Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Fantasy Sandbox in Detail Part VIII

Part VII

This is the eigth in a series detailing the 34 steps I recommended for making a Fantasy Sandbox Campaign. Today's post will cover the following step.

18) Write a paragraph describing each Population Locale
19) Write a paragraph describing each Lair (you could get away with a stat block)
20) Write a paragraph describing each Ruin

0102 Giant Squids
This area is the spawning ground for Giant Squids. There is a 20% of a ship being attacked by 2d6 Giant Squids. This rises to 40% during the height of mating season between May and July. Lying scattered along the bottom of the this area are the sunken remains of ships with Gems: 5 x 10 GP; 4 x 50 GP; 18 x 100 GP; 11 x 500 GP; 2 x 5,000 GP; Jewels: 1 x 900; 1 x 1,000; 1 x 1,300; 6 x 2,000; 3 x 3,000; 5 x 4,000; 1 x 6,000; 1 x 7,000; 1 x 8,000; In a tube sealed with wax, Map to a Lawful Sword +1 with Detect Gems, Empathy; Ego 2; Potion of Treasure Finding.

0105 Hawth (village) Dwarf
Located just outside of the Southpoint mine this is home to 200 dwarves. Their homes are carved out of the rocky walls of the canyon leading to the minehead. Lord Dair Darkiron (Ftr5, L) directs the mining operations. Original motherlodes are beginning to play out. Lord Dair opened a new section of mine that promises renewed riches but a rash of disappearances has caused it to be closed up. Lord Dair’s brother, Gamli is challenging Dair’s leadership of the clan. Lord Dair will pay handsomely to anybody who can find out what has happened in mine.

0201 Spies
This is the camp of Sir Iago Dunth (Ftr 3) and 10 scout (HD1). They have been sent by Emperor Clovis of Po to scout out island’s defenses. In Sir Iago’s tent is 1,000 gp, and 2,000 sp to be used for bribes. Hidden nearby is a 20 foot dingy with its single mast stowed in the hull.

0203 Barrows
A dozen barrows dot the hills of this reason. Used by the island’s original inhabitants to bury their chief. The malign influence of Tavaras has caused several of the dead to return as wights (3 HD). Today only three remain along with their treasure scattered among the barrows. 3,000 CP; 2,000 GP; Jewels: 1 x 700; 1 x 5,000;

0204 Sandpoint (village) Halfling
This is home to over 300 halflings who farm the fertile bottomlands and tend flocks of sheep on the South Downs. Buck Hightower is the current Lord of Sandpoint. The Hightowers of Sandpoint have long been the most powerful and wealthiest family in Sandpoint. Recently their preeminence has been challenged by the Oldhams who have grown wealthy on the wool trade. Albrus Oldham has been recently appointed the Reeve of Sandpoint by the King’s Sheriff to collect the various Royal fees and duties.

0302 Bone Keep
This is the ruins of Bone Keep. This was the hub for the latifundias dotting the North Downs during the reign of the Lich Lord. When the crusaders arrived the slave revolted and burned the tower down. Agarst, the wraith lord of Bone Keep was trapped in the tower before it was set aflame. Today the first level remains intact and with the partial remains of the second floor. There are at least two levels to the dungeons below.

0303 The Fortress of the Lich Lord
Halfway up the mountain slope is the entrance into Tavaras fortress. It is now overgrown and partly overrun by a rockslide. A quarter way east, around the mountains, is the entrance to the mine shaft dug by the crusaders to breach the third level of Tavaras Fortress. Thick underbrush cover the entrance; once clear the passageway beyond is still open. The number of levels inside is unknown although a search of records at the Temple of Veritas at Mikvas will show that they encounter caves below the 5th level. A note in the margin indicates that scholars believed that it connects to the Underearth.

0305 Ruins
Here are the remains of a three mast sailing ship, the White Wind. Within are the remains of the King of the Isles’ son and heir, Andrew. If Andrew’s body is recovered the King will reward the players handsomely. Complicating this are 20 (HD 2) Sahuagins resting around the ship. Within the ship are Gems: 100 GP; 2 x 500 GP; Jewels: 2 x 1,000. Along with this is a sealed pouch. If open on dry land it is the confession of Sir Uriens Balvair, who admits to killing Prince Andrew on the voyage. When he found that the ship was sabotaged to sink he spent his last moments writing out his confession implicating the King’s brother in the murder.

0401 Aventis Village
This is the home of 150 Mermen (HD 1+1). They are protected by King Tuoris (HD 10) and his 10 guards (HD 6) on Seahorses (3 HD). They are unaware of the impending attack of the Sahuagins. They settled here 200 years after the Cataclysm and aided the crusaders in sacking the Sable Port. Since then the Gervons venture to the beaches of the North shore of the island every ten years to exchange gifts with the Mermen. The next meeting is due in a year’s time.

0402 Ruins of Sable Port
This small port was destroyed when the Crusader landed on the Isle of Piall. Tavaras kept a force of skeletons at the bottom of the Bay of the Dead and they were not totally eradicated after the fall of the Lich Lord. The freed inhabitants avoided the area and settled around East Bay. Minor undead now inhabit the ruins as well as an assortment of other unwholesome creatures.

0403 Mikva (castle, town) Human
This is a small castle town of 800 humans with several dozen Dwarves and Halflings. The castle itself sits on a bluff overlooking the bay. It is the seat of the current Baron of Piall, Argus Gervon. A several trading vessels stop here every week to pick up ingots from Southpoint. Before the fall monsoon season dozens of traders put in at Mikva to attend the Piall Fair. Here the island’s grain, and more importantly wool is traded for goods and supplies needed for the next year.

Currently the King’s Sheriff Tomar Revan is staying at the one of the wealthiest merchants in Mikva; the Honorable Orlon Beras. The Sheriff is currently using offices at the Mikva Trading Hall to conduct his investigation and any other Royal business. There is considerable tension between Baron Argus and the Sheriff.

0403 Datha (hamlet) Human
Datha is a small fishing hamlet on East Bay. A hundred humans live here in mud and wattle huts along the shoreline. The headman of the hamlet is Danis Hobrun who is thoroughly loyal to Baron Argus. Danis’ brother, Helmar is the yeoman in chief of the Baron’s small coast guard. Helmar and his fellow yeoman patrol shores of Piall looking for smugglers.

0404 Carra (hamlet) Human
On an island in the middle of East Bay is the fishing hamlet of Carra. This hamlet is home to 75 humans living in mud and wattle huts. Conditions here are wretched and these people are among the poorest on the island. The headman of the hamlet, Moran Loder is also the leader of the small Piall thieves’ guild. While he rules Carra with an iron hand severely punishing anybody cooperating with Helmar and his yeoman.

0503 Wereboars
Several decades into the Lich Lord’s reign a rebel name Sarpdon nearly toppled his rule. As punishment Spardon and his men were condemned to roam the forest as Wereboars. The pack still exists as 12 Wereboars (HD 4+4) roam the forest. Spardon and his men have been driven insane by their centuries long curse. However if a mean is found to make him lucid while in human form; Spardon is sure that the cure for his curse lies in Mount Devon. Neither he or his men can aid the party as they are driven mad on their next transformation. If killed in human form Spardon his men will resurrect on the next full moon.

0504 Kathi (village) Human
This is a farming village on the eastern shore of the Isle of Piall. The village has 300 humans and is held by Sir Vandas Gervon a distant cousin of Baron Argus. A third of village is devoted to fishing and the remainder works the surrounding fields. Despite Baron Argus’ disapproval Sir Vandas tries to be helpful to the Sheriff. He hopes to win the Sheriff’s recommendation so he can send his son, Andal to be a squire at the royal court in Haras.

0505 Sahuagin Outpost
In the lee of a rock outcropping behind the surface is an outpost of the Sahuagin Kingdom. Here nearly 100 sahuagin (2 HD) are readying themselves to take out King Tuoris and the Mermen of Aventis. This operation is consider important enough to warrant the presence of Prince Xatharazzax (HD 12). Accompanying the Prince are his 5 honor guard (HD 8). Leading the Sahuagin troops are 2 Captains (HD 4) and their commander Loxak (HD 6). The Sahuagin have 10 Giant Sharks (HD 5).

In the Prince personal treasury are Jewels: 1 x 500; 6 x 1,000; 4 x 1,100; 1 x 1,300; 1 x 1,400; 7 x 2,000; 2 x 3,000; 7 x 4,000; 4 x 5,000; 5 x 6,000; 1 x 7,000; 1 x 9,000; Stone Tablet Map To (40,000 SP; 21 GP; Gems: 3 x 10 GP; 2 x 50 GP; 10 x 100 GP; 4 x 500 GP; 5,000 GP; Jewels: 1 x 600; 1 x 1,000; 1 x 1,100; 1 x 1,200; 2 x 2,000; 3 x 3,000; 3 x 5,000; 2 x 6,000; 3 x 8,000; 1 x 9,000); 5,000 SP; Potion of ESP; Stone Tablet Map To (Ring of Spell Storing); Potion of Control Brass Dragon; Potion of Invulnerability; Stone Tablet Scroll of Prot: Elementals

The Giant Squids I rolled up on the Wandering Monsters charts. This got me thinking so I put it in. The treasure it likewise rolled in accordance with the treasure type using my .NET utility here.

Hwath was pretty much set from the background I written so far. I like politics and intrigue in my campaigns so I added the bit about Gamli.

More politics and intrigue with the Po spies. If you are wondering where i got the name Po from is from the Po River in Italy. Not because I am being flippant. The spies also illustrates following up on a background elements with something concrete. I feel if something is put in the background it should be reflected in the details of the settings in someway.

The Barrows and wights are totally ripped off from Tolkien. Left over undead from the Lich Lord's reign are a major theme of the island.

Sandpoint a typical shire style halfling village with a little bit of politics and tension with the Hightower-Oldham conflict. Throw a link to the arrival of the King's Sheriff as well.

Bone Keep aside from adding detail to the background of the Lich Lord this will be where I place the "mid-level" dungeon of the campaign after Sable Port.

The Fortress of the Lich Lord is the mega dungeon of the campaign and will setup to allow the player to make their mark as they crawl up to name level.

The White Wind is designed to allow the player to have a hook to the wider world of the Kingdom of the Isles.

Aventis Village is meant to be part of the endgame. My conception is that the player will emerge from the Fortress of the Lich Lord at name level and deal with the coming conflict between the Mermen and the Sahuagin. With luck I will get to use Battlesystem 1st edition :D

The Ruins of Sable Port is the starting dungeon where 1st to 3rd level character can get experience. From here they will find clues to Bone Keep and from Bone Keep to the Fortress of the Lich Lord. I admit is sounds linear but keep in mind it is just a plan that will be altered in the face of what the players actually do. If I don't get to use any particular part there always the next campaign.

Mikva is the "home base" of the players. More political stuff with the King's Sheriff and the Baron. There is the possibility that the politics and intrigue will be THE campaign if that how the players choose to go. Using the larger map I recommend in the original 34 steps you should have 4 to 6 of these plot threads running through your sandbox.

Again they are not a railroad but rather pieces of the setting that naturally lead to each other. By doing the background and history you make it all plausible and the player will accept it as a natural part of the ongoing campaign.

Datha this sets up a minor thread involving the thieves of Carras. Datha are the "good guys" in this plot.

Carra are the "bad guys" in the Datha-Carra conflict. Although if there are any thieves in the party they are likely going to have to deal with Moran.

The Wereboars are a bunch of fantasy tropes I cobbled together. With Spardon think Spartacus. The curse is probably what the Romans would have done to him if they could really cast magic.

The Kathi is a typical farmer manor that adds more depth to the Sheriff-Baron conflict.

Finally the Sahuagin Outpost. I just used monster description to come up with the roster and decided that since this was going to be a high level showdown one of the Sahaugin Princes will be present.

That it for Part VIII, next is Part IX.


Alex Schroeder said...

I've loved every entry in your series so far! Awesome.

Flynn said...

This is definitely a very cool series. I'm still working on this particular step for the sandbox I'm writing using this method, and it really helps to have some examples here. I think I'll take some extra time here to create some random encounter tables to help me out, as they've been mentioned more than once now. :)

With Regards,