When someone in Godsbarrow dies at sea, the Headless Child lays claim to them.
If they died in sight of their own god, or gods, or if their faith was strong enough, the Child cannot take them. But if not, they join the Endless Fleet, serving its unspeakably cruel captain for eternity.
And the Endless Fleet has but one mission: to bring ruin to all of Godsbarrow, and to the gods who murdered the Headless Child at the dawn of creation and discarded Its corpse into the sea — or abetted those who did, or stayed silent and did nothing.
The Child’s appetite for vengeance is as black and bottomless as the sea, and as endless as Its fleet.
(This post is one of a series about worldbuilding with Worlds Without Number. I’m using the setting-creation approach detailed in Worlds Without Number [paid link], which is a fantastic resource.)
: This idea grew out of the concept of the Black Fleet, in which Klingons who died honorably sail after death, which I first heard about in an early episode of Star Trek: Discovery. I’ve already got a black ship in Godsbarrow — what about an endless fleet, instead? And one in which no one sails voluntarily? And what’s the creepiest captain I can think of for that sort of fleet?
The rest flowed out of a recent session of Follow I played with my online group. We’re playing rather unpleasant gods trying to regain our former glory, and touching on hells and limbos and other unifying cosmological concepts — an area I’ve largely left unexplored in my Godsbarrow work to date.
The Unlucky Isles [affiliate link], the first system-neutral guidebook for my Godsbarrow fantasy campaign setting, is now on DriveThruRPG.