Friday, June 6, 2014

Pathfinder Xhuul

So, I have about 2 months before my Pathfinder campaign launches for our group.  I have decided to set the game in my world of Xhuul, though albeit a much modified version of it.  I'm working on a new map and I am going to use (steal) the campaign set-piece starting city-state of Throxia from the World of Thool by Scott (formerly of the now defunct Huge Ruined Pile blog).  Scott wrote some really cool stuff for his setting and I was bummed when he abandoned that project many years ago.  It just oozed with flavor and was always an enjoyable read.

Whereas Scott's Thool setting was set in a black desert landscape, my setting is a mixed bag, but mostly jungles and swamp.  The setting can best be described as Dark Sun meets Tarzan meets H.P. Lovecraft, but it has all the races from Pathfinder.  I'm going for a Sword and Sorcery vibe.  It's going to be low-magic in terms of magic items (except for potions and scrolls which will be more common).  And so there will be no Item Creation feats (besides Brew Potion and Scribe Scroll), as the knowledge to make magic items has been lost.  This is a post-apocalyptic world that has rebuilt it's civilization, though albeit a more primitive one than what came before.

As far as rules and house-rules, we are using 20-pt buy on ability scores, races and classes from the Core Rulebook only.  Archetypes and Traits from the Advanced Players Guide and Spells from Core Rulebook, Advanced Players Guide, Ultimate Magic and Ultimate Combat.

To help spur some ideas for plot seeds, I used this Oracle to create the following.  Not sure if I will use these at the start of the game, as I would like to run a dungeon adventure or two first.  I may use these at a later point in the campaign.  But for now it was a creative exercise to get ideas flowing. 

Plot 1:
Sovris-Dhorn a conjurer of the Order of Saiboth has summoned the Naga, Szallah to perform a service for the wizard. The Naga has only agreed to perform the service if the Sorvis makes a blood sacrifice of one of his Order's initiates. This would violate the Order's rules of non-aggression between wizards within the Order. Sovris-Dhorn has chosen a student, the wizardess Mara Nevoon, who has recently passed her initiation into the Order, but is largely unrecognized.. This is due to the widely held belief that they suspect she cheated in her exams and tests, but have no proof. This situation presents the opportunity for Sovris-Dhorn needs to fulfill Szallah's demand. 

The death of Mara by his hand would most likely not have any consequences for him.As such,  Sovris-Dhorn has planted information which is now in Mara's possession that an old fortress, guarding a mountain pass in the Zhaugo Mountains to the north holds magical knowledge that could improve her standing in the Order. Sovris-Dhorn and Szallah will be waiting for her when she arrives.

PC Hook: Mara hires the PCs as guards and escorts for the journey to Fortress Dzan. She will be jealous of any arcane spell-casters in the party and will not reveal her true motivations for going to the Fortress as she does not want to share the magical knowledge contained there with any of them. She tells them that the old Fortress is an ancestral holding of her family's and she intends to establish it as her new sanctum.

Complications: Mara actually did cheat in her magical studies, by contacting the Naga Szallah. When she learned all she needed from her, she broke her deal with the Naga and refused to pay her and dimissed her back to her plane. Szallah has been fuming ever since. When Sovris-Dhorn conjured her for a service, it was by simple fortune and she intends to collect on the debt from Mara with her life.

The fortress has long since been abandoned, as the pass was blocked by an avalanche caused by an earthquake many years ago. The fortress was built to protect the holdings of the City State of Thalan from northern barbarians that occasionally raided through the pass. The fortress is now haunted by ghosts of soldiers who died defending the pass. They long for their remains to be properly buried among their family back in Thalan.  They will not allow anyone to take anything from the Fortress without them attacking.

Plot 2:
Sabir Vakroon a young warrior and faithful to the god Nergal, has joined the cult's warrior-elite known as the Black Lions. He has been visited by the ghost of his father, Jalaan, to seek revenge against his older sister Nessa who had strangled him in his sleep and therefore inherited the family fortune. Jalaan had long suspected that his daughter had ambitions and made arrangements to have his then-pregnant wife who was carrying Sabir in her womb to be secretly taken to another city. When Sabir finally grew up to be strong, Jalaan pleaded with the god Nergal to have his revenge. The price was to have his son join the order of the Black Lions to fight in the name of Nergal.

Nessa has become a scheming and shrewd woman in her years, securing her position by arranging ties to several merchant families in Throxia. She is hosting emissaries from far distant land of N'kai in the hopes of securing a trade deal between the merchants of Throxia and the powerful N'kai merchant cartel of Li-Han. Several guests from the various local merchant houses are present during the event. The head of the N'kai delegation, Sung Li-Han has brought several samples of their popular ware:, silks, spices, jade and polished teak hardwoods to display.

Unbeknownst to all, a creature known as a Black Wisp, native to N'kai stowed away in one of the containers and has been roaming the estate, killing servants in secret to feed. The Black Wisp drains the life energy from its victims and devours magic and is highly resistant to spells.

PC Hooks: The PCs could be guards hired by Nessa to patrol the estate grounds outside. They could also be hired by some of the local merchant families present as body-guards. They could discover one of the dead servants, thereby alerting them of potential danger. Soon, the PCs discover the Black Wisp and while engaged with the creature, Sabir who has used this night to strike against his sister uses the distraction to enter the estate.

Complications: The death of Nessa or any of the Li-Han delegates or local merchant family members while under the protection of the PCs can invoke the wrath of powerful merchant interests in Throxia. Killing Sabir will gain the PCs rewards but at the expense of gaining enemies of the Church of Nergal and the Black Lions.

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