Tuesday, June 17, 2014

[Urbis] Locations of the Cold Frontier - Blue Octopus Village

The third Coastal Tribe village of the Cold Frontier is actually located on an island off the coast. Blue Octopus Village is, of course, primarily a fishing village, but they also trade with some of the creatures of the depths, in particular cecaelia and merfolk, with whom they trade pearls and other treasures of the depths in exchange for land food and tools. In fact, the village serves as neutral meeting ground for these ocean-dwelling sapients, and the PCs might stumble across a conference between these beings (the human villagers will likely attempt to keep them away from there and distract them with their own festivities). The village is medium-sized, with about 400 inhabitants.

Returning to the Random Nations Generator, we get Consociational State as the form of government - possibly the Octopus Tribe and the Fish Tribe (as the cecaelia and merfolk would be called) are actually part of the village government, taking seats on the local Council of Elders. Among the organizations, we get the False Face Society again, just like in Ghost Crab Village. I think I will simply establish that there is a skinwalker presence in this town - given the location, weresharks seem the most likely. A further organization is La Cosa Nostra, implying that the locals who trade with the underwater dwellers for pearls will go to lengths to protect their monopoly, including... accidents (worse things happen at sea, you know). Finally, we have a Biker Gang - which means that many of the younger fishers are rather rowdy when it comes to going out in their kayaks, often racing the waves in rather bad weather. Outsiders who can't keep up with their boating skills - or indeed, can't use boats at all - will get little respect.

Moving on to NPCs, first we get Eddie Chapman, a British criminal turned double agent who pretended to work for the Germans in WWII while in reality working for MI5. For Blue Octopus Village, this might mean a villager - let's call him Long Weasel - who pretends to sell out his village and is willing to subvert the pearl monopoly in exchange for goods and favors, but who is really spying on the PCs for the village - and the Hidden Fire Society.

Next up is John Whiteside Parsons, famous rocket scientist/occultist. Now, this is an interesting archetype, especially considering his attempted "Babalon Working". Let's say our Cold Frontier equivalent, White Sky, is a powerful shaman driven by the need to know. He is a member of the Hidden Fire Society, but doesn't really care about their goals - all that matters is the secret knowledge he has gained through their association. Likewise, while he is strictly speaking not a member of the Wendigo Cult, he has contacts with them and has observed some of their rites. He will probably sooner or later summon Wendigo himself, just to see if he can.

Lastly, we get Doctor Dolittle, which easily translates into a shaman (let's call him Little Water) of the druidic variety who cares deeply about animal life and whose hut will be constantly surrounded by numerous animal companions.

As a political issue, we get Human-animal hybrid ban sought at Louisiana session. Extending the definition of "animals" a bit, perhaps there is a "forbidden love" between one of the human villagers and one of the octopus folk - or at least, the human parents and many of the village elders are against it - the one who is the most sympathetic is White Sky, who is willing to brew them a potion which would allow them to have offspring, just to see what happens. The human male, Long Reed, might ask the explorers if they could live at the Trade Outpost, away from their families. If they sound receptive, he will introduce them to his female cecaelia lover, Deep Swimmer.

Note: A list of all Urbis-related posts can be found here.

Friday, June 13, 2014

[Urbis] Locations of the Cold Frontier - Marmot Warrens, Wendigo Altar, Fog Wraiths, and Ghoul Warrens

In this outlier of the coastal mountains, numerous extended families of marmots make their home. If someone starts to sing, whistle, or make some other kind of music, they will quickly whistle along.

Here the coastal forests fade into the plains, only leaving small copses of trees. In one of them there is an ancient altar with the sign of the wendigo. Sacrificing a living being on the altar will summon a hunger spirit into a nearby animal, or even human being - depending on the power of the sacrifice. A contest of Will can force the animal to attack a designated target. Wendigo priests have their own rituals to improve the odds. In order to destroy the altar safely, a hunger spirit inhabiting it must first be driven out, or else it will attempt to possess the destroyer.

Fog wraiths inhabit this part of the coastal mountains - 2 yard long, snake-like beings made out of fog which are attracted to the warmth of the living. They are not immediately dangerous, but they will cause their victims to become wet and gradually drain their warmth if not driven away. Fire will drive them away, and if their victims can somehow mask their body heat they will lose interest.

Near a small lake ruins of an Old Native settlement can be found. These used to be largely stone buildings, in contrast to the modern wooden constructions used by the Coastal Tribes. When the Great Darkness arrived, 150 villagers - about have the population - sought shelter in a nearby underground warren stretching deep into a mountain which was used for kivas and as a burial ground. Unfortunately, it offered no protection, and every last one of them turned to ghouls. A few of them, including a female shaman named Burning Feather, were able to remain lucid and stave off the hunger better than others, and if encountered by explorers before the other ghouls they will be able to hold a brief conversation about the history surrounding the Great Darkness before the other ghouls will be heard coming from the depths of the warren, and before Burning Feather is likewise overcome with hunger for human flesh.

The Coastal Tribes have put a large boulder in front of the cave entrance, while Burning Feather and her allies have destroyed the stairs leading down in order to keep themselves and the other ghouls imprisoned and protect their living relatives. Some living shamans of the Coastal Tribe occasionally contact Burning Feather telepathically, which is safe for both sides. These shamans value her knowledge and would not appreciate attempts by the explorers to destroy her.

Note: A list of all Urbis-related posts can be found here.