Cliffhangers Adventures

The Village of Camiram
Episode Eight: The Power of Truth
by Stephen Kenson

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.

Background

In Episode One of The Village of Camiram, we presented a rundown of the area’s 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 Camiram’s neighbors, and the fifth saw the PCs framed for a barbarian seer’s death. In the sixth episode, the PCs escaped from Camiram and in the seventh they sought the truth in the Wild Lands. This week, they finally expose the true threat to Camiram.

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.

Vosta's Tale

A mysterious figure confronts the party, revealing herself to be Vosta the Veiled -- the sorceress they are accused of murdering! Vosta chooses a place and time when she can speak to the characters with little fear of being overheard or discovered. She relates to them her story. Read the following out loud to the players, modifying it as needed based on the events of the adventure thus far:

"I was asked to attend a secret meeting in the ruined villa. Suspecting treachery, I disguised a handmaiden in my clothing and sent her in my place, intending to follow. However, Sollek delayed me and I arrived too late to save her from the creature that slew her; it was a doppelganger, a creature able to assume the shape of another person. Before I could stop it, your arrival forced me to conceal myself. Only Sollek knows it was not I who was slain. But with the doppelganger loose, I did not know whom to trust, or whether the creature might be in league with the villagers.

"That is why I have come to you. I know you are not in league with this creature, and you are the only ones who can help expose it, and heal the rift between our peoples. Will you help me?"

If the characters agree, Vosta suggests they seek out the doppelganger’s lair, defeat it, and bring back proof that the people of her tribe and of Camiram have been deceived. If the characters ask Vosta to put in an appearance in the village to clear their names, she points out that she could be arrested for the poisoning of the village's well. She requires their help to clear her name before she can aid them.

The Lair of the Doppelganger -- EL6

Seligg the Sly has allied with the Skull-Smasher tribe of orcs in the Wild Lands, and now lairs in an old ruin near their current encampment. The wily doppelganger has rigged a number of small alarms and traps in the ruined building it uses as a lair. Various nearly invisible wires connect to bells that sound an alarm if anyone touches a wire. It takes a DC 20 Search check to notice them, after which a character can easily avoid them. Two other tripwires connect to crossbow traps.

Crossbow Trap: CR1; +3 ranged (1d10/x3 crit); Search (DC 20); Disable Device (DC 20).

Finally, a tripwire in the main hall of the building causes the ceiling to collapse, closing off the hallway.

Collapsing Ceiling Trap: CR1; +8 melee (2d6); Reflex save (DC 12) for half damage; Search (DC 20); Disable Device (DC 20). Note: Affects characters within 5 feet of the tripwire.

Any significant noise (such as setting off a trap or the alarm) brings a group of six orcs to investigate. Seligg uses its alter self and detect thoughts abilities to deceive the characters, pretending to be a helpless prisoner or one of the party (if they get separated) to lead the characters into a trap. The doppelganger tries to escape at the soonest opportunity, blending in with the orcs and making itself almost impossible for the characters to find. If Seligg dies, the creature returns to its true form.

Seligg (doppelganger): See description in Episode Four.

Orcs (6): As in Monster Manual; hp 4, 4, 3, 4, 4, 5; 5 gp each.

The Truth Revealed

If the party can capture or kill Seligg without alerting the nearby Skull-Smashers, they can take the doppelganger back to Camiram to prove their innocence, particularly if Vosta accompanies them and tells her story. The barbarians and the villagers form an alliance against the Skull-Smasher orcs and the other dangers that might lurk in the Wild Lands, and the orcs think twice about launching an assault on the village.

If the characters alert the orcs to their presence, the Skull-Smashers decide to attack Camiram. With Vosta's help, the PCs can convince the Crescent Moon barbarians to come to the village's aid against the orcs, forging an alliance in the midst of the battle. The characters can fight to help protect the village, and any survivors are honored as heroes, the charges against them dropped in light of the truth of their story. The defeated orcs retreat back into the Wild Lands, but their threat is not stamped out for good. Plus, other dangers lurk out in the wilderness, including the possibility of other doppelgangers like Seligg.

For further adventures, the mayor of Camiram might appoint the characters to explore and map the Wild Lands, with an eye toward further civilized settlement in that region. They can make forays into the monster-infested wilderness and the ruins of old settlements, returning to Camiram for supplies and to share tales of their adventures around the hearth of the Inn of the Rose over a mug of ale.

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 talonmail@aol.com.

 



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