Slateholm Nights

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Solomoriah
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Slateholm Nights

Post Mon Nov 20, 2017 11:40 am

I have literally no material for this as yet, so it's not going in the Workshop. Not yet anyway. But here's my idea:

I'd like to create a city campaign module, a multimodule like our others. It would be titled "Slateholm Nights" to connect it with my novella One Night in Slateholm, but it will not be required to have the book to use the materials.

I'm thinking of starting with a little more general information on the Western Lands, specifically those bits relevant to Slateholm's relationship to the rest of the world (particularly to Morgansfort and the area between the two).

Following that, a city map with selected keyed locations (leaving most of the city unkeyed, of course). I'd want a tavern in each of the three "lesser" quarters, the Docks, the Poor Quarter, and the Merchant's Quarter. The one in the Poor Quarter would include rooms for rent, while the one in the Merchant's Quarter would have an inn next door loosely affiliated with the tavern.

Obviously, the gates would need to be detailed, and some information provided on the harbormaster and the docks in general. I'm hoping someone has some historical information on how ships were bought and sold in past times to flesh this bit out.

There would need to be detailed encounter charts for the four quarters, one each for day and night, so eight encounter charts total. These charts would include some named NPCs and/or monsters who might be encountered on the streets.

I'd want some keyed encounter areas. I recently ran an ad lib encounter involving gargoyles, a giant spider, and a bunch of skeletons in a ruined church, and it went quite well; I'd want something like that, and some other unrelated encounter areas of similar small scope.

I'm hoping to fit in two or three small city adventures, of about the scope of an AA series adventure, and cap off the book with an adventure roughly twice as big (or more, if material appears).

SO HERE'S WHAT I NEED:

1) A mapper, skilled at making city maps. I'll provide the basic layout of the town and leave the rest to the mapper to design. There will likely be many revisions as the project moves forward, so whoever takes on the job needs to be ready for that.

2) Ideas for any of the above-mentioned items. I don't need an entire adventure, just an idea we can flesh out.

This will absolutely be a collaborative effort; I already know I can't do it all.

So who's with me?
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bhyeti
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Re: Slateholm Nights

Post Mon Nov 20, 2017 1:36 pm

i'm in!
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chiisu81
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Re: Slateholm Nights

Post Mon Nov 20, 2017 5:56 pm

Some medieval urban adventuring sounds like a welcome change, i'd be up for it 8-)
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Cryanhall
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Re: Slateholm Nights

Post Tue Nov 21, 2017 1:43 am

I’ve actually been thinking about this recently. I started my Morgansfort campaign off with the party traveling to the fort from Slateholm. My idea for them knowing each other was that they were all mutual friends with an old dockmaster who helped smuggle escaped slaves into the free city. My players are still cracking away at the Island Fortress, but Slateholm’s been in the back of my mind.

This module could be more than just a handful of adventures set in the same city setting. I think it would be cool if the adventures were open-ended in a way where they could link from one to the other or stand alone. Like you say, a group of encounter areas with potential story hooks to base an adventure or series of adventures on. You could use the list of important, named NPCs as possible architects of Machiavellian intrigue. Perhaps the storylines could be modular in that each GM could pick which NPC might be behind things, kind of like Clue. You could run them as straight adventures or as part of larger Western Lands campaign, depending on how much hack-n-slash vs politics you like in your game.

Here are a couple of ideas I’ve been kicking around. I don’t know how well they fit in with your concept of the city – I still haven’t read One Night in Slateholm (it’s on my Xmas list, :) ) – but maybe some of these might be useful as jumping off points. This is mostly just stream of consciousness and most of it isn't very small in scale.

Based on Slateholm's description in Morgansfort as a group of islands on a coastal linked to the mainland by a single causeway, I always envisioned Slateholm as kind of a Venetian setting with canals, waterways, and bridges. I also like the idea of an ancient lighthouse (a la Alexandria) that might predate the founding of the modern city.

Possible adventure hooks:

Someone has kidnapped and/or killed the old dockmaster who has been sneaking escaped slaves from Novatia/Corvis/emerald mines for years. The party explores the subterranean sewers and steam tunnels (heh heh) underneath Slateholm. Maybe it’s the work of an underworld crime boss (who’s also a wererat?) who wants to use the passages in a grand plot to bring in humanoids under the city and take it over. Maybe it’s the work of Novatian or Ravenstonian spy trying to curb the defection of slaves from Corvis and possibly poison the city’s well-water. Maybe it’s one phase of a plan of Thulids rising from the ancient underground city Slateholm was built on top of to take back their kingdom from the humans.

The Archbishop/Patriarch (or whatever relevant clerical station) of the Reformed Church of Tah has fallen in love with the beautiful daughter of a rich merchant. After she shuns the bishop’s advances, he makes a pact with a demon in the ancient bowels of the cathedral. The bishop plans to perform a rite on a certain pagan feast day opening a portal into this plane of existence for the demon’s hoards to usher through in exchange for the demon enchanting the merchant’s daughter into loving the bishop. The PCs must stop the ritual from happening, waylaid by the bishop’s charmed clerical acolytes & adepts and lesser demonic servants and monsters. If the PCs don’t stop the ritual they must find a way to close the portal and hunt down the evil. Think of it as a race-against-the-clock cross between Matthew Lewis’ The Monk and Faust… and maybe Buffy’s Hellmouth.

The Urdish Emperor is dead and the line of succession has become a bloodbath with heirs poisoning and assassinating each other. A distant relation (second cousin?) who was raised and educated in Slateholm (and is anti-slavery) is now the first in line and Slateholm is filled with assassins from Novatia and Ravenstone on the eve of a great carnival/masquerade ball. The PCs are hired to find and smuggle him out of the city before he is killed. The PCs will need to use disguises and guile to accomplish this all the while being careful about whom they can trust.

Possible list of important NPCs:
  • Duke Helsung II: The current ruler of the city/territory.

    Baron Morgan Rathwynn: The retired baron of Morgansfort. Maybe he’s got involved in local politics or patronage of the arts, or maybe he’s gotten embroiled into a sticky situation due to someone having leverage over him.

    Underworld crime boss: A wererat would be a good fit for this character. He could move around amongst the townspeople in the day operating extortionist rackets on local shops, and plotting the upheaval of human society by night.

    Dockmaster/secret escaped-slave smuggler: In my campaign, I named him Jochim Kellborn, but any name will do.

    A Pirate Jenny-type character who works in a lowly position of barmaid or inn housekeeper, but is really the captain of a pirate ship who knows all the secrets of the well-to-do and could bring the city down from within in the course of one night. Maybe her entire crew is made up of women.

    A madam of a house of ill-repute who, like the Pirate Jenny character, has enough dirt on the city’s rich and powerful to be very influential on local policy.

    Bishop/Patriarch of the Reformed Church of Tah.
Possible encounter areas:
  • The main church/chapel/cathedral of the Reformed Church of Tah

    The University/College of Slateholm

    The Slateholm Library

    The sewers and tunnels of the old city underneath Slateholm

    The ancient lighthouse in the bay

    The city’s graveyard - mausoleums and above-ground crypts like New Orleans due to the sea level. Floating undead anyone?

    The underground penitentiary of Slateholm where the guilty, and sometimes innocent, are put in order to be forgotten.
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bhyeti
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Re: Slateholm Nights

Post Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:45 am

I put this in google and got some interesting results:
rpg port city with interconnected islands
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bhyeti
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Re: Slateholm Nights

Post Tue Nov 21, 2017 7:24 am

I'm hoping someone has some historical information on how ships were bought and sold in past times to flesh this bit out.
I could help on this also since I am working on a similar project.
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Solomoriah
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Re: Slateholm Nights

Post Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:18 am

Cryanhall, I'm liking your ideas. I want to spend some time going over them in more detail, but for now the only thing that sounds wrong to me is the university; Slateholm is still a bit primitive (almost lawless) for this.

Slateholm is built on a group of rocky islands on the coast, surrounded by a brackish swamp. A river cuts through it, with the largest bit of it bisecting the town; the Docks and the Poor Quarter are north of this river, the Merchant's and Nobles Quarters to the south. Specifically, the Poor Quarter is a relatively low-lying area on the northeast (thus surrounded by water, except on the west side) with the Docks lying to the west. The coastal area in the Poor Quarter has too many submerged rocks to be suitable for docking anything bigger than a rowboat, and a lighthouse stands on the coast at the north end of a roadway which serves as the border between the Docks and the Poor Quarter.

On the south, the Merchant's Quarter stands on a slightly higher island (which slopes down to level with the Poor Quarter on the north), and is entirely surrounded by water, as a smaller branch of the river drains to the south, separating the Merchant's Quarter from the Nobles.

The Nobles Quarter is on an island which is a bit higher yet. It is bordered on the south by the sea, on the north by the river which separates it from the Docks, on the east by the river spur that is the border with the Merchant's Quarter, and on the west by a sheer bluff overlooking the swamp.

The causeway connects to the Docks area of the city, becoming a major street that roughly parallels the river, becoming narrower as it proceeds until it branches out like a spiderweb into the southern part of the Poor Quarter; four bridges cross between the Merchant's Quarter and the Poor Quarter, with that main street (as yet unnamed) ending at the third bridge.

Two bridges connect between the Merchant's Quarter and the Noble Quarter, and another single large bridge connects the Noble's Quarter to the Docks (and thus to that main street).

Geographically, the largest part of the city is the Poor Quarter, with the Merchant's Quarter being perhaps 2/3s of that size and the Noble Quarter and the Docks each no more than 1/3. The Docks area is actually a relatively narrow strip of land between the river on the south and the sea on the north.

If it's not obvious by now, the city resides on what is basically a partially-submerged peninsula, rather stubby in overall form. A few lesser islands, not part of the city proper, dot the coastal area to the north and south, part of a rocky ridge that was carved up by flowing water into the islands of the present day.
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bhyeti
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Re: Slateholm Nights

Post Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:50 am

Catacombs feasible for this type of geography or more like New Orleans, large graveyards maybe on solid ground(mainland) with vaults and crypts?
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Re: Slateholm Nights

Post Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:03 am

The Poor Quarter lies close to the waterline, as does the Docks (they are basically one island). However, there are extensive, partially-submerged tunnels under the Poor Quarter. They are no more than one level deep due to the issues of flooding. Some of the buildings near the waterline are built not on the stone but on sandy soil, and a few of them have sunk to the point that their ground floors are partially or fully submerged.

The Merchant's Quarter lies higher; the lower northern edge (near the river) has at most one level of underground space, but the higher southern area may have a second level on top of that.

Of course, the Noble Quarter is rumored to be undermined by extensive, complex tunnels with many secret doors and traps.
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Re: Slateholm Nights

Post Wed Nov 22, 2017 8:25 pm

For unrelated, keyed encounters, perhaps a shambling mound, or ooze(s?) in a large, trash heap.
An abandoned alchemist laboratory has a construct or two still guarding the place.
An RoUS nest can be placed anywhere that human traffic is basically zero.

I think we will generally want to stick with things that don't actively hunt, things that follow schedules, or things that make lairs.
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