Alright, so as I was saying in a previous post my group recently played the Carrion Hill Pathfinder module. It was pretty cool, very atmospheric and creepy. I of course tinkered with it considerably- moving stuff around adding stuff and removing stuff. It was great. The reason I was so drawn to this module in particular was because it heavily features Lovecraftian horror. Tentacled cultisty goodness! Here is the blurb description:
The strange city of Carrion Hill has long loomed over the surrounding swamps in eastern Ustalav, yet its rulers have shifted many times through the centuries. Often enough that only a few sinister scholars and curious minds know the true nature of the hill’s original inhabitants—vile and depraved cultists of the Old Gods. Yet this morning, a dreadful recrudescence rises from the depths of buried nightmare in the vaults below Carrion Hill. A monster stalks the twisted alleys of the city, spreading panic before it and leaving destruction in its wake. Can the Carrion Hill Horror be stopped?
I changed the layout of the city quite a bit, just to clean it up. This is a side view of the city, and I will go into a little detail about the various districts and places ( I made a bunch up and added them myself).
(Klick to Bigify!)
Carrion Hill is built on ancient hill, next to a river and it is the only really solid patch of land for many leagues. The city is built on the ruins of countless older cities and beneath those ruins lie uncharted catacombs and vaults from the dawn of civilization. The city is divided into three main districts (which will be described in greater detail in future posts) with a few prominent neighborhoods and locations in each.
Law and the Crows:
The Carrion Hill city guard are known as the "Crows". They wear heavy black cloaks which match their dour personalities. Although the Crows genuinely try to protect the citizenry they are generally unconcerned with most petty offenses, leaving most disputes for the Tax Collectors to settle (see Crime). Carrion Hill is known among other things for having cramped and twisting streets, and so horses are strictly banned within the city unless they are used for official business. Most livestock in the province are stricken with an albino wasting disease at birth anyway, so only the Crows and the wealthy can afford to import healthy steeds. Another important law is that unauthorized delves into the catacombs beneath the city are strictly prohibited.
Carrion Hill has one unique export, "middenstone" (a strange drywall like compound) which is made of mud, bonemeal, and various other filth. The main ingredient of middenstone is the crushed up bits of the giant red cockroaches which infest the city. Middenstone is a sickly purple color and will begin to crumble eventually, making it an undesirable building material, it is very cheap however so is used extensively in the poorer areas. Carrion Hill also gets a decent amount of shipping coming in from the docks, since it is the only solid place on the river to dock for quite a distance in either direction.
Although the godess of the dead Pharasma is particularly prominent in Carrion Hill, the city is well known for it's religious diversity. Shrines and small temples to all manner of gods and deities crop up on every street.
Beneath the Streets:
Most of the buildings in the city are built directly atop the ruins of older buildings, which in many cases were built on older foundations- and so on. As a result there is a maze of tangled cellars and subterranean passages just bellow the streets. Further down still lies the ancient rock of the hill. The mound itself is riddled with natural caverns and vaults just like a rotten and worm eaten apple. These caves are home to all manner of vile cave dwelling beasts- particularly aberrations. There are also large numbers of ghouls which haunt the catacombs and rumors of a large population of Morlocks. The city guard dedicates most of it's resources toward hunting down the horrors which periodically slink up from the darkness below.
An unusual situation has developed in Carrion Hill, the local thieves guild has become so entrenched that it has semi legitimized. The "Tax Collectors" as they are known, actually do serve as tax collectors in the city. The native citizens know to keep their heads down and pay their due quietly, or else any guild member can levy "legal" taxes for nearly anything- such as a tax for wearing a hat in public; or another tax for not wearing a hat in public. The Tax Collectors are very powerful but generally not too abusive, since they have a big stake in the status quo now that they are part of the establishment of the city.
Next I will discuss the Crown District. Cheers!