Palace of the Vampire Queen
Scroll to the end to read about Eight Fountain Springs
The setting for this version of ‘Palace of the Vampire Queen’ will be an island Empire, ruled by dwarves, and with very small populations of other human/demi-human races.
The Empire will be located on the northwestern portion of the eastern ring of the world of Riom (the second of three campaign worlds I have created).
The current political and economic situation is as follows:
The Empire is ruled by a Dwarven woman (Dowager Empress, Roween Onosopolis) on behalf of her young grandson, Theomo Esttrubool. The Empire is composed of thirty-four ‘states’ (most states are single islands; some are made up of multiple islands, but no single state is made up of more than 4 islands). Each state is ruled by a King (Queen), or a Duke (Duchess). The political culture is similar in some ways to Spain in the late 17th century.
The Empire is in a political crisis:
Luxury Goods (once cheep and heavily imported) are becoming scarce with the increase of pirate activity and the rise to power of a Human nation located to the south of the Dwarven archipelago
Slave raids on poorly protected island communities are increasing
Wars between individual island kingdoms are escalating
The effects of plagues and famines of the last century are still strongly felt on some islands
Most of the islands are agriculturally rich in that they can be farmed, and animals cultivated, with little effort. However, class division has created a reduced working class, and farming has seen a reduction in output. A few islands continue to produce a large amount of exported agricultural products (primarily textiles and grain) and these islands, though wealthy in monetary terms, are the most difficult to defend as they have the smallest armies. It is said, by some, that a strong nationalist unification, improved protection for merchant ships, and a return to land lease/rent agreements would stabilize the Empire and return it to power.
The Empire is referred to by its citizens as Atharosse, which means ‘United’ or ‘Connected’ and comes from a flowering bush native to many of the islands. This bush, whose flowers are called Athara, is thorny, grows to a height of about six feet and individual plants will twine together to form a sort of impenetrable hedgerow. However, among the non Dwarven peoples in and around the Empire the islands are often referred to as the Dwarroque Archipelago, or the Dwarroqulles, or Dwarroquland. Dwarroque is the traditional name of the largest of the islands of the Empire, and it is the island that separates the Dwarven Empire from other islands to the east. Further to the east than these other islands lies the eastern ring of Riom and the nation of Wathronne (a Halfling nation).
The dwarves of Atharosse are passionate, quick to temper, boastful, industrious (but not hard working) and strong willed. They tend to work intently for a few hours and then rest for nearly half as many hours as they have worked – a typical workday for a dwarf is three to four hours work in the morning, a two hour break which includes an afternoon nap, three hours of work in the late afternoon and a second break of one to two hours followed by a two hour ‘end of the day’ mild work schedule when tools and work spaces are cleaned and plans are made for the next day.
Dwarven Family Traditions
Dwarven families tend to be large. A household will be (normally) a very old patriarch or matriarch, who holds dominance over three to eight siblings (and their spouses) each with three to eight children. When the Head of the household dies each of the siblings is expected to leave the home and establish a home of their own and leave the property (buildings and fields) to the youngest family member, who, if not old enough to care for the home, will usually be allowed to let their parents and siblings stay on until they are old enough to establish a family of their own and care for the property correctly. Although this is the cultural expectation, the current economic situation of the Empire is driving many Dwarven families to buck this tradition.
In wealthy (middle class) families the patriarch or matriarch will usually employ a large number of workers (on large plantations, or industrial family holdings) and these workers will have a leader who is seen ‘traditionally’ as a sort of younger ‘step’ or ‘adopted’ brother or sister to the head of the family. This individual is treated with a good deal of respect, but is never considered eligible to inherit the family’s holdings. In some very rare instances a working class family has (through shrewd investments or through earnings as talented craftsmen/artists) managed to purchase land or holdings (most often a few merchant ships or a large trading galleon) and transition from the lower class to the middle class.
There are very few truely wealthy families in the Empire (less than fifty) and these families will have titles of nobility that can only be inherited and only through permission of the Imperial family (Baron/Duke, Baroness/Duchess). These titles cannot be bought, but can, on very rare occasions, be earned.
The population of Atharosse (all of the islands) is approximately 1.4 million (this number includes hostile demi-human races)
The distribution of races is:
Dwarf – 65% - (1-13, d20)
Human – 10% (14-15, d20)
Elf – 5% (16, d20)
Halfling – 5% (17, d20)
Gnome – 5% (18, d20)
Goblin/Hobgoblin – 5% (19, d20)
Other – 5% (20, d20) (Other by permission of the DM only)
There are no known “orc” tribes within the Empire
Money is scarce on the island and villagers trade agricultural goods for manufactured goods at surprisingly good rates of exchange (A pig or five chickens can be traded for an iron tool or weapon of normal quality, five gallons of pressed oil, or four yards of cloth). Coins are in short supply (see the entry under “Coins of the Realm”).
There are monsters in the mountains. Silver mining, which could be a great economic boon for the island, is difficult as veins of silver ore are found progressively higher in the central mountains where there are more wild animals, and other dangers. Silver is traded at very good rates, and silver coins are very rare in the hands of the common villager.
Hospitality in Dwarven villages is high, for travelers who are doing the King’s work (soldiers, or other armored and armed people). Common Dwarves regard strength and bravery over intelligence and cunning, and followers of Dennari are treated with great respect. A pledge or promise to protect, or defend, a village will normally be met with rewards of food and drink. Money (coins) are never offered as reward for acts of bravery, but often gems, or worked goods are (these usually cannot be sold in nearby villages, but can bring coin in the capital of the Kingdom, or on other islands. These worked goods can be traded for other worked goods or services, healers and magic-users will often take tools or worked goods as payment for spells, potions, or scrolls).
Dwarves grow grains, root vegetables, olives, and wine grapes. They keep goats, pigs, cows, and chickens (but do not keep geese, geese are a special animal, special to the goddess Dennari, and are not kept in pens, hunting wild geese is permitted, but usually only on special occasions).
In coastal villages dwarves fish, and trap sea floor creatures such as crabs and lobsters, but the coast, the beaches below the walls, are dangerous places to work because of migrating pinnipeds (seals, both the small and elephant varieties). Some villages claim that there are still ‘Sea Lions’, a mythical ravenous sea monster that is supposed to be extinct from these waters, that prowl shallow coastal areas.
Coins of the Realm
The Empire vests authority to mint coins in the Heads of the states, and unfortunately does not require all coins to carry the same iconography, with the exception that one side of the coin must carry the national symbol, a Goose. Although the coins of different states within the Empire will look different they are minted according to standards set by the Empire.
A Gold Coin can be minted. Its weight must be one tenth of a “Bar” of Copper.
A Silver coin can be minted. Its weight must be one tenth of a “Bar” of copper
A Copper coin can be minted. Its weight must be one one-hundreth of a “Bar” of copper.
A “Bar” of copper is a standard of measure of weight and is a single round piece of copper approximately 30 mm in diameter, and 20 cm long. The “Bar” is created by the Empire’s treasury and often officials of the Empire will visit a state carrying “Measures” which are official versions of the “Bar” to inspect the coins of a Kingdom. Normally a “Bar” is cut into one hundred pieces, thus creating the standard Copper Piece (CP). It is important to note that the weights of these coins are not to be confused with their value. A Bar weighs approximately 1/2 pound.
A Gold coin (the Gold Piece, or GP) can buy goods worth as much as one thousand copper pieces.
A Silver coin (the Silver Piece, or SP) can buy goods worth up to one hundred copper pieces.
1GP = 10 SP
1 SP = 100 CP
1 GP = 1 SP = 100 CP (in WEIGHT!)
The shape and size of the Silver Piece and the Gold Piece may vary, but a Copper piece is always a round coin approximately 30 mm in diameter and 2 mm thick.
The common Dwarf carries from five to fifty copper coins at any time, and a meal in a tavern, or a few beers, will normally cost only a couple of copper pieces. It is very rare for anyone to carry silver or gold coins (in fact there are rumors among the common folk that wealthy Dwarves on the island are hording gold and silver coins, but the truth is not so simple).
To begin play each Player character will have:
250 Copper Pieces
A set of good quality clothes, boots, a hat, cloak, belt, and a leather shoulder bag (the shoulder bag will hold one cubic foot of goods weighing up to twenty pounds)
A long knife (comparable to a standard Dagger)
Buying any other goods (gear or items) will be done as part of the role playing of the game, and be warned! Not every merchant will ask the same price for the same kinds of goods.
About Karrita Morianna
The adventure will be set on the island of Karrita Morianna (3096.5 square miles). This island lies at approximately 36 degrees north latitude. The central mountains of this island are known for their rich iron ore deposits. Silver is also present in the western regions of the island.
The island of Karrita Morianna is approximately 169 miles east to west, 34.7 miles north to south at its widest point and 6.3 miles wide at its narrowest point. The island has mostly rugged mountainous terrain, but also has several small but arable plateaus. There are three large towns on the island and several small villages. All three of the towns are on the north shoreline, and villages are spread out all over the island. The Dwarves of Karrita Morianna are divided into two regions, those living on the north and west side of the island are farmers and animal herders, and those living in the interior and on the south side are primarily miners and craftsmen. The eastern portion of the island is largely uninhabited, and heavily forested.
In recent years the island has suffered economic setbacks. The island lies in the eastern region of the Empire and has been subjected to coastal raids from ships of the countries of Wathrhonne and Burova to the east. The discovery of iron on the island of Isla Rosalina, has led the Empire to reduce demands from Karrita Morianna, leading to the closing of several mining sites on the island. The island does not see a great amount of trade, and as a consequence the currency of the Empire has become scarce (rumors are that many wealthier families are hording gold and silver coins). The island has a solid and strong agricultural base, and food is in good supply.
The island is a single state of the Empire, and is controlled by a Dwaven King. The King is allowed to knight a small number of dwarves every few years, granting titles and land in the name of the Empire. Currently there are 19 lords (knights) sworn to the king, and each is responsible for the protection of the land under his or her control. The island has a population of 33,600 dwarves (16,000 of these live in and around the capitol), of which six thousand can be gathered into a small, but effective, army. In a crisis the army can be doubled in size by calling out the older and younger able bodied individuals. This army can muster two thousand cavalry.
Typical equipment for the regular soldiers (of which there are only 500) is light, boiled leather armor, often custom fitted with rings (ring mail), short sword (10%), spear (40%), or wooden hammer (50%), 10% to 15% of these soldiers will have a short bow or light crossbow (family owned, used mainly for hunting), and if a regular army is called out this will increase to 20% of the soldiers.
There are four kinds of occupied places in the region, Dwarven towns and villages, goblin villages, mountain settlements, and camps.
Dwarven towns and villages will have from three to five hundred Dwarves, mostly farmers and craftsmen, and a few large families with slaves. The village will be led by an elder (male or female) and may have goods of use to player characters (15% chance to find any particular services or goods). There is a 20% chance that any village will have a Wizard Guild represented and if one is, then there is always an 80% chance that one or two of the other three are, and if three are represented then the forth will be as well. Rangers and Druids will live on the outskirts of most villages. Dwarven Bards are highly sought after as entertainers, but not as heroes or protectors. A Dwarven village will have three to eight Clerics (and most will live in a single temple dedicated to the Dwarven Pantheon, which often does double duty as a local mill). One in four Dwarven villages will have a bloomer, but there is only a 25% chance that this bloomer will be working when the player characters enter the village.
Goblin Villages will have fifty to two hundred goblins. Goblins live free on the island, but are often captured by bandits and sold into slavery. Goblins (and even Dwarves) are bound into slavery for crimes, and for debts (a debtor-slave earns two copper pieces per day in wages for field work, and three for mining or forge work, regardless of race, but dwarves are usually charged less for tools and goods, slaves must be provided with one meal a day and a bed, but any other goods must be purchased). Goblin villages are not easy to get into, they are often walled and surrounded by a ditch, and they do not like strangers. Goblins are better at farming fruits and nuts, and keeping chickens and geese, than Dwarves. A goblin village will be led by a powerful shaman (cleric, typically evil, or druid, typically good) who will be very secretive about goblin rituals and beliefs. A goblin village will have a few sorcerers, and typically no wizards. A goblin Ranger is often a Bugbear living near the village and sworn to be its protector, villages will have a drum or bell to summon this ranger. Goblin villages will have very small metal working ability, but will have fine gem crafters and jewelry makers.
Mountain settlements will be fenced, and patrolled affairs of between thirty and one hundred, mixed goblins and dwarves. Typically found close to a mining site, but there is a 60% chance that the mine is ‘dry’ or overrun with a monster or bandits. A mountain settlement may have a cleric (10%) and a wizard (10%). Mountain settlements are not shown on the map, have no names, and are discovered by player characters by random encounter (any time the player characters are more than half a mile out of a village and in the mountains there is a one in six chance to find a mountain village, and 50% of these villages will be abandoned, abandoned mountain villages have their own unique encounters.
Camps are encountered randomly in the same manner as mountain settlements, a camp will always be occupied and can be found if a random encounter is indicated. Camps have their own unique encounters.
Wizard Guilds on Karrita Morianna
There are four guilds on Karrita Morianna that openly train those wanting to become wizards. Any small village will typically have two or three wizards of between second and fifth level. These village wizards make their livings crafting potions, or working simple spells of interest to the local population (dwarves on the western part of the island are more fearful and superstitious than those of the northern part of the island). Each of these guilds claims to be the oldest, and each is dedicated to a different set of magical priorities
The guilds are:
The Hands of the Four Winds (these are wizards who practice magic that is useful to sailors, soldiers , and craftsmen)
The Order of the Elementalists (these are wizards who practice magic as hired mercenaries, and include many Abjurationists)
Practitioners of the Visionary Path (these are wizards who practice magic for hire, but are against becoming involved in conflicts)
Guardians of Mysteries of Oskios (these are wizards of the most secretive kind, and little is known about their practices and intentions)
The following common tool/weapons are available in the capitol for the listed price in copper pieces (remember there are 100 copper in one silver)
Wherever possible the item listed is identical to one listed in the core rulebook, with regard to weight, damage, and other aspects
Dagger (a serious, long bladed, combat/survival knife – each of you began the game with one of these) – 50 copper
Hand Axe – 125 copper
Hammer, light – 30 copper
Pick, light – 150 copper
Pick, heavy – 300 copper
Scythe – 2000 copper
Shortbow – 750 copper (extra string – 100 copper)
Arrows(10) – 50 copper (these arrows have small, bronze heads and do -1 point of damage, 1d6-1, minimum of 1)
There is a tool, often used by dwarves who set out to prospect in the mountains, on these islands, that is called a Ro-Darug (miner’s pick/mattock), it is a combination of a light pick and a heavy mattock (the mattock is normally a tool for digging in the ground but the blade can be sharpened, producing more of an adze style device, like a turned axe head). The tool can, and often is, used as a martial weapon. It has a long handle suitable for fighting.
Ro-Darug – 1000 copper, Damage 1d6, critical x2/x3 (mattock/pick), weight 6 lbs
Other weapons are not available “in a shop” (the Nobility, particularly the King, frown on the making and distributing to common folk any kind of weapon that does not also have a practical function as a tool). But some merchant’s sell these things on the “black market” – rather than make you roll play this activity, after you have been given permission to set out, and after you have acquired any other gear you may want, you can make a Knowledge Local check, DC 16, or try a Diplomacy check, DC 20, to try and find a dealer who has what you are looking for, if it is a weapon not listed above. If you succeed at the roll, I will tell you what the merchant asks for it, and he is going to make a sense motive check, as an NPC, with a negative modifier equal to -1 for each two points you are above the target. If the merchant rolls poorly, this means he is a bit suspicious and possibly paranoid (that is, the better you do on your roll, the more likely he is to be suspicious) and this could mean trouble for you latter on).
Black Market Arrows, not for hunting, but the kind issued to soldiers, and the bowmen of a Noble, are available at 10 copper each, and do regular damage, but should you use one in a populated area, or where other’s might inspect the arrow or the damage from the arrow, there may be questions.
Armor, of any kind, is not available in the capital, to commoners. If the Knights agree to send you they will make the following available, one chain shirt, and one Studded leather Jerkin, from each Household.
Around the capitol almost any sort of common item can be found, but prices are high (some items, such as Leather, good leather is imported, are even more expensive).
A Grappling hook can be purchased from a ship in the harbor for very little, - 10 copper
Silk Rope – 50’ – 2000 copper
Hemp Rope – 100’ – 100 copper
An 8’ hardwood pole – 10 copper
Backpack – 300 copper (will hold 4 cubic feet not exceeding 100 lbs)
Bedroll – 50 copper (this has been rubbed with seal oil and is effectively water proof, or a heavy blanket can be purchased, and rolled up, for 15 copper)
Pouch, or Sack, will be made of canvas or wool, and will cost 10 copper per ¼ cubic foot capacity. This is a very strong container, with a draw string closure. Empty sacks (the kind vegetables are put in to take to market) can be purchased for 2 copper per ¼ cubic foot capacity, but use with caution.
Rations – for rations that will last two weeks, before spoiling, you will pay 5 copper for two pounds of dried and smoked fish, a few dried pieces of fruit, and hard tack. These two pounds of food could be eaten in one day, and you will be well fed, or can be made to last two days without any penalty.
Water skin – a Bota bag will cost you 25 copper, an imported Wineskin will cost you, 125 copper
Whetstone – can be found for free, typically
Flint and steel – 200 copper
Hammer (or wooden mallet) – 30 copper
Stakes, wood – if you intend to hunt vampires, your stakes must be made from the wood of the Athara bush, and are free. Other wooden stakes, for common use, are also free, but may not do what you expect them to do.
Mirror, small – this is a polished piece of steel, 150 copper (4”x4”)
Chalk – free
Marbles – free
Caltrops – are available, but will raise eyebrows if purchased (ranchers use these to injure the feet of animals on their property, when those animals belong to other ranchers) – 40 copper for a two pound bag.
Signal whistle – 5 copper
Oil – 20 copper for vegetable oil, very slippery, will burn fast (last three turns in a lantern, but sheds light out to 120 feet) and hot (does 2d6 fire damage as a splash weapon), - 40 copper for seal oil, thick, burns slow (normal lantern oil).
Torches – 10 copper
Candle, large (2”x8”) – 20 copper
Lamp – 50 copper (this is small and made of bronze, with a wooden handle)
All items listed under the “Special Substances and Items” column in the core rulebook are not available “in a shop”, but could be purchased if you took the time to find the craftsmen who supplies them – they are very expensive. Also certain items (which I hate for purely selfish reasons) are never available, such as “Everburning” torches “Sunrods”, “Tanglefoot” bags, “Thunderstones”, and “Tindertwigs”. (Thinking about the economical aspects of a Cleric casting Continual Flame on sticks at a cost of 50 gp each and selling them as torches for 110 gp each – hurts my head, a lot. So one of the things I do in my Table Top games is to limit the casting of Continual Flame, to one per caster. You can cast it, and then you cannot cast another, until or unless you dismiss the first – I claim that a part of the caster’s “personal energy” is bound into the flame, and this works for me, and the economy. So yeah, that’s me being a silly person.)
Eight Fountain Springs
Eight Fountain Springs is a “terraced village” (Pathfinder Classification = Small Town). The regular population of the village is approximately 800, and the village occupies an area of approximately 40 acres. The terrain is a series of stepped plateaus of anywhere from only 50 feet wide to a widest measurement of 240 feet wide. The village is one third of a mile in length east to west and one fifth of a mile wide north to south. The first buildings of the village are found at an elevation of 1488 feet above sea level, and the highest buildings are seventy feet above this through four steps of almost equal elevation increase.
There are 47 separate buildings making up the village and all are made of stone with flat slate roofs that slope to the east. Many of the buildings are multi-family dwellings. Some of the buildings are single family estates with walled areas where small garden plots are tended. Below the village proper are more terraces where larger fields of farmed grains, root vegetables, nut and fruit trees, as well as vineyards and pastures for goats and small cows can be found. These fields and pastures have short walls made from stacked flat stones.
The village has a mill, three smiths, four taverns, and two inns. There is a single temple and built adjacent to the temple is a long common hall for town meetings. The second terrace of the village has a prominent central well which is fed from the largest of the eight natural springs that can be found here. This central well (more of a pool actually) is a square stone pool two feet in height and sixty four feet square. The spring empties into the pool from a sculpted part of the natural rock shaped like a large fish head.
The population of Eight Fountain Springs is made up of mostly Dwarves and Goblins, but there are some humans and elves living in the village (less than 10 percent of the population) and they can be seen moving about the rest of the population.
The village is managed by a council made up of the Miller ( a Dwarf named Jolov), one of the smiths (who is also head of the largest Dwarven family, and also owns a sizable vineyard, and wine press operation, Her name is Herzobella), the priestess of Denarri (her name is Kamitka, and she is a fifth level cleric), and a Goblin Witch who is the leader of the Gorro (a Goblin tribal council, her name, in the Goblin tongue is Maritha’Eliu’o’a, but she goes by the name Mary Cleareyes – she is Tanner’s mother).
There is a 75% chance that any common item the player characters want to buy that has a cost of less than 50 gp (as listed in the Core Rulebook) is immediately available in a shop or from a street vendor, and any item that is not available (under this price) can be made in 1 to 3 days. Most items are sold for copper pieces and prices are arbitrary and can be haggled. Fine leather is prized here, and locals will trade goods at good rates for items of fine leather. Wine is cheap (a bottle can be had for four copper pieces or less, but these are small bottles of cheap wine), beer and ale are expensive, but a clear liquor (comparable to vodka) is available for 2 silver pieces for a pint.