Sunday, November 3, 2013

Legacy of the Ancients - The Towers

Warning: This post contains spoilers for my upcoming Numenera campaign. If you are a player, stay away..

Every campaign should have a name and this one is no exception: Legacy of the Ancients. The name just popped into my mind and I really don't care if it's already used somewhere else. I like it. It conveys what the campaign is about. Besides, it's a cool sounding name for a campaign.

Below, you can see a diagram of the existing towers. Eons ago, the network covered the whole planet. Are there other towers still standing? Most likely. However, they are not longer part of the network because the portals inside are no longer active.

The diagram is a handy reference. It doesn't represent the towers' geographical position nor the spacial position between them. I will place each tower on the map of the Ninth World as it suits my campaign. For instance, tower 8 is not necessary in the center of the existing network as the diagram shows. The lines indicate how the towers are connected as follows:

  • Dotted lines indicate non-functioning portals.
  • Solid lines show working portals.
  • Arrows indicate one-way or two-way portals and direction of travel. For instance, tower 3 connects to tower 5 via a one-way portal. The PCs will travel to tower 5 but cannot return to tower 3. Tower 3 also connects to tower 4 via a two-way portal. PCs can arrive at tower 3 from tower 8 but cannot go return the same way.

Each portal or transport bubble is similar. It's a large bubble - approximately 3 meter radius - floating in the center of a large chamber. Its transparent surface ripples much like water on a pond disturbed by the wind. Inside, there is no gravity. Many unidentified symbols glow on interior surface. Some appear and disappear. Occasional, smaller diagrams are visible but these are meaningless. The symbols can be manipulated by touch (like a touch screen). With an Intellect roll the PCs can "dial" other towers. Transportation is instantaneous and seamless. The PCs feel no transition other than that the chamber in which the bubble is standing changes slightly according to the destination ("The room changes slightly. You see a pile of dead bodies that wasn't there before").

I still don't want to go into much detail about the towers' location, precise operation or even layout as these will adapt to suit the story of the campaign. Many eons passed since the towers were built. The geography changed, some were looted, others are occupied by creatures - natural or otherwise.


Here's what I sketched about the first tower: it is now in a marshy area of the Orrimare forest - a fungal forest of giant mushrooms. Nearby is a small village. The tower itself is two structures: A cube made of an unidentified black metal that barely reflects the light. Each face is about 30 meters long and there are no doors or windows or any other openings. It floats on the air, slowly spinning on its axis, with one vertex pointing down to the top of a stone-like, tapering, rectangular pillar, 9 meters high. Inside the pillar, the PCs will find a control room. From there, they can teleport into the cube and explore further. There are many rooms inside the cube and these will be detailed for my first session. One of these is, obviously, the bubble chamber.

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