Rusted towers and pyramids loom. This is what’s left of the old high capital. Saurians still live here, but only in makeshift hovels between fallen girders. Pipes bound by wires hold up corrugated roofs. And rarely – all too rarely – a bit of green sprouts through the gravel.
There is one advantage to living in the City, though: the largest of the cyborg megafauna do not come in. The lanes between buildings are too narrow. Only the smaller ones forage the rust-scape. And if the Saurians manage to bring one of them down, it yields much-needed food from its flesh and building materials from its wires.
Over the cityscape rises a volcano which is quiet – for now. Meanwhile, tunnels yield access to a complex inside the volcano. Stories say the Ancestors used the volcano to power their machines somehow. This knowledge is lost.
Hominids raid the City from the adjacent mountains and jungles, but the Saurians put up stubborn resistance. They fight block-by-block with hidden traps and bow-snipers. Above all they must protect their eggs. With a low birth rate due to mysteriously thinning shells, every egg counts.
This is the sort of desperation that breeds cultic frenzy. Indeed, cults are the one thing the City has in abundance. Factions of end-timers vie to forestall, or in some cases hasten, the Final Destruction.
A noxious odor and green miasma condemn this place. Cybernetic crocodiles and mosasaurs dominate the mangrove swamp. Downriver from the City, this delta is apparently the final resting place of all the industrial waste and sewage produced by the City in its heyday. The Saurians who live here are a rough breed, hardened by constant predators and perhaps by radiation too.
Not many would come here on purpose, but for those who do there are fortunes to be found in mechanical parts. The gears of automated factories still grind here, though their conveyor belts convey nothing. Derricks pump the earth, but all that rises is black ooze. Meanwhile, off the coast are strange platforms of unknown purpose.
Areas within The Sink:
- The Glinting Reef. This “reef” is an accretion of the ruins of ancient ships and platforms clustered around the sea shores of The Sink. It is known for its salvage potential, but local inhabitants keep a close watch on it for that reason, protecting the area for their own exploitation. The locals are mostly midget raptors – smaller and less intelligent than their larger cousins. Also lurking in the reef are monstrous clams, octopodes, and bivalves.
- The Stacks. This bizarre area is made up of acres and acres of cranes and large metal containers. The contents of the containers tempt scavengers, but local clans of herbivorous Saurians view them as their own and fight off outsiders who attempt to raid them. They don’t even allow their own to open them arbitrarily. Rather, the right must be earned. Recently, locals have begun keeping crude records of opened containers, and this has revealed that some containers appear to have some strange properties. When they return to certain opened containers, they are once again closed, or their contents are different somehow.
- The Den. A race of mangrove sea-scorpions inhabits this area. They are led by a gridcasting tyrant who scours The Sink to destroy its relic devices so that no rivals may use their power to rival him. The sea-scorpions hate the crayfish people.
- The Cloud. This foul area is covered by a greenish-yellow choking fog most of the time, but around dawn it congeals into a jelly. Any who venture in must be out again before this strange dew evaporates. The few Saurians who inhabit the outskirts of the Cloud are mostly deformed – or perhaps diseased – Tsintosauruses, traditionally among the lowest of low-caste Saurians.
The Sky Gardens of Nosrac
Southeast of the City rises a range of peaks. Viny forests and plentiful springs grace its altitudes. The name comes from an old Saurian word, the meaning of which has been forgotten. Once a Saurian haven, these highlands have been conquered by a diminutive tribe of Hominids calling themselves the Sky People.
Saurians have good reason to resent these Homo Floresiensis conquerors, but that’s not all: they have also co-opted the once-noble Saurian art of taming and riding the ptera. Now, their silhouettes circling high in the sky have become a disturbingly common sight. They scout deeper into Saurian territory each day.
Apart from sublime peaks and imposing riders, the region is also known for something not of ancient origin: a megalith observatory. The brave and the brazen come here to study the stars and rediscover lost lore.
Some say these hills are also wandered by Saurian hermits, who may be sages or madmen depending on who you ask.
Areas of the Sky Gardens:
- Home. This is the home village of Klag and Feather, recently burned to the ground by the false Zin-Guna’s raiding party. There is a waterfall nearby.
- The Megafauna Graveyard. This pit, lying beneath a mountain pass that narrows to a six-inch ledge, abounds with the bones and mechanical parts of expired megafauna. The adventurers found a poison-antidote device here.
- The Squeezer. This strange facility, set into a mountain cave, belonged to the Flat People, who were known for wearing flattened or “squeezed” metal plates on their persons. The Squeezer itself appeared to be some kind of compactor. It was held sacred by the Flat People, especially by its dwarfish shaman, Bugu, who oversaw sacrifices to it. The Flat People’s village was burned by the false Zin-Guna’s raiding party, and the Squeezer itself was destroyed by the adventurers. Bugu met his fate trying to repair it, only to be flattened when the Squeezer squeezed its last.
- The High-Ups. This village of high-altitude caves is home to a group of Hominids from whom the adventurers received a pair of pteranadons in exchange for two sacks of megafauna parts and a mechanical locust.
To the east of the City lies a sweaty jungle – the homeland of a Hominid tribe of Cro-Magnons. They call themselves the Mud People, after their favorite form of bodily decoration. Streams rushing down from the Sky Gardens wind their way here, nourishing thick vegetation. You might almost call it beautiful were it not for the reticulated boas and cyber-spiders.
Food is plentiful here, allowing the Mud People to multiply and expand into surrounding areas. A party of hooting Mud Raiders is all too often the last thing a Saurian frontier family sees.
Finally, east of the Lianas, at the limit of the known world, is a place spoken of in low whispers. Saurians and Hominids alike fear the vast crater known only as The Zone. No one lives in the Zone – no one sane anyway. It is where Hominids send their exiles to die.
According to legend, this is where it all began to fall apart. The civilization of the Ancestors was brought low by a comet, and this is where it struck. The landscape was blasted with an extraplanetary curse. Now, strange forces lurk.
Perhaps that is what attracts the cyborg megafauna, which migrate en masse to the Zone when they hear the call. What they do there is a mystery, but whatever it is, they do not return the same. They seem strengthened – transformed perhaps – in ways only gods can understand.
Few venture into the Zone, with only two exceptions. The first is the would-be hero hoping to make a name by surviving its horrors. The other is the half-mad Saurian pilgrim seeking to comprehend the calamity that has befallen, and maybe – just maybe – find the key to re-founding civilization.