Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Hungover Map of Utolso Varos

Today I had to go through some intensive hangover recovery; this involved sitting at the kitchen table making game-related stuff, obviously. One of the projects I worked on was a resurrection of Utolso Varos, because I have ordered Reign Enchiridion and I got to thinking about what I would run with it if I had a) a regular face-to-face gaming group; b) a mic that worked so I could run it on G+; or c) time.

Anyway, I created 40 NPCs fitting for an urban sandbox and this crappy map. I have ruthlessly plundered the Hungarian language for name inspiration, because to my ear Hungarian is so completely different to English it sounds amazingly like a fantasy language.

The big island in the middle is the city itself. It covers the entire island, and is the last city on earth. From my original entry:

This, as the name suggests, is the last city on earth, and mankind has retreated to it as the world grows old and fades, and life for human beings becomes hostile. 
Like Nessus or Viriconium, Utolso Varos is almost collapsing under the weight of its own history. It is many thousands of years old, and feels it - it is decadent, listless, and resigned, although it still possesses a faded and elegant sort of beauty. It is situated on an island in the middle of a great inland sea, and beyond that sea is the wild, dying earth, peopled by beings wondrous and alien, and scattered with the ruins and remnants of the civilizations of aeons past. 
The earth has become so old that its very existence has become tattered and frayed. Time passes slowly, and the light of the sun has become flat and dull. Alien spirits and demonic things from other realities slip through the decaying fragmentary boundaries between their worlds and ours. Those who can practice magic hoard it, as if it might protect them from the inevitable end of all things. Gradually the human race dwindles, and history turns its face away.  

Surrounding it are five islands - the Isle of Agate, the Isle of Incense, the Isle of Iron, the Isle of Dreams, and the Sunken Island. The isles of Agate, Incense and Iron are the sources of those luxuries. The Isle of Dreams is believed by the population to be the source of their dreams; it is a place where the barrier between our reality and others has frayed away almost entirely, and is home to surreal illusions and weird dweomers. The Sunken Island lies below the waves and is haunted by the spirits of those who died when it sank.

Beyond the sea is The Place Without People, where there are only monsters and demons and the faint remains of what once was. The people in the city have almost no idea what is out there - only a vague sense that once, long ago, the human race belonged there but now it does not. They regard that cold, hostile, vast emptiness on the other side of the sea with a mixture of curiosity and terror.

It's depressing, but I like it.


  1. In case you are interested, I'm quite fluent in Hungarian, and if you would like to have the correct translations and pronounciations:
    The Last City: Az Utolsó Város (Az utolshaw varosh) - while correct without the "az", it's an article I'd use
    The Sunken Island: Az Elsüllyedt Sziget (Az elshüyyedt siget)
    Isle of ... - in Hungarian, the word "sziget" is added to the end, so it will become "... sziget"
    Isle of Agate: Achát Sziget (Ahat siget)
    Isle of Iron: Vas Sziget (Vash siget)
    Isle of Incense: Tömjén Sziget (Tömyane siget)
    Isle of Dreams: Álmok Szigete (Ahlmok sigete), but here I'd also use an article - Az Álmok Szigete
    The Place Without People: Az Emberek Nélküli Hely (Az emberek naylküli hey), or rather "A Néptelen Vidék" (A Nayptelen hey), it's more fitting. It's something like "people-less place / country".

    According to some modern Hungarian esoteric cults, the first people of Earth were Hungarians, so it's fitting the last people would be also them.
    It has lots of literature, here's a sample:
    It's about Hungarians who fled the sinking of Atlantis.

    Btw Hungarian was also used for fantasy language in Steven Brusts writings, in the Clone Wars cartoon (for Nelvanians), and in the Dragon Magazine's Robinson's War comics.

    1. Wow, very nice! Thanks. That idea about the Hungarians being the first people on Earth is fascinating.

    2. I see Kadmon beat me to it; anyhow, Hungarian sounding like a fantasy language is some hell of a compliment :)

  2. As a second thought, about the names of the islands:
    If you'd like to show that the goods come from them, it would be better to use articles.
    Isle X = X Sziget
    Isle of the X = A / Az X Szigete
    The A or Az depends the first letter of X - if it's a vowel, then it's Az, otherwise it's A.
    The "-e" after the "sziget" means the "of" part - it's added after the word.

    Iron Isle: Vas Sziget /Isle of the Iron: A Vas Szigete
    Agate Island: Achát Sziget / Isle of the Agate : Az Achát Szigete
    Incense Isle: Tömjén Sziget / Isle of the Incense: A Tömjén Szigete
    And I can't really imagine the Isle of Dreams, just as "Az Álmok Szigete".

    Also, for the name of Last City - Utolsó means "the last that remains" out of some more. The word Végső would mean "the last there is" or "the final one".

    You might also be interested in the ancient Hungarian alphabet:
    Although you could find more interesting theories regarding that in the Hungarian wiki article.

    Hungarian as the original language of Earth:

    The sacred mission of the Hungarian people:

    Jesus is Hungarian:

    Buddha is Hungarian:

    Some years ago I've started to collect these for some weird historical fantasy game but never got to use them.

  3. Besides your stated inspirations, have you considered how much this scenario resembles Elric in form and mood? OK, Elric had the young lands of humans, but the same ennui and sense of doom. The same central island/Atlantis motif.

    Now I've never played Reign, but have inserted sand table rules from Warhammer once or twice when I had people interested in such things. I think you could pose it as a final battle of the people from the "Savage Lands" attempting to destroy the last city, which for some reason I keep picturing as a cross between the final battle from Flash Gordon and the end scene of Beneath the Planet of the Apes with a mixed force of hawkmen, space helmet wearing gorillas, the bastard sons of Beastman, claw-handed, barrel-chested killbots, and Sean Connery clones in red diapers over running the walls.

    Run the whole campaign as a series of quests to recover a variety of weapons of horrifying power. A selection of Arks of the Covenant, Loc-nars, cases of holy hand grenades, the Wand of Orcus, a bolo tank, Shitla's pot of plagues, The Funniest Joke in the World, the really Big Gun, etc... A series of hideously powerful doomsday weapons for the final battle.

    Maybe alternate these quests with reconnaissance missions against the City's enemies, attempts to recruit allies, or best of all, make the theft of the weapon the reason one more land of circus freaks joins the alliance against them.

    Lead up to the apocalyptic battle and then either the citadel falls or it doesn't. Depending on available players, you could even bring in other people to handle the assorted invading armies in the last big dust up, and just act as referee.

    Of course in the ideal world you'd have dozens of friends with nothing to do and you'd do the whole thing with dueling campaigns where they'd compete to get the prized weapons first and never meet till the day of the final battle at which you'd arrive in your hover craft surrounded by a bevy of large-breasted bikini-clad assistant GMs with croupier's rakes in the grand style of real-estate genius Tommy Vu.

    Settle down, Gort, just settle down.