Michael back again with a Legends of Barsaive/Elven Nations cross-over discussion.
When I was first planning an adventure arc for the Legends series, I decided to focus the first half on tracking down an ancient map of Parlainth. My idea was to use the search for various pieces of this artifact as an excuse to send players into different areas of the ruins. I also wanted to tie in another location in the first half of our series, so I settled on putting a piece of the map somewhere out in Barsaive. I thought about where such an object might turn up and decided Blood Wood would be a good fit.
Running through the original Blood Wood book, I focused on two elements I wanted to include in what would become LoB-107. The first was Kaer Eidolon, which seemed like a logical place for a group of outsiders to pass through on their way into the Wood. It also served as a device for providing some details on Blood Wood’s expansive history. I knew I wanted to delve into some level of elven politics with the adventure, but I couldn’t assume that all players would be on equal footing in terms of the lore. Routing the module through a border settlement such as Eidolon gave me an opportunity to convey some setting background before dropping characters into the middle of Queen Alachia’s domain.
I now knew where I wanted the players to go, but found Eidolon’s existing description only gave the most basic of framework for the city. A short history and a few details on its layout was not enough to have players walk around inside, especially for the amount of time I planned to have them there. Using Kaer Eidolon in the module meant fleshing the location out a bit more. I started by looking at the details needed in the adventure itself, which were a layout and a leader for the city.
The theme that shaped the layout of Eidolon was that it is a fortress built on the remains of a half-finished kaer. I thought about how those things would blend together and went with the idea that the city would be broken up into two districts. The center of the city would house the military and administrative personnel, with a wall surrounding these critical functions. The civilian population could then occupy the space around this core, but would likely need protection as well. I added an outer wall to serve this purpose, settling on a hexagonal shape (because who doesn’t like hexagons). I didn’t want the city to just be a set of concentric hexagons, so I decided to tie in more influence from the unfinished kaer angle. The residential area ended up underground, an excavation left over from the original settlers, but I kept the shops and taverns at ground level to give Eidolon a more lopsided feel.
The city’s leader needed to mesh with the fact that Eidolon was a joint-venture between blood elves and the t’skrang of House Syrtis. How this works was never really explained, so I thought about what dynamic would be the most interesting. Running a city with a mixed elf and t’skrang population, to me, doesn’t fit well with the blood elf’s isolationist policies. The blood elves would be most interested in using the fortress to protect their territory and less focused on keeping the city’s economy running smoothly. Having the t’skrang in charge of such a place, however, would give Eidolon a different feel and seed several potential plot threads for the future. This idea developed into a delicate balance of authority between a t’skrang Magistrate in charge of running Eidolon’s daily activities, and a blood elf commander tasked with defense of the city.
After filling in a few missing details through playtesting, Kaer Eidolon became a more realized setting. By this point, I had also joined the team working on Elven Nations. This gave me the opportunity to further expand the details of this location and incorporate the NPCs created for LoB-107 directly into the game world. A few such characters ended up as members of the Seekers of the Heart, which was the second element from the original Blood Wood book I focused on when planning out the adventure. But that feels like a post for another day, so I think I’ll wrap this discussion up here. Until next time, thanks for reading!