Taking out the Garbage

Copyright Aaron Smalley © 2015

Edited by Terence Wynne for The Guild Companion

"Due to the current anarchy that exists within the city [Vigdol] wants to sell so he can move away."

This was run at GenCon 2013 as 6 4-hour sessions by Aaron Smalley (the author) to introduce players to the open-beta version of RMU that is currently being worked on for future publication. This adventure has also been run three previous times using various versions of Rolemaster over the years.

The players will be able to choose from several pre-generated 5th lvl characters (not included in this article) who are located in the Red Hooded Traveler tavern in the Black Swan District of Martelain (Channel Cities). They are approached by a guy named Vigdol Bairgain who explains that he owns several pieces of property in Martelain, but that due to the current anarchy that exists within the city that he wants to sell so he can move away. The most valuable one he is unable to sell due to a group of slavers squatting in the building and the Northern Empires soldiers being unwilling to assist due to trying to quell the riots. He is hoping that the characters can take the slavers alive, however dead is better than them escaping (due to possible retaliation). Note that all time designations are in-game-time.

Task: By 9:30 p.m. By 12:00 a.m. By 2:00 a.m.
per slave freed (10) 3 2 1
per slaver henchman captured (6) 5 4 3
per slaver henchman killed (6) 3 2 1
per slaver leader captured (2) 10 8 6
per slaver leader killed (2) 5 4 3
discovery of secret sewer entrance 10 10 10
defeat animated calzones 5 5 5
Up to 5 additional points can be awarded for humor/fun/interesting events 5 5 5
Total Possible: 100 80 60

Timing of events:

2:00 p.m. Characters meet Vigdol Bairgain at the Red Hooded Traveler Tavern and hired to clear out the building.
5:00 p.m. Rengel leaves out gate , walks to Snails Shell (J3-36, ~6 min), talks to a guy that looks like a sailor type
5:30 p.m. Rengel leaves Snail Shell (walks back to J3-10, ~6 min). Boatman leaves (to J3-5, ~5 min)
5:40 p.m. Boatman unloads several fish traps and nets from his boat (~30 min), putting them into a small wooden shack next to warehouse (J3-5)
6:00 p.m. Rengel calls all slavers to dining area to eat dinner (if characters have not made any obvious attempt to enter)
6:10 p.m. Boatman pulls two large baskets out of water (tied to pier) with fish in them and starts to walk to Bruce the Butcher (J3-16, ~10 min), goes inside, comes back out after 10 min and heads back to Snail Shell (~6 min)
6:30 p.m. Dinner done, 2 slavers go back to gate, others wander premises
9:00 p.m. Sun starts to go down and get dark. Boatman leaves Snail Shell going back to dock and gets in boat to leave (with large flat bottomed boat using pole and oars to direct) dock at small northern warehouse (north of J3-5) to travel to sewer entrance beneath building J3-2
9:30 p.m. Boatman reaches hidden dock under building
9:45 p.m. Slavers start to move first batch of slaves to boat
10:00 p.m. Boatman leaves to take first batch of slaves (five females) across to Argentum
11:30 p.m. Boatman returns to sewer opening (under building J3-2)
11:45 p.m. Boatman reaches hidden dock under building
11:50 p.m. Slavers start to move second batch of slaves to boat (four males, doesn’t take half-elf)
12:00 a.m. Boatman leaves with slaves and Therial
2:00 a.m. Therial returns (with small pouch of gold coins for the sold slaves)
  • Locate sewer entrance: ~1,000 feet min distance- 10 minutes w/light or 15 minutes w/nightvison or darkvision if successful navigation roll +additional time for each partial success in Navigation or 2x for each failed navigation roll, also time to deal with rats and were-rat that may be encountered in sewer.
  • Climb to courtyard roof: ~5 minutes (difficult to not be seen if daylight, or two of the empty buildings have entrances to roof, but these will take half hour to locate)
  • Walk between J3-10 and J3-4 (Red Hooded Traveler): ~2 minutes when streets are busy or ~1 minute when quiet (late evenings and night)
  • Walk between J3-10 and J3-36 (Snail Shell): ~ 6 minutes when streets are busy or ~3 minutes when quiet

The Channel Cities

Welcome to the Channel Cities, home to the brightest lights and the darkest shadows within the World of Ærnth fantasy RPG setting. The cities are the economic, political, and social center of this vast fantasy world. It is comprised of five separate cities, each with its own system of government, its own economy, varied social beliefs and morays, and the behind the scenes intrigue and espionage that accompanies such a vast and varied metropolis.

The Channel Region is the area around a channel that connects the North Sea and the Great Sea. The channel also separates two large continents at their closest point (think of the importance of Istanbul throughout the last 1,500+ years of history on our own world). There are several islands within this channel, as well as two rivers that empty into it. This is also the location of five large cities: Argentum, Gorled, South Shore, Martelain, and Dorgard. With all of the cities being separated by water there is only one permanent bridge (between Argentum’s main island and one of its small islands), and one semi-permanent bridge (between Gorled and Dorgard). This second bridge is built out of wood and is burned every few years or so, when trouble flares up between these two cities. There are several ferries that cross the channel at different points and two that cross the Clearwater River between South Shore and Martelain.

The population of the cities and the area immediately surrounding them is about 570,000 people, within approximately 13 square miles of land in an area of about 23 square miles (the remainder of the area is water). There are approximately 10,000 visitors to the channel cities on an average day (non-residents), either there on business (more often than not, merchants, traders, and sailors) or for a wide variety of other reasons. The cities are very crowded in the way that they are laid out and the buildings are set one against another throughout most of the metropolitan area, with very narrow and sometimes winding streets many with dead ends (many a wagon or carriage has been stuck due to a wrong turn).

Of the thirteen islands around the Channel area, the largest is the city of Argenutm, 2 are owned by one of the wealthy merchants in Argentum (one has his manor, warehouse, and docks; while the other is home to his shipyard (in addition to being one of the wealthiest and most successful merchants in the area, he also operates the largest of the three shipyards that supply vessels to the many merchants and shippers that comprise Argentum’s upper class). One is controlled by the family that operates the many ferries that service the Channel cities, thus allowing them to keep clear of the political turmoil that often embroils the five cities and their governments. The remaining nine small islands are controlled by a secretive and reclusive group of people who operate the most prestigious school in the world as well as being the unofficial historians and record keepers of the world’s history and events. These islands are known simply as the Isles of Stars.

The five cities have widely varying political systems and economics as explained below. Argentum is a Republic; however only landowners are considered Citizens with voting rights who elect a Council that oversees the city-state’s operations. It is also the trade and transportation hub of the world, and as such is home to many of the wealthiest merchants. Its coast is lined with warehouses and docks. Gorled is a large and militarily powerful Feudal Monarchy with a strong agricultural economy and some manufacturing. Dorgard is a smaller alliance of petty kingdoms, thus also uses a Feudal system, but with less of a hierarchy. It is also an agricultural powerhouse with its rich soil and great weather and growing season, especially in its southern regions. South Shore is the manufacturing powerhouse of the region with a very extensive and active system of artisan guilds, and is as close to a true democracy as exists within the world, with everyone who pays taxes a voting Citizen. It is also the only one of the five cities where slavery is outlawed and personal freedom is highly valued. Meanwhile, Martelain used to be the manufacturing powerhouse and also operated some of the riches mines in the world. The city fell to the Northern Empire about 40 years ago, however and has since become the slums of the Channel Cities, currently ruled over by the “Governor” who is an outcast noble from the Northern Empire. Riots and unrest is common in Martelain, with an active but weak rebellion that is still trying to free itself from the oppressive rule of the powerful Empire.

With the detail that has been developed behind this setting, it is an open playground and sandbox type of environment, where players can pretty much pursue what they want, but must recognize that there are instituted laws as well as many powerful people and organizations and thus possible repercussions to any actions. As such it is recommended that players work together to develop at least a rough idea of what type of a heroic game they wish to play and let me know so that I can steer the action and activity in that direction. While the possibilities are nearly endless, I highly recommend creating characters with backgrounds who want to see the Northern Empire’s hold over Martelain thrown off and willing to work towards that goal. There are still many other possibilities present, however, and if we start in that direction it will always be possible to change direction at a later time and pursue other storylines. You should also feel free to develop characters that may have multiple agendas, such as a shop owner or artisan who also dedicates their evenings to gathering intel or making weapons for the rebellion or a bard who plies his or her trade entertaining patrons at the various inns while also monitoring the routes and schedules of the Northerner troops to help with planning various activities for the rebellion. As a GM I won’t shoehorn the characters into pursuing something that they don’t want to or try to drive towards a goal of my choosing, as that makes the game less enjoyable for the players and creates unneeded tension, however the players as a group should decide what common goal they want to work towards and be willing to face whatever comes their way based on their chosen path.

If the group is interested in pursuing the Martelain Rebellion storyline, it will allow for quick progress with minimal preparation but with a lengthy and twisting plot line where the characters can make a real difference and have a real impact on the world.

Map of the Channel Cities showing the districts (via the letter/# system, note that most of these districts have an actual district name, for example: area F2 is known as the Light Tower District, area J3 is the Black Swan District, area D6 is the High Tower District, E6 is the Cathedral District, F3 is the Brewery District, M2 is the Palace District, M3 is the Gutter District, K7 is the Ancient Oak District, J8 is the Roc’s Nest District, etc. (see web site links below for district maps and further details).

Map of the Channel Cities

The lands around the Channel Cities are somewhat varied as can be seen in the map on the previous page.

Much of the Gorled Kingdom to the north and west is comprised of rolling hills with small patches of woodlands and numerous rivers providing water to these rich and fertile farmlands. The northern and western edges of the kingdom are bounded by the Grey Mountains as they wrap around to the east, with the hills becoming higher and more rugged as they approach the mountains.

The lands of the Petty Kingdoms, south of the Loudewater River that separates them from the Gorled Kingdom are similar except for the fact that they tend to be more wooded due to less of the land being converted over to agriculture within the Petty Kingdoms.

The lands to the east are more broken and heavily wooded thus providing a tougher area for farmers to do well. However the wealth of the eastern cities lies in other resources. The free lands of South Shore have good farmlands that extend a couple days ride from the city. These farmlands do not meet the needs of the growing city of South Shore, so some foodstuff needs to be imported into the city. Its greatest assets lie in its skilled and hardworking people and its marble deposits. Along the coast to the southeast lie several stone quarries that produce some of the most beautiful marble in the world. The color varies with the quarry that it is cut from, and ranges from deep blues and greens with flecks of red, to beautiful cloudy-white. The most highly prized (and priced) is the yellowish-green clouded marble. This marble is what most of the fancier stone buildings in the Channel Cities are made from, as well as many other large and extravagant buildings within thousands of miles of the region.

Meanwhile the northern portions of the eastern lands have always relied on the mineral wealth that the Iron Range of the Red Mountains (the longest mountain range in the world of Aernth) provides. While it is known for its high-grade iron, it also produces a variety of precious metals. Some agriculture surplus is supplied to the city of Martelain, but not enough to support even the greatly reduced population that the city now houses. The only problem with the rich mines is that with the new foreign government, the riches are now transported over the mountains to the ruling Northern Empire.

Argentum—City of Merchants

The city-state of Argentum sets on the largest of the islands in the channel. It is approximately 1.5 square miles in size. It also includes two other small islands within the channel (both owned by Argentum’s wealthiest resident).

Argentum has a plutocratic government run by an Outer Council, an Inner Council, and a Mayor. The Outer Council is made up of any merchants and artisans who own land or buildings on the island and who pay an annual membership fee of one Silver Coin. Any member of the Outer Council may run for the office of Inner Council by paying an application fee of 10 Gold Coins. Inner Council members hold office for a maximum of five terms in a row and a maximum of thirty terms total. These terms are one year long, and the Outer Council must elect the fifteen members each year. The Mayor is elected by the outer council and is required to have served on the Inner council for a minimum of five terms. Those who wish to run for Mayor must pay an application fee of 10 Gold Coins.

The above fees and an annual head tax of 1cc for non-land owning and 1sc for land owning resident raises considerable funds for public works and city guards.

Three types of buildings dominate Argentum: The warehouses and other large buildings line the shore of the island nearly all the way around. The manors and estate of the wealthy merchants are sprawled out on the top of the large hill that dominates the center of the island. The remainder of the island is covered with crowded and mostly rundown buildings of two, three, or four stories with shops on the first floor and tenements above. Most of the buildings are constructed of cut stone with tiled roofs (70%), the remainder are of field stone and mortar or wood with a variety of roofing materials (wood shakes, wood lap-planking, or thatching). Most buildings in the area have sloped roofs of between 4:12 and 8:12 pitch (15° to 30° angle) to shed the moderate rain and light snow that the area gets.

The first settlement on the Island that is now the city of Argentum was founded as a simple trading post for an empire that was located far to the west. It was meant as a place for traders to operate out of while dealing with the various local peoples that inhabited the channel area. The fact that there was already a small settlement on the group of islands (Isle of Stars) in the southern most portions of the channel was a good sign of things to come. That small trading post eventually broke away from the empire that had founded it as corruption swept through the ancient western empire, bringing it to its knees. By that time, other settlements had started to form on the mainland along the channel also, thus strengthening its economic future.

Population: 62,240

(Aquilai: 20% Gambed: 30% Balmast: 30% Anistali: 5% Others: 15%)

Dorgard—City of the Petty Kingdoms

The city of Dorgard is on the southern shore of the Loudewater River on the west side of the channel. It is kind of the center for a group of fifteen petty kingdoms that ban together to try to hold the Gorled kingdom at bay (there used to be 17, but Gorled over ran the two northern most petty kingdoms many generations ago). Dorgard is by far the smallest of the cities, at about 1 square mile (completely contained within the city walls). The walls around Dorgard consists of 50’ x 50’ x 30’ high field stone towers with a 12’ high earthen rampart and 15’ high log palisades atop, with a 10’ deep trench (when the tide is high, a shallow muddy moat; when the tide is low, a trench full of thick mud), with spikes set permanently within the bottom of the trench.

These 15 rulers elect one of themselves or (more often) a trusted agent to serve as Margrave of the city and its surrounding lands (the Dorgard Commons). Each of the 15 petty kingdoms also provides 100 men (or cavalry, counted as 3 men per one man and horse), which together serve as the front line army of the city. The Margrave has full dictatorial powers within the Dorgard Commons, and may only be overruled by a majority of the petty rulers. All of the 15 rulers and the Margrave meet once each year to review the laws and policies of the city and the alliances of the Petty Kingdoms (uneasy and distrustful as it may be).

Within the city and its “subject” lands taxes amount to 10% of income or production in money or products, as well as a 5% import tax on common goods and a 10% import tax on weapons, gems, jewelry, foreign coinage, and slaves. There is also a 1cp-gate tax per non-resident entering the city. Spell casters who are proclaimed Full Members of the "High Tower" are exempt from income and production taxes (but becoming a member can be costly), but in return for this and the location of their Guild Hall and Library being located here, they give council to the rulers and aid to the city and lands in times of need. The High Tower is the tallest building within the world, it is an octagonal shape with each of the eight sides being about 200’ across, and the entire structure is about 1,000 feet tall. The surrounding walls are 25’ thick, 50’ high, and about 400’ long on each of the 8 sides. Each corner of the wall is made up of a round tower that is 100’ in diameter and 100’ tall. The most amazing thing about the entire structure is that there is no apparent gate (unless you are expected, so the rumor goes). The entire walled complex is surrounded out to about 200’ to 300’ by thick trees and underbrush that appears to be only a thick tangled mass, although there are a few trails leading into it. Most of the people of the channel region avoid going within this strange "park" like they would avoid the plague.

Population: 34,160 (Gambed: 70% Masgand: 10% Anistali: 10% Others: 10%)

Gorled—City of Might

This city is the capital of a large feudal kingdom. It sets on the Western shore of the channel, north of the Loudewater River, and is approximately 3.1 square miles in size. The city walls are made of fieldstone and mortar; they are 12’ wide and 20’ high, with 20’ x 20’ x 30’ high towers also of fieldstone. There are four gates in the walls: River Gate (near the river), West Gate (north of the river gate, in the same west wall), Old Gate (this is in a portion of the wall that separates the old city from the new city, formerly the "north gate"), New Gate (north along the “new” portion of the same wall as the old West Gate and the River Gate).

The King’s castle is actually quite a ways away, inland to the northwest, but the majority of the political dealings of the kingdom take place within the walls of the Great Hall, which sits within the city. A large group of "Noble Houses" (Dukes, Earls, Barons, etc.) form a body that has partial say in decisions of the King. Each of these Noble families also rules large tracts of land within the kingdom. The city itself and the lands within about 25 miles of it are ruled directly by the King and/or Alderman who is appointed by the King. The Noble Houses elect officials to various public offices with the King’s approval. Some of these more important offices include Finance Minister, Minister of the Army and Navy, Minister of Common Laws, Foreign Affairs Minister, Minister of Public Works, etc. This is also the location of the Grand House of the All Father (see religions below)

To raise funds a head tax is paid by all residents of the kingdom as follows: Slaves 1cp, Peasants 1cc, Freemen 1sp, Citizens (non-noble land holders) 1sc, Nobles 1gp. this is collected annually, as well as gate taxes (1cc for non-residents or 1cp for residents), tolls for use of some roads and bridges (variable costs), docking toll (1cp per pace of the length of the ship), and import tariffs (5% of the value of common items; 10% for luxury items; 15% for alcohol, gems, jewelry, and foreign coinage; 20% for weapons).

The present ruler of Gorled is King Asland of the family Volgetz, who is a weak minded and sickly man (as the rumors go). His wife is the daughter of a powerful Aquilai lord who has been unable to bear any children (numerous rumors abound as to why this is). As it has always been in Gorled, the king keeps several concubines, of which Asland has nine, all of whom have born him at least one son and all of whom aspire to having their sons sit upon the thrown in the coming years. Corruption abounds within the Great Hall and the Royal Palace of Gorled, built upon the greed and ruthlessness of the powerful within the kingdom.

Population: 176,650 (Old City: 117,900; New City: 42,960; Gate Towns: 15,790)

Martelain—City of Strife

Formerly known as “City of Metalsmiths”

This city is on the north shore of the Silver River on the eastern side of the channel. It had been very powerful economically until the Northern Empire came across the mountains and seized control, the wealth from their mines in the mountains now crosses over the mountains thus nearly destroying the local economy. Martelain is approximately 2.2 square miles within the city walls and covers about 0.6 square miles outside of the city walls (although most of this is now vacant due to the recent drops in population). The walls of the city are of cut stone blocks and are 16 &rqsuo; thick x 20 &rqsuo; high, and have towers at odd intervals around the city that are 40 &rqsuo; x 40 &rqsuo; x 30 &rqsuo; high. There is a single gate that opens up into the city in front of the Palace.

The old Royal Palace of Martelain (the largest structure in the channel region) sets just inside of the Imperial Gate. There is a large garrison of Northern Empire troops stationed here to deal with the frequent riots that occur within the city (these riots have been becoming fewer and far between the past ten years or so, but they still occur occasionally). There are numerous entire city blocks that have been gutted by fires from the riots. A huge prison has been built recently in one of the fire-ravaged portions of the city to house all of those who dare to rebel against the Empire ("May the force be with them!" okay, bad joke…). There are also numerous empty buildings both within and outside the city walls due to the drastic drop in population over the past 40 years or so (presently about 60% of what it used to be).

The Martelain kingdom used to include a long narrow strip of coastline along the North Sea that included a large portion of the Iron Mountains, which have considerable mineral wealth. The Martelain kingdom no longer exists though, the Northern Empire wanted control of the wealthy mines of Martelain, and so plotted to take over the kingdom. About forty-five years ago the Tilsorns (Imperial Family of the Northern Empire) sent agents to the Royal court of Martelain to secretly stir up unrest, greed, and deceit. This resulted in power struggles and assassinations that undermined the power of the Royal Family. Five years later after the kingdom was in turmoil and the army had begun to fall apart, the Tilsorns launched an assault on the kingdom and over-ran it in three weeks. Most of the mineral wealth began to flow through two small port cities of the empire on the other side of the mountains while Martelain began to lose its wealth and prestige. A puppet government was installed but only lasted twenty years, before the Tilsorns decided to rule it directly. The first three governors did not hold their positions long. A young and not-so-well liked member of the family was placed in charge of the city and surrounding lands (but not the mines further inland) about eight years ago. In the past eight years this new governor has let the city deteriorate at a slower pace than the previous puppet government did, but it did go downhill further under his rule. The Tilsorn &rqsuo; s are a large family and are always feuding amongst themselves. Many of the more powerful family members are assassinated, rumor has it that that is why young governor Damon Tilsorn avoids most of the intrigue and power struggles by quietly ruling the decrepit and outcast city of Martelain, where he can still live well, but at a distance from the rest of the family.

Taxes are rather burdensome for merchants; 20% import tax for most goods, 30% for many luxury items, and 40% for weapons and foreign coinage. There is also a 1cc annual head tax per citizen and a 1cp per-head tax for all non-citizens each time they enter the city.

Population: 77,400 (City proper: 73,000; Shadow Town: 4,400)

(Balmast: 70% Northerners: 15% Gambed: 10% Others: 5%)

South Shore—City of Artisans

This city is the closest to being a true democracy (even though it is still far from it). It is positioned on the south shore (obviously) of the Clearwater River on the eastern continent that forms the channel. It is approximately 2.1 square miles within the city walls and 1.4 square miles outside of the city walls. The walls of the city are 25’ thick and 30’ high, and are made of cut stone blocks. There are also 50’ x 50’ x 40’ height towers of similar construction about every 1,000’ and gates with double towers every 2,000’ around the city walls (six gates in all).

The government is run by the City Council elected by the citizens. The council is made up of 25 members, each from a different part of the city-state. Many of the skilled artisans and semi-wealthy merchants live and work in this city because the taxes are fair and they have more say in government policies and decisions. There is also the Guild Council, which is a quasi-political body that has considerable sway over the City Council. The City and Guild Councils jointly elect the State Lord every three years. Anyone that has served on the City Council may be elected as State Lord. The Guild Council is made up of the Guild Masters of each of the various guilds within the city-state (these guilds control often times reaches into the same industries within the other cities of the channel region, and thus has considerable power). Even though this is the only one of the five cities where slavery is illegal, slaves from the other four cities are not sheltered or protected when they flea here, thus many of the bounty hunters in the region make frequent visits to the taverns of South Shore.

Population: 218,760 (City proper: 174,405; East-Gate Town: 27,080; South-Gate Town: 17,275)

(Balmast: 65% Gambed: 20% Aquilai: 5% Others: 10%)

Isle of Stars—Place of Mystery and Knowledge

The Isle of Stars (and the several other small islands around it) makes up what can best be described as a very exclusive school and collection of knowledge. I am not going to go into any great depth here due to the secretive nature of this place (this may change if this product ever looks like it might be published). This started out as a school for the children of the powerful, the present day cities grew around the islands into their present forms, while the Isles of the Stars have changed very little. About a millennia (1,276 years ago to be exact) ago, the school changed the way they operated, from taking in anyone willing to pay the fees to tracking down only those worthy of the arts (this school is akin to the Shaolin Temples of northern China in that they stress a combination of well developed minds, bodies, and spirits). Martial arts are exceedingly rare in this world, however they are taught at the Isle of Stars (and by a few who have turned away from the ways of the Stars after having trained there, and by a few small groups that still pass down some of the traditional fighting techniques usually altered in some form). Those who complete the training will either spend their lives training the new students brought in every year (only 33 are brought in per year), or will scour the world gathering knowledge and history as well as seeking out those few individual children who are capable of going through the training. Thus the Island of the Stars has got the most complete and broad knowledge base on the planet, written in an unbiased format, dating back nearly 2500 years.

Population: 650 (?)

Black Swan District of Martelain

The Black Swan District is so named for a swan that had lived along the shore here many years ago (to far back for anyone to remember how far back it was). Rumor has it that as the city of Martelain was growing and much of the coastline had not yet been built up with warehouses and other buildings, which this majestic but strange bird nested along this part of the shore for several years.

The stories claim that the king at that time was the only person who could approach the bird without it trying to attack thus the reason that this was one of the last parts of the Martelain coast to be built upon. Although the stories vary quite a bit as to whom it was that was king at that time, as do how long the creature nested here. Many people think that it is simply an oldwives tale and that there is no basis for it. However, who is to say, as it would have been long ago indeed.

Occasionally rumors can be heard at the local taverns about the ghost of the Black Swan, and that anyone seeing the creatures is destined for bad luck for a fortnight. There are also rumors that the bird had been shot with an arrow and died by one of the founders of South Shore and that before the creature died, it laid a curse on the lands to the south of that city, thus creating the swamplands that run for a distance down the coast to the south-east from the city of Southshore, but again, who is to say if these rumors are based on fact.

With a portion of the buildings being empty and not being fully utilized (as is common in the city of Martelain due to its rough economic times in recent decades, since the take-over by the Northern Empire) as well nearly 1/3 of the surface area being covered by the water of the Channel, the Black Swan District of the city has a population of only about 3,000 people.

J3—Black Swan Dist. (Martelain)

Black Swan District of Martelain Map

10—Old Secure Apartment Building

This is an old apartment building with a central courtyard. Note: this had been inhabited by a group of slavers who were lead by a ruthless half-orc. However in one of the campaigns that I have run, the characters deal with (defeat) these slavers and take up residence within the building. In another campaign one of the characters purchased the building (then drove out the slavers) and used it as rental property (leasing out apartments and the shops on the ground floor to those who are willing to pay for security from the riots. This building is part of the reason that this section of the city is so heavily detailed.

The structure is three floors plus a cellar level that has access to the sewers (this is how they smuggled slaves in and out of the city). It is made of cut stone blocks that fit together securely with no mortar and a slate roof over heavy wooden timbers.

Name Lvl BMR MxPace/Bns Sz/Crit Init AT DB (shld) Hits RRs Attack Details Important/Relevant Skills
Rengel 8 50’ Dash/-10 M/M +4 8 12 (+36NS) 127 E:10 C:0 M:2 P:14 D:14 F:0 Broadsword +101 & Shield +101, Dagger +71, Blackjack +71, Thrown Dagger +47, Unarmed Strike +77 2WpnCombo +84, Subdual, +84, Disarm +54, Climb/Run +23, Navigation +45, Perception +35, Leadership +56, Stalk/Hide +47, Medical Diagnostics +45, Medical First Aid +45
Therial 8 50’ Dash/+0 M/M +2 1 6 (no) 76 E:2 C:4 M:30 P:6 D:6 F:6 Mentalism Spells, M Unarmed Grapple +39, M Unarmed Strike +33 Stalk/Hide +46, Perception +45, Influence-Charm +78, Soc. Aware +8, Attunement +58, M.E. Grace +54, M.E. Trickery +54
Mind Attack 10/+80, Mind Control 10/+80, Mind Merge 10/+80, Mind Speech 10/+80, Presence 10/+80, Sense Control 10/+80, Attack Avoidance 10/+80, Cloaking 9/+74, Mind’s Door 8/+68, Movement 8/+68, Self Healing 8/+68, Sense Mastery 7/+62
Slaver (x6) 3 50’ Dash/+0 M/M +2 5 6 (+26NS) 73 E:0 C:10 M:0 P:6 D:6 F:0 Broadsword +50, Dagger +50, Shortbow +36, Unarmed Strike +4 Stalk/Hide +26, Perception +20

Old Secure Apartment Building: ground floor

Old Secure Apartment Building Groud Floor Map
Entrance, 10’ x 40’ hallway with heavy stone walls and ceiling (10’ high) with 5 square holes each about 1 foot across spaced 5 feet apart. These holes are intended as defensive firing positions (stones, arrows, hot oil, etc.) against anyone trying to gain access to the buildings central courtyard. Two slavers will be positions here using short bows if they have any warning that anyone is trying to get in.
Courtyard is 30’ x 60’ and open to the sky, with a stairway at the north end leading to a balcony that wraps all the way around the second level. There are several more small balconies around the third level that open towards the courtyard. The roof is tile and slopes inward with a tile trough that dumps into a tile pipe that leads to several wooden barrels just outside of the smithy. The green square indicates a drain into the sewer system (see sewer level for details).
This area used to be a bakery, as can be seen from the various equipment and oversized hearth that dominates the back corner of the room. However it is also used by Therial for magical experimentation, and as such is currently home to several oversized animated calzones who will attack anyone other than Therial who enters this room.
This room used to be a small shop with wooden tables and shelves, however now it is full of smashed crates and other wooden rubbish.
Stables, largely damaged with much of the wood structure rotted away due to the roof having collapsed above the north-east third of the stables. There is also a very large pile of ash in the area above the collapsed roof. If this ash is dug through, the characters will find various iron nails and other fasteners that remain from the various wooden wreckage that has been burned for heating purposes in the various hearths within this complex.
Smithy, while in disrepair due to lack of use in years, most of the equipment and supplies are still salvageable. There is evidence (if anyone looks a light +10 perception roll) that the slavers cross through the smithy and to the southern portion of the large hearth. There is actually a secret door here (very hard, -20 perception roll to detect) that is used by the slavers to access the cellar and sewers for sneaking slaves in and out of the city (since slavery is illegal in all of the Channel Cities except for Argentum).
This former shop is empty except for a heavy layer of dust.

Old Secure Apartment Building: second floor

Old Secure Apartment Building Second Floor Map
Entry murder holes, this area is intended as a defensive system from which residents can drop or shoot at intruders entering through the double gate entry (1). If there is any advance warning, then two of the 2nd level fighters will position themselves here with short bows, which they will use to shoot at said invaders.
Therial’s living quarters. Although all of his possessions are kept on the upper floor, so there is little of note or value here.
Rengel’s living quarters. Although all of his possessions are kept on the upper floor, so there is little of note or value here.
Empty apartment. This apartment has been totally stripped of anything of use or value and now contains only a thick layer of dust on the floors.
Hayloft, almost half of the floor is collapsed with much of the remainder being rotted and in disrepair. Roll to check for fall through (once/50’ of movement) by rolling dice and adding half of characters weight, with any result above 100 indicating a fall through the floor => Fall/Krush attack + result over 100 of the first roll.
Empty apartment. This apartment has been totally stripped of anything of use or value and now contains only a thick layer of dust on the floors.
This apartment is used by the slavers as the common eating area. There are two older slaves that they have do the cooking and other work for them, while the remainder of the slaves are kept bound in the rooms above until they are ready to move them to Argentum to sell them. There is a large table with 8 stools (3-legged) around it, scattered with a mix of wooden, porcelain and a few pewter dishes. Also on this table is a deck of ivory playing cards and a pair of wooden dice.
This area is used by the other six slavers (the henchmen of the two leaders), however their sleeping quarters are actually on the floor above, with two of them sleeping in each of the rooms above this area. This room is primarily empty except for a barrel and two stools as well as some broken up wood next to the hearth.

Old Secure Apartment Building: third floor

Old Secure Apartment Building Third Floor Map
Therial uses this room as his bedchamber and study, although the only furniture is a hammock, three tables and a stool.
Balcony, if Therial feels threatened while in his apartment, he will make his way here and then use Long Door to teleport himself to the roof to try to escape.
Upper floor of Rengel’s living quarters, empty.
Empty balcony
Rengel’s sleeping quarters, all that is here are a hammock and a chest with clothing and equipment in it.
10-21 through 10-29
All empty and dusty, nothing of value or note, except for room 28 being open to the sky where the roof caved in and the floor is half rotted away and collapsed.
Hallway, empty
Half elf chained to the floor (ankles and wrists chained to iron rings attached to huge spikes driven into the floor, lying spread-eagle). The room smells of urine and feces, and an unimaginable stench.

If spoken to, it will become apparent that he doesn’t know who he is or why he is even there. He suffers from a form of amnesia that prevents him from remembering anything prior to when he last woke up.

If the characters address him nicely and make any inkling that they may release him, he says that he can help them. However, unknown to the characters he will make his best effort to kill or at least maim any and all of the slavers he is able to get near with any weapon that is handy. This is due to the fact that each morning when he is woken up, most of the slavers enter the room to beat and tourcher him cruelly and mercilessly.
Late-middle aged husband and wife (husband was a blacksmith, they are from a remote area far to the west, they are the only ones that are not tied up, but have been beaten and abused), they do the cooking and cleaning occasionally, but are usually locked in room #32 unless one of the slavers lets them loose to do the work that is expected of them.
4 non-descript men (laborers)
5 non-descript women (laborers)
10-37 through 10-39
Each of these rooms has makeshift beds or hammocks in them for two of each of the six slaver henchmen and their possessions.

Old Secure Apartment Building: cellar level

Old Secure Apartment Building Cellar Level Map

The sewer is not defined here, but Navigation skill should be checked or other skills as appropriate for characters that may try to infiltrate the building through the sewer system (if the GM decides to have the owner tell the characters about the possible sewer entrance (although he is not aware of the secret entrance through the smithy, as he thinks that the drain in the courtyard simply drops into the sewer) or if the characters follow Rengel to meet up with the sailor who will enter the sewer with his large row boat). If the characters do enter this way, then they should encounter the Were-rat and giant rats as shown in the creature table below. The door from the large dock area (this is where the boatman will dock to pick up the slaves for transport across the channel to the island city of Argentum, where they will be sold (and where slavery is legal)) is locked and is Very Hard (-20) to Pick from that side, whereas it can be opened easily from the other side.

Name Lvl BMR MxPace/Bns Sz/Crit Init AT DB (shld) Hits RRs Attack Details Important/Relevant Skills
Animated Calzone (x4) 3 20’ Run/+0 S/S 2 +20 40 E/C/M/P/D/F: +10 all S Unarmed Strike +25 (+heat crit -1sev), S Unarmed Grapple +35 (+heat crit -1 sev) Any slash/puncture crits delivered result in attacker receiving a heat crit of same severity (hot tomato and cheese sauce)
Were-rat 3 60’ Dash/+15 M/M* +5 1* +15* 70* E:-9 C:+16 M:-6 P:+14 D:+24 F:-6 M Bite +45, M Claw +45 > Disease (RR vs. 3rd lvl or Lycanthropy develops over next week) Climb/Stalk/Hide +50, Perception +50 (low light vision, improved smell and hearing sense)
* Proof against weapon (except Silver & Magic: reduce crits and attack size by 2 (M becomes T: 1/3 damage, crit severity reduced by 2) due to reduced effectiveness of non magic and non silver weapons), Silver acts as Slaying I (+5 to crit rolls) Distinct Odor, Lycanthropy Transformation (assumne that the creature is in a humanized rat form, but changes to a human after being killed)
Giant rat (x4) 1 10’ Dash/+15 T/T +5 1 +15 25 E:-9 C:+16 M:-6 P:+14 D:+24 F:-6 T Bite +21, T Claw +21 > Disease (bubonic: 1st lvl, see page 65 & 69 of ChL) Climb/Stalk/Hide/Perception +27