Saturday, August 27, 2011

Twenty Questions

A few months ago, Jeff Rients posted a list of twenty quick questions for your campaign setting. Since I'm awake anyway, I might as well do them for the Plain of Sorrow, the region of the world featured in my 4e campaign, Crux of Eternity.

1. What is the deal with my cleric's religion?

This is pretty standard D&D. It's polytheistic, but as a cleric, you are probably a devotee of one god. You might admire traits about other deities, but there is probably one that speaks to you specifically (for example, maybe you were raised in a temple to Bahamut, Moradin, and Pelor, but something about Pelor resonates personally). This is similar to the concept of household gods or saints — you respect the whole pantheon, but someone is a personal patron.

2. Where can we go to buy standard equipment?

Pretty much anywhere. Most general stores are stocked with the essentials, and merchant caravans are on regular trade routes throughout the region. Trading posts and temples between towns exist, but your best bet is to stock up before you hit the road.

3. Where can we go to get platemail custom fitted for this monster I just befriended?

Scandshar, the major city in the region, has blacksmiths that can help you. Merchant caravans and major towns could also help you, but it might cost more.

4. Who is the mightiest wizard in the land?

Ebenezer Cascata Mararnith Jepson, headmaster of the Wizard's Tower in Duchy Jepson. Mordenkainen is the historical example, though there are rumors that he's still alive.

5. Who is the greatest warrior in the land?

You've probably never heard of Eric Goldenear, though you may have heard of Sir Krizaut of Jepson (if you're from Duchy Jepson, you probably know these names). Thalia the Bloody-Handed isn't quite the best, but she's the best known; she's a gladiator in Scandshar, and she will murder your face. Baarziduul the Valorous is the historical example, but he's been dead for a while.

6. Who is the richest person in the land?

Unknown. It's probably somebody from the Scandshar Parliament, but nobody knows for certain. Some people suspect the merchant families of Sorgforge are worth more than they say, that they engaged in profiteering during the Cackledread Wars. Dark rumors suggest the richest man on the whole planet is the Esteemed and Omniscient Peacock Lord, leader of the crime syndicate known as the Illustrious Menagerie of Peacocks, but nobody's sure if this person actually exists.

7. Where can we go to get some magical healing?

Most major temples can help you. Merchant caravans typically also have people on hand. Expect to "donate" or pay.

8. Where can we go to get cures for the following conditions: poison, disease, curse, level drain, lycanthropy, polymorph, alignment change, death, undeath?

See above. Since 4e healing is pretty easy, healing conditions is about the only thing left. Also note that some of the above conditions aren't permanent problems in D&D 4e, though disease and death typically benefit from magical cures.

9. Is there a magic guild my MU belongs to or that I can join in order to get more spells?

Morgrave University in Sorgforge has a magic college, but you really want to go with the Wizard's Tower in Duchy Jepson.

10. Where can I find an alchemist, sage or other expert NPC?

Morgrave University, Wizard's Tower, and occasionally in temples and merchants' districts. Also merchant caravans tend to offer this sort of stuff (they're basically mobile villages).

11. Where can I hire mercenaries?

The only established guild after the Cackledread War is the Illustrious Menagerie of Peacocks. If you don't want to muck about with the mafia, you can find mercenaries by asking around in taverns and such.

12. Is there any place on the map where swords are illegal, magic is outlawed or any other notable hassles from Johnny Law?

Not particularly. Being armed attracts attention, but it's not illegal. You'll probably be questioned if there's trouble anywhere in your vicinity.

13. Which way to the nearest tavern?

Most towns and villages have at least one. Beer, food, and lodging is good business.

14. What monsters are terrorizing the countryside sufficiently that if I kill them I will become famous?

Gnolls. Enough people remember the Cackledread Wars that gnolls are still among the most feared creatures around. You could make a career as a professional gnoll hunter, no problem.

Also, everybody's really antsy about the Broken Chain, some weirdo terrorist cult. If you could do something about them, that'd be great.

15. Are there any wars brewing I could go fight?

You're about fifty years too late. Of course, there's always the orcs, kobolds, and goblins to the east. And the giants to the north. So, if you want to start a war, I'm sure that could be arranged.

16. How about gladiatorial arenas complete with hard-won glory and fabulous cash prizes?

Scandshar. Word to the wise, though: slavery's still legal there. Many of the gladiators are slaves, so you might want to keep that in mind.

17. Are there any secret societies with sinister agendas I could join and/or fight?

The Broken Chain is public enemy number one; it's probably only a matter of time before neighbors start accusing each other of being members simply to grab each others' livestock. Nobody knows what their agenda is, though; they just have a tendency to appear and blow stuff up with magic. They've never announced an agenda, and nobody even knows the origin of the name.

The Illustrious Menagerie of Peacocks has their hands in pretty much all crime in the region. Feel free to make fun of the flowery name.

The noble families of Scandshar and the mercantile families of Sorgforge probably also count, as they're no doubt scheming and incestuous.

18. What is there to eat around here?

Like typical D&D, it's an anachronistic morass of things that should never share an ecosystem. Meat, grains and vegetables are most common; a perennial favorite in taverns is mutton and vegetable stew with a hunk of brown bread, served with ale. Do you remember Sands in Once Upon a Time in Mexico ordering puerco pibil with tequila and lime in every bar in Mexico? Yeah, that's mutton and vegetable stew with brown bread and ale.

19. Any legendary lost treasures I could be looking for?

Typical Greyhawk stuff. Axe of Dwarvish Lords, Rod of Seven Parts, Sword of Kas, Eye of Vecna, Hand of Vecna, etc. There are a lot of rumors about stuff — the Giantbane Hammer of Onyxarm, the Sword of Kord, the sword Kingmaker, and the Armor of the Black Moor — but those are just legends as far as anyone can tell.

20. Where is the nearest dragon or other monster with Type H treasure?

There really aren't any. Vilustuminen the White is the only dragon around these parts, and he's a young'un. He probably doesn't even have a lair yet.

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