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Encounter: Shadowbeast
Lifeforms  (Fauna)   (Any)
Cheka Man's comment on 2012-07-12 10:55 PM
A torch is a bit like a sword towards one of these. Go to Comment
Encounter: Shadowbeast
Lifeforms  (Fauna)   (Any)
Chaosmark's comment on 2012-07-13 04:26 PM
Any feedback is good feedback. I've modified the original scroll entry to be a bit more fleshed out. Go to Comment
Encounter: Shadowbeast
Lifeforms  (Fauna)   (Any)
MysticMoon's comment on 2012-07-16 11:58 AM
I've been hoping to see more on The Bringers of Midnight. Go to Comment
The Shardis Gaols
Locations  (City)   (Underground)
Cheka Man's comment on 2012-03-27 10:24 PM


A horrible place to end up.You should add it to the Prison codex. 5/5


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The Shardis Gaols
Locations  (City)   (Underground)
Mourngrymn's comment on 2012-03-28 06:16 AM


At first reading the beginning i was thinking this to be similar to one of my subs an underground prison as well. But on reading further I found this to be an entirely near complex adventure/ campaign that can be used as Muro stated. It is very feasible to have this dropped into an ongoing game for a respite from a current plot or to create an entirely different flow altogether. 



I will have to follow the freetext for more information regarding this. It is near a complete sub as could be, although more information about the city would help me put it jus right. Kudos sir. Great work. 


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The Shardis Gaols
Locations  (City)   (Underground)
Mourngrymn's comment on 2012-03-28 07:10 PM


Oh. I love this. It speaks of a system and a system can be beneficial to play and run. I loved it. 



Hellgate is a child that may never grow to its full potential. 


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The Shardis Gaols
Locations  (City)   (Underground)
Mourngrymn's comment on 2012-03-28 07:36 PM


You make me want to visit Hellgate and add more to it. Always a sign of a good sub.



I shall toss a HoH to this when the site stops hating me.

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The Shardis Gaols
Locations  (City)   (Underground)
Phaidros's comment on 2012-04-05 12:54 PM


Creepy prison, with many relevant details yet vague enough to be easy to fit to any setting. Seems to be a good place to "cool down" abusive PCs, and end up with a new adventure. Now where is that list of interesting prisoners?


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The Shardis Gaols
Locations  (City)   (Underground)
Chaosmark's comment on 2012-03-23 01:04 AM


The Entrance (Topside)



Before the Eclipse: Bright light from torches illuminate the room. Four guards stand ready to defend the doorway against all comers, a pair inside and a pair outside, each with one man on either side of the door.



A metal gate of bars stands at the opposite end of the small room, the padlock protecting the interior sanctity of the prison almost comical in comparison to the military-grade defenses set upon the exterior door.



After the Eclipse: As the door slides open, the first thing you notice is that the room is almost pitch black. Torches should light the room, but they're all missing. Once the door closes, the only light in the room comes from the glowing protection runes on the door.



The gate to the interior of the complex stands unlocked and ajar, though unfortunately the curve of the spiral stairs prevents any possible light from the guard post below from reaching this room.

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The Shardis Gaols
Locations  (City)   (Underground)
Chaosmark's comment on 2012-03-24 12:49 AM


The Hub (Upper)



Before the Eclipse: The bottom of the stairs open up into a brightly lit room. A table sits in the corner to the east of the stairwell, where the Captain can be seen working on never-ending piles of paperwork.



In the middle of the room is a circular table, occupied by the guards not currently patrolling the wings. They're engaged in a heated card game, apparently to determine who's forced to buy drinks when they go off-duty.



After the Eclipse: A single torch burns by the south stairwell, the rest are missing from their sconces in the walls. The Captain's paperwork is scattered everywhere throughout the room, it's former resting place now overturned as a make-shift barricade against the east exit that leads into the solitary and condemned wings of the complex. The circle table makes a similar barrier against the west exit leading towards the lifer wings. All of the chairs from the table can be seen haphazardly blocking the southern hallway past the stairwell.



There are bloodstains on the floor, along with a few bloody trails where something bleeding was dragged across the floor and down the eastern stairwell into the solitary wing.



GM Note: The bloodstains are from the fighting retreat the guards performed as they escaped the complex. Two of the guards were killed however, their bodies dragged down into the depths of the gaol to be used as fodder for the nests.

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The Shardis Gaols
Locations  (City)   (Underground)
Chaosmark's comment on 2012-03-24 07:04 PM


The Lifers Wing (Upper)



Before the Eclipse: This wing is brightly lit, with torches along the wall every few feet, and lamps inside the occupied cells. Each cell has a decent-sized bunk, as well as a small desk and chair. Most of the desks have some form of writing materials; being locked away obviously doesn't prevent the aristocracy from scheming.



After the Eclipse: The torches are out, and most of the lamps are as well. A few of the cell doors are open, the rooms within trashed, but most remain closed. The majority of those still have their inhabitants, reduced to gibbering terror, huddled in the farthest corner from the door. A few, however, are empty; invariably these cells have signs of struggle and blood is everywhere.



If the prisoners notice that the PCs aren't guards, they're overwhelmingly likely to grab at them through the bars of their cells, begging to be released and taken to the surface. Various offers will be made, money, favor and pleasure chief among them.

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The Shardis Gaols
Locations  (City)   (Underground)
Chaosmark's comment on 2012-03-27 11:35 AM


The Lifers Wing (Lower)



Before the Eclipse: While functionally the same as the upper wing (large cells, beds, desks, etc.), the lower portion of the lifers section is both less populated and less "snooty". Even the aristocracy has it's outcasts, and these are them.



The ones above are the ones with friends in high places; these are the ones with friends in middle places, who're barely above the working-class. They are the black sheep of minor families who nevertheless cannot be simply cut free to pay for their excesses. And so they eventually find themselves here, most barely protected against the deadly penalties for their actions.



After the Eclipse: No light remains in this section, though a few lamps in various cells still have fuel. The cell doors are open, the key still held in a severed hand that can be found lying in the corner of the hallway immediately north of the backside stairwell connecting the upper and lower lifer wings. The rest of the body is nowhere to be found, though the bloody surfaces nearby tells a tale of ambush and massacre for those skilled enough to read it.



All of these cells are empty, most of their inhabitants dead and fodder for breeding cycles. A few escaped upstairs to the minor increase in safety offered by the lit locale, but one still hides down here in the darkness, scurrying from cell to cell, feeding on remnants of food left in prisoner's cells and in the storage locations on each floor.



How he remains alive against the constant threat of the invaders is anyone's guess. Some are just born lucky.


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The Shardis Gaols
Locations  (City)   (Underground)
Chaosmark's comment on 2012-03-27 11:59 AM


The Temporaries Wing (Upper)



Before the Eclipse: The cells here are half the size of those the lifers have, as is the rest of the complex. Further, these cells have no built-in bunk or bed of any kind, and there certainly isn't room to add a desk and chair to the mix. These cells are simple holding pens, keeping individuals behind bars while they either await judgement or bend knee and neck to their social superiors.



Some, those with more pride than sense, could rightly be considered lifers as well; they'll never acquiesce to being walked on, and thus will spend their days sitting in cells, doing nobody any good whatsoever.



After the Eclipse: The signs of struggle are heavier in this section (once light is brought into the complete darkness, of course), but much like the lower lifer wing, there are no inhabitants in these cells. It's a lonely, desolate place, but the torches along these walls are still mostly intact, meaning this area can be lit up fairly quickly and brightly if the PCs are inclined to do so.



The first light to reach the stairwell leading down to the Mental Ward below will reveal a skittering something that quickly retreats into the dark before the PCs can get a good look at it.



GM Note: The PCs can light up this area rather effectively, but doing so will attract even more of the infesting Black Beetles than are currently spreading through the complex. Likewise, the light which gives them information also makes them a direct target for the Beetles. The more light they spread, and the closer they get to the main nest in the solitary wing, the higher their chances of being ambushed.


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The Shardis Gaols
Locations  (City)   (Underground)
Chaosmark's comment on 2012-03-27 12:22 PM


The Mental Ward (Lower)



Before the Eclipse: Unlike all the other residents of this complex, this group bears no animosity from the Captain, who ensures they get everything they need to live, if not in comfort, then at least decently. This makes them unique among the prisoners; they all did something to end up here, but through no real fault of their own, and thus the normally hard-as-granite Captain does the best he can to improve their situation.



The crazies themselves are sometimes gentle as lambs, and othertimes so dangerous that even the cell guards just lock them in, calling for the on-duty mage to work a spell of pacifying sleep through the bars. Despite the danger and occasional injury the Captain's attitude has infected the rotating guard assignments, and they all try their hardest not to be angry with the poor fools who don't really have any control over themselves.



After the Eclipse: As with most of the complex, light is completely absent here. However, there are two things of note.



The first is that unlike every other wing they've been through, there are no torches in the wall sconces. The answer to this oddity comes in the form of the large pile of ash and burned wood in the hallway connecting this area to the solitary wing. Very obviously someone gathered together all of the torches from this wing and set them ablaze in a corridor-blocking bonfire.



The second is that, also unlike every other wing, there are no bloodstains or streaks along the ground where bodies have been dragged. As near as can be determined, no-one has died in this wing since the Eclipse.



GM Note: Once the cause of the missing patrol became known to the Captain and his men, a very quick set of decisions were made. Chief among them was to bug the frak out, and bring the crazies with them. The rest of the prisoners could rot, as far as the guards were concerned, but one in the Temporaries Wing was given a key to the other cells and told to do as he saw fit.



To stopgap the bugs for long enough to get all of the prisoners clear, all of the torches were gathered and lit in a bonfire that pushed back the invaders for a short while. Following this occurrence, the Beetles began intentionally destroying all of the torches they came across, to prevent an encore performance.


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The Shardis Gaols
Locations  (City)   (Underground)
Chaosmark's comment on 2012-03-27 12:35 PM


The Condemned Wing (Upper)



Before the Eclipse: Murderers, rapists, and other violent individuals of all kinds are gathered here. Few things actually warrant death in Shardis City, but those that do invariably are such that you can't ever be trusted again afterwards; the only solution is life-imprisonment or death.



Strangely, there has been an increase in brutally-violent crimes recently, and the courts have had an unsympathetic attitude as a result. Thus, this section has grown significantly, for once almost filled to capacity despite the constant outflow of residents to the gallows.



After the Eclipse: Pitch black, completely lifeless, utterly trashed. Bloody trails lead from almost every cell to the back stair leading down into the depths of solitary. The sconces on the walls are all empty, their usual torches broken and scattered on the floor all around this area. A faint rustling can be heard along the edges of the room, always avoiding the light. The longer the PCs spend here, the more skittering can be heard, until eventually the Beetles will attack, destroying the lights first and foremost.


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The Shardis Gaols
Locations  (City)   (Underground)
Chaosmark's comment on 2012-03-27 09:15 PM


The Solitary Wing (Lower)



Before the Eclipse: Compared to the constant sounds of life in all the other wings, the silence in this wing is unnerving. Unlike the other cells in the complex, these all have solid wood doors to keep their inhabitants from communicating with those outside.



Inside the cell is an empty room with a hole in the floor, an oubliette. The interior of the oubliette is empty. With the doors closed, the prisoners are stuck in pitch black, a sensory deprivation that turns most into residents of the Mental Ward.



Anyone here is either a serious troublemaker within the complex, or has secrets of some kind that the Powers That Be don't want spreading. Getting an actual audience with someone in solitary is nearly impossible.



After the Eclipse: The darkness filling the cells has grown to encase the entire wing, seeming almost alive and malicious. Torches are shattered to uselessness, and constant skittering can be heard all around. Anyone who comes here will quickly find themselves assaulted by dozens of the shadowborn insects. The presence of light will only further enflame the swarm, some sacrificing themselves to bodily snuff out torches and shatter lamps.



The central 4 solitary cells are the most interesting part of this wing, and the part that every beetle in the complex will defend to the death. Each of the cells is packed full (oubliette included) of the shredded remains of the bodies the beetles have been collecting. Buried within that shredded nesting material is the multitude of eggs from which voracious larvae will soon hatch and begin feeding on their gathered nesting material.



A few have already done so, and the quick larval stage means that within a week of unchecked activity, the beetles will swarm through the rest of the complex, annihilating everyone left before tearing apart the entrance door and emerging into the tunnels beneath Shardis.


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The Shardis Gaols
Locations  (City)   (Underground)
Chaosmark's comment on 2012-03-28 12:36 PM
Hellgate definitely has it's own appeal; while this is much more of a structured, organized prison, suitable for inclusion in a city environment, Hellgate is much more suited for a long-term dungeon delve campaign.

Also, this is more of a sidenote for the overall Shardis City (forthcoming) and Bringers of Midnight plotline than something that could be a true campaign. A few sessions, perhaps. But there just isn't enough content for it to be anything more than a side-adventure; in contrast, Hellgate is a gigantic open system. You can have ANYTHING in there. Go to Comment
The Shardis Gaols
Locations  (City)   (Underground)
Chaosmark's comment on 2012-12-19 08:20 AM
The main reason is rather simple: I wrote this to be a stopover point for the PCs as part of a wider plot that I'm still finishing up, instead of someplace where the day-to-day life truly matters. It grew from a minor location into a full write-up, but the purpose of the location remained the same; this is a place the PCs would visit, not live.

Also, I didn't really think it was necessary. This isn't a modern incarceration facility, with legally mandated exercise yards and amenities. Prisoners live in their cells, and are rather spoiled that the city provides them with two (extremely simple) meals per day if they don't have someone from the outside who will bring them better. Almost all other prisons simply say, "Not our problem, you're lucky we didn't execute you. Get your friends to feed you." The really rich prisoners get a desk with a lamp, and a more comfortable mattress. Everything else is brought in by their friends, relatives, and acquaintances. There really isn't a "prison life" to speak of. You sit in your cell, twiddling your thumbs. Go to Comment
The Shardis Gaols
Locations  (City)   (Underground)
Chaosmark's comment on 2012-12-19 09:01 AM
Too much detail makes it harder for a potential GM to pick up the location and use it. Those sorts of things simply don't add enough value to the submission as-generally-used to be worth including (in my opinion). Go to Comment
The Shardis Gaols
Locations  (City)   (Underground)
Chaosmark's comment on 2012-12-22 11:51 AM
As I said before, the purpose of this prison isn't as a place that the players would be incarcerated in, it's a stopover point that they interact with as part of a larger set of goals. I think it'll make a bit more sense when the overall plot that it's a part of is finished.
You can honestly think of this more as a mini-dungeon, since they're more likely to be interacting with it after the Eclipse than before.
With that in mind, the details you're requesting simply do not fit with the purpose of the submission. Remember, we want "relevant details", and as relevant as day-to-day life and the path to imprisonment-and-escape might be to a normal prison that will be standing for a long time, this isn't one. The players would see little parts of the daily routine in the course of their visit, which can be left to the GM for maximum sense-making within the context of the session they're running.
If a GM wants to use the Gaols as a normal prison (for PCs or non), they're certainly welcome to. But since that isn't the original purpose I had in mind while writing it, that means they'll have to fill in the details that I didn't include themselves.
If I included every detail that a GM might possibly want, the sub would lose coherency, triple in length, and be much harder to use, since too many details can prevent usage just as effectively as not enough.
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