Having crossed the length and breadth of the Skein Reach
nurtured a nascent Droid Uprising
faced off against, and robbed
the Imperium, and the Ragranok Krew
made enemies innumerable
and killed many
and in the process saved many from death and from fates worse than death
the motley crew of the starship CALAMITY
navigate ever coreward
following the impulses of a strange cyber-brain
and a pieced-together map from a lost star empire
past dead star after dead star
attended by tiny chunks of rock
(each gathering sufficient hydrogen from the bright strands of bright, colorful nebulae to allow refueling)
nestled in the glare of a deadly pulsar
a blank globe
of deepest darkness.
Posted in Lore / Worldbuilding, Science-Fiction, Traveller, Uncategorized and tagged ale break, Skein Reach, worldbuilding by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
After 12 years and 799 articles detailing new magic items, monsters, spells, characters, encounters, locations, and adventures, Unicorn Rampant Publishing and Claw Claw Bite Magazine are thrilled to present you with this free adventure for Dungeons & Dragons or other fantasy role-playing games.
Thanks for coming with us on this amazing journey of the imagination, and look for this and so much more in the next issue of Claw Claw Bite!
In the land of Findor, where the Hadevar River meets the Soral Sea, the gray city of Grimsport broods. Dark stone buildings with slate roofs cluster around the main square, a short walk up the cobblestone road from the docks. There are found the homes of the ruling Captains’ families. Stone walls separate the inner city from the wooden homes of the tradespeople and serfs. Farms dot the banks of the river further inland.
It is from this city that the region gets it’s moniker “The Pirate Kingdoms.” Grimsport is the largest city in the region and the closest thing to a capital, and the primary source of the raiders that plague the Soral Sea. But in Findor no one rules an area larger than a stronghold or city, save the goblins of the northern wastes.
The Town of Grimsport
The boat-owning worthies who make their homes in the city center form the Captains’ Council, the closest thing to a government in this violent port town. They own most of the farmland and assign it to serfs. They serve as the bankers and trade in many goods. Some families have small fleets. Others have but one ship to their names.
The most important Capitans’ families are as follows:
- VonWaldemar – The wealthiest and oldest of the families, with the largest home on the central square. Said to be the descendants of some of the first humans to come to this wild, cold land many generations ago. Old man VonWlademar hasn’t been seen in public in years, and people sometimes whisper about pale, ghostly figures peering out of the heavily curtained mansion windows at night.
- Thyra Askrdottir – Daughter of Askr Vulfethson, Thyra’s exploits as captain of her father’s ship have earned her a reputation as a skilled and ruthless pirate.
- Addis Rígson – Addis owns two ships, which are captained by his two eldest sons Victor and Ricus. His youngest son Sigurd wanders the land seeking his fortune and could be a NPC or hierling met here or elsewhere.
- Soljev – Captain Soljev sails the Drunken Siren.
- Ragnhild – Captain of the Kraken’s Maw and the Burning Spear.
- Kromulf – The new captain of the Black Hydra, an infamous pirate ship that Kromulf wrested from its previous captain.
- Gunnar Smithson – Owns a small fleet of fishing vessels, sailed by his extended family, and the ship Silver Wave.
- Malte One-Hand – An old captain, now mostly retired due to his ship being in poor repair.
- Gull Erland – His ship is in drydock for repairs which he cannot afford.
- Eberhard the Bloody – Has one small ship and a reputation as a unpredictable and violent man.
- Bjarke Littlebear – Sails a large fishing boat with his five sons.
- The Wailing Wench – This rowdy tavern sits on the road between the main square and the docks, and is always full of sailors. Thieving, fighting, kidnapping and every other type of crime are regular occurrences here. A fenced pen and stables are attached to the back for travelers animals.
- Church of the Sky Father and Sea Mother – attended by a priest and priestess, with smaller shrines to other local dieties such as Krom, etc.
- Smithy – Worked by a smith and a team of apprentices and journeymen, with a good assortment of tools, weapons, and armor, used or ready-made.
- Shipwright – Currently building a 20 foot wooden currach.
- Hanging Tree & Godswood
- Ruined Watchtower – built long ago by the Captain’s council, no repairs have ever been made to the watchtower. Over the decades it has fallen into ruin, and the whole north wall of the two-story tower has collapsed. None know about the small cache of treasure buried there.
Adventures and Encounters in Grimsport
- Thieves in the Swamps – A band of thieves operates out of the swamps to the west. They secretly use Malte One-Hand’s ship as storage for their stolen goods.
- Pressed into Service – Press gangs round up drunks and force them to crew the captains’ ships. While the Player Characters are crewing the ship any sort of mishap or adventure could befall them. The ship could sink in bad weather, throwing the heroes upon some unknown shore. Perhaps they are forced to scout a fortress the Captain wishes to raid, or perhaps the PCs are forced to be the first wave of the attack. The Lilend at the Stormking Rocks might lure them to her isle and send them after the Rune of Life in the shadowlands at the edge of the Land of the Dead.
- Pickpockets and Muggers – The rough rogues of Grimsport will take any opportunity to enrich themselves if they see people not paying attention to their purses, or who they think are weak enough to rob (preferably one character who they follow until they outnumber their victim).
- Dueling in the Streets – Disputes in Grimsport are often settled personally, and duels are a common form of conflict resolution, weather to first blood or to the death. In such a place the Player Characters could easily become embroiled in a dangerous situation. Mistaken identity, false accusations, or just disrespecting someone or being in the wrong place at the wrong time could result in a duel.
- Escaped Slaves – Some slaves captured in a raid have escaped and a reward is offered for their return.
- Beggars – Old crippled fisherman and seamen beg for alms in the square and by the docks.
- Grave Robbers – Graves dug on the hill behind the church are always found empty a week or so after burying. No one in town really seems to care, as this has been going on for as long as anyone can remember. Under cover of night, the ghouls who crew the VonWaldemar’s ships and attend them in their mansion are digging up the graves to feast upon the rotten bodies. Investigation after the next burial (a common occurrence) will lead the Player Characters to the basement door of the VonWaldemar mansion.
- Land Dispute – One of the Captains wants some land currently owned by another Captain and the Player Characters are asked to undertake some skulduggery. Burn the crops, poison the well, kill the farmers, or whatever is needed to get the current tenants off and new tenants on.
- Missing Servant Girls – Player characters who spend much time in town will hear that servant girls sometimes go missing. Investigation leads to the ghouls in the basement of the Von Waldemar mansion (see map).
VonWaldemar Mansion Areas
- The stone exterior, high windows, and peaked slate roofs of this mansion site like a dark and gothic castle on the town square. A fence surrounds the front and sides of the windowless bottom floor, and a stair in the back leads down to the basement entrance. The front door will not be answered unless it is being battered down, and then by ghoul butlers and Matrok, an armored wight who will demand to know what business interrupts the VonWaldemar’s rest.
- The ground floor has several mostly-empty halls, a decorative armory, and a small library of dusty common books. An undead shadow, the restless spirit of one of the long-dead Von Waldemars, haunts these halls and will warn Gunnar of any intruders.
- The basements are overseen by a ghoul named Harod and a flesh golem doorman named Pip. Peasant servants prepare food while ghoul footmen serve the vampires upstairs. The locked vault contains a large amount of plateware, iron ingots, and other loot pillaged from around the Soral Sea, along with several chests of gold, silver and copper coins, and two empty caskets where the vampires will flee if defeated.
- The sub-basement holds cells, a half-flooded chamber where corpses float in briny water, and their horrible feeding area. VonWaldemar, the vampire master of the house, is sometimes found here feeding with the ghouls among the cracked bones of countless people. A secret passage leads to a small, rough-hewn passage which leads to the town well, and is guarded by a gargoyle.
- The VonWaldemar family quarters are upstairs, as are the quarters of their wight guards and ghoul servants. Gunnar VonWaldemar and his daughter Helde are centuries-old vampires, and the only remaining members of the family. They are attended by several ghoul servants. Their quarters contain much finery, and any victims that they are feeding from. The windows in the vampires’ quarters have the shutters nailed closed and reinforced so that no sunlight can enter. Gunnar is a 7th level wizard, and his chambers contain his spellbook, many magic scrolls, and correspondence with someone who signs with a unique snowflake-like rune (the evil lich White Eye), and who has asked Gunnar to use an enclosed scroll of glacial onslaught to draw the oncoming unnatural summer ice south, down the river. If necessary, the VonWaldemar vampires will become bats or rats and use the ratholes, which crisscross the entire mansion with a network of rat-tunnels, to escape.
VonWaldemar Mansion Sub-Basement
Background image by Nikolai Rerikh, Guests from Overseas, 1901, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow (public domain)
Posted in 1st edition D&D, 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons / d20 fantasy / Pathfinder, 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons, 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons, Adventure, Fantasy, Location, rules agnostic and tagged Soralia by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
A scout wandering the wastes overheard a group of Zone Ghouls reciting the following creed:
Here in the Zone
We travel at night
We avoid the light
We leave no trace
We have no face
We are not here
We are everywhere
Do as you will
Keep what you kill
Posted in Uncategorized by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.