Hello all, Karol here again from the Earthdawn team. Now that Elven Nations has been out for long enough for readers to go through in a bit of detail, there have been some questions about possible adventure ideas beyond what’s presented in the book.
Below is a self-contained adventure framework that provides an entry to more advanced (and intrigue-laden) politics in Shosara, while emphasizing investigation, survival in the strange, shifting wilderness, and the mysterious threat from Pelsaari.
Adventure Hook: Hot Pursuit
Newly arrived in the gleaming city of Shosara, the adventurers are approached by a representative of a minor ranelle aligned with the Laryskova. The merchant patron, a young, excitable elf named Ellas Meredim, offers a lucrative contract to track down a prospecting team that was due back from Fort Kinala a week ago. Perceptive or charming players may notice Ellas holding back, and if they press him, he admits they may have been attempting some wildcat prospecting in the Western Fens–currently prohibited by the Free Companies that run the fort, at least without a large (and expensive) troop escort. Ellas offers a sizable reward in silver and the promise of future contracts in exchange for the adventurers bringing back the prospecting team and their cargo.
They are offered free passage to Fort Kinala aboard a Laryskova-owned cargo ship, as well as papers to circumvent travel restrictions into the Western Fens. Once they arrive, they quickly locate the prospectors that Ellas’ superiors had hired to carry out some True Fire excavation in the Western Fens. They also find the fort and the town in total lockdown, after a recent attack at the gates by the strange beasts the locals call the firbruid (in which several locals disappeared). Upon speaking with Kovel, the Khistovan leader of the prospecting team, they learn the attack happened shortly after a competing team, chasing the same True Fire claim after swindling the location out of one of Kovel’s men in a drinking contest, managed to slip out of the fort.
After convincing the guards to let them out into the wilds, the adventurers pick up the trail of the competing prospecting team. As the terrain becomes warmer and marshier, with the smell of sulfur intensifying around them, the adventurers gain on the team, and reach their camp–only to find it abandoned after what appears to have been another attack by the firbruid. In searching the camp, they find notes written by Tarash, the team’s dwarf leader. They learn another ambitious merchant patron working for the Navolok hired this group to collect this “safe” lode of True Fire, and the two competing groups began racing, undercutting and even sabotaging each other to be the first to reach the riches.
Finding firbruid tracks, the adventurers follow them to a strange sight–the ‘competition’ and residents of Fort Kinala bound and tied at the site of a large True Fire deposit, with a group of the beastmen in their full variety of forms gathered around the deposit for some unknown purpose. Once they are aware of company, the beasts attack and a brutal melee ensues. When the adventurers emerge victorious, they learn the citizens of Fort Kinala had been kidnapped, delivered near this deposit of True Fire… and then fed and kept safe. To what purpose, they cannot say.
Tarash and his team, who have the specialized equipment needed to gather and transport the kernels of True Fire, immediately offer to split the proceeds of the haul with the adventurers if they’ll help them take it, rather than honor their original agreement, and the players have to make a hasty decision. While the Free Companies will be grateful for the return of Fort Kinala’s people, the ranelles back in Shosara will have mixed opinions of the adventurers. Whichever faction they choose to aid will reward them handsomely, but they just may have made an enemy of the opposition. In the quest for wealth and precious True Elements, after all, the competition can be cutthroat.