Jan 15, 2012

Warren of the Leper Queens

Warren of the Leper Queens is the first adventure I ever wrote for Mongoose Runequest 2 / Legend. I never finished it, but I've been thinking of going back, finishing it up and publishing it all. There are parts of it that are pretty depraved, since it involves going into the secret lair of a cult of demon worshippers who worship Acephax, an archdemon, but I still think it had some real potential, and I'd love to run some people through it someday.

It takes place in Moragne, in an area known as the Leprosarium, located in south-eastern Axrew (the central province of Moragne, a dry, flat province with terrain mostly comparable to the Spanish pampas; the Leprosarium is in hex 21:22). The Leprosarium's land is owned by a group of Franciscan-like monks called the Dombatian Brotherhood.

The Great Leprosarium of Moragne
Area Map Key

A - The Refuge of St. Dombatius (pop 13)

The abbey out of which the Dombatian Order operates. Abbot Guillaume and Brother Morris are the only two fully ordained monks. There are ten young men (12-16) overseen by Oblate Curran who are preparing for holy orders. None are lepers, though a few are the children of local lepers that Guillaume and Morris have cured. The abbey is a three-story stone structure built atop a shallow hill. It has two entrances, on to the north and one to the south, and both can be locked and barred. There are several smaller outbuildings where animals and sundries are stored. The library, treasury and living quarters are all within the main building. The Dombatian Order owns almost the entirety of the Leprosarium's land.

B - Sherwater Market (pop ~1500)
Sherwater is not a town, just a particularly dense pattern of rural village settlement around the Sherwater itself, a small lake. It houses the local market where lepers from across the Leprosarium come to trade and stretches up around the abbey as well as further south. The east end of Sherwater is planted with orchards and vinyards, and many of the better-off lepers live there in well built, spacious housing. Sherwater Market, close by the abbey, is flanked by two inns, a brothel and Make Row, a collection of craftsmen's shops. Generally, the poorest live out along the southerly paths and must walk the furthest to their fields. One architectural quirk is that there are long ropes stretched between many points so that those with more advanced leprosy can pull themselves along and support themselves from falling. Unwary travelers may trip, especially at night.

C - Saffork (pop ~1000)

Saffork is a true town, with a chest-high wall made of unmortared brick and stone. It is the part of the Leprosarium that sees the most travelers and merchants, as it has the fewest lepers. Its inhabitants were originally the healthy family members of lepers sent on to Sherwater, and the tradition has remained that anyone without leprosy who wishes to remain nearby stays in Saffork. It also serves as the point of export for all the goods the Leprosarium makes, and the point of import for everything from outside. The road between the two is the only paved and graded road in the Leprosarium, and is called the Mother's Road or the Lovers' Road, depending upon which variant of local legend one wishes to follow. There is a church, but no priest. The Servants of Acephax have many agents here, spotting ideal candidates for the Brides to infect before they go on their way.

D - The Warren of the Leper Queens

The main entrance and tunnel-cave complex used by the Servants of Acephax. See maps 1 and 2. This area is known as "Sandy Ridge" by ordinary people and is unsettled.

E - New Farm (pop ~200)

Abbot Guillaume is often away from the abbey supervising this newly cleared and watered area. It is intended to eventually be a self-sustaining hospital for the worst cases of leprosy or for other diseases in case of an epidemic, but the hospital buildings are under construction. When complete it will be a spectacular fortified compound built on the side of a ridge surrounded by green fields. In the mean time, it is a brickyard and barracks with a few flocks of sheep to keep the workmen and the Abbot company.

F - Mercy Green (pop. 500)

Mercy Green is the northernmost village in the Leprosarium, a collection of ramshackle buildings inhabited by some of the poorest lepers. It is considered a libertine settlement, with few laws enforced. As a result, it produces much of the beer and ale consumed in the Leprosarium, and several craftsmen have moved here to set up shops that produce cheap goods after finding themselves unwelcome in Saffork or Sherwater. Sir William Herrod of Drydale, the northern neighbour of the Leprosarium, has complained to the monks that several gangs of robbers operate from Mercy Green, but the brothers have not yet been able to find them. At least one of the robber gangs is run by the Servants of Acephax. The grassland between Sherwater and Mercy Green is pasturage more thickly settled with cows, sheep and goats than people.

G - Greengate Road

A wagon track fenced on its southern side, Greengate Road is the border with the lands of Drydale Manor. The actual manor is several kilometres away, but the road is patrolled by militia twice a day. Sir William Herrod of Drydale has forbidden any leper from crossing the fence on pain of death, and his militia roughly treats anyone even merely suspected of being a leper.

H - Natewater (pop. 1000)

Named after the Abbot who first secured the lands that would become the Leprosarium from the Moragnian crown, Natewater is the oldest settlement in the Leprosarium. It is economically depressed compared to the other settlements because many of the sickest lepers live here, as the warm mineral waters are believed to retard the progress of the disease. Natewater has a blacksmith and a drinking hall, but most finished goods must be bought in Sherwater Market.

I - The Oldwood

Once a thriving forest, the deciduous trees here are long dead. A thick mass of brush, shrubs, and dwarf desert trees has grown up between them and created a near impenetrable wall frequented by wild dogs, boars and a family of large brown bears. It is a popular place for those escaping pursuit to flee to, as few others are desperate enough to follow them. Legend has it that is cursed, and the family of bears are the descendants of famous sinners.

J - Hampton Bailey

Once the fortified manor of a cadet branch of the Hampton family, now long destroyed in their self-annihilating feud with the Catherfaxes. Hampton Bailey still has two three-story stone towers mostly intact connected by two low walls that are all that remain of the manor house. It is widely believed to be haunted by the spirits of the Hamptons.

K - Jack Arrow's Camp (pop. 11)

Jack Arrow is the chief of a bandit gang with ten other members, all hardened killers and former soldiers. He avoids the Leprosarium itself and raids out south on the trade caravans heading for Velthern. The gang relies on the unwillingness of guards to get too close to the Leprosarium and the desolation of the terrain to the southwest (sand dunes and dried out mud flats) to avoid being caught.