noforestsonflatearthFringe conspiracy theories are often fertile ground for gaming ideas, but the recent “no forests on flat earth” is so amazingly bizarre that it towers above the competition for material to steal for your game. The original video is an hour and a half long and a bit of a mess, but I’ve embedded it below. Of better value is an article from The Atlantic that sums up the “theory” and gives some interesting context that I won’t get into here but is worth reading.

The general gist of the theory is this: what we know as trees aren’t really trees. Real trees were sky scraping multi kilometer high colossi. In the primordial era they sustained all life on the flat earth. But, some unknown entity used massive machines to clear cut the planet, forever devastating our ecosystem. In the modern era, the only reminder of this past are the massive broken stumps of these world trees which we now call mountains.

Oddly enough it’s apparently gaining some real traction out there, which always weirds me out a little. I’m for spreading fantasy and whimsy in the world, but things like this give me pause. Could that many people really just be running with it as a joke? But they have to be, right?

Here’s a laundry list of elements ripe for the plucking:

  • A cataclysmic extinction event
  • An entire world of world trees
  • A live earth
  • Living information matrices in organic matter
  • Alien forces literally tearing apart a planet
  • An all-connecting life-force
  • A slowly spreading rot of the world
  • The planet is a corpse
  • Symbolic magic

This world is a perfect campaign setting no matter how you slice it.

  • Pre-apocalypse you have a surreal setting where people live in massive world trees, among the colossal fauna that must surely exist in such a forest. Magic is ubiquitous and tied into the bio-memory of trees and a connected life force.
  • Post-apocalypse you have survivors struggling to stay alive without the life sustaining trees, the grand cities are gone, the beasts that once thrived are starving, feral, and just outside your doorstep.
  • Or go with during the apocalypse where parts of the world have been ravaged, refugees are streaming in from their destroyed cities, tensions are high and resources are strained, and the brave, foolhardy, and grim are fighting the hopeless fight even knowing that if they succeed in driving back the forces destroying the world, it may be too late.

It’s bizarre and surreal, sort of Lin Carter’s Green Star meets Jack Vance’s Dying Earth and given the successful kickstarter for Monte Cook’s upcoming surreal Invisible Sun RPG, this couldn’t have come at a better time for gaming.