The Alexandrian

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Keep on the ShadowfellSPOILER WARNING!

The following thoughts contain minor spoilers for Keep on the Shadowfell. If you don’t want to be spoiled, don’t read it. And if you’re in my gaming group then you definitely shouldn’t be reading it.

DESIGN NOTES

I have two primary goals with this material:

First, I’m trying to raise the stakes. The activities of the cult are placing Winterhaven in jeopardy. Unless the PCs do something, people are going to start dying. Kalarel is going to win.

Second, by having events in Winterhaven develop over time we keep the location fresh. As a result going back to town in order to rest up is more than just a mechanical contrivance: There is something for the PCs to do or interact with.

And if I’m successful in these design goals, then hopefully Winterhaven will feel more like a living, breathing place. That will help make the entire scenario more memorable.

Special thanks to Smerg and EnigmaShock at the WotC forums who helped spur some of the ideas used below.

Winterhaven

RATIONING

Lord Padraig declares martial law and places the village under rationing in an effort to conserve supplies. The inn serves breakfasts of boiled oats; lunches of thin barley soup and a quarter crust of a small loaf of bread; and suppers of boiled potatoes with a small amount of fatty bacon.

Streetwise (DC 10): There’s a fair amount of discontent over the rationing. There are rumors being spread that various farmers in the valley are hoarding food.

Streetwise (DC 15): There are rumors that Lord Padraig is still feasting in his manor while he leaves the villagers to starve. The Regulars won’t do anything about it, because they’re receiving extra food from Padraig, too. (TRUTH: The Regulars are getting extra rations; Padraig is not.)

THE GUARD’S FUNERAL

The PCs return to Winterhaven to see a procession of Regulars led by Sister Linora heading towards the graveyard. An elderly villager died the previous evening… but didn’t stay dead. Shambling to life as a zombie, it attacked and killed one of the gate guards.

SIEGE SUPPLIES

A crowd gathers outside the inner gate leading to the manor house. The villagers demand that Lord Padraig open the siege supplies and distribute them. But Lord Padraig is hesitant to do so until the situation is truly dire. He suspects that a true siege may be coming soon.

FEAR OF CULTISTS

If the PCs being spreading around the knowledge of the cult of Orcus, the village will slowly descend into paranoia: Villagers will begin accusing each other of being cultists.

CULTISTS IN WINTERHAVEN

There will be two interludes in which the cultists strike directly at Winterhaven: The Dead Walk and Cultists in Our Midst. Both of these will be dealt with tomorrow.

MAKING ADJUSTMENTS

The actions of the PCs may significantly alter the situation in Winterhaven. For example, they might go to the farms in the south; organize a caravan of supplies; and then guard it. Depending on the situation at the time, they might have to fight off a party of kobolds or goblins. Or, perhaps, they’ll have put enough fear into Kalarel’s minions that — with them guarding the caravan — they won’t be attacked at all.

If something of this nature happens, consider having Lord Padraig throw a feast in the PCs’ honor. It will probably still be a meager affair, but it gives them a chance to feel like heroes and keeps them engaged with the village (albeit in a more positive fashion).

Continued…

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