the artistry and psychology of gaming


Mt. Badsel (Drakken 2: Dragon View)

Mt. Badsel (Drakken 2: Dragon View)

The land near Drakkhen is home to many special places.  I’ve already told you about Sektra, and briefly mentioned a number of others.  There’s just something very special about the often-barren landscapes sprawling out into the horizon that makes it a scenic realm.  If you’re a fan of desolation, this is a place you’ll love; the somewhat elaborate system of dirt roadways belies the very small number of civilized towns to be found.  Truth be told, aside from a temple in the snow-covered northwestern region and a few scattered hermits, the entirety of the human population exists within a mere six towns, one of which is only a rumor to the others.

While Mt. Badsel is mostly a large jagged rock jutting from the ground that takes up the entire southeastern region of this land, there exists a relatively flat area in its middle elevation that extends quite a great distance.  This area is like a cross between a fertile plain and a flat wasteland.  The grass is quite lush, and grows strongly all over the area, but the trees bear no leaves whatsoever.  As expected, there are rocks of all sizes on this part of the mountain.  What makes it so special to me, though, is that it never stops raining here.

As you arrive upon this stratum, a caramel-colored dirt road rolls out before you, and the soft green grass extends in a dark mint color as far as the eye can see, graying out the further it goes.  The dark gray skies become lighter as they approach the horizon, coloring the lakes a dark blue-gray.  The rock walls, formed by the mountain, are a bluish-green, painted with a haze of gray.  There are a few patches of mud, and the rocks and dead-looking trees punctuate the landscape perfectly.  I’ve always loved leafless trees spotting a rainy landscape, likely due to a memory so old that it has not manifested completely.

Rumor has it that Mt. Badsel contains a gate to another world.  While I was unable to find this gate myself, I did notice a few signs of another civilization.  The most notable of these were small stumps of thin towers scattered all about.  At a distance, they are hard to distinguish from the rocks, since they are the same color, likely due to being crafted from them.  I cannot determine a function for them, since they are barely wider than the thinnest of humans, and not wider than most.  Perhaps this society consisted of much smaller beings.  I also found another formation of glowing, blue triangles, as in Sektra, which could possibly be a remnant of this civilization.  When the current population is so sparse and primitive, it would be quite possible for a more advanced civilization to populate their world without their knowing.  Unlike the other formation, however, the energy I felt beneath it was a bit vague in nature.

Perhaps this area’s greatest source of intrigue is its panhandle.  Traveling east upon the area’s northern wall will lead you to a long alcove, which is a beautiful ravine spotted with a few large, reddish rocks.  These rocks have secret entrances, which lead to underground caverns, often populated by hermits, as well as dangerous creatures, such as mountain ogres and giant scorpions.  While it is true that the smaller the scorpion, the more deadly the venom, these are large enough that just the force of their stinger or claws could easily cause a mortal wound.  Not far from this alcove is the entrance to a scalable section of the mountain that leads so high into the clouds that its zenith cannot be seen from below.  It is rumored that there lies the gate to the other world, but those tales could likely be nothing more than delusions of exhausted wayfarers.

Mountains are interesting places, much like swamps.  Depending upon the nature of the biome, you never really know what sorts of things you’ll find amongst the flora and fauna.  You may find the area to resemble another biome, or be something unique altogether.  It is almost like a reinterpretation of another biome within a different set of parameters.  Some mountains are earthen spires thrusting into the stratosphere, some are blanketed with gentle, grassy hillsides, while still others, like this one, are a combination of the two.  This idea of nature’s nature being beyond the grasp of one’s mind is what preserves that sense of wonder that keeps many adventurers exploring.

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