So I've decided to start up a Castles & Crusades campaign in the Wilderlands of High Adventure...
In best Wilderlands fashion, I determined the starting point of the campaign entirely randomly, first determining that it would begin in Campaign Map 4: Viridistan, then randomly determining the hex where the game would start: Hex 0729, on the trail between Saimon and Ezrahaddon. I decided the adventure would begin in media res, with the party being part of a caravan between the two towns. I randomly determined that they were heading north, so the caravan is likely filled with grain, as well as glassware from Calah and rare and unusual goods from the Desert Lands. Who, exactly, is attacking I have yet to determine!
One thing I've doing with this campaign is going with a larger hex scale: 12.5 mile hexes. I've always like a larger scale for the maps, and having worked with 12.5 mile hexes for the Realm, decided to go with that scale rather than the 15 mile hexes I've used before. I've also pumped up the settlement populations accordingly (though only x2.5), as I've always felt that they were a wee bit on the light side; though even so, there is a LOT of empty space and wilderness left between those small points of light!
I've laid some ground work for the local region. Here is the material from my "Selisengard Campaign Cheat Sheet" that I pass out to the players. It is filled with general information any adventurer in the area should be able to find out easily enough. As you can tell from the name of the campaign, I am hoping the players will be enticed by the possibile treasures found in Selisengard (which is a rather more extensive ruin in this world than in the Wilderlands of High Fantasy, along the lines of Pavis/Big Rubble in Glorantha). Of course, things can go quickly off the rails in any campaign, especially a sandbox as I am designing this to be, so you never know!
As you will see from the house rules, I am also trying to keep things simple, as the camapign is designed to be an introduction to C&C, and as I discovered much to my chagrin with the Realm, if you give the players the full range of available classes and races, they will more than happily push far beyond that! There's something to be said of the 4x4 option in keeping the campaign simple... though being a culture freak as I am, I gave them plenty of interesting human and demihuman cultures to play with!
0) The Castle Keeper is Always Right!
1) Roll 4d6 drop the lowest die six times, arrange to taste
2) Available Races: Human only!
3) Available Classes: Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, and Wizard. No multi-classing is allowed!
4) Starting Level (d6) 1-3: 1st, 4+5: 2nd, 6: 3rd
5) Max hit points at 1st level; thereafter, you get what your roll!
6) Roll 3d6x10 for starting gold (SL Modified), multiply by your level.
7) Starting Social Level depends on the 3d6 roll used for initial gold.
8) You might have magic items! I will check for you once you have rolled for starting gold but before you have purchased your equipment.
9) You have a 1% chance +1% per point of Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma over 15 of having a psychic ability.
10) A natural 20 rolled to hit is always a hit; if you would have hit anyway, it is a Critical Hit, and you can do extra damage or even kill your opponent instantly! Of course, this can work against you, as well…
11) A natural 1 rolled to hit is always a miss; if you would have missed anyway, it is a Fumble, and bad things can happen!
12) Some poisons and traps can kill instantly… though you usually get a saving throw… you have been warned!
13) You regain half of the hit points you lost from each individual wound (rounded up) after 10 minutes of rest and bandaging after each battle, so keep track of your exact wounds!
14) If you are reduced to less than 0 hit points, you are unconscious, and may suffer long-term debilitating effects from your wounds, even with magical healing. At -7 hit points, you are mortally wounded, and lose one hit point every 1d6x1d10 rounds if you do not make a Constitution check to stabilize. When you reach -10 hit points, you die… and as 9th or higher level clerics are quite rare, death is usually quite permanent in the Wilderlands!
15) I count encumbrance, so keep careful track of all your equipment and treasure, especially where it is all kept!
16) Most men and women of the Wilderlands are 0-level commoners, but you never know when the bartender you are dealing with is some 0-level schmuck, a 3rd-level wizard, a 20th-level fighter, or even a slumming godling!
Clerics and Wizards
As a spell caster, you have a number of spells known and a number of spells per day, for each level of spell you know. Thus, you memorize your spells, but you do not forget a spell when it is cast; instead you use one of your spell casting slots of that level per day. Your bonus spells count toward both spells known and spells per day. You can use a higher-level spell casting slot to cast a lower-level spell, but there is no bonus for doing so.
Wizards and Armor
Wizards may wear armor, but if they cast spells while wearing armor, they must make an Intelligence check against a CL equal to the level of the spell plus the bonus value of the armor they are wearing! Elves must only add the level of the spell they are casting to their CL.
Rogues and Armor
Rogues can wear padded armor, a leather coat, leather armor, and leather helms without penalty. Any other armor worn while performing their special abilities causes them to suffer a CL penalty equal to the full bonus value of the armor worn.
Remember, the weapons listed with your class are those in which you are proficient. You may use any weapon, but if you are not proficient with it, you suffer a -4 penalty to hit.
Ælfen [Aelphen] (NG): Ruddy-skinned, blonde-haired, hazel-eyed Doughty Serfs or Lower Class Freemen Peasants, Swineherds, Shepherds, or Craftsmen (Very Common, Anglo-Saxon)
Cavemen (N): Swarthy, black-haired, brown-eyed Subhuman Degenerate Descendants of Ancient Lost Civilizations used as Slaves and Mercenaries (Rare)
Common Viridian (LN): Pale green and blue-skinned, tawny-haired, blue and green-eyed Lower and Middle Class Freemen and Citizen Peasants, Shepherds, Craftsmen, Merchants, and Soldiers (Very Common, Anglo-Greek)
High Viridian (CE): Swarthy blue-green-skinned, dirty blonde to platinum-haired, blue or green-eyed Decadent, Debauched, and Demon-Worshiping Noble Lords and Gentry (Rare, Greco-Persian)
Lenapashim (LE): Golden-skinned, black-haired, brown-eyed Mercenary or Raider Outlander Savage Paynim Desert Nomads of the Endless Desert (Very Rare, Arab-Persian)
Maldevarian (N): Swarthy-skinned, black-haired, amber-eyed Mercenary Outlander Hot-Blooded Conquistadors (Rare, Spanish)
Shardan (LN): Blue-skinned, white-haired, blue-eyed Middle to Upper Class Citizen and Gentry Artisans, Craftsmen, Soldiers, and Ranchers or Mercenary and/or Raider Outlander Nomad Horse Warriors (Uncommon/Rare, Persian-Greek and Persian-Mongolian)
Smyrian (CG): Pale-skinned, brown-haired, blue-eyed Kindly if Mysterious Lower and Middle Class Citizen Peasants, Craftsmen, and Merchants (Uncommon, Hungarian)
Tharbarres (LG): Bronze-skinned, red-haired, blue-eyed Zealous Desert-Dwelling Crusaders of Mitra and Prophets of Mycr Dedicated to the Liberation of the Holy Cities from Viridistan (Rare, Gallo-Persian)
Tharbrian (CN): Pale-skinned, red-haired, green-eyed Mercenary and/or Raider Outlander Nomad Horse Warriors (Uncommon, Gaelic)
Vandarian (LN): Swarthy-skinned, black-haired, sloe-eyed, hawk-nosed and big-boned Mercenary Barbarian Mountain and Hill-Dwelling Warriors of the Haunting Range and Ered Demivand (Very Rare, Armenian)
Demihuman Cultures (All are Very Rarely Encountered)
Dwarves, Kazadrach (N): Tan-skinned, red, brown, or blonde-haired, blue or green-eyed Smiths, Jewelers, Merchants, and Alchemists of the Cities and Towns. (Kazadarum)
Dwarves, Kazakarag (LG): Bronze-skinned, flame red-haired, ice blue-eyed, big-headed barrel-chested Orc-Loathing Isolationist Goldsmiths and Miners of the Starrcrag Mountains. (Elementalists)
Elves, Aelsinar (CG): Brown-skinned, straw-haired, blue or green-eyed short and wiry Isolationist Forest-Dwelling Pleasure-Seeking Merry-Making Joke-Dealing Wandering Wood Elves of the Elsenwood. (Beytnorn, Teros, Torrchas, and Vernaha)
Elves, Aelvoress (LG): Ivory-skinned, platinum-haired, violet-eyed, tall and lanky City-Dwelling Gray Elven Refugees of a Lost Kingdom of Faded Glory in the Savage North. (Cilborith)
Halflings, Mishell (N): Mauve-skinned, white-haired, golden-eyed elven-eared Vale-Dwelling Rustic Hard-Working Yeomen Farmers, Ranchers, Hunters, Brewers, Vintners, and Merchant-Adventurers. (Limtram, Losborst, Scodem, and Teth Tufa)
Mannish Temples, Faiths, and Gods
Ælfkirkje (NG, Ælfen): Eorthe the Earth Mother, Meili the Lord Bountiful, Aelfwine the King, Wulf the Warrior, and Grimm Greywand the Wizard, plus lots of “petty gods” of forest and stream. It is a very homey, earthy faith, with peasant-style rustic rituals and beliefs.
Alinah (LN, Vandarian): The Vandarian moon goddess is also patroness of werebears, wereboars, and weretigers; it is said that many of the chieftains of the Vandarians are lycanthropes.
Demon Cults (CE, Cult, usually High Viridians): Many and various, all nasty, many monstrous, some public, most not.
Gnosophim (N, Cult): Thoth, God of Knowledge and Wisdom. Ascetic mystic cult, with many wizards and monks, charges high price for spell casting services to any who can pay.
Hedonae (CE, Cult): Tama Hama, Goddess of Pleasure and Pain, the Divine Dominatrix. Most festivals are open to non-believers, for an appropriate fee… converts always welcome!
Mer Shunna (LE, Viridian): Armadad Bog (the Green Death) and Baba Yaga. Worshipers revere power, water, magic, and death; each family must give one child or a slave to the temple for sacrifice. Only Viridians allowed, is the official Imperial Faith. Most followers pay lip service, though a few are truly zealous.
Mitraic Mysteries (LG, Tharbarres): Mitra is dedicated to combating evil and chaos in all forms, particularly Set. Often works with Mycretians and Sekerites.
Mycretianism (LG, Cult): Mycr is a god of peace; he claims that he is the only TRUE god, and all other “gods” are false gods. His followers have great powers of healing, but lose them if they so much as defend themselves with intent to do harm. Often work with the Starlight Temple and Mitraic crusaders.
Natchai (CE, Cult, usually Cavemen): Eqni the Earth God requires the sacrifice of still-beating hearts, live burials, and the building of stone circles and the raising of obelisks. Eqni is very popular among the lower classes and among semi-civilized Cavemen.
Quizats Haterak (LE, Lenapashim): Bukera, God of the Endless Desert, the Old Scorpion, a god of desert winds, strange proclamations, genies, honor, harsh and unyielding traditions, misogyny, slavery, and living idols of stone.
Rune Ki Temple (LN, Cult): A mystic cult dedicated to Shang Ta, the god of sky, air, law, ritual, and meditation, followers spend most of their time blessed out on tithweed juice, ringing gongs, and discussing their strange visions.
Seekers of Health (LE, Cult): Clerics of Ugtargnt, the Devil Goddess of Disease, charge exorbitant fees for their healing services… and are rumored to start the very diseases they are paid to cure!
Smyrdyboga (CG, Smyrian): Dorak the Lord of Peace and Suthak the Lady of Plenty are central to a faith that exhorts its followers to believe in peace, kindness, community, and freedom.
Starlight Temple (LG, Cult): Seker, the God of Light, seeks out evil wherever it rears its ugly head. Only females (Cha 13+) may be Sekerite clerics and temple guardians.
Sun and Wind, Earth and Grass (N, Tharbrian): The Tharbrians revere druidic gods, notably Belenus the Sun, Epona the Earth, Goibhniu the Smith, Lugh the Excellent, and Morrighan Battle Queen. Donn, the Demon God of Death, is not revered so much as propitiated and hated. They have no temples, only stone circles.
Tanga-Dorn (LN, Shardan): Mystic patron of the nomad shamans, the Everlasting Sky is also the Blue Thunderer. Requires strange taboos, odd rituals, and strong ethics; morals not so much.
Tardome (N, Maldevarian): The Falcon King is a god of exploration and conquest; his followers are exhorted to go forth in the world to make their mark or die trying. The merciful need not apply.
Temple Tempter (LN, Cosmopolitan): Nephtlys is the goddess of trade, luck, wealth, conspicuous consumption, and spiders, in that order. She is very popular with merchants and craftsmen.
The Bad Guys
Demons: For centuries, the Emperor has ruled through use and abuse of demons, many of which have gained their freedom and now make their way as they will across the land.
Goblins of Slithytove: Put down harshly during the Great Slaughter of Pain two centuries ago, the Goblins of Slithytove are again on the move, led by a Priest-King with strange powers.
Redcap Gnomes of the Bestial Barrens: In the last decade before the Emperor went into seclusion, he pushed the border of the Empire deep into the Bestial Barrens, traditionally the home of savage gnomes… and today, their blood-maddened descendents seek revenge!
Shardan Nomads of the Berserker Wilds: Descended from the clans who would not bow to the Viridians, the Shardans of the West ride once again in strength, raiding far into the domains of the Falling Empire and claiming their ancient homeland of Eba Aba.
Starrcrag Orcs: Centuries ago this savage tribe of orcs swarmed into the Starrcrag mountains from the Unknown West, conquering the southern ranges and extirpating the dwarves of the southern delves. Of late their mysterious shamans have been very active around their great Glass Mountain Temple, and orcs have been seen far and wide from their mountain homes.
Viridian Noble Lords: With the preoccupation and virtual isolation of the Emperor for the last 20 years, the High Viridian noble lords of the Empire have been competing with one another for power and wealth in a low-grade civil war; for upon the death of the Emperor, the last of the True Viridians leaves the Imperial Throne wide open for the taking!
Geography, Settlements, and Ruins
Berserker Wilds: Home to savage tribes of Shardan nomads, including chaotic heretics dedicated to Tel-Star, the Darkness Between the Stars, brother and enemy of Tanga-Dorn.
Bestial Barrens: Home to terrible monsters, including redcap gnomes, giant lizards, toads, snakes, and beetles.
Cabral Jungle: Said to be home to ghouls and ruined pyramids.
Calah: Frontier town deep in Bestial Barrens, capital of the Mikraino Military District, and last slice of civilization to the west.
Celedorinlin: Eastern, drier reach of the Slithytove contains most extensive ruins of the ancient Elven civilization.
Crown Knoll: Burial site of ancient Shardan kings and shamans.
Crystal Lake: Home to orcs, ruins once site of advanced civilization.
Dankbark Forest: The northern eaves of the Cabral Jungle, Infested with giant spiders who collect silver from the ancient Elven ruins that abound throughout the region.
Desert of Blood: These rocky wastes, sheltered by the Haunting Range are said to be covered in rubies, by legend the congealed blood of a dead god.
Ezrahaddon: Plains town on frontier, many ruined villas nearby; capital of the Viscounty of Ezrahaddon.
Glass Mountain Mines: Diamond mines infested with orcs; the diamonds are said to possess strange magical powers.
Haunting Range: These southern mountains are home to Savage barbarians and rich ancient tombs of the pre-Mycretian civilization of the Endless Desert.
Lake Saffrin: Said to be the home of the Lady of the Lake, a powerful fey who rewards righteousness and punishes wickedness kin her own inimitable fashion.
Millo Fortress: The Citadel of the Shah, the only city in the Province, it is a single vast citadel of many walls and towers in the eaves of the Dankbark Forest along the shore of the River Leander.
Missing Memory Marshes: Home to cavemen and giant leeches, the marshes to the north are avoided by all save those who seek the ancient treasures that lie within moss-covered mounds that were once great cities and citadels of a lost civilization.
Obsidian Citadel: Fortress of a particularly ferocious storm giant stands between the dwarves and orcs of the Starrcrags.
Plain of Eba Aba: To the west across the River Leander, these wide plains are the Shardan heartland where genies roam free and ancient and terrible magic abounds amid barbarian splendor.
River Leander: Wide and fast river glows a golden light.
Saimon: The largest town in western Shardis and capital of the Archcounty of Solomos stands near Selisengard on the southern shore of Lake Saffrin, near the verge of the Slithytove.
Selisengard: Ruined ancient city filled with monsters and treasure, once an advanced civilization of Men who inherited the greatness of the Elves of Celedorinlin.
Slaekt the Gold Dragon: This ancient gold wyrm is the Great Dragon of the Starrcrag Mountains, and is both wise and feral, being as likely to eat you as to speak with you.
Slithytove: Marshy lowland forest filled with goblins, evil fey, snakes, and nastier things, as well as littered with ruins of an ancient Elven civilization.
Starrcrag Mountain Mines: Ancient and bountiful gold mines of the Kazakarag dwarves, well guarded and trapped.
Valley of the Dead Queens: Long ages ago, a great kingdom once ruled the western lands from this valley high in the Starrcrag Mountains. The kingdom fell in a great cataclysm after the three sister-queens turned against each other. The queens and their followers were turned into monsters, which thrive in the valley to this day… still guarding the vast treasure of the lost kingdom.