Monday, 24 August 2020

The Prodigal Caravan, A Wizard Infested Town for Ordure Fantasy

(Written for Ordure Fantasy - this is the base of operation for PCs in a hexcrawlly module I may be working on).


Perched at the sandy entrance to the Iron Rib Peninsula is a nomadic village of wizard wagons known as The Prodigal Caravan. Huge wheeled towers, twisted and warped by the fey energy and bizarre architectural tastes of their sorcerous owners. This community of wizardlords and their serf-like army of assistants have settled to rife through the ruins of the peninsula, hunting for ancient technologies, and study the vivified geology. A camp of the ubiquitous Red Sun Men haunt the outskirts of the village from a huge red tent - they carefully monitor the treasures dredged from the peninsula and brought to the wizards.

A wheeled tower of the caravan 

The PCs approach the caravan from a wheeled caravel, known as The Rusty Beetle. This land-ship has recently crossed The Traconerous Wastes. Its captain, Animax, has come to the peninsula in search of an ancient navigation device rumoured to be stored in one of the Crabkind effigies. Animax, a  wearer of pointy iron armour and several large blades, will only recross The Traconerous Wastes in exchange for the navigation device or d6 x 100 silver. The PCs may have crewed for The Rusty Beetle, if so Animax will offer bunks in the berth of the land-ship for them to rest (resting here will restore PCs Health to 4). 

The Rusty Beetle

Each of the enormous wagontowers has a public carriage-house at its base. Entry is via a stairway between the wheels of the carriage. Access to the wizard tower above is via a spiral staircase guarded by mace armed and spike armoured serfs (Health 4). Most of the caravan’s wizards are willing to meet with potential technology hunters but their guards will screen for timewasters.

The Carriage-house Beneath The Tower of the Wagon is a:
  1. Public drinking hall, filled with off duty serfs. 1 in 6 chance of a Wizard drinking here. Hurdy gurdy plays sad tunes. Wine is 1 silver and causes the next d6 Body Tests to be Easy, same amount of Mind tests Hard. 
  2. Travellers hostel, creaky, empty and run by a mopey serf. Sleeping in wooden beds costs 1 silver and restores Health to 5. 
  3. General Supply Store. Odd angled wooden shelves are filled with a huge array of mundane items, all selling for 1 silver each. 
  4. Stew Shop, smokey with the stench of meat and garlick. Enormous cauldrons roiling with sea birds and relatively exotic spices. A bowl is 1 silver and wards off starvation for a day. 
  5. Steamy greenhouse, overflowing with vines and organlike flowers. 2 in 6 chance of a wizard meditating here. Slightly rusty ornate iron chairs.  
  6. Serf dormitory. Roll d6: 1 - 2, locked and empty. 3 - 4, locked, sleeping serf. 5 - 6, open, serf tidying their paltry possessions. 
That is:
  1. Having repairs conducted by d6 serf labourers. 2 in 6 chance they will deny entry to the carriage-house. 
  2. Covered in eye meltingly gaudy curtains and cushions. A hypnotically patterned rug on sand at entry stairs. 
  3. Lit by iron lanterns with multicoloured flames, all hanging from huge black chains. 1 in 6 chance a flame will leave a lantern and float above a PC’s head for a day.  
  4. Surrounded by a thick greengrey fog. A Mind Test is required to navigate the way to the carriage-house stairs. 
  5. Covered in hundreds of ornate, full body length mirrors. 1 in 6 chance of a ghostly twin of a PC being summoned for the next day.  
  6. Guarded by a chained wooly, horned, horse-like beast. 2 in 6 chance that the beast snarls at the PCs and denys entry. Otherwise it snorts at them nonchalantly.  
Tower Wagon Wizard Generator, for when the PCs are granted an audience with a wizard, or encounter one in a carriage-house. All the wizards have 8 Health and any powers implied by their descriptions will affect all PCs in a turn. 

The Wizard is: 
  1. Laquatus Amb, bulging bare head, straining with worm veins and hands twice the size they should be. Purple rope tied across body. Psychic powers of subtle mind control. Obsessed with having the strongest brain in the realm. 
  2. Midnit Tual, never makes eye contact, always gazing out window. Pyramid of iron on sweat dripping head. Studiously records the weather then ceremoniously burns previous days record. Can summon lightning at will.  
  3. Farseer Illick, baroque metal armour engraved with interplanetary imagery. Prefers silence to all else. Sleeps all day, spends nights at telescope. Temporarily stupefies all those that cause aggravation.
  4. Era Ot, scuttles on augmented skeletal spider legs, which bellyfolds roll softly over. Surrounded by surreal statues of growing meat. Never lies. Grows meat in vat and fuses flesh with imbued scalpel.   
  5. Ror of the Dirt, enormous, flabby and filthy. Surrounded by mounds of steaming, black dirt. Whispers to saplings to invigorate them with otherworldly properties. These are often consumed to give Ror strange powers. 
  6. Stom Cerat, fuligin robe, cinched by a heavy belt of blood sample jars. Always whispers and often does so to the vials of blood around his body. Can summon warped beasts and miasmas from leaking veins.

Midnit Tual

And the Interior of Their Tower: 
  1. Is stuffed with mounds of sample jars, labeled in a mysterious script of the wizard’s own creation.  
  2. Houses slaggy furniture made of chunks of ferric meteorite.
  3. Mouldy with the thick stench of several preserved corpses (possibly the friends, family or enemies of the wizard). 
  4. Is opulent, gilded and hugely impractical. Huge thrones too ornate to sit upon. Desks so overwrought with decorative flourishes they are unusable.
  5. Filled with windows to places that don’t exist. Views of hypercoloured clouds swimming with gigantic purple jellyfish and vistas of inverted mountain ranges of green glass. 
  6. Hollowed out - just a mass of chain ladders and bridges. The wizard sits calmly and precariously, scooped in a chain net at the top of the tower. 
Wizard Serf Generator, for when the PCs encounter one in a carriage-house or in the dusty run ways of the caravan. All serfs have 3 Health and any equipment implied by their descriptions. 

The Serf’s Profession is: 
  1. Delicacy feeder - apron of tiny forks.  
  2. Sample preserver - belt of irregular jars and stinks of chemicals.  
  3. Will O'Wisp lantern stoker - burning with a ghostly green flame. 
  4. Vermin catcher - suit of ratskins, wooden cage backpack. 
  5. Dream interpreter - naked save for enormous chain slung tome. 
  6. Reagent archivist - slightly singed, rolling a rickety trolly of bubbling chemicals. 
They Wear: 
  1. Psychedelic mobile tattoos, colours ever swirling, edges slightly festering.  
  2. Too large robe, trailing in the dirt, face hidden in the too many folds. 
  3. A bouquet of chubby oozing succulents.  
  4. Thick leather belt studded with glowing gems - several wires emerge and terminate in flesh. 
  5. Skull sized pink geode hanging on neck with bronze wire. 
  6. Three oily and jagged prismatic crystals jutting from head - implanted in skull.
What Do they Want?
  1. An artifact incredibly specific to their profession - will provide their services for a day. 
  2. To give away a malfunctioning artifact specific to their profession - is cursed but seems a good deal. 
  3. To get a sample of their profession to a colleague in the furthest away wagon tower - will pay d6 x d6 silver for the service.  
  4. Some food - will pay d6 silver. 
  5. A loan of d6 x d6 silver to pay back an enemy - In exchange will provide services for an hour  
  6. Privacy, scuttle away from the PCs - they have stolen a profession specific valuable from their wizard.  

The Red Tent

The huge pyramidal tent of the Red Sun Men lurks ominously just in sight of the caravan. Swathes of thick crimson cloth pulled tight over sheets of lightweight metal, held rigid by royal architectural magics. 20 Red Sun Agents comfortably dwell within the tent. Entry is denied to any being not directly associated with the Autarch’s court (an abundance of vats, wires, pipes, chemicals, jumbles of artifacts, sumptuous silk beds, and endless plastic storage boxes are hidden within). Red Sun Agents (Health 10) fire repeating crossbows twice a turn, or slash with black sabres twice a turn.  

d6 Red Sun Agents, wrapped in skin tight tunics and swallowed in billowing cloaks of crimson, will approach any PCs new to The Caravan with a job to be completed in service of the glorious Red Sun King.


Red Sun Agents

The Red Sun Agent has: 
  1. A ridge of iron pyramids running along face and scalp - can communicate telepathically and send an undeniable command this way (test Mind to ignore) 
  2. An ornate bone barrel implanted onto backside and connected to torso via several tubes - can expulse metal melting acidmilk from shooting vents installed in wrists. 
  3. A forward hanging head, heavy from a hundred Red Sun King emblems around neck - Can curse, causing all target’s Tests to be Hard for a day (Test Luck to avoid).
  4. A pink gem pulsating in forehead - Test Mind to avoid agreeing with whatever the agent says. 
  5. A shimmering form, diffused at the edges and iron spikes running along shoulders - can act up to three times in a Turn. 
  6. A maw mouth that reaches back to the ears - whisper yells and can deafen for d6 rounds with a bellow (test Body). 


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