In the first chaotic years after nations ceased to exist, before the last of the land disappeared, many people would have set out on their own, by whatever means they could secure, to make a new life on the waves. These people would have formed small bands and taken whatever they could find on shore and off, and after they set out to sea they would have raided and fought and traded for whatever would make them better off. Over time the most successful of these survivors would have formed into communities, either static or mobile, who live as best they could as independent city states in the new world. These states survive by trading with strangers and defending themselves against anyone who would try to take what is theirs – or by amalgamating with other states to form new and stronger collectives. Not as stable or as strong as the pelagic kingdoms and dependent on trade with them for new resources, these independent kingdoms offer their citizens greater freedom than the pelagic kingdoms, but at the risk of a precarious existence that may be subsumed by raiders or sink beneath the waves at any time. If such a city-state does not have its own special property to trade upon, it will no doubt disappear, becoming living space for the pelagic kingdoms (who exterminate residents of any property they subsume to make way for their own suppressed masses) or losing its populace to other, more stable economies.Ocean Thermal Energy Collection (OTEC) platforms are one of the greatest possible prizes for such fledgling communities.
An experimental technology before the flood, OTEC platforms use differentials in the ocean’s heat to produce electricity. Anyone who could seize one of these after the flood has guaranteed themselves a tradable commodity – especially if they can somehow secure a supply of batteries to trade, or develop an industry in converting water to hydrogen and oxygen for fuel cells and combustion engines. City-states built around OTEC platforms will typically consist of many small ships, many no longer capable of independent movement, roped together to form a permanent floating colony based around their central power source. On the edge of the colony will be a few archaic patrol boats and the other mobile trade ships of the city, all converted to run on hydrogen-oxygen power and/or sails, and intended for trade and defense against attackers. The city itself trades on a special property that very few societies after the collapse can offer – abundant electricity. This means karaoke bars, game centres, concerts, and all the night life of a real city of old earth, all taking place across a wild and floating city of rafts, barges and yachts bound together and heaving and sighing on the wild deeps.
Such a community is a great prize for any pirates or conquistadors who want to add a stable source of energy to their possessions. As a result, these city-states change hands often, and defend themselves ferociously… or make very dubious deals with any neighbouring kingdoms in exchange for their security. They may also offer special deals to the Pelagic kingdoms in exchange for their independence and security, but more likely they will develop a strong close-defense navy, and possibly even a primitive air force, to ensure they remain independent. Adventurers may be employed to help defend a platform, or to infiltrate it and take it over, but the most likely role of a platform in a campaign is as a rest and recuperation city, a place where mercenaries from many communities meet to find work and to sell the ill-gotten gains of their dubious profession. Here, adventurers will likely find an environment free of repression, where they can cut dubious deals and find new and sinister work, and where a strong but morally flexible industrial sector is able to provide them with equipment suited to a range of morally dubious tasks.
In the world of the flood, OTEC cities hold one of the keys to power – energy. Life after the flood is determined by who has access to energy and who can control its use, and anyone who can find an OTEC city and make themselves useful to its leaders is guaranteed safety and success. This makes OTEC cities a much sought after location – and a dangerous nest of scheming, backstabbing vipers, to boot. The perfect adventure setting!