A long time ago I came up with what I tentatively call “Shattered Grounds”. It is post-apocalyptic fantasy setting, but unlike the trope (in which magic awakes after a nuclear war), it is an actual fantasy setting that experienced a doomsday.
The – as of yet unnamed – world was a normal fantasy world with dragons, wizards, orcs and humans. It also featured a vast underworld, similar to the Underdark from Dungeons & dragons. If anything, this underworld was much more extensive, with underground caverns hundreds of kilometers across.
One day, and without warning, large sections of the surface collapsed into that underworld. The continent-sized caverns caved in, causing huge valleys and lowlands, effectively lowering leaving continent-wide, kilometer-deep scars behind. The oceans of the world flowed into the now exposed underworld, flooding much of it; consequently, with much of the water gone, the surface world turned into a vast desert. Civilization was devastated and the world was plunged into chaos and savagery…
Preparing my Sandbox experiment, I realized I never posted these maps. That’s a bit weird, because I like the concept.
The Impossible Earth – a working title – was once your average fantasy world, with a huge underworld hidden beneath the surface. One day, the underworld collapsed all over the planet, and in the resulting cataclysm most of civilization was destroyed.
The underworld’s caverns were so large that the world’s oceans were drained into them. In fact, this drain is still going on, with one minor ocean remaining on the surface.
The dark gray areas on the surface map are caved-in areas – here the former underworld is exposed to the sky.
The main layout of the underworld – of course countless smaller caves riddle the seemingly solid areas.
And that is how a composite of surface and underworld looks like.
I personally love this concept, and I have never heard of anybody else doing this before. I won’t be so bold as to claim this is a completely new idea of course. At any rate, I’d love to hear what you guys think of this concept!