Styles of Play

This chapter gives some hints and advice on developing adventures in the Onnwal region for home play.

A diverse region, Onnwal is currently struggling through some major changes and as such, it has the capability to support all kinds of styles of play.

Hack and Slash: As a country embroiled in a bloody rebellion, Onnwal offers unparalleled opportunities for the player who enjoys hack and slash. Although large-scale battles are at this time unknown the whole land is embroiled in a series of skirmishes and raids designed to give the side the upper hand. Player characters can battle against the Brotherhood, their savage jungle warrior allies, Hochebi soldiery, the pirates of the Pomarj, or possibly even the infamous Slavers. Players could be involved in any number of small defensive and offensive actions.

Roleplaying: As much a physical battle the Onnwalish rebellion is a struggle of words and ideas. The rebel camp is made up of allies thrown together out of necessity. Warriors and soldiers of Onnwal rub shoulders with thieves and smugglers while nobles fight alongside peasants and common folk. Many different priesthoods, all with their own agendas and belief systems, have lent their strength to the rebellion and although all these different factions have a common goal – the defeat of the Scarlet Brotherhood and the liberation of Onnwal – many of them cannot agree on a strategy to accomplish this.

Many in the movement resent the fact that Rakehell Chert, in their opinion nothing more than a common thief, enjoys such a high level of power and respect from Jian Destron. In their eyes, there should be only one leader of the rebellion and that should be the rightful heir to the throne. Many agitate for this while the original members of the Wreckers point out that if it were not for them there would probably be no organized rebellion. Many of the thieves are extremely uncomfortable working so closely with soldiers, city guards and law enforcement types and have grave misgivings about allowing them access to the thieves’ many hidden bases and safe houses. Indeed many in the Resistance suspect the existence of another network of bases and facilities even now being kept a secret from them.

Problem Solving and Investigation: One of the main problems facing the rebels is the constant attempts by the Brotherhood to infiltrate the Resistance at all levels. In the past, the Brotherhood has proven to be masters at inserting their agents into all levels of Onnwalish society. Many in the Resistance fear that there could yet be sleeper agents buried deep undercover waiting for the right time to strike. Both Jian Destron and Rakehell Chert have been the target of several assassination attempts since the fall of Onnwal. Both must now mask their true location and appearance through disguises both mundane and magical. PCs could be recruited by the rebel spymaster, a shadowy mysterious figure, to attempt to root out such agents. This work would be extremely difficult and dangerous to bring the players into contact with some of the most deadly and dedicated members of the Brotherhood.

Another area open to investigation is Onnwal itself. The land has been occupied for millennia by various peoples and many have left their mark on the landscape in the forms of ruins, monuments and fortifications. Who knows what could lie undiscovered here? There are also several chains of islands lying off both coasts of the country that could prove useful bases for rebel forces if they were investigated and mapped properly.

Adventure Themes

Listed below can be found some general guidelines on the themes of adventure suitable for Onnwal. This should not be considered an exhaustive list.

Fight the Good Fight…

  • Struggle Against the Brotherhood: This is the central theme of the campaign in Onnwal and as such offers almost limitless opportunities for adventure.
  • Rescue: The Brotherhood has taken many hostages during their occupation. Much of the hostage taking occurred when Sister Kuranyie ordered the populace to give up one member of each family to ensure that no-one else fled to Nyrond. What happened to these people? Where are they? Are they still alive? The Brotherhood may still hold hostages on a local level and PCs could be hired, or ordered to retrieve them.
  • Hold At All Costs: The Brotherhood has launched a surprise attack against some of the rebel’s holdings and the players have been ordered to “hold the fort” until reinforcements can arrive. An interesting variant on the traditional approach to adventuring this scenarios main events revolving around the PCs defending a position, fortification of dungeon and not attacking it.
  • Attack! The players have been chosen to participate in an attack against a Brotherhood fortification or strongpoint. Challenges would involve getting into the objective unseen and sabotaging vital defences or equipment. Alternatively they could participate in a full-scale attack designed to drive the Brotherhood from one of their enclaves beyond the walls of Scant.
  • Spy Hunting: The PCs have been asked to observe and apprehend a suspected Brotherhood agent in a forward base on the Storm Coast. PCs would have to observe the individual; and gain evidence of his true loyalties before apprehending him.
  • Legacy of the Brotherhood: The Brotherhood has not only tried to occupy the land of Onnwal, but also the minds of its people. The Scarlet Ones have driven home the doctrine of the superiority of the Suel race using brainwashing as well as more subtle means of social control. Even after the liberation, this ordeal has left scars on the people of Onnwal. Those that collaborated are hunted down; those that suffered must try to rebuild their lives. Spies and traitors undoubtedly still lurk within Free Onnwal. The old social order and its certainties have been systematically destroyed and no one is sure what will replace it. Will it be mob law where might make’s right, or will justice and civilisation prevail? The actions of the PCs will be central to the creation of the new order – for good or for ill.

Exploration…

  • Island Hopping: Although Onnwal has been settled for centuries comparatively little is known about the three island chains dotted around the coasts of the peninsula. PCs could be instructed to search these islands either for signs of Brotherhood activity or good anchorage’s suitable for use as rebel bases.
  • UnderOerth: Adventurers in Onnwal have traditionally been involving in check the ambitions of the South Province or battling against pirates on the Gearnat. These pursuits have left little time for the exploration of the network of tunnels and passages that are thought to exist under the peninsula. Several deep cavern complexes are thought to link with UnderOerth deep below the Headlands.
  • Travel: Free Onnwal is desperately short of friends, or more precisely it is desperately short of friends who will support it with monies, equipment and troops. PC¬Ęs would form part of a unit of specialists tasked to protect an important ambassador or diplomat as he travels to a foreign land. Such a mission would inevitably involve ocean travel and all the perils associated with that practise.

Dissention Within the Rebel Camp…

  • Religious Tensions: The rebel alliance includes within its ranks many individuals of differing religious denominations who frequently clash on a variety of subjects.
  • The Class Divide: Peasant folk have been heard muttering that when the struggle is won the system of government of Onnwal should be modified to give the normal folk of Onnwal more rights and privileges. This implied erosion of their hereditary rights horrifies the nobles of the realm.
  • Thieves vs. Merchants: The Wreckers are a core part of the rebellion. The merchants of the alliance are unhappy with having to work with the “low life” who have been responsible for so much of their financial looses in the past. Petty thievery is also not unknown and several prominent merchants who have supplied the rebellion have complained to Jian Destron about their losses. The Fellowship of the Coin are thought to be particularly unhappy about having to work so closely with their former prey.

Rumours and Whispers

Sornhill

Fighting is continuing around Sornhill on the Storm Coast. Rebels successfully retook the bulk of the town in Fireseek 590 CY, but hochebi Brotherhood forces, led by Kesh Kekarav Madi, still hold the hilly western arm of Notxia Bay. Constant skirmishing is reported around Osprem’s Light, a lighthouse-temple complex dedicated to the Lady of the Waves. The rebels’ only stronghold in the west it is held by a coalition of priests, marines, and rebels. The fortress was breached last month in some of the fiercest fightings to date and the defenders are thought to be in dire need of assistance.

Red Skinned Trolls

Red-skinned Trolls are again abroad in the Headlands. Folk of the Cantreds of Killdeer and Dunheern in the Eastern Marchlands have both reported combating these Brotherhood-created monstrosities. In all five known instances of the trolls coming into contact with rebel forces, there has been considerable loss of life. The depravations of these trolls are becoming bolder with time and the rulers of both Cantreds are both thought to be hiring War Companies to deal with this menace.

The Phantom of Scant

A mysterious, shadowy figure can sometimes be seen jumping from roof to roof in Scant under the moonlight. Clothes in the grey mask, brimmed hat cloak and pantaloons, he fights with a cutlass, often engaging minions of the Brotherhood in the heart of Scant. Apparently a superb fighter and swashbuckler he has earned the wrath of Kuranyie herself. He is rumoured to hide somewhere in Scant and is only sighted at night leading many a tale to be spun that he is cursed with vampirism or some other affliction. Some of the more romantic women of Onnwal say that he is avenging the death of a loved one or trying to free her from the clutches of the Scarlet Brotherhood. Posters and Murals have sprung up in parts of Scant, apparently by the Phantom’s hand, urging the populace to rise up against their oppressors.

Berei’s Bounty

One Japher Burcen, a captain of the caravel “Berei’s Bounty” has reported that his ship had been attacked and several members of his crew murdered by a group of sea elves. This is the third time in the past few months that reports of sea elves attacks have been reported. Many suspects that some of the several ships recently missing in the Storm Isles may in fact be due to these attacks and not to skirmishes with pirates or forces of the Scarlet Sign, as previously suspected.

Dying Merchants

Several wealthy merchants based in Killdeer, Sornhill, Berel and Longbridge have recently died in their sleep under suspicious circumstances. Divination magicks apparently revealed that each merchant died at the same time by some sort of snake venom. Each of the merchants it seemed were all partners in a failed business venture to mine ore from an isolated isle located in the Saernedd Isles.

Myrhill

Reports from Myrhill indicate that the Scarlet Brotherhood’s increased activity in the area in recent months is definitely a cause of concern to the Rebellion. Sightings of alchemists, Brotherhood mages from Oblestone and “the Butcher” do not bode well for local residents. Free State forces have so far failed to uncover the motives for this sudden interest in Myrhill and the guarded caravans from Myrhill to Oblestone.

Sornhill (again)

The torrential rains that have dogged Sornhill for the last several weeks are finally letting up. Scholars are baffled by the conditions that have affected the city for the last few weeks. The rest of the country has experienced normal weather for the time of year and some people are muttering about dark magics.

Rhoramd, the Wandering Bard

Rhoramd, the wandering bard, has returned to Sornhill after an absence of almost a year. He is known to be staying at the Black Tulip, an upmarket inn in High Town where he “holds court” every night telling stories and news for the price of his food and lodgings. The following is an alphabetical listing of all those individuals mentioned in the Gazetteer and who are still active, or who have influence, in the area. Any titles that the individual may possess are noted in brackets after their name.

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