Friday 29 December 2017

20 questions about the party jungle

Jeff Rients' famous 20 questions about your campaign 

Not your standard campaign with the home base and exploring the local dungeons and schemers - my players want to make it back to civilization after crashing in the heart of the jungle continent Xen'Drik.

What is the deal with my cleric's religion?
Atheist scum that they are, my players picked up a bargain wand of cure light wounds for the ranger. They're not a religiously minded bunch.

Religion in Xen'Drik is fun. The Drow worship Vulkoor the Scorpion, who comes in the flavours of "the cunning hunter", "the devourer of all outlanders" and "the patron of forgotten secrets". There's some links with the worship of the Mockery from more civilized Khorvaire, but banking on what your catechismus told you is a sure way to end up as dinner. In addition, expect mundo totem worship. Degenerate drow, giant and serpent folk tribes will happily worship weirdo spirits or powerful con men. Frogmen and Mantisfolk are big on ancestor worship. What the giant ants and walking fungus pray to is anyone's guess.

The T.Rex are agnostic.

Where can we go to buy standard equipment?
The city of Stormreach is 2500 miles of steaming hell jungle due north. Plenty of time to think of what you want to buy. Meanwhile, why not trade with the local tribes? No, they're not interested in gold. Perhaps you can clear some uppity wildlife from the sacred burial grounds instead.

Where can we go to get platemail custom fitted for this monster I just befriended?
Your thinking, I like it. Dark Sun-style, your best bet is to find a tribe that can work in chitin or that can skin a Triceratops. Next, you'll have to find an outsized member of the local fauna to turn into plate armor...

Who is the mightiest wizard in the land?
Whether the Lady of Tangled Virtues in her spiderfooted hut is a witch, a spirit or a myth is a popular topic of debate. During daytime, with no spiders or pools of water around. Otherwise it's a toss-up between the giant Ulgo Storm Preacher and the Firebinder Drow Vertess.

Who is the greatest warrior in the land?
Jaghaz King of Apes is rumored to have personally throttled a T Rex. You'll find this four-armed gorilla in the cursed city of Usaro on Lake Ocota.

Who is the richest person in the land?
 In terms of gold, that'd be Thelonius Aurelius Maurin, sponsored by the Crown of Aundair to explore the fabled riches of Xen'Drik for the homeland. Theo is currently the sole living occupant of Orrax, the fabled City of Gold. His role will soon be taken over by the Voice of Many, the other occupant of Orrax.

Where can we go to get some magical healing?
Witches, wise folk, speakers for the land, restorative magic streams - there's no cure-o-mat temples or healbot clerics around, if that's what you're asking. You'll have to chat with druggy weirdoes and bargain with spirits to cure your ills.

Where can we go to get cures for the following conditions: poison, disease, curse, level drain, lycanthropy, polymorph, alignment change, death, undeath? 
Poison: ask the drow who poisoned you whether they know an antidote. Bring (don't harm) the scorpion or brightly colored frog for reference.
Disease: best to just amputate or burn the afflicted area.
Curse: either make friendly with the local wise folk, or find out what you did to anger the hungry ghosts. Probably a good idea to put that gold statuette back in the crypt where you found it.
Level drain: You're in luck - Xen'Drik offers plenty of opportunities to regain experience!
Lycanthropy: I can understand why you'd want to get rid of that, there being 13 moons and all, but consider the advantages of regenerating and being able to pose as an animal. Unless your animal form looks edible to the local giant tribe.
Alignment change: act as you want. Alignment isn't a big issue in this game. (He said, and was blindsided when the party Gnoll turned the deceased crew into rations.)
Death: in a couple of hours, life will spring from your body again. If you're looking to bring back your character from the dead, keep looking. Resurrection is notoriously hard in the world of Eberron. If you're willing to do without details such as breathing, make a deal with a nice necromancer. Wasn't there a Karrnathi expedition nearby?
Undeath: a nice axe to the face often helps.

Is there a magic guild my MU belongs to or that I can join in order to get more spells?

Civilization in Xen'Drik is pretty isolated - there's no continent spanning network of spellcasters. Trade or steal from the locals, or loot them from the ancient giant ruins. The Firebinder and Umbragen drow have impressive libraries of spells, but as an outlander the only way you'll get to see them is as a spell component.

Where can I find an alchemist, sage or other expert NPC?
This is getting repetitive - the Drow tribes are not exactly university schooled, but they do have a couple of wise folk that can help you out. You'll find more classic sages in the few cities of Xen'Drik, if you can stomach the rabid xenophobia.

Where can I hire mercenaries?
If you can befriend the local tribe, they'll probably send a couple of warriors with you. Don't expect to pay them in gold, and don't expect them to travel far outside their tribal lands.

Is there any place on the map where swords are illegal, magic is outlawed or any other notable hassles from Johnny Law?
Law? The nearest city is Druxis of the Serpents, where mammals are expected to wear their slave collars with pride.

Which way to the nearest tavern?
I've made the Stormreach joke already - travelers and traders are welcomed in the camps and towns of the Basket, a loose federation of trading towns near the Hydra river. Local tribes tend to be wary of visitors (or plain hostile / too welcoming. Insert "please stay for dinner" joke here.)

What monsters are terrorizing the countryside sufficiently that if I kill them I will become famous?
Plenty! We've got giant dinosaurs, ravenous plants, telepathic fungi...what's your pleasure? Think ahead and collect freaky mementoes to show off with.

Are there any wars brewing I could go fight?
Wars is a big word. Ongoing conflict between almost everyone on the map? That we got. The giants hate everyone who reminds them how far they've fallen, the Vulkoor Drow hate the giants for enslaving them, the Sul'atar despise the other Drow for betraying their giant overlords, the Giant Ants just want everything to be nice and ordered...pick a settlement, any settlement, and they'll have a grudge against someone.

How about gladiatorial arenas complete with hard-won glory and fabulous cash prizes?
Most tribes will be happy to prove their braves against you. Or have you prove your strength by eradicating irksome arcanofungi from the hunting grounds. As for cash prizes: even better, they'll give you swanky new tattoos or fetishes from the monsters you've killed!

Are there any secret societies with sinister agendas I could join and/or fight?
Are there fuck! An exciting new cult is the Ashen Lotus, which manages to bring together Drow, Serpentfolk and even a few giants. They'll contact you soon enough.

What is there to eat around here?
Plenty! Check out the awesome Coins and Scrolls for a gourmet guide to the monster manual. I'm thinking of a spin-off post called "Snorting Your Way Through the Monster Manual". Stay tuned.

Any legendary lost treasures I could be looking for?
You literally have no concept of how much gold there is in the city of Orrax. Rumor has it that the ancient Giant capitol of Pra'Xi'Rek is an even bigger find of artifacts.

Where is the nearest dragon or other monster with Type H treasure?
(I'll confess I had to look up what Type H treasure is. Best I can find online is "big hoard" - I started playing with AD&D 2nd edition, only started DMing with D&D 3rd edition and usually ignored the random treasure tables.)

That said: seriously steer clear of the Isle of Enduring Light in the Hydra river. It is said that a beast the size of a small hill protects a hidden treasure vault from the Age of the Titans.