Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Answering Jeff's 20 Questions for the Blackmash Hex Reassignment

"You can run D&D with just some PCs and a dungeon. I think that's totally legit. But if you have a campaign setting, here are some things for you to think about.  Better to muse on these before your players ask you, rather than finding yourself on the spot. Campaign worlds, whether published or just notes scrawled in some DM's binder, contain a lot of material that most players honestly just don't give a crap about.  That's entirely okay.  Answer some of these questions or others like them and you'll have yourself a campaign regular players can relate to." 
~Jeff Rients

What is the deal with my cleric's religion?
The Church of the Lady is a large, and far-reaching organizing element of human society. All clerics have functions and responsibilities as well as limited legal authority inside the Church. (big 'C' Clerics are special though...they can channel / manifest power) Four apostolic Martyrs act as ideological pillars of the Church. Taking up the order of one of these Martyrs is a formal way of declaring your personal politics. A shadowy inversion of the Lady of the White Way is a sort of open secret, and it is possible to be a 'Cleric' in this tradition as well, though to do so puts one at peril from both the Law and forces of Corruption.

Where can we go to buy standard equipment?
Bone-stock equipment can be had at list pricing in the starting zone at Castle Blackmarsh. Dax Brothers Equipage is famous for its quality gear, but their prices usually ward off those with a light purse. It is possible to curry favor with different groups who could make getting gear easier: The Order of Bernus, the Wayfarer will supply Church sanctioned Wardens and Rangers with basic necessities at a very low cost. Becoming an agent of Abrams the shipping Magnate, or a mercantile guild might entail access to certain goods. In the wilderness, or near sparsly settled areas there may be some issues getting various types of items. It is possible to swap with folks met on the road, etc. 

Where can we go to get platemail custom fitted for this monster I just befriended?
Taking a creature of Corruption anywhere near settled lands is a bad idea, Church Warden's Patents or no. Dwarves could do it most likely, particularly if your monster is anything like their Dwarf-dogs. Their prices are always bitter though. 'Sides, its a fools errand to wear a metal suit: can't swim in it, can't run or hide in it, and Summer in the swamplands would kill you, sure.

Who is the mightiest wizard in the land?
"They" all say that it has to be the "Wizard of the Isle" who dwells out in the Smoking Bay on that rock "they" say is the biggest piece of the "Mountain that Fell" course "they" are all damn-fools. Tyrilas, the Summer King is most-likely to be the mightiest sorcerer alive, and he sits the throne at Castle Blackmarsh.  

Who is the greatest warrior in the land?
The Summer King ceded the wild-lands to his greatest Champions, and they ward the lands beyond the Pact where Humans are forbidden. These are the seven greatest warriors ever to take up the blade: Ash, Oak, Yew, Alder, Elder, Hazel, Apple.  The Apple Knight is also called Sinerian, and she is the Chief of the Rangers based at Castle Blackoak.

Who is the richest person in the land?
Abrams has the largest shipping concern in Blackmarsh. How he's gotten away with that is a mystery, as he's not even taken Orders. Tyrilas and the Summer Court pretty much "own" the entirety of the Pact Lands, they just let us live they must be the richest Folk around. Then again, the Cardinals hold the handles  to the doors of Heaven so maybe they're the richest?

Where can we go to get some magical healing?
The easiest way would be to have an association with the Church. Barring that, there's some secret societies, and cults. A trick or two might be learned / found / discovered along the way if you're brave enough for that.

Where can we go to get cures for the following conditions: poison, disease, curse, level drain, lycanthropy, polymorph, alignment change, death, undeath? 
Same as for magic healing. Death is pretty permanent. The Orders of Coraline, or of Calbrius would be mighty hard to convince. But those who worship Mama Lazuul, or Papa Stimett might know a thing or two about calling across the veil of night.

Is there a magic guild my MU belongs to or that I can join in order to get more spells?
A secret society is what you're looking for. Are you religious more or less? Are you okay with breaking the Law? Cultists know spells too. Its said you can learn spells by eating Fae, but that would be a sin against the Law and open your soul to corruption...

Where can I find an alchemist, sage or other expert NPC?
Inside the Church when near civilization, out in the wild you'd have to bargain with a witch or something. A member in good standing with a secret society could also gain easy access to experts.

Where can I hire mercenaries?
Typical rowdies can be had from any place with a population. Real mercenaries could be more difficult. If you were brave enough, you could always recruit out in the Fens where the brigands and pirates are.

Is there any place on the map where swords are illegal, magic is outlawed or any other notable hassles from Johnny Law? 
The Church frowns hard on casting in public, and casting in general. Even with dispensation, it could bring trouble down on you for causing a stir. Real blades are marks of status, and society enforces the status pretty strictly, so you might be de-bladed as a sign of deference or something. People who can channel divine power run the risk of being pulled into a large and dangerous political game within the Church. The farther you go from the Church, the less likely you'll be met with Inquisitors.

Which way to the nearest tavern?
The Dancing Fool is just the other side of the wall from the harbor. Its big, its cheap, and everyone goes there; caravaners, sailors, capitans, guild-folk...y'know businessmen. (Read: Patrons)

What monsters are terrorizing the countryside sufficiently that if I kill them I will become famous? 
Hells yes! Reports from Jorvik say that Giants may have ranged down out of the Westwall. The Dwarf merchants from Olden Hold claim there's a demon boar up there so big, and smart that no one can find or kill it. They've named it Tatari-gami and placed an immodest bounty on its head. The sailors and fishermen always tell tales of the Bay Kraken, which must be utter shite, but make good stories. Even just ripping up a Gobblin Patch by the roots or keeping some Kobolds from spiriting away an entire village would earn you a little fame, and maybe an offer to join the Wardens.

Are there any wars brewing I could go fight?
The Rangers are like to be gearing up for a push against the Gnolls sometime soon. Away east, the Cardinal Ragnar chafes under his cassock at being stuck out in a castle on the strand, facing a swamp. Its rumored he might be harboring wild, heathen men from the north rather than guarding against them. You could always take orders and join the Wardens in their war on Evil...

How about gladiatorial arenas complete with hard-won glory and fabulous cash prizes?
Aways south and west of here the Dwarf Lord Mazardan stages gladiatorial combats to honor the Dwarf Gods and to bring riches into the markets of Olden Hold. She has a reputation to maintain after all, even so far from home. Rumor has it she's seeking another husband for her Manner-serai.

Are there any secret societies with sinister agendas I could join and/or fight?
Several esoteric societies inside the Church, cults, covens, and guilds. What's your fancy?

What is there to eat around here?
Snake-blood-porridge, giant crab-man stew. Fish, wild game (just don't poach beyond the Pact) & Halfling grain for brewing and baking.

Any legendary lost treasures I could be looking for?
There are a few relics holy to the Church at large. Any decent-sized piece of the Mountain that Fell will get you into some serious trouble too. Ancient dwarf weapons lost to time, and mysterious magical elf constructions surely must crop up as well.

Where is the nearest dragon or other monster with Type H treasure?
"The Lake King" lives in the bottom of one of the great swamp-lakes in the Blackmarshes, in a city made from solid gold.