Chapter One: The Town of Clearspring (5)
In the following sections, we’ll be mentioning in more detail the various shops of Clearspring. Now you might wonder why we would go to such trouble, when it would be enough to say, “There’s a smithy. Go in, and buy yourself a couple of good weapons.”
The reason for that is the following:
You’ve already noticed a couple of story hooks for future adventures that are spread throughout the adventure module thus far. So you’ll have to come back to Clearspring time and again to work them off; and there are a couple opportunities for new hooks that we haven’t covered thus far.
Just think of the following ideas:
· Clearspring intends to become a major center of trade very soon. Its mines are rich, and its artisans create very good wares. So, in the short run, it’s likely that Clearspring could become a rather important place in the Wild Coast, a hub of trade and traffic. There will be many people passing through, each one carrying a hook for a new adventure. And let’s not forget that your characters could easily profit from the developing Clearspring – if they buy in early.
· One of the characters could decide to become a merchant in the ores from Clearspring’s mines. That means she’ll be travelling quite a bit to hawk her wares in various towns, arrange for trade routes, and the like. If all goes as planned (that’s up to you, the GM), she’ll be owning a good trading house in a short while, and rather than having to travel herself, her employees will do the trading. The PC herself has to deal with the bigwigs of other towns, other companies, do the negotiations and involve herself with all the affairs of business. (Which leaves to question: What happens to her companions? Are they employed by her? Are they shareholders in her company?) There’s plenty of stuff for adventuring here, not just the boring business of numbers. [You shouldn’t discount a player’s greed, either. Some of the folks I’ve gamed with have proven to be shrewd businesspeople who’ve been squeezing all the NPCs around them dry – and not too few of their fellow PCs as well. And they loved doing it.]
· The characters could work as henchmen for one of the budding merchant houses. (Check the notes above to see where this might lead.) As such, they would be sent out on missions, perhaps to explore new territory, find new sources of minerals or other wares. (On such missions, they would be accompanied by NPCs that their employer assigns to them. Make a couple of them shady characters with their own agendas, and you’ve got a rich scenario to follow.) They can amass a good deal of wealth, and depending on their sneakiness, they might wish to topple their employer and install themselves in his stead.
· Oh, right – a follow-up to the previous two points: The scenario of henchmen seeking to replace their employer would work equally well if one of the characters (or all of them) have already become merchants and owners of the house. Then it would be a matter of discovering that some of their employees are plotting against them. (The most sneaky route here would be if only one of the characters decides to become the boss – the employer of her fellow players, and then the rest of them conspire against her. This could be done by secret meetings before the actual gaming session; during the gaming session the players would exchange written notes. You as the GM needs to be informed of this previously, and you’d better be present during the secret meetings as well. In the actual session, you’ll have to make up some sort of excuse why these notes are passed around to everyone but the merchant herself.)
· On the more mundane side of things, don’t forget that Clearspring is very close to Trebonshire Forest – which is chock-full of creatures such as ratpeople, various monsters and most importantly orc tribes. One of these tribes could be set to raid Clearspring, and the characters need to mount a defense against this. (You can introduce the threat in one adventure, and set up the defense fight for the next adventure in the campaign.) Alternatively, you can use bandits, if orcs alone don’t make for an intriguing enough scenario.
· Freeport’s Commodore Decker (the supposed sovereign of the Wild Coast, as far as the people of Clearspring know) could decide to make an appearance – with the intent of taking over all trade. No matter whether the characters are in business themselves, or some NPC friends of theirs are merchants, they’ll be sure to rally against the outside intrusion and defend Clearspring!
These are just a couple of ideas to demonstrate the richness of Clearspring for future adventures.
In addition, a permanent base of locations offers a great venue for role-playing. You have lots of NPCs (I expect that you’ll add many of your own devising) that the players’ characters can interact with, lots of stuff between adventures to keep themselves occupied. You know, for a beginning role-player it might seem extremely boring to think about these things – stuff such as talking to “old friends”, managing a business, maintaining relations with the “folks at home”. An idea such as a PC marrying a NPC could very much terrify a beginner and cause comments such as, “Why the hell would I bother with that? I wanna hack-and-slash me a couple of monsters, not chit-chat with a stupid [husband/wife]! Got enough of that in real life, y’know, buddy?”
Trust me, if you’re running the game long enough, this stuff will become a lot more important than you or your players might think at the moment. There’s a whole world out there for the taking, with all the details that make it worth living in it. And you will want to live in it!
I’ve had a pretty long-running campaign myself, and one of the players was strictly against associating with NPCs at the beginning. Just the same kind of attitude I mentioned two paragraphs above. But sneaky me managed to create a few NPCs that were just too darn endearing for that player to stay away. Guess what? There are some sessions when the other players complain that I spend too much time playing the NPCs out for this very player to interact with. (And don’t let me get started about the marital spats we’ve had. Brother, there are times when I really hate having to play female NPCs. Men! They’re all just the same! … And in real life, I’m bloody one of ‘em!)
If you should decide to follow this suggestion and take up Clearspring as your base of locations, you will need to create lots more details. You will create scenarios for your characters to follow and establish facts about this town that neither Chris nor I have thought of thus far.
And that’s absolutely desired by us!
“Desired” that is, if you tell us all about your creation. Provide us with maps, with NPC details, with story and scenario details, everything that you think makes your creations rock! Work from our base informations to create your own Clearspring, a town that is rich in details and full of surprises. (As long as it is logical, mind you. That’s one of the troublespots of way too many campaigns. Don’t let yourself get sidetracked by one little idea, no matter how neat it is. Your world needs to be logical, or the players will stop buying it – and will stop enjoying it, no matter how kewl that one idea is.) Send all your materials to email@example.com, and give us a real good ol’ Clearspring ass-whooping!
Well, we’re planning to put together a fully fledged sourcebook on Clearspring and its environs (actually, the entire Wild Coast). To be perfectly honest, both Chris and I are inundated with having to create such a great lots of things around the Wild Coast, not to mention having to write the stories (which we, admittedly, love above all else). There simply isn’t enough time in the day to put as much thought and energy into this one neck of the woods as we’d like to.
And there’s also the fact that we know exactly that you readers out there have pretty active imaginations of your own. You might think of angles, of details that we couldn’t dream up in a million years!
So what we are going to do is read up on all your contributions, and from that we will cobble together a more complete image of Clearspring that is a wonderful source of stories all around, that is as great as your own imagination makes it out to be!
Of course your contributions will be noted by name! We don’t plan on usurping your creative juices – you work on it, you get your due!
Note: If you create entire adventure modules, we’re very happy to use them as well. Right now, the thought of having an entire module without our names on it (except for the “Based on Gushémal created by Wyman & Bogues) note) is an irresistibly wonderful thought – because we don’t have to work on it. (Just see the writer smiling insipidly at this thought.)
So get your brains into gear and start churning out your ideas on how to build a better Clearspring for all of us!
Off the main road, with an unassuming alley leading to it, is the shrine dedicated to Darawk. It is a small, one-storeyed building that contains a comparatively large first room – equipped with benches, a blackboard and various writing utensils. Obviously this place doubles as the schoolroom, and if you look around closely, you may find a few items the local children have forgotten (a pencil, a notebook, such stuff).
A door leading out of the schoolroom has a sign “Private” on it. As you can imagine, this leads to the private quarters of Sage Urquart, the local Darawk priest. These quarters consist of a tiny kitchen (in which a pallet serves as his bed at night, while at day it is overturned to serve as a table) and a more spacious study, the shelves filled with various scrolls and books. The books look very ancient, and their number is few compared to the scrolls. (Easy to explain: Although the art of bookbinding is still known in this area, it has rarely been applied. Every book in Urquart’s study dates back to before the Unholy Assault. The scrolls, on the other hand, are of far more recent make, and most of them were written by Urquart himself, noting down his findings on Clearspring, its people and history.) A store of fresh paper is in boxes arrayed under the shelves, while a table filled with a multitude of more scrolls and sheets of paper is Urquart’s desk.
From the kitchen, another door leads off into a back garden. Urquart doesn’t maintain a vegetable garden – but the purpose of the backyard is very audibly clear from several hundred feet away, for he keeps a small flock of geese there. (The geese provide quills which Urquart uses for writing or sells to others. Not to forget, on holidays they also serve another, tastier purpose.)
Located on the main road is the single smithy of Clearspring. A courtyard leads right onto the street, its paved stones marked by horseshoes and cartwheels. Crates are stacked in the back of the yard (containing iron ores or finished goods), next to a broad, swinging door that leads into the actual smithy, a dark room with soot all over it, a forge, bellows, buckets of water and all the utensils one might expect there. One door leads to the private quarters of the smith, Kevshae Jordy, and his family, another leads to the shoproom.
The shoproom is right at the main road, with its door almost always open, and a small selection of metalwares on display next to the door. (Stealing is highly discouraged by the fact that they are watched by a mean-spirited doberman dog named Belliff.) The room itself is surprisingly bright and airy, also helped by a glass window in its side, viewing the courtyard. A counter is at the back, three shelves hold a variety of goods on sale, while a table at the front holds pieces newly commissioned or put in for repairs. Each of those carries a tag with the name of the customer.
Behind the counter you will find at almost any time Levara Jordy, the smith’s wife, with a cup of tea in her hand. (The tea she brews on a stove almost hidden behind the counter.) In the afternoon, her youngest daughter Syelma helps her, when the girl is out of school.
Her two boys, Phieran and Hafterl, help their father in the smithy.
· Kevshae Jordy, smith
· Levara Jordy, his wife (shopkeeper)
· Phieran, the eldest son
· Hafterl, the youngest son
· Syelma, the daughter
Items and prices:
Note: Jordy not only sells his own products, but also other metal products he has bought and repaired himself. In addition he offers a number of services, such as the honing of blades on the whetstone in his smithy – including those of knives, axes and swords.
Although Jordy isn’t a weapon smith, he can be asked to produce weapons, e.g. swords. Unfortunately, none of the weapons he creates are of the quality one can expect from a smith trained in this profession.
The prices remain the same, since the smith puts in just as much time and as many materials as a weapon smith would.
Note on combat: Weapons forged by Kevshae Jordy receive a penalty of –2 on the attack value. That means that a long sword he has made only has an attack value of 2d10+1, rather than the 2d10+3 listed in the Player’s Handbook.