Thursday, April 30, 2020

DEAD LOOP - January Patreon Post

An underworld complex for Esoteric Enterprises, generated using the tables in that book. There won't be many more of these posts, now that I have switched over to hosting WIPs on my patreon - while they weren't really working out, I have to admit I liked them

Dead Loop

The Green Extension of the city subway was built to service the wealthy neighborhood of Bramble Hill, and had the luck of opening a month and a half before the recession hit. As the bouzhi folks lost all their money and fled town, leaving a neighborhood filled with mcmansions too expensive and ugly to sell, it became obvious to City Hall that there wouldn’t be enough passes sold to maintain the Extension, and they decided to sundown the route until things got better.

Things never got better, and now over a decade later the derelict Green Extension has become home to a wide variety of underworld denizens: a surface of smugglers and crime families atop the substrata cadres of sorcerers and chthonic beings.

Locations in the Dead Loop

Baker St. Station

The primary point of access to the Dead Loop, as it is still an operational stop along the subway’s Blue Line.

Laurel St. Station

Provides easy access to Club Iapetus. Watched over by underlings of the Titans. Surface access has been sealed off.

Nix Avenue Station

Provides easy access to the Bastille. Watched over by members of La Croix. Surface access has been sealed off.

The Knot

The sewers underneath Bramble Hill do not see much usage anymore, leaving them as a relatively-easy means of transit between the upper layers of the underworld here.

Club Iapetus

A den of debauchery operated by the Titans. Most folks coming to the Dead Loop from the surface do so to come here, to get their fill of illicit goods and eardrum-rending base. There are usually a few dero of the Conspiracy lurking in the walls: stealing snack wrappers, keeping an eye on the Titans, and whispering very bad advice to people.

The Bastille

Subterranean fortress of the La Croix, built in the expanded sub-basements of the Nix Avenue Station. Heavily fortified, the La Croix toll all passage through the Bastille, occasionally press-ganging travelers into service for Genevieve’s special tasks.

The Catacombs

Built not by the humans above but by the morlocks below to inter their dead. Contains the remnants of all of the pack’s former eloi, which have as of yet gone undisturbed. The primary inhabitants are I Found This Humerus, though Court Basalt did attempt to send an emissary to meet with Zyraximander, to disastrous, melty results.

Zyraximander’s Sanctum

An ancient morlock who successfully decoded the works of their former masters, Zyraximander is a sleepy, slothful being whose incredible age and predisposition to introversion has left him out of most affairs in the Dead Loop, despite his incredible power. Mostly, he just wants to keep I Found This Humerus out of his sanctum and occasionally check up on the Gandobog Pack.

Lab of Dr. Cunningham

Cunningham is, at core, a fraud. Most of his method and techniques were pulled from scavenged serpent-men tablets from deeper in the caves. He has a crippling inferiority complex about this, and so makes up for it with his aggressive, aggrandizing demeanor. His work is good, don’t be misled there, but it’s good because the serpent-man methods of body modification were nearly idiot-proof.

Location means he services the La Croix regularly, though he has no particular allegiance with them.

Caves (Upper)

Natural limestone caves inhabited by Gandobog Pack and a few holdout pockets of the Conspiracy.

Caves (Lower)

Burned into service by Lithic geomancy, the entirety of the lower caves has been turned into the embassy of Court Basalt.

Factions of the Dead Loop

The Illuminated

A minor cult of Vor Glaurung, notable in their tattooing their scriptures (illuminated, of course) across their entire bodies. A newer cult, so none of them has received the entire manuscript yet.
  • Has been infiltrated by members of the Zamboni family, intending to subvert them against the Titans and gain access to Book Club.
  • Is regularly hired by Book Club for support, trades surface goods with the Gandobog Pack.

Zamboni Family

Antonio Zamboni used to be the top dog around here, back before the economy went belly up. The family still owns a good number of properties up on the surface and has their fingers on city politics, but they’ve almost entirely been driven out of the underworld by La Croix and the Titans. But, a change in leadership (Anthony’s brother Benito has taken over) has seen a revival of underworld interest, and attempts to wrest control back in their favor are underway. The Zamboni core of power is on the surface.
  • Lost an heir to the Benthic Congregation, but managed to hammer out a peace treaty
  • Has infiltrated the Illuminated as a way of getting close to Book Club and the Titans.
  • Has an informant in the Coyote Crew, scouting out business opportunities.

La Croix Family

Genevieve La Croix and her clan operate out of the Bastille, a sub-basement stronghold below the Nix Avenue station. Genevieve is something of a gigantic heretic: adores the pomp and circumstance of the church, hates the whole morals thing, offers huge bonuses for anyone able to bring her a demon. So she can eat it.
  • Low-key conflict with both the Conspiracy and the Gandobog Pack.
  • Infrequent but violent fights with the Titans over territory and supplies

The Titans

Brothers Atlas, Prometheus, and Menoetius (Epimetheus seems to be missing), real names unknown, run the den of sin and pounding music that is Club Iapetus. They are all wannabe sorcerors of their own, using spoils from Book Club to further their own rivalries with each other.
  • Infrequent but violent fights with the La Croix over territory and supplies.
  • Exert significant control over the local chapter of Book Club, monopolizing their services.
  • Forced into neutrality by the Conspiracy, who threaten to reveal Club Iapetus and all its illicit dealings to the surface authorities.

Benthic Congregation

These worshipers of the Leviathan have been blessed with the emergence of a true avatar, a Bentheoson. While the avatar serves as the spiritual leader, the practical leadership remains where it was, in Carol Dietrich. The two do not see eye-to-eye on anything and tensions are building. Haven’t established their own stronghold yet, have been looking at moving down into the Catacombs once the war is over.
  • Careful truce with the Zamboni family, formed after one of the heirs joined the cult.
  • Has planted informants within the Coyote Crew, looking for ways to help cultists on the surface escape their lives and make their way to the underworld.
  • Open warfare with I Found This Humerus, believing (mostly correctly) that Zyraximander means to kill the Bentheoson.

Coyote Crew

A small smuggling band, specializing in the forging and sale of fake IDs. Headquartered on the surface, do business with the crime families.
  • Both the Benthic Congregation and the Zamboni Family have planted informants within the group, though they’ve yet to attempt active subversion.
  • Has recently assassinated a member of the Court Basalt, for reasons that no one can figure out. It’s properly baffling, but the Crew is doubling down.

I Found This Humerus

A band of experimental and terribly irreverent necromancers, attempting to recreate the methods of the lich Zyraximander. They make their camp in the Catacombs.
  • In conflict with Court Basalt over the Court’s melting of an undelved wing of the catacombs.
  • Open warfare with the Benthic Congregation, believing (mostly correctly) that the Bentheoson will seek out and kill Zyraximander to establish itself as the primary supernatural power in the Dead Loop.

Book Club

The local chapter of grimoire smugglers. Primarily a surface organization, descending either for trade or salvage.
  • Hire out The Illuminated for support.
  • Low-key conflict with the Gandobog Pack, over possession of surviving ophidian texts.
  • Puppeted by the Titans, who use them to gain a monopoly on occult texts.

Court Basalt

A band of exiled Lithics, come up from the mantle to establish a new court. Found in the Lower Caves.
  • Looking to strike back at the Coyote Crew for the death of one of their clerks.
  • Cold war with I Found This Humerus and The Conspiracy

The Conspiracy

The local dero have recently accumulated around a new genius, who has introduced the meme of secret messages hidden in food packaging that filters down from above to his flock. Av dero always do, they have jumped into the belief whole-heartedly. They can be found basically everywhere.
  • Have forced neutrality with the Titans, who had previously tried to stamp out the Conspiracy, through threats of toppling Club Iapetus.
  • Low-key conflict with Gandobog Pack over surface food brought down by The Illuminated.

Gandobog Pack

The ophidian city that once stood here is long gone, but morlocks have long memories. This pack is particularly blessed in having two eloi, one of which was recently born. They live primarily in the Upper Caves.
  • Rely on The Illuminated for shipments of surface goods.
  • In conflict with the Conspiracy over food brought to them by The Illuminated.
  • In conflict with Book Club over the possession of surviving ophidian texts.


  1. A lesson from making those connections between factions: if you start with a lot of d20s, you're going to have a lot of the same.

    1. And if you don't use a lot of D20s, you'll end up with all Minor Cults and Street Gangs

      It's a problem the rest of the book has: Bring small dice, and you get the same results over and over. Bring large dice, and you get the same connections over and over.

      Procedural generation inevitably requires the user to step in and tweak the results when they become boring, repetitive or nonsensical.

  2. I really like the way you've mapped this top-down and then side-on. I've been debating how to represent depth on my EE maps. How do you like the game so far? I have a campaign ready to go, but it's been put off until quarantine is over.