Open discussion: BUILD A CITY 4.0!!!

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Tortoise. Dire Giant Snapping Tortoise.

Anyways, a (quick/rough) sketch I drew up (not to correct scale/proportion)
IMAGE(http://i236.photobucket.com/albums/ff313/perennialrook/Location1.jpg)
Looks good, I like what you've done so far. But I also like Johnny_Angel's idea of part of the waterfalls coming down of an outcropping at the top of the cliffs. Anyway of including that in the pic?
Looks good, I like what you've done so far. But I also like Johnny_Angel's idea of part of the waterfalls coming down of an outcropping at the top of the cliffs. Anyway of including that in the pic?

I'm not quite sure what you mean. I was understanding that the waterfall flows out from the redoubt, but I could have it gush out from the rock...

I'm not quite sure I follow what you were trying to say, and I couldn't find anywhere where JA said anything similar.

I am very open to changes. I was just trying to get a starting off point.
I rather like this idea too. We could even cross the galapagos with a snapping turtle, making the tortoises omnivorous and slightly more aggressive. I'm picturing the turtles/tortoises congregating around the lake and deeper parts of the river catching fish and eating mosses, ferns, and grasses. For Dungeons and Dragons, it will make our valley rather unique from an ecological perspective. (I'm also getting a kick thinking about the reaction from "DnD=WoW" nay-sayers: "See the game even has "Snapjaws". :D )

We are still going to need a threat animal for the tortoises and inhabitants if the tortoises are going to be a mascot. If I can throw an idea out, perhaps durring the winter a pack of Winter Wolves comes down to the valley to hunt the tortoises, or perhaps Dire Mountain Lions live in the mountain range and are sometimes a threat (I'm a cat person, so my choice is the Dire Mountain Lions).

The City of Redding and surrounding communities (where I'm from) sits at the top of the Central Californian valley, through which the Sacramento River flows from our glorious Mt. Shasta to the deltas in the San Fransisco Bay area. While our yearly weather is somewhat Mediterranean, even here, our year is basically broken into four seasons as well: hot, typically dry summers; mild, rainy winters; with two rather short, generally windy transistion periods (we've even had hurricane force winds.) On occasion, we'll get snow, but it's usually not in any significant amounts ( wish I could have snow) except in the mountain ranges we sit between. So aside from the obvious climate change, I can't really see much difference in seasons between here and the sub-temperate mountain "rainforest" we're trying to create; snow in the winter, a rainy spring to early summer, the late summer/early autumn being cloudy but somewhat warm, and a fairly blustery late fall along with some occurances of fog through out the year.

I personally prefer mild winters without snow, but that is just me. If we do have snow in our valley, we will have to make sure that the cliff face that the town is mainly built into is away from the prevailing winds so the snow does not regularly cover up the houses and trails during the normal winter season.

I agree with the halflings and the fact that the town shouldn't have any major trade (at least not early on), and certainly not on the river. Perhaps the halflings could even begin taming the tortoises as pets and/or beasts of burden.

I would think that halflings would be more likely to domesticate the llamas mentioned before than tortoises for moving goods into mountainous or hilly terrain. They would just be faster and more sure-footed.
OK I know it's decided but I still have to vote yes on the dire snapping turtles.

I also have an idea on the setup of the city/redoubt.
I love the cliffside pictures and the scetch PR drew up. I think we could combine a few of these elements to fortify the city and make it a little less inaccessable. which would present a challenge to refugees, discourage past residents and make the place incredibly defendable. Plus it feels dwarven.

Imagine there are 2 ways in to the ruined redoubt, as discussed earlier, to the East you can enter behind the waterfall, or from the west through a broken portcullis installed directely into the rocks. The South (I'm just picking a directions) is completely bordered by the river (filled with snappers) and the north is blocked with cliffs (of course it's possible to be attacked from above) Near the river is a flat area that could be used for limited farming, docks, or new building.
a horrible visual aid, that might help explain what I mean or might make it more confusing

------------------- <br /> -----/*******--<br /> -||/-*********----<br /> ^^-------/*****---- <br /> ^^------/---------------- <br /> ^^-------\------------------- <br /> ^^ ------<br /> ^^ ()<br /> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^<br /> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^<br /> || waterfall<br /> ^ river<br /> -- cliff<br /> * city<br /> / or \ rocky path<br /> () portcullis


sorry that's so bad, I can't draw worth *%&$ and drawing with symbols is harder than it seems ;)
But the basic idea here is when you approach from the south you have to cross the river to get to a semi-circle of flat land, then go up a path to get to the city proper. Otherwise you have to go behind the waterfall.
A quick drawing of our official mascot:
IMAGE(http://i236.photobucket.com/albums/ff313/perennialrook/Tortoise1.jpg)

Feel free to comment and suggest changes.
Hmm, pretty good, but still a little snapperish and not enough galapagos. Maybe the shell could he higher?

Also, if you look at turtle/tortoise pictures, the tortoise holds itself off the ground, while the turtle slides. I think the backend should have more support.
??
There seems to be some confusion. Are people thinking tortises (land animals with strong legs and feet) or turtles (aquatic creatures with flippers, or at least feet adapted to swiming)
??
There seems to be some confusion. Are people thinking tortises (land animals with feet) or turtles (aquatic creatures with flippers.)

A hybrid of the two is what I've been imaginig, though a turtle probably fits the area and climate better. I'm thinking of features of both with a bulky, high-arched shell of a tortoise, and thick, webbed feet/flippers.
High-arched shell, probably a combination of flippers/feet (very wide feet or very strong flippers), long neck, snapping beak. Roughly five to ten feet long when fully grown. Omnivore. That's what I was thinking.
Dire Giant Snapping Tortoise v1.3
IMAGE(http://i236.photobucket.com/albums/ff313/perennialrook/DireGiantSnappingTortoise1copy-1.jpg)
A hybrid of the two is what I've been imaginig, though a turtle probably fits the area and climate better. I'm thinking of features of both with a bulky, high-arched shell of a tortoise, and thick, webbed feet/flippers.

Dire Giant Snapping Turtle v1.3
IMAGE(http://i236.photobucket.com/albums/ff313/perennialrook/DireGiantSnappingTortoise1copy-1.jpg)

I like it.

I was thinking that during the warmer months they would spend a lot of time in the water. When winter starts to approach they would spend far less time in the water and eat . In the future it may even become a sign of when the weather is about to change.




I only have one other question about the ecology of the area. Has my idea to have llamas around been accepted? It's not a huge issue, I was just curious.



I think having a handful (3-5) of unique or somewhat different animals would be good for the project. Even though it is a minor detail in most cases, I feel that it would add another level of depth to the project, and it would also provide a baseline upon which to build future ideas about what sort of industries develope.


I figure that most of the wildlife would be similar to the typical European or temporate American ecology: bears, wolves, trout, hawks, etc.

So far, for different animals we have:

1) dire snapping turtles
2)
3)
4)
5)



I said I'd like either llamas or bactrian camels. After further thought, if we go with one of these two, I think llamas would be a better fit. I also feel that a natural fit to the area would be mountain goats. Perhaps we could just change the aesthetic look of some of the animals (i.e. zebra striped bison or black mountain lions.)
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I can see mountain goats, but I think llamas are pushing it. We don't want an off-the-wall ecology here, just a few interesting details. For instance, say we had turtles, llamas, dire black lions, zebra, and kangaroos. While that would be interesting, I feel it would really detract from the setting.

Now one giant crazy animal is pretty nifty, but add a ton of them, and it starts to lose the charm. Two can still be neat, but after a while, they start to either make the setting unbelievable or they start to become old hat (go to peru and see how many people think llamas are outofthisworld.)

I used to live out in the country and do you know what animals I saw? Deer. Lots of deer. Sometimes three or four a day. Maybe once a week I'd see a rabbit or a skunk. Now I know we had peccaries, skunks, rabbits, deer, coyotes, owls, racoons, and a whole slew of animals, but that doesn't mean I ever saw them. Just the most common ones.

On llamas specifically: I could see them living high in the mountains, but if they were there, it'd be best to keep them as a rare sighting, a treat for anyone who found it. They shouldn't be common pack animals. (on a personal note: you mentioned llamas being akin to mountain goats in the area. My uncle was a cartographer and one of his jobs was to track goat paths. Sometimes it would take him weeks to see a single goat. Just because the animals are there, doesn't mean you can see them.)
I'm not quite sure what you mean. I was understanding that the waterfall flows out from the redoubt, but I could have it gush out from the rock...

I'm not quite sure I follow what you were trying to say, and I couldn't find anywhere where JA said anything similar.

I am very open to changes. I was just trying to get a starting off point.

Sorry, nevermind. I recollected the information incorrectly. You had it right.
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We are still going to need a threat animal for the tortoises and inhabitants if the tortoises are going to be a mascot. If I can throw an idea out, perhaps durring the winter a pack of Winter Wolves comes down to the valley to hunt the tortoises, or perhaps Dire Mountain Lions live in the mountain range and are sometimes a threat (I'm a cat person, so my choice is the Dire Mountain Lions).

Not necessarily. We could also have the tortoises congregate in pods; one to three females, and the rest male. That way, the population is limited, as there would be very few young. Secondly, some of the residents may come to discover tortoise meat to be quite nutritious, and they'd end up becoming the predators. With all that, the turtles could inhabit the valley without risk of natural predators.

However, that doesn't mean there couldn't be. There could very well be some predator in the valley that preys upon the turtles for sustenance. I can't think of one that already exists, but I'm sure we could think of something that would work.

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I personally prefer mild winters without snow, but that is just me. If we do have snow in our valley, we will have to make sure that the cliff face that the town is mainly built into is away from the prevailing winds so the snow does not regularly cover up the houses and trails during the normal winter season.

Unfortunately, from my experience in a valley, there's not really any predictable path for "prevailing winds" (especially in a mountain valley.) Sure there are trends, even signs, but it's really not practical to protect yourself from only one direction all the time. Air currents, storm fronts, and the like can come from any direction, and there's really no way for the unequipped to tell. Because of the erratic climate changes, snow will fall on the houses, storms will buffet the city, and hardships would probably be fairly frequent.


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I would think that halflings would be more likely to domesticate the llamas mentioned before than tortoises for moving goods into mountainous or hilly terrain. They would just be faster and more sure-footed.

Actually in the new edition, they've been flavored as a "river-based folk". To me that means that's wher most of their livelihood comes from. As such, they would be more apt to utilize river-dwelling beasts for domestication, instead of trapsing around some mountains trying to find some elusive llama. The turtles then would end up being used as pets, mounts, beasts-of-burden, etc.; while it wouldn't be very useful on land, it could be useful in the waters of the valley floor. However, having a species of llama indigenous to the area wouldn't be too out of place.
I can see mountain goats, but I think llamas are pushing it. We don't want an off-the-wall ecology here, just a few interesting details. For instance, say we had turtles, llamas, dire black lions, zebra, and kangaroos. While that would be interesting, I feel it would really detract from the setting.

Now one giant crazy animal is pretty nifty, but add a ton of them, and it starts to lose the charm. Two can still be neat, but after a while, they start to either make the setting unbelievable or they start to become old hat (go to peru and see how many people think llamas are outofthisworld.)

I used to live out in the country and do you know what animals I saw? Deer. Lots of deer. Sometimes three or four a day. Maybe once a week I'd see a rabbit or a skunk. Now I know we had peccaries, skunks, rabbits, deer, coyotes, owls, racoons, and a whole slew of animals, but that doesn't mean I ever saw them. Just the most common ones.

On llamas specifically: I could see them living high in the mountains, but if they were there, it'd be best to keep them as a rare sighting, a treat for anyone who found it. They shouldn't be common pack animals. (on a personal note: you mentioned llamas being akin to mountain goats in the area. My uncle was a cartographer and one of his jobs was to track goat paths. Sometimes it would take him weeks to see a single goat. Just because the animals are there, doesn't mean you can see them.)

I see your point. I suppose I used the wrong wording though. I wasn't exactly looking for completely out of place animals. I was just trying to come up with a few ideas for what was around. We can assume that things such as bears and wolves are around, but what are some of the things that are more prominent in the area of the redoubt when compared to other areas.
That's not to say that they're always seen, but there's enough of them that if/when the settlement grows they could impact the type of industries which develope.

Mainly I think I was just bored earlier. It was more thinking out loud than anything else.




As for controlling the turtle population...people can eat turtle. The turtles are also big enough that they would attract other predators such as mountain lions.
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Not necessarily. We could also have the tortoises congregate in pods; one to three females, and the rest male. That way, the population is limited, as there would be very few young. Secondly, some of the residents may come to discover tortoise meat to be quite nutritious, and they'd end up becoming the predators. With all that, the turtles could inhabit the valley without risk of natural predators.

However, that doesn't mean there couldn't be. There could very well be some predator in the valley that preys upon the turtles for sustenance. I can't think of one that already exists, but I'm sure we could think of something that would work.

That is certainly possible, but if the tortoise population is naturally low I would worry that the new inhabitants might kill most/all of the ones off in the valley shortly after finding they taste good (like chicken?). If on the other hand we have a predator creature that kicks in to keep the population in check once it gets to large (regularly like the mountain lions or seasonally like the pack of winter wolves) the refugees could catch them on the upsurge and other than creating a weak year for the tortoises they should pull through.

Unfortunately, from my experience in a valley, there's not really any predictable path for "prevailing winds" (especially in a mountain valley.) Sure there are trends, even signs, but it's really not practical to protect yourself from only one direction all the time. Air currents, storm fronts, and the like can come from any direction, and there's really no way for the unequipped to tell. Because of the erratic climate changes, snow will fall on the houses, storms will buffet the city, and hardships would probably be fairly frequent.

I have never lived in a valley situation, so I will defer to your knowledge. I just figured that unless there was a snowstorm going on their would be a side of the valley that consistently got less snow and would therefore be a better place for the redoubt.

That also brings up this idea: If the spring itself is not naturally magical, could it be a hot spring? If this valley is cold much of the year, or if the cliff shadow keeps parts of the valley cold, a hot spring would be a significant boost. It would bring in a lot of wildlife even in the coldest months and would provide the refugees a natural heat source to use for their homes.

Actually in the new edition, they've been flavored as a "river-based folk". To me that means that's wher most of their livelihood comes from. As such, they would be more apt to utilize river-dwelling beasts for domestication, instead of trapsing around some mountains trying to find some elusive llama. The turtles then would end up being used as pets, mounts, beasts-of-burden, etc.; while it wouldn't be very useful on land, it could be useful in the waters of the valley floor. However, having a species of llama indigenous to the area wouldn't be too out of place.

I had not thought of it like that, just the practical difficulties for packing goods across the mountains. I was under the assumption that there were more waterfalls or steep streams and the like preventing regular barge traffic which would also prevent something like the tortoises acting as a good pack animal.

Plus, if the tortoises are native to this valley and others nearby, the halflings would not have much interaction with them and so would have to start domesticating them after reaching the mountains. On the other hand, halflings have probably traded with other mountainous communities before and would likely have a preferred group of animals (like the llamas) that they might transport from a different set of mountains to use once they decided to open a new route through a mountain pass.
WOW.....I mean WOW...!

Everyone has some excellent ideas....

I'll add some insight later tonight
That is certainly possible, but if the tortoise population is naturally low I would worry that the new inhabitants might kill most/all of the ones off in the valley shortly after finding they taste good (like chicken?). If on the other hand we have a predator creature that kicks in to keep the population in check once it gets to large (regularly like the mountain lions or seasonally like the pack of winter wolves) the refugees could catch them on the upsurge and other than creating a weak year for the tortoises they should pull through.

Thinking briefly with my keyboard now:

It would also be possible that the wolves and lions and other predators would prey on the younger turtles instead. That way there could be a sustainable population that would need to be kept in check by hunting.
I would think it would be somewhat difficult for natural predators (and possibly townspeople) to kill the dire snapping tortoises that are over a century old or more, though a culling of the young might explain a small population of the very old (less than a dozen or so?).
I think we can all agree that we like the turtle idea.


What else is on the agenda for discussion?


PR, I think I know what Axehammer meant about the cave coming out of the redoubt idea which I proposed. One of my original ideas was that the waterfall come out of a cave; the same cave that the redoubt was built on/around.


However, I later changed that idea to the spiral stairway idea which moved the mouth of the cave to being behind the bottom of the waterfall. Your sketch was great. I think some of us envisioned the climb from the bottom to the top to be steeper and a little more daunting. The same idea, just with a bit more of a rapid moving series of waterfalls.


I guess the watersource could be a hot spring. Personally, I didn't view it that way, but that's because I really didn't think of it. Either way, I still think that the stream at the bottom of the mountain (caused by the waterfall) would still partially freeze. I don't think it would completely freeze because moving water normally doesn't freeze as easily as still water. During extremely cold times it would probably turn to slush, and even parts of the waterfall would partially freeze, but I still think there would be enough availability of liquid water to survive for both animals and people. Further down the stream (further away from the POL) would still probably freeze at least at the surface regardless of whether the original source was a hot spring or not. I'm not really sure that making it a hot spring would have much of an impact on the behavior of the water in the set up that we have, but I'm definately not an expert on that subject, so I don't know.


I thought this pic was cool: IMAGE(http://danny.oz.au/travel/iceland/p/3439-waterfalls.jpg)


This is also a good picture: IMAGE(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/3/36/Cascades_d
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 The Best in Gaming!
I've heard all the ideas and I would like to post one of my own about the location of the "city".
What if it was built on an old, run down cliff side fortress?
The fortress could 1) be connected to an underground cave complex prison/basment/final barracade
2) be the ruins of an old (insert race here) settlment with lots of food water ect.
3) Have a lake at the base of the cliff possibly with a water fall draining into the lake

The refugee's/residents would be forced to repair the fortess from the hordes/animals/evil people whatever.

A for the inital residents and the refugees it could be that all the races were what was left of the region's cities after they were pillaged by say and an army that turn out to be all the PC classes Then the refugees are the broken remenats of that army. That would lead to a lot of conflict:D
can you not multi-quote anymore?
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 The Best in Gaming!
I see your point. I suppose I used the wrong wording though. I wasn't exactly looking for completely out of place animals. I was just trying to come up with a few ideas for what was around. We can assume that things such as bears and wolves are around, but what are some of the things that are more prominent in the area of the redoubt when compared to other areas.
That's not to say that they're always seen, but there's enough of them that if/when the settlement grows they could impact the type of industries which develope.

Mainly I think I was just bored earlier. It was more thinking out loud than anything else.




As for controlling the turtle population...people can eat turtle. The turtles are also big enough that they would attract other predators such as mountain lions.

My apologies Johnny_Angel, I thought you were looking for more out of place animals. Somebody mentioned halflings domesticating llamas. I hadn't thought of that. Perhaps the halfings come once or twice a season to trade with the growing city, and bring their llamas with them.

Actually, I quite like that idea. They'd be rare enough to still be interesting, but still around.
OK a couple quick things form me:
a) Great pictures Johnny
b) Moving water doesn't usually turn to slush, it usually gets icy areas starting at the bank and moving toward the middle. The ice of rivers is usually especially thin. Hot springs usually just don't freeze, unless they're very mild. Iceland is a good example of this.
c)On llamas: I also like the llama idea, but I think having them be halfling's animals has bee nnixed since halflings are now river folk. But, Dwarves, now lacking darkvision, would be more likely to use mountain animals for pack animals. Since llama are good on steep and slick trails, but notoriously bad animals for riding the dwarves might like them as beasts of burden.
On the ideas of unusual animals in the area
I know it's probably a bit too thief-ed to use, but ever since I saw Princess Mononoke I've always wanted to have a tribe of wild elves (which I guess would just be 'elves' now) using large deer or elk as riding animals through rough terrain.

That aside, I imagine few domesticated animals would have come with the refugees, and the early settlers may have had to collect and domesticate some wild animals. Perhaps some (dire) mountain goats or (dire) boars were captured and bred with some domestic goats/pigs once they could be obtained. Or, maybe some wild Yaks were corraled and exploited.

On hot springs
I'm not sure if a hot spring could provide the necessary flow for the ideas that have been discussed, but what if the inderground river that comes into the valley (via cave or waterfall) gets heated via geothermal source, and comes into the valley relatively warm. It would help lessen the impact of winters in the valley (though in the coldest parts of winter, much of the city would have a light coating of ice from freezing mists), and summers would be a little warmer and more humid.
I threw out the idea of the hot spring as an addition/augment to my original idea that the spring was in some way magical. I kind of liked the idea of having the initial pool, and only the initial pool (probably inside the cave), at the spring source have some sort of magical benefit.

Perhaps instead of having the spring have some sort of magical effect on drinkers/bathers its magic is just that for a small river it comes out of the rock hot. It is as easy an explanation for the heat as a geothermal spring, especially since my original idea had the spring originating from an earthberg and the only way you could get a continuously flowing stream of water from a flying hill/mountain would be through magic (or is a magic source of water in a magically flying hunk of rock redundant?).

----------------------

As for the difficulty killing a fully grown dire tortoise, that is why I recommended the dire mountain lions or a winter wolf pack as their "natural" predators.

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Princess Mononoke - now that is an anime I have not seen in a while. You know I really like that idea. What if we have a group/village of elves relatively nearby. They could be simultaneously helpful and watchful of the new refugees. With the refugees moving into the ancient dwarven building there is no immediate conflict over living areas, and as long as the people did not pressing to far into the forest towards the elves' home they could offer some small aid to help the refugees survive, especially in the first few seasons/years.
On the ideas of unusual animals in the area
I know it's probably a bit too thief-ed to use, but ever since I saw Princess Mononoke I've always wanted to have a tribe of wild elves (which I guess would just be 'elves' now) using large deer or elk as riding animals through rough terrain.

Princess Mononoke - now that is an anime I have not seen in a while. You know I really like that idea. What if we have a group/village of elves relatively nearby. They could be simultaneously helpful and watchful of the new refugees. With the refugees moving into the ancient dwarven building there is no immediate conflict over living areas, and as long as the people did not pressing to far into the forest towards the elves' home they could offer some small aid to help the refugees survive, especially in the first few seasons/years.

While it's a nice idea to have a small village of elves nearby, I think it's a little too nice. It would also be too much too early; we're trying to create a "points of light environment, and that just seems too busy right now. In addition, we're planning to take things more slowly in this city than we've done in the past, and adding another settlement would be too fast. Perhaps we could include outlying communities later, but for now we should remained focused on just one "point".

P.S. To multi-quote now, you must click "quote" on the last entry you wish to include.
I've heard all the ideas and I would like to post one of my own about the location of the "city".

Cool.
What if it was built on an old, run down cliff side fortress?

Like a dwarven redoubt? Check.
The fortress could 1) be connected to an underground cave complex prison/basment/final barracade

The cave complex is one of the ideas I have supported from the get-go. A "well of worlds" (a la Star Trek Deep Space 9) has been suggested, which could be an interesting (far) future development.
2) be the ruins of an old (insert race here) settlment with lots of food water ect.

Dwarven? There is a source of water (the stream/waterfall) but I'm not sure that food would/could have survived the centuries (?) of abandonment.
3) Have a lake at the base of the cliff possibly with a water fall draining into the lake

There is a large(ish) pond/lake mid-river in the valley where the runoff of the waterfall meets the river (I think).
The refugee's/residents would be forced to repair the fortress from the hordes/animals/evil people whatever.

I'm not sure how much repair a dwarven redoubt will take, but I'm sure additions, etc. will be made.

A for the inital residents and the refugees it could be that all the races were what was left of the region's cities after they were pillaged by say and an army that turn out to be all the PC classes

PC classes will be rare in the city. In fact, the first characters will be all NPC classes.
Then the refugees are the broken remenats of that army. That would lead to a lot of conflict:D

That would be an interesting idea to work out somehow... Perhaps the refugees are of a monstrous humanoid race, like the orcs of TBACT3.
IMAGE(http://i236.photobucket.com/albums/ff313/perennialrook/LocationSketch1.jpg)
Can anyone think of any more changes I should make?
Perennial, that looks fabulous. I'm already beginning to see a future keep sitting above the redoubt (or in place of it) with a wall stretching along the edge of the cliff. Looks great.
PR, I concur with D.Axehamer, that picture is excellent. I like the Dire Snapping Turtle at the bottom of the valley/falls. Perhaps it's a statue that has been there since the redoubt was discovered. And as a further perhaps, the statue could have been a very old D.S.T. that had a run in with a Basilisk or the like.

Controlling the population of the D.S.T.s would also be easier if we were to consider them to be migratory. Perhaps the DSTs come back to the valley (Area A from the earlier overhead map) and lay their eggs in the small lake, where the warm water (geothermally heated river or hot spring, should we use either) is critical to the incubation of the eggs.

Vale-The-Crimson, I don't think that PC classes would come from the remainder of an army, as I think 4e, IIRC, is using the 'PCs are special and rare' concepts, and most soldiers in an army would be NPC warrior classes. Although, if we are assuming that the PCs in any given campaign aren't the only PC classes/active adventurers in the city, then we should discuss what brings the adventurers of the region to this city. The reasons should be good enough to attract Hero (Altruism! Greater Good!) and Hustler (Get Rich or Die Trying) alike.
PR, I concur with D.Axehamer, that picture is excellent. I like the Dire Snapping Turtle at the bottom of the valley/falls. Perhaps it's a statue that has been there since the redoubt was discovered. And as a further perhaps, the statue could have been a very old D.S.T. that had a run in with a Basilisk or the like.

Controlling the population of the D.S.T.s would also be easier if we were to consider them to be migratory. Perhaps the DSTs come back to the valley (Area A from the earlier overhead map) and lay their eggs in the small lake, where the warm water (geothermally heated river or hot spring, should we use either) is critical to the incubation of the eggs.

Basilisk? Hmm... A natural predator perhaps? (Would also make good incentive for adventure.)

I do like the idea of the tortoises being migratory. It would explain how they're able to survive during winter months. It also gives them more natural predators to keep their population in check.

I'm also warming up to the idea of a geothermal spring. (pun perhaps? ) I think that, instead of the geothermal spring emanating from the cave, it should be a separate spring which feeds into the colder river (Iceland seems to have some good examples of this.) Some ingenuitive dwarf might find a way to exploit such a resource. I am worried, however, that we'd make the valley too easy for our cast. But I have been rather brutal to them so perhaps I could relent a bit.
I was starting to think about possible characters in our group of refugees. One I came up with, which I really like, is a falconer. A regal man of the woods, with a high Nature check, in the style of a 3.5 NPC class expert.

What other types of survivors/refugees should we have?

If the city was near a traversable water source, there may be some halflings in our group. I am having a hard time thinking of why they would set off with the rest of the refugees rather than set off down the river. One possibility is that their numbers are so few that it would be too dangerous to set off down the river alone. I'm thinking less than a dozen halflings.

Dragonborn mercenaries are not uncommon, and while many would have fallen in the wake of the threat (gold dragon?), perhaps a noble few (hired to protect families?) defended and safeguarded innocent people, rather than directly confront the threat. This would leave us some good, altruistic dragonborn who are already integrated into the group. Perhaps 4-7 "warrior" dragonborn?

I would like to see a "token" Tiefling. I know the Tiefling is not everyone's slice of pie, but one charismatic tiefling could lead to a small population of tielfings in the city later on (they breed true with humans ).

It would most likely be a dwarf that knows about the redoubt in the foothills of the mountains, perhaps a scholarly sort. If he were (much) older, he could have a sizable family, which may have gone to ground in the wake of the threat. This gives us a dozen or so dwarves and a good knowledgeable scholar (who perhaps saved some books?) who may also be an articifer of sorts and a respected elder in the community. One of his sons-in-law could be an accomplished smithy and/or mason.

A handful of nearby elves in the woods might not be such a bad idea, and would add to the defensibility/survivability of the city. There should not be so many or they should not be so helpful that it makes living in the new city too easy. Barring that, there may have been some trackers/trappers living in the city in the employ of noble houses, etc.

Eladrin? I'll have to think about this one some more. Anyone else have ideas?

Half-elves would not be uncommon in a city that had elves. We don't know anything about 4E half-elves, so it may be too early to adapt them into the city except to say that they are present.
Eladrin? I'll have to think about this one some more. Anyone else have ideas?

Elderly eladrin expert with wizard or warlock training feat, who was the local hedge wizard/alchemist/collector of obscure lore.

I was about to say "Eladrin fey-pact warlock" but I thought it should be NPCed up a bit.

A line of thought that started though: What if the original pact that founded the old city (and corrupted our dragon) wasn't a demon pact, but instead a fey-pact? The whole purpose may have been to create some sort of terrain feature (ruins, fortress?)in the feywyld.

Just thinking at the keyboard...
I just wanted to let people know that I have been using the TBACT2 city in my current campaign, the Harbinger Saga. It's been a blast, and my players love it. Tonight they ventured down into the tower that was being excavated from the ruins of the old city in Tuskbay. I'm going to update my campaign chronicle with the last few sessions soon (see my thread if you're interested).

The TBACT2 has some great example chronicles even though it didn't last a chronicled year. I have compiled the chronicles here for reference: The cast. January, Febuary, March, April (Continued), May, June
July, soldier's letter home, August , September, October, November, December (Part II, Part III).

I can't wait to use the TBACT4 city in my next game, after we finish with this chronicle and update to 4E in my group.
I was starting to think about possible characters in our group of refugees. One I came up with, which I really like, is a falconer. A regal man of the woods, with a high Nature check, in the style of a 3.5 NPC class expert.

What other types of survivors/refugees should we have?

If the city was near a traversable water source, there may be some halflings in our group. I am having a hard time thinking of why they would set off with the rest of the refugees rather than set off down the river. One possibility is that their numbers are so few that it would be too dangerous to set off down the river alone. I'm thinking less than a dozen halflings.

Dragonborn mercenaries are not uncommon, and while many would have fallen in the wake of the threat (gold dragon?), perhaps a noble few (hired to protect families?) defended and safeguarded innocent people, rather than directly confront the threat. This would leave us some good, altruistic dragonborn who are already integrated into the group. Perhaps 4-7 "warrior" dragonborn?

I would like to see a "token" Tiefling. I know the Tiefling is not everyone's slice of pie, but one charismatic tiefling could lead to a small population of tielfings in the city later on (they breed true with humans ).

It would most likely be a dwarf that knows about the redoubt in the foothills of the mountains, perhaps a scholarly sort. If he were (much) older, he could have a sizable family, which may have gone to ground in the wake of the threat. This gives us a dozen or so dwarves and a good knowledgeable scholar (who perhaps saved some books?) who may also be an articifer of sorts and a respected elder in the community. One of his sons-in-law could be an accomplished smithy and/or mason.

A handful of nearby elves in the woods might not be such a bad idea, and would add to the defensibility/survivability of the city. There should not be so many or they should not be so helpful that it makes living in the new city too easy. Barring that, there may have been some trackers/trappers living in the city in the employ of noble houses, etc.

Eladrin? I'll have to think about this one some more. Anyone else have ideas?

Half-elves would not be uncommon in a city that had elves. We don't know anything about 4E half-elves, so it may be too early to adapt them into the city except to say that they are present.

If we're going with the idea of the demon-god, I think it would be a neat idea to have one of the refugees be a priest of the church. The priest would not know that the god she worships is actually a demon because the written stories and parables upon which the religion was founded portrayed the being who protects the town as a good deity. This character could have a few levels in cleric, but currently be denied the ability to cast spells. Maybe the tiefling could fill this role in a sort of story-related irony. She joined the church as a way to escape her devilish heritage and as a way to be more accepted by others in the town. It worked, but the irony is that she was in reality serving a devil in the guise of a god.

I like the dwarven scholar idea. A cartographer would fit. In his younger days he served in the military as a scout and a map maker; today he is a cartographer. In the original town he was also called upon to survey land whenever there were disputes over property.

The dragonborn mercenary band could have been hired as supplimental law enforcers in the town. I just came up with a devilish idea (pun intended.) Extra muscle was needed due to an upcoming important festival which was based upon the town mythology and belief structure. This was the biggest one yet because it was the ____th celebration of the festival, the founding of the town, and the mythological arrival of the local deity and the beginning of their prosperity. What the townfolk didn't know was that this was also the day when the deal with devil (who is also their local deity) ran out.


Those are the few ideas I have.
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The dragonborn mercenary band could have been hired as supplimental law enforcers in the town. I just came up with a devilish idea (pun intended.) Extra muscle was needed due to an upcoming important festival which was based upon the town mythology and belief structure. This was the biggest one yet because it was the ____th celebration of the festival, the founding of the town, and the mythological arrival of the local deity and the beginning of their prosperity. What the townfolk didn't know was that this was also the day when the deal with devil (who is also their local deity) ran out.

Hmm. Maybe the Dragonborn group (clutch? wing? horde? clan? family?) operated as a mercenary band of caravan guards during the glory days of the city. The city hired a lot of mercenaries to supplement the city guard for the grand celebration. When the dragon broke loose, most of the city guard were killed during the attach and chaos, and many of the mercenaries fled. At the conclusion of the exodus, the remaining leadership of the city conscripted the Dragonborn as the core of the new city guard. Between a sense of duty and a somewhat irrational sense of failure due to the fall of the old city, the Dragonborn have accepted the task.

The city guard is a very select force, and no one is accepted until the Dragonborn have properly indoctrinated the potential recruit. The Dragonborn make up between 1/5 and 1/4 of the guard, including most of the command positions. The rest of the guard is made up of the Dragonbred. :evillaugh
Hmm. Maybe the Dragonborn group (clutch? wing? horde? clan? family?) operated as a mercenary band of caravan guards during the glory days of the city. The city hired a lot of mercenaries to supplement the city guard for the grand celebration. When the dragon broke loose, most of the city guard were killed during the attach and chaos, and many of the mercenaries fled. At the conclusion of the exodus, the remaining leadership of the city conscripted the Dragonborn as the core of the new city guard. Between a sense of duty and a somewhat irrational sense of failure due to the fall of the old city, the Dragonborn have accepted the task.

The city guard is a very select force, and no one is accepted until the Dragonborn have properly indoctrinated the potential recruit. The Dragonborn make up between 1/5 and 1/4 of the guard, including most of the command positions. The rest of the guard is made up of the Dragonbred. :evillaugh

Wouldn't the dragon make sure to take out the town leadership? You know, those guys that bound it for centuries for nefarious purposes?

I guess we never discussed this, but I was thinking that the refugees would not have any sort of inherant government from the old city, and that most of the survivors would be common folk. Perhaps some of the old nobility survived, and feel a sort of entitlement. I don't see a community that will be scraping by listening to some pissant sissy aristocrat.

BTW, I like the idea of the tiefling cleric who is devoid of powers, and cowered rather than fight when the truth was revealed. Perhaps he can redeem himself?
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