Friday, May 29, 2015

WoTR: Demon's Heresy: Part A (Rebuilding Drezen)

 For those following the tales of Pathfinder's Golarion setting, Drezen was overwhelmed in 4638 AR due to a wave of raw chaos washing over the city had turned most of its citizens into hideous Warped Ones (or so I'm declaring) who turned on each other in a wave of cannibalistic fury. Since then the area was taken over by a terrible marilith known as Aponavicius who ruled a city of demons and tiefling / human cultists who survived by raiding farmlands on the other side of the West Sellen River.

Fast forward to the current point in the campaign and the city has been liberated by one tiefling monk called Alfy and his companions (Lex the Young Umbral Dragon, Eliska Zaitherin the Oracle and worshipper of Dou-bral and your friendly neighbourhood barbarian Jestak who had joined them when they took Castle Drezen). 

It is the current residence of a few good outsiders - a Planetar called Hollistar (summoned by the Sword of Valor and convinced to remain) who must keep her head down lest she draw the ire of too many local demons; a Vulpinal called Harri (arrived to offer his services) who does what he can to keep morale high; and two Silvanshee called Ellis and Manae (sent by Shelyn when her temple was cleared of the Ivory Labyrinth in Sword of Drezen).

While Demon's Heresy allows a little bit of rebuilding, I decided to expand on it greatly by taking the hex grid map and making a real Kingmaker game out of it.  Over the past fourteen weeks of in-game time while Alfy explored hexes, freed the Weapon in the Rift (PFS scenario) and conducted some fundraising in Absalom, the city has grown and slowly absorbed a lot of the extra wealth gain from earlier adventures.

The city began play with Ahari Bridge and Paradise Bridge but all else needed repair.  Since Queen Galfrey sent builders with the armies (five 100 person paladin armies, two 200 person mercenary armies initially) and since people weren't looking to make much of a profit for themselves, I halved the wealth requirement for a Build Point and reduced the time to repair a building to one week.  Alfy still has his original "Heirs of the Wardstone" paladin army and "Rosethorn" tiefling / mongrelfolk / dhampyr" 25 person army.

Queen Galfrey also sent a few high level druidic allies to smooth the earth of the hard-baked valley to allow the West Sellen River to flow down the Ahari Riverbed which allows transportation of enough food and drink to keep everyone safe.  These druids have since left the location.

Alfy must also defend settlements on the other side of the West Sellen River including Bedis, Fort Pormanteau, Valas' Gift, Vilareth Ford which fords the West Sellen River, Keeper's Canyon, and Singing Stones Temple.  You can find more details about these locations over here.

During the fourteen weeks so far passed during the campaign, kingdom events were randomly rolled on the events table in Ultimate Campaigns.  The results were then worked into the resulting storyline.

Drezen is a pious and insular community that is still racially intolerant toward tieflings as so many of the locals have dealt with the destructive nature of Alfy's kind and because a number of the original inhabitants surrendered - namely orphans and roughly twenty adult tieflings and humans from the various armies encountered along the way (latter are held in the prison beneath Drezen Castle)The weeks events are listed below.  There is a total population of 600 paladins, 400 mercenaries, and 366 builders and support personnel after Queen Galfrey's initial orders.  This breaks down to 1112 humans, 72 half-elves, 62 dwarves, 53 tieflings, 22 half-orcs, 20 elves, 19 halflings and 6 gnomes.

Week 1 - "Chance Together" Orphanage 
(28 Arodus - 3rd Rova)
In order to house the tieflings orphans who cannot be shipped back to Mendev due to the (not entirely unjustified) hysteria within that country, Alfy repurposed a large building overlooking the Ahari River and just before the gates of Drezen Castle.  Mr. Fiprac (Ranger 7) runs this establishment as headmaster and has little assistance because superstitions keep many of the others away.  

This plain stone building with its fire-retardant tiled roof contains conspicuous dark stains across a number of its wooden floorboards.  Simple bedding lies on the floor in several rooms and a number of dank crates lined with blankets are used as cots.  The place does not want for firewood, though, as few paladins can stand the idea of babies dying from exposure.  The babies and children are reasonably well-dressed but bruised from rough housing and lack of supervision.  Four magical bottles provide sustenance for the youngest while the older children eat similar rations to the paladins, supplemented with the occasional citrus fruit.  There is a secret to the orphanage, however.  The tieflings have found a cat, one-time familiar to a sorcerer and now entirely mundane, which they hide and feed occasional meat treats.

Weekly Event: (Feud) Several of the army commanders do not agree with Alfy and Irabeth's decision to instate the commander from Fort Portmanteau as overall general due to her lack of experience.  However none could give a good argument why they should be installed in her place as the only one with experience - Commander Fraton - rubbed Alfy the wrong way.  (Yes, it's THAT Commander Fraton.  He's been resurrected for nefarious purposes and those other paladins who knew of his actions were killed rescuing others during the fall of the Yath Tower.)

Week 2 - "Hopeful Dawn" General Hospital 
(4th Rova - 11th Rova)
This temporary hospital is made within five of the buildings that stand within Castle Drezen's walls.  It is currently administered by Harri, the Vulpinal, though he is looking for a replacement since he isn't well-suited towards it.  The hospital is only staffed by three 3rd level clerics of Iomedae who would rather be on the field and an alchemist (4th level) who doubles as a surgeon.  Although the hospital's maximum capacity is only 50 so long as the paladins remain there isn't as much need for it.  Most people either die or can be healed with Lay on Hands.

There is a curved row of four separate rectangular buildings with plain stone walls and narrow vertical windows (25ft x 15ft).  Each has a brass placard hanging from the front: waiting, administration, surgery and general care.  The waiting room contains an administrator with a stump on his right arm and half a leg, who sits on a stool beside a table pressed up against the wall, and takes down the details of the walking wounded who sit on one of two dozen stools lining the walls or lay flat on the floor.  The administration room contains a few desks surrounded by crates of supplies and linen.  This is where Horgus Gwerm works furiously, shocked into action by the sight of the Worldwound beyond.  The surgery contains six camp beds and two steel tables as well as an old ceramic sink and a wardrobe of sterilised tools.  The general care hospital contains eight camp beds against each long wall (16 total).  A further building, small and square, can be barred from the outside and has a placard calling it Quarantine which holds six camp beds. 

Event: (Vandals) Sosiel survived the death trap in Demon's Heresy only because it had been designed to drive one mad and chaotic evil instead of killing them outright.  Thus he started devising a set of schisms that gave way to the start of a riot quickly quashed.  Alfy was devastated to learn of his betrayal, a pain only partially mitigated by the realisation that magic was involved.  The curse is removed but Sosiel must still atone for his actions.  He remains High Priest despite the decision's slight increase in unrest.

Additional: Alfy sets off to Brevoy after this event so that he could gather more farmers, finally managing to gain 72 after three weeks work which he settled in Mendev to help boost food production and ease their reliance on the southern farmsteads.  One of the paladin armies had to be sent from Drezen to defend their farmsteads from demonic raiders.

Week 3 - "South Gate" Barracks 
(12th Rova - 19th Rova)
These two stone watchtowers were repaired without incident due to the assistance of the half-Invidiak, Asmean, who was allowed to leave the prison under observation from a witch (level 14) who vouched for him and gave him bracers that would paralyse him were he to disobey a direct order.  Basically the backstory for a PC in the next campaign.  Asmean's ability to fly meant that he could help balance lifted stones and nail in winches with greater ease.  He won the favour of a group of the workmen through his efforts though the paladins still watched him and the others avoided him superstitiously.

These two stone watchtowers (20ft diameter) stand by Canyon Road and are clearly patched with newer stone among weatherworn stones.  The two iron strapped brass doors that lead inside have a complicated locking mechanism.  The bottom floor contains a fireplace with a narrow chimney to ensure warmth in the freezing winters alongside a pot, kettle and a weathered oak table for eight that had been dismantled from another property and rebuilt here.  A spiralling stair leads up four flights with room (and chests) for eight per floor (twelve in a pinch).

Event: (Archaeological Find) During the excavations of stone from a tumbled down wall around an old fortified mansion previously held as a mass latrine, the builders discovered an old ruined Sarkorian complex beneath the building that would have once contained a natural hot spring now gone dry.  10 000 gp worth of artefacts and relics were found within that had clearly been stockpiled by Sarkorians before they were struck from this land.  With no museum to put them in and no real need to return them to war torn Kenabres or Nerosyan, they have instead been put under lock and key in the castle basement near the Purity Forge.

Week 4 - "Winsome" Granary 
(20th Rova - 27th Rova)
This wooden storehouse built onto stone stilts in the Citadel Drezen yard can contain up to 5 tonnes of dry food.  Access to the upper floor is via stone staircase and a gnomish winch that can rotate into the building sits over the doorway so that food can be more readily drawn inside.  Six guardsman always stand by this building.

Event: (Visiting Celebrity) A rather self-important fellow from Brevoy called Terrino visited the city, inspired by Alfy's visit to Brevoy.  Alfy missed him but the fellow and his entourage brought some much-needed wealth in exchange for stories and the chance to meet a planetar.  Unfortunately Terrino is also an arrogant fool who also stirred up a little unrest of his own.

Week 5 - "Remembrance" Monument 
(28th Rova - 4th Lamashan)
A large obelisk that stands before the hospital contains the names of the honoured dead and is surrounded by a star shape of troughs - every pair of angles on the star is an individual trough to prevent cross contamination if a tainted creature dies in the water.  This also allows for people to wash buckets, horses and themselves without adding contaminants.  In Week 7, everlasting springs are added so that fresh water pours freely through these troughs, ensuring a safe water supply.

Event: (Justice Prevails) Several Deskari cultists approach Asmean and invite him to one of their sacrificial events only for a mother to finish the ritual with a capstone event of offering a baby to an urn full of vicious stinging insects.  Asmean demands the honour of performing the sacrifice and then kicks over the urn, fleeing through the wall with the baby to report the situation to the witch who watches over him.  Despite some initial suspicion towards him, his report is finally taken and the cultists are captured and executed.

Other:  Alfie returns for a few days and then leaves for a day to explore the hex grid with the Rosethorn army but doesn't get far when a randomly rolled Abyssal Storm hits, forcing them to take refuge in a canyon (luckily they were on a hex that contained one).  After a return to the mass combat rules involving the local armies, we return to regular party-based combat as Alfie returns to Drezen to help mop up the demons unleashed by the storm.

Week 6 - "Tirradale" Magic Academy 
(5th Lamashan - 12th Lamashan)
An Irrisen born 14th level witch named Serandra Tirradale, Irrisen witch (14) called Halla has been in the city for a few weeks under the expectation that she would get a tower.  The locals think her white blonde hair means that she is one of the White Witches.  Her three daughters are Arriandra (alchemist / witch who specializes in the dungeoneering), Bellissima (bard / witch who specializes in engineering), and Kassandra (inquisitor / witch who specializes in the planes).  They all teach at this newly established "academy" though their efforts are unlikely to be warded with anything more than cantrips among some of the mercenaries.  Naturally Aravashniel takes an interest in this location as well as he attempts to teach new Riftwardens ways to deal with the Abyss.

This building is designed in the same format of many noble villas with a sloping roof of alchemically treated tiles that glisten red in the wounded light and provide the roof with the equivalent of Fire Resistance 5 which is part of the reason why it has survived all these years.  The walls are stone engraved with defaced images of Iomedae and famous Mendevian paladins.  The windows have shutters over their bars to help keep out the cold.  The iron-strapped double doors lead into a partially restored foyer with a grand sweeping staircase missing a bannister.  To the left stand three class rooms and an auditorium converted from a morning room, drawing room, sitting room and ball room respectively.  The dining room, laundry and kitchens sit to the right.  The second floor is not yet safe to walk on so the students, as they are, sleep on the floor in their classrooms if they have nowhere else to be.

Event: (Economic Boon) A barbarian mercenary with ties to old Sarkoris roots around in the city and locates 3 Build Points worth of materials.

PC Actions: Alfie leaves once more and makes it to Eagle Rock before a Storm of Vengeance hits and forces them all to seek shelter once more.  I've been rolling on the Worldwound setting guide "weather chart" and thus far I've been rolling high.  The Storm of Vengeance also passes across the West Sellen River in a weakened state and damages some of the crops.  Luckily clever thinking on various people's behalf manages to salvage the crops before they're too thoroughly damaged though this does lead to the food shortage in the following week.

Week 7 - Everlasting Springs in Monument 
(13th Lamashan - 20th Lamashan)
See "Remembrance Monument".

Event: (Crop Failure) The farms are attacked by demons and the people become too afraid to leave their houses despite the need to collect the last few food items before the winter hits.

Other: Alfy ventures out again with references from his adoptive mother and Shelyn cleric that an abandoned village might hold the answers to his past.  He locates the Hernaste tomb and clears it, though Skulgrym escapes, and then continues to scour the hexes to the north east of the lake before returning.

Week 8 - Caster's Tower 
(21st Lamashan - 28th Lamashan)
Any pious large town has a surprisingly high caster among them and that position (randomly rolled from a series of magic users) is the witch, Serandra Tirradale.  As part of the agreement to keep her here, she gets her own tower.  Equally naturally, the chosen tower is on the top western corner as part of the outer defences.  Hey, if you want a free tower, you have to expect compromises.  Serandra oversaw its construction and has added a few key magical defences.

This tall grey stone tower is perfectly smooth but otherwise there is nothing that seems out of the ordinary about it, especially as most of the other watch towers in Drezen are the same size (five storeys) and shape (20 foot diameter).  Once you get inside the reinforced iron door you find yourself in a rather homey kitchen with a kitchen fireplace, table for five, and a set of fresh food in wicker baskets and herbs hanging from the walls.  An opaque jar with a heavy lid contains five everburning torches that can be used to light the place.  A pair of thick metal hooks on the ceiling allow for a hammock.  Follow the curving stairwell up and you will find a small library with alchemical equipment along one wall; tinkerers room containing all manner of odds and ends including a drafting table and two wardrobes containing women's clothing; plain room hung with flags to every good god and several empyreal lords, thick rug, shrine to Pulura under the window, as well as an easel, stool and chest full of paint and charcoal; and a room with several vertical windows large enough only to fit a crow alongside a few desks and a wardrobe of exquisite finery.  All rooms contain hooks for the hammocks that are kept in one of the wardrobes.

Event: (Natural Blessing AND Food Shortage) The sky above the city clears toward the north and east, allowing a brief vision of both dawn and the Aurora Borealis.  Alas the farms lose a granary to demonic attack and another paladin army must be despatched to protect the area.

Other: Alfy ventures west and finds the lost Temple of Shelyn filled with the wickedness of the Ivory Labyrinth.  After defeating them (though Zanedra gets away), the temple is repaired by unseen servants of Shelyn and since he doesn't have the godling child trait, he gets two Silvanshee offer their services in Drezen instead.  He visits a few more empty hexes before returning to Drezen.

Week 9 - Stockyard 
(29th Lamashan - 4th Neth)
In preparation for a harsh winter that could contain snowdrifts to block the pass if they are *very* unlucky, they construct a stockyard west of the gatehouses to put some distance between them and the smell and to reach more open ground.

This stockyard is protected by the customary simple wooden post-and-rail design and is filled with cattle, namely aurochs, who are held here until their meat is required at which point they are slaughtered in the adjoining shacks.  This area is well-guarded by the mercenaries who camp nearby with a precious eye on their meat.

Event: (Bandits) Several bandits made up of men broken by the Crusade attack the main road that follows along the West Sellen River.  One of the fighter armies are sent out to capture them but the bandits have already moved north east to put distance between themselves and the World Wound.  Drezen loses 1 Build Point before the dispirited deserters flee further into Mendev.

Other: Eliska needs a breather of a few days before venturing back into the Worldwound where they soon learn that a cleric of Erastil has been acting strangely.  They manage to bring him back safely and gain a free Shrine to Erastil (see the adventure for details) though they must spend a few days helping repair his bruised mind lest he run back into the Wounded Lands.

Week 10 - Library
(5th Neth - 12 Neth)
A large shipment of books are brought in to Citadel Drezen so that researchers might have access to necessary information.  This takes up one of the rooms which causes a number of grumbling soldiers to return to less secure sleeping arrangements.  Finally Quednys Orlun manages to start getting his library back together.

This room is stacked high with books while a set of saw horses and planks of wood stand nearby, awaiting those odd hours when a carpenter can be spared to work on book cases.  A few cushions are scattered about the place in lieu of stools but there is a writing desk complete with ink set against one wall that had been liberated from a cultist's lair - the Deskari graffiti etched into its wood has mostly been sanded away.

Event: (Monster Attack) A pair of Vrocks starts menacing the main canyon road and those soldiers who attempt to trek it and it takes awhile for Alfy to locate and slay these twin menaces.

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