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Fantasy Kitchen Sink: The Hollow World

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 4:27 am    Post subject: Fantasy Kitchen Sink: The Hollow World Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

This is more or less a repository of ruminations of making a FKS with a few outlandish elements and meshing with the core conceits of the mechanics involved in D&D 3.5.

What is the Hollow World?

The Hollow World, known to its inhabitants as 'Lifehome', is a rogue planet sailing through space with no fixed destination. The Hollow World is, in essence, a Dyson Sphere in miniature (roughly the size of Jupiter), mostly solid throughout its core and arranged around a star roughly one-thirtieth the size of the planet.

The Hollow World was quite obviously constructed by some people and for some purpose; around the star, equidistant from it and from each other, are four truly massive Pillars of Technology (each roughly the size of modern New York City), whose purpose is to take the energy produced from the star and create breathable air and water and emit them through the planet's structure. Gravity is oriented away from the star, so that those who live on the spaces around the star see it as being overhead at all times. Halfway between the star and the Surface, gravity is oriented towards the star.

The Star itself is a miniature red dwarf, with a relatively low surface temperature, and is situated roughly five hundred miles from the Pillars. Such heat as emits from the star is non-lethal to its inhabitants, primarily by the Pillars leeching it away to send it through the Hollow World to provide enough heat to support life.

Weather within the Hollow Planet is nonsensical. Each Structure (defined later) has its own weather patterns that interact only with themselves, creating highly localized weather phenomenon. Storms, rain, snow, wind, all are in a relatively stable pattern in each Structure, such that there are definable seasons (Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter). The further away from the Core Empires one gets, the more predictable the weather gets, to the point where at the extremes, where the weather system runs into the surface, are lands of eternal winter.

What are Structures?

Structures are portions of the planet carved out, either by its creators or, later, by its inhabitants that are in excess of ten square miles, which spontaneously develop their own weather patterns. Smaller caverns in the planet share the nearest weather patterns, if not necessarily current weather phenomena.

What's with the Surface?

The Surface is a dead world. The Surface is at a nigh constant temperature of 150 Kelvin, leaving it frozen and uninhabitable. The Surface is dotted with dead cities of technological wonders, left behind by those who came before. Every few hundred years, the Hollow World passes through a system with a star warm enough and bright enough to heat the Surface. Such periods are periods of exploration and discovery, with various individuals striking for the Surface to bring back Technology that has been left behind. Invariably, however, those who venture to the Surface do not survive - within a few days to a few months of returning, those who ventured out die. Even the mightiest divine magic cannot stop it, though it can return such individuals slain so to life.

The Space Between

There is a great deal of open space of 'sky' in between the Star and the Empires - a few dozen thousand square miles of such. With the aid of recovered Technology and study of the Pillars, the inhabitants of the Hollow World have constructed Sunships - ships that can fly in defiance of gravity and skim the sky around the star. Strangely, going too close to the star is not fatal; the Pillars keep the surface temperature at a balmy 100 degree (Fahrenheit) temperature.

Within the Sky are also floating islands. Such Islands are owned by the Empires or lawless lands. The most famous of such are Tortuga, a port-of-call for airship pirates and rogue engineers, and Niva, the largest of such islands that is used for large-scale farming projects by the Dwarrow Empire - currently, at least.

One last island of note is the Cloud Kingdom, an island that is a coterminous plane with the Sky. This is the domain of Cloud Giants, and is a thousand square mile island that, once every thousand years, manifests itself on the Material Plane. The Cloud Giants think themselves Lords of Creation, and during such times of materialization rain destruction down upon the other Empires for the week they are manifest.

The Empires

Four distinct Empires have formed around the Pillars as life has grown up around them.

The Dwarrow Empire is a grouping of distinct parallel lifeforms who have grown up actually within a Pillar. Their Pillar is honeycombed with its own passages and has a great deal of empty space within it, leading to the creation of smaller forms of life that inhabit its internals. The Dwarves and Gnomes are the dominant lifeforms that inhabit the city built within the Pillar, while the Halflings tend to the massively fertile lands that lay around it.

The Fey Kingdom has the most solid of Pillars, and is surrounded a massive forest. The Sidhe, the Elves, and the Eladrin make their home amidst the forests, carving out homes within the trees. They are a more insular set of peoples, tending to their own homes. As such, there are a number of miniature city-states spread through the forest.

The Saurian Monarchy is arranged around the tallest and slimmest of pillars. All around it, steamy jungles and dense swamps give rise to the Saurians, the Lizardmen, and the Raptorans. They are some of the hardiest individuals living within the Hollow World, as their home is one of the most dangerous, having the most deadly predators per capita.

Finally, the Orkish Thronehold's Pillar is surrounded on all sides by cities that press in on it oppressively. While the Dwarrow Empire makes use of the empty space within its Pillar as living quarters, the Orkish Thronehold challenges the immense size of the Pillar with their own structures. As such, the Orkish Thronehold is almost entirely city, a multi-layered structure where 'ground level' is a myth, and one is never sure where the Pillar ends and the City begins. The Orkish Thronehold is comprised primarily of the Orcs, the Goblins, the Bugbears, and the Humans.

While other races do exist, they are all minorities. There is also a definite intermingling of the races amidst their origination points, but listed above are the majorities within the boundaries of their staked lands.

Other Places

All it takes to make a Structure is a willingness to carve out ten square miles of space. Such undertakings are massive, but have been done, not to mention there are dozens of Structures made by those who came before. There are a large number of such places, dozens if not hundreds, dotting the Hollow World, but they are largely separated from the rest of the planet.

There are, however, a number of notable ones.

While the Empires differ in structure and philosophy, there is one thing they share in common - how power is structured. Those who rule are the magically-inclined, with great Wizard-Kings, Sorcerer-Lords, Cleric-Knights and Druid-Wardens at the top of every Empire. The Four Empires are evenly matched in arcane and divine power, and know that if they went to true war they would render the Hollow World uninhabitable. As such, the have an agreement to rule only their own lands rather than try to take it from the others.

The Dwarrow Empire is ruled by Emperor Sigfried Magehelm, a Dwarven Wizard of great power. The Orkish Thronehold is jointly ruled by a Goblin Erudite, an Orc Sorcerer, and a Bugbear Cleric. The Fey Kingdom has an elaborate monarchy of Psions, Wizards, Sorcerers, Clerics and Druids, but at the top lays King Oberon and Queen Titiana - a Psion/Cleric Theurge and a Wizard/Sorcerer Magus, respectively. The Saurian Monarchy is ruled by a Saurian God-King, who is said to possess all magic (Archivist).

Magic and technological aptitude are the measure of a person's value to society. Those who can build or repair technological constructs are valued on par with the greatest of sorcerers, as such beings are tasked with exploring and understanding the Pillars and deriving technological advancements from them.

Beyond the reach of the Empires, however, are lawless lands - mostly. While there are societies that have formed outside of their reach, exploring the tunnels and Structures beyond are straight up dungeon crawls.

Yes, we have to have dragons. At the outer edges of the Hollow World, sometimes within the influence of the Surface upon the internals and sometimes not, lay the oldest Dragons. They have carved out massive Structures to support themselves of varying environments. The Dragons are very interested in the deeper parts of the Hollow World, though they currently have no way to reach it owing to the sizes they have grown to. Giants (save Cloud Giants) live in the same Structures as the Dragons, and often serve them.

At various points of a dragon's life they may be possessed to delve into the tunnels and carve out their own little empires where they may grow, feed and accumulate treasure. Younger Dragons (Large and smaller) can be found in many a Structure that is large enough to support them.

Dragons are divided along the traditional lines of Chromatic and Metallic, Evil and Good respectively. Those with Alternate Forms may try to be a part of one of the various societies throughout the Hollow World. Ultimately, however, Dragons are avaricious creatures concerned with the accumulation of wealth and magic.


It is known on the Hollow World that the Planes are not a fixed point, but a relative one. They are linked to the Hollow World, and reaching them is a matter of finding the right Portal in the myriad tunnels that run through the Hollow World or casting plane shift.

As such, the Hollow World has a standard D&D cosmology of Inner and Outer Planes. They do not link with any other Cosmology, however.


The Gods of the Hollow World all treat their worshipers the same way - they grant spells regardless of alignment, and occasionally answer prayers to the faithful. All Gods grant their spells at the same time, which has led to the establishment of the term 'dawn' as the hour in which they grant spells to their Clerics.

Boccob occupies a space of power untold throughout other cosmologies. The worship and seeking of magic means that Boccob has a great many worshipers, and Boccob is revered among all the Empires equally.

Corellon Larethian is the Hero-God of the Fey Kingdom. Corellon was the first Sidhe who claimed the Forests and crafted a nymph from the heartstone of the Pillar who became Ehlonna. The first Sidhe, Elves and Eladrin were born of the two. They are venerated equally. Establishment of social rank is done through tracing lineage back to Corellon Larethian and Ehlonna.

Fharlanghn is the God of Travelers, Sunship Sailors, and Explorers. He is venerated by those who make it their life's mission to map the Hollow World's many tunnels or its skies, of which there are quite a few individuals.

Garl Glittergold and Moradin are the Twin Gods of Technology and Artifice. Revered by inventors and engineers.

Gruumsh is the chief deity of the Orkish Thronehold. Composed of equal parts Orc, Goblin and Bugbear, representing the best qualities of the three.

Olidammara is the God of Cities and all that is good about them. Many a Brothel hangs a Mask of Olidammara over their door.

Yondalla is the Goddess of the Harvest, and is worshiped almost exclusively by halfling farmers who tend the great fertile lands of the Dwarrow Empire.

Pelor is the God of the Star, Overgod of the Pantheon, said to be by some the divine manifestation of the Lifestar at the center of the Hollow World. His influence is minor, but pervasive - all beings know they owe their life to the Star and the Pillars that derive energy from it.

Veneration of the entire Pantheon is common. Worship of none is less so. Clerics who worship no deity either draw power from their own Ideals and the Planes associated with them, or from the Star itself.

Oceans are not unheard of on the Hollow World, just rare. The oceans on the surface are frozen over, to a depth of several thousand feet, but there exists a great deal of space within the waters deeper down. This is the domain of the aquatic creatures, which have their own structure of society. (To be expanded later.)

Access to the oceanic depths can be had for any willing to explore. Any lake within the Hollow World's tunnels may have an underwater passage into the oceans beyond. Such frozen oceans cover roughly 20% of the surface and comprise around 25% of the Hollow World itself. There are four such oceans, each one connected by various tributaries. Some such tributaries house complex tunnels that some creatures make their homes; these are the demesne of Kuo-Toa and other creatures bound to water but not requiring complete immersion into it.

Last edited by RelentlessImp on Sun Jun 14, 2015 11:04 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Fantasy dyson spheres are cool. It's also neat that the deeper into the ground you go the closer you are to the layer facing space so you can have a "Hel" mythology where the underworld is a dark void of cold and distant lights.

You can also have a "Flat World" be revealed to be an earth-sized island in a jupiter sized Dyson sphere.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'd prefer bringing it closer in line with core DnD conceits, (and maybe tie it into Spelljammer just so I can imagine Elf Empire raids on the Sphere). Also an explanation of the 'tech' used and such and how it differs from typical magic.
Then, once you have absorbed the lesson, that your so-called "friends" are nothing but meat sacks flopping around in the fashion of an outgassing corpse, pile all of your dice and pencils and graph-paper in the corner and SET THEM ON FIRE. Weep meaningless tears.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2015 3:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The Hollow World's Quirks

Transportation is a question asked of the Hollow World. The Sunships connect the Four Empires, with established trade routes between the four major cities. Caravans leave for the bigger Structures close by the major cities, which include farms, on a regular basis.

Teleportation is stopped by 40ft of contiguous, unbroken material, due to the unique radiation that the Hollow World gives off - which means that most of the Hollow World cannot be teleported to. One exception are the Capitals, which can be teleported to any part of their surfaces from any part of the Hollow World - that is, the outer edges of the cities built around the Pillars.

It is possible to Teleport to places that have been prepared. Such preparations require the preparation of a Focus; a copper rod at least six feet in length that has had Dimensional Anchor cast on it. Rooting the rod within a specially drawn six foot radius circle using ruby dust (at least 600gp worth) makes that space a valid target for teleportation. Performing the ritual to prepare a space for teleportation takes 5 minutes, and the circle becomes permanent. A Dispel Magic/Greater Dispel Magic cast upon the circle that beats the check (11+Caster Level) of the original Dimensional Anchor effect can disrupt the circle.

These limitations do not apply to travel done through wish or miracle.

Teleportation Circles function normally.

Scrying likewise does not function through 40ft of contiguous, unbroken material. One exception exists; if you have an item that is part of the specific creature you wish to scry on (hair, scale, etc), you can use that as a focus to scry on them.

Languages of the Hollow World

Each Empire has its own language. The lingua franca of each Empire is that of their ethnically dominant race; the Dwarrow Empire speaks Dwarven, the Fey Kingdom speaks Sylvan, the Saur Monarchy speaks Saurian, and the Orkish Thronehold speaks Orcish.

A creole has formed from a mixture of the four languages, becoming Common, serving as a trade language among the four. While Common is uncouth and ugly, full of loanwords and guttural speech, most people do speak it, but tend to prefer speaking their own native language.

The Planar Languages exist, mostly among high level spellcasters who frequently treat with such creatures; Aquan, Ignan, Terran, Auran, Celestial and Fiendish. Study of such languages by most people is not uncommon.

Any character of the Hollow World is by nature bilingual; they speak both Common and their native Empire's language. (Native here is defined as the Empire that they spent their formative years in.) They may add any of the above languages for having high intelligence.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Technology of the Hollow World

Technology and magic have grown side by side in the Hollow World. With the advanced technology that societies have grown up around to study from, the inhabitants of the Hollow World have gotten a leg-up on their technological advancement.

What follows is a glimpse at some of the technology available for the Hollow World:


One of the most obvious technologies to grow out of the study of the Pillars are the Sunships. Crafted to combat the crazed gravity that fills the Hollow World, the Sunships ply the Solar Sea, connecting the Four Empires. Constructed of a mixture of metals, stone, wood, and a special material known as sero (more on that later), the sunships sail through the great expanse of sky known as the Solar Sea.

Most ships ply the trade routes and known passageways between the Empires, but there are a great many places to left to discover within the Solar Sea. And with trade routes come pirates.

The pricing on Sunships is relatively low with the abundance of sero available.

Solar Skiffs are small sunships meant for a small crew. They resemble nothing so much as real world moderate sized fishing vessels. They can host a total crew of up to 10 and carry 40 tons of cargo. A Solar Skiff costs 700gp and traverse the Solar Sea at a speed of 10 miles per hour (90ft/round) and has Perfect maneuverability as if it were flying. They can carry up to 2 cannons in the prow, per side, and astern.

Solar Caravels are the most common Sunship on the Solar Sea. They carry cargo, transport passengers, and patrol for airship pirates. A Solar Caravel can host a crew of 20 individuals, and hold cargo of up to 100 medium creatures or 400 tons of cargo. A Solar Caravel costs 2,500gp and traverses the Solar Sea at a speed of 8 miles per hour (70ft/round), and has Good maneuverability on the Solar Sea as if it were flying. They can be outfitted with up to 2 cannons in the prow, 10 cannons per side, and 2 astern.

Solar Barques are the largest of the Sunships. Primarily military ships, they serve as the vessels of each of the Empire's navy. They can host a crew of 100, and infrequently carry passengers or cargo. When they do, they can carry a maximum of 400 individuals in the cargo holds, or up to 300 tons of cargo. They travese the Solar Sea at a speed of 7 miles per hour (65ft/round), and have Average manevuerability as if they were flying. They can be outfitted with up to 3 cannons in the prow, 20 cannons per side, and up to 3 cannons astern.

There are many other Solar Ships but follow the rules of one of the three above ships based on the ship's size. Large and Huge Ships follow Solar Skiff rules, Gargantuan Ships follow Solar Caravel rules, and Colossal ships follow Solar Barque rules.

Firearms in the Hollow World have a firing mechanism that resembles magnetic railguns. Gunpowder does not exist, primarily so people don't bitch about black powder firearms. This includes ship's cannons.

Personal Firearms come in a few different styles. Pistols involve any firearm that can be carried and fired in one hand. Rifles are any mid-range firearm that have to be braced against the shoulder or hip and require both hands to fire. Long Rifles require a bracing mechanism such as a tripod and can fire exceptionally long ranges, but require aiming.

Siege Firearms include any firearm that's meant to be mounted on a vehicle. The most common siege firearm in the Hollow World is the Airship Cannon, which is a seven foot long cannon meant to be fitted between railings or out portholes, and are frequently on wheels so they may be moved and stored. Such cannons typically fire roundshot or chainshot.

All such weapons are Simple weapons. A person who grew up within the boundaries of one of the Four Empires automatically has proficiency with personal firearms.

Pistols fit into one hand and come in a few different varities; semi-automatic and revolvers. Semi-automatic pistols carry slightly less energetic rounds than revolvers, dealing 1d8 damage with a critical range of 19-20/x2, with range increments of 80ft. Pistols can fire the number of rounds in their clip before needing to be reloaded with a Swift action. Rapid Reload makes reloading one a Free action. Pistols cost 40gp. Individual rounds are 1gp per 10. Extra clips cost 5sp each.

Revolvers also fit into one hand, but are a bit more powerful than Pistols. They deal 1d12 damage with a critical range of 19-20/x2, with range increments of 80ft. Revolvers, due to their cylinders, carry less ammunition at one time than a Pistol, typically between 4 and 8 rounds. The standard Revolver that is popular in the Hollow World is a 7-shot revolver. Reloading such revolvers takes a Move-equivalent action per round to reload, or a single Swift action with the aid of a speedloader. Loading a speedloader takes one Move-equivalent action per round to be loaded into it. Rapid Reload makes loading a prepared Speedloader a Free Action, and allows two rounds to be loaded into a revolver or speedloader per round. Revolvers cost 40gp. Individual rounds are 1gp per 10. Speedloaders cost 5sp each.

Rifles come only in single-shot bolt-action. Loading a rifle requires a Swift action (a Free action with Rapid Reload). They deal 2d8 damage with a critical range of 20/x4, with range increments of 110ft. Rifles cost 75gp. Individual rounds cost 1gp per 5.

Long Rifles are also single-shot, bolt-action weapons. Loading them takes a Swift action (Free with Rapid Reload). They deal 2d8 damage with a critical range of 20/x4, with range increments of 250ft. Long Rifles cost 100gp. Individual rounds cost 1gp per 5.

Other Vehicles
Aside from the Sunships, there are a variety of vehicles in the Hollow World.

Subways are public transport located in all of the Capitals of the Four Empires. They follow pre-plotted routes, and undermine every city in their entirety. These are used by most people to get around the cities.

Bicycles are what you might expect. Riding a Bicycle triples a person's base land movement speed, but in cannot be used in crowds. A bicycle costs 50gp.

Mounts are out of vogue for the most part in the Hollow World - at least in cities, where bicycles and subways have supplanted most traveling concerns for the common citizens. Which is not to say there aren't hippogryph aviaries or things of that nature. One can typically find any type of mount they wish in one of the Four Empires' capital cities, but cost one-half of the listed price.


Typical currency in the Hollow World follows the typical platinum, gold, silver, copper delineation. However, nothing over 15,000gp can be bought for money, but it might be purchasable for Love. The platonic ideal Love, that is.

The Halflings of the Dwarrow Empire, aside from being farmers, are the magnates of the Banking system. Under their guidance the Four Empires have come to accept standardized coinage throughout the Four Empires, based on weight and precious material purity. The typical Four Empires coins are roughly 20% of their precious material by weight. The rest of it is typically made up of less valuable materials, such as copper and nickel. (Yes, that means any 'pure gold' you may find is worth five times what it would be worth as a gold piece.) Most created items using "coin metals" as a base material typically follows the same rules, making them only around 20% of their base material, with the rest made up of less-expensive materials. Anyone who crafts something purely out of the "coin metal" can expect its selling price to be five times normal.

The Hollow World is very conversant with currencies that are not, strictly speaking, currencies. At the higher end of the spectrum, people do, in fact, trade in Hope, Dreams and Love, platonic planar ideals. While you may find "Ye Olde Magicke Shoppes" frequent throughout the metropolises of the Empires, such shops only stock items worth up to 15,000gp. Any higher, and you must treat with powerful entities who are willing to accept your planar currencies. This means going straight to high level individuals who are willing to spend their time crafting and paying them in ephemeral currencies for their time and effort. If you can find them.


Sero is a material that has grown out of the study of the Pillars. The exotic materials that make them up mostly do not occur elsewhere on the Hollow World, save for one - adamantine. Adamantine in the Pillars has been treated by arcane and technological processes, and through extensive study, comparisons and experimentation, has been replicated. Sero is magically treated and electrified adamantine that, through arcane and technological processes, becomes incredibly light. Sero supplies the buoyant lift that allows Sunships to sail the Solar Sea. Sero is also used to construct the magnetic propulsion systems of the railgun-like firearms. Sero is used as a building material to support the weights of the massive buildings that the Dwarrow Empire and Orkish Thronehold create around their Pillars.

Sero counts as adamantine for all purposes, save one; an item crafted out of Sero has negligible weight. Armor made of Sero does not count against being able to Fly or not (for those flight speeds hampered by medium or heavy armor), nor does it lower fly speeds. Any item crafted of Sero is automatically considered Masterwork.

Last edited by RelentlessImp on Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:18 am; edited 5 times in total
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