Friday, April 19, 2013

Castle Mordha 9


9: Mordha’s Town

It’s time, I think, for a little bit of detail on the immediate world. Mordha Town is notable for a few things: first, it’s the place that hired the PCs to deal with their bandit problem, which is why they’re here to begin with (and since the bandits are trapped in Castle Mordha the PCs will very likely fulfill that contract. The official terms of the contract were room, board, 5 silvers a day and any loot from the bandits (a strong incentive for the PCs to catch them, and it solves the problem of trying to return the loot to its original owners).

Mordha’s Town contains about 300 citizens, not a backwater even if it’s not huge. It survives based on three factors:
·   First, it is on the overland route between Shankill and Alboling., the other major settlement on the island, and there are still some people or objects that are better transported overland; Mordha’s town is a logical stopping point
·   Second, there are several jungle-provided products that are hunted and farmed here and sold to the coastal cities for profit. There are several other inland towns also act as aggregating points for the hunters and small plantations (here they’re banana farm, or more precisely plantain plantations, plus some coffee and chocolate). This gives the town a second income stream rather than just being a way-station.
·   Third, there’s inertia in that the town was here, has an existing infrastructure (including sewers) and enough natural resources to support a population. People are nothing if not resistant to change, and this is as good a place as any.
Since two of these three depend on trade the bandits are a real problem, and therefore the hiring of the PCs.

I start getting into plot stuff after this, so I'll ask the players to stop reading here. 


Given that sketch the rest of the town is easy enough to fill in. We have three different business sectors:
·   the people who cater to overland trade: there will be an inn, a tavern, a small house of negotiable comfort, tradesmen to repair wagons and tend to pack animals and a place that sells cured rations and watered wine.
·   the people who tend to the outlying farms and hunters: a general story that takes credit from established farms, a place that rents long term flops to hunters; people who tend to what the hunters bring in (?!?!), warehouses for the plantation goods before they move to market and probably a guild hall/clearing space for the plantation farmers to air our their grievances.
·   The people who have lived here forever as social and physical infrastructure: there is a mayor of some sort, masons, guards (supplemented by the guards of caravans and planters are certain times of the year), sanitation workers, probably a teacher or two, tradesmen for a town, priests, spouses, children and so on.
For all that it’s a small town it’s a pretty diverse place, with room for the PCs to fall up or down the social ladder based on their fortunes. They might end up (and probably start) in a hunters flop, with possible rooms at the inn, or rented houses. There’s the possibility of ale and whores (though obliquely since we have kids in the game), but also social gatherings of the planters, dances, country balls and the like. I think the town has more space than it needs – often of stone construction as the sign of better days – but people who own all the space that it has so the PCs can’t just flop places without consequences.

I think the politics of the place are in balance at the moment, which is something the PCs might disrupt if they start dropping a ton of gold into the local economy. Hrm….

Anyway, there are some obvious plot hooks here for when and if the PCs decide to do something outside the dungeon:
·   They could decide to go hunting for whatever it is that the hunters are after. I like the idea of them hunting for parrots, monkeys and other tropical non-violent critters. The threats in the interior of the island, while real enough, need to be small scale – the island has been populated by humans for a long time and roaming major predators (anything that could threaten a settlement or livestock) would have been hunted to near extinction long ago. So what we have are fruit trees and other plants feeding monkeys and birds, which are prey to raptors, bobcats/small panthers and snakes. There were giant snakes in Shankill ever since a Dragon magazine article gave me a bunch of the things so we have those since they’re staying in the unexplored parts of the jungle. Individual small dungeons (either lava tunnels or abandoned settlements) are scattered throughout the island off the beaten track and any of those could now contain a snake grown huge on its hunting or any other territorial predator ( Owlbear!)
·   They could get employed by any one of the plantation owners to deal with a short term problem. Perhaps as guards against a “The Ghost and the Darkness” style great cats picking off workers and goats (which are raised to provide meat and milk) and need to be stopped. Maybe to settle a feud with another plantation owner. Maybe as interim overseers for a distant landlord. It’s not impossible that some plantations are practicing debt or chattle slavery to which the PCs might take issue. Wherever there are wealthy landowners we have plot.
·   There are sewers. And big stone buildings kept empty by distant landowners. And gods of death. C’mon, work with me. I don’t want a cult to feel inevitable, but if I’m really strapped for a town plot a single cultist or necromancer would work.
·   More bandits might threaten the trade routes once the PCs are more established, and the town would naturally turn to them, letting us have the bandit hunting plot that we’re eliding over at the start of the game.

Random Name Generator for Modrha’s Town

D20
Male
Female
Surname
1
Adhamh
Aoife
Son/Daughter
2
Áron
Caitlín
Son/Daughter
3
Cian
Catraoine
Son/Daughter
4
Concobhar
Ceallach
Son/Daughter
5
Dainéal, Dainial
Ceilí
Son/Daughter
6
Dáivi, Daithi
Clár
Farmer
7
Eoin
Eimhear
Coffee
8
Liam
Eimile
Cocoa
9
Lúcás
Gráinne
Hunter
10
Marcas
Labhaoise
Tallman
11
Matha, Maitiú
Máire
Baker/ Cook/ Brewer
12
Micheál
Oilbhe/Ailbhe
Goldman
13
Óisín
Orfhlaith
Trader
14
Pádraig
Ráichéal
Holder
15
Ryan
Róisín
Stout
16
Séamus
Rút
Bookman
17
Seán
Sháuna
Under
18
Stiofán, Steafán
Sinéad
Cooper/Smith /Farrier
19
Tomás
Sorcha, Sive, Saraid
Fisher/ Sailor /Chandler
20
Lorcán
Teamhair
Pike
Mordha Town’s Mayor is Dylan Locranson (Lvl 0, AC 11, 4 HP, Lawful, S9, I 13, W 16, D13, C9, Ch 14) an exceptionally wise and capable fellow well into his fourth decade. He’s about the best this town could hope for in a leader – his instincts are good and he’s charismatic enough to get his decisions acted on.

Their captain of the guard is Aron Pike (F4, AC 16, 20 HP S14, C15, Ch 13), who commands a 2nd level lieutenant and a dozen 1st level soldiers.

Random people in Mordha town

For anyone else in town roll on the following
1d10: 1-8= human, 9-10 = demi-human (see below)
1d6: 1-2 = elf, 3-4 = fawn, 5 = centaur, 6= dwarf
1d10: 1-7 = 0 level (1st lvl demi-human), 8-9 = 1st level, 10 = 2nd-5th (1d4+1) level
1d8: 1-3 = fighter, 4-6 = smith, 7 = cleric, 8 = magic-user
2d4: 2=Angry, 3= Surly, 4= Withdrawn, 5= Polite, 6= Upbeat, 7= Conversational, 8= Happy

Rumors in Mordha Town

PCs can scour Mordha Town and its environs for rumors about the castle’s ruins. The number they find is based on a Charisma modified test, though there’s no guarantee as to their accuracy. The PCs can try again in a week.
1d12: 1-6 = None. 7-9 = 1 rumor, 10-12 = 2 rumors, 13+= 3.

D20
Rumor
1
The mines used to have veins of adamantium, and there are adamantine weapons inside (true)
2
The family once mined a ruby the size of a human head, worth a hundred thousand gold (false)
3
The castle’s under-levels contained secret paths across the whole of the world. (true)
4
The Mordha’s once allies with the elves, maintained an elvish tomb inside the castle (true-ish)
5
Several prominent Sankill families that vanished after the castle fell are imprisoned inside the dungeon (true)
6
Several prominent Sankill families that vanished after the castle fell were Mordha’s allies, and have formed cults across the island under new identities (false)
7
There is a shrine to Duncan inside the castle that had magical healing properties (true)
8
There is a race of multi-limbed beings from another world inhabiting the castle’s dungeons (false, but true-ish for the gnomes and their religion)
9
The Hawk symbol of the Mordha family was their totem animal, and they can take its shape and see through their eyes (false)
10
The veins of gold, silver and iron in the mines were rich and are nowhere near played out (true)
11
Some of the Mordha gold is cursed and will kill whoever digs it up (false, but one vein is tinged with arsenic)
12
Malcolm Mordha and his daughter Moira have both ascended to immortality or godhood (false)
13
Malcolm Mordha has sold his soul for life eternal (true, for his becoming a vampire)
14
Many adventurers climbed the mountain seeking the castle, most recently a quartet of adventurers five years ago; none have returned. (true)
15
The tunnels under the ruin lead back in time to the years when the the Mordha’s, still ruled the island (false)
16
There is a jungle inside the castle (true)
17
The mines carved out tunnels so vast that one contains an entire city. (true)
18
The giant bees that sometimes come into the jungle originate in the castle ruins. If you find their hive you’ll find the castle, but they kill all who enter (true)
19
In the end the Mordha’s took to using the goblin races for their miners after the Dwarves broke off all contact due to their foul abominations (True)
20
The Mordha’s developed powders that let anyone properly treated return to life; alchemists would pay a fortune for that (true enough, in the essential salts)

That should arm the PCs with enough information and misinformation to plan things.