So, the 3.5e Gestalt campaign seems to be sputtering out, giving me the opportunity to swoop in and run some B/X dungeon crawls. In honor and maybe memorium of the stalled Shadow Over Beryl campaign, I’m calling this Shadow Over Alfheim.
I’ve pretty much just dropped a handful of OSR dungeons in a custom setting loosely based on Morgansfort, which allows me use of some of those dungeons as well as all the others. I’m trying to prepare for anything I can, since I’d like to be able to sandbox it and keep it an ‘open’ campaign, so I’ve written up rumor cards, have a location flowchart, and a nice little intro blurb:
“Alfheim lays in ruins. The humans who live there now call it the Wilds. A few coastal towns and strongholds flourish, but the shadow of bygone ages lies over the land. Those who do not live behind walls still feel the menacing presence of lingering magics and the stench of death that wafts from the old places. The Elves of Alfheim were a foul and decadent lot by the end of their history. Too much dabbling in the black arts, orgiastic debaucheries, and worship of foul unearthly powers brought a swift and unpleasant end to their dark revelries. While semi-nomadic greenskins are known to inhabit the Wilds, occassionally claiming castles, caerns and crypts as their own, the men and women who eek out their existence from the land have found that it is easier to live with their demi-human neighbors than the ghosts of the past.
Doing various odd-jobs around Portsdam may have finally paid off. Kadesh Richmond, a person of some import has caught wind of your names and contacted you via his solicitor. While his affairs keep him largely occupied in the port city at the northern edge of the Wilds, he has business interests he wishes to develop in Alfort and is seeking agents who would be willing to participate in a profitable venture. The solicitor informs you that Kadesh will cover your expenses for food and equipment as well as grant you each a retainer stipend of 100 gold per month. All you need to do is accompany a few wagons with some cargo and capital from Portsdam south to Alfort. It’s just one week, and once you reach Alfort, you’ll be given apartments, paid for by your benefactor. Once things start to solidify in Alfort, there may be more work for you.”
Here are the rumor cards:
-Some Goblins would like to set up a toll along the road between Portsdam and Alfort as it passes through their territory.
-No One has heard anything from the Village of Gernauch for a month.
-There’s enough Elf magic lying around Alfheim to destroy the world twice-over.
-It’s not the Elves you need to worry about, it’s the Gremlins.
-Alfheim is crawling with undead; they have to come from somewhere.
-The Elves of Alfheim were a completely different race of beings altogether than the “Elves”(PC elves) from across the seas.
-There are no such thing as Elves.
-There are no such thing as Vampires.
-Dozens die every year trying to explore the old fort. While the city has not outlawed attempts to explore it, they strongly recommend against it.
-If Elves could be vampires, we might all be doomed.
-Merchants would like to see Alfort build a harbor to reduce the need for using roads through Goblin territory or pass too close to Elven ruins.
-Worshipping Dark Gods may have turned Sigyfel into a Lich. True or not, Farmers around Alfort shudder when they hear his name.
-There’s a beautiful sorceress named Merilla who has a tower in the Wilds, but no one has seen her in awhile.
-There was an Elven King named Calden who once may have controlled all of Alfheim, before even Laws End Fell into decadence. His wickedness may have started Alfheim on its self-destructive decline. His tomb is somewhere deep in the wilds, but no one is sure where.
-The old Elven Town of Laws End was destroyed and cursed in some sort of Cataclysm. Its lord, an elf-mage named Nuromen, was said to be exceptionally depraved.
-Stull is an unhappy place made worse by kids who obsess over the ancient Elves.
-Milk from Zombie cows can’t be good for you.
-All of the old Elves of Alfheim are dead. Too bad they don’t stay that way.
-Too many mages in the Wilds are obsessed with old Elven magic.
-Some Punk Kid has figured out how to become a Lich.
-Some tribes of Orcs have been known to be led by women.
-Things are so bad in the Wild that there are entire plantations of undead.
-Somewhere there’s an abandoned keep where lights are seen and a strange gibbering noise fills the valley at night.
-There’s a haunted tomb just Northwest of Alfort.
I’m also using Zenopus Archives’ Adventurer/class packs (or at least a variation on them) to help quickstart everyone’s characters.