A few days ago, as I picked up my copy of Lords of the Middle Sea (the original inspiration for the map, if not the setting), it occurred to me that the setting of that wargame was pretty interesting in itself. Also, it makes a thematic parallel to the Sundaland setting I mentioned in the last post. Sundaland is set in the distant past, when the sea levels were lower than today, while the Middle Sea is set in the future with sea levels that are much higher.
As a quick aside, Lords of the Middle Sea was inspired by a story titled "The Great Nebraska Sea", the text of which can be found here along with a map that was inspired by the story. Obviously, there are differences between the inspiration and the Chaosium wargame.
|Map used in Lords of the Middle Sea|
Each of the player factions also has a King, who can travel either with a small military retinue of around 600 elite soldiers or incognito. Each has its benefits and hazards, and the King can change from one to the other in various circumstances. As Kings gain experience by performing quests, winning battles, and so forth, they can "level up" to become a Hero-King or even a Sorcerer-King. Hero-Kings may choose one special ability from a list, while Sorcerer-Kings can use any ability on the list—but only one per turn. Quests can also lead to lost Libraries, which give special benefits to the faction that possesses one. Similarly, salvaging lost technology provides benefits ranging from permanent increases to all of a faction's combat statistics through an increase in the faction's treasury and other bonuses.
|A really rough version of the map of the Middle Sea|
world—notice the difference
I can combine this with some of the deindustrialized future ideas I have, too. Drawing on the concept from GURPS After the End where higher technology exists but is increasingly more expensive, while a Renaissance level of tech is more easily sustainable, that lets me include even more exotic ideas like enormously expensive alcohol-fueled aircraft—maybe biplanes!—mounting machine guns fighting helium-filled dirigibles carrying smoothbore guns and sailing ships armed with anti-air black powder rockets. Characters will probably carry flintlock or matchlock guns, with swords as sidearms to meet opponents who survive the gun volley, though some might spring for the expense of a black powder caplock revolver instead, or perhaps even take on the continuing expense of cartridge ammunition.