Scorched Sands — An Explanation

As the astute reader will have surely noticed, I have dwelled a lot on the past in my last few posts. I confess a bout of nostalgia has certainly been overtaking me. I’m not sure if I’ll have a chance to run an RPG in the foreseeable future, but I am definitely getting a lot of inspiration from my old Arcana Unearthed books and my memories of the campaign I ran.

In all honesty it only lasted a few months, but it was memorable to me. Maybe because it was the last real game I had the opportunity to run. By this point I had begun naming my campaigns, usually based on some theme I wanted to explore that we often would never get to but which would guide where I was going. The Tides of Tymarre, Under a Sky of Green (my unsuccessful reboot of my Rimfaust campaign), and Scorched Sands and Souls. I even had a World of Darkness game: The Tallahassee Tango. Alliteration clearly featured heavily in my naming schemes of the day.

In my previous post about Scorched Sands and Souls I posted my aborted campaign “bible,” which I’d intended to pass on to one of the players so that they could keep the game going in spite of my moving away. Life, naturally, happens, and those plans didn’t really pan out the way any of us intended. In the write-up, I mentioned I would write about the plot threads that featured in the campaign. Unfortunately I didn’t get that far. I wish I did. I don’t remember some of them. Others I do, and for posterity’s sake I want to put some of them down.

So, why “Scorched Sands and Souls“? Glad you asked!

In Arcana Unearthed, there is a race of humanoids known as the verrik. They live in a desert known as Zalavat, and have a civilization older than any of the other races. Most of what they do is a mystery to the Lands of the Diamond Throne, as the majority of the Arcana Unearthed setting is called.

A long time ago they were thought to worship a being known as Xyphon, an almost god-like entity who had evolved from a previous civilization: the Vnaxians. They ascended into energy beings, but Xyphon remained behind to shepherd the remaining people who would become the verrik. Wishing to seize control of their own destiny, the verrik banished him from the plane.

That’s all canon, and I thought it was pretty interesting stuff. Zalavat, however, was not the main focus of the campaign world and would take a lot of work to flesh out in a satisfactory way. In the meantime, there were plenty of other cool things I wanted to let the players explore, while dropping hints about what would (hopefully) turn out to be this really cool meta-plot tying into the ruins at Zalavat, dealing with the Curse of Xyphon, and so forth.

It was a bit far-reaching, and honestly given the time I knew I had left in school I was definitely biting off more than I could chew. Yet, while we never did get to Zalavat, there were plenty of great things that did happen along the way.

Next time I’ll talk about Junrath, a little village in the hinterlands where it all began.

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