Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Vornlong, The Complete City Kit

Qampong - the player character's embark point in Qelong is one of the smaller entries in the book (and rightly so, considering what the interior of the river valley contains). Swollen by refugees and foreign opportunists, it's now a misshapen port city at the mouth of a dying land. Because Qelong is intended for levels 4-7, and I'm using it as a campaign kickoff, I've decided I'm going to flesh Qampong out a bit, enough to provide fleeting interest for the rookie party. Part of the strength of Qelong as written, though, is that the concision of its entry for Qampong really prevents players from getting bogged down in the city - it forces you out, and into the interior.

So, nothing too detailed. The impression I get of Qampong is that it's dangerous and ungovernable - the book frequently mentions the anonymous 'warlords' endemic to the River Valley, but perhaps none rules here. Perhaps the influx of refugees and war profiteers has rendered the city ungovernable. Somewhat like Vornheim, except due to anarchy, rather than sprawl.

Most of Qampong - which has doubled in size as refugees have flooded in - is now rotting slum. Mapping is fruitless, as the alleys are constantly reshaped by fires, collapses, and new arrivals. The population is poor, famished, angry, and mostly male. There are 12 informal slum gangs, named for the signs of the Zodiac, though this is the only constant among their fluctuating membership and territory.   Any slum-dwelling contact the players make has a 1 in 20 chance of simply disappearing each week.

There are only two districts worth mentioning - the Seaside, which is where the merchants' Factory is and where the boats are kept, and the Hilltop, which once held the wealthiest households, and whose ruined husks now shelter the most bloodthirsty and powerful gang (roll a d12). Behind the hill is an aboveground cemetery. Both districts are actually kept relatively clear of typhus and plague, and are the only stable places where "establishments" of any sort can be found.

Every hour the players spend in the slums has a 1 in 6 chance of an encounter. And it takes at least an hour to get anywhere in the slums (including out of the city.) 1d20.

1. Desolate alley. Person lies apparently injured in street. Actually in league with the 1d6 cannibals waiting in the shadows.
2-3. Desolate alley. 2d4 dholes gnaw on something in a doorway.
4. Desolate alley. Person lies injured in street (d6 - 1-3 member of random gang 4-5 foreigner 6 - adventurer, level d4). Good chance of recovering unassisted, but will remember the players and how they treated her.
5. Crowd, minding its own business. Except for the pickpocket (Thief 1d4). Party will notice any theft, it's just a matter of before or after. Roll 1d20 for possible gang affiliation, results higher than 12 indicate no affiliation.
6. 2d6 members of a random gang (Fighter 1) stumble around drunk and looking for a fight.
7-8. Seasonal weather - intense heat doubles the effective weight of worn armor, or driving rain halves visibility and modifies balance and missile fire by -4.
9. Monsoon. If rolled on the first or last day of any month, it also carries fish or frogs. Chance of doing 1HP damage on hit, and slums will go crazy trying to gather the fallen food.
10-11. Street fight or drunken brawl between (roll 1d6 twice) - 1-2 members of random gang 3 foreign guardsmen 4 cannibals 5 strange beast 6 unarmed, helpless refugees. 
12-13. Abandoned shack (roll on table)
14. Lunatic standing on rooftop harangues small crowd about the evilness of dwarves and one other random rumor.
15. Aakom-cursed woman holding aakom-cursed baby. Tries to press baby into the arms of most charismatic adventurer.
16. Foreign guardsmen conducting deals with members of a random gang. Roll reaction with 2d4. 
17. Members of two random gangs conducting deals with each other. Roll each reaction with 2d4. 
18. Elephant experiencing musth. Morale 12. Everyone else flees. Owned by most powerful gang.
19. Guardsmen searching for waylaid shipment of cardamom or pepper. Will suspect or press-gang anyone well armed.
20. Shifty foreign merchant offers to sell the party "a great treasure" for only 200 sp. Wants 100 sp just to let them see it.
It is (1d6):
  1-A boarded-up shack (roll on table). The merchant slips away at first opportunity.
  2-A cannon with 8 granite cannonballs. No carriage, no powder.
  3-A jar of Hagen's fake anti-aakom tincture
  4-A jar of Hagen's real anti-aakom tincture
  5-A hidden group of 2d6 cannibals. The merchant slips away after they attack.
  6-A dozen jars of cardamom or pepper. False bottoms conceal aakom-laced livers soaked in wine.

What's in that boarded-up shack? (Roll a d8)
1. A pair of aakom zombie hands.
2. A pair of aakom zombie hands, and 2d100 sp buried in the floor.
3. A massive pile of shit. No joke. There are some holes in the ceiling people use to relieve themselves. 50% chance of typhus infection.
4. Nothing but a single word scratched into one wall: "Leave"
5. A pile of bones. An araq demands you bring them to the cemetary. 
6. A child's skull with the top sawn off. Filled with dozens of teeth. Eight gold coins placed in a circle around it. If anything is disturbed, a qmoc praj will emerge from this spot in three days and hunt down the desecrator.
7. A solid gold pendant in the shape of the lotus. Renders the wearer invisible to undead, but any monk will attack on sight.
8. The shack is bedecked in the worship livery of the Naga Qelong. The family of 1d4 cultists have become hungry nagakin in the weeks since they were trapped here.
 
EDIT: Two things I forgot to add.
For the most part, the "What's in that dead guy's pockets?" table is not going to apply here, since most people have very little in their pockets and even less in their bellies. The exceptions:
  • Gang members have daggers and 1d20 copper pieces each. Every fourth or fifth has a mace or sword.
  • Foreign guardsmen are the mercenaries defending the Factory and escorting most merchants through the city. They have leather armor, a dagger, a sword, and a light crossbow. 20 are stationed at the Factory at all times. They carry no coin, as there is nothing for them to buy.