Oceans, The Final Frontier: Aquatic Inspiration for Science Fiction, Part 3

Since the start of the 21st Century, I’ve come across numerous articles, photos, forum posts, and websites offering glimpses into actual or imagined futures. From the Blue Planet RPG Yahoo Group, to Facebook and other social media, it’s relatively easy these days to see cool new images to inspire your imagination. But rarely is it collected in one place. In the Final Frontier series, you will find a wide range of links and images, including RPG supplements, videos, articles on marine science, maps, real-world builds and concept sketches for sea-worthy vehicles, buildings, research stations, and even cities. Anything and everything I can find that has inspired me in my science fiction games will end up here.

So sit back and enjoy a glimpse into our own planet’s Final Frontier.

This week’s Final Frontier focuses on theoretical and actual architecture, as well as two gaming-specific projects that are leading players and GMs into even more aquatic adventure!


I was pointed to many of these projects by an article on complex.com, but be aware that their advertisement setup is frustrating. Also, some of these real-world designs are raising concerns for environmental organizations. I am not endorsing any of these designs or companies.


The MORPHotel

A fascinating concept that makes me wonder whether my motion-sickness will be worse or better on it, the MORPHotel is a cross between a cruise ship and a 5 Star hotel. The first thing that comes to mind is during some sort of apocalypse, the residents of this (these?) hotel are some of the only survivors.

From their website.

You’ve heard of submerged hotels and hotels in space, but what about a hotel that adapts to the weather conditions via a linear structure developed around its vertebral spine? Unlike a cruise ship, the MORPHotel is slow-moving, making for one fabulous, endless and luxurious voyage.


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Sea.Fire.Salt.Sky, Maldives

One thing became abundantly clear during my research: Dubai and the Maldives are the places people want to put aquatic hotels/restaurants. A few articles I wrote also suggested that diners/visitors may be more likely to stay in an over-under style building than an entirely submerged one. I’m not exactly sure why; perceived safety?

From their website:

A one-of-a-kind over and underwater dining experience. From a mythical escape into the depths of the ocean to reaching for the sky at the rooftop bar, the Indian Ocean unfolds before your eyes in four different ways.



This one falls prey to the axiom, “The difference between fantasy and reality is that fantasy has to make sense.” Literally a submerged experience apparently inspired/built by a watch company, I have absolutely no idea what to think of this place.

More info from Gizmag.



A much less…wet…underwater nightclub, SubSix is yet another Maldives location. It doesn’t look particularly large, but is a solid layout for a chain of aquatic alien clubs.


Apeiron Hotel, Dubai

A 7-Star hotel?! I don’t understand what that is or how it happens. Perhaps it’s the temperature-controlled butterfly jungle on the top floor?

Whatever it means, the Apeiron is an over-under style luxury hotel that includes several underwater options, including a restaurant and “underwater lagoon”.


The Hydropolis

This one isn’t real, but a promotional video created by Matt Paish for a school project. Still, it’s a good collection of images from other projects and an example of how you can create something interesting for your players other than “handouts”.

From the YouTube site:

A short promotional video I put together for my Hotel Sales & Service Class. We had to pick or create a hotel and make a sales presentation so I decided to create this video as part of it. Not all of the information in this video is factual.


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Water Discus Underwater Hotels

Another over-under design, alone, this building could be used as a Syndrome-like supervillain lair, or as a series of military outposts, research facilities, hospitals, or hotels.


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Poseidon Resorts

I’ve seen this website around for a while, but as far as I can tell it’s still in the theory stage. Still, the images on the site will make great visual aids for your players in any hi-tech setting.


Sunken Ruins

Maps of Mastery 

Now two-time ENnie winner, Chris West, has released his first fully aquatic encounter map, which I’m hoping will be the start of a series. I’ve now used this map for an Edge of the Empire Star Wars game and a 5th edition D&D game. The PDF and physical copy of Sunken Ruins will be available on his site as soon as the Kickstarter is fulfilled.

Into the Deep 2 Ben Wootten

Numenera: Into the Deep

Monte Cook Games’ current Kickstarter, Into the Ninth World, including the Into the Deep supplement, still has 7 days to go, and has hit even more stretch goals than when I first reported about it. Whether or not you play in the Numenera setting, this supplement promises to bring you tons of new locations, races, monsters, and story ideas for whatever scifi game you’re running.



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Rich Howard's obsession with gaming started 35 years ago when his older brother finally let him invade his AD&D game. Since his first sleep spell, Rich has wandered the world of roleplaying, board and computer games as fascinated with their potential to teach and inspire as to entertain.