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 Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh in Faerûn
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Diffan
Great Reader

USA
3372 Posts

Posted - 30 Jun 2017 :  22:00:26  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
So I've acquired the three adventures: U1 - Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, U2 - Danger at Dunwater, and U3 - The Final Enemy created for AD&D (1981) and I'm converting it to 5e. I'm surprised just how easy most of the stuff is to convert or simply re-flavor to 5th Edition. Which leaves creating the town somewhere in the Forgotten Realms. I decided to place it along the High Road between the towns of Leilon and Thornhold in the middle of the Mere of Dead Men. Here's the write-up I've created so far...

The Town of Saltmarsh

The town of Saltmarsh is nestled between the trade routes between the Jewel of the North, otherwise known as Neverwinter, and Waterdeep. The town sits on the edge of a marshland known as the Mere of Dead Men. The town is small, respectable fishing town. The inhabitants are relatively sober, hard-working and amiable. They come to Saltmarsh to start over fresh, from lives left in the bustling nearby cities or on the run from their past. There are adequate facilities for justice and law-enforcement – debtors and bankrups are dealt with particularly harshly here. Fishing is the main industry but there are some tiny farms scattered on the drier parts of the mere. The town boasts a small weekly market to which traders are attracted from two larger towns, Leilon and the gritty unadorned Thornhold, each some twenty miles away (Leilon inland to the north, Thornhold along the coast to the southeast).

Saltmarsh is made up of a town council, elected by the small people who populate the town. Each councilman – or woman – is the voice for each of the town’s essential factions. The Fisher’s Fleet, Law-bearers, and The Trade and Merchant Unions. When there’s dissent between the three a voice is given to the Commoners of the town, who vote upon a single person as their voice and their decision on the issue is counted as two others.


Town Council:
- Draxil Gerrard (NE Rog 3 [Thief]): A lean human of Chondathan blood who speaks for the Trade and Merchant Unions. His shrewd scheming and intellect has placed him as the voice for the T&M for quite a number of years. As a trader in items and baubles found in and around the Mere of Dead Men, procured by any means necessary, he has built himself and his family a small fortune and owns three other properties in town, which he rents out to poorer commoners and fisherman barely getting buy. He’s the smuggling leader of an ongoing criminal organization (the Zhentarim) who’s been moving contraban as well as slaves, from pirates along the Sword Coast to other areas further inland.

- Myriam Dester [LN Ftr 4 [Champion]): The town’s Law bearer and peacekeeper, Myriam is a statuesque woman of Illuskan descent. Her fiery red hair is a stark contrast to her cool, measured calm she seems to always exhibit. She commands the town guard and the local militia that can be mustered within a moment’s notice. Though her cool exterior gives her an aloof persona, Myriam lets down her guard when she’s amongst her compatriots. She believes in community and strength through ties to your neighbors and often resents adventurers that stop occasionally. She sees them as trouble makers that care not for the damage they cause, usually repercussions after they have moved on.

- Capt. Radic Stoneshaft [N Ftr 2/Rog1]: Radic is relatively new to the Council and the town of Saltmarsh as well. Traveling from nearby Thornhold, Radic took quite fondly to the life of fishing and quickly was able to start a small fleet of boats. These vessels could travel further from the shores of Saltmarsh than previously attempted – for fear of watery beings and tumultuous waves – and he’s become quite the hero of the fishing community for returning with larger hauls of seafood. While his popularity was genuine, the vote to put him on the council was most likely fabricated by the likes of another interesting party. Thus far he’s already been offered money and bribes for securing the best caches for select markets and any other…trinkets he comes across while near the open sea. He hasn’t taken any of them yet but the coin is very tempting and the pressure from his “friend” is increasing.

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."

Kentinal
Great Reader

4278 Posts

Posted - 30 Jun 2017 :  22:22:54  Show Profile Send Kentinal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It looks interesting.

It also looks like the town council is corrupt, at least the majority. It should make for interesting play.

"Small beings can have small wisdom," the dragon said. "And small wise beings are better than small fools. Listen: Wisdom is caring for afterwards."
"Caring for afterwards ...? Ker repeated this without understanding.
"After action, afterwards," the dragon said. "Choose the afterwards first, then the action. Fools choose action first."
"Judgement" copyright 2003 by Elizabeth Moon
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Diffan
Great Reader

USA
3372 Posts

Posted - 30 Jun 2017 :  23:08:27  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Kentinal

It looks interesting.

It also looks like the town council is corrupt, at least the majority. It should make for interesting play.



Thanks! Yea one guy definitely is corrupt and he's trying to pull the dwarf in his direction with bribes. He's on the fence about taking them and giving in. Maybe the PCs can help in this area?

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."
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Misereor
Learned Scribe

132 Posts

Posted - 03 Jul 2017 :  11:16:32  Show Profile Send Misereor a Private Message  Reply with Quote

I still have nightmares about that adventure. :)
We were new at AD&D 1st ed. and assumed that a potion of water breathing would last the same amount of time as the spell.
Most of us drowned and were eaten by the fishies.

Our GM plaved Saltmarsh on the southern shore of Sembia btw.



What is dead may never die, but rises again, harder, stronger, in a later edition.

Edited by - Misereor on 03 Jul 2017 11:17:45
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Diffan
Great Reader

USA
3372 Posts

Posted - 03 Jul 2017 :  13:27:35  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Misereor


I still have nightmares about that adventure. :)
We were new at AD&D 1st ed. and assumed that a potion of water breathing would last the same amount of time as the spell.
Most of us drowned and were eaten by the fishies.

Our GM plaved Saltmarsh on the southern shore of Sembia btw.




Ouch ! Well my PCs haven't gotten that far. They're currently in the "haunted" house and investigating that part. I fleshed out the town somewhat and gave it a few inns and places to buy goods and weapons. Sembia is also a great location for this place. I sort of wish I thought of that first.

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."
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Misereor
Learned Scribe

132 Posts

Posted - 04 Jul 2017 :  08:45:21  Show Profile Send Misereor a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Diffan
Sembia is also a great location for this place. I sort of wish I thought of that first.



The setting was unintentional at the time, but later I read that the chief protagonists of the series (avoiding spoiler) were once very prevalent in the Dragon Reach area. Supposedly the climax of a big war with their Elven arch enemies took place there.

I think I may have read it in the 2nd ed. Sea of Fallen Stars sourcebook.
(Not sure though. Lost most of my old RPG stuff to divorce and later a flooded basement.)


What is dead may never die, but rises again, harder, stronger, in a later edition.
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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
4834 Posts

Posted - 04 Jul 2017 :  11:17:23  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A town near Escalant in the the Wizard's Reach would work okay (if you assume that the coastlands downriver from the Umber Marsh are also marshlands) and it has the bonus of being in very close proximity to the biggest sahuagin kingdom in the Realms.

Another, more exotic option, is the Spider Swamp east of Calimshan.

You could also go with the borderlands between Cormyr and Sembia south of the Vast Swamp. The difficulty there is no sahuagin in close proximity but you could use koalinth instead - lots of them in the Dragonmere.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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Diffan
Great Reader

USA
3372 Posts

Posted - 05 Jul 2017 :  16:52:43  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

A town near Escalant in the the Wizard's Reach would work okay (if you assume that the coastlands downriver from the Umber Marsh are also marshlands) and it has the bonus of being in very close proximity to the biggest sahuagin kingdom in the Realms.

Another, more exotic option, is the Spider Swamp east of Calimshan.

You could also go with the borderlands between Cormyr and Sembia south of the Vast Swamp. The difficulty there is no sahuagin in close proximity but you could use koalinth instead - lots of them in the Dragonmere.

-- George Krashos



All good areas. I actually found a write up of the entire town in the Dungeon Masters Guide II for 3.5 but it's a massive city. There's a HUGE temple to Baccob and it's on a large scale similar to Waterdeep. Which, after reading U1, seems to defeat the imagery the adventure paints it as this smaller fishing town. You can see the map HERE. I mean, a small "haunted" manor house is going to be a scary place to adventure for a town this size?!

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."
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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
13606 Posts

Posted - 06 Jul 2017 :  04:00:43  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Moonstair is a very similar town that I place on the Mere of Dead men in my Nentir/FR conversion map. It comes form the Trollhaunt Warrens Adventure (which was set just outside Nentir Vale, and is part of 'greater Nerath'). You could probably even use that adventure - just re-write a small bit of it.

And Elkridge is yet another 'near a swamp' town with a similar vibe, which came from a 4e Dungeon adventure (so once again, part of 'Nerath', but not the Nentir Vale). And I put that one on the map as well - at the extreme southern edge of the swamp (weird place for a swamp - they're usually in hot climates). As above, you could easily re-write this one as well and use it with Saltmarsh. The interesting thing is that there is a a crashed flying city in the mountains nearby (which you could just make Netherese to convert it).

From Zeromaru X's write-up of the place -
Elkridge: A small town of artisans that lies close to the Nettlebright Swamp. This community of artisans pays tribute to a group of bandits who protect them against the Yuan-ti cultists of the swampland. Nearby lay a fey crossing and the ruin of an Arkhosian flying fortress. This town is featured in the adventures in Dungeon 165, Dungeon 178, and Dungeon 190

I placed Moonstrair midway between Leilon and the Carnath Roadhouse (which is 5e canon), for the same reasons you are placing Saltmarsh in a similar position. I like that city map - I may use it somewhere - but that doesn't sound anything like the 'Saltmarsh' from the adventure (perhaps the AP happened in the distant past of the current GH timeline, so the city was just a small settlement then).

Too bad it wasn't facing the other way (easy enough to flip in PS or GIMP), because then you could even use it as a substitute for Uthtower (which was yet-another city in the swamp, but it 'died').


EDIT:
Oh, and I would have used the Lizard Marsh, near Daggerford, because I have so much stuff on that area already. You could just make Saltmarsh 'Tavaray reborn'.

EDIT2:
Weird, the stuff you find on your hard drive... turns out I have a copy of DMG2 (3e), and I hit the nail on the head - that map of Saltmarsh is indeed many years later. If you read the intro, it says it, and explains why the town grew so fast.

Of course, for YOUR purposes, none of that helps.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 08 Jul 2017 18:18:09
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moonbeast
Learned Scribe

USA
285 Posts

Posted - 08 Jul 2017 :  12:14:48  Show Profile Send moonbeast a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Suggestion: make the leaders of Saltmarsh secretly be "lizard-blooded"…. kinda like the Innsmouth town leaders are Lovecraftian fish-blooded Deep Ones. But to simply have them making some "pact" with the local lizardfolk tribe is not enough, since lizardfolk are quite primitive and don't have much collateral to offer humanity.

So a tie-in with Laogzed or a reptilian deity would be a good way to coax the local humans into a lizard-philic cult.
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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
13606 Posts

Posted - 08 Jul 2017 :  18:39:09  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
We already have exactly that going on in Hlondeth.

And that's just the immediate 'jump to' one that popped into my head. If you read through Serpent Kingdoms, that same thing is really going on in lots and lots of settlements, most especially down in the south (concentrated in the Chultan Peninsula). And SO MANY (official) adventures have gone that way, over the years. Innsmouth is apparently every RPGers favorite thing to steal.

EDIT:
And I just realized, perhaps the tiny village of West Harbor would work for this conversion? Even though it only appears on my Nentir/FR conversion map, it IS canon (at least, to the Neverwinter Nights video games, which are quasi-canonical). It a fairly minor location, only important because the PCs start there (and later have to reforge a sword there), so all of the Saltmarsh stuff can easily be shoe-horned into it. Its pretty ideal, actually.


Somewhat off-topic:
As an aside to all of this, this is why I started seeing all the 'Lovecraftian' hints in FR, when right up until the end of 3e I was convinced there weren't any (or at least, so deeply buried that no-one really noticed them). But the truth is, that stuff is EVERYWHERE, when you start to actually look for it. The tail-end of 3e and 4e just made it all more glaring, because certain writers started to focus on it.

Whereas today's Realms have more of a 'Good vs Evil' vibe going on, I think the proto-Realms (Abeir-Toril) that was home to the Creatori (Creator Races) had more of primal 'Law vs Chaos' thing going on. I think maybe the Sarrukh are misunderstood, because they are so often cast as 'the bad guys'. But what if thats not the case? Maybe, while working together on the Nether Scrolls, the three races started leaning in different directions. I can definitely see the Batrachi embracing Chaos (Cthulhu itself may have been a Batrachi!), and I can see the Aearee going for law ('The Wind Dukes of Aaqa'), but maybe the Sarrukh understood balance (the Fey - who were uninvolved in all that, had always been aware of the importance of 'The Balance' of nature).

Perhaps - with their cold, calculating 'reptilian brains', the Sarrukh's children (scalykind) have taken up their Creator's cause. Maybe they infiltrate other people's civilizations to try and steer them away from making the same mistakes. That makes them 'villains' on one level - a secret society trying to manipulate everyone else - but on another, their goals may be more altruistic ("the ends justify the means"). I would say the Terraseer (Arthindol) definitely fits into that category. Just maybe, the Sarrukh of Oreme are 'sleeping' because they are only to be awoken (en masse) if certain criteria comes to pass, like a catastrophic tipping of 'The Balance' toward either Law or Chaos. Maybe they all woke-up when the Spellplague ht (a bit too late, methinks), and then they would have immediately made moves to eliminate the 'unbalancing factor', which in their opinion would have been the return of Netheril which caused a sudden surge in Shar's power.

Just some more food for thought. This was a weird place for to stick this, but if I didn't write it all down when it came to me, it would have all been gone by tomorrow.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 08 Jul 2017 18:51:17
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