The fraying skin of the world
The town of Bedlam
A big portion of this is stolen with enormous gratitude and respect from the kind soles as the Chaos Scar DM support group over at the Wizards of the Coast Forum. They are an incredible group of creative writers thinkers and players who gave me and others a fantastic homebrew framework to build campaigns on. I would advise anyone interested in their work to check out that space, but do wait until after our campaign is underway/complete because there lie spoilers.
The village of Bedlam has endured on the near edge of the Chaos Scar. The inhabitants have to deal with numerous menaces, but refuse to leave. They believe heavily in “The Curse” which will cause the death of anyone who leaves the area who was born here. Indeed, every seven years, a plague descends upon the inhabitants of Bedlam. Each plague is different, the last three being spiders, worms, and flaming hail. This curse is well known to the inhabitants of the Scar, as it seems to keep the village safe. When a band of hobgoblins tried to lay siege to the village, terrible screams were heard among the troops in the night. In the morning, the hobgoblins were found dead after attacking each other. In the Scar it is said, “The curse wants the village of Bedlam to itself.”
The village is made of ruins from a larger, Roman-style settlement long ago. In particular, many buildings feature central courtyards, often containing the wrecked and weathered statues of now unrecognizable figures. The main, and inhabited portion of the village is surrounded by an eight to ten foot tall wall etched with arcane ruins and wards. Anyone trained in magic or inclined toward its use is able to see clearly the translucent silver dome that rises out of the wall and encloses the entire town. A current of moving, constantly changing sigils run across the inside of the dome like an electric current. Those not trained in magic might sometimes catch glances of something above them, almost life a quick flash of extra bright sunlight.
The ruins of the older settlement surround the village on the South east side beyond the enchanted wall. There is evidence that a large fire once took most of these buildings, and the inhabitants use it the stones found here for construction materials. They have erected a low wall around the edge of the city by filling in the spaces between buildings and setting up defenses across the top of broken glass, blades, and sharpened sticks.
Most of the villagers either have meager farms of potato-like tubers, which are the only crop that grows in the thin soil, or raise hearty breeds of livestock (similar to Longhorn cattle, et al.) The eke out lives of poverty, and welcome to opportunity to get gold from adventurers eagerly.
The town is run by a surprising figure, a lawful good lich named His Honor Mayor Avellin. Usually referred to simply as “his Honor”, Avellin has been in office for what may be centuries. According to legend, he was the mayor of Bedlam when the Chaos Scar was formed and is cursed to run the town evermore. He is a skilled necromancer and uses undead both as laborers and as guards. There is a persistent rumor that Avellin is actually the “Old King” who built the wall ages ago, but no one can prove it and his Honor will not speak of it.
Jarken, the gatekeeper and contact for The King’s Outstretched Arm gave this to each of you upon presenting your papers.
1. City Square
2. Tax House
3. Scribers of Ioun
4. Guard Outpost
5. Duelist’s Cross
8. City Gardens
9. Mayor’s House
10. Oathbound Quarter
11. Theater Pathetique
13. The Good Lich Inn
Long ago in Bedlam the first Inn was opened by a woman who claimed to be the Mayor’s youngest niece. About a decade after the meteor fell she changed the name, supposedly to honor her uncle, but probably because the name was amusing and drew in more clientele. It has been passed down to the eldest daughter in the family for generation after generation. Like the rest of Bedlam it is somewhat overpriced, but is the only place for adventurers to gain lodging. The Inn also offers food and drink to any who can afford to pay, making it the towns only tavern as well.
It is said that the beautiful daughters of the Good Lich Inn are cursed as well. They always marry one of the many adventurers that come here and bear beautiful daughters by them, only to lose their husbands to the Scar somehow. The walls are littered with trophies from the former husbands of these women, and they often have a tale to tell of some great grandfather and how he died wherever adventurers may be going.
14. Delver’s Guild
15. Ironleaf Trading Company
16. Temple of All
This is the only surviving temple in the area, and for decades different religious groups fought, often physically, for control of it. Mayor Avellin finally decreed that the temple would be shared by the various groups. Now the temple is run by a council of priests, one for Bahamat, Amaunator, Tymora, Melora, the Raven Queen, Kord, and Erathis . Each takes a different day to hold services, which are usually poorly attended. Other deities are often represented by layman, who are permitted to run evening services. Conflicts sometimes arise among the priests, but they manage the temple well and respect each other’s services.