Anyway, I've been messing around with 'Build A Dungeon From Me'. I generated a bunch of random images. I wrote a short description of each. I fed the descriptions into a randomiser to mix the order again. When I first encountered 'Build A Dungeon From Me', I had the idea that the basic concept was to take three images to make an adventure from them - I don't know why, the number three isn't mentioned on the site, maybe the suggestion came from whichever blog it was where I found out about it: anyway, I've grouped the descriptions in threes and started expanding them to make encounter zones. I'm thinking hexcrawl, like Carcosa.
Many images on 'Build A Dungeon From Me' are quite 'Carcosa-y', at least how I see Carcosa. It is by turns epic, bleak, decadent and barbaric (my version of Carcosa has more than a hint of Barsoom about it). I think it has helped me to see what Carcosa (the setting book by Geoff McKinley) can be in relation to my current campaign. I'm trying to make Carcosa a parallel world, exactly mimicking the campaign world the players are adventuring in - except it's Carcosa, so maybe not 'exactly mimicking'. It may be in the unimaginable future (but there's a problem in the theoretical possibility that our world is in the PC's future) or it may be in the unimaginable past (at the moment, this seems more likely, though it might also cause 'continuity problems'), but it should certainly be in the same 'landscape'. Either the PCs should be able to find faint traces of Carcosa in their world, or they should be able to find faint traces of their world in Carcosa.
Simply put, there is a region of the world (maybe more than one?) where Carcosa is bleeding through, into the world the PCs know. It may be that the PCs can 'bleed back' and end up in Carcosa. If I map them one-to-one, the correspondences should be obvious and will both suggest sites in the PC's world (because for example, 10,000 years after Carcosa, there should still be remnants of that horrific and brutal time, even if one of the suns has vanished), and it should give me suggestions of places where it might be possible to cross from one reality to the other (by accident or design).
I've found part of the world the PCs are in where I think I can add 'Carcosa' as I envision it - a weird wasteland where decadence and barbarism collide. The campaign-world is a stripped-down version of the 'Mystara' setting, or maybe, a version starting from the same roots as Mystara, the map of 'The Lands and Environs of the D&D Wilderness' from 1983, but not quite the Mystara that was later elaborated. The potential resting-place of Carcosa is somewhat to the west of this area, which is where most of the action has been concentrated so far (The Rift, and with it Rift City, is more or less in the centre of this map, in the south-west part of Rockhome).
|This version from Thorfinn Tate Cartography - link here|
As a result, I've been working out details of the horned Forest Witches; I've been mapping a city built on spires of rock, with a palace - or maybe a monastery, I haven't quite decided - at the centre; I've been wondering where the Prince is going on his boat on the Black River; I've been trying to determine who was the skeleton sitting on the throne, with a headdress and a giant sword?
Perhaps the PCs glimpse some towers across a lake. Perhaps they even find a scroll that refers to lost Carcosa or the King in Yellow or the Yellow Sign (oh, yeah, my Carcosa probably has more reference to R.W. Chambers' short stories than the Carcosa sourcebook does). However I do it, Carcosa needs to bleed into my players' reality. It's really just too interesting not to.