Friday, June 18, 2010

See Rock City...If You Dare!


You might rightly ask yourself: surely Trey isn't seriously going to suggest that Lookout Mt., Georgia's kitschy, but slightly trippy, roadside attraction might have an analog in the world of the City (and perhaps elsewhere) that could be an adventure local?

Well, not seriously. At least, not completely seriously...

There are stories from the Southern end of the Smaragdines about a strange place atop a mountain inhabited by extraplanar beings. It's become something of a legend across the rural South. Many barns or abandoned shacks along dusty roads and lonely highways are adorned with cryptic references to its wonders, or exhortations to "see the rock city."

The Natives of the land told stories of this place, and made visits to pay superstitious homage. Early explorers from Ealderde described a natural fortress of rock, with its components arranged so as to form the semblance "streets" and "alleyways"--and then there were oblique references to reclusive inhabitants. By the time the area had been well-settled, stories began to circulate of disappearances, and strange lights and music in the city of rock. Some Old World immigrants began to whisper about entrances to Fairyland.

Scientific thaumaturgical inquiry toward the end of the last century appears to have solved the mystery. In the heart of the rock city, reached only after passing through a maze of unusual rock formations, is a cave. The cave is the domain of clan of ultraterrestrial entities called gnomes.

Gnomes are elementals of earth. On the surface, they often appear as statues, as their experience of time isn't ours, and they sometimes stand immobile for long periods of time before springing to sudden action. They travel from the subterranean depths via veins of minerals. Their purposes are often inscrutable. In the rock city, they appear to be attempting art.

The gomes look like statues of bearded little men, with often comical expressions, and have shaped some of their substance to look like human clothing--brightly color through the expression of mineral pigments. This is not unusual gnomic behavior. What is, is that in the rock city, that have turned grottoes in their cave complex into dioramas, glowing with eerie, otherworldly light. These dioramas are scenes from Old World fairytales and nursery rhymes. The gnomes, it seems, have some knowledge of their audience.


It's for these strange and whimsical dioramas that people visit the rock city. But before making the trip yourself, consider where the non-gnomish statues in the dioramas come from. Some experts hold these are gnomes, just assuming different forms. Others point to the unusually high numbers of disappearances in the area and suggest the the gnomes may sometimes need human stock for their quaint designs.

10 comments:

Risus Monkey said...

You could build a whole campaign around the secret reality of kitchy roadside attractions. Awesome.

Lagomorph Rex said...

yah... I remember thinking when I was a kid how.. dull.. that place was when I went..

the Aquarium in Tennesee was cool... ruby falls was cool.. but that.. that sorta sucked..

James said...

Very nice! Man, I'd play in your campaign, in a heartbeat!

Trey said...

@Risus - Yeah, just think of what kind of sinister things lurk at South Carolina's South of the Border tourist trap.

Lagomorph - Hey, if you can't see the inherent fun in blacklight gnomes, I don't know what to tell you. ;)

@James - Thanks James! Too bad, you don't live closer. :)

ancientvaults said...

Wow, you are a genius with taking something seemingly innocuous and making it sinister and exciting at the same time. Great post.

Trey said...

Thanks! I've always thought there was something a little off about Rock City. I don't know why it took me this long to think of "re-imagining it" in a gaming context.

NetherWerks said...

Very cool. Have you read "Another Roadside Attraction" Definitely worth your time, and I think that you'd get a kick out of it. I love this post, and I really enjoy what you are doing here--this setting is awe-inspiring in the old sense of the word. I haven't gotten to the Pararail, Coast Road (yet) or the Roadhouses (Morrison Hotel, either), but when I do, I'm looking for a few good roadside attractions as well. I've been compiling Tourist Traps, but you definitely beat me to the punch here and I really like how you handled this one. I would love to play a character in this game/setting you're building.

Trey said...

Thanks, NetherWerks! I'll have to check out that roadside attractions book, though I really don't get time for roadtrips, these days, unfortunately.

Brutorz Bill said...

We went there last summer. I thought the gnomes were extremely creepy! And I usually like gnomes!

Trey said...

Yeah, those Rocky City gnomes walk a fine line sometimes...and sometimes they cross over it. ;)