Madison: a Strange World

Last month, I showed you a picture of an alien world. Many of you responded with survey data about it. As promised, here’s the place as a location for a game.


This fourth planet in the Cynga system is called Madison by the locals. It is nearly entirely ocean, save for four mountains that break the surface around its Tropic of Capricorn. The mountain pictured, Watchtower, is the largest of the four. It houses around 4,000 people—scientific and historical survey teams along with support staff. The leader of this science colony is Colonel Howard Feldman.

The historical records discovered on Watchtower indicate that this was a lush garden world 50,000 years ago. There were many people here once, back when there were continents. There was a grand civilization now buried under fathoms of yellow-red sea—a once-Earthlike ocean with a high concentration of rust, ash, and sulfur. This evidence of pre-Earth civilization is precisely why the Feldmen expedition has set up here. The data uncovered so far shows that this is all the result of cataclysmic war, of nuclear and weather weapons devastating the land and sky. This being a “holy war” is brought up again and again. What little technology that’s been uncovered in mining operations seems to have some link to nitrates.

The surface atmosphere would be toxic to unmodified humans, but anyone traveling today can filter out the nitrogen and chlorine, at least for around an hour before lung filter build-up takes effect. The upper atmosphere rages with a continual burning storm, as though heat from Cynga’s sun as energy. Occasionally, pilots passing through the atmosphere have even reported “things” living in the dense clouds, typically likened to sharks or whales. Sensors aren’t able to detect them, so they’re written off as a local legend.

Travel to the other islands is made difficult by the sea slowly dissolving watercraft left in there long, and the air currents around the mountains are fierce on a good day. The southernmost island has a very curious artifact inside of a cave: a statue of a little humanoid girl. The survey team sent to explore died on that mission of a mysterious illness, so all Watchtower has is the video and other electronic data the survey sent before they self-quarantined.

This was fairly difficult to weave together, because the responses really talked about a half-dozen different worlds. But I wanted to mesh them together into one as an exercise for myself. I took some responses to be the core facts and truths. Other responses were adapted to fit that core. For those responses that couldn’t fit in, I still found a way to take inspiration or a name from it—calling this “Madison” is because of the “this is cheeseworld” response, for example.

I suppose to continue the game of you readers filling in details, here’s the next question: What two Fate setting aspects would be in your game? Maybe you’re interested in color or atmospheric[1] aspects, or in current and impending issues from Game Creation.

– Ryan

[1] Figuratively and literally


4 Responses to Madison: a Strange World

  1. Sabine V says:

    I’d try the aspects “Sunsets made prettier by poison” (to reflect the strange beauty of this very inhospitable environment) and “In the depth, something is slowly uncoiling” (kinde obvious, but I like the idea of an alien threat).

  2. Sarah T. says:

    I just love this. That is all. :)

  3. Scum of Dunwall says:

    Local Legends and Superstitions Isn’t True… Right?

    Archeologists’s Klondike

  4. Scum of Dunwall says:

    Local Legends and Superstitions Isn’t True… Right?

    Archeologist’s Klondike