[FC:Specularum] Notable buildings by district

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Ville Lahde
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Re: [FC:Specularum] Notable buildings by district

Post by Ville Lahde »

We are getting back into the thick of things next wednesdays. The PCs managed to save Alexander Torenescu,
temporarily at least (they revealed the VS agents but not Uncle Boris's plot, so he is still in the game). Now they
are laying in wait near goodwife Thanatos's house. VS agents burned the Turano guesthouse down to cover
their tracks, but the PCs discovered the tunnels and guessed (rightly) that the villains will try to return and
finish the job. We'll see what happens to Luciana Vorloi.

Next secion of the scenario will most likely involve the Vorloi family, Uncle Boris (as he will put his plans in
motion and try to overthrow Alex by economic means), and tackling with the VS demagogues who will try
to cause trouble in the city.

Ville
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Re: [FC:Specularum] Notable buildings by district

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Ville Lahde wrote:We are getting back into the thick of things next wednesdays. The PCs managed to save Alexander Torenescu,
temporarily at least (they revealed the VS agents but not Uncle Boris's plot, so he is still in the game). Now they
are laying in wait near goodwife Thanatos's house. VS agents burned the Turano guesthouse down to cover
their tracks, but the PCs discovered the tunnels and guessed (rightly) that the villains will try to return and
finish the job. We'll see what happens to Luciana Vorloi.
Cool. We're likely closing down River of Blood this week, then we'll probably take a break from D&D, as the other players have been getting ready to DM their favorite games during the holidays.

GP

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Re: [FC:Specularum] Notable buildings by district

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Back on track. The PCs managed to out Uncle Boris and his plotting: attempted assassination of Alexander,
knowing collusion with Veiled Society, forgery of clan books, false accusations against Alexander for misappropriation and
spreading counterfeit money - provided by Sergei of course - with the intent to disrupt the Moneylenders' Guild. It was touch
and go. In the end the PCs had to hide in Boris's secret vault for a night (with tied and gagged Boris in tow), as the city guard
was examining killings in Boris's house. With a little help from Alexander, Simion Torenescu and Melinda Azuros, they got away
clean - they had killed a couple of Boris's mercenaries, after all. Boris is finished, and Alexander is safe for now. The Draculs and
Stephanos Torenescu, who backed Boris, got a stern slap and talking to, raising the status of their rivals the Ebonovs within the clan.

However, the PCs had to remain underground, as they are wanted by the Veiled Society, now even more than before.
During the yesterday session they learned about demagogues stirring trouble in the Grand Market. They were attacked by the
VS guards and did not manage to catch the demagogues. During the melee most of the VS thugs died, and the PCs even managed
to get a valuable prisoner. The re-emergence of an old PC Griffon Knight (a player returned to the country for a short while)
also helped them to avoid the attention of the authorities.

The good thing was that the VS did not manage to raise a riot, but their demagogues are free to try again. Try they will, as the rioting
is part of the current master plan - busting the trading privileges of the Vorlois in the coming Merhants' Guild meeting. Fortunato
has been subdued (Lucia was killed), and the baron stays quiet, as Marianne has been kidnapped by Cartha's cell. Only Epistlo Vorloi
is trying to act, but he is getting desperate. He will most definitely try to contact Simion... If the Radus manage to gain even more
economic power, it will boost their clan and help them recover from the recent losses during the drug scandal (Omens and Portents) and
the Davinos affair. If that happens, things look grim indeed for the PCs.

I will start writing the next installment of the Specularum series as this is played out. The scenario has worked very well thus far.
The open-ended nature and the real possibility for the PCs to miss some threads may not suit everyone, but every scenario can
be refitted to suit the preferred GMing style.

I have another house map too: Boris's house.

How's real life treating you guys?

Ville
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Re: [FC:Specularum] Notable buildings by district

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Ville Lahde wrote: How's real life treating you guys?
Hi, nice to hear the adventure progresses! Myself, I've had really little time to devote to Specularum, as I've been (and will be for the rest of the month) busy with exams and some EU-sponsored projects that have reached the boring part (namely, accounting).

However, I've also managed to play a lot -- just not much D&D. We've been playing MERP last month (not my favored fantasy RPG, but two of my fellow players started their roleplaying career with that game), and are now playing Call of Cthulhu in February. Since we're taking turns as DMs and each of us has two games to manage (I've got D&D/Karameikos and Star Wars Saga, while the other DMs have Call of Cthulhu/Dragon Age and Paranoia/MERP respectively), the D&D game will be back later this year, probably with the end of River of Blood and a short quest to locate the hidden temple of Orcus.

In parallel, I'm also trying to set up an episodic AD&D game in the Emirates of Ylaruam and the Sea of Dread (mostly based on the Al Qadim Golden Voyages book). We'll be playing Jade Hare as part of this campaign tonight.

GP

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Re: [FC:Specularum] Notable buildings by district

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The PCs have, against all odds, nearly succeeded. They have beaten back all attacks by the VS and forced them into hiding.
They only have to find Marianne Vorloi, whom Cartha and Antonito are holding hostage, and the Radu Clan will be
defeated. If they fail, the Radus will manage to destroy the merchantile privileges of the Vorlois, get much richer and can rebuild
the Society, and the town will become very inhospitable for the PCs. They are dancing on the edge.

If they survive these last stages this wednesday, the next scenario will handle young Valen Karameikos. He suffers from amnesia,
and a splinter group of the Cult of Halav has made him a messiah.
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Re: [FC:Specularum] Notable buildings by district

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The combined Veiled Society/Vorloir Rose/Alexander's poisoning scenario was finished yesterday. I will send
a writeup as soon as I find te time to write it.

The Radus were not totally wiped out: Anton and Zwies survived unscathed, and Piter is still alive, but he lost
a leg and an arm and is badly tramatised due to some intensive interrogation. The Radus also lost most of
their privileges and their position in the Guild.

The Vorlois and the Torenescus are on the rise, and Simion and Epistlo are busy negotiating a political
marriage between Alexander and Marianne.

Ville
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Re: [FC:Specularum] Notable buildings by district

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A question: at some point GP mentioned old tunnels under the Church District. There surely are buried remains of the Fomorians, the
Traldar/Nithians and the Hutaakans. In the coming scenario, the splinter group of Cult of Halav is hiding in these ruins with their new
messiah Valen Karameikos. During his Shearing, Valen was "attacked by orcs", actually by Iron RIng, and suffered a terrible head
injury but managed to escape. The cultists saved him in the wilderness and returned to Specularum, with Iron Ring chasing after them.
Sir Lucius and his cronies are also hunting for Valen, since they have learned of the messiah's true identity from their allies in the
north. They do not want to make it public, as they want to save Valen, discredit the Traladaran cultist and gain prestige. The Duchess
does not know who the messiah is, but she is concerned about the new cult, and asks Emilio to investigate. Vladimir's revolutionaries
are not happy about them either, and may do something.

I want to combine intensive social and investigative play on the streets (the cultists are speading the word on the streets) with
complicated chase through the underground mazes.

Any ideas on features of the underground Specularum?

Ville
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Re: [FC:Specularum] Notable buildings by district

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Ville Lahde wrote:A question: at some point GP mentioned old tunnels under the Church District. There surely are buried remains of the Fomorians, the
Traldar/Nithians and the Hutaakans.
...
Any ideas on features of the underground Specularum?
See my Ruined Church stuff on the Vaults. Also, the history of the town should give some hints as to where the original settlements were located (and thus what would be the features of the modern underground).

Given the origins, you might well have megalithic structures of Fomorian origin (at the very bottom), then Nithian-style tombs, and remains of Traldar fortifications.

The uppermost levels would be relatively tame -- inhabited mostly by Wererats, easily accessible from the surface, and used (and maintained) as sewers by the Guild-age Traladarans and the ensuing Thyatian government.

The lower levels would be filled with Nithian/Hutaakan/Traldar undead (mostly mummies, skeletons and the like), plus guardian constructs and many traps (including magic traps and cursed seals).

The Fomorian structures would be eerily empty, with occasional but potentially deadly dangers, of more magical nature. Some undead and constructs could still appear, though undead would be more likely ghosts than mummies, with perhaps a surviving, hibernated Taymoran vampire or nosferatu.

BTW, I'm rather certain we've discussed this issue before, so a search of the boards might produce some results.

GP

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Re: [FC:Specularum] Notable buildings by district

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Thanks for the link.

Yup, we discussed this, but only briefly, and nothing very substantial.

I'll have to think about this. The topografy of the city (the hills) makes the sewer-option complicated. It's been a while
since I have been designing anything like this. A few years ago I designed the dungeons under Corunglain in four historical
layers, and that was fun.
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Re: [FC:Specularum] Notable buildings by district

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More ideas:

The Taymor-age ruins could also include magically warded sections where some Kartoeba-like thing is trapped.

It was suggested in one of the earlier threads that one of Specularum's hills could actually be a Nithian pyramid.

Old Traladaran families might have excavated secret passages to the topmost level of the Specularum underground, to help them escape the Thyatians during the early stages of the conquest.

G.

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Re: [FC:Specularum] Notable buildings by district

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We had a nice "dungeon" crawl under Specularum this week: the PCs did a wild goose chase in mainly natural tunnels under the city, wading
through the human wastes that filter through the ground and accrete into underground pools and bogs. There was a dramatic decision
whether to wade through a large pool of all kinds of excrement. The PCs did - only to end up in a landfill infested with wererats.

I decided that the hill of the Nest is a virtual honeycomb of tunnels. I have not yet decided upon the history, but this is of course connected to
houses falling down, sinkholes appearing etc. It is not a nice neighbourhood.

Speaking about the filth running downhill: Looking at the contour map, I'd say that South end and Old Quarter are the filthiest, as they
are the lowest parts, also part of the North End. Merchant district must have some kind of sewage system - but I'd think an aboveground one.
I think I won't use underground sewers IMC, as we have used the notion of a filthy city and street gutters to paint the atmosphere
through the campaign.

On another topic: I may have time to write the next scenario during the next two weeks. The histories of the three families are an important
part of it. Shall I include summaries in the adventure itself?
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Re: [FC:Specularum] Notable buildings by district

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Ville Lahde wrote: On another topic: I may have time to write the next scenario during the next two weeks. The histories of the three families are an important
part of it. Shall I include summaries in the adventure itself?
I'd put them in, as the summaries may be useful for the DM.

GP

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Re: [FC:Specularum] Notable buildings by district

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Okay. I will include references to the main Specularum History timeline also, and see if we need some
additions to it.
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Re: [FC:Specularum] Notable buildings by district

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I've done some work on the underground Specularum, mainly on the Church Distcrict and the Nest.

- In today's session I introduced the notion of the hill of the Nest being an old mine that has been long since been
abandoned. That is why it is riddled with old tunnels (perhaps they originally gave it its name). The old mine
shafts and openings have been covered with mining refuse and slag, upo which the poorest houses were built.
Thus the Hill has always been an unsafe and unhealthy place, as toxic fumes like radon are abundant.

- I also drew a map of the sewage system of the Church District. It is made up by three circular sewage gullies
running under the district, each built on a different level of elevation, as the hill runs down eastward. Each
circular gully has independent run-off gullies that lead to drilled shafts of gravel and sand (meant to drain
excess sewage and water), but the three gullies are also connected by sloping gullies, so the run-off gullies
of all three levels come to optimal use during heavy rain etc. Note: Only the most important or
affluent buildings have access to the system - a lot of the sewage is still spilled on the streets.
- The wererats use the sewer system to move around the District.

- The sewers are build among the old Traladaran ruins, buildings that were destroyed and covered over during
the construction of the Thyatian-held Church District. A few of the ruins are part of the walls of the sewers, so there
may be acces to them through the sewers, with some work. The crypt of the Ruined Church of course offers
access to these ruins, too. I drafted a dozen location, with connecting tunnels. Ruins of old Traladaran
holy places offer potential access to the lower level, the Hutaakan ruins.
- The wererats seldom venture here, but they know parts of them, as they offer access to other parts of the
District. However, there is a vibrant microecosystem of monstrous fauna and flora that keeps them away.

- The few remaining Hutaakan ruins can be accessed via the ancient Temple of Pflarr, under the ruined Traladaran
shrine. There are the remnants of an ancient observatory, archives, administrative building, well, and a fortress
(the top of the hill during the Hutaakan era). The Fortress was built over the tomb of Os-Khmin.

In our present scenario, Jorgos has holed up in the tomb with his band of followers and their messiah (delusional
young Valen). With an artefact found in the tomb, Jorgos has gained control of some monsters living in the
tunnels above.

Of course there are other ruins, and older ones, deeper above, but they do not figure in the present scenario.

By the way, poor Sir Lucius was killed and dumped in a sewage gully. Another NPC gone.
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Re: [FC:Specularum] Notable buildings by district

Post by agathokles »

As usual, very interesting. The old mine in the Nest is an excellent way to explain underground complexes where sewers are clearly inappropriate.

GP

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Re: [FC:Specularum] Notable buildings by district

Post by Spellweaver »

These two inns might fit into your project. They are from Inns and Taverns in Mystara.

The Bawd and Minister

Besides being a famous inn this building is also a 'house of ill repute'. Well, the ill part depends on you point of view. It is located in the part of the Old Quarter that borders the Merchant District in Specularum. It takes its name from a scandal from many years ago when one of Duke Stefan's first ministers was revealed as a regular client of the harlots working there. The local barkeep, Ising Perpalp, is the husband of the madam of the brothel, a woman named Estella.



The Rogues' Den

At the docks in Specularum lies a large old vessel called "The Wind Chaser". She used to be a proud ship that roamed the seas between Sind and the Isle of Dawn with the most vicious crew ever to sail the Sea of Dread. Their captain was the Pirate Lord Balthros Bloodeyes and the mere mentioning of his name would scare children to crawl up to their mothers and cry!

For years the Wind Chaser eluded naval patrols of all nations around the Sea of Dread - not because she was fast, but because of her captain's devilish luck! It was whispered in taverns and the living quarters of junior naval officers that Captain Balthros was in league with a horrible monster - a creature as large as a sea dragon and capable of putting out banks of fog and mists to cloak old Bloodeyes and let him escape. Few were the captains that dared follow The Wind Chaser into such a mysterious mist.

Eventually, Bloodeyes got old and sick. Pirate tales claim that he grew paranoid and secretly buried all of his treasure on a small remote island. When he died, supposedly of poison in his food by the hand of his own ambitious lieutenant, the crew fell into bickering and arguing about how to get the treasure back. They turned on one another and many men were killed before a new captain was elected. He wasn't any good however, and a few months later the Wind Chaser was finally ambushed by several ships from the Ierendi navy in a small cove. The crew was captured and hung in the nearest port and after a thorough search of the ship's hull, the Wind Chaser was auctioned off to a wealthy merchant in Specularum. This was in the year AC 989.

The merchant wanted to start trading with foreign lands without having to pay Minrothad merchants as go-betweens but he soon fell into economic difficulties and had to abandon his ideas. The Wind Chaser fell into disrepair, her hull started to rot and leak, and nobody wanted to buy her at the price the greedy merchant demanded.

Eventually, in AC 996, he did sell her - to a young elven lady named Silvariel Stormstrider from Minrothad Guilds. She put a crew of able-bodied men to restore the hull to water-tight conditions and pump the bills so she would stay afloat. Then Silvariel arranged for a long-term lease at the docks and a permission to run a food-and-drink-serving establishment and opened the Rogues' Den Inn aboard the proud, old ship.

The main room for dining, drinking and gambling is below deck where the crew and cargo used to be. At the front of the ship where sails, rope and supplies used to be stored there now is a food store for the kitchen right next to it. Silvariel and a few of her employees have their living quarters above deck in the old cabins that used to belong to Balthros Bloodeyes and his lieutenants.

The inn itself serves decent food and drink at reasonable prices but nothing exceptional. A lot of customers come here for the special atmosphere and because it is somewhat of a tourist attraction. Retired naval personnel come aboard to take in with their own eyes the ship that so often eluded them in the past. Children climb the lower parts of the rigging, pretending to be pirates or naval heroes and sailors from all over the world enjoy the slightly rolling feeling of a ship's deck beneath their feet - even while they are in port.

On the surface there is nothing suspicious about the conversion of the Wind Chaser into the Rogues' Den Inn. But secretly, a lot of things are going on. First of all, an unknown number of pirates frequent the inn, hoping to learn something about Bloodeyes' treasure. Old die-hard tales insist that Balthros hid his treasure map somewhere onboard the ship in a secret compartment and these men are trying their best to search the vessel without acting suspiciously.

Also onboard, working as bouncer and kitchen-help, is a man named Stavros. He is a secret agent working for the government of the Minrothad Guilds. His job is to spy on Silvariel because they suspect that she (being a long-lived elf) might have been part of Bloodeyes' crew in the past and therefore has some knowledge of where to look for it or for the map.

Furthermore, some of the people living along the waterfront claim to have seen the ghost of Balthros walking around on the deck or sitting in the rigging on dark, moonless nights. They say that the ghost of the pirate lord has come back to get his revenge on the crew that poisoned him and is more than likely to take out his anger on anyone he finds aboard the ship!

Whether any of this is true is for the DM to know - and your PC's to find out!!

:-) Jesper
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Re: [FC:Specularum] Notable buildings by district

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We'll most likely finish the current "Not the Messiah" scenario tomorrow, and after that we will turn to
"the Lament of the Wavering Bard". I have a lot of work to do with the latter, as I want to add historical
depth to the scenario, so the new installments for the scenario series will have to wait. On the other
hand, this will give us more material on the Great Drought, on the Irrigation Channel and the first
Knight of Griffon. (GP: By the way, he was supposed to die during his defense of the fishermen, not later, since
his tomb is a secret. I noticed that you had him die years later in the historical timeline. Thanks for
the knight's name, by the way!)

Also, I volunteered to become the chief editor for a journal of philosophy, and for the next two-three months
I will be swamped. So most likely the redrafted scenarios will be posted during the summer - unless
I get bored during my short spring vacation in May, that is. But I doubt it: I'll have to chop a whole lot of firewood,
till the fields, build the foundations for the summer compost, and other such mundane and thankfully
non-academic and non-rpg things. It's been a long and cold winter here.

Ville
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Re: [FC:Specularum] Notable buildings by district

Post by agathokles »

Ville Lahde wrote:We'll most likely finish the current "Not the Messiah" scenario tomorrow, and after that we will turn to
"the Lament of the Wavering Bard". I have a lot of work to do with the latter, as I want to add historical
depth to the scenario, so the new installments for the scenario series will have to wait. On the other
hand, this will give us more material on the Great Drought, on the Irrigation Channel and the first
Knight of Griffon. (GP: By the way, he was supposed to die during his defense of the fishermen, not later, since
his tomb is a secret. I noticed that you had him die years later in the historical timeline. Thanks for
the knight's name, by the way!)
Ok, I'll update the timeline ASAP.
Also, I volunteered to become the chief editor for a journal of philosophy, and for the next two-three months
I will be swamped.
I do understand -- I've just spent nearly one full month organizing a couple of workshops :(

GP

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