View Full Version : Coming up with an abandoned research center - Help

2013-11-14, 05:34 AM
Ok, so this is sorta a homebrew world question, but not quite.

So I'm crafting up a new continent/archipelago for a campaign in my own little world I've been working on. The "main" plot of the world does not take place here and it's more of a ruin-a-palooza kinda place. Essentially, the area was a pretty massive island (Madagascar size if I had to put a size to it) that had a pre-apocalypse city and research center. An apocalyptic almost-world-ending catastrophe hit, sundering the island into a massive archipelago (well more like turning the whole island into a fractured river delta). Everything settled down, and over the last millennia it has grown a jungle/bayou and people have settled on it, being generally sensible NOT to mess with the still standing ruins.

Anyway, problem is this: One of the...themes? Constants? of the world is that despite the world ending calamity (wild magic, massive civil wars, and a massive shunting of the world and moon over half a dimension) old world research centers have survived, either by dumb luck or by design. Generally they're based off the Vaults from the Fallout series in feel (big doors, some kinda thing that messed the whole place up, etc.). The issue I'm having is that I can't think of one for the archipelago. Actually, I can only think of two, and they're pretty....meh.

1) Sonics. Based heavily off the Selenitic Age from the Myst game (underground tunnels leading to "listening posts" for gathering data and a massive tram that stretches across the islands). Lot of stuff involving harmonics and using the sonic capabilities of creatures to advance their research. Expect blind monsters and staying reeeeeally quiet.

2) Plants. One of the other facilities involved biological tampering in a "let's make monsters" sort of way. This one would revolve around plants and what could be done with them (crossbreeding, forced evolution, etc.). Expect lots of plant based monsters.

So I'm essentially looking for suggestions of other things I could run with for a research facility that can span the whole island chain.

2013-11-14, 07:16 AM
Are we talking magic or scientific research, and if the latter than what was the pre-apocalypse tech level?

2013-11-14, 07:58 AM
Are we talking magic or scientific research, and if the latter than what was the pre-apocalypse tech level?

Either or. Tech level, of the world itself, was advanced. Space travel wasn't yet a thing properly for them, though other civilizations had an interest in the world's...wellbeing? Advancement? Something like that. The world was a sort of frontier world for the other civilizations amongst the stars. The whole apocalypse more or less pushed tech back to...Ebberon/FFVI levels almost. Magitech is a thing, but nowhere near Spelljammer levels.

So there may be some highly advanced tech or magic that may be out of place on the world that was borrowed or obtained from off-world. For a video-game frame of reference, anywhere between Final Fantasy VI up to Mass Effect for tech.

As for magic, some of the individuals leading some of the research were mortal'ized deities (Gods that were sick of the other god's shenanigans and forced themselves quasi-mortal to work against the pantheon for the betterment of mortals), so anything up the equivalent of a lvl 20+ caster for D&D, Divine Ranks and Mythic Tiers included.

2013-11-14, 09:03 AM
Eldritch research: Studies aberrations and other Far Realm energies.

Enhancement Fleshshaping: The use of magic to genetically or otherwise augment the human race, producing a super-race.

2013-11-14, 10:03 AM
Eldritch research: Studies aberrations and other Far Realm energies.

Enhancement Fleshshaping: The use of magic to genetically or otherwise augment the human race, producing a super-race.

The Fleshshaping thing is already on the books for another research center =D

Just need to come up with stats for a creature I call "The Choir", a living room of melded bodies that all share a hive mind.

The Far Realm thing....miiiiiight work. I'd have to run through some of the monster books for some ideas, but I don't see why it wouldn't work.

2013-11-14, 10:05 AM
Heres a small idea which is easy to expand on.

It is the central/ main / research centre, which houses many various research projects, all in small scale. they where all then exported to the oter research centres to expand on.

Have the place be ruined, and empty of anything.. weird, keep it creepy though, like a haunted house, full of things in the shadows, but not actually there. Maybe ghosts or the like if you want a combat encounter but i think as an atmospheric thing having it be sparce and empty would be better.

You could even then have it lead on to a mini side quest to find all the centres and the mysteries inside.

2013-11-14, 12:53 PM
You mentioned this was on an island before exploding/fragmenting? Islands imply a certain amount of isolation, even if there was a city there. Therefor, what would make sense to me, would be a disease research center. Lots of dead, plagued things, mutated test subjects, and unlabeled vials that make contain ancient cures or more ancient plagues.

Alternately, playing off your sonic idea and the relative isolation of an island, the site could have been a projected mind control device. Initially designed to use subsonic waves to project thought patterns and observe the results of such in a relatively stable population. Of course, after the apocalypse and so many years of decay, the programming has developed some bugs, and is issuing random commands to random targets in the populace, causing the local island there to be prone to spontaneous outbursts of odd emotions.

2013-11-14, 01:06 PM
Materials Science Lab - their job was to take huge blocks of new alloys/concretes/plastics and make them break in as many ways as possible to measure how tough they are. If you can't make a dungeon out of a facility full of devices designed to break things, you lack imagination.

2013-11-14, 02:40 PM
Upon browsing through some of my monster-based books, I think I'm leaning towards a central "hub" with several satellite laboratories spread across the islands. Would add some variety for the players and a bit more freedom for me.

Soul-binding would definitely be something one of the labs. Hundreds of souls bound to magical constructs and items, all ever so slightly insane.

2013-11-14, 06:03 PM
Why not make the island itself unnatural too? Make it so that the geography is weird and wrong. It should help with the sense of unease before they even enter the facility itself.

2013-11-14, 10:27 PM
There's this YouTube series called Tales From My D&D campaign, in which one of the plot arcs involves entering an abandoned research center called Ginaron, a lot like what you're describing. Ginaron was dedicated to research on inter-planar interaction, with the specific goal of building point-to-point teleportation portals that could be used by everyone, but it was discovered that the portal research was fundamentally flawed, and active portals release a form of astral energy which causes severe radiation poisoning in living creatures. Perhaps a similar lab was the "hub" of your system, which would also explain why the others are abandoned, as the loss of the portal network cuts them off from civilization, and in consequence from supplies.

Roak Star
2013-11-15, 02:09 AM
An old laboratory that was owned by a crime lord and used to create genetic enhancements to creatures capable of utilizing the power of the elements; one of which was too powerful and could not be contained. This creature killed the scientists and escaped from the island; it now roams the land leading an army of other experiments and plotting against the crime lord, him minions, and all humans (or whatever species created him).

2013-11-17, 09:20 PM
If you want one of the labs to involve soulbinding, why not make the theme for the whole of them 'hideous experiments with ethereal things'. Like, one lab tried to probe into the Dimention of Dreams and got possessed by Quori, one was trying to weaponize the power of love, one that was trying to see how many angels coudldance on the head of a pin in the most horrifyingly literal way possible, and so-on.