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.
This episode of The Village of Camiram introduces the player characters to Camiram -- and a whole lot of trouble. 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 fourth installment brought us face to face with some of Camirams neighbors.
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 adventure begins with the party arriving in Camiram. The group could be traveling to the village for any number of reasons. They could be from the outlying farms, visiting for the festival or to buy supplies to begin a life of adventuring and exploring the Wild Lands. They might be from a neighboring area, on an exploratory trip and stopping over in the village to restock and rest. They might be curious members of the barbarian band that has come to Camiram to negotiate with the mayor and the village elders. Or they might have dwelled all their lives in the village -- are they ready for something new, or are they completely unaware of what is about to happen next?
The Festival of Peace
It's the harvest in Camiram, a festive time when farmers sell their excess crops at market and the people of the village celebrate the gods bounty in a weeklong festival. This year's festival is particularly special for a number of reasons. Most importantly, the village has invited a delegation from the Tribe of the Crescent Moon to come to Camiram to discuss a possible alliance between the barbarian tribe and the people of the village. The good harvest has folks wondering if the barbarians will attempt to raid, but the mayor believes the barbarians can benefit from trade with the village and help fend off the depredations of the orcs and other dangers out in the Wild Lands.
Sollek Silver-Axe, the chief of the Crescent Moon, has agreed to attend the festival along with some of his people, including the sorceress Vosta the Veiled, his advisor. All preparations have been made to welcome them into Camiram, but resentment still simmers beneath the surface. Some villagers believe the barbarians killed Mika Pharos, the beloved local cleric and healer, during a raid on an outlying farm. Pharos would have presided over the festival this year as he had many times before. Now the new village priestess, Jinna Yost, will do so. In truth, Seligg the doppelganger and his orc allies arranged Pharos's death to increase tensions between the barbarians and the villagers. The barbarians deny that they killed Pharos, and such accusations only anger them.
The Characters Arrive
Give the characters time to wander around the village, particularly the market square, for a little while, getting acquainted with the area and some of the people. A chance encounter with one or more of the NPCs described in Episode Three allows for some roleplaying and the opportunity to introduce the players to the characters involved in the story. Having a player character accidentally run into one of the Crescent Moon barbarians (perhaps even Sollek himself) can let the PCs defuse an otherwise tense situation when the barbarian gets angry. The mysterious Vosta might take the chance to speak some cryptic words of warning to the characters, telling them they have a special destiny (although she isn't sure exactly what).
While the characters are in the marketplace, someone steals a small weapon (probably a dagger) from one of them. Don't roll for this; just assume that it takes place and have the player make a Spot check (DC 8) to notice that the weapon is gone. The victim can report the theft to Ekam Relles, who says he will look into it.
Trouble at the Well
Late that night, as the first evening of the festival winds down, have the characters make a Spot check (DC 10). Characters who succeed notice a shadowy figure over by the village well (location 20 on the map). No one else is around. The slim figure is pouring something into the well, then quickly sneaks off into the darkness. Another Spot check (DC 15) reveals it is Vosta the Veiled! Any check of the well water shows that it's been poisoned with deadly dark reaver powder (see the Dungeon Master's Guide for details).
If the characters chase Vosta, she leads them through the marketplace toward the ruined villa (location 6 on the map), ducking inside. If the characters seem likely to catch her too quickly, Vosta instead disappears into a small knot of people in the marketplace, only to mysteriously reappear near the villa, but close enough for the characters to see her go inside. In fact, it is not Vosta they are pursuing but Seligg the doppelganger, which has assumed her form.
When the characters reach the ruined villa, they find the real Vosta there, lying dead on the floor. Close at hand is the weapon stolen from the PC earlier in the day, stained with Vosta's blood. As the party begins to look around for any sign of the fleeing figure, Ekam Relles and several village guards appear at the entrance to the villa and see the characters standing over the body
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.