Welcome to the Forlorn Plateau: History & Myth, Part One

What follows is the first post regarding the history and overview of the Forlorn Plateau, the continent-sized sandbox where most Spear! Fang! Raygun! stories take place (we’ll get to the Omniverse in a later post). In no way will this be a complete and/or final rundown of the Forlorn Plateau but is intended to give anyone interested in running a Spear! Fang! Raygun! campaign of their own (or just wanting to steal some of my ideas) a place to easily reference.

Welcome to the Forlorn Plateau

Forlorn Plateau
Hex-map of the Forlorn Plateau in the era where Spear! Fang! Raygun! takes place. (A more detailed, hand-drawn map is forthcoming, as well as regional maps.)

History & Myth, Part One

When the planet was young and nameless, the great single-celled organism, Yaag, covered it in an ocean of writhing cytoplasm.

For eons, Yaag has died.

And out of its vast cell membrane crawled its multifarious offspring. Lifeforms totally devoid of regular shape, creatures rife with inquiring limbs, glands, and organs, they preyed upon and bred with one another in a senseless riot of meat. At first, life acquiesced entirely to whatever it subjected itself to: to eat and be eaten; to breed and be born; to live and to die.

shub niggurath
Shub-Niggurath by Erol Otus (primary inspiration for Yaag)

In many ways, life behaved no differently than it had when it was composed solely of Yaag itself. It remained as a singular substance, without will, without thought, until after generations, a pattern emerged out of the mindless compliance with procreation and slaughter. Life learned to resist: certain beings developed forms that allowed them to escape being eaten; life learned to entice: other beings had qualities that increased their likelihood to breed.

A billion or so years passed.

As what remained of Yaag receded, leaving a planet-spanning desert in its wake, new organisms flourished upon a lone, continent-sized plateau that rose miles above the desiccation. A few of the plants and animals of this Forlorn Plateau developed rudimentary intelligence, organized into social groups and were eventually wiped out by others in the merciless rise and decline of civilizations. After eons, as the carcasses of the extinct fossilized and their ruins turned into geology, one species of bipedal formicidoid thrived, emerging from remote hive complexes in the weird, writhing Jungles of Baslaag to conquer and enslave the extant sentients.

The Age of the Hyperborean-Insectoid arrived.

This conqueror species, which the Barbaric, Pantless Atlanteans would later name the Hyperboreans, developed a singular hive sentience that could nearly instantaneously transmit information across its network of drones via specialized ganglia capable of a sub-dimensional (unconscious) and hyper-dimensional (conscious) telepathy. The hive intelligence learned to harness and guide its own neural development and manifest other psychic powers. It flourished and grew in intelligence and power as the hive’s population increased. It built great cities. It developed super-science and sorcery.

With these powers, they dominated other insectoid  species and bred them, converting their neural tissue into ganglion which the hive intelligence could tap and access and control. The emergence of a telepathic hive sentience within this new conqueror species allowed the development of a civilization-wide super-being, where every individual drone, every warrior, every breeding queen, every “node-bug” (which serve as essential conduits in the hive’s telepathic network) worked towards absolute dominion over the Forlorn Plateau and its lifeforms.

It enslaved lesser, mammalian, reptilian, icthyoid, and vermiform species and bred and hybridized and mutated them for its own purposes and pleasure. It developed bio-vat technology, harnessing what remained of Yaag’s seminal cytoplasm, to create entirely novel species of its own design.  Even its constituent insectoid species were modified to serve its purposes: it created coleopteran warriors, vespid explorers, termitoid laborers, etc. It even developed mutant species which would serve as land vehicles or vessels for traversing the vacuum of outer space. Nothing seemed beyond its grasp.

The Hypborean-Insectoid hive intelligence surveyed and mapped the structure of its own physical dimension and drove its ever-expanding consciousness to envelop the world. Like Yaag, the Hypborean-Insectoid civilization became a planet-spanning entity, but unlike Yaag, which was composed of unthinking material, with it the planet became aware of itself. But this was not enough. It envisioned its expansion to the very rim of the universe, and beyond, as manifest. It discovered the Null-Space between dimensions, and there its mind had formed like an imprint upon the non-stuff between realities. The Hyperborean-Insectoid civilization discovered it could transverse this Null-Space through hyperspace tendrils that spanned between dimensions. Thus a new phase of transdimensional expansion and invasion began…

The Hyperborean-Insectoid discovered the Omniverse, and in doing so, it secured its doom. It woke the Null-Titans.

Marvel’s Celestials are the primary inspiration for the Null-Titans because… of course they are.

Continued in History & Myth, Part Two…