Monday 27 July 2015

House of the Tyrant

At long last, the next adventure is ready: House of the Tyrant!  Novy Dom is a bustling but isolationist city-state carved out of cliffs at the mouth of a river gorge.

The reason for their isolationism is their leader: a monstrous and paranoid tyrant that inserted itself by force, then set about protecting itself with layers of toxic bureaucracy.

Like the Unmended Way, I classify this as a settlement rather than a typical adventure. There is plenty of danger beneath the surface, but players can't murderhobo their way through it - that would provoke far too much resistance. They'll need to use diplomacy and circumspect cunning.

There's also plenty of gold here, but the real treasures are allies: if players can avoid getting into trouble long enough to make some friends, Novy Dom could be a safe (or safe-ish) harbor, a useful jump-off point. If they bungle it, Novy Dom becomes a costly tar pit, waiting to snare and exploit them whenever they return.

For this reason, House of the Tyrant works best in campaigns where travel logistics are an important part of the challenge - securing fresh provisions, expedition planning, guides, and so on. (Members of the Gatherers' Guildhouse would make excellent wilderness guides!)

On the Big Map, Novy Dom is situated in the north, on the coast of Blightlands. It stands at the mouth of the Greatcleft, a river system that would allow a boat expedition almost as far as the Firevault mountains. (Boating being an easy way to haul expedition supplies and loot, a lot easier than hoofing it over the Blightlands.)

For some reason, this map took me ages.  I showed it to my daughter last night and she said, "Neat! Wait.. are you still working on that one?" Sticky summer has arrived in force, and with it, moist paper curling in the humidity. (Thank goodness for waterproof ink.) A big thanks to my readers and patrons for their patience.

Though it took me a long time, the city of Novy Dom actually has roots older than that - it was a key location in my old "Grunweld" campaign.  In that game, King Menaka was a Burning Wheel-converted Beholder, who came to a sticky end at the point of Siggar's sword in his summer palace gardens.

Something I did differently this time was engage a copy editor - two, in fact!  Brent P. Newhall and Andrew Young were both good enough to help me beat my purple prose into something readable. Layout constraints being what they are, I wasn't able to take all of their suggestions, so any errors you spot are still all my own.  (Please let me know!)

As always, this content (the PDF, the text, the map) is free as in beer - use it, chop it up, remix it and rewrite it so long as it's non-commercial and you attribute the original.

Novy Dom Map (TIFF)

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