Wednesday, November 12, 2014

New Biome: Star Beast Gravelands

Cosmic megafauna swim between the stars above Centerra. Star whales, void wyrms, and thousands of sundry species. The smallest is fifty feet long. The largest can be up to half a mile.

When these star beasts feel the hand of death upon them, they migrate to a certain part of Centerra. They fall from orbit onto an area about the size of Texas. Their scintillant clathrates burn away in the atmosphere, and the exotic metals of their eyes incandesce. Finally, they hit the ground, creating a crater and sending up a huge cloud of dust. 

This is only the start of the story. As soon as the star beast impacts, millions of eyes turn to face it. There are constant clouds over the Gravelands; star corpses are the main source of food.  And correspondingly, every thing is a scavenger.

Most of the colossal corpses that impact the Gravelands belong to never-before species. Space is huge and weird, and so are the creatures that live in it. And for some reason, a great many of them prefer to beach themselves on a particular plain in Centerra.

On rare occasions, the star beast survives the fall, and the first scavengers to arrive at the blast crater are in for a nasty surprise.

The first to arrive are the carrion harpies, whose song rots the flesh and clouds the mind.

Second are the armored ape-hounds, who indulge in vast orgies atop the corpse. They will give birth to thousands of pink babies before the corpse is fully consumed.

And of course, there are the grave lice, but they've always been there.

Then the cities of the necromancers arrive.

Kel Bethor, which walks atop millions of skeletal legs, the buildings swaying with the grace of a corpse.

Kel Dravonis, which is pulled by living slaves and walking corpses (although the two are often indistinguishable). The death knights of that place compete to build the most fearsome steed. Only the youngest death knights still ride skeletal horses. The elder death knights have augmented their 'horses' so much that each monstrosity is unrecognizable as something that was once foaled.

Gulgus is the city of the insect necromancers. They ride in giant undead beetles and adorn their carapaces with corpse candles.

The cites have only a few days to war with each other and harvest precious resources from the huge corpses. After that brief period of rampant butchery, scavenging, and thievery, the eels arrive like a tide of sludge, and no other creature is foolish enough to contest them for ownership of the star corpse.