Zinadan: Ladders to the Sky

Age Written By: Neuronphaser
Theme: Serenity Hides a Savage Enemy
Aspects:
Complicated Ladders
Ruined Laboratories
The Study of Solid Mists

This age features an expansive island with flat plains, forests of mostly smaller trees, and a few soaring mountains. In all of these environments one can find small pockets of houses — or the occasional lone, solitary hermitage — built in the most unlikely of places, always high above the ground. Whether it’s floating atop a small, fluffy cloud in the mountains, or seemingly precariously perched among the trees, or even floating in mid-air, the one thing that these homes have in common is the ladders leading up to them. Simple, wooden ladders all, made of sturdy wood and lashed or nailed together with a durability that doesn’t seem to have waned since the homes were abandoned by the D’ni (or whoever it was that originally built them), seemingly hundreds of years ago. In only a few, rare cases have the ladders fallen apart, or sustained damage from the ravages of time…

…or some creature(s), perhaps? After all, why build these often elaborate homes in hard to reach places? Why are there so few, some all alone, but all of these homes built off the ground, with only a single ladder to reach them?

Investigation of the homes shows the signs of hasty retreat; the exodus from Zinadan was sudden, not gradual. As one investigates the homes closer to the mountains, one finds the ladders becoming more and more elaborate. The homes floating on clouds, on and atop the mountains? These have excruciatingly complex mechanisms to activate, retract, or move the ladders, and the fact that there exist tethered clouds that can hold up a mansion-sized home is something truly bizarre. Delving further into those particular homes reveals complicated mechanisms that play with water vapor, crystals mined from the mountains, and other technology that seems to control the density of these clouds.

What were the inhabitants keeping away from?