While we wait on the final PDF for Bones Deep (learn more here), I found a related project to occupy my time.
I am not much of an artist, and most of my photoshop use consists of small edits or cleaning up public domain artwork. But over the past few weeks I’ve been making some in-universe posters for Bones Deep!
Today I’m going to share some of these goofy posters and take us on a visual tour of the many locations in Bones Deep.
For those who don’t know, Bones Deep is our newest game. It’s a Troika game about skeletons exploring the ocean floor. All of the creatures and locations are heavily inspired by real-world marine life…with some exaggeration of course!
A few caveats:
- I can’t promise that any of these posters/images will make their way into the book. Right now it has a very clean visual design and we’re still debating on how much to mess with it.
- These are not all of the locations in Bones Deep. The book will have TWENTY different locations, and I can’t fit them all in here.
- This blog post is primarily for our/my amusement. If you really want to enjoy Bones Deep, I recommend you pick up a copy for yourself and read the whole thing.
Are you ready to descend beneath the waves?
Before we explore some of the locations, let’s dig into the four main factions of Bones Deep:
- The Crab Cabal. Traders, diplomats, bankers, and mafia all wrapped in one. They’re the largest and most powerful faction (as far as we can tell). Most of the posters are Crab propoganda.
- Wizards. Somewhere between mad scientists and hippies, Wizards are often loners who pursue bizzare and dangerous experiments. Sometimes they’ll have jobs available for hardworking skeletons like yourself.
- Witches. Most Witches start off as Wizards. Eventually the isolation and destruction begins to wear them down; and they develop a more nurturing method of magic.
- Cephalopods. The boogey-men of Bones Deep. Mysterious and negarious in equal measure, we’re not sure what their plans are. But they definitely need to be stopped!
Now that we’ve covered the four main factions, let’s dive into some of these locations!
We assume most Skeletons will make their way down a jungle river before descending the shoreline into the ocean proper.
This river has a second river underneath it! The Silt River is a mysterious halocline along the bottom of the riverbank. The Green Wizard hides here, studying motes and trying to reverse their transformation into a plant.
Maybe these weird glowing motes hold the answer?
A boat’s hull lingers on the surface, and fishing lines drop into the water. In retaliation, an Arapaima slams against the hull of the boat, threatening to sink it.
The Library windows glow with an eerie light that can be seen from miles away.
An energy field covers every entrance and window, keeping the water out of the library’s dry interior. The library is tended by ghosts: mostly octopuses (probably because they can sort 8 books at once).
In order to enter the Library a visitor must donate a new book.
Random Book: Nudibranch Poisons. This book must be fed before it can be read.
The ultimate contingency: flood the library. Skeletons have a few seconds before the entire building is flooded and all the books are destroyed. Afterward, the Library will drain the water and put all the ghosts to work reproducing the volumes from scratch.
Bottom of the Barrel
Couldn’t find a book? That’s okay. Let’s blow off some steam and get a drink at the Bottom of the Barrel.
Vert the skeleton lost his legs, but he still makes the best white russian you’ll find under the waves.
Not to mention all the crabs looking to hire talented skeletons.
A small hermit crab seeks to apprentice under the Hull Crab in the Final Shipyard. They claim the Hull Crab will reward anyone bringing such a talented apprentice (it won’t).
Light reflects off the sunken wrecks in the shallows. The waves crash overhead.
So many ships have run aground here along the winding coastline that their masts and decks poke above the waves. Ships from a dozen different eras lie in pieces: wooden dinghies, iron warships, steel cruisers, plastic pleasure yachts, even the occasional plasma skiff or hydroplane. They all end up here, at the Final Shipyard.
A huge spaceship engine with a saddle on top, “The Rodeo.” When activated, it flies directly to the moon and can’t be controlled in any way—it can barely be ridden.
The Sunken Barge is our big dungeon-crawl adventure!
One of the wrecks in the Final Shipyard is inhabited by the Necromancer. He is conducting mysterious experiments and has taken control of the Barge’s skeleton crew.
The adventure has several stages to it:
- Defeat the mancer.
- Save the crew.
- Repair the barge.
- Sail to the moon!
The Necromancer glides past them in the hallways, reading a waterlogged book. He does not acknowledge their presence. He assumes they’re some of his skeletons and he stopped listening to skeletons a long time ago.
Despite common knowledge, the polar regions are not a desolate wasteland, rather they are just as vibrant with life as the tropical reefs. Corals, sponges, and anemones are home to fish, crustaceans, and echinoderms living among them.
Beautiful, but hazardous. Explorers should be careful to avoid areas of active calving; pieces of glaciers regularly fall off and crush anything below. Rare minerals are common along the edge of these glaciers, but there is a significant risk to collecting them.
Just try not to let calving crush you.
A giant cuttlefish climbs the iceberg to attack a blueshell crab hiding atop it (the crab can’t be seen from underneath). If saved, the grateful crab rewards 3 credits.
Deep under the frozen Bergs lies the sulfur spires. Geothermal vents spew thick yellow clouds and occasionally belch out a monster or treasure.
The largest vent structure, known as “Hades” is 300’ tall at the peak and covers an area of 5 square miles. Lining the vents, colonies of tubeworms and extremophile crustaceans and fish make up the normal biota.
IT’S VERY WARM!
A large greatsword has fallen into one of the spires; fitting it like a hilt. Drawing the greatsword releases a blast of fire and lava from the spite that deals damage as poison. The weapon remains molten-hot for as long as you carry it.
The water is saturated with perverse energy. The only light comes from the faint glow of runes scrawled into the walls of the Pyramid.
In contrast to the still, dark depths of the void, the Inverted Pyramid glows faintly and can be seen from miles away. Upon closer inspection the entire structure is built from the bones of various creatures; humans, crabs, witches, wizards, and a dozen other unrecognizable shapes.
The Inverted Pyramid is the culmination of all the Cephalopods plans.
Can you stop their plans?
An NPC skeleton is partially fused to the structure and fully conscious. It offers to guide you through the pyramid in exchange for bringing its head with you.
Quests / Stories
In addition to all the locations we also outline a few detailed stories that will take you across the depths. Let’s take a look at two of the stories:
The witch Vivian tried to rescue a drowning sailor but failed. After the sailor’s skeleton hatched, she named the skeleton Earnest, and she grew to love him.
Earnest (lacking a heart) could never return her feelings. After consulting with iilumen, the oldest witch, he set out to follow her instructions:
- Cut the heart from a large creature. Earnest gains the temperament of that creature.
- Retrieve the everflow pearl from the lair of a Bobbit Worm. The ocean current from the pearl will be his heartbeat. Bobbit worms live in the Blackwater Vents, Kelp Forest, and Void Ridge.
And more! You can view the full story outline in the Bones Deep PDF.
The Skeleton War
There is an eternal galactic war involving millions of different factions, planets, and species.
Skeletons are highly valued troopers; they require no oxygen, are quite tough, and can channel magic.
The Earth is seen as a kind of training ground. Skeletons who prove themselves are recruited.
These recruiters live on the moon and are in danger of losing the dark side to their enemies.
In exchange for 1 human lifetime of service, they offer the lunar module as a ship, spoils of war, and galactic combat training. “By the time you complete your service, you’ll be fully prepared to enter the galaxy.”
From this point, the group may choose to leave the depths and enter the true void: SPACE! The Lunar Module has enough fuel to reach the moon (or any other location in this solar system).
A few ways to reach space:
- The Sunken Barge (or its captain’s yacht) can be repaired and flown.
- Several of the wrecks in the Final Shipyard are capable of space travel, if repaired.
- Any wizard worth their salt can conjure a simple space sail. Be warned: it takes practice and skill to operate one.
- Get so indebted with the Crab Cabal that they teleport you to the moon as punishment.
And so so much more
Bones Deep is the largest, densest book we’ve ever made. Each page is filled with a dozen ideas, treasures, hooks, creatures, locations, and quests.
We’re so proud to reveal the final PDF in the next week or two.
You can grab the PDF for $15 and see for yourself at the store page.
Thanks for joining us on this sneak peek at the content of Bones Deep!