move on?
Perhaps there's more to this story than just the oceans boiling and turning into clouds?
 

Bitbrain

Lost in Dark Sun
I was reading the story about the possible publication of Jeff Grubb's lost Mystara sourcebook, but I was more intrigued by the casual mention of a new setting that he unsuccessfully pitched to TSR. He called it Storm Front, or sometimes Stormfront, and I think it's great. The basic premise is that a magical disaster has boiled the oceans and covered the entire world with thick clouds. Civilization retreated to the few mountaintops higher than this cloud layer, but the survivors who couldn't escape from under the cloud layer were twisted and mutated into monsters. Magical ships can sail across the clouds from mountain to mountain, and adventurers scavenge supplies from the ruined world beneath the clouds.

I love this setting, and I want to see more of it. I don't know what the rights situation would be as far as publishing something new based on this premise, but it's a great start for a homebrew campaign. How would you flesh out this proposal if you were going to run a campaign in this world? And since white supremacists have claimed the name Stormfront, what would you rename the setting?

Sounds a lot like the Toxic Seas project over on Giant in the Playground a few years back.
 

I am thinking and...

The mists wouldn't be toxic in short terms, but long exposure, and then humanoids with longer lives would try to avoid, but adult humans and other with shorter lives are willing to the risks. The no-adult humans are better far from these mists. (it is like being in a room full of smokers. You can be for a minutes, or some hours, but not for years everyday).

The mists are only a surface layer, and lower it is like a dark cloudy day, and sea creatures "flying" (because they are swimming in the ethereal weater). Air-breathers can dive normally, but the atmosphere is as high-mountain, with lewer level of oxigen (but for creatures that can breat water) and totally wet. Like a "calabobos" (fool-gettingwet, a drizzle where drops are so thin you don't notice but in the end you are totally wet). There are "levitating" sargassos, even enoughly big to allow house building on them. Some sargassos are cultivated as food of source, and there are also farms for fishs and seaweed (thanks by advice by tritons and sea elves).

In this "undercloud" the earth flora and fauna is almost normal, and some "underwater cities" have created their own artificial suns with special magictek on certain meteorits. There are some "plagues" of creatures from the kami realm, for example some no-sentient titans trying to hunt humanoids as food. There are lots of lakes, but these appear and disappear, or displace. They are valious sources of potable water.

The atmosphere is also too agresive against all could be rusty or damage by the saline enviroment.

The kami are faes, not undead neither outsiders. The kami realm is the afterlife, and the souls of the sentient beings become "petitioners". Most of them are slaves for years of penance as punishment for their sins and crimes in the mortal life. When the penance ends, they are allowed to live as feudal vassals until the day of their "ascension". Unfortunately the kami lords have used the petitioners as cannon fodder in their palace intrigues and game of thrones, until a rebellion started, maybe promoted by an outer source, and this cause the planar invasion and cataclysm.

Planar rifts cause "carvorite icebergs", floating mountains, not too fast to cause a distaster on near towns, and a threasure for potential settlers. The carvorite or flying stone also can be created by means of artificial means.


 
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stadi

Explorer
This sounds almost like Jim Butcher's The Cinder Spires series (only one out). People are living in huge towers, the ground is covered by mist and is filled with monsters. This is a "crystal-punk" setting, people fly crystal powered ships and there are also intelligent cats. I really enjoyed it, can't wait for the second novel.
 

Grantypants

Explorer
Perhaps there's more to this story than just the oceans boiling and turning into clouds?
As originally pitched, the world is like this now because the gods of the sea were somehow imprisoned by mortals, but then they broke out and took their revenge. Instead of flooding the world with water and killing everyone, they turned the seawater into the thick, enchanted clouds that cover the world. Presumably, those gods are still down there somewhere, though if they were the gods of the sea and the seas changed wildly, the gods probably changed wildly too.

I like the concept, but I would reuse some ideas from Spelljammer, undersea creatures and the Astral Sea from 4th Ed.
Absolutely! Anything that already has flying ships in it could probably be dropped straight in. On the other hand, having large fancy flying boats might clash with the overall look of everything as scavenged and repurposed. I guess it depends on when you want to set the adventure. If you set it only a few years after the clouds rolled in, people are still rebuilding and most of the stuff they've got would be things they were able to scavenge from under the clouds. The gameplay focus is probably more about scavenging food and tools for immediate survival, maybe also rescuing people still under the clouds. But if instead it's a generation or more afterwards, the survivors will have had time to build things on their own, so you might reasonably have a new ship that was only ever meant to sail on clouds. The gameplay focus there is probably closer to your typical D&D world, where the settlements are relatively stable and the party is exploring and searching for treasure.

Assuming it isn't bound by the "everything in D&D has a home here" rule that seems to apply to published settings, then for that setting I think I would be tempted to at least imply that this is some sort of post-apocalyptic, possibly-alternate, Earth. As such, I'd be inclined to rule that it is humans who had retreated to the tops of mountains, and that they are the only playable race.
Maybe the world was basically our real world before the clouds rolled in and all the people were human, until some of them got partially mutated through exposure to the cloud vapor or something. The mutation doesn't necessarily make them evil monsters or anything, though sometimes it does. You could take some inspiration from Gamma World and have lots of especially weird mutations for the PCs. Some of these mutations could mess with player expectations kind of like Dark Sun did by making some traditional PC races into monsters and monsters into PCs.

I'd be inclined likewise to either remove arcane magic entirely (and use psionics in its place), or handwave arcane magic as a new and unexplained result of the disaster that occurred. Likewise, I'd probably posit a largely-undefined religion based around "The Source" that empowers divine magic, and that has only just started to respond in that manner.
Magic as a new discovery isn't really something you see very often. Usually arcane magic is treated as an ancient art form often requiring years of study, but treating magic as a new thing that people are just figuring out could make this setting stand apart. How does that look in practice? Wizards might be defined more like scientists and investigators trying to figure out how and why things work the way they do now. Divine magic might be connected to the cause of the clouds rolling in, so there's a built-in conflict between users of divine magic and people who would blame them for the clouds.

One other thing: in contrast with most post-apocalyptic settings, I would be inclined to make this one hopeful in nature. Yes, there has been a disaster that ruined the world. But people survived, they're making a living, and things are gradually getting better. In fact, the biggest opposition to things getting better are various factions opposed to it - leadership councils that have prospered in the new normal and don't want to give up their new power, doomsday cults that want to complete the job of wiping us out, and the like. Oh, and from less-successful mountaintop cities somewhere in the North, young men and women would set sail and go raiding.
Yes Yes Yes, this! The hope aspect might be the most important thing. Post-apocalyptic settings are generally super bleak, but that's been done to death by now. Do something different, and make this setting about protecting and improving the community of survivors. People who want to play in a gritty, grimdark world already can. This is meant to be something else.
 

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