Sunday, November 8, 2015

'Dead Man's Veins' And Riven Gulch A Weird Western Location For Your Old School Games

Dead Man's Veins is a five mile square piece of desert out in the beginning of the  Jornada del Muerto. The area has been seemingly cursed all of the way back to 1680. These trails are said to stretch into other worlds according to the Indians who have lived in the area for thousands of years. In our present day world Dead Man Veins is a part of the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail (Spanish for "The Royal Road of the Interior Land") a 1,600 mile (2560 kilometer) long trade route between Mexico City and San Juan Pueblo, New Mexico, from 1598 to 1882.

This area has always been associated with weird happenings including a slew of murders, the disappearances of families, UFO encounters, and other strange phenomenon. Many believe that the nearby  Jornada del Muerto volcano system may be partially responsible. Some of the first nuclear tests were conducted in the area. Riven Gulch is smack in the middle of this area and although now a ghost town today has had a checkered history because of the urban legends of the extensive alien ruins under the town going back to the 1860's. The town became abandoned for economic reasons but there are rumors of ghosts still haunting the place to this day.

There are rumors that the dusty trails and former volcanic sands along Dead Man's Veins lead to other worlds and hidden doorways to other dimensions. But in 1856 a series of encounters with blazing lights in the sky had a profound effect on the locals. The encounter caused an almost total desertion of the town by those living in the area and made newspaper accounts all the way back East. Only the native Americans remained in the area having nothing to fear from the powers of Dead Man's Veins. It wasn't until the early part of the 1900's when folks settled back into this part of the desert.

Dead Man's Veins has seen plenty of urban legends and myths of strange lights in the sky, violent weather and more. The place has been suggested by UFO enthusiasts as a possible place where the naturally violent dimensional shifts happen with regularity. In the early half of  Nineteen Hundred a stranger appeared in the resettled town of Riven Gulch claiming to be from another world. After examination by the local doctor the stranger lived about two years but seemed to die of a broken heart. A storm of incredible proportions swept through the area right afterward.
 There have always been reports of ghostly cowboys and encounters with strange tribes of unknown native American tribes in the area. Some attribute this to the number of massacres and incidents of bloodshed during the Westward Expansion. Now the number of missing persons, blood shed, and horror in the area has been on the rise.Local police, Sheriffs and even government officials have had several close calls with extra dimensional things that didn't end well. The locals have tried to keep a lid on these events but the rumors are starting to spread.

Today Dead Man's Veins remains a spot on the map mostly forgotten and neglected except by those who know its dangerous reputation, this has attracted internet tourists, UFO enthusiasts and others. But the dangerous incidents are on the increase and while the locals are happy to take these fools money, they're very, very, worried about some of the 'things' coming down the trails.

What is Dead Man's Veins and The Town of  Riven Gulch?

Dead Man's Veins & the town of Riven Gulch is a five mile square piece of adventure location campaign area that I've used for years under various names. This piece of desert is subject to dimension instability and dimensional anomolies, the height of which reached its cycle in the 1860's around the town. AD&D monsters frequent the area around the town; they can pose a clear and present danger to the residence. Here is a random encounter chart of some of the more common horrors encountered in the area.

1d6 Random Monstrous Encounters Riven Gulch

  1. 1d6 Ju Ju zombie cowboys on the trail who are very hungry and your party looks mighty tasty 
  2. 1d4 giant mutated scorpions on the hunt for prey 
  3. 1d8 3nd level other dimensional bandits on 'horse back' looking for easy marks 
  4. A party of 1d6 mutant adventurers sporting 1d4 mutations and energy weapons who have become lost and are seeking some victims 
  5. A 7th level black wizard  and his gang of 1d8 skeleton desperado body guards on mutant horse back 
  6. Flying saucer crewed by 1d8 1st level Grey warriors looking for slave stock

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