D&D General How would you finish Jeff Grubb's unpublished TSR setting - Storm Front?

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
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.
This x 1000!

I prefer my post-apocalyptic settings to be more ''where to now?'' than ''everything good has been destroyed''.

Good inspiration would be:
  • both LoZ: Skyward Sword and LoZ: Windwaker.
  • Baten Kaitos
  • Skies of Arcadia

as long as Dragons are the equivalent of Sky-whales!

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Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
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. :)
All of the this for the setting, plus LuisCarlos's idea of different degrees of exposure doing different amounts of harm, but a bit deeper:

In addition to the clouds below the mountains, below the ships sailing across the sky... Storms. Big ones. Magic storms that can do strange and terrible things if you're caught out in them. Sailors caught in the storm drawing straws to see who has to go out in the storm and secure a line that broke loose, with the one who gets sent out crying out in fear as he gets polymorphed into a humanoid ooze, or becomes permanently blinded, or returns with golden skin and hair of silver, somehow metal and alive...

Call it "Aetherstorm" and have the titular storms be getting worse in recent years, leading to speculation and mysteries.

And let players play Elves and Dwarves and Orcs and stuff as characters warped by the Aetherstorm as quasi-unique characters if that's what they -really- wanna do... and have them get treated like mutants because of it!

I forgot to mention, but my idea is the mists don't cause mutations, but the storms could be signs of planar rifts and with these men-eater giants, the laestrygonians, and other creatures. Something like "you can live in the beach if you want, but I warn you about possible pirate raids". Of course there are some strongholds in the "undercloud" but not only as refugess for scavenger expeditions but also to hunt those mist monsters. I suggest these creatures as no-undead to avoid PCs become vampire-hunt specialists, and allowing variety. Dark faes and elemental also may be very dreadful but not too, allowing games with +10y children.

Sorry, now I am thinking about Asian videogames where the world is attacked by no-sentient creatures from other plane, for example Astral Chain, Scarlet Nexus, God-Eater or Closers.

Do you remember Stephen King's "the Mist"?





If you want you can add some game mechanic about mutations, like in Red Steel/Savage Coast.
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Stormscape? Has that been mentioned already?

Presumably the interior of the mountains, or at least parts of it, would still be livable, so dwarfs or whatever this settings equivalent is would be very important.

The biggest ruins in the Below could be those that once belonged to the aquatic creatures. As a possibility, there could still be places where just enough water remains that aboleths continue to be Big Bads--and they would get their minions to try to enlarge their small watery preserves.


The idea reminds me of several movies and shows already out. I first thought about the FR desert Anauroch and the campaign could just model that. Another show would be The 100 with people living below having adapted to the toxin and those living above thinking the below was devoid until some monster came up and started the campaign.

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