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Baelor

The Settlement of Brightwater - Home to the PCs in my Campaign!

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This is an isometric style map I did of the settlement that is home for the PCs in my campaign based in the River of Cradles. It is rough (m yfirst such map) but gives you the idea, and some ways is better than a typical overhead-style map, at showing some of the character of the place.

Brightwater was begun by the player characters at the start of the campaign. They were recruited by a number of high-ranking Lightbringers to create, grow, maintain and protect a settlement in the River of Cradles, somewhere near the territory recently claimed by the Lunar Administration in Pavis. I am using the Borderlands box set for the background of the campaign, but with some alterations. For example, the heroes were such that they really would not countenance working for Duke Raus. So they were hired by the competition - the Lightbringers. I liked the site that Raus chose for his fort in the boxed set, so I decided that Rause established his fortress further south, closer to Corflu, in the Bilos Gap. Thus the heroes were able to establish themselvesat the mouth of the Weis Cut, where Rausfort would normally be on the map.

Although I have not put in numbers for various locations in Brightwater, below is the "Nickel Tour" of the settlement in its current state.

If you are interested in the original post, or my other Runequest Thursday content, go here:

http://d-infinity.net/search/node/runequest Thursday

Brightwater is a young settlement of roughly 150 folk, just a little over four seasons old, so a lot of what is on the map is the natural look of the region, and some wooden and cloth structures. The foreground of the map is the easternmost point, overlooking the River of Cradles and the Great Bog [both of which are off-camera, as it were]. The waterway in the lower right is the mouth of the Viilinar River, which extends for a dozen miles up the increasingly rugged Vilinar Valley to the Weis Cut and a seasonally impressive waterfall from the Plains of Prax. At the top of the map are the cliffs that rise several hundred feet to points on those same plains much closer to the settlement. The only way off the plains nearby is either a long and dangerous descent down the sandstone cliffs or flight.

Brightwater is situated on a 'Y'-shaped headland of a lower set of cliffs branching off the ones that lead up to Prax. The heights vary between thirty and seventy feet above the Great bog and the River of Cradles. The highest points are the easternmost point with the observation tower, and some hilly areas in the right-hand [Northern] arm of the Y. There is little in the way of trees on the headland, but some tough brush and scrub oak cling to the lee of various rock faces, or in small sheltered valleys, These woods are rapidly being reduced as the need for firewood and building material grows.

As you can see most of the building has gone on in the foreground area. The aforementioned Observation Tower has a small siege machine christened 'The Manticore' [essentially a Roman 'scorpion' bolt thrower that can hurl 2 pound bolts about 400 yards. Built by local labor directed by Theudulf the Learned, it has a fine view of the riparian approach from the south. Work has begun on one or two more manticores for placement elsewhere.

Next to the Manticore tower is the Great Hall, built in the Sartarite style and still rough hewn, smelling very much of cut-wood and pine tar. It was only completed a week or so ago, but provided shelter [under tent roofs] for sometime before. This is also quickly becoming the social hub of Brightwater, replacing the more central Great Tent as the gathering place [except in good weather, when it is the choice for crafts and similar]. The three halls just above the Great Hall are lesser halls in the same style. In truth, at present, they are little more than flattened earth and growing piles of logs poled down from the Upper Vilinar, but I wanted to put them there to show the Players what they have to look forward to. The tiny building just above the halls is a latrine. There is another across the settlement, just below the fence to the Pasture.

Continuing from the Jakes, one would reach the Archers' Stand, a mound of packed hearth about 10 feet high, protected by a waist high wooden wall on three sides. The Archers' Stand [which can shelter six archers with room to shoot] overlooks the Wall and Ditch that protects the only ready access to the Headland and Brightwater.

The Wall is rough mortared field stone over a bank of raised earth from the ditch. The stone extends higher in front of the mounded earth, providing some cover for those standing behind. I did not show this in the map, but the rampart for walking is elevated by about 4 feet, and the wall facing west is about 4 feet higher than that. Invisible from this angle is the Ditch immediately outside the wall. The ditch is about 5 feet deep and the same wide. The Wall and Ditch together present a formidable barrier to assault, being effectively a 13 feet high barrier to anyone outside. Currently, sharpened posts angling away from the wall are being erected before the ditch to discourage charges.

Directly before the gap in the wall there is another charge breaker, A wall much the same as the one just described but only about 30 feet long, in front of, and across the opening. This is a feature that is used often by settlers in the Big Rubble to stop Rhino RIders or other powerful cavalry smashing in gates. In the image I forgot to add a gate, but there is a pair of wooden gates. Typically these are open during the day, given the view the guards on the Archers' Stand have of the Approach.

The only way up onto the Headland is the Approach, which now has something of a road [treacherous and running with muck in Sea Season, but good for the rest of the year]. You can see that the road descends a scree slope into the Paddock, which is fenced and used as grazing for extra animals or those of visitors. The Little Valley is surrounded by 40 foot high vertical sandstone walls. In the nearest part, you can see another fence, in which young or other animals to be segregated are kept. The high ground outslde the Wall Is grazing, sometimes granted to friends of Brightwater. Wahakhan Barsun Spiritlance and his clan of friendly Rhino Riders often camp here with their beasts and wagons, as do the Sabre Lizard nomads of Aghu Wahakhan.

Much of the Paddock can be seen from the Archers' Stand, as can the road and access to, and from,the Vilinar Valley. This has proven advantageous on a number of occasions, giving the Brightwaters time to mobilize in defense.

Moving North along the wall, we overlook the Paddock, and arrive at a cluster of tents used primarily by the Weisfolk who abandoned their village upriver to settle in Brightwater. These are slightly less desirable than the tents further north because of their location between the Smithy and corral, and the Great Tent, mostly because of noise. 

Across the way are the original tents belonging to the settlers that the Brightwater Company recruited from Pavis and environs. Many are Pavisites, others are Sartarite emigres from beyond Prax, fleeing the Lunar Occupation, or the children of Sartarites who left a generation ago. Some are other river folk, who share a language and culture with the Weis folk but lived elsewhere.

West of the Tents, at the top of the page is the Pasture. a fenced enclosure for herd animals and horses. Sun Elk, captured Sables, cattle, sheep and Aurochs, as well as cavalry horses for some of the players characters, are kept here under watch of pasture guards. The Fence was built where it was because of loose ground and dangerous slipways, which nearly caused a tragedy during the first week. Now fences ward both sides of the two slipways, keep animals and children safer.

Finally, strolling down the open area before the Great Tent we come to the Shrines of the Settlement. There is a shrine to the River Horse, one to Humakt, and one to Orlanth that can be camouflaged as a shrine to other Lightbringers if the Lunars show up. In addition, the Well, just left of the Shrines, is a shrine and home to a River Maiden, a daughter of Zola Fel, convinced by a player character shaman to live there in exchange for regular offerings of power. She keeps the drinking water of Brightwater sweet.

The area within the flagposts is laid out for the eventual erection of stone fortifications on the site - a castle. At present, it is the parade and drill area for the militia, and the practice area for any who work with weapons.

The last item on the map, in the lee of the Manticore Tower, is the Lift. A set of pulleys, worked by an Aurochs or a pair of Zebra, can lift several hundreds of pounds of rocks, earth, fish or even passengers if they don't mind riding up in a rather dirty , smelly rope net. Directly below the Lift, on the valley floor, there are seasonal smoking fires and drying racks for fish or game.

Brightwater with buildings and stuff Iso2 Lo-res copy.jpeg

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22 minutes ago, Pentallion said:

That's excellent artwork!

+1 !

In fact, I wouldn't object in the slightest if a map-image of that caliber were presented as part of a professional RPG product...

Also, kudo's on the way you've worked the Raus/Lightbringer swap!

 

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Pentalion, g33k, Thanks for your kind words.

I actually have been thinking about how to present Brightwater as a commercial product. I guess I would have to de-gloranth-ify it at the very least.

As for the Lunar/ Lightbringer swap: I gave the heroes an interview with Raus while they were in Pavis in the first session. They said no in no uncertain terms - which was no surprise. So I had a back up plan for them. I have used the cast of characters from Borderlands, and much of the set dressing, but have stocked the Great Bog sandbox style. They have made friends and enemies, and have managed to keep from being erased by the Lunars so far.

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21 hours ago, Baelor said:

A set of pulleys, worked by an Aurochs or a pair of Zebra

Aurochs are extinct, and remain so until Argrath teaches the Red Cow Clan how to bring them back into the world.

For any significant load (more than one or two people) you'd have to employ oxen.

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In my campaign, I had the PCs be bought as slaves by Duke Raus. Now they even like him.

However, they also killed two barges-full of Lunar soldiers and hid the corpses... That is going to cause them huge problems at some point in the near future, perhaps.

Anyway, I love it that you managed to get your players to the grantlands THEIR way. I'm very interested in knowing a bit more about your sandbox campaign. Would you mind writing a short summary?

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In the canon Glorantha, they are extinct. In mine, some of the players rebelled at the aguably silly herdbeasts of Prax, so we re-skinned some of them. Aurochs replaced Bison in our game, something we called a Sun Elk replaced Llama.

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Runeblogger: I have been creating content and documenting some of my Brightwater stuff for a while: you can find it all at:

http://d-infinity.net/search/node/runequest

I have not done a consistent journal of their activities, but I have written up one or two of their adventures:

The Caverns of the Carcharids: http://d-infinity.net/game-content/runequest-thursday-40-complete-runequest-scenario-caverns-carcharids

This one is more narrative of a quest on which they embarked:

http://d-infinity.net/game-content/runequest-bonus-content-vengeance-song-itunkala-wind-khan-part-1

http://d-infinity.net/game-content/runequest-thursday-17-vengeance-song-itunkala-wind-khan-part-2

Finally, I am writing their adventure in the Clanking Ruin as ongoing fiction here:

http://d-infinity.net/fiction/runequest-thursday-102-gloranthan-fiction-tweak-nose-red-goddess-part-five

The above is part five (our current chapter as of this writing), but contains links to the previous parts.

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Some have asked me to give some proceedings of the Brightwater campaign. So:

 

The history of Brightwater to date: End of Storm Season, 1615 - Part One

The Brightwater companions were hired by a shadowy group of Lightbringer notables who make up something that has been referred to internally as the Grasswind Council, or the Hidden Council. It is so called because it is made up of publicly acknowledged Lightbringers who, though against the occupation and parcelling out of Pavis and points south, can manage to get along with the Lunars in Pavis. Obviously there are not Orlanthi on this council, because that would get ALL of them arrested.

The Grasswind Council is allied with, and in fact shares a few secret but key members, with the Stormwind Council, which is made up of Orlanthi and others who have effectively been outlawed by the Lunars. The Stormwind Council is a group of geurrilla fighters in the Pavis ruins, who generally make life difficult for the Lunars in and around Pavis.

The Grasswind decided that a peaceful occupation of a portion of these new "grantlands" that they had heard about, might slow settlement, and possibly divide Raus and hsi folk from the Lunar Army and administration. So they recruited a group of young people from Pavis: An Orlanthi halfbreed with a Lunar father, a exiled Praxian Shaman, an adventuerer from the Grazelands, and the sorcerer son of a local Orlanthi chieftain north of Pavis.

Why choose this unlikely band? Because they had just turned down "Duke" Raus of Rone, when he tried to hire them to do the same thing in his name, advancing the Lunar cause in the Grantlands. When they were approached, it became clear that they had no love for the Lanar occupation, but were more than simple hotheads to be recruited to the Stormwind.

Some in the Grasswind thought the endeavor foolish, but the Stormwind, flush with Lunar loot, agreed to bankroll the idea, with the notion that it would provide a decent base for their activities if nothing else.

The new hirelings were takes with finding settlers, buying seed and animals, transporting both downstream and finding a likely spot to settle. They found a Humakti blacksmith, as well as a few dozen settlers, many of them displaced Sartarites or clients pushed off of lands commandeered to feed Lunar soldiers in and around Pavis.

Hiring a pair of barges, they set out. from Pavis. What follows is the session notes that I ran from. It is somewhat long and rambling and not fiction or anyhting, but it does detail their trip:

The Journey down the Zola Fel.

It will take three or four days to reach the junction of the Vilinar with Zola Fel. The first day takes them through tilled black fields of earth tended by the occasional farmer, or herds of sheep and cattle, through the region of Garhound, but they must tie up on the bank before the White Rock River confluence before nightfall and wait for morning or risk running the shallows and rocks there after in the dark.

There they meet another barge, also tied up for the night, headed north after running the shallows. If the PCs have not spoken to any Issaries yet, here is their chance.

The other Barge:

Hathrun Gilded-thumb, out of Bullford, Long time initiate of Issaries. Sitting with two toughs. His barge is carrying papyrus rushes, some tents, a couple of billets of iron, raw hides, sea salt, seed corn, a few weapons that did not sell to the nomads [He meets them part way up the Vilinar], some fine spices and furs for the Lunar taste in Pavis, shipped up from Corflu. He is willing to trade any of it.

Note: It may occur to PCs that setting up a fort at the Vilinar/ Zola Fel juncture would put them is a very good position to control and monitor trade up and down the river.

He has four Mercenaries out of Pavis that work for him. Two are at his fire, the other two on guard on his barge.

If the heroes can impress him, he will stop at their site in future. As a courtesy, if he has taken a shine to them, he tells them not to stop in Sun County unless they want to pay toll for their passage.

He will also share info [for money or concessions on trade] about Raus’ operation at the Bilos Gap. He was there 5 days ago. Raus has about 20 slaves, the same number of free riverfolk working for money, and some guards. He does not go into detail about the guards unless paid or very friendly, saying only that there were several. They have an earthwork and wooden palisade underway, with the position of buildings and a stone fort marked out nearby. Currently everyone is in tents inside the partial palisade now. He traded them iron, premade nails [they took all he had], some tools and rope, and 15 tents. Traded papyrus rushes, salt, and money for it.

 Outcome: Hathrun has become a fixture of Brightwater's seasonal Waterday Market, providing Market spells and good trade goods, and taking orders and the occasional traveller to and from Pavis.

The next day, they make the passage through the Shallows, which is easy in Sea Season during the day, but treacherous otherwise. They pass the headland near the northerly Sun County village of Harpoon where its giant spear-throwing machine tracks their progress until they are out of sight, then through a foul-smelling bog, with numerous large lizards sunning themselves on the banks, toothy jaws agape, to see Stablefort – a fortified village that seems to have turned its back on the water. The river runs fast and deep through a high walled gorge at Highwater, then opens up into more bog, this time not so smelly. Some of the bargemen put out fishing lines, offering them to the PCs as well. The local bass are excellent eating [POW x5 to hook one; DEX x5 to bring one in].

 

That night the barge is attacked.

Old Jack is the colloquial name given by locals to a large and dangerous jackobear that wanders the River of Cradles region from Sea to Darkness seasons, before heading into the eastern wastes of Vulture Country for the rest of the year. Big jack is much larger and more dangerous than a normal Jackobear, but he has a healthy respect for fire, learned at cost by attacking a band of sundomers who nearly killed him with fireblades and salamanders. If Old Jack is set on fire [POW x3 to avoid if hit by a fire attack, he will flee, howling, into the darkness].

                                    M         R

STR     21                     1–4       1-3        Right Leg          4/8

CON     16                     5–8       4-6        Left Leg             4/8

SIZ       25                     9–11     7-10      Abdomen           2/8       

INT      8                      12         11-15    Chest                2/9

POW    15                     13–15    16-17    Right Arm         4/7

DEX     9                      16–18    18-19    Left Arm            4/7

CHA     11                     19–20    20         Head                 2/8

Defense 25% or risk eye to eye contact – POW 15 Harmonize

·       Successfully casting either Countermagic 2 or Dispel Magic 1 negates the Jackobear’s power.

Combat Actions  2

Typical Armour:  Natural hide. No Armour Penalty

Damage Modifier  +1D6

Magic Points:14

Traits:  Chaos Features, Formidable Natural Weapons

Movement  10m

Strike Rank  +8+3

Skills:  Athletics 25%, Brawn 40%, Evade 35%, Perception 30%, Persistence 55%,

Resilience 60%, Stealth 50%

Combat Styles                        Unarmed 50%

Weapon           Reach    Damage                                     Maneuvers

 Claw                  3        1D8+1d6                      Slash

 

Outcome:

The heroes killed Old Jack AND keep his head for a trophy. It will retain its ability to Harmonize for some time. In addition, their renown will rise by 2.

They pass the rest of their second night on the northern edge of the bog below High Water. The flood has broadened the river, creating a maze of canals and inlets, islands and morasses of weeds and rushes.

The bog is full of life, and mosquitos. Thick, twisted trunks of scrub oak grow in the centre of islands that are above the floodwaters, surrounded by willows that seem more content to have their roots underwater. Both are home to myriad birds, evidenced by their cries and their passage overhead. The boatmen are slow and careful in their choice of canals. The barge passes a small herd of river mammoth, wading in water up to their bellies. Anyone may roll INTx5 note that several of the larger ones are nearly ready to give birth. As long as the barges do not near, and the people remain quiet, they can pass without incident. The settlers will be fascinated and fearful of the great beasts. 

By noon it has grown hot and humid as they near the tiny hamlet of Sevenday, where the marsh gives way to flats of rich black soil, currently under the plow by numerous farmers with teams of oxen. Standing stacks of spears are not far removed from the work parties, who pay no heed to the river traffic. This is Sun County and it is said that its people keep to themselves. At the outskirts of the village, a local headman is conversing with a magnificent gryphon that is standing upright on its hind legs and holding out a strand that glitters in one talon. Several more of the creatures loll about under a nearby shade tree like big cats, keen golden eyes fixed lazily on the barge as they fan themselves with their wings.

The river is hundreds of feet wide as the gleaming sun dome of Helmbold comes into view downriver. They see a falcon high overhead, wheeling over them and the river, which the group’s Lhankor Mhy mentor, Theudulf, identifies as a spy for a local priest. It seems to follow them as they near the bright walls of baked yellow brick [this is Eye-Wise, familiar to the Yelmalian priest of Helmbold, keeping watch for its master].

Helmbold is a Sun Dome stronghold and a glittering gilded-dome temple. Strong walls of baked brick face onto the river, with only a single dock that is dwarfed by the fort. Several Templars, in breastplates and bronze helms, with bows and long spears at hand, stand nearby, arguing with a band of five sun elk riders. A Spot [+20% to anyone with riding over 50% or to any Praxian PC] will alert them to the fact that there are only 4 mounts for 5 riders. Another group of Templars, bows in hand, seems to be watching the barge’s approach.

If the barges stops, or even approach the shore, they will be challenged for a toll of 20L per barge. The Sun Domers are poor boatmen however and do not follow if the barge stays out of boarding distance. They will only shoot if harsh words or similar are exchanged.

A mile or two past the stronghold a creek [Stony Creek] runs off to the west. Spot Hidden will show the PC a struggling sun elk sinking into the muck of the marsh that surrounds the confluence. If they investigate, they will see that the beast is bloodied [two arrows in its back and flank – with falcon feather flights painted with yellow edges]. If they stop to save it [not hard with their resources in terms of men and ropes. Have all roll POW x5 to avoid being kicked or gored by the frantic beast] they will find that it bears saddle and harness marks. And a carved mark at the base of one antler [a studded circle with a set of antlers on the top of the circle]. The sun elk riders are searching for this animal at Helmbold. If the PCs return the elk to the riders [which could take some time] they will gain good will from the leader [Ranith Rib-Shaker] and an ivory hilted lunar trade knife in a finely embroidered and beaded sheath. The knife holds a single use Eiritha runespell Pathway [CoP, 30]. The knife is also recognizable as - Ranith’s, so other tribesmen who know her will know it.

Outcome:

The Heroes do return the beast and get on good terms with Ranith Rib-Shaker.

 

As they near Chomoro they can see lights from numerous houses built overhanging the floodwater on stilts. Chomoro itself, is a village situated beyond the floodwaters. Formerly, it was, in theory, in the train of Sun County. Now, some two hundred riverfolk [another 200 hundred live in small clan houses within a few hundred yards and are considered to be part of Chomoro], live under the rather callous control of a recent Sartarite émigré, Kald Hring, his household [wife Kettla, daughter Hygde (18), two sons, Holger (16) and Hvit (12)] and his warriors [30 warriors of varying experience and ability]. Kald has taken the largest clay hut for his temporary home, while his people live in tents nearby. The riverfolk have been pressed into building him a larger home more fitting of his stature – or at least the stature he hopes to attain. Kald is a pale, blond 30ish man, an Orlanthi lay member from Boldhome, overbearing, and not too bright. He will not be particularly welcoming, but will become less so if he learns of the Heroes plans to settle downriver. He is a dastard and a thief and will be a thorn in their sides henceforth. Once he has had a chance to build a hall and enough riverboats, he will cause more problems, for the PCs and for Raus, effectively becoming river pirates.

Kald will offer to trade with them, but mostly to see what they have. He will trade only a little, papyrus and fish, a little salt perhaps, unless he is outwitted or out-bargained. Though he obviously has more, he is niggardly and will ask too much for his goods, much of which he took from the riverfolk of Chomoro. He has several fairly nice horses, including a few cavalry mounts, as well as a small herd of pigs. He will not part with any livestock if he knows the Heroes are going to be his competition.

The heroes are not made welcome. The barges may pull up on shore, the people may sleep on them, under the watch of Kald’s men. The heroes may come ashore to trade and enjoy the big man’s “hospitality”. He does not make the traditional offer of guesting, which technically means the heroes are not protected by the rules of hospitality, set down by Orlanth himself. Sartarite or Heortling heroes will notice the lack on INT x5, and know they are not safe without it. They can trick him into making them his guests by word play, or by making him accept a gift. Kald know this, and will only accept a gift of significant worth. Let a PC roll CHAx3 or Oratory or similar interaction skills with a bonus of 5% for every 25 L worth of gift.

Regardless, they are fed bad rice from the previous year, sour beer that is barely worthy of the name. If he is sufficiently insulted, and can arrange an ambush after they leave or if they have not secure guest-right, he will deal with them then and there. But he would prefer to see what they are about and not risk himself or his family, instead either driving the PCs out of his village, or standing off with spears and bows, but claiming he will not attack out of courtesy to his visitors, his honour and the Strictures of the Lightbringers.

Outcome:

The heroes manage to get a promise of Guest-right form Hring, and spend an uneasy and uncomfortable night, leaving early the next morning. The did little to earn one but they have made an enemy in Kald Hring.

A short cruise the next day takes them past the river folk village of Arrowsands. The villagers, aware that the barge stopped at Chomorro and assuming the travellers to be friendly to Kald Hring, will avoid contact, even leaving the village and its ‘wealth’ behind.

Outcome:

They see furtive blonde folk, quite differnet from the River people abused in Hring’s stead, watching them from the banks and homes of Arrowsands. When they approach the bank, the furtive figures scatter. On entering the small walled village, they are stopped by the peltasts of the settlement. After a tense stand-off, the Heroes manage ot impress the Arrowsands folk with their good intentions, and their lack of respect or friendship with Kald Hring. They part fromt erh Arrowsands with something like mutual respect.

By late afternoon they exit another section of flooded bog: low islands occasionally rise up like burial mounds, but mostly just scrub oak, willow and brush partially underwater. Here and there thick stands of rushes struggle to remain barely above the surface.  The barges must come to a halt to allow a large herd of a hundred or more strange shovel-nosed creatures similar in shape to the mammoths, but squatter and smaller, to clear the way. They are in no hurry, and seem unconcerned by the barges unless they approach. Spot Hidden at -20% to see a pride of sabrefangs surveying their flooded territory with a palpable sense of distaste from the shore.  

 Eventually, they round the projection of the plateau that allows them their first sight of the Vilinar River confluence a few miles distant.

The Vilinar winds away through a canyon to the northwest, eventually ending at the village of Weis and access to the Praxian Plateau. On the west side of the river the ground is rocky with a jutting promontory that overlooks the river. In high water season, the river has overrun its banks here as so many other places, and flooded the area up to the base of the promontory. On the east side, the ground is a largely flooded marsh, dotted here and there with stands of trees, that stretches for miles to the foot of the great escarpments of Vulture Country, hazy in the distance.

At the top of the promontory there are the remains of an ancient stone structure, as well as a few signs of recent construction hastily abandoned [mostly unseeable from below].

Atop the promontory, there is a spiral staircase, partially covered over by reasonably fresh timbers, descending into the limestone, a stone slab now heaved down into the staircase as a blockade.

(Here  had a map of  a simple shaft tomb with a trap: Can't seem to attach it here.)

2. Shaft

The shaft is lined by a narrow spiral stair of steps cut into the limestone. These spiral downward for 30 feet, ending in a featureless floor [Illusion: POW 16]. The area smells of decay and corruption, but there is no obvious source. Allow Spot Trap, or detect magic to detect a trap. Anyone stepping onto the stone floor, falls immediately through the illusion to the spikes and icy [far too cold] water below. Roll POWx3 or DEXx3 to grab for a handhold.

Otherwise fall 20 feet to spikes and water:

POW check – fail – hits both spikes X5 hits one spike; x3 hits between spikes in the water.

Spike 1d10 damage

Water, 1d4 HP damage and a level of Fatigue unless CONx5. Each round in the water roll CON [reduced by x1 for each failure] or lose another level of fatigue and take another 1d4 HP damage. Impaled on the spikes they also find a dead man, frozen solid by the icy water. From his clothes and gear he appears to have been a Grazelander. He has a bronze scale cuirass and leggings [SIZ 12] - difficult to remove if the corpse remains frozen. A [broken, but the repair spell will make it good as new] composite bow and quiver of 30 arrows, a fine lunar crescent knife [+2 AP] with a small ruby in the pommel [400L], and a silver ring. On his forehead, he sports a red tattoo of a man-rune. A fellow Grazelander might recognize him [INT x5] as one of the Red Man Society, a warrior company that has often fought for the Lunars [On INTx1, the man’s name is known, Whita, Red Man of the Sikithi].

Just below the illusory floor there is an opening in the limestone wall about 15 feet above the spikes. Someone hanging from the lower handholds, partway through the floor will see it.

If they note the door, all is well, Otherwise, allow Detect Magic, or Spirit Walk, or an INTx3 to notice the wall in one spot is chilled to the point that it is icy.

The ramp, stair and tomb behind the secret door is icy cold. Characters must make CONx5 each round or take an ICY disrupt 1d3 of cold damage to a single location. Dispel 2 will negate this effect temporarily on a POW vs POW 16 Success. Resist Cold 1 will also render one immune to this damage.

Beyond the door is an icy ramp downward. As long as they move slowly, they can descend without difficulty, but fighting or other activity would be dangerous. After about 20 feet, the ramp joins another spiral staircase, much smaller and in worse repair, that descends another 40 feet or so before opening into a tall but rather cramped beehive tomb.

Seven of the statues are so crude as to be unrecognizable as anything more than humanoid [these are all smaller that the other two as well], but 2 are more carefully sculpted. One is a bent crone with a great hooked nose and goat horns [Thed]; one is a Skull-faced woman’s upper body her arms trailing away as tendrils, rising from a coil of smoke or vapor [Malia]; The urns are filled with ashes. Each has a simple clay talisman with the runes of Death, Disease and Chaos within. These are victims of an ancient plague, placed here in propitiation of the Shaking Mother.

As they descend, the shaman may sense a malevolent spirit [Spirit Walk to sense and identify the spirit as a Spirit of Disease]. Currently she is in possession of a dead Lunar soldier [once a retainer of Duke Raus], but she will discorporate and attack in spirit combat.

Silvagos was once a retainer of Duke Raus. He was investigating the depths of the tomb with Whita and others, was overwhelmed by Shaking Mother, and has been here ever since. Shaking Mother passed Creeping Chills on to several of the other mercenaries, who have now taken it back to Raus’ camp. The second in command decided the place was cursed and decided on building elsewhere.

Silvagos skills are at half, and attack 55% and parry 50%, because of the disease spirit and being dead. But he is immune to Demoralize, Harmonize, or Fanaticism. He wears a sleeved mailcoat, a bronzed iron helmet, and fights with a Bladesharped 3 scimitar and shield. He can cast nothing but Disruption and Demoralize, but will answer no queries and will attack without mercy.  Due to the cramped nature of the area, Only 2 may attack Silvagos in melee without weapons of reach 3 or better.

While Silvagos fights, Shaking Mother discorporates to attack in Spirit Combat immediately. Roll randomly to see who is attacked. Ughari can Spirit Walk to the defense, but only to destroy. He does not have time to try anything fancy like binding.

If the spirit can be defeated, the curse on the site is lifted. Others can aid by casting spells on the  Ughari, but not in fighting the spirit directly.

Creeping Chills Spirit – Shaking Mother

INT 8                          CA 2

CHA 5                         SR +7

POW 16                     

Spectral Combat – Fevered Caress – 55% - 1d6 magic Points damage + Creeping Chills – Fevered spells - shaking, nausea, skills halved while feverish – 1d8 hours per day.

In addition to Silvagos gear [fits SIZ 12 or 13], including a handsome silvered and silver hilted crescent dagger worth 300L. the niche behind the bones contains:

·      A scatter of 135 old silver coins with a dragon embossed on one face and a male profile on another.

·      A delicate magical scepter, gold chased, with a small gold griffon on the top.

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It could be Arinsor Cloudmind's (first head of the Sun County Yelmalio temple) original Scepter of Order, but my money's on the first replacement.  I doubt the original (the one with actual powers, not just an aura of magic) would be that easy to get.

I'll bet you made a subconscious connection; it's straight out of Sun County.  Although it isn't described other than as being made of gold, the griffon is an obvious reference to that temple.  While not particularly useful to the PC's power-wise, it could be an important entré to relations with the Templars.

Edited by Yelm's Light
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Stay Tuned, Yelm's Light. Although I was not aware the Scepter of Order, it does open the way to better relations between Brightwater and Sun County. Well, it and a few other things.

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What follows is a recap of the session immediately after they clearing of the shaft-tomb. I wrote a few of these in the early days of the campaign. You will notice differences form canon periodically: Praxian herdbeast species, some characterizations, etc.

 

------

Efrodir, the Humakti smith, caught a nasty flu and was bedridden for a couple of days. Many were fearful that he would succumb to the attentions of the Shaking Mother, but Ughari swore that she was no more. In any event, things needed doing, so the others carried on.

 After discussion about what to do with the bodies of the two fellows that you found dead, and undead, in the basement, it was decided that the only honourable thing to do was to take their remains, and all their kit, to the Duke's settlement and present them to him. The barges had not left, so one was commissioned for the trip south, the bodies were redressed with their gear after bringing them up from the depths, gear that some of you had designs on, and the barge was outfitted in what funereal raiment could be found.

A long days journey on a fairly fast moving river carried the group past the site of the Five Eyes, sculptures or ancient rock paintings of a cluster of five huge eyes on the cliff face several miles downstream, a day or mores' journey and climb up the cliffs, but easily visible due to their size.

Zola Fel was red with silt, the water utterly opaque, but at one point, several on board noted large fins cutting the water nearby. These were worrying, but the large fish, possibly ten or more feet in length, did not attack, and leaving, they were not see again.

The Duke's settlement, called Ronegarth, is not situated as well as your site, but his men, many of whom are men-at-arms or retired lunar soldiers are rectifying that quickly. A foundation of stone several feet in height gives way to a growing pallisade wall cordoning off a square keep, Other workers were digging a moat surrounding the fort, while more moved through the tents within and around it.

As the barge approached, several newtlings, later found to be in the Duke's employ, surrounded the craft, curious but not threatening. When invited to aid in docking, their leader, Meelo, leapt aboard and directed his fellows to haul the barge to the dock. The Duke's retainer, Daenan, with six men [some of whom were wearing matching harness to that of the zombified fellow you cut apart] came out to greet the barge, strained pleasantries were exchanged, and understated gratitude expressed, before the bodies were carried off.

The heroes got the impression that the act went well and did them all honour. Daenan, though reserved, seemed impressed by the act. At no time did the heroes admit that they were setting up a settlement in the site the Duke had abandoned. On the trip back, a squat stone tower was seen on a distant cliff across the river and some miles distant from Ronegarth.

Arriving back home, some discussion occurred on the naming of your settlement, with nothing decided. Another topic was the size of Ronegarth, or its compliment, some sixty or more folk, with perhaps a third of them in arms, and many of the rest former soldiers. It was decided that more workers were needed, as well as better knowledge and relations with the people hereabouts. With Efrodir still very much under the weather, the others decided to visit the village of Weis, in hopes of finding friends and workers, and possibly investigating the upper reaches of the Vilinar River where it leads to Prax. After a meal of the fine-fleshed silvery fish that was most commonly brought from the waters before the high land, the heroes determined to leave in the morning, hopefully with Efrodir much recovered.

In this last they were disappointed. The Humakti stayed abed in his tent, or wandered listlessly about, unable even to aid much in the building of latrines or the start of the ditch.

For the others, adventure awaited.

The terrain varied between barren plain and flowing grassland, with the rushing river cutting through occasional banks of low trees. Game was sometimes sighted in the distance, aurochs and some sort of antelope. The land rose as they approached the end of the Weis Cut, until they came upon the mean little village itself. Some two hundred or so people, very poor, and quite fearful, met the heroes, who quickly allayed their concerns. Negotiations for fifty workers, to begin in a week’s time when their planting was done, were begun.

At this point the subject of the nomads arose, and many looked to Ughari and Jaldon, sitting their riding beasts in all their savagery. The head-woman of Weis, Una, warned the heroes that having a couple of nomads among them would not save them from the depredations of the Stormkhans who would be coming down the Cut in short order.

Conversation moved on, and one of the heroes mentioned their interest in hunting for meat for their folk. At this, a precocious teenage girl, wearing a sling and a nomad flint knife, told of a small herd of aurochs no more than a mile distant. The heroes elected to give chase immediately, with the girl, Disa as their guide.

Shortly they had found the herd of half a dozen, with a bull watching over them. But they were not alone in the finding of the wild cattle. As they planned their hunt, they spied two daggerfangs [scimitar cats] stalking the fat cows. After a necessarily brief discussion of how to proceed, the heroes moved in, hoping to cut a yearling male from the little herd, while disrupting the hunting cats with Befuddle spells and such. When a third, unseen cat charged, roaring, some of the aurochs panicked and ran.

A confused, and thrilling, three-sided fight ensued, with humans fighting aurochs, then daggerfangs. Prodigious use of sorcery and spirit magic, as well as brave melee fighting and some fine shooting [even a critical hit from the sling of the Weis girl against the charging bull], resulted in a dead daggerfang, a dead yearling, and much healing magic to save the gravid cow that had suffered at the claws and fangs of two of the huge cats. The aurochs and big cat were skinned, meat and hides loaded onto the backs of mounts, and the heroes returned to Weis, sharing some of their bounty and winning good will in the bargain.

It was then decided to return home with the meat [some eight hundred pounds of it], then ride out again the next day or the day after. The heroes arrived to find that the worst of their comrade's illness was in the past. He sat, eating fried fish and the – mashed tubers of a species of water grass that the settlers had found to be tasty – greasy-fingered, discussing with Theudulf, the layout of the keep yet to be built.

Vilinar River Falls at Weis Cut.jpg

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OH. In the first couple of scenarios, only part of the group was able to play, So I let them recruit a Praxian mercenary named Jaldon, He is a nice fellow, and remarkably non-judgemental about non-Oraxians, but was a bit of a Klutz early on (a few notable fumbles against scorpionids in the Rubble). His nickname among other Praxians is "Not-Tooth-Maker."

Once Brightwater started, he was made part of the Brightwater Company. Now he sometimes accomplanies adventurers who are short a man or need a tracker, but just as often rides patrol of the Domain, etc.

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