Saturday, February 20, 2010

And that floridly purple prose is in fact only a mildly dramatized description of earth, our earth, the real one, at he end of the Permian period -well before dinosaurs, the age we mostly associate with the big fin backed psedoreptiles. No kidding, everything multicellular nearly died then -from 80-95 % of all species, land and sea, large and small, snuffed it in a much bigger extinction than the one that did for the dinosaurs. And life took a Loooooong time to recover.

Temperatures were suddenly forced to rise in the middle of an already catastrophic glaciation by massive volcanic activity...massive: tens of thousands of square MILES of lava erupting. Google "Siberian traps"; they may have raised the temperature as much as ten degrees over a few centuries -which did nothing to improve an already fragile ecosystem. Weather went crazy, and massive glacial melts poisoned the already vastly reduced coastal areas with cold fresh water, which created anoxic conditions and disrupted the atmospheric oxygen cycle -O2 levels dropped dramatically to the point where sea level O2 was equivalent to modern O2 concentration at 10,000' elevations -from a baseline what was 20-25% higher than a few centuries.

The remainder was polluted with Co2 and Sulfur dioxide; and then the Methan mats on the seabed started melting -in some cases explosively -driving up the methane levels. Things were dying everywhere. Even the coal beds are interrupted at these geological strata -suggesting that the forests were dead all at once,with little regrowth, and likely being broken up by high levels of decay fungus rather than creating the coal producing loam that an active forest would.

And then, for the cherry on top, speculation is that a massive asteroid or comet hit the planet, creating the Gulf of mexico and starting the breakup of the supercontinent. Perfect, no ?

Bad time to live, easy time to die. And so, I naturally thought, why not stick the PCs there ?

1 comment:

garrisonjames said...

Wow. That is quite a cataclysmic setting. Survival will be a lot more than just fending off beasts or keeping out of trouble...breathing will be an issue, fungus of all sorts ill be an all-pervasive threat, and everything is transitioning from one base-line to another, which reminds me of a hyper-active Barsoom. That would be a great setting for building some really amazing (and deadly) adventures.