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Help me think of some rumours, articles and pictures for the Cauldron newspaper


Shackled City Adventure Path


Hi all,

So far in my SCAP campaign I have been irregularly giving my players issues of the Cauldron Chronicle, the town's newspaper, as a hand-out. It is normally 1-2 pages long with articles about what has been going on around town. I've had 5 issues so far and I'm just writing up the sixth one. This one will be mainly about the recovery of the wands of water control.

Obviously the PC's have featured in it quite a bit, with them rescuing the kidnapped townsfolk, elimitating the goblin menace and finding the missing wands of water control. However I have also included other articles on things such as the rising taxes, the illegal jester coins, the Demonskar ball and accomplishments of the Stormblades.

Each issue also normally has advertisements for 2 businesses in town. Sometimes these are directly relevant to the PC's, like Skie's Treasury. Other time, they are just there for fluff and background, like the Sure Foot Livery. It all helps me to build up the city as a whole.

I've basically used it as a way of passing on information about what has been going on in and around Cauldron. I've put some of the rumours from the SCAP hardcover in there as well as some of my own that I came up with. It has allowed me to drop little clues in, as well as several red herrings. :-)

The players like reading the issues, especially when the PC's are mentioned and it has helped me stoke the rivalry fire between them and the Stormblades (the Stormblades have made some rude comments about the PC's in the paper).

Now we come to my current situation. As I write more and more issues, I am finding it harder to find things to fill up the pages. The current adventure normally gives me a main article to write, like the kidnapped townsfolk, or the Flood Festival. However, I need some other articles to help round out each issue. I have also run out of hardcover rumours to use (until I get to the later chapters) so I have had to start writing them all myself.

I am also struggling to find some pictures to put in each issue. I like to use pictures just to break up the text a bit. I have used pictures of various NPC's from the hardcover (such as Jenya, Vhalantru and the Stormblades) to good effect, but that is getting a bit repetitive now. Real photos wouldn't really fit the theme of the newspaper so I am left with just hand-drawn artwork to choose from.

So I am calling on the combined intellects of the Paizo boards to help me out. Give me your suggestions for articles and rumours that I can use in future issues. Links to any pictures that I could use would also be appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Olaf the Stout

The Exchange

Illegal Jester coins......I'm I'm~ in tears

The Exchange

if you are not planning on doing AoW or STap you might just give off info about the goings on in other regions.


Have a look at theRPGenius [url=http://therpgenius.com[/url], where I submitted some 30 issues of my version of the Cauldron Herald . A lot of the contents I “borrowed” from different sources on the internet. Some of them where of my own doing. The office of the Cauldron Herald was closed by the governement (read Vhalantru and Skellerang) after the attack of the PC’s on the Cathedral of Wee-Jas.

Peter

The Exchange

Maglub wrote:

Have a look at theRPGenius , where I submitted some 30 issues of my version of the Cauldron Herald . A lot of the contents I “borrowed” from different sources on the internet. Some of them where of my own doing. The office of the Cauldron Herald was closed by the governement (read Vhalantru and Skellerang) after the attack of the PC’s on the Cathedral of Wee-Jas.

Peter

Linked


Crimson Jester wrote:
Maglub wrote:

Have a look at theRPGenius , where I submitted some 30 issues of my version of the Cauldron Herald . A lot of the contents I “borrowed” from different sources on the internet. Some of them where of my own doing. The office of the Cauldron Herald was closed by the governement (read Vhalantru and Skellerang) after the attack of the PC’s on the Cathedral of Wee-Jas.

Peter

Linked

Thanks, hit the submit button to soon.

Anyhow here is an example of one of the Cauldron Heralds:

Adventurers Tax Expanded
Although regular taxes will not be levied until coming month, Chancellor Terri Stanheort announced a 20% sales tax on all weapons, armor, magic items, and spells cast. The new tax will not only make adventuring less profitable but also is threatening to bankrupt many local merchants such as Skie Alderson. Tygot Mispas is one of many merchants grumbling and now seriously contemplating leaving the city of Cauldron, his home for over 100 years!
Rumors of a mind-boggling year end property tax of 30% against all of Cauldron’s merchants and home-owners are spreading in town. Both import and export are greatly suffering from the expanding taxes, causing more and more citizens to be forced out of our gates.

Security Platoons Introduced
Due to increasing disturbances Lord Vhalantru pronounced the arrival of special security platoons to patrol the streets. These sizeable troops will be led by an aristocrat and consist of outstandingly trained elite half-orcs, supplied by Zarn Kyass and assisted by clerics of Wee-Jas. Captain Skellerang proclaimed that future incursions of monsters could be countered effectively now. The city government is grateful for the commitment of the temple of Wee-Jas to protect the common folk.

Narrow Escape Stormblades
The Stormblades searched for a cult of lizardmen, who worship the demon prince Demogorgon. These vile creatures had been attacking caravans and travelers near Cauldron and captured them for sacrifice.
While trailing a recent band through a swamp near the ruins of Shatterhorn, the group was attacked by moss covered treants, giant lizards and a massive black crocodile. Fighting for their lives the Stormblades were lucky to escape the encounter and slew the enormous crocodile to end the battle.

Tension Between Temples of Kord and Pelor Growing
The current enmity augmented after High priest Asfelkir of Kord accused the temple of Pelor of harvesting novices under false pretence. His holiness Shebeleth Regidin replied: “Kord sent spies to our holy shrine, they are clearly jealous of our success. Those joining us do that because we care for the poor and homeless. Perhaps Asfelkir should put less effort in organizing contests and instead focus on the needy in Cauldron’s lower district.” Father Kristof added: “We are prepared to defend ourselves against any threats, whether those are coming from Kord or Wee-Jas!”

Peter


I've done similar and copied not only from the Nice Herald (thanks, BTW) but also from other sources (including myself!) and uploaded to RPGenius. I called the issues: Quill & Parchment (persiflage of Scroll & Feather, which I first stumbled upon).

Have a look.
Nib


Here's what I've had in my Cauldron Chronicle so far:

Issue 1 (before Life's Bazaar)


Issue 2 (before Drakthar's Way)


Issue 3 (before Flood Season)

You might notice some name changes (Vhalantru is now Alahind, Asfelkir is now Rokk Strongarm, Jzadhirune is now Gnomeregan) but it should be easy to decipher.


Thanks everyone that has contributed so far. Does anyone have any potential pictures that I can use?

Olaf the Stout


Olaf the Stout wrote:

Thanks everyone that has contributed so far. Does anyone have any potential pictures that I can use?

Olaf the Stout

I got most of the pictures from RPGenius.com Sometimes, you can just use google-pics, as long as you only use them privately you shouldn't run into copyleft issues.

Nib


This is great stuff. I'm putting together my first issue of the Cauldron newspaper for my group and I think they'll really enjoy it. I had a reporter come ask them questions for his article on the rescued orphans and it went well. What they didn't know is that the reporter is actually Fellian from the Striders! They haven't met the Striders yet, but they did receive a note from them and Keygan Ghelve told them about their "half-elf friends" that have followed them in and out of Jzadirune. I figured that Fellian has begun working as a reporter for the paper so he can ask questions around town and try to dig up info on the Cagewrights without generating as much suspicion. It's a good way for him to mine the PCs for info without giving away who he is too. They were quite happy to share stories about Jzadirune with him. :)


That's a great idea, working in the Striders like that. And it fits perfectly...a harmless reporter gathering information about the new heroes. Bravo!


I would say the Cauldron Chronicle newsletters I have made combined with Delvedeep's dreams handouts have been the 2 best things I have added to my Shackled City campaign.

The newsletter has helped Cauldron seem more real, as well as being a great way to introduce and foreshadow plot threads in the campaign. Rumours written up in the paper have been a lot easier for me to introduce rather than me mentioning them to the players when they wander around town or have a drink in an inn. Having everything written down for the players also helps them to remember things between sessions.

The dreams have helped to link the adventures together more so they don't seem so disjointed. The players think the dreams make for a pretty cool story all by themselves too.

Even if my next campaign doesn't have a home base like the SCAP does, I am thinking of keeping the newsletter thing happening anyway. It just helps immerse players in the setting more and is a great way to give them little bits of information about what is going on in the world around them.

Olaf the Stout


Olaf the Stout wrote:

I would say the Cauldron Chronicle newsletters I have made combined with Delvedeep's dreams handouts have been the 2 best things I have added to my Shackled City campaign.

The newsletter has helped Cauldron seem more real, as well as being a great way to introduce and foreshadow plot threads in the campaign. Rumours written up in the paper have been a lot easier for me to introduce rather than me mentioning them to the players when they wander around town or have a drink in an inn. Having everything written down for the players also helps them to remember things between sessions.

The dreams have helped to link the adventures together more so they don't seem so disjointed. The players think the dreams make for a pretty cool story all by themselves too.

Even if my next campaign doesn't have a home base like the SCAP does, I am thinking of keeping the newsletter thing happening anyway. It just helps immerse players in the setting more and is a great way to give them little bits of information about what is going on in the world around them.

Olaf the Stout

Does anyone happen to still have these issues? I've been looking for inspiration and these articles would go a long way. but with therpgenius no longer running I haven't been able to find them.

If anyone can help, please send me a message at jasharen@hotmail.com. :)

Thanks!


Jasharen... a number of the heralds can be found on the following page.

http://therpgenius.pbworks.com/w/page/22143342/SCAP+Ch+1+-+Life%27s+Bazaar

listed towards the bottom under local newspapers.

You can find more on the site if you poke around under the other APs.


I took the Cauldron Herald and Quill & Parchment and made my Cauldron Chronicle a one-sided legal sized 'broadsheet.'

I've added a few of my own things to fill space:

( 1 ) Bluecrater Academy Riddle: Each week the Academy poses a riddle in the paper. The first person to get the right answer earns a Celestial (platinum piece). Actually, the Master of Riddles, Fetor Abradius, divines when and where the first answer will be uttered and then just arrives on the scene to fork over the coin. Then their name gets in the paper. In Life's Bazaar, I used easy, well-known riddles (i.e. clad in mail, never clinking) so someone in the party could get a little extra coin. The later issues have more challenging ones.

( 2 ) Monster Ecology: Did they defeat a vampire at the end of Drakthar's Way? Why not put a description, straight from the bestiary, about vampires in the paper. It makes sense from a journalistic POV and helps the players out not at all because the paper is printed after they've defeated it! Do the same thing with the umber hulk from Zenith Trajectory.

( 3 ) The laws & punishments can take up a column in each issue.

( 4 ) As can the agriculture of the region.

( 5 ) So can descriptions of the noble families.

( 6 ) I have one issue where Crazy Jared comes to town and Lord-Mayor Navalant humors him as "visiting royalty."

( 7 ) Kaurophon: Have him seen about town vaguely, only in shadows, a rumour, a "heard on the street." Finally, an intrepid reporter tracks him down for an interview. "I'm just doing some research at Bluecrater Academy. I stick to the fog because my appearance . . . unsettles most people. No, no, I'm not a vampire and I'll let Sir Alex Tercival give me the once-over, twice if need be, to prove it." Then he's not such an out-of-the-blue guy when he shows up at the end of Demonskar Legacy.

( 8 ) Maavu's announcement at the beginning of Zenith Trajectory should make the paper.


Don't want to be a spoil sport, but I can't wrap my head around a printing press in "medieval" fantasy. That and airships don't fit for me. Oddly I don't mind automatons 'cause that's magic. :)


This is such a nice thread to read. I have been running the STAP for a while and have made newspapers from the beginning of the campaign (we are at Into the Maw now). My players love it. I thought I was the only one doing this.
I avoided the printing press problem by setting the campaign in the Renaissance in my own campaign world. I found this more fitting with the pirate theme of the STAP. We have guns and cannons, too.

What I do for pictures:
I use my own photographs, and run them through a photo editing programme to change them into a sort of artwork (e.g. pen or charcoal drawing, or even watercolour or oil painting) so that they look more historical. For the STAP I e.g. used some pictures of historical ships I took in ports in Sweden and France.
In the same way you can use pictures of historical buildings or of gravestones and monuments.
I also looked up 16th and 17th century paintings on the Internet and used these in the same way, e.g. for NPCs not pictured in the modules.

For articles I also used the following ideas:
- articles that looked like advertisements, but were written in code by some organization or other (e.g. a thieves' guild). E.g. I had some small messages about homing pigeons, which were not about homing pigeons at all. They made my players pretty nervous.
- background articles about the area, about interesting sites in the city or elsewhere, or even about certain monsters or peoples.
- interviews with famous NPCs.

I hope you can use these. Unfortunately I am not so well known with Shackled City that I can give you more specific content. I have read it really a long time ago. Good luck with the newspaper!


Haakon1 wrote:
Don't want to be a spoil sport, but I can't wrap my head around a printing press in "medieval" fantasy.

The earliest surviving examples of woodblock printing are from China and date to before AD 220. Examples from Roman Egypt date to the AD 300s.

The first complete printed book containing its date is the Diamond Sutra of 868. By the 900s, 400,000 copies of some sutras and pictures were printed and the Confucian classics were in print. A skilled printer could print up to 2,000 double-page sheets per day.

The Middle Ages span from about AD 476(Early Middle Age) ~ 1450 (Late Middle Ages). Johannes Gutenberg began working on his printing press in 1436.

[sarcasm]Yeah, the idea of broadsheets and/or printing presses in a midieval fantasy setting is totally unrealistic. Good catch there.[/sarcasm]


It's a fantasy game, so what exactly fits or is anachronistic is a matter of taste. After all, not everyone plays D&D/Pathfinder as medieval European fantasy . . .

However, I do not enjoy being insulted, so I feel compelled to explain my rationale.

Did you ever think about WHY 1450 is said to be the end of the Middle Ages?

Could it be (a) that's a nice round date for an epochal change and (b) that's the first date Gutenberg is KNOWN to have done printing with his new idea of moveable type, a pivotal historical event that changed human history by making literacy cheaper, supporting the Renaissance and making the Reformation possible?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johannes_Gutenberg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renaissance
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reformation

The latter says: "The Reformation was a triumph of literacy and the new printing press. Luther's translation of the Bible into German was a decisive moment in the spread of literacy, and stimulated as well the printing and distribution of religious books and pamphlets. From 1517 onward, religious pamphlets flooded Germany and much of Europe."

As for newspapers, the oldest that's anything like a modern newspaper is from Germany in 1605. Not medieval.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_oldest_newspapers

Your argument is similar to saying, the Chinese were using gunpowder in war by 1200 AD (and possibly invented it as early as the 850's), so I'm a blithering idiot to say firearms don't belong in a game based on a fantasy version of medieval Europe. Or actually, it's more like you're saying calling REVOLVERS anachronistic for the Middle Ages is stupid, because you're conflating gunpowder's existence with the invention of a latter technology (revolvers in 1597, newspapers in 1605).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunpowder
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolver


After a month of no response I stopped paying attention. I just saw your reply today and thought I'd address it.

Haakon1 wrote:
It's a fantasy game, so what exactly fits or is anachronistic is a matter of taste. After all, not everyone plays D&D/Pathfinder as medieval European fantasy . . .

Right. Which is why I cited Asian as well as European printing. Earlier you said, “I can't wrap my head around a printing press in "medieval" fantasy." If you understand that play-style is “a matter of taste” then I don't understand why you felt compelled to bring up your inability to wrap your head around it in the first place.

Haakon1 wrote:
Did you ever think about WHY 1450 is said to be the end of the Middle Ages?

Agreed. That's why I used the symbol “~” which means “approximately” and not the equals (“=”) sign.

Haakon1 wrote:
As for newspapers, the oldest that's anything like a modern newspaper is from Germany in 1605. Not medieval.

You just completed making an argument that 1450 is not a hard date for the end of the medieval period. It might have been earlier; then again, it might have been later. Furthermore, I said I made a single-sided legal-sized 'broadsheet;' hardly a “modern newspaper.”

Haakon1 wrote:
Your argument is similar to saying, the Chinese were using gunpowder in war by 1200 AD (and possibly invented it as early as the 850's), so I'm a blithering idiot to say firearms don't belong in a game based on a fantasy version of medieval Europe. Or actually, it's more like you're saying calling REVOLVERS anachronistic for the Middle Ages is stupid, because you're conflating gunpowder's existence with the invention of a latter technology (revolvers in 1597, newspapers in 1605).

No, my argument is that if the Chinese invented movable printing between 1041 and 1048 and block printing was commonplace in Europe by the 1300s, then it is definitely plausible to have a fantasy setting that has broadsheets.

Haakon1 wrote:
I do not enjoy being insulted

I apologize. I should have made my post without the sarcasm. If I could go back in time and delete the last part of my post, I would.

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