In an age long past, a powerful monarch rose to conquer half the known world. Her children and followers continued this path after her death, brining more and more of the world under Imperial control. They sailed across the seas, and brought their ideals and religion with them. They crushed the old world, devouring their cultures and bringing them into their own. Half a millenia later, every people in the world were either under Imperial control, or utterly destroyed.
Being outsiders, these creatures must somehow cope with being treated as foreign substances in a body. The “immune system” of the world would destroy them if it could, so they have to protect themselves.
Beings from another world, spoken of by the religious authorities.
Through the broken ruins of an old city, a band of adventurers crawl slowly ahead. The ground is cracked and uneven, as if partway through an earthquake. Climbing over the swollen street’s loose tiles, the forward scout returns. There are no people, and no corpses. The whirling dust that had obscured the view like mist has begun to clear, dropping into circular patterns. At the now-visible epicenter, a gigantic form is revealed. Its blood-red and raw facets spread vicious refractions of the too-dull sunlight all across the ancient stones. Crystal mountain. And in its centre burns a malign will of immense power…
Magic systems needs a basis for how and why they work. Here’s mine for the moment.
Here’s what I’m thinking of dungeons in my current campaign world. It might be good to put it into words.
- Dungeons are like tumours growing in a body exposed to toxins and radiation.
- Dungeons are like the protective patina that forms on copper when it’s exposed to weather.
- Dungeons are like the swelling around an infected wound.
In this case, the radiation, weather, and infection are all the Other, the strange cthuluuverse that wants to devour the world.
Another part in making animals weird.
Serpents are simple creatures. They eat, and then they sleep. Only, they really don’t want to sleep, so they eat constantly. Differently from their lizard cousins, they can literally eat until they burst. They cope best in areas of relative scarcity, where they can’t eat too much, but have enough to grow quickly. Like every creature of the so-called creatures of cold blood (snakes, frogs, lizards, turtles), they can grow indefinitely and won’t ever die of old age. Their reckless gluttony is mainly what gets them killed.