North of the lycanthrope forest, vast
fields and hills of gray and black rock, old pine forests
There are no cities or towns in the
abandoned zone, instead there are few outposts along several trade
routes going through the hills north to Gakleer and Vile.
These outposts are manned by volunteers
and adventurers payed by merchants who want to keep the roads safe
for their caravans and stock supplies for the long trip. Sometimes
nobles or merchants looking for extra coin will pay for outposts to
be constructed off the road near ruins or deep in the woods where
rumors of ancients dungeons exist. These are often temporary
constructions built for only as long as needed for an excavation site
to be built or a dungeon explored before abandoned left to the zone.
Throughout the rest of the region are the ravaged and overgrown
remains of old cites and towns long left abandoned, in some cases
100s of years, to some unknown curse.
The outposts along the road are built
with stone quarried from the red and gray hills while those off the
road are built from wood. The outposts will have several buildings
surrounded by a wall built either with stone or wood, that is manned
at all times by mercenaries or adventurers.
The inner buildings will be spares and
only have what is needed, storage for extra food and water, barracks,
tavern, stable with anything else being a luxury out here.
The outer wall is often decorated with
any trinkets brought by the mercenaries that they consider lucky from
their respective cultures, bats, shrunken heads, skulls, candles,
The outside of the inner buildings are
often decorated with strings of small crystalline glowing red beads
nicknamed blood drops. Blood drops are glowing crystals found in some
of the ore and act as half strength light spells. The blood drops
keep the outpost lit at night.
Inside, buildings are often keep lit
with a combination of blood stones and fire to help keep the place
cozy and take the edge of working out in the zone.
The old cities are strangely still
intact and have not suffered the wears of time as most would expect.
It is said time moves more slowly out in the Zone.
Vines, weeds and trees have taken over
many of the building but the effect which should have taken a few
decades or less has instead taken 100s of years and no one really
knows why. Although it is claimed even time cannot be bothered to
come out here. The cities and towns were built with the stone of the
hills, their structures mostly black are highlighted with gray stone.
All the buildings’ widows have been
bricked up with gray stone and oddly it seems to have been done
before they were abandoned, suggesting there was a cultural reason,
although the reason had since been lost.
Most structures will have dozens to
100s of spikes on their rooftops made of stone or rusting irons as if
a preventive measure from keeping something from coming through the
ceiling. Rings of wrought iron fences are built throughout the towns
and cities often dividing the settlement into different districts and
in some cases so extreme, they will cut across roads, go up walls,
over ceilings and even through houses.
There is no explanation, though some
scholars suggest it was to keep a creature effected by cold iron at
bay, though no creature has been found to exist in the zone. In some
cases on the inside of the buildings, scorch marks can be seen,
staining the gray stone to a soot black and piles of charred remains
can still be found on the floor. It was suggested that the black
stone used to built the cities were in fact not black but another
color before some extreme event changed the stone to the charred
black that it is today.
The mercenaries will wear their
respective clothing from the culture they come from or in some cases
have a uniform or armband given to them by the merchant house they
There is little clothing left behind
from the culture that once lived in the abandoned cities, but the
clothing that has been found contains often long black lace dresses
and black long coats studded with shiny black bead buttons, although
not appearing to be the original color of the cotton fabric. The
original hues have since darkened to black as if the clothing all at
once over the entire zone was subject to extreme heat.
The mercenaries will have any religion
from the culture they come from or may have confronted in their time
out in the zone. Most of the time there will be no religion.
The old towns and cities have no
mention or buildings to a God or no religious icons suggesting they
had no religious side to their culture. However, at the center of of
each city is a large polished black obelisk made of black iron.
Featureless with the metal never rusting, the obelisks can range
anywhere from a few meters tall in a small town to 20 meters tall for
the largest cities.
Completely solid and no mention of
their use anywhere, there is little explanation of what they were
used for. However, with the heavy scent of smoke coming form the
obelisks, it is suggested they might have something to do with what
happened. Some adventurers have tried to take some of the metal
from the obelisks and form the metal into weapons or armor, but those
that do often find them cursed, (the metal acting as negative one to
five cursed items) and throw them away.
Like a military structure, the merchant
or noble is at the head followed by a captain for each outpost and
then ranks descending down the line. What each rank is and does is
dependent on the size and need of the outpost. A bartender will be
lower than a guard, who will in turn be lower than a sergeant.
Like military, what the higher rank
says goes and those who disobey are either flogged or taken out into
the middle of the Zone and abandoned to their fate.
Merchants will often have
representatives visit or operate in the Zone looking after their
assets, these will usually be friends or low ranking family members.
These members, no necessarily always higher in station than an
outpost captain, do have sway giving their status and relation to the
merchant running the business.
It is unknown how the people of this
region was ruled. There is no mention of government and no palaces or
places of leadership have been discovered. It is suggested that the
obelisks perhaps lead the people in some way with the reigns of
rulership passed from the obelisks to a chosen, but there is no icon
of symbols of rulership that have ever been found.
The outpost produce no goods and
receive goods from their merchants families. They do no trade with
other nations but will sell goods in return for service or coin.
Since only few paper logs exist and the
nation that once existed here is not mentioned by any other nation of
Mordeadus, little is known what the people traded or produced but
given what has been found within in it suggests they had an extensive
mining operation for stone and iron ore and large populous of sheep
for their clothing. It is possible they once had a large textile
industry along with dye giving that they may have worn dyed cotton
but there is no way to be sure as everything in their county is now
black and gray.
Despite the oddities of the abandoned
settlements, that is only part of the mysteries that lurk within the
old towns and structures. Underneath the cities is a network of old
sewers, crypts and cellars that connect in a labyrinth of tunnels.
Unsure of why the people built such an
elaborate underground layer, it is suggested that it may have been in
the end of their civilization as many of the structures are half done
or seem to have been hastily assembled. Was it a place to hide, a
calling to go underground or something else? There is no way to know.
Within these old tunnels, undead and
mutants have not taken up residents but with those dangers comes the
hidden treasure still rumored to be in the empty halls. Old coins,
magic items and even spells can be found stashed in the underground
hidden behind rock or locked in old vaults, making the sometimes
deadly trips worth it.
The undead are not the old inhabitants
as their clothing is often more modern reflecting adventurers or
mercenaries who died in the centuries after the curse and in fact, no
bodies of the old civilization have ever been found, even their
crypts are oddly empty.
Spirits and ghosts often wander through
the cities at night, attracted by whatever disasters happened long
ago. It is said the ghosts can hear the pleas of the dead, but cannot
find their spirits. Most interestingly however, is the ghosts and
spirits seem attracted to the obelisks like a moth to flame with
sometimes 100s billowing in the town square like a fog of the undead.
In the old buildings, broken scorched
black pottery, blackened silverware and trinkets can still be found
and still worth a few coin to the right buyer. In some lucky cases,
adventurers have even been known to find coins and magic items
stashed in the floorboard or left behind walls but all the easy
findings have long since been pilfered and what is left is either
guarded by legions of undead or hidden very well.
Despite the odd nature of the abandoned
settlements, that is not what makes the place dangerous, nor is the
reason no one since has come to rebuild in the area. What keeps
the people away, the mercenaries on guard afraid to venture far from
their outposts, the caravan moving at full speed and civilizations
from ever approaching the rolling barren hills is the curse. The
curse is a name that umbrellas an entire set of problems those who go
to the Abandoned Zone face. The most common is the fading or
disappearances. Many who wonder off the trails or go into the cities
never return. No body found, no items recovered, no trace of the
person ever seen again. No one knows when someone will disappear or
how they disappear, but it is believed to have to do with the
obelisks. The obelisks call to them, is what is often heard before
someone wanders into the Zone never to return. Often a person may
have nightmares or visions of a place beyond their dimension. They
can see the beyond, the afterlife, a place everyone will go forever,
a place of old iron tunnels extending forever, the dead shuffling,
their skin bleached white, their eyes leaking black ichor. They will
be cold and alone among millions, marching endlessly in place devoid
of light, sound and smell. Those who begin to see such things
never are the same, always drawn to the obelisks, always hearing
their name whispered in the wind. Those who see and hear the visions
are lucky as there is still time to escape. It is those that fade
from reality in a blink of an eye without warning never having a
chance to escape their fate that are the truly cursed. It is rare
for large numbers of people to fade away all at once and in fact, it
is said as long as someone can see you, you can’t fade as no one has
ever witnessed a fading, but in rare cases entire populations of
outposts have disappeared. Where they go once faded no one knows
as divination, commune or even wish have revealed nothing. It is as
if they have faded from reality itself.
A second less scary though more
problematic issue of the curse is the undead. Throughout the
religion, undead seem to spawn from nothing. A perfectly empty room
one minute may have a horde of zombies in it the next minute.
Seemingly coming from nowhere, the zombies will have no clothes and
no items revealing where and when they could have came from. For this
reason, no place is ever truly safe. You never know when an undead
spawn will happen, in your sleep, in your room, your tent or your
wagon. Because of this, those who travel through the region have
at least two people on guard at all times, this way they can watch
each other for the fading and make sure undead do not rise from
nothing. Although zombies are the most common, any form of
unintelligent undead have been known to spawn.
A third issue under the curse is
Those who enter the zone can have their
minds snap at any moment and often do. The madness is slow often not
even noticeable at first and that’s the problem, because once you do
it’s too late.
Everyday someone spends in the Zone
they must roll a save starting at 0 and rising by 1 per day. Once
someone fails a save, they are disturbed - they are always nervous
and always on edge, having permanent fear of the Zone. They have
penalties to all mind based saves and skills. The saves start at 0
again and the person then continues to roll a save per day. Once they
fail, a second time they are panicked - the person sees
hallucinations at all times and must roll for insanity every hour.
Once the person fails an insanity check, they are broken and cannot
recover from their insanity until a remove curse has been cast. While
insane, they try to reach the nearest obelisk and then kill anyone
who can see them. Once alone with the obelisk, they disappear.
Because of this madness, mercenaries
rotate out of the outposts often and as soon as someone shows signs
of being disturbed, they are shipped out on the next caravan while
under the watchful eye of everyone.
Bandits/Villains and Lairs
Because of the curse, few choose to
stay out here long, this means bandits and villains hoping to create
a permanent hideaway will look elsewhere as spending more than a
month or 2 in the zone leads to crippling insanity not to mention the
ever present dangers of disappearing and undead.
Because of this, few bandits come this
far instead preparing to plunder the borders both in and out or may
out most use the zone of a temporary operation before a more stable
location can be found to do their villainy.
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Shout out to the anon who talked about mafia AUs bc the volleydorks would be in a mafia group based on their schools and kageyama wouldve been the would be heir to oikawa's title but he upped and left and they wouldve dubbed him a traitor and gah
Oh my god, I need street rat Hinata working his way through the ranks of the Murder of Crows. Don Daichi looking out for ALL his children. Hinata looking rival mob boss Ushijima in the eyes and saying “I WILL be the one to take you down.” Oikawa and his bodyguards (Seijoh third years) and their gambling den. Dateko’s cocaine ring, with Futakuchi in one of those fur coats studded with bones, and Aone behind him keeping all the riffraff away. Fuck, I need Kuroo and his organized crime ring, and Kenma the tactical advisor. FUCK I need Big Boss Bokuto ordering a hit on someone, and his second in command (who actually makes most of the decisions) Akaashi delivering the order to one of Owls. FUCK WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME?!