What’s weird about this flying castle?

1 – It’s powered by divine energy, rather than arcane, so the central structure is a huge chapel with a hundred-strong choir belting out devotional hymns around the clock. If they stop singing, the god who makes the thing fly will look away from it, and it’ll crash to the ground – or that’s what they believe, anyway. The place hasn’t been silent in over a hundred years.

2 – Goblins stole it, and they’re using it as a sort of skyborne pirate ship to raid cliffside towns all down the coast. They can’t steer it very well and keep bashing into things, so the external structure has sustained massive damage – it’s basically flying ruins at this point, tied together with stolen rope and steered with a massive, threadbare sail.

3 – It’s piloted by an order of do-gooding Paladins on a righteous quest – to rid the world of evil. “Ridding the world of evil” seems to consist of wearing flashy armour, investing their reclaimed treasure hoards in shady businesses, and getting in good and cosy with the rulers of the land by air-dropping in and solving all their problems at the point of a shimmering blade.

4 – The mountain underneath it crumbled away hundreds of years ago in a devastating rockslide, but the skeleton wizard who lives there has such almighty powers of solipsism that the castle never fell along with it. But: whenever he starts to doubt himself, the castle drops a few hundred feet – and the who built their village below it (in what seemed like a good idea at the time) are starting to get worried.

5 – It’s a loose door to the Elemental Plane of Dungeons, an MC Escher-like cryptogeometric maze fought over by five unstable alliances of monstrous humanoids. “Doors” like this one cruise all over the globe, following inscrutable patterns (Leylines? Solar energy? Dragons?) and, after a few years, crash hard into something. Eventually, the links to the elemental plane die off, and it’s just a normal subterranean megacomplex. Wizard-scientists believe that over twenty per cent of the world’s dungeons are naturally-occurring.

6 – It used to be a private zoo for the son of an obscenely wealthy noble, who would visit it on occasion and enjoy the oddities of the world laid before him. But: something went wrong. (Something always does.) Now the entire thing is overrun with dangerous creatures – some of them magical – and now he’s asking you to rescue some important documents of lineage he was keeping there for safe purposes. If you could do it before his father’s funeral next week, that’d be super.

7 – The entire thing is jam-packed with cats and almost nothing else alive; they line the streets, lick themselves on balconies, piss up abandoned library shelves, and survive on rats and the occasional pigeon. Legends tell of a cursed clan who lived there, and were turned to cats for their insatiable curiosity by some vengeful god, but you know what legends are like. Maybe the owner just really likes cats.

8 – It skips like a stone across the waters of the sea after being flung in the dim and distant past by a giant folk hero. (Giant folk stories pretty much all end with the antagonist being thrown into the sea, or at the very least a big hole. It’s tradition.) The guy was so strong that the castle is still moving in huge, predictable arcs to this day. Fishermen know to avoid certain spots in the ocean at certain times of the year.

9 – It’s held up by thousands of birds. They shit everywhere. It’s gross.

10 – Once upon a time, a wizard enchanted her castle to fly around the place. Then: she landed in town to get some turnips and opium, and some bastards stole it; but it was a modest castle (more of a shed, really), and there wasn’t enough room to accommodate everyone in the gang, so they built on top of it.

That was… twenty years ago? The original structure has long since been obscured by successive builds and rebuilds; the magical energies of the castle make even shoddy constructions unnaturally resilient. It now resembles a sort of curled-up hedgehog the size of a small village with wooden towers and gantries coming out of it in every direction; it is impossible to land the thing, and so the flying shanty town hovers around the plains of the world, its inhabitants trying to scrape out an existence as best they can.


Remnants is a series where Chris and Grant, the creative leads behind Rowan, Rook & Decard, create a fantasy world through the use of Dx tables. Because who has time to read a full setting book?

[REMNANTS] Once upon a time, when the dragon-kings ruled the aetherealms and the Witch-Queens fought grand duels over generations with arcana of unimaginable power, the worlds split apart. There was too much magic, and reality couldn’t bear the weight any longer. The otherworlds splintered apart like ships crashing against a shoreline; but the pieces remained, shards of reality, and they pierced the material realm. A thousand dimensions, all attached to various degrees, to the prime material: some forgotten, some overrun with new inhabitants, some spawning monstrous creatures into the world, and some ripe for plundering.

Photo by Sean MacEntee on Flickr

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