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River of Madness


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So I'm about 50% of the way through  reading the classic 'Beyond the Mountains of Madness', and   there's a geographical detail that 's threatening me with a SAN  test.


Now, I do realize that  the  whole  idea of a titanic mountain range (two in parallel actually) through the center of the Antarctic  continent is a physical impossibility;  and is obviously an intrusion of  some other reality. It's also quite possible I've misread what the campaign  is actually trying to layout, which  I've done before.

It's also been a few years since I read the original source novelette,  so I'm not sure how much of this is actually present  in the original source.

And 'mild' spoiler alert,  I  don't believe this has much to do with how the  campaign plays out, and is more of background detail than anything else, but I'll include spoiler tags.



So there's an ancient river-bed that  winds through the Elder Thing city,  its  source  is  in  the center of the plateau (near the Tower where  some fairly significant plot-points occur).  The river is described as flowing into the city, disappearing in a pit/well,  and  then, by under-ground channel, flowing parallel  to the Mountains to the sea. So we have  a  river that,  back in the mesozoic age, flowed towards  the Mountains, and then flowed parallel to them?  The  city has bridges across the river, so it was clearly  there when the city was inhabited, and the Mountains, as vast as they are,  probably go back to pre-Cambrian times.  Assuming that the plateau has a kind of  saddle-shape in cross-section, this ancient river   would have been flowing uphill. The text  certainly suggests  that this river  flowed 'into' the city, before plunging into the  sunless void beneath.  I can explain its bend towards the sea with the Elder Things creating a subterranean channel  to reach the ancient ocean. Perhaps  colossal  'shoggoth' powered  pumps  brought water up to the city,  and the river was it's outlet, perhaps watering crop-lands beyond the city, or perhaps I simply didn't get what the author(s) were telling me.  So reading some more (and its always dangerous to  post something  like this if you haven't completely read the material) I see I'm suffering from  a misunderstanding: I'm assuming that the Elder Thing City is  on the 'foothills' of the Mountains. But that is not  at all how the City is described, its clearly on a flat.  So apparently the   Mountains on that City-side  descend as a near vertical escarpment, with City   sitting in a kind  of a huge ditch/gutter that runs along the range, with the  ground then  raising in a slope beyond towards the farther range.  Again,  the terrain  of the region is weird, and  any geologists in the expedition are probably wanting a good drink now. 



Edited by 1d8+DB
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