Friday, December 27, 2013

Campaign: Search for the Lost City of the Suel

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Time to update some developments in one of my spin-off Sea Princes Campaigns. After having exploited the Mines of Hokar, the players consulted with everyone they could (including the Seekers) on a new location to find adventure. In the end, party member Ivy Nightfall chose a place she heard vaguely about from her elven childhood; the Lost City of the Suel in the Suss Forest. A sage was hired, ships chartered and supplies were gathered and they sailed forth from Monmurg to Gryrax, capital of the Principality of Ulek. Leaving their sage behind in the town of Thrunch, they hiked north to Ivy's secluded homeland of Celene with the plan to search by water, beginning from the Handmaiden River and then following the current south down the Jewel River.

Much to my player's surprise (not really), my set up for this new adventure is an old school hex crawl much in the same fashion as my dungeon crawl in the Mines of Hokar. I created a map of the Suss-Pomarj-Wild Coast region for the players to view and track their search through the tangled wilds. I'm using my favorite hex within hex paper. The large hexes is a standard Greyhawk 30 miles across while the smaller hexes are 5 miles each. As the Suss is thick and hazardous to move through on land, each 5 mile hex constitutes 1/3 day's travel/searching while travel by water is more rapid for example.

To facilitate the speed of this crawl I created several charts, mostly of wandering but some for specific keyed locations with a random chance of being found within the forest confines. For example, I have your obligatory day and night wandering monster encounters. These charts also take into account the Suss being more dangerous on the east bank than the west. I also have a small chart that tells the content of each searched hex:

1. Empty (chance to get lost)
2. Empty (no effect)
3. Strange Flora
4. Natural Hazard
5. Found Trail (random direction)
6. Keyed Location

The Strange Flora Chart is a fun list of herbs, flowers and such that I've culled from many game sources over the years. Those with enough knowledge of nature can find these rare bits of plant life, each with a game application from healing properties to poisonous effects. Natural Hazards is a short list of obstacles to overcome like quicksand, brambles or disease carrying insects. Trails can lead to wandering monsters but also can potentially lead players astray. Needless to say, a ranger or druid is invaluable for their skills here.

The Keyed Locations are special points of interest that, taken as a whole, paint a picture of the ancient story the characters are trying to discover in the heart of this forest. To demonstrate, the players so far have found a cavern of latent evil (think Dagobah here), named elven arms/armor lost within the thickest bramble patches and most recently a stone marker that can potentially be a clue to the location of the Lost City itself.

The Lost City campaign is a true grind, yet the Suss is not an overly large region, so searching it shouldn't be too daunting time-wise. Scale this system up to a truly vast area like the Burneal Forest, Amedio Jungle or the Corusk Mountains and you could have a long term campaign indeed!


grodog said...

Very nice, Mike! You really should share your hex maps up on CF!, too :)

Do you have specific plans for the ruined city itself?


Infernal Teddy said...

Where can I find that Hexpaper?

Greyhawk Grognard said...

I did a whole lot of work on a lost city of the Suel for my own campaign a year or two ago. Never actually got to use it, though. Would love to see how this pans out for you.

grodog said...

@ Infernal Teddy: Mike bought his hex paper from Black Blade at GenCon this past year (or perhaps the year before now, Mike?).

The 11"x17" hex pads are 40 sheets per pad, with Greyhawk sized hexes on one side, and Wilderlands sized hexes on the other. We generally only sell them at conventions, for $13/pad. (We have a duplex 11x17 graph pads too, that are 5 squares/inch on one side, and 6 squares/inch on the other; same price).

If you'd like to buy a pad, you can contact us via our website @ and Jon will arrange a shipping quote for you.


Mike Bridges said...

Yeah year before. I approve of this product. Best graph paper I've owned since the time I found a desk sized pad back in the 80's.
I don't have too many plans for the city yet except the process to find it. Going by the Suel City LG article on Wizards and a similar article on Canonfire, it could be more mysterious than first thought.