Ruins of Adventure
The Free New Phlan campaign is appropriate for characters of all races, classes, alignments, and homelands. The town council of Phlan has hired bards, heralds, criers, and talespinners of all kinds, throughout the Realms, to recruit adventurers to help them reclaim the ruins of their ancient city.
This campaign assumes that PCs are among those who have heeded this call—new would-be heroes fresh off the boat and ready to lend their unique talents to the city’s defense. Despite this openness, there are certain character concepts that may be particularly appropriate to the campaign, or which may offer particular role-playing advantages.
While the campaign assumes that most new player characters arrive in Phlan by boat from lands far-afield, nothing prevents a player from building a character for whom Phlan is closer to home.
The metropolis of “Old Phlan” was destroyed more than fifty years ago, and the last failed attempt to re-settle was fifteen years ago, and the remaining settlements in the Old City were destroyed, yet again, only six years. While any native-born New Phlannars are, by necessity, too young to adventure (being at most two years old), the children and grandchildren of many refugees of Old Phlan are starting to trickle back into the area. Likewise many people from the neighboring City States of Melvaunt and Thentia have come to lend their aid to the people of Phlan. These northern Moonsea locals are already familiar with Phlan’s plight, its enemies, and the layout of Civilized Phlan (and possibly may have a tidbit of lore to share about the old city as well). More importantly, they have a more immediate interest in the long-term success of New Phlan than visiting adventurers from elsewhere.
Just north of Phlan are the lands of Thar and The Ride. Many of the humanoid monsters that have come to inhabit Phlan’s ruins originally came from the tribes of Thar, and many human warriors from Thar have made their way south to aid in Phlan’s endeavors. Merchants from the city of Glister would be greatly pleased to see the shipping lanes of Phlan opened again.
The nomadic Eraka of The Ride are Phlan’s nearest human neighbors. While the people of New Phlan view them as barbarians, they are enemies of the Orc tribes of the Dragonspine Mountains and the Zhentarim and might be willing to lend their blades to the city’s cause—especially if the Phlannars would then be willing to return the favor. Of course, Eraka mercenaries may be just as likely to side with the monsters of Old Phlan, if they suspected the city was a threat.
The Dwarves of Clan Griff in the Dragonspine and Galena mountains, were once close trading partners of both Phlan and the Eraka, but have been largely isolated since the Stojanow River became polluted. Cleaning the river and re-establishing trade with their human neighbors is a major concern for the dwarves and they have already committed many of their number to the cause.
Zhentil Keep to the west also certainly has an interest in the goings-on in New Phlan. Numerous Diplomats and Infiltrators have been dispatched from Zhentil Keep to keep an eye on the activities of the Phlan council. If Phlan can be made an ally of the Zhentarim, then they will certainly aid in its reclamation. If not, the Zhents can always send in an army to take the city by force as a new outpost once the Phlannars have dealt with the worst of the monsters.
In addition to adventurers, the council of New Phlan has put out an open call for Settlers. The long-term success of the city depends on having a thriving population. The council has promised land and aid to any souls brave enough to make their home in the not-yet-civilized portions of the old city or willing to farm and homestead the lands along the banks of the Stojanow river. Settlers are free to claim any land outside the walls of New Phlan that they are able to hold.
While Settlers coming to Phlan are not founding a new village (the core services of New Phlan are already in place), Settlers who build and defend a homestead in the ruins of Old Phlan or in the farmlands along the Stojanow gain all the normal benefits of the kit in terms of combat bonuses and reputation.
At the DM’s option, any player character (regardless of class or kit) who makes his home in Old Phlan territory may gain the Special Abilities of the Settler kit, on top of their normal abilities.
Apart of the Council of New Phlan, a number of groups are operating in and around the ruins of Old Phlan. While these groups seldom have the best interests of New Phlan in mind, nothing stops members of these groups from responding to the city’s call for aid (honestly or not).
A group of Buccaneers have operated out of the ruins of Old Phlan numerous times in the past. While they have been beaten back time and again, a small number of them have always remained and rebuilt. Since the founding of New Phlan, they have been forced out of the ruins and have set up a small compound at the mouth of the Stojanow River. They have a tentative alliance with the Coucil of New Phlan, providing adventurers with transport across the bay or up the river in exchange for the Council turning a blind eye to the brisk slave-trade operating out of their base.
Members of the Thieves of Phlan, the aptly if not imaginatively named thieves guild of the new city, are instantly recognizable. To show their loyalty to the order they are joining, all members of this guild must have one ear cut off. It is only because the ruling council spends most of its time attempting to recover from the latest in a seemingly endless string of disasters, raids, and catastrophes that allows the “Thieves of Phlan” to prosper.
Acting overtly, this group of thieves would be easy to identify, root out, and destroy (something the Council of New Phlan would love to do) if not for the endless distractions that nature and the surrounding lands seem to provide. There are some who say that many of the disasters that have befallen Phlan were engineered by the thieves to enable them to loot or pillage. While this may be true, it seems a bit beyond the powers of this fairly small assemblage. The Thieves of Phlan are master planners, however. They stress education above all except their thieving talents. The guild members are mostly locals and mostly human.
Separate and apart from the Thieves’ Guild and the Pirates, a band of bandits and outlaws also operates out of the ruins of Old Phlan. The band is led by the notorious Noriss the Gray and largely recruited from local Orc, Kobold, and Lizard Man tribes, though a few of the adventurers who were brought in by the council are believed to have joined them as well.
The Quivering Forest used to be the home of a circle of Druids, subject to the Great Druid of Cormanthor. While it is believed that the druids have long-since abandoned the supposedly haunted forest, their sacred grove still stands. It is possible that members of the circle still exist and operate in the area, in hiding. It is also possible that the Great Druid in Cormanthor could dispatch one or more initiates with the goal of re-establishing the circle. There are even rumors that the magical nature of the Quivering Forest is the result of a Heirophant dwelling somewhere within it.
Numerous tribes of humanoids have taken up residence in the ruins of Old Phlan. The Council of New Phlan largely considers these tribes to be barbarians, savages, and enemies, but is willing to accept members of the tribes who “defect” into New Phlan. Many of the defenders of these tribes have reached out to the Council, hoping to end hostilities and find a place for their people in the new city. It is also possible that a tribe might seek to establish formal diplomatic relations with the Council of New Phlan.
Major tribes in the old city include the Hobgoblins living in the area around the old Cadorna textiles factory, Orcs living in the old noble district north of the Stojanow, and Bugbears living in the area around Stojanow Gate. Large tribes of Lizard Men and Kobolds are said to live in the swamps north and east of Phlan.
In addition, numerous groups of Goblins, Gnolls, and Half-Orcs live throughout the ruins, especially in the slums that have grown up next to the walls of New Phlan. A particularly large number of goblins and half-breeds make their living by begging coins and scraps of food from, or trading information with the adventurers coming in and out of New Phlan.
While Phlan of old was a bastion for worship of Tyr, the Council of New Phlan has taken a decidedly more ecumenical stance towards religion, in hopes of attracting talented adventurers of all stripes. New Phlan currently has three temples, dedicated to Tyr, Sune, and Tempus, with a seat on the council permanently reserved for the Bishop of the temple of Tyr (in respect to the church of Tyr’s longstanding involvement with the city). A fourth temple, dedicated to Gond is currently under construction. While these are the only established temples in New Phlan, the city officially accepts priests of all religions and welcomes them to establish small temples or shrines for their gods as land becomes available in the reclaimed sections of the old city.
Priests of the more militant and adventurous deities, such as Helm, Kelemvor, Selune, Torm, and Tymora, have already accepted the call from the Council, and the Council hopes that shrines of these gods will be operational relatively soon. The lack of an official temple does pose some problem for these would-be temple-founders—mostly in the form of lack of support, man-power, and training from fellow members of their faith (especially for specialty priests). As space for more temples becomes available, it is likely that more priests of the various Realms religions will come to the city, as well as additional priests to staff those temples that have been successfully built.
In addition to the temples in Civilized Phlan, a handful of temples are operational within the ruins of Old Phlan. A large temple of Iyachtu Xvim has been raised on the ruins of the ancient temple of Tyr in the northern part of the old city. This temple largely caters to the orcs that dwell nearby, but also serves as a major point-of-contact for the Zhentarim operating within the city. In addition, the “Thieves of Phlan” are said to maintain a small temple of Mask somewhere in their hidden guildhall in the old city. Adventurers have also brought back rumors of a hidden temple of Ilmater still operational somewhere in the ruins, offering sanctuary and healing for anyone that can find it.
The need for training is always a major concern for adventurers operating in frontier regions. Understanding this, and wanting to recruit as many skilled adventurers as possible, the Council of New Phlan established a public Training Hall. The training hall charges a flat 1000gp to train. While this might be considered a steep price, this training cost doubles as a tax on the “loot” that adventurers bring back from the ruins—and also encourages adventurers to accept the official commissions from the Council (which pay very well).
The Training Hall maintains a staff of senior adventurers in the employ of the Council, who also double as commanders for New Phlan’s guards. The Training Hall has staff able to train any Fighter, Ranger, Thief, Bard, Tinker, Mage, Specialist, Runecaster, Psionicist, Cleric, Crusader, or Monk up to a maximum of 7th level. The Council has not yet been able to recruit trainers skilled in any more esoteric classes and any sufficiently skilled member of an un-serviced class are likely to find themselves being tapped by the Council to serve at the school. Beyond 7th level, or outside of the listed classes, player characters must find their own source of tutoring. As usual, characters above 10th level do not require a tutor to train them as they gain additional levels.
Outside of the Training Hall in New Phlan, there are numerous potential sources for training.
- The numerous adventurers coming into Phlan are an excellent potential source of training for player characters—if they can find the right person.
- The Temple of Tyr offers training for Paladins up to 10th level, and Bishop Braccio of Tyr can potentially train clerics up to 10th level as well (though he is unlikely to do so for those that do not worship Tyr).
- The Temple of Sune is able to train Mystics up to 8th level, and will provide such training regardless of the priest’s professed religion.
- Specialty Priests of Tyr, Tempus, Sune, and Iyachtu Xvim may train to any level in their respective temples.
- The Thieves of Phlan are known to train Thieves and Spies up to any level.
- Barbarians, Berserkers, and Shamans may likely find tutors among the Eraka nomads of The Ride.
- Druids can easily find training to any level among the druidic circles of Cormanthor (though that would require a few days on a boat, in addition to the training time). It is possible that one or more druids still exist in the Quivering Forest who might be able to train an initiate as well.
- It is unknown whether any Harpers, Lone Wolves, or Shadow Walkers currently operate in the area around Phlan…they are notoriously secretive. Any player character Harper should know of one or two senior Harpers not too distant. Lone Wolves may train at the Training Hall, alternating their time between the Thief and Specialist wizard trainers. Shadow Walkers might have to travel quite a ways to find a suitable instructor.
- The closest trainer that a Sha’ir is likely to find would be among the tribes of the great desert Aunarouch. Finding those tribes is not an easy task however.
- It is rumored that a powerful wizard lives in the ancient pyramid on Sorcerer’s Island in the middle of the Stojanow River. A wizard seeking to progress beyond the teaching available at the Training Hall might want to start there…
- For those willing to join the Zhentarim, Zhentil Keep offers excellent training facilities for all classes, allowing progression to any level, usually for free. This though, comes with its own significant drawbacks…