I wasn’t originally going to post this publicly, but several of you have expressed interest. A few years ago I swiped an excellent writeup by Rodger Burns on the Vaults of Pandius website (dedicated to the Mystaran gameworld). I was looking for a way to procedurally generate the urban ruins of an “alien” culture, and his post about Tslani ruins really fit the bill. I spent some time re-writing it from a Hyperborean perspective, for use in both the Black City campaign and my old Astonishing ACKS game.
As with most of my game stuff, this isn’t my original idea – it’s a re-skin of somebody else’s work. You should check out the original writeup by Rodger Burns, or see his other Mystara material at the Vaults of Pandius.
Little doubt exists that the ancient cities of the Hyperborean peoples are the oldest in the world. However, the spiral towers of black gneiss that dominate both the Black City and Khromarium seem not to have been carved by human hands; neither were they intended to accommodate bipedalism, but rather something altogether inhuman.
Ancient cities of this type can be found throughout the Hyperborean mainland, with Khromarium being the most notable example. Hyperborean ruins can potentially be found in other worlds and places, however, such as the Black City of the Thule Archipelago of Old Earth. In many cases, only the subterranean under-levels still exist, with the surface structures reduced to rubble.
The Hyperboreans who fled Old Earth initially thought that their great capitol of Khromarium was lost. However, they quickly discovered that city – or at least some version of it – existed in their new realm as well. They also found other abandoned Hyperborean cities throughout the continent, but no trace of living inhabitants. Somehow, earlier Hyperborean peoples had managed to travel to this new realm and begun building their own civilization there.
Meanwhile, on Old Earth, human explorers eventually discovered the Hyperborean Black City amidst the retreating glaciers of Thule. They, too, found the city abandoned and have never managed to find any living Hyperboreans – something that troubles and discourages them. Either the Hyperboreans have left, possibly fleeing some terrible fate, or else they somehow managed to destroy themselves in a manner that left no traces of their downfall.