A long time ago I came up with what I tentatively call “Shattered Grounds”. It is post-apocalyptic fantasy setting, but unlike the trope (in which magic awakes after a nuclear war), it is an actual fantasy setting that experienced a doomsday.
The – as of yet unnamed – world was a normal fantasy world with dragons, wizards, orcs and humans. It also featured a vast underworld, similar to the Underdark from Dungeons & dragons. If anything, this underworld was much more extensive, with underground caverns hundreds of kilometers across.
One day, and without warning, large sections of the surface collapsed into that underworld. The continent-sized caverns caved in, causing huge valleys and lowlands, effectively lowering leaving continent-wide, kilometer-deep scars behind. The oceans of the world flowed into the now exposed underworld, flooding much of it; consequently, with much of the water gone, the surface world turned into a vast desert. Civilization was devastated and the world was plunged into chaos and savagery…
I think the map of the collapsing world is now almost done. Of course it’s just a high scale world map, and only the surface world, but as such it’s now fairly complete. I probably need to add some detail here and there – a few more rivers, but not too many; a bunch of former islands, maybe some more cracks and canyons that cut through the surface. And finally I should place at least a handful of cities and assign different parts of the world to different races and cultures.
I am really happy how this map turned out and I can’t wait to do some regional maps. Paint.Net works quite well but it still lacks some features to make it a really “good” raster editor; still, it’s free and quite good already.
I took a short break from the Earth 2174 map because I just had to do something else… and because episode 10 of Game of Thrones gave me fantasy fever for a moment. I created a new version of the Collapsed World map, (More about the concept in that posting.)
I created the template myself, but the method I got from The Piazza’s The Edge project.
It’s clearly not done yet, and it is only the surface world (plus exposed part of the “underworld”), but I am quite happy with the map so far, I think it is definitely superior to the old one because it has more variety of terrain planned in.
Preparing my Sandbox experiment, I realized I never posted these maps. That’s a bit weird, because I like the concept.
The Impossible Earth – a working title – was once your average fantasy world, with a huge underworld hidden beneath the surface. One day, the underworld collapsed all over the planet, and in the resulting cataclysm most of civilization was destroyed.
The underworld’s caverns were so large that the world’s oceans were drained into them. In fact, this drain is still going on, with one minor ocean remaining on the surface.
The dark gray areas on the surface map are caved-in areas – here the former underworld is exposed to the sky.
The main layout of the underworld – of course countless smaller caves riddle the seemingly solid areas.
And that is how a composite of surface and underworld looks like.
I personally love this concept, and I have never heard of anybody else doing this before. I won’t be so bold as to claim this is a completely new idea of course. At any rate, I’d love to hear what you guys think of this concept!