Excerpts 01/19/2001

The Speaker in Dreams
Sound Like Your Next Adventure?
By James Wyatt

The town of Brindinford is in the midst of its annual street fair. Joy and merriment abound -- until calamity disrupts the celebration. Are rival gangs responsible? Is the government sliding into tyranny? Or is a nightmarish plot about to come to fruition?

The Speaker in Dreams is a stand-aloneadventure. Player characters are in for a wild ride in this river town. Leave the dungeon behind -- the terrors lurking in Brindinford are more challenging by far! Want to know more? Take a sneak peek at the first encounter!

A Trip to the Fair

"The town of Brindinford occupies a low hill beside the Brinding River. Crenellated stone walls, interrupted by tall watchtowers, surround the buildings, but the life of the town spills beyond its walls today. Colorful carts and wagons, flags and ribbons, and people of all sorts line the road for 100 yards beyond the gate. Dozens of halflings in bright-colored costumes are directing most activities. A busy, lively hum of noise rises from the fair, and the smells of roasting meats, exotic spices, and cut flowers fill the air."

"Near the gates, the movement of the throng of people making their way inside the walls slows to a crawl. Four town guards, wearing bright red tabards, give each visitor a careful look, though they seem relaxed and friendly. The guards can be seen peace-bonding weapons."

If the characters proceed through the gates, the guards insist on limiting the characters’ ability to cause trouble in the town. This is common practice in many cities, and if necessary you should encourage the players to view it as such. The restrictions are not too limiting and can easily be circumvented. Their purpose is more symbolic: a reminder that Brindinford is not a dungeon or battlefield. With that in mind, the guards impose the following restrictions.

  • All edged weapons must be peace-bonded (daggers excepted). The guards attach swords to scabbards with leather straps. For axes, spears, and similar weapons, the guards put a leather bag over the blade and tie it with a leather strap. Similarly, they tie bags over open quivers and bolt cases, or secure them closed. Readying a peace-bonded weapon for normal use requires a full-round action and makes the character vulnerable to attacks of opportunity. Attacks with peace-bonded axes or spears suffer a –2 penalty to attack and damage rolls.

  • Wizards and sorcerers must wrap a thick leather strap around the middle and ring fingers of each hand, and "peace-bond" their spell component pouches by tying them securely shut. The guards cannot necessarily tell by looking at a character if he or she is a wizard or sorcerer, and they rarely challenge bards. They ask any character they suspect might be a spellcaster to be peace-bonded (particularly characters who seem relatively unarmed compared to their companions), and they may search a character for spell components if unsatisfied with the answer. If someone is caught lying to the guards, they angrily impose a 10 gp fine.

    Casting a spell with somatic components while a character's fingers are bound imposes a 30% chance of spell failure. Removing the band or untying a spell component pouch requires a full-round action and makes the character vulnerable to attacks of opportunity.
  • Clerics of known neutral or evil deities must "peace-bond” their deities' symbols. This involves fastening each such symbol to the cleric's belt, so it cannot easily be brought to bear for spellcasting. Freeing the symbol requires a full-round action and makes the character vulnerable to attacks of opportunity.

  • Druids and rangers must place all divine focus items into pouches and tie them shut. Untying a pouch requires a full-round action and makes the character vulnerable to attacks of opportunity.

For exclusive supplemental Speaker in Dreams material, check out our web enhancement!

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