The Transformation of Crestwold takes a sleepy baronial fief from obscurity to prominence. It is comprised of adventures, encounters, and scenes that build on a main plot line, involve multiple subplots and consistent non-player characters. The main plots are: a trade dispute between two interests; a weak and sickly baron, unsupportive of his Lord’s (the Earl of Bar-Innis) attempt to stabilize and improve the area; and a resurgence of perils with a recently uncovered ancient ruins. A series of events has conspired to place the locals of the barony square in the sites of turmoil and violence.
Within this, several sub plots provide many opportunities for glory and treasure. The affable merchant and smuggler Lucky Red Scarf is expanding his influence. Meddling by the League of the White Lily trying to change the culture of the larger earldom the barony is in. Arrayed against them is the whispered-about Twin Rivers Shadow Council. Other creatures and characters, drawn in by the magic of an ancient enclave, have come to carve out their own fortunes.
Location: Crestwold is a barony in the Earldom of Bar-Innis, part of the Duchy of Dunstrand in the Steel Realms.
Premise: News reaches the players of danger, they travel to Crestwold to seek out new opportunities for fortune and glory.
Story and Progress: A series of events plays out where the players decide which allies to back in trade and politics, fight against mercenaries and monsters in order to bring stability and peace to the barony.
Challenges: Mostly other humanoids, political perils, trade disagreements, the backdrop of war with outside forces nearby, rumors and ruins attracting other adventurers like the PCs. Deception, traps, and monsters of all kinds.
Rewards: The immediate rewards of goods and treasure to improve their status. The PCs should have a stake in ongoing prosperity of the region – possible land and titles.
Read through the entire adventure and familiarize yourself with the entire scenario and encounter set. If its too much to track, break the game session and milestones into what you can manage - generally it is better to end early with a good experience than fumble through a poor one. Materials are presented here in groupings of the most likely order the players will experience them in. If they go off-script, you must be ready to adjust and improvise.
The optimal experience for using these materials is as online content. This material contains links to material outside the text - familiarize yourself with this content as well. Follow the links, and print out or have loaded on a device ahead of time all materials needed to effectively run this adventure. Print friendly PDF or ePub versions also maintain the links in most cases.
Tactics to be used by the creature appearing above.
Events leading up to the point the characters enter the picture.
What the Characters Know: Common knowledge and Uncommon [what checks are required?].
Hidden Knowledge: What is completely unknown to the players (and perhaps to the NPC’s!).
Part of “Living World“: Dunstrand Rising (Steel Realms Campaign) When: season
Local reputation will affect the opportunities presented to the characters. Low reputation will draw the ire of the commoners, nobility, and make the party a target for the other mercenary groups and adventurers in the area.
|-4||Any lone or pair of PCs may be jumped by by criminals or opportunists without fear of reprisal from the authorities. Scene: Theft in the Night|
|-2||The character will not be able to borrow any money or goods. Any mercenary bands in the area consider the group acceptable prey. Scene: A Bracing Brawl|
|-1||The character may borrow up to 50 silver per point of reputation.|
|1||The character may borrow up to 200 silver per point of reputation.|
|2||The character may borrow up to 500 silver per point of reputation. With Deputy Status/Scene: The Merchant from Mev|
|3||The character may borrow up to 750 silver per point of reputation. Side Trek:|
|4||The character may borrow up to 1000 silver per point of reputation. Side Trek: The Swooning Mathilda|
The party will be outsiders starting at the ground level, or begin with a hand up through association or as an existing bannermen (to the Duke or Earl) or equivalent. When they begin, they will have come to a remote and poor fief of Dunstrand to investigate some disturbances.
Buying Equipment: Normal cost +20% for arms and armor (too many mercenaries taking all supplies)
>> Living World – Dunstrand Rising (Steel Realms Campaign) >> Tarmysia is still occupied by Gwinn. With the constant war, that makes military supplies hard to come by – replacement arms, armor, etc.
Lucky Red Scarf (“LRS”), a halfling merchant sailing out of Scar Flow on the Red Pony.
MOTIVATIONS: Take out the remainder of the old crew loyal to the smuggler he defeated years ago; Expand his influence, make some money.
He is Captain of the Baron’s Guard; He is an outsider from the Doolun Emirates in the far south. He was hired to deal with all the interfacing with soldiers and such – the baron does not like to have to deal with other houses and people he might have to see in court (this is a well known fact). He has been employed for a couple years, and is about 40 years old, though he looks younger. His exotic look and skin have made him popular at parties and with the ladies. He is tall, dusky skinned, strong and handsome. He has back problems from an old wound (and hates to ride or be in the saddle more than a day). He is never far from his glaive – which he uses as a walking stick and weapon. He was challenged a few times when first hired and killed his first 2 challengers, before he fought and killed four “thugs” on his way back from a party – drunk and in the dark. No one’s bothered him since. His primary duties includes managing the dispatches to the watch commanders in each of the 4 major towns on the barony, maintaining the stockade and barracks, managing the barons personal guard of a dozen, an elite guard of 4, and managing the militia of Torrelsons Ford (about 40 at any given time). He also manages coordinating the army, including the knights of the barony, if it is in the field.
MOTIVATIONS: To use his position to meet allies, invest, and retire in 5 years.
She runs the shop of Diamond Curios and Antiques at Torrelsons Ford.
His shop is not really disguised well and most people know who she works for: HOUSE MALOR. She is from the Riverdans (accent is thick), is now about 50, was once freshly beautiful, and now her and her dog keep watch over an aging shop. Her dog is not a familiar, but it is assumed to be. Her crow, which is, stays out of sight, but runs the roost of a crows roost on the top of her shop. It talks to the other crows so that they stay loyal and send/retrieve messages and spy for food and shelter. She is happy to see strangers for many reasons, and can be used as the sign on her shop says – “A sounding board for things spooky and magical.”
MOTIVATION: To make sure practitioners of magic are observed and registered if they are more than passing through. To observe the events in the Barony and report to House Malor.
The husband of the sister of the Mayor of Torrelson’s Ford.
She is a representative of Morbon Bros Casters and Haulers (her uncle is a senior merchant of the company in Lily Glen) – was staying at Wilkens bed and breakfast. She is now lodging at the Mills’ family loft – moving around because she thinks she is marked by her enemies.
Hunter/Tracker/Duelist for hire.
Mayor of Torrelsons Ford
Scribe and self-styled “herald” of the mayor of Torrelsons Ford (fancy way of saying gopher).
Who they are…. and their role in it all.
Motivations: What does the character hope to achieve?
> Aversion(s) > What do they hope to avoid or will not do?
Why Crestwold? Crestwold is the only passenger port in Dunstrand, outside the Tarmysian Peninsula. The treacherous Scar Flow and Dwindor Swamp limit boat movement to only those who know the swamp well and have precious cargo. Every boat north of the barony on the coast is more of a barge or skiff. Crestwold’s port is up one tributary of a river that spills out into Scar Flow, where there is enough solid land to maintain a breakwater and docks. Its small trade port bring in goods from Tarmysia, Umbak, and Loamwold mostly. Since the war, few open sea merchant vessels have come this far – and there is only room for a single large ship in the port besides. For all of its out-of-the-way flavor and limits, Crestwold is uniquely positioned to be a focal point. In better times, the population was double, goods flowed, and the barony enjoyed a unique relationship with its halfling neighbors. Since the civil war, and Berithors (the previous Earl of Bar-Innis) decrees, trade with the halflings dropped off, goods barely moved, and folk left in great numbers after the war. Such was the price of neutrality in the civil war of the Earldom. It is at its lowest civil ebb in decades. It is ready to come out of its shell.