Here are answers to Jeff’s twenty quick campaign setting questions for the Vaults of Pahvelorn OD&D campaign.
What is the deal with my cleric’s religion?
Clerics are members of an ancient order of holy warriors dedicated to the power of law. In legend, the order originated as the elite judicial and martial arm of a mighty and just empire, but is now a religion of mysteries. See here for more details.
Where can we go to buy standard equipment?
In Zorfath: the General Store, the blacksmith, and Thracle’s Grand Emporium.
Where can we go to get platemail custom fitted for this monster I just befriended?
The blacksmith in Zorfath can probably take care of it given a few weeks (and some extra gold).
Who is the mightiest wizard in the land?
The master of the Lustrous Tower to the southeast is reputed to be no slouch. Many people assume that the vanished wizard Ismahir would be the greatest were he to return, and if he is not dead.
There hasn’t been a great warrior in a generation. Perhaps you will be the next? Libash Dalzat, Griffonlord, and master of the stronghold Shem Nabar to the east, claims the title of “Great Redeemer” (despite having lost the sword), but he has not ventured forth in many years, nor sent his knights on errands. He is said to have grown distrustful.
Who is the richest person in the land?
The travelling merchant Thracle maintains an emporium in Zorfath, though he is usually not in attendance. Goods available at Thracle’s Grand Emporium change frequently, so it pays to visit regularly. Thracle also employs the sage Strodastin, who resides permanently in Zorfath. Strodastin will pay good coin for texts or volumes of forgotten lore. Thracle also owns part of The Giant’s Sword (the tavern), and several other businesses.
Fabulously wealthy merchants from the overworld used to visit and bring strange goods, but they have not been seen in many years.
Where can we go to get some magical healing?
The stronghold Ilum Zugot to the northwest is ruled by the priest king Agamos. He is known for dispensing miracles in reward for labors.
Where can we go to get cures for the following conditions: poison, disease, curse, level drain, lycanthropy, polymorph, alignment change, death, undeath?
The alchemist Useth (owner of Useth’s Apothecary) in Zorfath has antidotes for some poisons, diseases, and curses. Useth has been sick for many years, and most of the work in the business is now done by one of his several apprentices, Shilum being the primary. The wizard of the Lustrous Tower might be able to help with more dire enchantments, such as cases of polymorph or petrification.
Is there a magic guild my MU belongs to or that I can join in order to get more spells?
Nothing public, but you might be able to discover something during play.
Where can I find an alchemist, sage or other expert NPC?
The sage Strodastin resides in Zorfath (see the “richest person” entry above for details about his employer, Thracle). The apothecary Useth has some minor alchemical skills.
Where can I hire mercenaries?
There are sometimes soldiers and other retainers for hire at the lodge for the Society of Treasure Hunters in Zorfath.
Is there any place on the map where swords are illegal, magic is outlawed or any other notable hassles from Johnny Law?
Magic-users are looked upon with fear and awe. They may not carry weapons heavier than a dagger and are expected to dress in a way that advertises their wizardlyness (concealed sorcery is assumed to be demonic). Outside of civilized areas, such laws are obviously less strongly enforced (though you may encounter travellers on the road that might attempt to take the law into their own hands). Remember also that banishment from a town or stronghold is a significant punishment, as travel in the wilderness is dangerous, and many old roads between settlements have been reclaimed by the wilderness.
In general, each stronghold or settlement enforces their own, unique laws, so it can be useful to investigate the customs before potentially causing offence (which can lead to inconvenient things like being challenged to a duel or banished).
Which way to the nearest tavern?
The main drinking establishment in Zorfath is marked by an ancient giant’s sword thrust into the ground next to the door. It has no other marking, but is known to residents as The Giant’s Sword.
What monsters are terrorizing the countryside sufficiently that if I kill them I will become famous?
Several dragons have been reported south of the Shagagramis wastes. Some claim there is actually only one dragon, but others say that caravans have been attacked by multiple dragons working in concert.
Are there any wars brewing I could go fight?
The citadel of Trolmun, to the west, ruled by Efulziton the Necromancer, has been engaged in an ongoing struggle with some sort of demonic incursion from the Cobramurk Mountains.
How about gladiatorial arenas complete with hard-won glory and fabulous cash prizes?
The town of Slexmul somewhere to the north is famed for gladiatorial combats. Any noble of means is expected to maintain private arenas with slaves and beasts. Fabulous fighting styles are much appreciated in Slexmul. It is, after all, the birthplace of Slexmulian stilt-fighting, among many other even stranger styles. Menagerie caravans sometimes travel to Slexmul, though word is that the road north of Gosmermorul has become all but impassable.
Are there any secret societies with sinister agendas I could join and/or fight?
Some crackpot is trying to start up a cult around the dragons spotted just south of the Shagagramis Wastes.
What is there to eat around here?
Farms surround Zorfath, and farmers make up the bulk of the population. The green bread and gruel from the farmed grain makes up the biggest part of the Zorfathian diet. There is a small fishing village south of Zorfath on the banks of the Gust Snang, and the catch is the second most common foodstuff. Other fare consists of giant rabbit (common in the hills), serpent, and meat from the rare six-horned stag (which can sometimes be found in the Whiskerknife Hills or Cobramurk Mountains). The supreme delicacy is the flesh of the Beautiful People (though well-preserved bodies are more valuable for taxidermic purposes).
Any legendary lost treasures I could be looking for?
Libash Dalzat, lord of Shem Nabar, lost the sword Redeemer during an expedition in the Cobramurk Mountains many years ago. The lost sword is not a topic to be spoken of in Shem Nabar among polite company.
Where is the nearest dragon or other monster with Type H treasure?
Several dragons are known to make their lairs in the Cobramurk Mountains to the south and west. Periodically, they savage caravans and carry off plunder and slaves. In addition, several dragons seem to have made their home in the plains south of the Shagagramis Wastes (that is north of Zorfath). They seem to behave oddly for dragons (travellers have reported sinuous dragon dancing under open sunlight, and nobody knows what to make of that).