The village of Camiram (kam-EE-ram) can serve as a safe haven for a group of low-level D&D adventurers as they set out into the world for the first time, seeking fame and fortune. It also can serve as a location for adventurers to encounter in their travels, but it's primarily intended as a base of operations and an example of how to build similar villages. You can place it in the World of Greyhawk, another D&D campaign setting, or a world of your own creation.
The second episode of The Village of Camiram gives us a tour of the village proper. In episode one we presented a rundown of the areas geography and history. Episode two offered a closer look around the village, while episode three introduced us to the locals.
The village of Camiram is located along the frontier of wild and untamed lands where the rule of law is no more than a distant idea. The village has faced a number of threats in the form of barbarian raiders and local orc tribes, but now it faces a greater threat -- a danger from within that may turn the borderland tensions into a war that no one will win.
The Tribe of the Crescent Moon
One danger facing Camiram is the presence of a mixed tribe of human and half-orc barbarians near the frontier. The Tribe of the Crescent Moon is made up of nomads, living off the land and following the migration of local animals in search of food. They've conflicted in the past with the local orcs, after breaking away from them generations ago, and the tribe has been known to raid settlements for food and supplies during lean times when hunting was poor.
The legends and oral history of the Tribe of the Crescent Moon say their ancestors were once human and lived in the land where Camiram now stands. The humans who settled Camiram long ago made peace with the tribe and all enjoyed a time of plenty, but the people of Camiram eventually betrayed the tribe, which united with a band of orcs to drive out the intruders. Over time, the orcs and the humans mated, but the tribe eventually broke from the orcs in a bloody rebellion, rejecting their foul and honorless ways, and making the two tribes enemies ever since.
Now people have settled in Camiram again and the barbarians fear that their hunting lands will be taken from them once more, forcing them to move farther into the lands inhabited by savage humanoids and other creatures. They have raided the outlying lands of Camiram, but these forays have only strengthened the resolve of the villagers. The chief of the tribe, Sollek Silver-Axe, has gone to negotiate with the villagers, but his people seem doubtful regarding the outcome. Most believe war is inevitable, a war they must win if they are to survive.
The Skull-Smasher Tribe
The Skull-Smashers are a tribe of orcs that live in the rugged lands to the north and west of Camiram. Their ancestors were among the orcs that drove out or killed the original settlers of this land and destroyed what they had built. Later, a conflict with their human barbarian allies provoked a war that the Skull-Smashers lost, forcing them farther away from Camiram. But the orcs haven't forgotten, or forgiven, their losses of so many years ago. They would like nothing more than to overrun Camiram and put it to the torch, and its people to the sword.
But the Tribe of the Crescent Moon stands between them and their prize, and the orcs are not eager to face their former allies in battle again, particularly since the barbarians are fierce fighters. Fortunately for them, and unfortunately for the people of Camiram, the orcs have help in achieving their goals:
Seligg the Sly: CR 3; Medium shapechanger; HD 4d8+4; hp 22; Init +1 (Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 15 (+1 Dex, +4 natural); Atk 2 slams +4 melee (1d6+1 slam) or by weapon; SA detect thoughts; SQ alter self, immunities; AL N; SV Fort +5, Ref +5 Will +6; Str 12, Dex 13, Con 12, Int 13, Wis 14, Cha 13.
Skills and Feats: Bluff +12, Disguise +12, Listen +11, Sense Motive +6, Spot +8; Alertness, Dodge.
Special Abilities: Detect Thoughts (Su): A doppelganger can continuously detect thoughts as the spell cast by an 18th-level sorcerer (save DC 13). It can suppress or resume this ability as a free action. If it can read an opponent's mind, a doppelganger gets a +4 circumstance bonus to Bluff and Disguise checks.
Special Qualities: Alter Self (Su): A doppelganger can assume the shape of any Small or Medium-size humanoid. This works like alter self as cast by an 18th-level sorcerer, but the doppelganger can remain in the chosen form indefinitely. It can assume a new form or return to its own as a standard action. While using alter self, a doppelganger gets a +10 circumstance bonus to Disguise checks.
Immunities (Ex): Doppelgangers are immune to sleep and charm effects.
Possessions: A collection of 1,200 gp and various gems and jewelry worth 800 gp, mostly hidden in its lair in the wild lands.
The prime mover behind the events unfolding in Camiram is a doppelganger (see the Monster Manual for more details) called Seligg the Sly. It has recently wandered into the wild lands near Camiram and spied on the local happenings using its alter self abilities. In so doing, Seligg has seen the opportunity to pit the factions in and around Camiram against one another for its amusement, and a chance to become very influential in the region. Part of its plan begins with the player characters, although they don't know it yet .
About the Author
Steve Kenson has been a freelance writer in the RPG industry for five years and a gamer for far longer than he'd care to admit. He's written for a number of games including Shadowrun, Marvel Super Heroes, and Dragonlance: Fifth Age. His work appears regularly in Dragon magazine. Steve maintains a website with his gaming articles and information about his current projects. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.