Here is information about the town of Delirium on the Plains of Kataru in the Ninth World of Numenera. This could easily be adapted to use in any fantasy or science-fiction-fantasy world.
Articles in This Series
Companion Episodes of Game Master's Journey
OM 01 - Preparing for an Adventure
OM 02 - Laying the Foundation for your Campaign
OM 03 - Location, Location, Location
OM 04 - Prepping and Running a Numenera Session
OM 05 - The Town of Bonespir
OM 06 - The Windmill in the Woods
OM 07 - Connecting Adventures Together
OM 08 - The Village of the Culovas
OM 09 - The Machine of the Emols
OM 10 - The Conclusion of the Campaign
Actual Play (Audio)
Session 01 Part 1 - The Town of Bonespir
Session 01 Part 2 - The Windmill in the Woods
Session 01 Part 3 - Inside the Windmill
Session 02 Part 1 - The Swarm from Hell
Session 02 Part 2 - Numenera Hunters
Session 03 Part 1 - The Order of Tianma
Session 03 Part 2 - Bugbusters
Session 04 Part 1 - The Man They Called Zain
Session 04 Part 2 - Madame Saydle's Wondrous Soup
Actual Play (Video)
The YouTube playlist includes the first session and sessions 8-12.
Delirium is a town on the Plains of Kataru. It is built between the legs of a great crystal Arch. The plains are rolling flatlands that are fertile and temperate. However the Plains of Kataru are known for the terrible storms that rage in the area, especially in the spring. Delirium is a safe haven from these storms, though, as it is protected from inclement weather by the large crystal Arch that rises over the town. Within a mile of the Arch the weather is always calm, with just enough mild rains to grow crops, and temperate. Whenever inclement weather is nearby, the Arch emits a soft hum, the worse the weather, the louder the hum. With severe weather, everything in the town seems to vibrate with the sound.
Delirium is located between the Ausren Woods and White Lake and has no resident Aeon Priests. The people of Delirium speak their own language, although the town elders can speak the Truth. Delirium is a small farming community that grows wheat, beans, and all kinds of vegetables. The folk of Delirium also raise griffalo and gallene and hunt enyi on the plains. The town is largely self-sufficient but does occasionally trade with rare caravans from the Steadfast that travel across the Black Riage on their way to Augur-Kala.
Only the elders know how to enter the Arch. This is accomplished by pressing one’s lips to the Arch’s surface while humming a note a minor third above the pitch of the Arch’s hum. Once inside the Arch, a lift takes one to the top, where there is a series of windows that look out into the past and future at different intervals. E.g. one window looks out a day in the past, while another looks out a day in the future, and another a year in the past and so on. The elders use the information they glean by gazing out the windows to pose as “seers” blessed by the Tree Goddess. One of the elders is posted at the windows at all times. Because of this, most visitors to the town are anticipated.
In addition to the Arch, a palisade surrounds the town and an astronomy pole is at its center. Sunlight passes through the Arch, so it does not interfere with the functioning of the astronomy pole. The pole casts a shadow on the palisade wall, the position of which is used to determine important days like solstices, equinoxes, harvesting and planting days, etc.
A Dream Sallow (The Ninth World Bestiary page 37) lives near the town in an arboretum of dead trees. The people of Delirium worship the Great Tree as a god. Their ancestors made a deal with the Dream Sallow long ago. The Tree agreed to no longer lure townsfolk beneath it boughs to die, and in return, every citizen “goes to the Tree” at age 60 to die and feed it. The elders long ago presented this to the people of Delirium as a religion, complete with a mythology to support it. They go to the Tree willingly to die and enjoy an eternal afterlife (there is actually some truth to this as their consciousness is preserved in a virtual reality created by the Dream Sallow). The sick and dying are also taken to the Tree. Occasionally sacrifices are made to the Tree as well, although this is rare because the most common reasons for sacrifice (healthy births, bountiful crops, good weather) are unnecessary due to the Arch which protects the town.
The buildings of Delirium are round huts made of a wooden skeleton filled in with a cement like material made of mud and prairie grasses.
The people of the town wear robe-like garments. The women wear their hair up in elaborate arrangements held in place with objects of wood, metal, bone or synth. The elders of the town shave their heads except for an “arch” of hair going from their sideburns over the crown of their heads. The seers also wear ear spools of wood or bone, which increase in size with age and station. The other men of the town shave their heads completely. All the men wear beards, the length of the beards naturally increasing with age. The people of Delirium tend to have dark hair and brown, blue, hazel or green eyes. Their skin has a wide range of complexions, but none of them are pale.
Dying is referred to as “returning to the Dream.” The people of the town “go to the Goddess” when they turn 60. Parting phrases used in the town include, “May the Arch shade you,” and, “Dream again, but not today.” Another common phrase heard in the town is, “All things return to the Goddess.”