In the vast, desolate expanse of the Salted Lands, a necromantic kingdom known as the Forsaken of Bhaal reigns supreme. This kingdom draws its inspiration from the cultural amalgamation of Ancient Carthage, modern Tunisia, WW2 desert warfare, and the arcane mysteries. Its heart is Necropolis Nexus, a city rooted in the ruins of El Djem, hosting the eerie Amphitheatre of Shadows. The Forsaken of Bhaal are powerful yet capricious rulers, bearing a relentless bitterness from lives denied normality.
The Salted Lands are governed by the dread magistrates, the Forsaken of Bhaal. Their rule combines aspects of tyrannical Carthaginian leadership with the mystic authority of necromancy. The capital, Necropolis Nexus, stands as a grand seat of power and mystique, preserving the region's eerie majesty.
The society of the Salted Lands harmonizes elements of the living and the undead, albeit with tempered relations. It echoes the echoes of ancient Carthaginian traditions, the bustling marketplaces of modern Tunisia, and remnants of WW2 superstitions. This amalgamation is showcased within the city's Salted Oasis, Specter's Tavern, Sandswept Monastery, Dread Market Plaza, and the Eternal Bazaar of Artifacts.
Carthaginian Coin Offerings: In historical Tunisia, offerings of coins and other valuables were made to honor the deceased. In the Salted Lands, this practice has evolved into a form of currency for the undead. These special coins, adorned with necromantic symbols, serve as both a medium of exchange and a means of appeasing the restless spirits.
Mystical Desert Pilgrimages: Historically, desert pilgrimages were made to connect with the natural and spiritual world. In the Salted Lands, these pilgrimages have taken on a necromantic aspect. Travelers journey to ancient, mystical sites where the boundaries between life and death are blurred, seeking to commune with the undead and gain forbidden knowledge.
Relationship with the Living and Adventurers:
Unlike their North American counterparts, the Forsaken of Bhaal in the Salted Lands have not declared war on the living. Instead, they foster pragmatic partnerships with living communities, serving as protectors against the malevolent Void Covenant. They welcome adventurers, offering protection and quests in exchange for their skills, knowledge, and artifacts. Their mystic bargains and enigmatic culture are alluring to those who dare to seek enlightenment or profit.
Necromancy and the Salted Lands:
Necromancy is the lifeblood of the Salted Lands. Ancient Carthaginian rituals are woven into daily practices, as necromancers train living apprentices to master the art of necromancy. The mystical Necro-Opera House stands as a hub for soul-capturing rituals and arcane enlightenment.
In ancient Carthage, blood sacrifices were performed to appease deities. In the Salted Lands, these rituals have evolved into necromantic practices. The Forsaken of Bhaal use blood magic to resurrect fallen warriors, offering the life force of enemies as a sacrifice to bring the undead back to life. It's a dark and twisted form of renewal and power enhancement.
Phoenician Alphabet of Shadows: Phoenician scripts were vital in ancient Carthaginian culture. In the Salted Lands, this writing system has been adapted to create the "Phoenician Alphabet of Shadows." This script is used for inscribing necromantic spells, sealing crypts, and writing enchanted scrolls. It's a language of death and dark incantations.
Festival of the Eternal Reckoning: Ancient Carthage had festivals to honor gods and celebrate the harvest. In the Salted Lands, the Festival of the Eternal Reckoning is a necromantic celebration. It marks the period when the barrier between the living and the undead is at its thinnest. It's a time for communicating with ancestral spirits, resurrecting fallen soldiers, and conducting rituals to strengthen the Forsaken's power.
Recycling of WW2 Technology as Necromancy:
WW2 technology, a testament to the Desert War, has been resurrected as a conduit for necromantic might. Tanks and weaponry have been reanimated to serve as both guardians and offensive weapons, patrolling the borders against the encroaching Void Covenant.
Magic courses through the land like the Saharan winds. It is manifested through spells such as Sirocco's Sandstorm, the veil of Berber's Ward, or the Sand Serpent's Grasp. These spells, inspired by Tunisia's modern mystique and Ancient Carthaginian practices, offer adventurers a unique, flavorful experience.
A list of reskinned spells inspired by Ancient Carthage, WW2 superstitions, and modern Tunisia, providing a distinct feel to the magic of the Salted Lands.
· Sirocco's Sandstorm (Reskinned Control Winds): A conjured sandstorm that blinds and disorients foes, inspired by the desert's fury.
· Berber's Ward (Reskinned Protection from Energy): Shields the target with the essence of Berber resilience against extreme temperatures and elements.
· Salt of the Earth (Reskinned Stoneskin): The target's skin hardens, taking on the texture of ancient Carthaginian stonework, providing resistance to damage.
· Tunisian Mirage (Reskinned Mirror Image): Creates illusory duplicates that shift like mirages, making the caster difficult to target.
· Phoenician Glyph (Reskinned Glyph of Warding): Inscribes a necromantic symbol to protect an area or object, triggering various effects when disturbed.
· Veil of Carthaginian Silence (Reskinned Silence): Envelops an area in an eerie silence, making all sound muffled, much like the crypts of Ancient Carthage.
· Desert Mirage Walk (Reskinned Dimension Door): Allows the caster to step through a shimmering desert mirage, quickly repositioning themselves.
· Ancestral Whispers (Reskinned Speak with Dead): Opens a channel to the wisdom of the ancestors for guidance and knowledge.
· WW2 Tank Tread (Reskinned Haste): Grants the target speed and agility akin to a WW2 desert tank, making them faster and harder to hit.
· Sand Serpent's Grasp (Reskinned Web): Conjures a shifting web of enchanted sand to entangle and immobilize foes.
· Necromancer's Insight (Reskinned Detect Magic): Reveals the presence of necromantic auras and magic within a given area.
· Scorched Earth (Reskinned Fireball): Unleashes a burst of fiery energy, leaving a scorching area in its wake, inspired by the arid landscapes of Tunisia.
· Berber Bazaar's Bounty (Reskinned Leomund's Secret Chest): Safely hides valuable items in an extradimensional pocket, often used by adventurers for secure storage.
· Sahara's Shelter (Reskinned Tiny Hut): Creates a transparent shelter, much like a Bedouin tent, providing protection from the elements.
· Gibbering Jinni's Tongue (Reskinned Tongues): Grants the ability to comprehend and speak all languages, much like the diverse cultures of modern Tunisia.
· Sands of Time (Reskinned Slow): Slows the passage of time for a target, making their actions sluggish and uncertain.
· Void Covenant's Bane (Reskinned Protection from Evil and Good): Provides protection against the sinister influence of the Void Covenant's insectoid legions.
· Carthaginian Resurgence (Reskinned Resurrection): Brings the deceased back to life, invoking the power of Carthaginian rebirth.
· Tunisian Spice Infusion (Reskinned Heroism): Boosts a target's courage and resilience with the flavors and mystique of Tunisian c uisine.
· Desert Mirage Cloak (Reskinned Invisibility): Shrouds the caster in illusions mirroring desert mirages, rendering them invisible to onlookers.
Locations of Note:
Cities of the Dead: Ancient Carthage was known for its cemetery-like, sacred burial grounds within the city. In the Salted Lands, these necropolises have been transformed into thriving cities for the undead. The necromantic architecture of these cities is a stark contrast to the barren desert surroundings, with structures built from enchanted bones and mortuary magic. These dot the salted lands where are both historical locations as well as new one created since the time of Hodgepocalypse
1. The Bardo Museum: Located outside the Salted Lands, the Bardo Museum is a renowned repository of Tunisian history and art. The Forsaken have a keen interest in the museum, as it holds artifacts related to Carthaginian culture, offering potential alliances or diplomatic missions between the living and the undead.
2. Chott el Jerid Salt Flats: The Chott el Jerid, a vast salt flat, stretches as far as the eye can see. The shimmering, blinding expanse poses both a treacherous obstacle and a vital resource. Salt extraction and salt-dwelling creatures, reanimated through necromantic rituals, make this eerie landscape their home.
3. The Desert Cantina of Unseen Stars: A cantina, nestled in the outskirts of the Void Covenant's territory, was once a filming location for an intergalactic saga. Now, under a legally distinct name, the cantina serves as a meeting point for traders, travelers, and a peculiar assortment of species of all kinds for often nefarious purposes.
4. Veil of the Silent Dunes: The Veil, a colossal sand dune formation, stretches across the landscape, an imposing natural barrier between the living and the undead. This enigmatic terrain is shrouded in a perpetual sandstorm, concealing the secrets of ancient Carthaginian ruins and hiding ancient relics.
5. The Labyrinthine Catacombs of Carthage: Beneath the ancient city of Carthage, a labyrinth of catacombs weaves throughout the earth, containing forgotten Carthaginian relics, necromantic artifacts, and mystical secrets. The Forsaken covet these catacombs as a source of unparalleled power.
6. The Oasis of Eternal Serenity: Located to the south of the Salted Lands, this oasis is a refuge of beauty and tranquility. Its crystal-clear waters serve as a respite for the living and the dead alike, offering a temporary escape from the harsh desert.
7. The Whispering Tombs of Lost Kings: Far to the west, the Whispering Tombs harbor the remains of Carthaginian rulers. An aura of eerie silence surrounds the ancient burial grounds, but adventurers who dare explore them may unearth hidden relics and unlock the whispers of the past.
Sandbox City - Necropolis Nexus:
Necropolis Nexus, the sprawling city at the heart of the Salted Lands, is a metropolis steeped in history and divided into distinct districts, each shaped by the echoes of its past.
The city's central district, known as the "Eerie Abyss," stands as the historical core, preserving the grandeur of the Amphitheatre of Shadows. Here, the Forsaken of Bhaal hold court in the ancient arena, their citadel a dark reflection of Carthaginian power. The Abyss serves as the political and mystical hub of Necropolis Nexus, with government buildings and esoteric academies. It's a place where the living and the undead engage in necromantic rituals, political intrigue, and performances that draw travelers from far and wide.
The Amphitheatre of Shadows: Plot Hook: The Forsaken of Bhaal have commissioned a grand performance for a mysterious and esteemed guest arriving in the city. As talented adventurers, you are tasked with uncovering the secrets surrounding the guest and ensuring the performance goes smoothly, all while navigating the eerie shadows that reside within the amphitheatre.
Crypts of the Forsaken: Plot Hook: A band of grave robbers has been desecrating the resting places of the Forsaken rulers, causing unrest among the undead residents of the Abyss. The Forsaken implore you to put an end to these grave robbings and discover the culprits behind this sacrilege.
The Citadel of Bhaal: Plot Hook: A faction of necromancers seeks to seize control of the city by awakening a long-dormant, immensely powerful undead creature buried beneath the citadel. The Forsaken entrust you to thwart this scheme and protect their dominion.
The Veiled Council Chamber: Plot Hook: A series of disappearances among the council members has cast a shadow of distrust over the Forsaken's leadership. The council seeks outsiders to investigate these mysterious vanishing acts and restore faith in the Veiled Council.
The Shades' Archives: Plot Hook: The archives, which house knowledge spanning centuries, are rumored to conceal a hidden vault of forbidden tomes. The Forsaken themselves have expressed interest in a specific grimoire, and adventurers are commissioned to recover it discreetly.
Necro-Academy of Shadows: Plot Hook: A cryptic cult has infiltrated the Necro-Academy, where they intend to perform a forbidden ritual to unleash a dark entity that threatens the city. The Forsaken implore you to infiltrate the academy and stop this nefarious plot.
The Hollowed Plaza: Plot Hook: In the heart of the district, the Hollowed Plaza is a gathering place for both the living and the dead. A series of mysterious deaths has cast a pall over the plaza, and you are hired to investigate the source of these supernatural occurrences.
The Eternal Watchtower: Plot Hook: A sentinel atop the tower has gone mad, casting curses and necromantic spells across the city. The Forsaken request your assistance in neutralizing this rogue sentinel and ending the chaos it has caused.
Shadowsworn Cathedral: Plot Hook: A rare celestial alignment is said to be imminent, offering a unique opportunity to harness celestial energy. The Forsaken desire to harness this power for their own purposes and task you with gathering the components required for the ritual.
Eclipsed Abyss Tavern: Plot Hook: The city's most renowned tavern serves as a hub for rumors and secrets. The Forsaken, seeking to uncover a clandestine plot against the Veiled Council, request your services in gathering information and identifying potential conspirators who frequent the Eclipsed Abyss.
The "Mystic Bazaar" district
pays homage to the thriving marketplaces of modern Tunisia, the living heart of the city. Labyrinthine souks bustle with vendors peddling enchanted artifacts, necromantic potions, and mystical relics, amidst colorful tents and stalls. This district is also home to the enigmatic Specter's Tavern, where spirits and the living gather to trade stories and seek employment, blending the histories of Ancient Carthage, modern Tunisia, and necromantic traditions.
Silk Veil Emporium: Plot Hook: A powerful, enchanted silk veil with the ability to conceal the wearer's identity is rumored to be available for purchase. The Forsaken are interested in obtaining this artifact for clandestine operations and hire you to acquire it discreetly.
Cursed Curiosities Cart: Plot Hook: A cart in the bazaar is said to house an assortment of curiosities, some of which are cursed and dangerous. The Forsaken fear these items might fall into the wrong hands, and they request you to investigate the cart, neutralize any threats, and secure the most perilous objects.
Benevolent Djinn's Teahouse: Plot Hook: The teahouse, frequented by both the living and the undead, is rumored to have a resident benevolent djinn. Adventurers are hired to negotiate with the djinn and request a wish on behalf of the Forsaken.
Harmonious Harmoniums: Plot Hook: The music shop specializes in harmoniums with enchanting melodies. The Forsaken require a specific harmonium said to have a unique power over spirits. You are tasked with identifying and acquiring this instrument for them.
Phantom Mask Masquerade: Plot Hook: A mystical mask vendor claims to possess a mask that allows the wearer to see and communicate with spirits. The Forsaken wish to study this artifact and require you to procure it for them.
Mystic Spice Merchant: Plot Hook: The spice merchant offers a rare and otherworldly blend said to have potent mystical properties. The Forsaken are intrigued by the spice's potential applications and enlist you to purchase a sample for them.
Enchanted Textiles Treasures: Plot Hook: A shopkeeper sells textiles woven with mystical runes, rumored to provide protection from curses. The Forsaken request you to acquire these textiles for their crypts' preservation.
Whispering Pet Emporium: Plot Hook: A shop specializes in exotic, spectral pets. The Forsaken are interested in a particular spectral creature rumored to have unique abilities. Your task is to acquire and safely transport this rare pet to them.
Necro-Artist Collective: Plot Hook: The collective of necro-artists creates eerie sculptures and paintings infused with necromantic magic. The Forsaken desire an artistic piece that has caught their attention, and you are hired to negotiate its purchase.
The Oracles' Alley: Plot Hook: A hidden alley is believed to host a gathering of oracles with the ability to peer into the future. The Forsaken wish to consult an oracle for knowledge of a potential threat to their dominion and engage you to arrange a meeting with the oracles.
To the east, the "Phantasmal Quarter" recreates the elegant architecture of Carthaginian times. Marble columns and ghostly apparitions fill the streets, with necromantic academies and libraries hidden within. This district echoes the arcane and historical influence of Ancient Carthage, where aspiring necromancers study the rituals and secrets of the Salted Lands. It is also the site of the Necro-Opera House, a place where the spirits of the dead put on haunting performances and where adventurers may find themselves intertwined in otherworldly quests.
Marble Halls of Reckoning: Plot Hook: A clandestine order of necromancers seeks to invoke an ancient curse buried beneath the marble floors. The Forsaken, fearing the dire consequences, enlist your aid to uncover their plot and prevent the curse's release.
Ethereal Arcanum: Plot Hook: An eccentric scholar believes a tome containing the secrets of ancient Carthaginian necromancy resides within the Arcanum. The Forsaken offer substantial rewards for anyone who can retrieve this coveted tome, rumored to have the power to control the dead.
Specter's Synod: Plot Hook: The Specter's Synod, a council of ethereal apparitions, seeks a living representative to aid them in negotiating an accord with the Forsaken. As a living mediator, you are tasked with bridging the gap between these spectral entities and the Forsaken rulers.
Silent Echo Library: Plot Hook: The library, known for its mystic texts, has gone eerily quiet. The Forsaken believe that the spirits of ancient Carthaginian scholars have been awakened, and they request your assistance in quelling this ethereal uprising and restoring the library's serenity.
Necro-Alchemical Atelier: Plot Hook: A nefarious alchemist within the Atelier has been experimenting with creating forbidden elixirs that threaten to unleash chaos. The Forsaken wish to halt these experiments and employ your skills to eliminate the alchemist's threat.
The Ethereal Mausoleum: Plot Hook: A rogue spirit has defiled the resting place of an ancient Carthaginian hero, resulting in an angry spectral uprising. The Forsaken entreat you to quell this spirit and bring peace back to the mausoleum.
Wraithweaver's Emporium: Plot Hook: An elusive merchant known as the Wraithweaver holds an exclusive auction for valuable necromantic relics. The Forsaken wish to secure a specific artifact, and you are employed to outbid rival collectors and ensure its acquisition.
Veilshaper's Sanctuary: Plot Hook: The elusive Veilshapers, who wield the power to manipulate illusions, have come under threat from rogue illusionists. The Forsaken task you with safeguarding their sanctuary and preserving the delicate balance of power.
Haunting Archives: Plot Hook: The Archives, a repository of spirits' memories, are being targeted by a malevolent entity seeking to erase critical knowledge. The Forsaken call upon you to protect this invaluable repository and investigate the entity's origin.
Arcane Memorial: Plot Hook: The Arcane Memorial stands as a grand mausoleum, harboring the souls of ancient necromancers. A mysterious series of disappearances of living visitors has left the Forsaken bewildered. You are requested to investigate the Memorial's secrets and ensure the safety of future visitors.
Necropolis Nexus is a city marked by the layers of time, where the ancient, the modern, and the necromantic converge, inviting adventurers to uncover the enigmatic stories and deep magic woven throughout its districts.
Reinterpreting the Corpseman
The following is how to reskin the corpseman in the book of danger to reflect the necromantic constructs of the salted lands:
1. Bloat Corpse (Bloated Behemoth): Adaptation: Bloat Corpses in the Salted Lands are resurrected and augmented with dark necromantic magic, making them even more resilient and grotesque. They serve as formidable siege engines, capable of unleashing noxious gases or corrosive substances upon the enemy.
2. Bone Mine (Necrotic Sappers): Adaptation: Bone Mines are used as stealthy infiltrators by the Forsaken of Bhaal. Augmented with arcane abilities, they can phase in and out of the ethereal plane, making them excellent scouts and saboteurs in the desert terrain.
3. Brigadier (Reanimated Strategists): Adaptation: Brigadiers are the tactical masterminds of the Salted Lands. With their enhanced intellect, they lead undead troops into battle, coordinating magical attacks and maneuvers inspired by both WW2 tank warfare and dark necromancy.
4. Flesh Eater (Necrophagic Devourer): Adaptation: Flesh Eaters serve as guardians of forbidden knowledge and ancient artifacts in the Salted Lands. Enhanced with necrotic magic, they possess the ability to absorb and channel the life force of intruders into protective spells and barriers.
5. Ground Pounder (Bonecrusher Enforcers): Adaptation: Ground Pounders are the enforcers and heavy shock troops of the Salted Lands. They are further augmented with durable skeletal armor, making them nearly impervious to conventional attacks. They wield powerful, rune-etched weapons inspired by WW2 technology.
6. Lieutenant (Skeletal Strategists): Adaptation: Lieutenants are elevated to serve as field commanders and advisors to the Dread Magistrates. With their expanded understanding of military tactics and the arcane, they coordinate attacks and defenses with a blend of WW2 tank warfare precision and necromantic might.
7. Parameat (Cadaverous Messengers): Adaptation: Parameats are used for long-range communication and magical surveillance. Augmented with the ability to send messages across vast distances via a mystical connection to the Salted Lands' network, they also function as scouts and magical lookouts.
8. Recruits (Resurrected Soldiers): Adaptation: Recruits, resurrected from fallen soldiers of past wars, are now infused with dark necromantic powers. They serve as the backbone of the Salted Lands' military forces, trained in WW2-inspired formations and tactics.
9. Sawbones (Necromedic Surgeons): Adaptation: Sawbones play a critical role in the Salted Lands, mending the wounds of the undead and maintaining their magical vitality. These skilled healers are granted additional necromantic abilities, enabling them to resurrect fallen undead soldiers on the battlefield.
10. Skull at Arms (Sentinel of the Forsaken): Adaptation: Skull at Arms are personal guardians and loyal protectors of the Dread Magistrates. Enhanced with enchanted armor and weaponry, they form an elite unit that showcases the fusion of WW2 technology with dark necromantic might.
1. Phantasmal Panzer Corpses: These are necromantic tanks created from the remains of WW2-era armored vehicles. Resurrected and upgraded with dark magic, they possess spectral abilities, such as phase shifting and ethereal strikes, making them formidable in both offensive and defensive roles.
2. Dust Drifters: These Corpsemen are specialized in desert warfare, utilizing sand manipulation abilities. They can create sandstorms to blind enemies and unearth hidden traps in the desert terrain.
3. Scorpion Riders: These undead warriors have been infused with the essence of desert scorpions, giving them a venomous touch and the ability to summon swarms of scorpions in battle.
4. Cursed Artillerists: These Corpsemen are equipped with necromantic artillery inspired by WW2 weaponry. Their cursed cannons fire shells imbued with dark magic, causing both physical and magical devastation to the enemy.
5. Sand Serpent Mages: These Corpsemen have harnessed the essence of desert serpents. They can summon and control sand serpents, which can burrow through the desert to surprise and immobilize foes.
Reskinned versions of the Corpseman legions, which now embody the essence of WW2, as well as a newly added necromantic tank resurrected with magic to patrol the borders of the Salted Lands.
The Salted Lands Taxi Service:
In the Salted Lands, the Forsaken of Bhaal have repurposed an ingenious system inspired by the British spy network during WW2 desert tank warfare. They've created an "undead taxi service" that uses reanimated soldiers as messengers and operatives, resembling the efficient communication network used by British forces during the war. They end up pretty much anywhere on the continent, but usually stick to northern Africa throughout the sahara having little regard for other countries sovereignty.
How It Works:
Reanimated soldiers, who were once part of the Tank Brigade of the Corpseman, serve as messengers and covert agents. These undead operatives are known for their unwavering loyalty and resilience. They move stealthily through the desert, providing information, carrying important messages, and conducting reconnaissance on behalf of the Forsaken.
Efficiency and Loyalty:
Just as the British utilized the "Long Range Desert Group" (LRDG) for their expert knowledge of the desert terrain, the undead taxi service capitalizes on the soldiers' prior familiarity with the landscape and their ability to navigate harsh conditions with ease. These operatives, driven by their loyalty to the Forsaken and their unswerving sense of duty, are a reliable means of communication in the challenging desert environment.
Plot Hooks of the Salted Lands:
· Rescue Mission: Adventurers may be tasked with rescuing a stranded undead taxi operative, potentially leading to discoveries about the Forsaken's plans or newfound alliances.
· Message Intercept: Competing factions or the Void Covenant could aim to intercept an important message being carried by an undead operative, setting the stage for a race to obtain vital information.
· Alliance Negotiations: The living may seek to form an alliance with the Forsaken and their undead taxi service, initiating diplomatic missions and negotiations that require the protection of these operatives.
The undead taxi service, inspired by historical elements from WW2 desert tank warfare, adds a unique and engaging layer to your Hodgepocalypse world, enhancing communication, intrigue, and storytelling possibilities within the Salted Lands and beyond.