Rusted Sands


A FreshHell to Contend With
I'm slowly developing a sword & planet setting, probably to be eventually dual-published for OSE and The Sword of Cepheus (SoC being my own 2d6 sword & sorcery offering).

Nibiru is a dying, ancient world. Once it was the seat of wondrously advanced civilization. But now it is far past its peak. In its hubris and avarice, it became decadent, declined, and finally only a shadow of its semblance is left. Where forests stood, now cold deserts sprawl. Cities lie in ruins. The oceans are dry. Vast polar ice caps trap most water - and not a little of the atmosphere.

The Scar- Nibiru's vast equatorial rift valley - once housed Nibiru's mightiest river, which fed the Old Sea to the south. Now it is far more slender and feeds the Scar's own small, salty sea. The Old Sea dried; it is now a cold, salty plain called the Rusted Sea. But at least one can easily breathe the air of the Rusted Sea. Unlike the Northern Highlands, where the air is thin, hardly breathable on the Highlands proper, and utterly unbreathable on the Northern Mountains.

Eons ago, Nibiru was a warm, humid world with significant jungles. Ruled by reptiles of all kinds. Dinosaurs. A reptiloid civilization. Eventually, the world started to begin to cool and dry out. This stabilized for a few eons, though the jungles were gone. The reptiloids were mostly extinct, as were most dinosaurs. The survivors migrated underground, where it was still warm and humid.

Eons passed. The Ancients rose. They were slender and intelligent to begin with; at their technological pinnacle, their physical prowess declined while their intelligence rose (think hairless elves growing into shorter and thinner Gray Aliens). The Ancients built a massive civilization of sorcery and superscience.
Their eldritch might grew to a degree that a sizeable percentage of their population had at least some sorcerous abilities.

The ancients, in their final form, were unsuited for war and labor. Initially, they used machines for these ends, but as they grew decadent and sorcerous, breeding servitor races was cheaper. They crossed themselves with White Apes to create Men - versatile servitors better suited for labor and war. They then crossed Men with White Apes once more - to create the far less intelligent Ape-Men as heavy laborers and shock troops. They crossed Men with surviving Reptilians to create Lizardmen and shock troops. They then crossed themselves once more with Men to create foremen and officers, resulting in their servitors, the Nephilim.

The Ancients' decadence knew no end. As they turned to Black Magic for raw power, Nibiru's already fragile Ishtar, the world-goddess, began to die. Their technology and sorcery already declined to such a low degree that they could not resurrect Ishtar.

As the world began to die and dry out once again, the Ancients dug canals, fed by vast machines on the polar ice-caps, to bring water to the dry equatorial regions, where the climate was still bearable.
But the Ancients died out themselves.

Now, only their former servitors remain to fend for themselves.

So, you have, among other things:
  • Men.
  • Ape-Men and Lizard-Men.
  • Sorcerous Nephilim.
  • Above-ground (at least partially) ruins of the Ancients.
  • Remnant Ancient superscience and sorcerous ruins!
  • Deep underground Lost Worlds inhabited by dinosaurs and reptilians!

Two orcs

Officially better than you, according to PoN
Planetary Romance! Compared to your Barbarian Conquerors of Khanua, what's the major difference with this setting?


8, 8, I forget what is for
A neat little foundation in which to play. It's got Barsoom written all over it. Nice.


Should be playing D&D instead
Solid stuff, pulps are fun fun fun. That movie was so bad btw, I cant get the taste out, its been like 10 years too


8, 8, I forget what is for
I am not sure they can make a good John Carter movie honestly. It's so embedded in the time it was written...and the writing style is very "light". Someone with some serious screen-chops would have to take a very fresh approach to get it right. Something unexpected and stripped down.


A FreshHell to Contend With
Planetary Romance! Compared to your Barbarian Conquerors of Khanua, what's the major difference with this setting?
A few key differences:
  • Kanahu is vibrant, overly teeming with life; Nibiru is dying.
  • Nibiru is significantly less eclectic than Kanahu, which was a "kitchen-sink" setting.
  • The default Kanahi setting is a warm Mediterranean climate with a wet winter; the default Nibiran setting is a dry, cold rusted desert and/or mushroom forests.
  • Nibiru is a living planet (an undead one, actually!); Kanahu is a planet bearing life without being/having a world-organism.
  • Kanahu supports standard OSR human magic-users and clerics; this is more complicated in Nibiru, as Nibirans humans cannot use Arcane magic, only Divine magic, while the opposite is true for Nephilim. Surviving Reptilians can use BOTH, but are rare (and not a playable race).


A FreshHell to Contend With

Now, about magic, technology, and deities:

Anunaki (this is what I'll rename Nephilim to, as BCK already uses that name) have Arcane magic/sorcery and are good with remnant Ancient tech. However, they worship no gods, unless you call their atavistic relationship with the Ancients "worship". Humans, apemen, and lizardmen cannot use Arcane magic and are less proficient with technology, but worship gods and godlings and have Divine magic. Humans, apes, and lizardmen - out of which only humans are playable as PCs - are also healthier and more sturdy than Anunaki.

Player character races are humans and Anunaki.

There are four main deities; I'll post their hidden lore later.

Ereshkigal - the half-dead world-organism/goddess, also called the "Bleeding Goddess". Lawful and vengeful against Chaos and Black Magic. Priest(esses) have dim views of technology but will tolerate it if necessary; they will not tolerate Chaos-worship or (if I'll use The Sword of Cepheus) Black Magic. Standard Lawful Clerics and Paladins (if using OSE and its supplements) follow Ereshkigal. Magic may or may not be limited in scope due to Ereshkigal's half-dead state.

Set - serpent-god of dark sorcery, dark secrets, and undeath. Chaotic. Nibiru's closer, red moon is thought to be a manifestation of Set. Followers will be Chaotic Clerics and/or a custom Necromancer class.

Apep - serpent-god of demons and destruction. Chaotic. Nibiru's further, dark moon is thought to be a manifestation of Apep. Followers are Chaotic Clerics.

Tehom - antediluvian undead goddess of utter Chaos. Rarely worshipped - most Chaos cultists worship Set and Apep. Thought to be "the mother of all evil" who beget Set and Apep.
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A FreshHell to Contend With
Antediluvian? Your world suffered the same flooding as the story of Noah?

I remember when Vampire kept throwing that word around.
I used this word as to say "more ancient than ancient". Primordial might have been a better word.

Ereshkigal (originally named Ishtar) is the oldest - as old as life on this world. Maybe older.
Tehom came much later, though eons in the past, and after her Set and Apep.
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Should be playing D&D instead
I have a marketing-style question for you: Why should I (or anyone else) choose to use this setting over any other existing settings? What's the "hook"?


A FreshHell to Contend With
I have a marketing-style question for you: Why should I (or anyone else) choose to use this setting over any other existing settings? What's the "hook"?
Interesting question!

Part of the hook is immersing yourself in a dying planet & sorcery* world where the past is deep and the future is grim. A mélange of planetary romance, sci-fantasy, and sword & sorcery.

Elric on Barsoom.

If I'll write this for OSE, part of the selling point would be "OSE-friendly" planet & sorcery, where you can easily combine many D&D-type tropes with sword & planet and use familiar rules with relatively minor modifications to play in such a setting.

If I'll write this for The Sword of Cepheus, with will be its official setting; the first (probably) planet & sorcery setting for an OGL 2d6 game (and thus compatible with Traveller material).

* A combination of sword & sorcery and sword & planet.