Couple of years ago I was stoned and watching some sort of documentary about American wetlands. I'm not sure if it was Louisiana, Florida or somewhere else. But I remember people mostly traveling by boats, and there were alligators, giant snakes, and dangerous-looking redneck poachers there. I decided to put this kind of area on my campaign map, but D&D-fied and turned to eleven. And here it is, on my super-old map (that I'm preparing to redraw soon):
I called it Trupie Błota then, which roughly translates to Corpse Mud. But I never started any campaign in the area, and somehow no player has ever set foot there. It was just laying there all those years, a stoner vision of giant alligators, gargantuan anacondas, mysterious grippli tribes, a lawless and dangerous frontier where might makes right.
Soon I'll be starting a new campaign. And most of the players will either be new to D&D or haven't played since high school/uni. You see where this is going? I'm going to subject my newbies to this wonderful place. I have to flesh it out though. And give it a new name. Right now my new favourite is
I really want it to be this lawless, kinda Wild West place. So no dukes, no castles, no real cities, no well traveled roads. Instead we have Smuggler's Guild's trading posts and black markets, brown coal mining towns, monster hunting druidic circles, traveling grippli fortresses, peat fields, tar pits and shanty towns. And that's the "civilized" parts. Deep swamp is home to all the usual megafauna that immediately comes to mind...
...but also dinosaurs (especially spinosaurus, smilosuchus and cyclotosaurus), sentient moss, giant mosquitoes and giant leeches, dire otters, vodniks, fog giants, mudmen and so on.
So the next couple posts here will probably be about:
- Smuggler's Guild, which maintains some semblance of control over the Drownlands
- grippli, the frog people that use their own bodies to synthesize exotic substances, especially powerful poisons
- vodniks, or drowners – not the Witcher games variety however, but spirits of the drowned and infants who died at birth
So back onto the new campaign. My crazy plan is to use 1987 N5 Under Illefarn module as a basic adventure hook but replacing all the usual pseudo-medieval, faux-feudal NPCs with Smuggler's Guild operatives and D&D-fied Deadwood characters, lizard men with grippli, Illefarn itself with something that isn't boring, etc. And when building the bigger sandbox/hexcrawl I'm gonna steal the shit out of Bogwood Swamp from Mike Evans' Hubris – probably the coolest D&D book I've read.
And I'll also try to put Swamp Thing in there.
Because Swamp Thing is awesome.