The Octopus resumes xer review of Into The Deep for the Numenera setting by Monte Cook Games again, picking up with the mysteries of the haunted trenches of the ocean floor.
The possible former home of different offshoots of the proto-naiadan race, the haunted trenches are places like Minifera – dome-like structures, pinnacles, spires, and more – save that they’re utterly abandoned. The naiadans have no record of having ever dwelled in these places and tend to regard them as disturbing at best and outright cursed at worst, although some naiadapts eagerly go to explore the trenches in hopes of discovering lost secrets.
The trenches often have strange and exotic technology in them, samples of what could have been if the naiadans had taken a different path; these can include rogue dyremmi that see naiadans and naiadapts as slavers and seek to emancipate individual dyremmi from the collective being; domes that fill their interior with a bath of acidic enzymes and try to digest exolorers; creatures trapped out of phase that would instantly die if brought into phase; and much more besides.
These places serve as a kind of dungeon for groups based out of Minifera; each trench is full of prior-world technology and threats that range from wildlife that has moved in to rogue naiadapts trying to build an empire of their own to the literal echoes of long-dead entities that rely on psychic energy for their ongoing existence.
Persamlor is a settlement of rogue naiadans, ones who’ve decided that their race took a wrong turn at some point in the past. They’ve given up on the straight path of biotechnology and become partially fleshy creatures again, making them rather like naiadapts; in the all-too-common way of these things, they regard actual naiadapts as unclean filth and go out of their way to exterminate them. They’re very clearly the villainous breed of naiadans, in case you want some Evil Merfolk for your game, but PCs who can find a way to treat with them might find their research into non-dyremmi technology of the prior worlds to be of interest.
Morenel and the Fallen Tower is a location that serves as the ultimate lure to surface dwellers; an ancient tower sunken beneath miles of water, home to any number of numenera wonders and horrors, as well as home to an incredibly knowledgeable entity known as the Violaceous Eye. It’s also home to an aggressive flesh-eating fungus and horrible reality-twisting effects, but that’s pretty much standard in terms of risks.
Morenel is the city that sits adjacent to the Fallen Tower, home to diplomatic missions and trading groups from all over the ocean. If it can be bought in the deeps, you can find it here – and if you’re looking to make social and diplomatic connections with any number of weird groups of the Ninth World, there may be no better place to come. On the down side, you’ll need a translator, as the language of the city bears no resemblance to the Truth; it seems to have developed in isolation for thousands of years.
The Vroaordun are the second most populous species in Morenel; they lived in the deeps before the humans arrived, and their records show how the humans who came helped build the water-filled part of the city for them. They all have a wide range of peculiar abilities, supposedly granted by their gods who dwell even deeper in the ocean, where no one can travel; this may be a reference to another area, although the Vroaorduns and the humans of Morenel have no idea that it even exists.
One of the more unusual and interesting mini-locales near the city is the Deep Graveyard – a place where all kinds of sea creatures come when they know their death is coming. A GM looking to give PCs the chance to score Discovery XP could certainly take advantage of it by stocking it with the decaying remains of all kinds of odd creatures with use as numenera either as a whole or in pieces of their remains.
That’s it for today; next time we’ll explore the Fallen Tower itself, which is certainly the dungeon of the Deeps.