Sometimes, I wonder how much planning goes into NPC locations and the like.
Many of the dangerous locations in Xen’drik are reached by Farshifter, which puts an understandable distance from the throngs of horrible evil and the happy-go-lucky population of Stormreach. Other locations are, quite literally, in their backyard or under their feet.
At least in the cases of the sewers and Subterrane, there are hatches and seals to provide – if even a flimsy one – some form of barrier between the citizens and those that would happily maul them in their sleep. There is one location, however, which leaves me shaking my head.
House Phiarlan – the house of illusion, drama, song and dance!
As with many other places in Stormreach (the city planners of which seemed to have worse judgement than the owners of the house in The Poltergeist), there are sewers filled with undead and hostile, even extraplanar, goings-on. But nestled in the north end of the Enclave lies a path which leads up to a forest. Quite a pretty forest, granted, and within it the sprawling graveyard of the Necropolis.
Admittedly, the vast majority of the horrors within the Necropolis are encased in tombs where sane level zero NPC’s would never wander. Further within the forest lies the entrance to the Orchard of the Macabre, only two wrought-iron gates separating the nightmares within from the citizens of Stormreach.
As with the Necropolis, however, most of the inhabitants of the Orchard of the Macabre are content (or cursed) to flit about their locale without much desire to leave or harass the citizens of the nearby, and for the most part, easily accessible city. After all, countless adventurers pass through those wrought-iron gates, they surely can’t be that difficult to bypass for anything with a brain.
On the other hand, tucked away within the southeast corner of the Orchard lies the desecrated Temple of Vol. While it’s true its inhabitants were sealed away behind a magical barrier, there are still dozens of vampires wandering about freely. Vampires that need to feed. Feed on humanoid blood – because I’m certain the corpse eaters wouldn’t settle the endless thirst for long, or in any satisfying fashion.
So let’s summarize this sitation:
- Dozens of vampires with a never-ending and exponentially growing thirst for humanoid blood
- No defensible barricade between House Phiarlan and the Necropolis
- Two gates (one between Upper and Lower Necropolis, and one between Upper Necro and the Orchard itself) which would hold no vampire for more than seconds – mist form, ehanced strength, smart enough to operate the latch, jump/climb/fly over, etc.
- A veritable smorgasbord of hapless commoners in the House Phiarlan enclave
While it is true there is a bit of distance separating the two, by mortal standards, no vampire worth its salt would blink twice at the bounty of delectable offerings available as easy pickings being a few miles away. Even if the vampires surrounding the Temple of Vol are low-grade vamps that are incapable of flying, with vampire celerity, crossing that distance would take no more than a few unnecessary undead blinks to traverse. For humans, it’d be the equivalent of having a buffet line set up just in the other room.
And yet, there has been no content – unless it’s addressed in Epic Orchard, which I don’t recall it being done, although I could have missed it – wherein what should be the totally and overwhelmingly impending threat of mass vampire feedings on House P have been addressed.
After all, as time goes on, those vamps are only going to get more and more thirsty for blood, and the rats will only hold for so long with that many predators prowling about.
Remind me to have my low-level characters be more wary when venturing into House P after nightfall. Wouldn’t that just be a shame to be en route to a wonderful party hosted by the Phiarlan elves, only to be swept down into a dark alley and watch helplessly as your life bar speeds rapidly down to dead?
Or at least hang some garlic up in the archway where the path to the Necropolis begins. It probably wouldn’t do anything to the vampires, but it’d smell nice.