On the coast of the Jæruel, where the river meets the sea, lies Tannen (pronounced TAW-nen), a bustling seaport of a town built on sandy soil.
The larger, more established buildings of Tannen are of sandstone and light wood from the forests harvested upriver near the village of Ches.
The buildings on the capitol grounds are of carved alabaster, taken from the mines east of Alabaster. The humbling, white edifice in the center of the city lies on a 5-acre plot surrounded by formal gardens decorated with flowers from the farthest reaches of the Jæruel. This is truly where the goods of the Jæruel comes together in an impressive display of what a successful merchant collective (some would say oppressive) can accomplish.
Along the banks of the river Ches runs a short wall of sandbags to keep the river in its banks in rainier months. Within five feet of these walls rise the older and more ornately-decorated buildings made of old hardwoods, including the town hall, the Jæruel central offices, the two inns that made Tannen famous (Inn of Golden Meadows and The Lark’s Nest), Smullivan’s Emporium, and, where the river meets the sea, the shipyard, where ninety percent of the seaworthy vessels in the Jæruel are built.
The town blocks off the river are devoted to residences, including the mayor’s house and on a low hill the wealthy neighborhood inhabited entirely by those in executive positions within the Jæruel, retired merchants who now manage their personal matters from their estates.
The rest of the town is a hodge-podge of market squares, shops on lower levels, and residences rising in the second and third storeys.
* Capitol Grounds – large, new construction that towers over town hall
* Town Hall – a converted keep that predates the town
* Jæruel Central Offices – new constructions across the river
* Twin Lighthouses – one in north-town and one in south-town
* Smullivan’s Emporium – market for many items
* Inn of Golden Meadows – standard inn named for the surrounding countryside
* The Lark’s Nest – exotic inn, featuring delicasies and fine things
* the shipyard – busy, working-class district where the river actually meets the sea
This town has served as the center of government for the Jæruel since the central offices of the merchant collective moved here two generations ago.
(to follow in later post)
The Jæruel hierarchy represents the most notable personas in town. Galway Froid (mayor), Fennel Chatwid (head consulate), and Zann Diacon (finance minister) are the highest-ranking officials in Tannen.
The innkeeper owner of the Lark’s Nest is a boistrous legend. Of foreign descent and well-traveled, he tells stories the way most men tell lies, with the upmost of ease. Chariz Muqatad is known throughout the Jæruel, and there are those who visit Tannen just to meet him and hear his stories. In the process, he listens to their stories, which he uses to continue to embellish his own tales.
J.P. Smullivan is a trader who has recently joined the Jæruel, electing to pay his membership dues rather than risk losing his business to the town guard. Though less-than-friendly to new faces, largely due to this pressure to join the Jæruel, he is aware of much that transpires in Tannen and thus represents a great source of knowledge. The key is getting him to share it.
Each of the executives in the wealthy district finance treasure hunting expeditions and each have constant need for couriers and escorts. In addition, the Meldor House is known for financing voyages inland, past Westfort into the mountains and plains beyond. Zane Meldor is a known eccentric, known for his misadventures in the brothels in Tannen’s slums. He is ailing, and has been convinced that the fungal cure for his illness lies west of Westfort.
Smullivan is always after new supplies, especially those of an exotic nature. He knows of certain individuals who possess such items, and runs a secret business trading such items. Interestingly, it seems he has thieves steal from one Jæruel or Tannen city official which he then sells to another, and so on. He is likely to hire a party with an experienced enough thief to acquire such items from the homes of the wealthy.
Chariz Muqatad needs a message delivered to his extended family back in the dry lands to the far south, across the Old Bay. He is willing to pay handsomely for the message’s delivery. The message itself is so important that it has been stuffed inside a chicken, and must be delivered while the chicken still lives. This is an age-old custom for communicating among his people.
Galway Froid’s daughter, Ammrie has gone missing. Rumor has it she is being held for ransom, but there is no official word on this. If the party inquires too directly in official circles, they are likely to be taken to the dungeons beneath the town hall, a converted keep that predates the rest of the city, for probing and questioning. Others who have relevant information include Chariz Muqatad, who said he overheard some of the kids joking about staging an abduction, and Smullivan, who sold a load of face paint and robes to some of the local teens. The real story is that Ammrie had her allowance cut back and so she and her friends decided to stage a kidnapping to collect the ransom. It turns out, however, that when a local thug heard of this, he took her from her friends, and now holds her in a cliffside camp overlooking the sea to the north of Tannen, where he awaits delivery of the ransom sum.
Once the teens are found, they will admit their part in the staging, and provide a description of the thug, who happens to be Thaddius Brewster, former employee of Smullivan’s. He used to lift large crates by himself and earned various nicknames for his feats of strength. If asked, Smullivan will mention Brewster’s departure from his shop lines up with the time of the supposed kidnapping. Once returned, the mayor will pay the party handsomely, though less than the original ransom. He is a shrewd merchant, after all!
The dungeons beneath the keep lead in various directions throughout the city. They are well-explored in the vicinity of the town jail; however, the secret, windy passages are said to hold more in store for an adventurous enough lot.
Posted in Encounter and tagged farghoal, Jæruel, Location, town by Stephen Hilderbrand with 1 comment.
Since today’s my birthday, and we’re in the midst of the holidays, I offer up this way to spice up your campaigns. For each nation and culture, come up with a day or two per month that has extra significance for either national or cultural reasons. Examples include Saint days (St. Repan’s Day, where the people tie wildflowers to their doors to honor the patron saint of wildflowers, etc.), Feast days, Fast days, Harvest days, New Years Day, Day of Moradin, etc.
To add extra flair, these days may increase or decrease skill check modifiers or have other effects. For instance, during the week around the summer solstice honoring Lux, the God of Light, hide and sneak checks are at a -5 penalty, whereas during the week around the winter solstice honoring Tenebrae, the god of Shadows, these checks are at a +5 bonus. This may correlate well with the crime sprees in a city, and may lead to the town guard being on high alert, a great way to introduce this bonus to the party.
Birthdays can also add bonuses to certain characters, which is why every character should have a birthday and a totem animal, so in February, the month of the Fox, a character celebrating a birthday receives bonuses befitting a fox.
Posted in Uncategorized and tagged event, fun by Stephen Hilderbrand with no comments yet.
This sword is wielded by only the most determined defenders of the innocent, for merely drawing it shed’s the holder’s blood. Yet no other weapon is as effective against the forces of darkness.
Epic Artifact: The Sword of Thorns: the hilt is covered with barbs, and each round it is wielded it deals 1hp damage. Each attack made with the sword deals 1d6 damage to the wielder.
Property: Against creatures with the evil keyword, this sword ignores all resistances and deals an additional d20 damage.
Power – escape inescapable evil – standard action – Teleport 20. With a slash of the blade you cut through to another world. You and touched creatures can move through the momentary gap created, after which it closes up.
Posted in Uncategorized and tagged equipment: artifact weapon by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
On the coast of the Jæruel, south of Tannen, there is a rocky point that juts out into the sea. This was once the home of a great serpent that fed on the schools of fish that swam around the point, as well as the occasional human who made their way here off-course from their intended destinations. This lair serves as the undersea port down the cliff from the main town center.
The larger, more established buildings of Piran Point are hewn from the surrounding stone, a mix of limestone on the coast and granite further inland. More recent single-story buildings are of wood construction from the nearby oak, maple and pine forests.
At the top of the cliff, the town is laid out in a series of semicircles that run along the peninsula, the outermost being the poorest, and the region closest to the fresh water and woods the wealthiest. As the area was traditionally prone to piracy and attack by marauders, the wealthy moved farther and farther from the edge of the cliff, leaving their buildings unoccupied as they built increasingly more opulent estates inland. Because of this, there are various historic buildings that have been occupied by the working and non-working classes.
Encounters in this region include:
* low-scale thieves and pickpockets
* defensive family men
* various brawls and other pre-existing conflicts
Key locations elsewhere:
* St. Grisdon Square – where four churches come together in each of the cardinal directions
* Darkhouse Inn – featuring tinted windows; “what happens withinn stays within”
* Shelt’s Pelts – center of the halfling market
* Fishing Market – varieties of fish from varieties of merchants
* Town Hall – center of the village
This town has long been at the crossroads of merchants and rogues, lying within seven miles of three known robber barons, though this town has largely escaped their direct advances, as they have found the passersthrough along the broad roads more vulnerable and thus worth their effort. This has led to more armed caravans, which has reduced the frequency of their arrivals and departures.
Out at sea, there has been pirate activity as well, making Piran Point a refuge for travellers both by land and sea. Sea trade has mostly ended, the merchant vessels converted to fishing ships. Those vessels which sail into Piran Point are escorted by larger galleons decked out with many arms.
(to follow in later post)
Piran Point is home to several merchant families of the Jæruel. Elton Thistlewood runs the local chapter of the merchant house, aided by Jossathon Radvell and Saldon Thede. Each keeps control over their own region of the merchant quarter.
Reverend Marden and Brother Sandis run the Cathedral of St. Grisdon, by far the largest of the four churches in the center of the town. In it, sermons to the words of the dearly-departed Grisdon, worshipper of a merchant-sect of Pelor’s younger brother Geld, and creator of the ten virtues of trade.
Tristega Thistlewood has split from her family and opened up a profitable business dealing in black market goods. Her father seeks to bring her back into the fold, and is willing to pay anyone willing to help convince her of this. The Radvells and Thedes have since made a play for power, realizing this distraction leaves the Thistlewoods vulnerable to infiltration and unable to rightly control their holdings across the town.
With this infighting among the merchant class, the streets have seen a rise in crime, the unorganized type that leads to confusion in the masses. Many poor have taken to picking the pockets of others, especially wandering parties. Of course, this news has not yet reached the lips of anyone in this town; why would they, when they profit from the unspoken truth.
The St. Grisdon sect of Geld has grown in influence among the more lawful-minded citizens of Piran Point, and can be called upon to assist the party if they uphold the ten virtues of trade. Tristega Thistlewood anonymously attends the sermons in the cathedral, and is a devout follower of St. Grisdon’s teachings.
Posted in Uncategorized and tagged farghoal, Jæruel, Location, town by Stephen Hilderbrand with no comments yet.
Concluding our back-issue re-release party, we bring you the re-release of Issue 2. Now that they’re all done, look forward to our 300+ page Omnibus 1, due out in time for Christmas 2008, containing all 15 issues of CCB!
Claw/Claw/Bite is a resource for storytellers and gamemasters to help create thrilling worlds of adventure for your players to test their mettle in. In each issue, you’ll find new characters, creatures, magic items, encounters, and locations for use in your campaigns. We also include little nuggets that will enrich your world with interesting details and intriguing features.
Our goal is to be a “one-stop shop” for you, the gamemaster. With little or no tweaking on your part, you will be able to drop any game element from Claw/Claw/Bite into your adventure setting and run it how you see fit. All of our creations are designed for d20 fantasy rules. And of course, everything is carefully reviewed and balanced to fit into your game without disrupting your play balance or letting you step on snakes.
This issue of Claw/Claw/Bite includes:
* Two new encounters
* Three new characters, including Madame Babushka
* Two new creatures, including the Great Earth Serpent
* Three new spells, including Holy Transfixion
* Three new magic items, including the Sepulcher of Ghost Catching
* And a new location, the Port of Onuago.
Buy it here!
Posted in news and tagged CCB issue by Stephen Hilderbrand with 2 comments.
However, finding the merchant life dull and wholly without adventure, this heiress walked away from the family’s fortune (taking some of it with her to bootstrap her own operation). She has developed a small trade network of her own between a few of the coastal towns of the Jæruel, establishing a small black market in “hard to find items,” weapons, armor and outlawed arcane reagents that wizards delight in. This side of merchant operations it seems is worthwhile to her; keeping below the surface and a step ahead of the law. She is known to dress in flashy dresses and parade around in her impressive hat collection, one that grows with each successive adventure.
She is a devout follower of Geld, younger brother of Pelor, adhering to St. Grisdon’s ten virtues of trade, which places one’s honor and word above all things, and encourages dealings with only those who also uphold this honor among merchants and thieves.
Medium-size Female Human
Rogue 5 Merchant 2
Hit Dice: (5d6)+(2d6)+7
Hit Points: 41
Speed: Walk 30 ft.
AC: 17 (flatfooted 17, touch 13)
Attacks: Sword (Short/Masterwork) +5;*Crossbow +1 (Repeating Light) +7; ;
Damage: Sword (Short/Masterwork) 1d6+1;*Crossbow +1 (Repeating Light) 1d8+1; ;
Face / Reach: 5 ft. / 5 ft.
Special Qualities: Evasion (Ex), Sneak Attack +3d6, Trap Sense (Ex) +1, Trapfinding, Uncanny Dodge (Dex bonus to AC)
Saves: Fortitude: +2, Reflex: +7, Will: -1
Abilities: Str 12, Dex 17 Con 13, Int 14, Wis 7, Cha 10
Skills: Appraise 12; Balance 11; Bluff 4; Climb 7; Concentration 1; Craft (Alchemy) 5; Craft (Untrained) 2; Decipher Script 7; Diplomacy 1; Disable Device 7; Disguise 2; Escape Artist 7; Forgery 9; Gather Information 3; Heal -2; Hide 3; Intimidate 4; Jump 3; Knowledge (Geography) 4; Knowledge (History) 4; Knowledge (Local) 4; Listen 3; Move Silently 3; Open Lock 7; Ride 3; Search 6; Sense Motive 0; Sleight of Hand 5; Spot 1; Survival 0; Swim 3; Tumble 8; Use Magic Device 3;
Feats: Armor Proficiency (Light), Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Crossbow (Repeating Light)), Improved Initiative, Rapid Reload (Crossbow (Light)), Simple Weapon Proficiency, Track
Challenge Rating: 6
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
Possessions: 40 Bolts, Crossbow; Sword (Short/Masterwork); 20 Bolts (Crossbow/Adamantine); Crossbow +1 (Repeating Light); Leather +2; Potion of Cure Serious Wounds; Potion of Remove Disease; Potion of Sanctuary; Signet Ring; Rogue Boots (Thieves’ Tools in boots);
Tristega tries to avoid combat at all costs, even offering money to spare her the work. However, if she has the upper hand (for instance when she can corner an opponent) she will not think twice about pouncing on the opportunity. She attacks from the shadows with her repeating crossbow. When in melee, she prefers the short sword, again keeping her distance whenever possible.
Posted in Character by Stephen Hilderbrand with no comments yet.
Hugh Enfant is the ruler of the small city-state on the border of the Baroese Empire, along an ancient valley known for its swamps and trolls. He has been troubled by toads, and has ordered himself protected by his men. In response, his man-at-arms has had him suspended between two trees in a burlap sack, his head barely peeking through as he meets the party at dusk near the valley floor.
The telling of his story is interrupted by hundreds of toads, which swarm him mercilessly, devouring his flesh in front of their very eyes. The toads then hop off as they do, finding easy shelter in the valley’s swampy floor. His men scramble about, attempting to kill or capture the toads, to no avail.
The party is then sent by the man-at-arms to investigate the cause of this disturbance while Enfant’s men are faced with the task of burying their ruler somewhere in the valley where he may remain undisturbed. Unfortunately, toads are known to dig underground, so they will need assistance in this task as well, but that is something that can wait until they return.
The trolls of the valley have been turned into toads by a mischevious sorcerer who recently took up residence at the far end of the valley and found the trolls a nuisance. As the party investigates the valley, they will find abandoned camps that smell of licorice. Around the camps are hundreds of cocoons. They will find arcane markings along the trees as they near the sorcerer’s neck of the woods, and markings on standing stones, fractured boulders, and unnaturally-felled trees.
He is willing to turn the toads back into trolls if the trolls agree to leave the valley. Unfortunately, Enfant’s men will have none of this. It is up to the party to propose and enact a solution. If they still face the looming threat of the Baroese Empire, a crafty party will be able to turn all these forces against this common enemy.
Posted in Uncategorized and tagged Baroese Empire, campaign plotline, proppian, short adventure by Stephen Hilderbrand with no comments yet.
The many generations old Wheldon Estate has a proud history as a mercenary’s retreat. However, its recent history is less shared by members of the family, as it has been abandoned for decades by men. Rumor has it that a Wheldon once returned from an adventure in a farway land with a lizard pet, which overgrew its bonds and took hold of the estate’s central house. Following the departure of the family from the region, embarrassed by the events that followed, the local magistrate has assumed ownership the country estate at the edge of town. They have an open challenge, which if accepted and completed, will present the party with a vast reward.
How to use this plot outline in your game
Introduce this plot point as a rumor in a local bar, or as a tale told by a merchant or mercenary the party encounters in their travels. Build up the estate grounds with gruesome details, such as statuaries containing ornate, realistic-looking works (which are petrified humans, elves and dwarves which have accepted the local magistrate’s challenge) and dead, overgrown trees.
The party should first visit the magistrate to learn the conflicting details. The idea is that the basilisk has occupied the estate for over ten years, so the stories and tales have been embellished out of control. The party shouldn’t know exactly what to expect. Use your judgement as the storyteller, and make it convincing.
One thing that is clearly stated by the magistrate is that if they take back the estate, they get to own it. This is likely a motivating factor in the party’s accepting of hte mission.
Posted in Uncategorized and tagged campaign plotline, short adventure by Stephen Hilderbrand with no comments yet.
Hailing from an vanaran island culture, Tipene is a trained shaman who has studied martial arts. He and his companions seek information on “floaters,” human pirates that once ransacked ports on their home island. Tipene is very academic and dry around new faces, but warms up and tells plenty of war stories once he gets to know those around him. He maintains a skeptical, scientific eye on most things. Even his deep-rooted spirituality has an explanation! But you’ll have to get to know him in person to learn more.
True Neutral Vanaran Rogue 1 Shaman 8
Natural Scientist, worshipper of Zaius
Speed: Walk 30 ft., climb 20 ft.
AC: 17 (touch 12, flat-footed 16)
Attacks: hands +6/+1 1d8 20, masterwork war claw +7/+2
Damage: 1d3-1, 1d6-1
Base Attack Bonus: +6/+1
Face / Reach: 5 ft. / 5 ft.
Sneak Attack +1d6
Ancestor Domain – Summon ancestor
Travel Domain – Freedom of movement 1/day
Improved Unarmed Strike
Animal Companion – Monkey, Claudius
Spirit Sight – see ethereal creatures
Spirit’s Favor – charisma as a bonus on all saves
Saves: Fort: 5, Ref 5, Will 12
Abilities: Str 8, Dex 8, Con 14, Int 16, Wis 20, Cha 10
Craft (Bookbinding): 11
Decipher Script: 10
Handle Animal: 2
Knowledge (Arcana): 6
Knowledge (Religion): 7
Knowledge (Spirits): 6
Knowledge (Planes): 7
Move Silently: 0
Profession (Bookkeeper): 6
Sense Motive: 10
Use Magic Device: 3
Karmic Twin (Tarapiki, fellow Vanaran and travelling companion)
2 Locate Object
1 Detect Undead
2 Ancestral Vengeance
3 Speak with Dead
4 Dimension Door
Mana : 62
Spells per Day: (levels 0-4): 10/9/8/7/4
scarlet brotherhood robes
bag of holding (type 1) full of a necromancer’s collection of items from her skeleton
ivory carving – elephant
wooden tiger figurine
masterwork war claw from a coatl
chain shirt +3
deck of illusions (jack of spades already drawn)
elixir of sneaking
elixir of hiding
elixir of fire breath
dust of appearance
2 potions of cure moderate wounds
white wood staff with a diamond and silver setting (magical)
black cloak with silver trim
Tipene was cursed by an evil bat god. Ever since then, he has taken on a palsy that has permanently reduced his Dex by 6 points. In combat, he usually casts cause serious wounds and uses his great teamwork feat to flank his opponent with his companion, Tirapiki.
Posted in Character and tagged Savage Tide by Stephen Hilderbrand with no comments yet.
When this robe is put on, the wearer takes on the form of another. A skin robe enables its wearer to be aware of this new form. This allows him a +10 competence bonus on Disguise checks. The wearer adopts aspects of the appearance of another creature, those whose skin comprise the robe. All creatures failing a Spot check versus the disguise wearer see him in this altered form, even those acquianted with the wearer.
Moderate illusion; CL 10th; Craft Wondrous Item, disguise self; Price 25,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.
Posted in Magic Item and tagged illusion, robe by Stephen Hilderbrand with no comments yet.