"Go to the sign of Harvel's Axe, a dubious inn on the edge of the Thieves Quarter, in the City of Greyhawk, and look to your own wrist. If you perceive a bracelet and dangling dice, watch for the next throw in the war between Law and Chaos and be prepared to follow the compelling geas." -Signal

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Beginnings: Westbrook, Hunger & Thirst

The start of a campaign may be the most time consuming portion of of the campaign for the GM. Many entry level modules give the GM a basic sketch that they can work from. There are then the products out there that give the GM a full fledged city to start with. Beginnings: Westbrook takes a spot between the two.

Westbrook is a 128 page setting offered by 3am Games. It was published in 2004 under the OGL and uses the D20 mechanics. This is the first in a line of products from the company though it appears there may have only been one other product released after this one.

The setting is a village of about 2000 or so people and is well designed and detailed from what I was able to see. The location of the village is between two larger cities and is part of the trade route between them. This presents the GM with obvious option for expansion once the players no longer have anything to support their adventuring in Westbrook.

The village has all the standbys that one will need for the characters to interact with. It has the town guards, the local leader who will ultimately need their assistance, the mysterious band of "rangers" who patrol the roads and wilderness and a well described series of shops and location.

One of the better parts of the book for the entry level or time crunched GM is the option on how the part gets together. There are four campaign hooks that can be used and a creative GM might actually mix two together. The option presented are the local heroes, the new to town group, the children of the old guard and finally the group that is pressed into service for punishment. I myself would use two or three of these to allow for some variation in the motives of the party and to allow for some level of friction.

The book unlike many D20 products is light on new mechanics. This is good for the entry level and also a refreshing change of pace. It does have some new spells, new diseases and a little bit more. The book also has an NPC class which I would suggest keeping as an NPC class.

To get the GM started in the actual gaming area there are three interconnected adventure lines that the GM can use. They are actually a little too linear for my taste but the starting GM will need something like this in many cases.

The wealth of information here allows the book to be used as intended for the stating GM as a campaign setting. It also makes it useful as a filler town for the GM who wants to move the players to another area and needs something in between the locations. I think it will serve every level GM well and provide ideas that can be mined even if not used as is.

Publishers blurb from the book....

This is the first book in the Beginnings series and the first release from 3am Games. It includes the fully developed town of Westbrook, a small, stopover town between two major trade centers. The town is well known for its hospitality and the comfort of the renowned Grey Griffon Inn.

Lately though, rats - lots of very large ones - have infested the town's granary. The call for heroes sounds, and the player characters answer. Clearing the rats from the granary shouldn't be much of a problem, but who was that shadowy figure letting the vermin in, and what's he up to?

Beginnings: Westbrook contains the fully developed town of Westbrook, four different campaign hooks to get the player characters involved with the granary, four low-level adventures that take the party through, outside, and under Westbrook to get the campaign going, and everything else that you should expect from a Beginnings book.


Hunger & Thirst

Level: Second
Range: 9"
Duration: One Turn + 1 Round/Level
Ares of Effect: 6" Sphere
Components: V,S
Casting Time: 4 Segments
Saving Throw: Negates

When this spell is cast the magic user causes the targeted  victims in the area of effect will be overcome with both hunger  and thirst. The need and want for food and water will become their  primary objective. This will override everything else but self  defense.

The victims of this spell will immediately sit down and begin  eating and drinking all the food and beverages that they have  on them. They will then proceed to eat and drink anything that  they can find in the immediate area. If the spell is still in  effect after all of that is gone they will go off in search of  more food and water. Those who save will not be affected in any  manner.

For those affected the party will become of little concern while  the spell is in effect. Unless attacked the party can move away  with no interference from those affected by the spell. The party  could even explore the room where the victims are unmolested  unless they were to bother any food or beverages in the areas. It  should be noted that unless it is undetectable the victims will  not knowingly eat or drink anything that would be detrimental to  them. Once the spell expires the victims will recall the casters  party and act accordingly.

Disclaimer: The spells that you will see, for how ever long the  write ups last, were all written up or conceived of back in the  80's so the terminology may not appropriate for anything other  than 1e and depending on how well I did back then it may be  slightly off for that as well. If there is any duplication of  spells that exist now it is most likely I wrote mine first :)  Please feel free to comment on them but try not to be too hard on  me. If anyone wishes to use these in anything they print please  let me know in advance and all I ask is proper credit.


Mystic Scholar said...

This is the sceond time I'm seeing this typo. 9" range and 6" sphere.

Again, this is how "inches" is indicated, "feet" are indicated with the apostrophe, thus: '

I believe this spell would therefore have a range of 9' (9 feet) with a 6' (6 foot) sphere.

The game itself sounds pretty good, for getting started.

Just so much I have to acquire, it would seem.

Thanks for sharing, Wymarc.

Wymarc said...

@Mystic Scholar Sorry for the confusion I am causing. In the 1e PHB and sucn they used the "inch" symbol and it meant 10 feet. Hope that helps. It is a mental thing I guess that I still use that.

Mystic Scholar said...

Not a problem. They probably used that in the 1e PHB because they didn't know any better.

The 1e PHB never even came to mind, so thanks for that reminder, Wymac.

Love the site, btw. :D

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