Monday, 24 September 2018

Notes on a Giant Tree

I am making a Yoon-Suin-based supplement set in a giant 2-mile high tree in the Mountains of the Moon. The introduction is here; I've decided to post a few further details for those who are interested.

The tree can be thought of as having four separate areas or sections: the base, the roots, the trunk, and the branches.

The base is a town built and run by six religious cults, each of whom worship an aspect of the tree:

  • The growth cult worship the asexual and non-reproductive nature of plant growth - not fecundity, but the act of getting bigger over time through the influence of the sun and rain
  • The cult of cyclical change worship the passing of the seasons and any other repetitive phenomenon, such as menstruation, the movements of celestial bodies, and seasonal events like storms, bush fires, the rainy season, and so on
  • The cult of branching worship things which increase in complexity, such as webs, networks, and also junctions and nests
  • The cult of the state of being home to many things worship the very essence of providing a habitat for life, and are interested in parasites, things which grow on other things, settlements and buildings
  • The cult of rootedness worship fixity, the quality of being stuck into the ground, such as foundations or mountains, or the quality of being difficult to move, such as heavy rocks
  • The cult of being alive but not sentient worship the state of having no conscious interaction with the world
(They will obviously have snappier names.) These cults have created a settlement around the base of the tree by dint of creating temples and shrines and other religious buildings and institutions; merchants and other outsiders are tolerated because the cultists need foodstuffs and other outside supplies, and hence over time secular ghettos have also been created under sufferance of the religious orders who are in charge.

The roots contain the vast and ancient birthing chambers of a civilization of beetle people, whose degenerate young might still be found, alongside tamasic men, mukesids, pajikots, and other entities that like to inhabit dark, damp places. 

The trunk is mapped out (see here) and contains diverse adventure sites with methods of navigation in between. There are rocs' nests (akin to those of hornbills), lichen "forests", cracks and burrows leading to networks of tunnels, wasps' nests, ant's nests, and also genuinely weird and supernatural locations like sone lairs where gravity flows sideways; platforms stuck into the bark to support towers or other buildings; sites of pilgrimage for the different religious cults, and so on. Some of the content will be pre-made; there will also be some random tables to generate new locations as desired.

The branches are a vast sphere of different settlements and locations that are often above the clouds; their contents are determined in a looser and more random-table guided way.


  1. Awesome! Can't wait to see it finished!

  2. Glad to hear you're working on it. I've gotten a lot of enjoyment out of Yoon-Suin and I'm excited to see what you come up with next.

    1. I always intended to put a pre-made dungeon in YS but there wasn't time or space in the end. It's unfinished business.

  3. How much of the "himilayian fantasy" vibes do you think will be kept here?

  4. What level, roughly speaking, is this aimed at?

    1. It will be for any level. Starters can do their adventuring in the underground and low part of the trunk. As they get higher, there is more danger.