#Dungeon23 Project – How Did The Tomb Lands Come To Be?

My #Dungeon23 Project is “Into the Tomb Lands,” which presupposed a massive underground realm with its own cities and kingdoms, all tied to “the dead, the dying, memorials to the lost, guardians of the grave, eaters of dead things, mummers, mourners, funerary attendants, and perhaps even the undead.”

It further says “There are 1,000 stories about how the Tomb Lands came to be, and most are mutually exclusive. All that is agreed upon is that they are vast, cold, filled with burial offerings and gifts for the fallen… and sealed off from mortal man forever.”

Well, clearly not forever, since they’re open now. But, what ARE some of those stories about how the Tomb Lands came to be?

Here are a few. I’ll never make one officially right or wrong, so you can adapt any (or none) of these as the “truth” if you opt to run games in the Tomb Lands.

Tomb Land Origin Stories

1. When the gods were young, they thought themselves omnipotent, eternal, enduraing forever. Mortal than immoortal, they thought themselves so fundamental a part of the universe that should one of them ever cease to be, the universe would unravel.

But they were wrong, and a lost eon ago, the first god died.

So stricken were all other divinities that they stopped in all actions for an indescribable moment, and came together. Not in peace, but in truce to ensure the death of a God was not the beginning of the end of all things. And, as part of that truce, the Gods made a place apart from all the rest of the universe. A Tomb Land, at the bottom of which lay the final grave of the First Fallen God.

And like any place created purely for a single god’s use, that land naturally became a part of that god’s will. But the First Fallen God had no will, as it was truly and permanently dead. And thus, the divine power that shaped the Tomb Lands had nothing but the trappings of the grave and burial upon which to build an entire domain.

No god rules the Tomb Lands, and since it is an extension of a dead god’s own resting place, no God ever can.

2. The first undead was not a lich, or a vampire, or wight. It was a revenant, the spirt of a dragon wrongfully slain, returned to half-life through the power of its wrath. As it unleashed its vengeance, it’s dread power created lesser undead, things horrifically powerful by the standard of modern mortals, but a mere shadow (in some cases literally) of the Dracul, the Dragon Half-Returned. And when Dracul’s vengeance was fulfilled, that first undead settled itself at the bottom of the world and wove a Tomb that none could ever penetrate. for each lair of his final resting place was empowered to built more Tombs on top of them, and those new tombs were also so empowered, each new lair able to create its own protective margin of additional graves, on and on, forever.

3. All concepts are represented by spirits, from genus locii that are spirits of the place to muses that are spirits of art to the elder beasts that are spirits of each kith of living thing. Even Death itself has a spirit, an eternal representative of the concept of dying separate from any necromancer or angel. And the spirit of Death must, to fully embrace the nature of itself, be able to die.

Thus came to be the Strange Eons, known as the Tomb Lands, where the spirit of Death goes to die, coloring the nature of every inch of its endless tomb.

4. The Ureld was the first city, the first kingdom, and the first empire. So great was it power that the Last Emperor of Ureld dared to claim to be able to build his own Heaven and Hell, places so great his command over them would make him a god, and his people angels and devils.

And perhaps he could have. But his efforts were a violations of the natural laws, and the Principles of Heaven and Hell combined to destroy his mortal duplicates of their home before it was complete. Archangels and Archedevils joined forces to turn Ureld upside-down, burying that first civilization forever, and turning its aritficial heaven and hell into very-mortal kingdoms of death.


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About Owen K.C. Stephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is a full-time ttRPG Writer, designer, developer, publisher, and consultant. He's the publisher for Rogue Genius Games, and has served as the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the Editor-in-Chief for Evil Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps. He has a Pateon which supports his online work. You can find it at https://www.patreon.com/OwenKCStephens

Posted on January 4, 2023, in Appendix O, Microsetting and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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