On Adenheim I: The Big Picture



My latest campaign had its setting created on the day I ran it, with the gracious help of Perttu Vedenoja and Xsi on the OSR Discord server.
I wanted my own Neverwinter and what we came up with is awesome, so I’m sharing.

Preamble

Welcome to Adenheim, the largest trade hub on the shores of the Myravar. Keep your mask with you at all times, try not to stray too far away from the city, and for the love of the Sea God, do not listen to the cultists over there.

Dust Storms

The weather in Adenheim comes in 3 ways relevant to the locals: clear of dust, dusty, and lethally dusty. The first is cause of celebration, causing impromptu festivals and generosity. The second is daily life, sometimes you get to walk the streets with just your mask on, other times you’re better off home. The third is a real threat, the kind that claimed many lives before the bell system.
Incoming dust can change day to day, hour to hour. The locals are normally adequately prepared, while visitors suffer through a few bad decisions until they learn.

Food

There isn’t enough food in Adenheim for everyone in there. The people living in the slums and shanty towns regularly go through days without food, sometimes to the point of death.
In the richer area, food isn’t necessarily good. Dust is a common spice and everything has a salty taste as well. It takes incredible wealth to eat good food, free from the dust and salt carried in from the seabed.

Religion

The locals are split between 2 religions in the city:
The first is the longstanding Church of the Sea God, established back when there was actually a sea and trade over it began. They are proper conservatives, thinking their belief will bring back the sea and the population’s lack of it is what’s causing it to recede. The common believer is somewhat jaded and a bit cynical, but otherwise slightly hopeful.
The other, in nearly direct opposition, is the cult of the Saltstone God, started when he walked into the city during the very first years of the drain. He advocates letting the sea dry up, particularly when his blessing allows the blessed to go without much food or water and survive worse temperatures. The common believer is a bit fanatic.

The Uncovered Shores and Seabed

The receding sea had uncovered many things, and those things attracted adventurers looking for fame and fortune. On the shores, natural caves with curious treasures were revealed, and strange structures were found built in odd locations. From within both came dessicated undead and tougher specimens of aggressive amphibians.
Further into the desert and away from the city, undead came up from sunken ships of more and less familiar design. In addition, more structures were revealed, host to strange humanoids living in lone buildings or small settlements. The greater depths are stalked by giant crabs, ready to take anything tasty that comes along.

State of the City

As it was built, the city was intended for the seaside kind of weather: breezes coming from the sea, rains, and the occasional storm. What it was never prepared for was the dust. The exteriors of buildings are scratched and rough from the more dire of dust storms, while the dust itself easily piles in the streets.
The poor crowd in their slums while distressed villagers from nearby have set up shanty towns outside the walls. Those with enough money, either move away or make more in the new business climate. The absolute richest believe that they could outlive the drain and continue with their decadent lives.

Shape of the City

Adenheim has 5 important areas:
  • The island side of the bridge district, where the richest live. The architecture is sturdy and impressive, even after the effects of the dust, and the residents high and mighty. The council rules the city from the keep at the center of the island.
  • The bridge district, which connects the island to the shore. It is now considered high class since they closed it off from the top and built large gates on either side, keeping the vast majority of dust from coming in during storms. The architecture is cluttered but efficient. 
  • The shore side of the bridge district, but away from the walls, where the middle class live. Most adventurers coming in stay in this area, where there’s a balance between price, quality of life, security, and density of dust.
  • The slums, near the walls, where the poorest live, or at least try to. The slums are dense, unsafe, but also a bit homely. The dust isn’t as pervasive due to the density of buildings preventing the storms from hitting too hard. Many of the residents in the slums are regular drunks and drug users.
  • The shanty towns, extending both out from the walls and on the seabed near the city, are where refugees from nearby shore villages and towns have come to live. They barely have any food and hardly any clear water, but the relative safety afforded by living near the city assures them.

Things for Adventurers to do in Adenheim

As able individuals with an interest in fame and fortune, adventurers have multiple things they get done in the city:
  • Entertainment is constantly in too short a supply. Organized fights and performances garner large crowds eager to part with some money for an hour of distraction. The slums are particularly eager.
  • Expeditions to the shores and the seabed are always being planned by multiple interested parties. There’s treasure to be found and things to kill, all for possible extra profit.
  • The church and the cult are always struggling, looking to strengthen themselves or weaken the other. Asking them after things they want or need is a surefire way to find something to do.
  • The city is old enough to have a hidden history. Things can be found behind walls, beneath houses, and the places in between.

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