Places that are somewhat out of the norm, not quite fitting the surroundings, places that don't have to be strange at the first look, but not extremely strange either. They don't have to be very dangerous, though may look so.
Strange places could serve for/as plot-hooks, landmarks, encounters, or simply to spice things up ('Day 51. The plains still look all the same.'). These should be mostly wilderness or natural locations, if you have strange urban places post them as Neighbourhoods.
And please, no simple 'sky is green here' or 'no magic zone'. ;)
The Windy Corner
...the wind is everywhere, air doesn't seem to stand still for a second. Once it is a slight breeze that caresses you, then a sudden gust of wind throws off your hat, or blows dust into your eyes. Despite it the place seems silent, as all sounds are muffled here. Clouds seem to hang above it, they often change and sometimes let the sun through, but stay there. The weather-worn trees and shrubs still resist, but it is hard to find a true shelter. Sensitive people might feel some presence, certainly most creatures find it here a bit weird.
Although it does not look friendly, the Windy Corner is actually holy ground. Visited by a deity, it changed deeply. The place tolerates no violence, and it is often found by the lost or pursued. Some edible fruits and roots can be found, as well as water, enough for several days. While not comfortable, it is good shelter from unnatural beings like Undead, that won't come here. Some sages and travellers may know of this place, and choose it as a meeting place, or for important negotiations.
The Lost City
Not lost as lost. The City can be found (in a suitable inaccessible place...). Mighty city walls guard the area, the gate is but open. The walls are in fact the only thing remaining of the city: everything inside has vanished. No houses, only bare land where they stood. There is stamped earth where the streets used to be, grass has grown where the gardens were, but no trees grow on this open plain. Animals seem to avoid it, too.
So where the hell is it gone? Well, nobody knows. And nobody has settled here so far, despite the still standing walls. Probably, no one ever will...
The Null Zone
This is a place in my Mojena world.
For a patch approximately ten square miles, absolutely nothing grows. Of course, this may not seem to be TOO out of the norm, but in a world where land is a huge jungle, this is a very strange phenomena.
The trees cut off at the edge of this area, and not even a single blade of grass breaks through the blackened soil. Many reasons have been thought of for this - the land is cursed, the gods have reserved that area. It couldnt be the pH of the soil, as things grow on ALL pH's on this planet. Even the animals are reluctant to walk over this dread land. People would have made a small town there at one stage, but as soon as they stepped on the lands, they were instilled with a great sense of dread, as though a final warning to get off the land before something horrific occured. This anomaly remains unexplained to this day.
On Arth, blue mist often accompanies any mysterious transportation. People of Arth sometimes get lost in the mist and find themselves other places. The WarpSwamp of SecondLand is filled with this dark skyblue mist. Some say Demonti (or Ge-Em) uses it to transport (or copy) things from other places and times. (The Demonti or Master of BlueMist is called Itag. The mist is said to be his body) No matter what the cause, things disappear into it and Strangers and other things appear out of it.
Recently and most notably was MaskLand.
The Point is along the Imperial road between Antioch and Avalon. Blue mist is often found in this tiny biome.
The Point is actually a good sized rock embedded in the soil, approximately square- three by two and a half imperial strides (meters) in size. It is raised from the soil level by a handspan or so. Long ago, three concentric circles (small, medium, and large) were inscribed. It is upon The Point that many strangers find themselves on Arth, slightly off the center.
The Butterfly Grave
In the center of the plains of Riverland Prefecture, on a knoll along the banks of the Serpent River, there is a stone marker in the ancient style, carved to resemble a vague human figure, with the face carved to exacting detail, representing the buried invidividual. A mask of gold is bolted upon the face; it has not been stolen because of the Grave's supernatural reputation.
The Butterfly Grave is thought to be haunted by a hungry ghost. Every night at the hour when the Not-Star is darkest, glowing butterflies begin to emerge from the feet of the stone marker. These butterflies spawn by the hundreds, until there is a great glowing cloud of butterflies that flutter about the area, settling upon the golden mask, upon the hill and the grass, upon the river's surface, and the nearby tree.
Nobody is sure why. Most speak of ancient magic, or of a ghost in the shape of the butterflies, or Demons waiting to snatch up passers-by. Most of the stories take a gruesome character.
'Five more days walking through the weary hills brought our eyes little relief. Tedious unbroken lines of limestone scree punctuated by cowed hazel saplings trudged heavily past. In one glorious moment of surprise we happened upon a verdant dale, curiously riddled with low arrangements of stones in regular patterns, like extremely old, tumbled-down walls. Our guide told us only that people had once farmed here, not saying who, or what they had farmed. He hurried us on with a disturbing sense of unease so that by nightfall we had left the small, isolated valley and its strange walls far behind.'
The Bottomless Pit
...a vast abyss it is, but certainly not bottomless, for the bottom can be clearly seen, with many bones in plain sight.
But legends say, that the Pit leads right down to the Other Side of the world, and that animals and people wishing to end their plight sometimes jumped inside, to get directly into the Paradise. But after years uncounted, the trees have spread their roots so deep and so wide, helping one another, and holding together, forming a bottom where it was not. Nobody can simply jump now, and choose their fate. But among the roots the deadly chill from Beyond still seeps through, so anyone getting down there will die a quick death. Nobody that ventured down has returned.
If someone gets down, an unpleasant smell assaults the nose, but the poisonous gas reveals its effect only after a few minutes, so it is possible to return, if done immediately. Besides the few plants, like mosses and lichens, there is mostly only bacterial life.
(Inspired by a terrain feature from the url=http://www.strolen.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=26355#26355Captain/url)
A somewhat normal outcropping of bare white granite. Not something you want to have to climb but it blocks the beating sun rather nicely providing a good bit of shade.
As the troupe walks one of them does a double take at the rocky outcroppings. Staring for a minute there is something incredibly odd about them. He stops, looks some more and backs up.
There, he immediately sees it. Through a blending and trick of the eye a series of rock formations from 35ft to about 75ft all line up perfectly to form a rather detailed face. They eyes, eyebrows, nose, hair, ears are unmistakeable. Moving more than 5ft in any direction from that spot destroys the illusion and it is just another wall of rock.
A sharp eye and incredible luck will reveal many other such purposeful art. In a village nearby they will find that the village knows of this. There are only a few that know where all of the viewing spots are.....or are there more?
The Grey River
This is an odd, flat ribbon of stone that winds through a 100+ mile stretch of Formour. The 'River' is mostly flat & of uniform width. It is a continuous vein of a stone that has not been found anywhere else. The 'Grey River' is about 30 feet wide and would be quite suited for caravans. However, people avoid it do to its oddness. Animals will not willingly go within sight or smell of it. There are no towns along its banks, and no major destinations anywhere near the 'river.'
Tidewall Bay is guarded on either side by large, sheer walls of granite that extend into the ocean about a mile created a 2 mile wide corridor of gently sloping bay. This gentle slope adds to the extreme tide that, when it comes in, starts to rise very quickly as it grows up the slope. Before it is done the tide has risen over 15 meters and has covered over 2 miles of previously visible land.
When it departs it does so in the same dramatic manner causing a rather intense tidal pull.
-Rich veins of valuable metals are under the cliffs on either side of the corridor. There are only a handful of hours a day that the mine can be safely worked.
-The corridor is used as a boat launch of sorts. The outgoing tide and the intense tidal pull effectively create a slingshot for boats that know how to navigate it and they can ride the departing tide for quite a distance and higher than average speeds.
-Tide pools leave behind many and strand many odd animals and fish. Holding areas could be made to try and trap fish that the inhabitants can then just go out and collect.
The citizens of Boleszt-in-the-Forest have a symbiotic relationship with their giant spiders. Above the tall streets is a loose canopy of web amongst which dark shadows can be seen scuttling; the occasional hairy leg descends into visibility to tweak the strands, the occasional mandible to apply more glue.
The spiders prevent the vicious Forest fangfly from infesting the city (one only has to look at the diseased, bitten peasants who live in the outlying villages to see what fangflies can do) and the people provide the spiders with extra nutrition in the form of convicts. The words which strike fear into a condemned heart: 'Take him to the webs'.
The Scarlet Plains or The Scarlett Plains (depending on the scholar)
This is a fairly flat grassland bracketed by a bog and a cliff. According to legend this is the site of a great battle of Howlar's Stand. It was here that a mere 500 men stopped the invading army of 5000. In testament to the somewhat historical legend, several large wounds of Bloodflowers bloom in this area. It has been this way in all of living memory began. The Wounds, or vast flower patches, makes the land useless for everyone.
See Scarlett Call/ Bloodflowers to learn the importance of these flowers.
It seems perfect. This narrow and deep pass is the fastest way through the mountains. It has beautiful scenery and seems so benign. Why isn't it well traveled: The fog.
Like many tall passes, it is often fog enshrouded. It is because of the fog that the land is blighted. In times of Fog, The Madness visits those who travel the pass. The Fog can come up from nowhere and fill a man (woman, elf) with madness. So for those that risk it, the pass can cut weeks on their travel. But if The Fog catches them, they may never be the same.
There are geothermal vents here. Chemicals in some of these low level geisers are psychomorphic chemicals that can be absorbed through the skin or if inhaled (eyes as well). The chemicals can bring powerful hallucinations, changes in mental status (hyper, depressed, bad trips usually), and generally change a person for a time. Most people can not handle these haunted times, so the madness continues....
The valley is ringed by mountains, creating a deep basin valley. There is a large, flat placid lake in this valley, near to the center point.
The mountain line creates it own peaks and hollows. The largest and most dramamtic of these hollows frames the moon as it rises for half the year (equinox). This is called Moon Pass, because it lets the moon come from the sky to the world. Other hollows in the mountain line occur at astrologically useful times.
The valley is clear most of the time, so moonrise is fairly spectacular. A full Moon, shines brightly in the dark lake. The Moon and its 'Bright Shadow' all in one place.
Because of all the associations with the moon and spirit, the valley is magical in many ways. This valley touches many worlds and fey realms. If you walk in the wrong places at the wrong time, you will find yourself elsewhere.
The only natives to this valley are theriothropes. They live in a style similar to the Tribal Native Americans. Each clan in these tribes are a different animal archetype. Having been driven out of other lands, they are quite protective of the Moon Valley. These tribes can call upon the moon's energy at any time here, so morphing occurs at will.
As the characters are travelling one spring they will come across a number of monarch butterflies resting in the trees along the road (insert butterfly of choice). As they crest over the hill to enter a small valley, they notice the normal green of the tree tops has been replaced by the orange of the butterflies. There are bits of green every now and again, but the characters are amazed by this change.
The butterflies stop here every year on their migrations. It is not one huge flock, but some are always entering and exiting the valley every day during the spring.
From afar, this looks like a small hill covered by trees and bushes. Coming closer, the place may start to look strange, or be ignored completely. These are all trees; the terrain may be actually flat, but the closer to the middle, the taller and mightier are the trees, becoming unnaturally large. Further, the thick branches and undergrowth, knotted together with vines make the lower parts impossible to see through.
In a forest, this group of trees may not be remarkable at all, but outside, it makes a great landmark. On the other hand, it makes also a great place for wild animals, daily and nightly, with birds nesting and lairs hidden between the massive roots, insects and bats complementing them. The shadow they produce, and the wetness they hold for a long time makes them little loved, but given the strong wood (and maybe something more), locals wishing to cut it down swear it resists their axes and eventually abandon their attempts to destroy it. It can be removed with much toil, the trouble being little worth as nothing seems to grow there willingly.
There must be dozens, if not hundreds or thousands of such places all over the world, but they are mostly never noticed. To the skilled eye and a sharp mind, it presents an interesting puzzle - what is their meaning, if there is any, and how come they into existence? Some assume it is a place strong with natural magic, but such claims are yet to be verified. For the more practical, finally, a Knot of Trees is quite often found on treasure maps, as both mark on the road to, and final resting place of untold riches. Of course most such maps are fakes.
Mountains, mountains everywhere. Between three of them, in a valley where little grows, a small area of solid built exists, unknown to the world at large. There are tall walls, without towers or any military use. There are camps for thousands prepared around, but the vaguest of traces speak of small groups of visitors, that come very rarely. The dark place misses an obvious purpose, and the constructions make no sense at all.
In the middle of the main square is a spot, where sunlight didn't fall for almost a thousand years. A cult interested in matters of shadow has adapted this area, and kept it in existence (and secrecy) through all their good times, and bad times. Sometimes they will come, to employ their rituals, or to delay the destructive effects of time, hoping that when the time comes, this will be worth it. But for the chance visitor, it will be an empty place, far away from any marks of civilization.
The Frozen Palace
They say now, that there used to be a castle on that hill, but evidence is quite unclear in this regard. If one comes here in summer, nothing is found, not even digging reveals anything from the past. Most of the year is the place empty, a little grass survives, but no animal would stay around to feed on it.
Then comes the winter.
As the snow falls, it will fall into the right form. Walls will arise, and hallways and rooms between them, growing in height, closing to create a roof, and then another floor, and another, freezing into towers and courtyards, places and furnishings, even people. If there is enough snow, a truly large palace will be born.
It is a memory, an echo of a place that was here probably long ago. The people do not move, and it melts in the spring. It is even possible to destroy it. But with the next snowing - or the next winter, it will arise again.
(If desired, the place could attract fitting creatures, or be used as part of instructions, that can be followed only in winter.)
The Lake Sea
This lake is large, but not overly so. You can see the other side (on a clear day). It is surrounded by somewhat normal forest and bounded by a rocky gravelly shore. It is also salt water, akin to a sea. The fish inside are all salmon and trout, as streams seem to feed the lake.
It also has more "waves" than any lake has a right to have.
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? Responses (7)-7
Always liked this thread. It is a challenge to make an appropriate place that does not require a huge write up to support.
What Moon said. Also, to state the obvious, this a great thread for perusing when you're not sure what to throw at the PCs next!
Cheka started a talk on some alternative Ice Palace, and this came of it. Now, does anyone else have ideas for a Strange Place?
Forgot this scroll existed.
Wow, another cool codex that screams add to me!
Great codex, with some very eye-catching locales. Definitely good enough to share, so have an HOH.
Thanks for bringing this one to everyones attention Dossta.
I wholeheartedly agree with what Muro said in the second comment.
Great sub. 4.5/5