CM9: The City of Deep Swamp

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CM9: The City of Deep Swamp

Post by Havard » Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:46 pm

The module CM9 Legacy of Blood details the dominion of Fenhold. One of the secrets of Fenhold is the ancient city which has sunken into the Deep Swamp in the southern part of the dominion. While the city can be of many different origins, it is strongly implied in the module that it is from the Blackmoor Era. The City itself is left for the DM to develop. The following is known about the city:
  • The city is currently submerged by water (although I guess there is nothing saying there cannot be pockets of air down there).
  • It may contain Blackmoor era technology
  • It houses a permanent gate to the Plane of Water
  • Several Velya Vampires may be found there and possibly other undead as the city was flooded quickly by the gate opening.
  • The population of Fenhold is descended by the survivors
Has anyone fleshed out the city beyond this?

Some ideas:
This city was a research fascility. The Gate to the Plane of Water was opened by Blackmoorian scientists, but kept in check until the Great Rain of Fire or some other incident destabilized it. Actually I would suggest that the scientists here survived the GRoF, and were simply isolated over the milennia until the BC1700 Cataclysm ("Lesser Rain of Fire") opened the portal. This would explain how the connection between the Blackmoorians and the Fenhold humans. OTOH, there might be other problems with that theory.

Could Rafiel have been one of the researchers connected to this base? Maybe he wasnt permanently based there, but he could have had some connections to the place. If so, he could have directed the Shadowelves to search for the city.

Taking ideas from the D20 Blackmoor line, it could be interesting to have this be one of the bases of the Ordo Elementarum. They arent big fans of technology, but I guess by the time of BC3000, pretty much everyone were using tech as part of their daily lives. The Ordo Elementarum could at this point have kept on being dedicated to their focus on the elements, but may have lost most of their anti-technological bias.

I could see the researchers having captured a number of water breathing creatures, from Mermaids to underwater monsters that they would keep in "tanks". So anything could by now have escaped and be found in the city.



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Re: CM9: The City of Deep Swamp

Post by RobJN » Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:09 am

I've had CM9 on the shelf for years, but never gave it more than a look-through -- never had players or characters of high enough level to run it. I do like the idea of another lost Blackmoor colony in the actual Known World, rather than having them all in Norwold and the Borean Valley.

Could the gate to the Plane of Water have been opened intentionally by elements (pun intended) of the Ordo to spoil/sabotage Fire-based research being done by Blackmoor scientists? It could make sense to have a gate's sudden appearance causing unexpected havoc rather than an established gate "suddenly" going haywire.

Just some initial thoughts. I may have to develop this in and for future installments of Thorn's Chronicle. Perhaps another colony, like they explored in B10....
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Re: CM9: The City of Deep Swamp

Post by Gecko » Thu Dec 29, 2011 8:15 pm

Havard wrote:
  • The population of Fenhold is descended by the survivors
that's interesting... so is this another population sub-ethnicity within Darokin's melting pot?

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Re: CM9: The City of Deep Swamp

Post by Chimpman » Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:10 pm

Ok, my interest id piqued too. Where exactly is the city located? This sounds like prime fodder for BC 2300...
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Re: CM9: The City of Deep Swamp

Post by RobJN » Fri Dec 30, 2011 3:00 pm

Chimpman wrote:Ok, my interest id piqued too. Where exactly is the city located? This sounds like prime fodder for BC 2300...
Thorf'smost recent map of Darokin puts Fenhold about six or seven hexes northwest of Nemiston, along the Darokin-Selenical road. The swamp hex is just south of the village, between some heavy forest and forested hills.

Sort of tragic, to have an entire city there from the World that Was. The elves could have had much more than the handful of shrikes and sirens dispatched by the Throne to help with their fight against Illodius' demonic invasion force. At least a thousand Daughters could have been supported by a full-fledged city. The cache of supporting Val'kira arms, armor, and dragonstones must be enormous...

Would such a city have been sunk around 2300BC, I wonder? Partially submerged? It would make for a rich environment for treasure hunters tracking down rumors of the treasures to be had from the last great city of the world before the Great Rain of Fire...
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Re: CM9: The City of Deep Swamp

Post by Chimpman » Sat Dec 31, 2011 6:53 pm

RobJN wrote:
Chimpman wrote:Ok, my interest id piqued too. Where exactly is the city located? This sounds like prime fodder for BC 2300...
Thorf'smost recent map of Darokin puts Fenhold about six or seven hexes northwest of Nemiston, along the Darokin-Selenical road. The swamp hex is just south of the village, between some heavy forest and forested hills.

Sort of tragic, to have an entire city there from the World that Was. The elves could have had much more than the handful of shrikes and sirens dispatched by the Throne to help with their fight against Illodius' demonic invasion force. At least a thousand Daughters could have been supported by a full-fledged city. The cache of supporting Val'kira arms, armor, and dragonstones must be enormous...
Lol! Rob, I think we must have spoken about this before, because looking back to my map of Grondheim (which I don't think I have posted yet - it's fairly sparse) I already have the location of Fenhold marked by an obelisk.

Would/did the elves have access to the Blackmoorian artifacts within Fenhold when Illodius attacked (in AC 550 IIRC)?
RobJN wrote:Would such a city have been sunk around 2300BC, I wonder? Partially submerged? It would make for a rich environment for treasure hunters tracking down rumors of the treasures to be had from the last great city of the world before the Great Rain of Fire...
I don't think Fenhold would have been submerged in BC 2300 based on its location. Most of the landscape around it was much drier. I think it's more likely that the site was flooded near BC 1700 when the rest of Taymora sinks (as Havard suggests above). I do think it would have been a site well known to treasure hunters of the time though.

I wonder if the site would have been of interest to the troll queen of Grondheim and what schemes she might have planned for it. Hmmm... I wonder if the magic stored within the site could be the catalyst that triggers the troll's transformation from wizardly adepts to ravening beasts?

EDIT: Ha, found our discussion about Collection Towers!
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Re: CM9: The City of Deep Swamp

Post by JTrithen » Sat Dec 31, 2011 7:16 pm

Gecko wrote:
Havard wrote:
  • The population of Fenhold is descended by the survivors
that's interesting... so is this another population sub-ethnicity within Darokin's melting pot?
Per CM9, the swamp or Fen is "much like the Okefenokee Swamp or Mississippi River Delta in the real world" (actual quote).

So, they are a sub-culture; some more information about the "Fenfolk:"

They live in isolated families scattered all along the edges of the "Great Swamp." They fish, gather edible plants, and trap the eels who live in great numbers in the Fens. Smoked eel is a great delicacy in Darokin; the Fenfolk pay their taxes to the Magistrate with eels, with fish and fresh waterfowl to make up the balance.
They build huts and plant gardens on larger islands, but they live primarily in their boats, round coracles made of hides lashed over wooden frames....
Small family groups are usually associated with one or two larger islands, but the Fenfolk are always on the move in on way or another, whether hunting waterfowl, tending their eel-pots, or hunting out good supplies of water reeds and edible plants.

The above is all straight from the text. That's about 70% of what is written about them; there are a couple of Fenfolk NPC's, too.

They are pretty isolationist (just want to be "left alone," since local govenment-types have tried to civilize the Fenfolk and force them to settle down as farmers). They are suspicious of outsiders. Some of the module involves the player characters trying to win the Fenfolk's respect and trust.

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Re: CM9: The City of Deep Swamp

Post by JTrithen » Sat Dec 31, 2011 7:22 pm

Havard wrote:Several Velya Vampires may be found there and possibly other undead as the city was flooded quickly by the gate opening.
RobJN wrote:.... Would such a city have been sunk around 2300BC, I wonder? Partially submerged? It would make for a rich environment for treasure hunters tracking down rumors of the treasures to be had from the last great city of the world before the Great Rain of Fire...
It does indicate in CM9 that the city "was drowned quickly, with little chance for people to escape." This would point or contribute to the existance of the velya and/or other under underwater undead; the velya would/could possibly be controlling other undead....

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Re: CM9: The City of Deep Swamp

Post by RobJN » Sat Dec 31, 2011 8:00 pm

Chimpman wrote: Lol! Rob, I think we must have spoken about this before, because looking back to my map of Grondheim (which I don't think I have posted yet - it's fairly sparse) I already have the location of Fenhold marked by an obelisk.

Would/did the elves have access to the Blackmoorian artifacts within Fenhold when Illodius attacked (in AC 550 IIRC)?
Canolbarth was raised between about BC 800 and 600 (accounts of how long it took vary). I suppose it would depend on how long it took the city to sink after the Lesser Rain of Fire as to whether or not the elves know/knew of the city. Of course, even if they knew about it, they might have simply ignored or overlooked it. Elves do have access to the Water Breathing spell, so it would be a matter of interest, rather than ability. Of course, by BC 800, the city probably would have already been picked clean.
Chimpman wrote:I don't think Fenhold would have been submerged in BC 2300 based on its location. Most of the landscape around it was much drier. I think it's more likely that the site was flooded near BC 1700 when the rest of Taymora sinks (as Havard suggests above). I do think it would have been a site well known to treasure hunters of the time though.
This is too good an adventure kernel to give up, in 2300, 1700 or "present day." The Great Rain of Fire could have damaged the city, allowing it to be overrun. The sirens would have retreated to suspension capsules in the Deep Vaults, the shrikes into stoneform hibernation(or there would have been a large, glass-sided crater there instead of a city). By 2300, most of the readily available Blackmoortech (shocklances, kinetic bows, dragonform armor, veilweave scout cloaks, etc) would have probably been distributed around the tribes in the area, their influence waning as the batteries and power sources of the tech ran out. Deep vaults or high security areas would have still had their own power and defenses, but the Lesser Rain of Fire could have broken those already-weakend systems. New rumors of treasures and marvels to be found would circulate.

Damage done by treasure hunters (a-la the tampering done to the City of the Gods) could have pulled down or knocked out the relays necessary for the Throne of Stars to trigger the Daughters' awakening in response to Illodius' invasion in 550 AC. Or (frighteningly) treasure hunters could have simply thinned the number of defenders of the city to the handful that were able to lend aid to the elves.... :shock:

Whatever the reason, by 550 AC less than one platoon of shrikes and half a wing of sirens were all that made it to Alfheim. Coordination with the Treekeepers allowed them to weave the Trees of Life into the network of dimensional seals empowered by Andahar's Engine, locking the demons within the forest's borders. (Canolbarth is the only known area where demons can still take physical form)
Chimpman wrote:I wonder if the site would have been of interest to the troll queen of Grondheim and what schemes she might have planned for it. Hmmm... I wonder if the magic stored within the site could be the catalyst that triggers the troll's transformation from wizardly adepts to ravening beasts?

EDIT: Ha, found our discussion about Collection Towers!
I think tampering with the Collection Tower batteries or taking a dip in a malfunctioning coolant pool would be more than enough to twist the trolls, re-awakening their chaotic, Beast Man heritage. :twisted:
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Re: CM9: The City of Deep Swamp

Post by Chimpman » Sat Dec 31, 2011 8:17 pm

JTrithen wrote:It does indicate in CM9 that the city "was drowned quickly, with little chance for people to escape." This would point or contribute to the existance of the velya and/or other under underwater undead; the velya would/could possibly be controlling other undead....
RobJN wrote:This is too good an adventure kernel to give up, in 2300, 1700 or "present day." The Great Rain of Fire could have damaged the city, allowing it to be overrun. The sirens would have retreated to suspension capsules in the Deep Vaults, the shrikes into stoneform hibernation(or there would have been a large, glass-sided crater there instead of a city). By 2300, most of the readily available Blackmoortech (shocklances, kinetic bows, dragonform armor, veilweave scout cloaks, etc) would have probably been distributed around the tribes in the area, their influence waning as the batteries and power sources of the tech ran out. Deep vaults or high security areas would have still had their own power and defenses, but the Lesser Rain of Fire could have broken those already-weakend systems. New rumors of treasures and marvels to be found would circulate.
I agree, and these thoughts give me a few ideas. I love being able to look at a city that has existed (in some shape or form) for several thousands of years up until the present day, and I do think that it would have gone through several incarnations.

BC 3000 (and before): Fenhold could indeed have been a stronghold of Blackmoor - though I doubt it would have been called Fenhold, since the area wasn't always located in or near a swamp. Of course "Fen" might simply be an analogy to "Moor" and thus a reference back to the original builders of the site. Perhaps over the years the name has evolved and has several meanings hidden within it.

BC 3000 - BC 1750: The site would have served as a treasure trove of forgotten (and forbidden) lore. Many cultures would have know about it and I assume explorers from across Brun would seek it out to plumb its depths for lost secrets. I think that during this time the city's defenses would have slowly been peeled away.

BC 1750 - BC 800: Perhaps more than just the city was flooded and we are looking at a very extensive lake with Fenhold sitting at the bottom of it. This could well be a stronghold for Taymoran velya and their influence could spread outward from there. This could be a thorn in the side for the burgeoning cultures of Nithia, Oenkmar, and later even the Kingdoms of Darokin.

BC 800 onwards: Once the elven magic began drying up the countryside to pull water into the Canolbarth region, the power of the veyla would have decreased. Fighting against them could have been a real priority for the elves as they began creating their new paradise.
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Re: CM9: The City of Deep Swamp

Post by Havard » Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:35 pm

Great timeline!
Chimpman wrote:I agree, and these thoughts give me a few ideas. I love being able to look at a city that has existed (in some shape or form) for several thousands of years up until the present day, and I do think that it would have gone through several incarnations.

BC 3000 (and before): Fenhold could indeed have been a stronghold of Blackmoor - though I doubt it would have been called Fenhold, since the area wasn't always located in or near a swamp. Of course "Fen" might simply be an analogy to "Moor" and thus a reference back to the original builders of the site. Perhaps over the years the name has evolved and has several meanings hidden within it.
I never thought about the name before you brought it up, but actually the founder of the Ordo Elementarum is named Merrick Fen. Perhaps the city was named after the founder of this Elementalist Mage organization or one of his descendants?
BC 3000 - BC 1750: The site would have served as a treasure trove of forgotten (and forbidden) lore. Many cultures would have know about it and I assume explorers from across Brun would seek it out to plumb its depths for lost secrets. I think that during this time the city's defenses would have slowly been peeled away.
Makes sense. I doubt it would have survived the GRoF completely undamaged. Perhaps only parts of the city survived the Cataclysm, and with raiders and such in the centuries that followed taking care of much of the rest.
BC 1750 - BC 800: Perhaps more than just the city was flooded and we are looking at a very extensive lake with Fenhold sitting at the bottom of it. This could well be a stronghold for Taymoran velya and their influence could spread outward from there. This could be a thorn in the side for the burgeoning cultures of Nithia, Oenkmar, and later even the Kingdoms of Darokin.

BC 800 onwards: Once the elven magic began drying up the countryside to pull water into the Canolbarth region, the power of the veyla would have decreased. Fighting against them could have been a real priority for the elves as they began creating their new paradise.
I never thought of the idea of the flood being worse earlier on, but it is an interesting idea. My impression is also that the flooding increased just prior to AC1000. Perhaps someone managed to partially stop the flooding by closing off some chambers (instead of closing off the gate itself), which were then perhaps accidentally reopened by Barzan and the other villains from CM9?

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Re: CM9: The City of Deep Swamp

Post by RobJN » Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:47 pm

Havard wrote:Great timeline!
Chimpman wrote:Of course "Fen" might simply be an analogy to "Moor" and thus a reference back to the original builders of the site. Perhaps over the years the name has evolved and has several meanings hidden within it.
I never thought about the name before you brought it up, but actually the founder of the Ordo Elementarum is named Merrick Fen. Perhaps the city was named after the founder of this Elementalist Mage organization or one of his descendants?
I love it when a plan comes together. This is too big a hook NOT to swallow.
I never thought of the idea of the flood being worse earlier on, but it is an interesting idea. My impression is also that the flooding increased just prior to AC1000. Perhaps someone managed to partially stop the flooding by closing off some chambers (instead of closing off the gate itself), which were then perhaps accidentally reopened by Barzan and the other villains from CM9?

-Havard
I think I just found the location for another of the dimensional seals. :twisted: (The Seal of Shadows lie in the Cruth Mountains. The Seal of Fire was in Glantri, until it was breached. Now it's the Broken Lands... :oops: )
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Re: CM9: The City of Deep Swamp

Post by Chimpman » Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:28 am

RobJN wrote:
Havard wrote:Great timeline!
Chimpman wrote:Of course "Fen" might simply be an analogy to "Moor" and thus a reference back to the original builders of the site. Perhaps over the years the name has evolved and has several meanings hidden within it.
I never thought about the name before you brought it up, but actually the founder of the Ordo Elementarum is named Merrick Fen. Perhaps the city was named after the founder of this Elementalist Mage organization or one of his descendants?
I love it when a plan comes together. This is too big a hook NOT to swallow.
I agree - Merrik Fen and the Ordo Elementarum back story fits too perfectly not to use.

Here's a thought... I wonder if all that excess water coming from the gate was being directed underground pre BC 1750. That could have played a major factor in all of the geological upheavals of the time. When the quakes finally hit and Taymora sinks, the underground passages get blocked up and the water starts bubbling to the surface.

So between BC 1750 and BC 1050, the water could have grown quite a bit. Then when Oenkmar sinks the underground passages could have shifted again allowing most of the lake to drain off... or perhaps shift back over to where Amsorak lays.

Anyway, another thought I was having, could this elemental gate have created the Malpheggi swamp, or greatly increased its size? That could mean that the Malpheggi swamp would extend from the southern border of Alfheim and down through Darokin to the sea. It would dry up quite a bit by BC 1000, and then even more after the elven magic takes hold. What do you think?
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Re: CM9: The City of Deep Swamp

Post by Gecko » Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:31 am

Chimpman wrote:That could mean that the Malpheggi swamp would extend from the southern border of Alfheim and down through Darokin to the sea. It would dry up quite a bit by BC 1000, and then even more after the elven magic takes hold. What do you think?
Interesting idea, just be sure to consider the consequences for that portion of modern day darokin- If the area had been swampland for any significant length of time then "nowadays" the area would (I think) be either a source of peat OR extremely fertile farmland.

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Re: CM9: The City of Deep Swamp

Post by Chimpman » Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:48 am

Gecko wrote:
Chimpman wrote:That could mean that the Malpheggi swamp would extend from the southern border of Alfheim and down through Darokin to the sea. It would dry up quite a bit by BC 1000, and then even more after the elven magic takes hold. What do you think?
Interesting idea, just be sure to consider the consequences for that portion of modern day darokin- If the area had been swampland for any significant length of time then "nowadays" the area would (I think) be either a source of peat OR extremely fertile farmland.
Good point. Much of that area would now be covered by southern Alfheim, and the rest would be due east of Darokin city. Most all of that land (in the current era) is covered by forest.

Of course "significant time" is relative. We are talking about a period of about 700 to 800 years (tops), which I would consider a good amount of time, but geologically speaking it doesn't really seem that long. I'm not sure what that would mean for the present day flora... does it make sense that there are forests covering that area now?
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Re: CM9: The City of Deep Swamp

Post by RobJN » Wed Jan 04, 2012 1:16 am

Chimpman wrote:We are talking about a period of about 700 to 800 years (tops), which I would consider a good amount of time, but geologically speaking it doesn't really seem that long. I'm not sure what that would mean for the present day flora... does it make sense that there are forests covering that area now?
Given that the elves raise a forest nearby, it's not entirely un-possible for their magic to have gone awry and have trees spring up in all that very fertile soil ;)
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Re: CM9: The City of Deep Swamp

Post by Gecko » Wed Jan 04, 2012 1:32 am

RobJN wrote:
Chimpman wrote:We are talking about a period of about 700 to 800 years (tops), which I would consider a good amount of time, but geologically speaking it doesn't really seem that long. I'm not sure what that would mean for the present day flora... does it make sense that there are forests covering that area now?
Given that the elves raise a forest nearby, it's not entirely un-possible for their magic to have gone awry and have trees spring up in all that very fertile soil ;)
I was thinking much the same, though it also seems that any farms cut out the forest would prove very fertile sparking a land rush as darokinian farmers and combines seek out more of this fertile land for farming and rapidly start cutting down the forest. Pre-WotI this would be a MAJOR source of friction between the elves and Darokin. Post-WotI there's nothing to stop them and it seems the area would quite quickly be deforested.

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Re: CM9: The City of Deep Swamp

Post by Chimpman » Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:49 am

Gecko wrote:
RobJN wrote:
Chimpman wrote:We are talking about a period of about 700 to 800 years (tops), which I would consider a good amount of time, but geologically speaking it doesn't really seem that long. I'm not sure what that would mean for the present day flora... does it make sense that there are forests covering that area now?
Given that the elves raise a forest nearby, it's not entirely un-possible for their magic to have gone awry and have trees spring up in all that very fertile soil ;)
I was thinking much the same, though it also seems that any farms cut out the forest would prove very fertile sparking a land rush as darokinian farmers and combines seek out more of this fertile land for farming and rapidly start cutting down the forest. Pre-WotI this would be a MAJOR source of friction between the elves and Darokin. Post-WotI there's nothing to stop them and it seems the area would quite quickly be deforested.
Perfect! That's pretty much what happens in AC 550.
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Re: CM9: The City of Deep Swamp

Post by Havard » Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:10 am

The only problem I see with this theory is the idea of having the gate to the Plane of Water be open throughout the period from the Blackmoor Era. Depending on what the Gate is like, it seems like that would have brought an insane amount of water into the Prime.

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Re: CM9: The City of Deep Swamp

Post by Chimpman » Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:56 pm

Havard wrote:The only problem I see with this theory is the idea of having the gate to the Plane of Water be open throughout the period from the Blackmoor Era. Depending on what the Gate is like, it seems like that would have brought an insane amount of water into the Prime.
If the gate was open intermittently, that could mean there would be periods of more water followed by periods of less water. The example lake could actually grow while the plane is open and then shrink once it is closed again. We'd just need to figure out when those periods would be.

I see less of an issue once Alfheim is created though, since the elven magic could actually "consume" a large amount of water in order to keep the forest growing.
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