Saturday, November 25, 2023

Hodgepocalypse Africa - Part 6 - The Sahara


The single greatest feature of the continent is the Sahara, but it has changed drastically in the wake of the Hodgepocalypse. Stretching from the Mediterranean to the south, where it is bordered by the Sahel, a strip of dry savannah, the Sahara has been transformed into a landscape of mystery and peril.


When most people in the Hodgepocalypse think of the Sahara, if at all, they envision seas of sand, blistering heat, and a land of incredible inhospitality. While this perception is not strictly untrue, the reality is far more nuanced. The land is now mainly rocky stone plateaus intertwined with vast areas covered by sand dunes. This territory is shaped by anomalous weather phenomena, such as wind or rare rainfall, which have given rise to a range of bizarre features including sand dunes, dune fields, sand seas, stone plateaus, gravel plains, dry valleys, dry lakes, and salt flats.


The Hodgepocalypse has brought about a series of environmental anomalies, turning the Sahara into a realm of enigma and danger. Here are some of these anomalies:

Environmental Hazards from Book of Danger: The Sahara now experiences a range of environmental hazards, including relentless heatwaves (pretty much the default state), unpredictable windstorms, and a peculiar phenomenon known as the Weird Warp.

Oasis Dimensional Gauntlets: In the tradition of the Mirage, most dimensional gauntlets have taken on the appearance of oases. These oases may seem like a welcome respite until you attempt to leave, only to discover that you have been transported to another dimension. Despite the risks, adventurers often seek these out for the thrill and the potential loot that might be hidden within.

Terrorsaur Hot Spots

In the wake of the Hodgepocalypse, the Sahara has metamorphosed into a crucible for the birth of Terrorsaurs, and certain locales have acquired sinister renown for unleashing these nightmarish creatures upon the world:

Isle of Wight, Egypt:

Nestled within the desolate heart of Egypt's Western Desert lies the enigmatic Isle of Wight, a land shrouded in eerie geological history. This remote isle, far from human civilization, has been blessed or cursed, depending on your perspective, with glimpses into the depths of the Cretaceous period. Its arid expanses have yielded fossils that defy comprehension, relics from an age when colossal reptilian titans roamed the Earth. Now, in the wake of the Hodgepocalypse, the very bedrock of this desolate isle has sprung to life, birthing mighty Terrorsaurs with a taste for chaos. These primeval beings have become the undisputed masters of this peculiar isle, and those who dare to tread upon its wind-swept sands do so at their peril.

Kem Kem Beds, Morocco:

The Kem Kem Beds in Morocco, renowned for housing the remains of ancient giants like Spinosaurus and their fellow prehistoric behemoths, have borne witness to a disturbing transformation in the Hodgepocalypse's wake. The predatory might of these colossal predators was once confined to the pages of history, but now, the sands of the Kem Kem Beds have turned sinister. The Terrorsaurs, born from the restless spirits of these ancient creatures, have risen to prowl the arid landscapes once more. With their sharp fangs and unquenchable hunger, they menace the region, turning it into a realm of dread. Those who venture into these desolate sands must be prepared to confront both the ancient and the newly arisen terrors, a task that is no less formidable than contending with time itself.

The Richat Structure

In the Hodgepocalypse-modified Northern Africa, the Richat Structure, once an interesting geological curiosity, has become an even more peculiar and enigmatic phenomenon:

Energy Source: The Richat Structure has become a focal point for otherworldly energy. It emits a mesmerizing, pulsating light from its center, and this energy has inexplicable effects on the environment and those who approach it. This energy can be harnessed for various purposes, from powerful spellcasting to unique technological advancements.

Interdimensional Portal: The Hodgepocalypse has turned the Richat Structure into a portal to other dimensions. At certain times, when the conditions are right, the eye of the structure opens up like a rift to an alternate reality, allowing beings and creatures from other dimensions to pass through. This phenomenon is a constant source of wonder and danger for those who reside nearby.  It is believed that this was the place that the Void Covenant originally came through, but it is currently unfounded.

Time Distortion: Within the confines of the Richat Structure, time operates differently. Minutes can stretch into hours, or days can pass like mere moments. Adventurers who venture into the structure must be cautious, as it becomes a realm where the past, present, and future seem to overlap, making navigation and survival a complex challenge.

Evolving Landscape: The terrain around the Richat Structure is in a constant state of transformation. Mountains rise and fall, forests appear and disappear, and rivers change their courses overnight. This ever-shifting landscape adds a layer of unpredictability to the region, and its ability to adapt to various ecosystems and environments makes it a unique and treacherous ecosystem.

Dimensional Echoes: The echoes of events and entities from other dimensions occasionally manifest in and around the Richat Structure. These dimensional echoes can be benevolent or malevolent, offering insights, cryptic warnings, or threats to those who can perceive them.

Guardians of the Eye: Sentient guardians, creatures of incredible power, have emerged to protect the Richat Structure. These guardians, influenced by the Hodgepocalypse, are enigmatic and challenging to communicate with. They defend the structure from any who would exploit its strange properties, but they may also offer knowledge or assistance to those they deem worthy.

Temporal Nexus: The Richat Structure is a focal point for temporal anomalies. Temporal loops, where events from the past and future replay endlessly, can be observed here. Travelers may encounter themselves in the past or future, creating paradoxes and complex moral dilemmas.

Other Locations of Note

Apart from these anomalies, Northern Africa now harbors other intriguing locations:

Crystal Forest of the Void: In an area where the Sahara meets the Sahel, there's a remarkable phenomenon known as the "Crystal Forest." Crystals of various sizes and colors have grown from the ground, and these crystals are not just beautiful but also hold unique properties. Some can harness energy from other dimensions, while others have healing or destructive powers. The Void Covenant is keenly interested in this location.  They are believed to be a species of living crystal not unlike the massive crystal forests of the boreal region of north America.

Deserted Fortresses: Throughout Northern Africa, remnants of medieval desert fortresses can be found. These fortresses have been repurposed into insect hives, with the insects using the walls and towers as their nesting sites. These insect hives can be both a resource and a danger for those who venture too close.

Duat's Reach: The mystical realm of Duat, traditionally confined to Egyptian mythology, has manifested its influence in the heart of the Sahara. Here, the boundary between the living and the afterlife blurs, creating eerie and unpredictable phenomena. Lost souls and spirits can be encountered, and the ruins of ancient Egyptian temples are rumored to serve as gateways to the underworld, providing both peril and opportunities for the brave.

Lost Cities:  The sands have many secrets and many towns across history and even time and space can now be found there.  Roman Ghost Cities, Lost cities of the Nigerien Sahara, Timgrad, Gamara, Zaranj, Khami, and Kufra, and the Lost City of Ubar are just some examples of such locations.  They are often occupied temporarily by new inhabitants before they inevitably return to the sands of time and space.

Mirage Bazaar: An ephemeral marketplace appears at unpredictable intervals within the desert. Traders, both human and supernatural, gather to exchange rare artifacts, knowledge, and exotic goods. However, the marketplace's transient nature and the ever-present risk of being lost in the desert make it a high-stakes location.

Mystic Spire of Nubia: In Nubia, a towering spire has emerged from the desert sands, seemingly unaffected by time. This spire is a hub for sorcerers and scholars who wish to study and harness the Hodgepocalypse's magical energies for their own purposes. It's a place of great intrigue and danger, as its secrets are guarded by powerful beings.

Nomad's Haven: A remote, hidden oasis has become a sanctuary for nomadic tribes and travelers, seemingly immune to the influence of the Hodgepocalypse. Rumors suggest that it may be safeguarded by a powerful guardian or deity, making it a sought-after refuge and trading hub for those aware of its existence.

Salted Lands Enclave: Amid the salt flats and dry valleys of the Sahara, there exists an isolated enclave where the Salted Lands have extended their reach. In this area, the salt has unusual properties, and it's rumored that rare and valuable substances can be extracted from it. However, the influence of the Salted Lands also brings about strange transformations in living creatures, leading to bizarre flora and fauna.

Solar Collective Sites: Amid this transformed landscape, automated solar collection sites have sprung up, run by mysterious robotic entities. These sites are often focal points for exploration and discovery, but they may also hide secrets and potential dangers, as the robots have been affected by the Hodgepocalypse in unpredictable ways.

Void Covenant Outpost: The Void Covenant, typically associated with otherworldly dimensions, has established an outpost within the rocky plateaus of Northern Africa. This outpost acts as a conduit for interdimensional travel, and its presence has led to the emergence of mysterious portals, which adventurers seek to explore despite the inherent dangers of the unknown realms beyond.

Wadi Al Hitan:  Also known as "Whale Valley," has been transformed into a surreal and unsettling site. The fossils of ancient whales, once preserved in this desert location, have now taken on a life of their own. These skeletal remains move, emitting eerie, otherworldly sounds, and at night, they assemble into ghostly specters. The valley is rumored to be a gateway to the underwater realm, attracting those seeking to explore this hauntingly beautiful, but perilous, domain where time, space, and dimensions are warped and where the whales of old may still roam.

White Natural Gas:  There are a number of the largest natural gas deposits on the planet that are ripe for mining purposes and are coveted by those that understand their value.  While some of been long since tapped out, the Hodgepocalypse has renewed many of these fields in Algeria, Egypt and Libya.  It has also attracted Naphtha Nereids and other stranger creatures to be the basis of an entire ecosystem.


Desert Legends

1.       The Lost Caravan of Gold: Legend has it that a massive, golden caravan, laden with treasures, was lost in the vast dunes of the Sahara centuries ago. This treasure is said to be more than just material wealth; it's believed to hold otherworldly powers. In the Hodgepocalypse, this legend could resurface as adventurers and factions vie for control of the caravan's location, sensing that its unearthly secrets may have been awakened.

2.       The Whispering Sands: A well-known desert legend tells of the Whispering Sands, a stretch of dunes where the shifting sands seem to produce eerie, melodious sounds that can lull travelers into a trance or guide them to hidden locations. In the Hodgepocalypse, these sands might have gained a newfound, mysterious power, influencing the minds and actions of those who traverse them.

3.       The Desert Djinn: According to Sahara folklore, powerful desert spirits, known as Djinn, inhabit hidden oases and remote caverns. They can either be benevolent, offering wisdom and aid, or malevolent, creating sandstorms and leading travelers astray. In the Hodgepocalypse, these Djinn could play a pivotal role, serving as enigmatic allies or formidable foes with their own hidden agendas.

4.       The Tomb of Eternal Night: Legends speak of a hidden tomb in the heart of the Sahara, known as the Tomb of Eternal Night, which is said to house a treasure of unimaginable value. However, disturbing this tomb is rumored to unleash a malevolent force that could bring eternal darkness to the world. In the Hodgepocalypse, this legend could become a central quest, with various factions and adventurers seeking the tomb for different reasons.

5.       The City of Glass: Sahara folklore tells of a city made entirely of glass hidden beneath the desert. This city is said to have been a bastion of advanced knowledge and technology. In the Hodgepocalypse, this legend could become a reality, with the Glass City reemerging as a place of both wonder and danger, where ancient technologies are reactivated and strange entities guard its secrets.

6.       The Luminous Scarab: A mythical luminous scarab beetle is said to roam the Sahara, its glowing shell guiding travelers to safety. In the Hodgepocalypse, this legendary creature might become a symbol of hope and guidance in the harsh desert, or a living artifact with mysterious powers, able to lead individuals through the surreal and ever-changing landscape.

7.       Purity’s Soldiers: In the hushed whispers of the Hodgepocalypse, a perplexing myth endures, one that tells of a legion of soldiers who have been plucked from the annals of history or yanked from the grip of death itself. These spectral warriors, it is said, bear a singular obsession — the pursuit of ethnic purity, a haunting fixation that beckons them across time and space. Their spectral banners are adorned with symbols of a war long lost, a conflict steeped in the mysteries of ages past.

Vertical cities:  These were created throughout the 21st and 22nd century and in the aftermath of the hodgepocalypse, they are large dungeons that stretch upwards.

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