The Village of Camiram
By Stephen Kenson
Complete Cliffhanger
Episode 8: The Power of Truth
Episode 7: Into the Wild Lands
Episode 6: Escape from Camiram
Episode 5: Treachery!
Episode 4: Darkness in Camiram
Episode 3: The People of Camiram
Episode 2: Navigating Camiram
Episode 1: Welcome to Camiram
MAP: (B&W JPG)
Cliffhangers Archive
The Approaching Swarm
Kingdom of the Blind
Into the Forsaken Temple's Crypt
The Trouble in Town
Sharkbait!
The Light of Despair
Training Grounds
Lorin's Chasm
Bridge Work
Nest of Corruption
Hindsight
A Giant Ransom
Black Water
The Horror of Lannock Hill
Over the Edge
Equinox
The Proper Count
The Tower of Lore
The Candlemaker's Fire
The Hallowed Hills
The Village of Camiram
Unearthing the Past
Special: Cliffhangers Live!


Cliffhangers Adventures

The Village of Camiram
by Stephen Kenson

We’re trying something new with this installment of the Cliffhangers series, to offer you a complete village to use as "home base" for your adventuring party. 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. To fully develop the village, we will offer updates throughout September and October.

Camiram (village): Conventional; AL NG; 200 gp limit; Assets 5,000 gp; Population 502; Mixed (397 human, 45 halfling, 26 dwarf, 15 elf, 10 gnome, 5 half-elf, 4 half-orc).

Authority Figure: Mayor Elyl Shona, female halfling, Nob4.

Important Characters: Tam Flinder, male dwarf Exp9 (blacksmith); Ynda Rose, female human Com4 (innkeeper); Ekam Relles, male half-elf, War5 (sheriff); Evet Skarm, male human Wiz3; Sister Serka, female human, Mon3; Naj Robel, male human Pal2; Sollek Silver-Axe, male half-orc, Bar3, Vosta the Veiled, female human, Sor2; Jinna Yost, female human Clr1 (Pelor/healer).

Others: Town guards, War1 (6); Adp1 (3); Bar1 (2); Dru1 (1); Ftr2 (2); Ftr1 (4); Exp1 (14); Mon1 (2); Nob1 (2); Pal1 (2); Rgr1 (1), Rog1 (1), Sor1 (1); War1 (18, militia); Wiz2 (1); Com1 (431).

Notes: Camiram is a frontier town on the edge of an expanding civilization, threatened by hostile creatures from nearby unsettled lands. Most recently, the inhabitants of the town have contended with attacks from barbarians and nearby orc tribes, but they have been working to forge a peace with the proud barbarians.

The Geography of Camiram

The village is situated in the midst of open, rolling farmland, surrounded by many outlying farms. The majority of the people of Camiram earn their livelihood through farming, raising crops to feed their families then selling the surplus at the open market in the village. This makes the summer and fall seasons the busiest in the village proper, as folk from the outskirts arrive to sell their produce. During the spring, the farmers work busily planting their fields, although many find time to visit the local inn or attend religious services at the temple of Pelor.

The central village is a collection of low stone, brick, and wooden buildings around an open village square. Some of the structures, like the village's wall, date back to the original settlement of the area, while some are more modern, built within the last generation. They include stables, a smithy, an inn, and the hall where the mayor handles village affairs.

The History of Camiram

The site the village of Camiram occupies dates back well over a century, when this area was last inhabited by humans and other good folk. A tide of evil invaders forced the former inhabitants of the area to flee generations ago. Just over thirty years ago, the tide shifted when adventurers helped push back the orcs and people once more moved into the area and settled in Camiram. Some of the buildings in the village are quite old as a result, and their stout stone construction has withstood the test of time. Newer buildings arose on the old foundations, and some scattered ruins of buildings that couldn't be restored still remain, scavenged for building stone and other materials.

Recent History

Since the area was resettled, Camiram has had to fight off raids by bands of marauding orcs, and the village maintains a stout band of guards along with a volunteer militia to help out in times of crisis. Recently, the town has become the focus of human expansion deeper into the unsettled surrounding lands.

This has caused some concern among the orcs, but also among the barbarian tribes living in the region. Some of the barbarians call for the elimination of these "invaders" into their territory. To deal with the matter, the crown has dispatched able negotiators to hammer out an agreement with the barbarians for mutual defense of Camiram and expansion into the area. The barbarians are wary, but they would prefer an alliance with the people of Camiram over the orcs, and they relish the opportunity to bash some orc skulls.

The Cliffhanger

Unfortunately for both the people of Camiram and the barbarian tribes, the orcs are unwilling to allow an alliance to take place. In addition, a more dire threat to the safety of the village is brewing out in the wild frontier lands, unnoticed for the moment….

Background

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 area’s geography and history.

The Village Proper

The central part of the village of Camiram is built on and around the site of an older settlement in the area. The buildings follow a style reminscent of the villas of ancient Rome. These structures tend to be low to the ground (two stories at most), with sloping, peaked roofs, usually built in a square shape with an open-air courtyard or garden in the center. The inhabitants use the courtyards to take advantage of the pleasant weather, plant flowers or vegetables, and decorate as they like.

Consult the Map of Camiram for the locations below.

Area 1: The Gatehouse: The main entrance through the walls of the village is a wide, roofed gatehouse typically manned by two of the Camiram's town guards (human War1). The gates are closed at night, but the guards remain on the watch for intruders or raiders.

Area 2: The Marketplace: Beyond the gates lies an open-air marketplace where farmers from the outlying areas of the village come to sell their produce, meats, and other goods. A few local crafters also set up shop in the market during the day to sell their services, and most of the goods available in Camiram can be found here.

Area 3: The Great Hall: This building houses the Honorable Mayor Elyl Shona (female halfling Nob4), the other officials of the village government, and their families. It also serves as a meeting place for the people of the town, where they gather each month to air their grievances and discuss matters of importance. Meetings over the past few months have been dominated by discussion of what to do about the recent raids on the village.

Area 4: The Archer's Field: This field is a practice area for the village's militia and guards, and usually features a collection of straw archery targets against the far wall.

Area 5: The Sheriff: This building houses the Sheriff of Camiram, Ekam Relles (male half-elf War5), and also serves as the village's armory and (on occasion) jail. The sheriff can usually be found going about his duties, or tending the small herb garden in the building’s courtyard.

Area 6: Villa Ruin: The village government judged this old villa too badly damaged for repair. Officials plan to tear it down in the near future to make way for new homes for the expansion of the village. Local children like to tell tales that it's haunted and dare each other to go inside at night, although there's no evidence of any danger here.

Area 7: The Barracks: These barracks house the village's guardsmen and their families. They're quite spacious, although the sheriff talks about recruiting additional guards, which will reduce the amount of space available.

Area 8: The Merchant's Quarter: This area is a collection of homes for the village's craftspeople, merchants, and others well-off enough to live in the village proper rather than on an outlying farm. Some of the buildings are still being renovated.

Area 9: Romac's Villa: This villa belongs to Romac Eleron, a local merchant, trader, and moneylender. Romac (male human Exp1) is well known as a grumbling old skinflint who likes his privacy.

Area 10: Skarm's Villa: This is the villa of Evet Skarm, Camiram's resident wizard (male human Wiz3) and his various assistants and apprentices.

Area 11: Drujek's Villa: Mos Drujek (male human Nob1) owns this villa. He also owns some of the outlying farmland, bought after he got out of the merchant business. Now he administers his farms and lives off the tenants’ rent.

Area 12: The Temple Hostel: A small place for visitors to the Temple of Pelor and poor travelers who can't afford the inn. It is presently inhabited by Naj Robel, Sister Serka, and their companions while they visit the village.

Area 13: The Temple of Pelor: Many of the folk of Camiram attend twice-weekly services at this humble temple to the sun god Pelor. The priestess, Jinna Yost (female human Clr1) attends to her parishioners' needs.

Area 14: The Inn of the Rose: Camiram’s only inn is run by the boisterous Ynda Rose (female human Com4), who always has the latest news about goings on in and around the village. It's two stories tall, clean, and rooms are reasonably priced at 5 sp a night.

Area 15: Tennor's Tack and General Store: This two-story building is the store of Mal Tennor (male dwarf Exp1). It offers all the goods one might expect from a small general store, particularly tack and harness for horses and other mounts. Tennor carries all the goods within Camiram's resources. (See the Dungeon Master's Guide for details.) He and his wife live upstairs.

Area 16: The Stables: The village's stables provide a place for travelers to board their mounts. The proprietors also breed and raise the village’s horses, some of which are available for sale. During the day the horses are put out to pasture; they're brought back to the stable at sundown or at any sign of trouble.

Area 17: Flinder's Forge: This is the forge of Tam Flinder (male dwarf Exp9). Flinder is renowned throughout the area for his skill in smithcraft.

Area 18: The Bakery: This small shop houses the ovens where the folk of Camiram bake their bread or purchase the loaves baked by the owner, Lianna Furst (female half-elf Com1).

Area 19: The Market Stalls: The crafters and merchants of the village occupy these stalls when the market is open. The farmers set up temporary stalls and tents in the clearing in front of them.

The Cliffhanger

Area 20: The Well: This deep well provides Camiram's water, and people tend to gather around it during the day. At night, it's quieter, and the place where a plot against the people of the village begins….

Background

The third episode of The Village of Camiram introduces us to the locals. In episode one we presented a rundown of the area’s geography and history, and episode two offered a closer look around the village.

The Villagers and Other Key Figures

The village of Camiram is home to almost 500 people, mostly good, honest folk who work hard and tend to mind their own business. Some of the village's prominent inhabitants are described here. The Dungeon Master should feel free to elaborate on their abilities, if necessary.

Elyl Shona (female halfling Nob4): Elyl Shona is the Honorable Mayor of Camiram and has been for the past several years. She's middle-aged, with a mellow personality and a dry wit, but also quite capable of quieting down a room full of concerned villagers to make herself heard. She likes the quiet life and wants nothing more than peace for the village. Camiram’s current problems with raiders concern her greatly.

Tam Flinder (male dwarf Exp9): Perhaps Camiram's most famous citizen, Tam is the local blacksmith. He traveled a great deal in his youth but has settled down to practice his craft. He's well known as the most skilled smith in all the surrounding villages, although he's quite modest about his abilities. Tam's more than capable of turning out a masterwork piece now and then, and they fetch a fair price in the marketplace. The dwarf also likes to drop in at the inn for a drink or two after work each day.

Ynda Rose (female human Com4): The owner and proprietor of the Inn of the Rose is a vivacious red-haired woman with sparkling blue eyes and an easy smile. She lost her beloved husband Andres when they had been married only two years and has never remarried (although not due to lack of offers). Her two teenaged children, Dev and Kianna, work at the inn. Ynda loves to chat and hears every bit of gossip in the village.

Ekam Relles (male half-elf War5): Ekam Relles was appointed Sheriff of Camiram several years ago and takes his duties quite seriously. He's a seasoned warrior, having fought in other territories before settling in the village. He also has a discerning eye, but he can be somewhat rigid at times.

Evet Skarm (male human Wiz3): The wizard Evet Skarm is fairly young for a man of his skill in magic, only in his late twenties. He likes Camiram because he's the most skilled wizard in the area (at least, so far as he knows) and he spends his time studying, teaching his apprentices, and performing minor magic for the village as needed.

Jinna Yost (female human Clr1 [Pelor/healer]): The priestess of Pelor came quite suddenly into her duties when her mentor and superior, Mika Pharos, was killed in one of the raids on an outlying farm where he was tending to an injured man. Jinna feels somewhat overwhelmed by her responsibilities at times, but maintains a brave front for the sake of her people, praying daily to Pelor for the strength she needs to carry on.

Sister Serka (female human Mon3): Part of the answer to Jinna Yost's prayers is Sister Serka, a monk from the Monastery of the Divine Light. She has come to aid the village in its negotiations with the barbarians and to assist the temple however she can. Her discipline, intellect, and cleverness have proven invaluable to Jinna over the past weeks. Two lower ranked monks (Mon1) accompany Serka.

Naj Robel (male human Pal2): A lower-ranked knight, Naj Robel was sent by the crown to aid in Camiram's negotiations and eventual expansion. He and Sister Serka complement each other in that Robel favors more direct, martial solutions while Serka prefers a more peaceful and conciliatory position. Two newly made knights in the service of the crown and Pelor (Pal1) accompany him.

Sollek Silver-Axe (male half-orc Bar3): The proud Sollek Silver-Axe is the chief of the barbarians dwelling near Camiram. Although he is a half-orc, Sollek is no fool, and he's willing to negotiate with the people of the village rather than risk a war that may ultimately do his people more harm than good. Although Sollek loves a good brawl, he also wants what is best for his people. If cooperation with Camiram is it, then that is what he will do. On the other hand, if wiping out the village is what he thinks is best, he'll do that just as easily.

Vosta the Veiled (female human Sor2): The mysterious Vosta is Sollek's constant companion. She is a sorceress, feared and respected by the people of her tribe for her abilities. She always wears veils that cover her head and face, leaving only her smoky-colored eyes visible. She speaks softly and defers to Sollek in most things, but he turns to her for advice, particularly about omens and all things magical.

The Cliffhanger

Camiram also has one resident no one knows about, who is about to place the village and its people in grave danger….

Background

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 area’s 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 Cliffhanger

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….

Background

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 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.

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.

The Cliffhanger

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…

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 this episode, the PCs seek to escape from Camiram and prove their innocence.

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.

Accused! -- EL 5

After seeing someone poisoning the well in the village of Camiram (in Episode Five), the characters followed the doppelganger Seligg into a ruined building. There they discovered the real Vosta's body just in time for Ekam Relles, the Sheriff of Camiram, to put in an appearance with some of his guards. To make matters worse, the murder weapon belongs to one of the characters (stolen from them earlier by Seligg).

Confronted by the law, the characters have three options: They can fight, try to run, or surrender.

Ekam Relles, Sheriff of Camiram, male half-elf, War5: SZ M (humanoid); HD 5d8; hp 4; Init +0; Spd 20; AC 17 (+4 scale mail, +2 large shield, +1 dexterity); Atk: longsword +6 (1d8+1) or crossbow +6 (1d8); Face 5 ft. x 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.; SV Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +1; Str 12, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 11, Wis 10, Cha 11; AL NG. Skills: Climb +4, Handle Animal +4, Jump +4, Listen +2, Ride +4, Spot +3, Search +3. Feats: Weapon Focus (longsword), Point-Blank Shot.

Guards (4): SZ M (humanoid); HD 1d8; hp 4; Init +0; Spd 20; AC 16 (+4 scale mail, +2 large shield); Atk: longsword +1 (1d8) or crossbow +1 (1d8); Face 5 ft. x 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.; SV Fort +3, Ref +0, Will +0; Str 11, Dex 10, Con 11, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 10; AL NG. Skills: Listen +1, Spot +1, Search +1. Feats: Weapon Focus (longsword), Point-Blank Shot.

Fight! Attacking the guards confirms the PCs’ guilt in Ekam's mind. Even if they're not guilty of killing Vosta, they'll be held accountable for the deaths of any guards slain in the fight. The sheriff wants to capture the characters, if possible, but he and the guards will use deadly force in defense, if necessary. Only if they are clearly outmatched will the guards retreat -- but only to gather reinforcements to come after the characters again.

Run! If the characters run, the guards pursue them on foot. There is nowhere in the village for the PCs to hide, and the surrounding area offers them little cover, although the darkness of the night can aid them somewhat. The players should make Hide checks opposed by the guards’ Spot checks to avoid notice. If they can evade the guards, the characters can consider their next action.

Surrender! If the party surrenders to the guards, the characters find themselves treated well enough. Stripped of their weapons, they are placed under guard in a locked room of the sheriff's office (location 5 on the map). The lock is a fairly typical one, but a character has to reach through a small, barred window to try and pick it, increasing the DC to 20. There is a small barred window in the room as well.

Flight to Freedom

Seligg the doppelganger has framed the characters well. More importantly, the creature has sparked conflict between the barbarians of the Crescent Moon and the people of Camiram. The villagers, angry about the poisoning of their well, accuse the barbarians of sabotage, while the tribe’s Sollek Silver-Axe is furious over the death of Vosta and wants the characters punished, hotly denying any wrongdoing on Vosta's part -- or that of any other member of his tribe. Negotiations are breaking down rapidly, and the only way for the mayor to maintain peace is to hand the PCs over to Sollek for execution.

Even if they tell the truth, their story is in doubt, and no one in the village can verify it magically. Although Jinna Yost can cast detect evil to determine that the characters in the party are not evil, that doesn't necessarily make them incapable of murder. Unless the group can escape the village (either during the initial encounter with Ekam Relles above, or afterward) they are doomed.

Let the players come up with their own plan for getting out of the village and clearing their names. They can use their various class abilities -- including spells -- to find a way to slip out of the village before anyone knows they've escaped. Skills like Bluff, Hide, Move Silently, and Open Locks are quite useful here, as are enchantment and illusion spells. The Dungeon Master should assign DC as dictated by the situation.

If the players have a particularly difficult time coming up with a feasible plan, you can offer them a little help in the form of one of the villagers. It could be someone the characters befriended earlier, or someone who believes in their innocence -- or at least maintains that something larger is afoot. Having the characters free may be the only means of finding out what's really going on. The wizard Evet Skarm is a good choice, as is Jenna Yost, the local priestess. You should only play this card if the players are really having trouble on their own, since they're not always going to have someone to lend them a helping hand.

The Cliffhanger: The Hunt Begins

Once the party escapes the confines of the village proper, the PCs’ troubles are far from over. The authorities discover their escape fairly quickly, and soon Ekam Relles and Camiram’s militia begin searching for the missing criminals. As the characters near the outskirts of the village, hunting horns blare in the distance, and they can hear the sounds of thundering hooves headed their way….

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 previous episode, the PCs escaped from Camiram and now travel into the Wild Lands seeking the truth.

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 Hunt

After their escape from Camiram, the party must escape the sheriff and the village guards. The authorities pursue the characters on horseback, which may pose some difficulties if the PCs didn't think to acquire horses while making their escape. They'll have to roll Hide checks opposed by Spot checks from the guards to evade notice and make a clean getaway from the village. The chase should be tense, but it shouldn't be too difficult for the characters to escape, especially if they leave Camiram under the cover of darkness. The skills of a druid, ranger, or rogue, or the judicious use of spells, will aid in their escape.

Unfortunately for the party, they are now wanted by both the authorities in Camiram and the people of the Crescent Moon tribe in the Wild Lands. The next move is up to them. Non-good aligned characters might simply want to put as much distance between them and Camiram as possible, in which case the adventure probably ends here, although the characters remain wanted in the area (for as long as humans inhabit the area). Those who choose to flee may later hear how Camiram was wiped out by invading orcs.

Remind good-aligned characters who want to cut their losses and run that they know there is a real threat to Camiram, and that someone has tarnished their good name as part of a plot. This is even more important to characters actually from Camiram: Their home is in danger! They should want to prove their innocence and uncover the real threat to the village. To do that, they're going to need information.

The Wild Lands

The Wild Lands around Camiram offer the opportunity for a number of different encounters to take place, depending on how long you want to play out the party's time in the wilderness. In addition to the possibility of barbarian hunting parties or a small band of orcs from the Skull-Smashers, you can include creatures from the Monster Manual suitable to the relatively open terrain or the nearby forests and the party's level. This gives the characters the opportunity to test their mettle against a creature or two and earn some experience, as well as learning more about the dangers that lie beyond the bounds of the village.

A Plan of Action

The next move is up to the players. In order to prove their innocence, they have to find out what is really going on in Camiram. They can go about it in several ways. Players may come up with other avenues of investigation as well as those described here. If they do, give them a reasonable chance of success based on their plan, and use their skills and class abilities to determine whether they succeed.

Keeping Watch: The characters can spy village goings-on, either in disguise or at a discreet distance, looking for signs of anything suspicious that might give them clues about their real enemy. Seligg slips away from Camiram shortly after the characters are accused, so they won't see the doppelganger there.

Tracking Seligg: A Wilderness Lore check (DC 15) can pick up Seligg's trail leading away from the village. A character who succeeds at a DC 20 check notices that the tracks shift slightly once out of sight of the village, taking on a rather different shape. The tracks lead to Seligg's lair in the Wild Lands but, before the characters follow them there, they meet up with someone (see below).

Finding Allies: The characters might try covertly contacting people in Camiram whom they think they can trust for help in uncovering the real villain behind the plot. If someone aided their escape in Episode Six, that individual may do so again now. Of course, the PCs have to be careful whom they trust, since many villagers consider them criminals and might turn them over to the authorities.

The Cliffhanger: Unexpected Aid

Once the characters have gathered some clues, or found Seligg's trail, they are approached by a figure clad in a dark cloak and hood. This encounter takes place out of sight of the villagers (if the party still remains within the village) or out in the surrounding wilderness. The figure approaches, hands open in a gesture of goodwill and clearly not wielding any weapons. If allowed to approach, she pulls back her hood to reveal Vosta the Veiled, the woman the characters are accused of killing…

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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