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Pretty close to 2 years ago, I started a new Karameikan campaign centred around a place I called Sielo's Fort. We started with an adapted version of B5 (Horror on the Hill). It had been a LONG time since any of us had played and it was a load of fun. We originally meant for it to last longer than it did, but Real Life intruded once again.
Anyway, I am gearing up to start up a Sielo's Fort campaign again (this time using a message board and playing by post). I plan to start with B5 again since it was so fun last time with the new changes. One of the great upshots of this is that I'm already familiar with the adventure and the setting I've pieced together over the years. I've continued to make a few tweaks here and there. One of those tweaks is a new "player background" that I think sets the stage nicely.
New Player Background for B5by Steven B Wilson
Sielo's Fort. Thirty years ago the Thyatians arrived and, with the encouragement of the head of the Sielo family, built this stone and wood fortification around the family homestead site. The Fort sits at a point where three distinct environments meet. To the south is the beginning of the might Dymrak Forest; to the north is the Wufwolde Hills; to the west lay the Kelvin Moors. The River Volaga (or the Highreach River, as the Thyatians like to call it) runs beside the Fort. While the surrounding wilderness still holds dangers, the presence of the Fort has provided a nominal measure of safety for the nearby communities.
It is here at Sielo's Fort that the main caravan route ends for northeastern Karameikos, providing the civilians of the Fort a measure of economic control in the region. Farther up-river (much, much farther in fact) is Castellan Keep. All supplies and troops going there must first pass through Sielo's Fort. Be that as it may, the Fort itself is usually undermanned.
Two years ago, a black dragon attacked the Fort. The military and the civilians were caught unaware and many died. The destruction would have been complete if not for the good fortune of troops heading for Castellan Keep arrived at the Fort during the attack. The dragon was killed, but the loss of life was great and the psychological and physical scars still seem fresh.
The majority of the civilians belong to the Sielo family. They originally made their living fishing, but as the family took a more mercantile role at the Fort, others moved in to take advantage of the abundant waters of the Volaga. However, in the past few months, the fishermen have caught next to nothing and many fear severe economic consequences in the near future.
The more imaginative among the fishermen blame the lack of fish on "water beasts" - the mysterious and vague pair of shapes some claim to have seen in the water. Gelpas Tarquin, the captain of the Fort, has sent patrols out to investigate, but they could find no evidence of any monstrous activity.
Some complain about patrols not being sent across the river to investigate the shadowy bulk known only as "The Hill." The fog-shrouded crests and densely wooded slopes of The Hill rise four hundred feet, looming ominously over the Fort. On clear days, The Hill's rocky cliffs can be seen jutting from its bulky mass, but the view is usually obscured by gouts of steam that seem to rise from outlets on The Hill itself.
This mysterious mountain, the last in the line before the Wufwolde Hills give way to the moors, as long been rumoured to shelter bands of vicious monsters. The military has not sent patrols there for two main reasons: First, in the thirty years of the Fort's existence, there has been zero incidents involving anything coming from The Hill and limited resources has not made it a priority. Second, and more importantly, The Hill marks the beginning (or end, depending on your point of view) of territory claimed by a tribe of centaurs living on the moors. While not openly hostile, the centaurs have made it very clear that they do not view trespassers with kindness. Government officials from the nearby barony of Kelvin are working on negotiating with the centaurs, and Captain Tarquin of Sielo's Fort is under strict orders to not do anything that might jeopardise the treaty process.
Several groups of brave and hardy (or foolish and ignorant) adventurers have crossed the river to explore The Hill's summits, but none of these bands was ever heard from again. Captain Tarquin just shrugs and says they were warned of the dangers and that the military would not help them.
There is a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff that isn't explained (it IS a player background, after all!). But I thought I'd share and see what everyone thought.