It's a fool's errand. They'll never find your bones.  
— A Friend, to the founder of Bones.
  Bones is a colony in the Harorao Region in the Far Deep, a stubborn enclave of greed and tenacity in a hostile region. From beginning to present, the history of Bones has been driven by an avarice powerful enough to see its settlers brave one of the most dangerous parts of Araea. Its citizens are a motley mix of outcasts, explorers and rugged pioneers.   Life in Bones is hard and lawless, but there's money to be made there - the only reason any of them need to endure it all.          


  Bones is located just by one of the openings into the Tangle, its back up against the cave wall. The town has a ramshackle wall of stone and massive felled mushroom stalks. Large fire-pits burn outside the walls at all times to try to keep the infectious spores and swarming growth of fungi at bay. The town itself is an uneven collection of stone and mushroom-log buildings, clustered around a few central areas.  
Some have agreed that is more profit to be had if they moved Bones closer to the Weald, making the trek there shorter and less arduous. So far, none have been keen to take the risk of losing their only way out of Harorao - particularly after last time.
    The most important of these is the Ward - a cavern dug into the stone at the back of Bones where those too sick to work can recuperate and recover. In particularly severe cases, it is where infected citizens are quarantined away for the safety of the town. It is also where the town alchemist concocts cures and narcotics from the many strains of mold and mushroom. Both are thriving businesses in Bones.      

Greed & Gumption

  Only the bold or desperate live in Bones. From the start, the town was founded with the audacious flair that would come to mark the town from then on. It was the idea of a former Kaia named Kino Akun who had grown obsessed with the idea of settling the Far Deep as a way to escape the constant shortages suffered in Araea. Having almost lost her life to famine, she knew how deep and desperate hunger could bite. Settling Harorao in particular would mean many hardships, but hunger would not be one of them.         To secure the necessary funds for her venture, Kino convinced merchants and nobles in both Mharaji and Kharkorp, without ever telling the other. By the time either city-state learned of the duplicity, Kino had already reached the Far Deep and begun to settle. Gifts of rare and valuable mushrooms did much to smooth things over, but Kino would never return to either of the city-states. She died in the camp, living long enough to see it become a town.   Since then, Bones has hung on. Its populations swells as caravans reach it, shrinking as they depart together with the harvest. Those who live there are a different breed, rugged and fearless folk determined to see Harorao made theirs or die trying. It is a promise many have made good on.    


  Though Bones theoretically fall under the joint governance of Mharaji and Kharkorp, in reality neither city-state have much dealings with the day-to-day affairs of the colony. Distance and danger makes direct rule impossible, allowing the denizens of Bones wide discretion to rule themselves.  
Neither founding city-state view Bones as much more than a collection of rogues and scoundrels. Such opinions tend to improve every time a shipment of rare delicacies arrive.
  It is only when they return to the city-states with harvests to sell that the haggling over past investment and future deliveries begin in earnest. Such negotiations involve officials between each the city-states as much as they do whoever speaks for Bones. Such dealings have been reasonably amicable but if both cities were ever to suffer famine at the same time, many suspect Bones would find itself under far harsher scrutiny.      


Take a wild guess.  
— Sharak, Bones Merchant
  There are few places in Araea and even in the Far Deep with such vast abundance of life as Harorao. Mushroom, fungi and mold come in infinite variety in the mutating wilds of the region, and Bones exists because of it. Bones require no fields or gardens, with the Weald holding all they could ever hope to carry. Foraging parties venture in the mycelium wilds to harvest as much as they can. Such expeditions are not with danger, as many of the mushrooms in Harorao are mobile and hungry.  
Scab-stone is a tough, bone-like growth that infects the Tangle of Harorao in cancerous patches or piercing out of the ground like teeth. This stone is poisonous to the touch, causing blisters and weakness, which makes it another export from Bones.
  The wealth and variety of life in Harorao take many valuable forms, from food to medicine to powerful drugs. The foragers of Bones have through trial and error begun to learn which mushrooms will make them money and what fungi will cripple and infect them. But their expertise is limited and Harorao is always brewing new types of life.    

by Maxim Verehin

Harorao   A vast cavernous realm of unbridled fecundity, the Harorao region is infested with a thriving, alien ecosystem with mushrooms large as houses and acrid bogs. Nearly all of the stone of the caverns are covered in fungal growth or mutant lichen.   Read More About The Harorao Region

Encroaching Menace

  Even far from the Weald, the mycelium landscape of Harorao is always creeping into the grounds of Bones. Cutting, burning and hacking away at the encroaching fungi is a daily task to keep the walls and buildings standing.    
by Beeple

The Greatest Danger

  Beside work, there are few things to really do in Bones. The most popular past time is the drink in the town tavern, the Bleeding Fool, and gamble. Both activities regularly lead to brawls and injury, or worse.   Imported alcohol are treasured and valuable luxuries, so many drink a local brew made from various experimental combinations of Harorao mushrooms. Depending on the exact mixture and skill of the brewer, this drink can be everything from a real good time to cripplingly hallucinogenic.    


Kino's shrine is one of the rare sentimentalities afforded to Bones. Her skull is kept inside a hollow stone pillar and newcomers to Bones are encouraged to leave an offering to the past matron of Bones.   Kino's teeth have long since been lost, extracted to be used as charms and talismans. Replacements have been fashioned from metal and gemstone by generous offerings, but most are still missing.

Trade and Tribulations

  Bones depend on trade for its survival. It has forged a complex web of agreements with many city-states and minor powers for its exports, not all which it can readily fulfill. The prohibitive cost of any punitive expedition has kept Bones safe and as long as the trade continues, such minor breaches has been overlooked, for now.   Passage through the Tangle is a hazardous expedition all on its own and caravans from Bones back to civilization can be irregular. There have been attempts to carve a road through the fungal maze, but the path is overgrown before it can even reach its destination.        

A Thousand Kinds of Shroom

  Besides food, medicine and drugs, Bones also export a variety of other mushroom and fungi. Cave-Capped Hatter in Harorao are exotic and expensive and for the most dire of medical emergencies, there is no better place to find a Heza.   Other exports are luxuries, such as mold that can be made into paste to improve complexion of skin or rare mutagenic mushrooms.   Bones import most of its tools, with only a couple of forges available in the town itself and neither of them capable of producing high-grade steel.    
Madcap Marauders   Even those who live in Bones think of Harorao as a realm of horror. Not all do. The Madcap Berserkers hold the land to be holy and see the settlers as defilers. More than once, the infected madmen have launched devastating raids against the colony.   For its part, Harorao shows no more mercy towards the Madcaps than anyone else.   Read More About The Madcap Berserkers

Cover image: by Jorge Jacinto
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    The Founding

    Bones is founded. No less than half of the party immediately regret the decision.

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    The Laughing Plage

    A few months in, the colony is stricken by a fungal infection causes uncontrollably, hysterical laughter. Fortunately, it is not fatal.


Please Login in order to comment!
25 Apr, 2019 21:40

Alright Q let's see if I can help you with my feedback.   In the first line under the quote maybe "of the Far Deep" would sound better. It would flow more nicely.   Three minor things in the "Geography" section. "Bones is located near..." would sound simpler and flow more easily.   In the next sentence, you could use " surrounded by a..." as that sounds better than "has".   Also maybe just say that the fire-pits "...burn on the outside..." instead of using wall a second time after the one a line prior.   "From the start, the town was founded with the audacious flair that would come to mark the town from then on." use "it" or "colony" rather than the second "town". Less repetitive that way.   Under "Government" you forgot to add an -s to "fall" here "Though Bones theoretically fall..." and "begin" here "future deliveries begin...".   In "Industry" the second Bones in "and Bones exists because of it. Bones require no fields" can be replaced with "The colony". Again repetition.   "Such expeditions are not with danger..." It would be without not with.   In the quote "or grows out of..." would sound much better than "or piercing out of the ground like teeth". Also maybe add an "of course" to this line "which makes it another export from Bones." Maybe it's just me but I think the slightly sarcastic tone could work quite well ;)   Let's take a look at the sidebar. In the first part "Nearly all stone of the caverns is covered in fungal growth or mutant lichen." would maybe work better. It flows a bit better than the repeated "of the".   The last section. "Even those who live in Bones think of Harorao as a realm of horror. Not all do. The Madcap Berserkers " this sounds a bit odd to me. Cutting the "Not all do." and instead using "Not the Madcap Berserkers, however. They hold..." It would add a bit more punch to the paragraph.     Now content, design, picture use...are all absolutely amazing. As always you manage to craft these incredibly fascinating places, where horror can lurk behind every corner. The like was earned a thousand times. Wonderful work!

8 May, 2019 02:28

I personally think I'll pass living in the Bones, I find myself limited on my mushroom love past the normal sliced mushrooms on a cheeseburger.   However you sold it's purpose very well, your choice of art is as always fantastic and your CSS is on point.   I love the politics of the dual city-state ownership, yet being far enough away that it was essentially a steal that neither party can do anything about. You establish the colonies wealth, its attractions, and its flaws and perks very well.   Great job Qurilion, glad to have you back!

Check out my worldbuilding in the Ethnis Universe!
19 Oct, 2020 23:37

Sure thing, when do I move in?   That said, I wonder what the child-birth rates at Bones must be like. I'd really like to imagine what kind of person such a place would produce when this is the only world you know.   Additionally, the little note about the founder Kino dying after seeing her little settlement become a town and the subsequent shrine built to honor her really made my heart swell. This little moment of hope hiding among this rather grim reality of Araea is really cathartic to say the least.

Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
18 Apr, 2021 21:27

"if they moved Bones closer to the Weald," you need to say what the Weald is.   "Even those who live in Bones think of Harorao as a realm of horror. Not all do. " The formulation here is awkward. Either take away the "even" and add a "however" in the next sentence or say "even though" and combine them.   "many of the mushrooms in Harorao are mobile and hungry." oooh, this is interesting :D   "This stone is poisonous to the touch, causing blisters and weakness, which makes it another export from Bones." I love the link between those two statements XD   So people there almost only eat fungi? This is an interesting city and sounds absolutely terrible to live in XD.

To see what I am up to:WE list of articles and goals.
19 Apr, 2021 06:52

I really need to give this old thing a big ol' edit pass... Thanks :D   The Weald is a region of Harorao, I'll work that in somewhere :D

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.