Tuesday 31 January 2023

Hex Crawl 23 #31: Lizard Lake

 Two hexes southwest, one south of Alakran.

Just before the dunelands on the dry plain sits a small lake, brackish in summer and drinkable at other times. Other animals may approach it, but the jealous landlords of this water supply are a population of giant lizards. Like the Australian thorny devil (really, this world mixes creatures from the deserts of all continents), these lizards have a terrifying spined and horned appearance. 

This, but 9 feet long nose to tail.

They cope with the saline lake by soaking in the water through their skins, which filter out the noxious sodium. In times of extreme drought they can "drink" in this manner from dew or deep damp sands. In the lizards' animal wisdom they do not camp on the lake, but allow prey to approach and drink, and then hunt them over the plains on the way back.

Sunday 29 January 2023

Hex Crawl 23 #30: The Hope of Zigmunus

Two hexes south, one southwest of Alakran.

In this trackless drift of sand, a traveler may stumble across a single branch from a juniper tree, half-buried, a bracelet of beads tangled in its needles. What's the story?


By the customs of Wahattu, a woman who feels herself wronged or mistreated, and finds no justice forthcoming from a world ruled mostly by men, may cut herself a branch of a juniper tree. Bearing this token aloft, she advances, southeast from Gesshed, into the desert, leaving everything and everyone behind. When she can wade in sand to her hip, she has entered the zone of sanctuary. If she can find the way and survive the journey, she will find asylum in the female city-state of Zigmunus, close by the Scarp, far from the land of men.

Juniper Tree By Plateau Free Stock Photo - Public Domain Pictures
A juniper tree


The hybrid female monsters who roam that desert are constrained by duty to allow juniper-bearing women passage, and to persecute anyone else who follows them or strays into the sands. Still, this duty comes with varied reactions to any given refugee. At times, the guardians will test, frighten, or confuse the seeker. Other times they offer aid, or point the way east.

All those legends, and a likely tragedy unwritten and unheard, will jump to the mind of they who know the ways of Wahattu, when they see that lone juniper branch stuck in the sand.

Hex Crawl 23 #29: Statues in the Sand

 Three hexes south of Alakran.


More of Kallatu's unfortunate male statues (hex #14) arrayed as trophies, as warnings, but the dunes have drifted around each of the statues. Specifically, each statue is d10 feet deep in sand, which may conceal it entirely. Although the sand has eroded them more plentifully than the hilltop statues, long entombment in a deep drift can protect over long years, so there is no net difference.

Perhaps these men can be restored as statues before they are turned back to flesh - never mind if that goal is a good idea? No mundane sculptor or plasterer would do. That would just end up as botched plastic surgery. The magic of stone shape would do it, for sure. Perhaps centuries as a stone statue has made them raving, or bitter, or violent. Perhaps the experience has instead leached those qualities away from them, left them stoic and cold, reflecting on their former existence as a comet looks back on a receding sun.