Saturday, August 11, 2018

Great kingdoms long ago

Before the apocalypse, before the elven ships ever came across the sea, there was a human civilization that rose and fell, leaving traces to this very day.

Mississippian mound-builder society

Decide what they say about this society, if anyone still tells stories about it.

What was it like? (d6)
1A peaceful utopia on a lake that fell to betrayal.
2A maritime society based on an island that sank beneath the waves.
3Five cities that warred and traded, with high kings and legendary craftsmen.
4A mighty empire whose god-king ruled with an iron fist, whose capital was consumed by the forest.
5-6There was no ancient lost society. The height of human civilization is yet to come. (Stop rolling here.)

Inca procession (Ned Seidler)

How long ago did it fall? The older it is, the less remains of it today.

When did it fall? (d6)
1-2Over a thousand years ago. Only one culture still remembers it. A few ruins and artifacts survive.
3-5A few centuries ago. Early elven explorers heard legends about it. Artifacts and stories are handed down in families with a veneer of myth.
6During the apocalypse. Some elders alive today were part of it. Leaders appeal to the old society as a source of legitimacy. Treaties from those days are still invoked. Sites are still known and many artifacts still in use.

Easter Island statues (Fernando Baptista)

Choose 1-3 remnants of the old civilization.

What signs are left? (d6)
1-2great stone statues of people or animals
3-4golden amulets, breastplates, wands, figurines
5-6earthen mounds as holy places, fortifications, burial sites of ancient kings
7-8animal figures across the landscape, cut from turf or earth
9-10hidden knowledge passed down by a few

Scythian golden ornaments (Ariadne Galleries)

In my own version of the setting, there are two ancient societies:
  • One religion among the humans originated in one of the five cities that fell over a thousand years ago, in the interior of the continent.  Heavily-worn, cryptic stone statues and odd bits of goldwork remain.
  • One human tribe is all that remains of a mighty kingdom that fell a hundred years ago, a generation or two before the apocalypse.  The elves have heard legends of it, but don't believe they're true.  The kingdom left earthen holy burial mounds with treasures inside.  Their descendants appeal to the memory of the old kingdom all the time, keeping up the royal lineage, the old religion, and its complex taboos and laws.

Try rolling up your own:

great civilizations of old
What was it like?
When did it fall?
What signs are left?


  1. That generator widget is the coolest. If there is ever a collected version of all this, I shall put it at the very top of my list.

    1. I'm glad the generator is working, though I still can't figure out how to get it to run on mobile.

      As for a collected version of all this, what are you picturing?

    2. I didn't even realise the bit at the bottom was a generator, thanks Dan!