This week, I'm sharing the first look at St. Cuthbert's Crossing—the causeway that links Solonor Island, and its settlements and citadel, to the mainland.
I obviously hope you'll enjoy St. Cuthbert's Crossing, but what I'm really showing off is the way I'll be presenting each settlement location. My goal is to make each location as GM-friendly as possible. Here's how it will look on the page:
If you've seen any of our Village Backdrops think of this as an enhanced Village Backdrop location listing. I provide two tables so that you can add some randomness to the characters' visit to the locale. (Of course, if you are playing a solo game, you can use these tables to see what befalls your character at the locale.)
Other locations also benefit from a Notable Folk listing, list of things for sale and more. I'll post a couple of these locations over the next few weeks.
I'd love to know what you think of this layout. Is it too much detail? Not enough? Have I missed something? Let me know in the comments.
St. Cuthbert's Causeway
A narrow causeway of slick rock links the mainland to an island a few hundred yards offshore. The causeway ends at a gate-pierced wall. Beyond, a mighty fortress—the citadel at Nemeton—perches atop a rocky outcrop of wave-lashed rock.
Solonor is a tidal island, and St. Cuthbert’s Crossing connects Solonor to the mainland. Here, low tide exposes a narrow shelf of slippery rock. The natural causeway is barely wide enough for a wagon, and periodic work is carried out to improve the going over St. Cuthbert's Crossing. St. Cuthbert is said to have raised the rock shelf to keep his feet dry during a pilgrimage.
What’s Going On?
While the characters are at St. Cuthbert’s Crossing, one or more things from the list below may occur.
- Choppy Sea: The sea is choppy—being driven ashore by a stiff breeze. The characters get wet crossing the causeway.
- Crabbing Children: A few peasant children hunt along the causeway in search of crabs to supplement their diet. A single (bored) guard watches over them.
- Fishing Boats: Several fishing boats bob near the causeway. Their crews throw nets into the water or pull crabbing baskets from the depths. Several of them wave as the party traverse the causeway.
- Seaweed: A recent storm has driven great masses of seaweed ashore and covered the crossing in the stuff. The going on the causeway is slow and slippery.
- Old Fishers: Several old fisher folk sit on the edge of the causeway, casting their lines into the sea. They are friendly and greet the party. They could be a good source of local rumours.
- Empty Crossing: No one else is about when the characters reach the crossing.
Opportunities & Complications
Lucky adventurers find opportunities almost anywhere. Unlucky adventurers find complications almost anywhere.
- Sinking Boat: A nearby fishing boat has got into difficulty and has started to sink. This could be because of bad maintenance, poor seamanship or something more sinister. The crew spies the party and calls for help.
- Screaming: As the party reaches the crossing, screaming from behind them on the mainland reaches their ears. This could be a trap laid by raiding humanoids or someone genuinely in danger.
- Sinister Ripples: Sinister ripples disturb the water near the causeway. This could be nothing, or it could betray the presence of a lurking aquatic predator.
- Inquisitive Child: Aamu Kaipia (CN young female human commoner) is crabbing on the causeway. Bored, she decides to chat with a character. She relates a rumour if the character is pleasant or kind. However, the character is she remembers them. She could be a useful contact or an annoyance or hindrance in the future.
- Outbound Patrol: Six warriors from the citadel trudge along the causeway to make a brief sweep of the local area. They stop the characters to see if they have any news import.
- Bloodied Patrol: A patrol from the citadel reaches the causeway at the same time as the party. One of the soldiers has an arrow in their arm—the group were sniped at by an unseen enemy.
The Timing of the Tides (Sidebar)
Characters hoping to use St. Cuthbert’s Crossing are at the mercy of the tides (unless they want to get somewhat wet).
Deciding whether the causeway is accessible or not is normally a non-issue. If the characters arrive while the causeway is submerged, they can simply rest and wait for low tide. However, sometimes they may be in a hurry; perhaps an entire tribe of angry orcs is chasing them, or a party member urgently needs healing the characters do not possess.
In such instances, the state of the tides is tremendously important, and you can use it for dramatic effect. High and low tide happens at roughly six-hour intervals; thus, there are two high tides and two low tides each day. However, the characters are unlikely to have a method of telling the exact time, and thus you can play a little loose with their timings. (Do not do this to doom the party to certain death).
Creighton Broadhurst is the Publisher of Useful Items at Raging Swan Press. He lives on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity. He is not planning to voyage far.