Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Book of the Righteous and the World of Freeport

In 2016, Green Ronin conducted a Kickstarter to update The Book of the Righteous to D&D Fifth Edition. The print book debuted at GenCon 2017, and backers like me received their copies about the same time. I had never acquired or read the original Book (written for v.3.0), largely because it was a thick, expensive hardcover (320 pages!) and I tend to prefer creating my own pantheons for my D&D campaigns. However, I've come around to thinking that I should try using those gods in my next Freeport campaign. The City of Adventure uses deliberately generic deity names (God of the Sea, God of Pirates, etc.) to make it easy for DMs to fit Freeport into their own campaigns. Using the gods from The Book of the Righteous seems the next logical step in creating a more uniquely "Ronin" campaign.

The 5E version of the book also promised to have a wealth of new crunchy bits for religious characters. One of the few real disappointments I've had with the 5E Player's Handbook is how short the list of domains is compared to 3E. The new Book of the Righteous fills in most of the "missing" domains, and adds some new ones (like Beauty and Corruption). Non-clergy in the gods' service also get new options, with at least one new subclass or other option for each class in the Player's Handbook.  That's very welcome material for a DM like me who enjoys homebrewing, because it facilitates giving each god and their church a distinct flavor. That's ultimately what sold me on backing the Kickstarter.

The Pathfinder edition of Freeport: The City of Adventure (FCoA) gives the most extensive list of gods (pages 401-402) of any sourcebook yet produced for the setting. For the remainder of this column, I will try to match that data to suitable gods from The Book of the Righteous. (The new edition omits the original book's "Listing of the Gods," which provides a quick summary of gods by portfolio. I have used that list to double-check my own conclusions below.)

The four most prominent gods in Freeport are the Gods of the Sea, Knowledge, Warriors, and Pirates.
  • Shalimyr, CN god of water, is perfect for both the God of the Sea and God of Storms. His domains are Tempest and Water. 
  • Tinel, god of magic, knowledge, and truth, fills the role of both God of Knowledge (in his CG aspect, which is open with knowledge) and God of Magic (in his N aspect, which keeps secrets). His domain is Knowledge, but the text implies that similar domains would also be appropriate. The Arcana domain (from the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide) would be another good choice for clerics of his archmage aspect.
  • The God of Warriors could be either Terak, LN/LG god of war and valor, or Canelle, CG goddess of victory and strength. The God of Strength has a separate shrine in Freeport's Temple District, making Terak the better choice for the local war god, despite FCoA listing all these martial gods (Strength, Valor, and Warriors) as chaotic. 
  • The Book of the Righteous mentions Freeport a handful of times. Two of those references (pages 103 and 162) state that Darmon, CG god of travel, wealth, and joy, is worshiped as a god of pirates in that city, and the latter mention suggests that the heretical Cult of Possession (CE) runs his temple there. Darmon is also God of Roads and God of Commerce, and possibly the God of Luck. I would recommend using the name Darmon for his more reputable aspects, and Harrimast for the god of pirates. (The name "Harrimast" is never used in FCoA, but was applied to the canonical God of Pirates in many earlier Freeport titles.) Darmon/Harrimast's domains are Travel and Trickery. 

Other gods worshiped in the city include:
  • Maal, LN god of law and justice, is both God of Justice and God of Retribution. His domain is Balance. Maal is the god of the Hexworth Inquisition, on the Continent (see FCoA, pp. 293-295). Many of his courts and inquisitors in that nation have been corrupted by the excessive zeal of the Necromantic Censure.
  • Morwyn, LG Goddess of Healing, has the Life domain. 
  • The "God of Life" is a nature god rather than a healer. Use Rontra, LG goddess of the earth (domain: Earth or Nature); Eliwyn, the N Tree of Life (whose guardians are druids); or Thellyne, NG goddess of woodcraft, nature, and the hunt (domain: Nature). Thellyne best matches the alignment given in FCoA.
  • Urian, NG god of the air and sky, is the God of the Sun. His domains are Air and Light.
  • Mormekar, N God of Death (and rebirth) has the Repose domain. The corrupted Cult of the Icy Breath (NE) worships him as God of Murder, using the Death domain. As God of Death, Mormekar is also popular among the Druzhdin of the Continent (see FCoA, pp. 291-293).
  • Thellos, NE god of greed, gluttony, and desire, seems the best match for an evil God of Thieves, though Darmon and the Cult of Possession both have significant followings in the criminal underworld. Thellos also qualifies as God of Lust (though Aymara, CG goddess of love and the arts, and Zheenkeef, CN goddess of wine, madness, and inspiration, provide non-evil alternatives).
  • Followers of the God of Penitence worship either an aspect of Shalimyr (attended by his holy ascetics, separately from the local sea god's temple) or of Mormekar (possibly led by one of the Reborn). It's conceivable that both may be true, if the shrine was established by an atoning Shalimyn.

The "Unique Gods" listed on page 402 of FCoA do not have counterparts in The Book of the Righteous. I would suggest the following domains for these gods:
  • Crawling Chaos (CN): Death, Madness, and possibly Arcana (Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide)
  • Unspeakable One (CE): Madness
  • Abaddon (CE): War
  • Dagon (CE): Madness, Water
  • Oona (NE): Madness, Repose
  • Yig, Hitthkai Sect (N): Knowledge, Trickery
  • Yig, Sskethvai Sect (NE): Fire, War

Some of these unique gods are given more detail in Cults of Freeport. I intend to write a future column about using that sourcebook with The Book of the Righteous.

In addition, cults of Asmodeus (LE god of lies, power, and fire) and various archdevils have operated in Freeport in the past (see especially Hell in Freeport). The King of Hell's domains are Fire and Tyranny.

Finally, the Continent is also home to some other religions not listed on pages 401-402:
  • The Eternal Flame, worshiped by the azhar of Kizmir, may very well be a part of the secret church corrupting the faith of Anwyn, LG goddess of homes, the hearth, and servants. The conspiracy's priests are LE.
  • The Way of Astrape is the dualistic faith of Tagmata, in which saints are revered instead of gods. Consider this religion to be NG with the Light domain. Its holy warriors are paladins with the oath of devotion.
  • Krom, God of the Orcs, is almost certainly another name for Canarak, CE god of destruction, violence, and rage. (The name "Krom" originally comes from Green Ronin's Ork! The Roleplaying Game; see also Black Sails Over Freeport, pp. 28-29.)

Note that the Great Church has not yet been mentioned in any of these suggestions. In the World of Freeport, that religion either lacks the ubiquitous nature ascribed to it in The Book of the Righteous, or it is most active in regions not dominated by a specific god's church. The latter would be the case in my proposed "all-Ronin" take on Freeport. For example. the Great Church is unlikely to have as much influence in Hexworth, where the Inquisition rules supreme, as it would in the more cosmopolitan Ivory Ports. It lacks a proper temple in Freeport, though the Continental Great Church almost certainly sponsors missionaries to seek converts in the city.

Appendix

For ease of reference, I've compiled a list of all my previous columns discussing running D&D Fifth Edition games set in Freeport.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Unearthed Arcana and Freeport, Part 6

As many of you already know, I periodically review "Unearthed Arcana" articles with an eye towards using this material with Freeport: The City of Adventure. (If this is your first time seeing one of my UA reviews, see the appendix at the end of this column for links to past installments.) This time, I'm reviewing columns from May to September, 2017.

Unearthed Arcana Update (5/25/2017): This short piece explains the R&D group's process for further playtesting for the artificer and mystic, two new classes that were introduced (and revised) in previous UA columns.

Revised Class Options (6/5/2017): This article presents four subclasses that have been revised based on feedback about their earlier appearances in UA: Circle of the Shepherd for the druid (11/28/2016); Cavalier for the fighter (1/4/2016); Oath of Conquest for the paladin (12/19/2016); and the Celestial (formerly The Undying Light) for warlock (11/2/2015). It also updates past eldritch invocations (2/13/2017). All remain just as suitable for Freeport as they were before.

Greyhawk Initiative (7/10/2017): This document provides variant rules for initiative, in which characters roll dice for initiative determined by the type of action(s) they wish to take that round. These rules add more drama and unpredictability to combat, at the cost of a bit more complexity. Some groups may find that added chaos fits in well with Freeport's rough-and-tumble style, while others may find the setting to be more than sufficiently unpredictable already.

Three-Pillar Experience (8/7/2017): This alternate system for XP focuses on all three of the games's pillars: exploration, social interaction, and combat. Inspired in part by the milestone system of awarding XP, it also simplifies the tracking of XP, and gives the DM more control over the rate of advancement. This system is no better or worse than the standard rules or the optional milestone rules, simply different, and as such, is just as suitable for Freeport as either of those methods. However, if you feel that exploration and social interaction get short shrift when it comes to XP awards, this system may appeal to you.

Race Options: Eladrin and Gith (9/11/2017): This article presents a revision to the eladrin subrace that appeared in the Dungeon Master's Guide. This version plays up the eladrin's mercurial nature by tying its use of racial cantrips to emotional states associated with the four seasons. As an elf subrace (albeit a rare one), eladrin are suitable for characters from Rolland.

This installment also presents the gith races--githyanki and githzerai--as playable PC races. While nearly any race can be justified in visiting the City of Adventure, gith have never appeared in any Freeport products because they have never been Open Game Content. (On the other hand, none of the UA series is open content, either, so DMs are perfectly free to use gith in their home games.) In the World of Freeport, the usual origin of psionic characters is Naranjan (Mindshadows) rather than extraplanar races.

Appendix

For ease of reference, I've compiled a list of all my previous columns discussing running D&D Fifth Edition games set in Freeport.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Kickstarter and Me, Revisited

A little over a year ago, in "Kickstarter and Me," I listed the various Kickstarters that I had backed. At that time, The Book of the Righteous Kickstarter had just recently concluded. I received my copy of the book last week, so it seems to be an appropriate time to revisit that list.

First, the following projects have updates since that column:

Freeport: The City of Adventure for the Pathfinder RPG: Half of the six-part Return to Freeport adventure path is now available, and I've been told that Part 4 will be released later this month. (Green Ronin has announced a February 2018 release date for a print edition of Return to Ftreeport, but that omnibus is not part of the KS rewards.) The final backer reward, a Freeport Companion for the Fantasy AGE system, still has no scheduled release date.

Prospero's Price; A Lovecraft and Shakespeare Tale: This graphic novel is still in limbo. The authors have sent out brief updates once or twice a year to say they're making progress, but I have serious doubts whether I'll ever see this book.

Epyllion, a Dragon Epic RPG: I have received the book, and my kids are very curious about the game, but we've not yet made the time to try it out. (Between school, continuing our D&D 5E game, and my other GM duties, we simply don't have the time to try to teach them another system right now.)

Blue Rose: The AGE Roleplaying Game of Romantic Fantasy: This game has been released, and the book is both huge and stunningly gorgeous.

Spirit Island: This game (and its first expansion) shipped earlier this summer, and we've been able to play it a couple of times so far.

The Feminomicon: This book has arrived, and is solidly on par with Stoll's earlier book, A Natural History of the Fantastic. He has started new Kickstarter projects along the same lines as those two art books, but I've decided to save my money for more games instead. Those seem to give a bigger return for my investment.

Book of the Righteous for Fifth Edition: I've only just started reading this, but it's a very pretty book, and full of richly detailed pantheons. The new crunch for 5E is very intriguing as well, and I will definitely be writing one or more blogs about how to use The Book of the Righteous with Freeport.

I have only backed one new Kickstarter since that previous column:

Isometric Gaming Paper Rolls by Erik Bauer (October 2016): This project produced mapping paper with an isometric grid for drawing 3D or forced perspective maps. The product funded and shipped quickly, though the erasable isometric mats that some backers have only recently been produced and shipped due to difficulties finding a manufacturer. I did not choose that reward, just the paper map sheets. I have yet to try them out, but they would be perfect for something like the maps of Castle Ravenloft in Curse of Strahd.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Finding Me Online

Besides this blog, you can find me, or my work, in the following places online.

Online Communities

I am active in the following online communities:

Ronin Army: The Green Ronin Publishing community forums. Most of my posting there involves Freeport, but I sometimes dip into the Fantasy AGE and Blue Rose forums as well.

The Piazza: A fan forum dedicated to the many campaign worlds of Dungeons & Dragons, but members are encouraged to discuss any RPG or setting that catches their interest. (I reported on my most recent Freeport campaign there, before I started this blog.)

The Paizo Messageboards: Primarily dedicated to the Pathfinder RPG, but other RPGs and many non-gaming topics can be found there, too.

DeviantArt: An online community for artists and art lovers. My gallery is here.

LEGO Dungeons & Dragons: This Facebook community is a closed group to prevent spam, but it is very welcoming to new members who enjoy LEGO, RPGs, and combining the two.

Content

Gaming-related material that I have posted online can be found here on Studded Plate, at some of the communities listed above, and on the following sites I've created:

Tim's Errata ArchiveTim's Errata Archive: Unofficial errata that I've compiled for Green Ronin's Freeport line as well as many other products.

The Stuff I've Written page on that site lists my professional publications, with links to online stores for the PDFs (or the files themselves, for free web enhancements).

Thastygliax's Vault: Characters, monsters, campaign settings, and other material that I've created for a variety of role-playing games. The home page provides links to the various wikis I've created for my past and present RPG campaigns (like my current Pathfinder game, "Time of the Tarrasque"). Anything that doesn't fit one of those other wikis, and hasn't been published here on my blog, ends up in the Vault.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Time of the Tarrasque #13: Death Pleases the War Goddess

Our heroes include:
  • Edel Naergon, high elf bard (magician) 3.
  • Fatou, human wizard (evoker) 2/cleric of Yaziel 1; and Nochaesh, owl familiar.
  • Jubair, human rogue 3.
  • Jumari Boneface, half-orc inquisitor 3 [deity not yet known to most of the PCs].
  • Lucretia Scavola, half-elf monk (zen archer) 3.
  • ZhaZha, half-orc cavalier (order of the dragon) 3; and Zafira, camel mount.
They are currently accompanied by the human druid Tailless, and her axebeak mount Cluck. Last time, the party assaulted a hideout used by Ghost Fist Clan orcs, and took the leader, Ilgash, alive.

After healing themselves and exploring the small cave, the heroes decided to heal Ilgash enough that they could interrogate her. Edel tried to question her diplomatically at first, but Ilgash could see no reason she should cooperate. The bard then let ZhaZha take over: the cavalier bodily picked up Ilgash, held her against the wall, and aggressively commanded the prisoner to cooperate. This intimidation was very effective, and Ilgash provided them with the following information:
  • She works for Yazdanyar, warlord of the Ghost Fists. He is with the rest of the clan, up near The Stairs. (This refers to one of the few known routes that caravans can use to climb the Shalash Escarpment, located in the desert a hundred miles or so to the north.)
  • She is here to gather information on the nearby settlements, to learn if they are worth raiding. 
  • Jibral the alchemist was not a direct contact of hers, but he was friendly with the summoner Izaz, who was a member of her tribe.
  • The Ghost Fists worship the Lord of Endings. (This is one of the titles of Asmolon, god of the void and death.) 
  • Tarifa was their spy in Spine Hollow. Ilgash isn't important enough to know any other spies the tribe might use.
  • Yazdanyar is a human devotee of the Lord of Endings. The tribe follows him because he is mightier than any of their warriors. 
  • The Ghost Fist Clan numbers a couple hundred orcs. Ilgash wasn't sure how many priests the tribe has, but there are at least a couple of them.
  • Ragalash is an elf (or half-elf?) from somewhere across the desert, but Ilgash didn't know where Yazdanyar found him. Ragalash has dark purple skin and white hair. (This led Jumari to conclude he must be one of the semi-mythical drow.)
  • The Ghost Fists had no raids planned here--yet--but Ilgash expected more of the tribe to arrive within a week. 
  • The tribe has one or two other hideouts between here and their home base, but none as good as this one. 
The party deliberated about what to do with Ilgash. Lucretia, at least, did not want to kill her in cold blood, but they couldn't simply let her go, at least not before her fellow tribesmen arrived. The monk suggested they turn her over to the druids at Spine Hollow, like they did with the spy Tarifa. The others agreed to this, and decided that ZhaZha and Jubair would accompany Tailless back to Spine Hollow, which would take at least three days round-trip.

While that group was away, the others would prepare for the arrival of more orcs. They used brush to build some screens atop the lookout spire, so that Lucretia would have some cover there. Jumari climbed up to the hole the spring issued from, and found that it was too small to hold anything of interest (or danger). She also burned the pair of unholy symbols they had seized from Ilgash's group, as well as the creepy wooden mask one of them had worn. Fatou scribed a few scrolls--a luxury of time that traveling rarely affords her--and finally identified the pearl of power they took from Tarifa.

Their friends reached Spine Hollow, and delivered a report as well as their prisoner. They acquired more provisions, and asked if any more villagers could accompany them. Unfortunately, the Hollow could not spare more people. Jubair proposed a bargain with Tailless that if she came back with them again, he would stop asking her repeatedly about how to get a pet axebeak. She agreed.

Traveling by night, the trio returned to Ilgash's cave just before dawn on the 27th of Leaffall. This date is the Feast of Broken Swords in Thovalas, and is the holy day of Lucretia's goddess, Bellonika. The monk awoke before dawn to start her prayers, and used her quarterstaff to practice glaive katas (Bellonika's favored weapon). She was disappointed that there would be no deaths on this holy day, because that would please the war goddess, so instead she spent part of the day hunting.

The battle begins!
That night, late in the first watch, Tailless heard a group approaching their position in the ravine. She alerted Edel, who went into the cave to wake the others. Meanwhile, ZhaZha, who was also on watch, mounted her camel and moved to the druid's position. Jumari had just enough time to hastily don her breastplate before a small group of four orcs came into view of the party's sentries. The orcs paused, sensing something amiss, and the heroes attacked. Fatou blessed the party as Lucretia started shooting at the orcs from her vantage point. Edel cast grease between the orcs and his friends. ZhaZha rode forward to meet the orcs, easily crossing the grease but failing to spear one with her lance.

The orcs closed with the cavalier, and one struck her. Two of the orcs entered a rage, and one attacked ZhaZha while the other went after her mount. The first barbarian landed a lucky critical hit with his falchion that, with her previous injury, was enough to kill her, not just knock her out. The other barbarian wounded her camel.

Jubair, Jumari, and Fatou (the last two using expeditious retreat) reached the fight, and the evoker shot a force bolt at ZhaZha's killer. Edel cast hideous laughter on the same orc, and the camel promptly bit the now prone barbarian. Lucretia shot one of the non-raging orcs twice, killing it.

We removed ZhaZha's mini from the board when she fell
dead in her camel's space. 
The other barbarian ignored the camel--and suffered a bite of opportunity for doing so--in order to cross the grease and attack Tailless. Jubair moved to flank this orc, but missed. Jumari joined that fight, and Lucretia shot the orc. Meanwhile, Edel stepped away from the scary barbarian and healed the druid.

The fourth orc struck ZhaZha's camel, knocking it out. (However, it soon stabilized on its own.) The prone barbarian, who had shaken off the bard's spell, tried to rise--but the axebeak crushed his head in its huge beak.

The surviving barbarian struck Tailless again, but then suffered a sneak attack from Jubair and a falchion blow from Jumari. Fatou reached the druid and healed her, as Lucretia downed the orc with an arrow.

This left only one orc standing, who was badly wounded. It tried to withdraw, but was pursued and taken down by the axebeak.

Jumari examined ZhaZha and learned that it was too late to heal her, for she was dead. She then healed her fallen friend's mount while the party searched the dead orcs. They found a couple of potions, and some jars of black paste, which Jumari and Fatou recognized as black fester (an orc concoction that, when applied to weapons, causes the wounds they inflict to resist healing magic).

The party took ZhaZha's body back to Spine Hollow to ask the druids if they could bring her back. On the way there, Edel composed a song praising the cavalier's bravery, and recited it as part of their plea to the druids' leader, Razima. Because ZhaZha had died protecting Spine Hollow, the sylph agreed to cast reincarnate on her, but lacked the expensive oils required by the spell. The heroes would have to return to Zahallan to acquire them. (ZhaZha would also need some castings of restoration to remove the permanent negative levels incurred in returning from the dead, but that spell is not available to druids.)

The adventurers left ZhaZha's body and camel in the druids' care and traveled to Zahallan. They had acquired quite a bit of nonmagical loot from their past several fights that they had not yet had time to trade for cash, so they did that now. This gave them enough to buy the oils for the druid's spell, and a decent start towards the other spells their friend would need once alive again.

The day of the new moon fell during their trip back to Spine Hollow. Jumari took some time to move away the party's camp in order to conduct some prayers and rites in privacy. Fatou took note of her absence, and recalled that the half-orc had also vanished for some time during the previous new moon. Fatou observes Yaziel's holy day on the full moon, and knows Asmolon's cult holds unholy rites at the new moon. She was, however, fairly certain Jumari did not observe those ways, given the inquisitor's passionate hatred for the death god's cult. The wizard's curiosity finally got the better of her, and she asked Jumari what religion she followed.

Jumari answered that she followed "the Lost Egg." When that statement met blank stares from her companions, she related the short version of her god's story: At some time in the distant past, the two dragon goddesses, the Adamantine Dragon and the Scintillating Dragon, mated and each produced a single egg that they laid in shared nest. The Tarrasque hatched from one of these eggs, and devoured the other. Jumari worships "That Which Is Not and Should Have Been," the potential of the unborn god. She prays at the new moon because it is reborn then, with new potential. Similarly, the winter solstice is a holy day, when the year is reborn. Her religion is not a common one; she had known only three followers--herself, her master, and her sister--before Jubair had asked her the same question a few weeks before and decided to become a follower, too.

The group continued on to Spine Hollow. They gave the oils to Razima, who performed the reincarnation spell the next day. ZhaZha returned as a half-elf, apparently a mix of high elf and the pale-skinned humans of the northern continent, but she retained her gender and her previous body's bright red hair and blue eyes.

The party intends to continue the fight against the Ghost Fist clan, and plans to go looking for their home near the Stairs...

-----

Hurray! The inquisitor's big secret is finally out in the open! You'd think PCs would be more nosy than this group has been. Now that the others are aware of it, I have added the Lost Egg to the Dragon Gods section of the religions page.
The new ZhaZha

ZhaZha's player is currently adjusting her character sheet, and reviewing the effects of the permanent negative levels she has to cope with until she can afford to clear them. She may seek out a side quest or two to earn the money to pay for the required spells, so that she doesn't have to beg even more from her friends. We have a few weeks to work on that before our next session, due to real-life transitions affecting our group.

Lucretia's player has defended her doctoral thesis and found a postdoc position. We're all very happy for her, but unfortunately, the job isn't local, so she will be moving out of state next month. This means that this was her last session in person with us before then. We've been considering our options for how to continue the game from here, and will start by having her join us remotely, through Skype or the like. Whatever we work out will also affect her husband, Jubair's player, who will be joining her after he finishes his degree this winter.  

Appendix: Previous Sessions

Sunday, August 27, 2017

#RPGaDay 2017: Day 31


31st) What do you anticipate most for gaming in 2018?

I can't narrow this to just one answer, so here are some of the things I look forward to in 2018:
  • The rest of the Return to Freeport adventure series, which will be gathered in a print collection in February
  • Hopefully getting back to GenCon again.
  • Continuing my "Time of the Tarrasque" and Tales from the Yawning Portal campaigns.
  • Getting my act together to finally get the Miskatonic Regional Elementary School LARP ready for a second run.

#RPGaDay 2017: Day 30


30th) What is an RPG genre-mashup you would most like to see?

I've thought long and hard about this, and finally decided that the mash-up that I would most like to see is one that I helped write back in 1998. As I mentioned in my "LARPs in Limbo" column last fall, I would like to polish up Miskatonic Regional Elementary School for a second run someday. To give you an idea of how many genres get mashed into that one little game--and to push myself to do some some more work on it--here's the player handout (or "bluesheet") about the game's premise:

-----

Bluesheet: The Big School District Merger

The past year has been a turbulent time for the Miskatonic River Valley school district. Due to the prolonged recession, state and federal funding has dried up and nearly every school in the district faced closing unless they merged.

Before now, the district was home to four elementary schools:

Miskatonic Elementary has served the children, spawn, and other assorted offspring of the families, spore beds, and parthenogenic amorphous masses of historic, haunted Arkham for over a century. The school is large, both in student body and in architecture--it has to be, in order for some of the more, um, exotic students to even make it through the doors. Now renamed Miskatonic Regional Elementary School, it has become host to other very specialized schools that were closed in the merger.

Anime Elementary was the school of choice for the local mecha operators, space fighter pilots, alien sex demons, cute tiny auto mechanics, and weapons dealers in the high-tech townships north of Arkham. Many of these families had more-or-less mobile residences, so when the school was shut down, most of the students simply transferred outside the district. A few families decided to keep their kids in the same school district, so those ended up at Miskatonic.

W.D. Memorial was located in Filmland, to the east. Few parents here were willing to move away from their show-business careers. Some were affluent enough to afford private schooling, but most just enrolled their kids in the nearest possible school. Miskatonic gained many talented and fascinating students as a result.

The Atlantean Private School for Boys was located offshore a few dozen miles south of Arkham. Wealthy superheroes sent their sons here to be properly trained in the use and control of their powers. Unfortunately for the school, some supervillains also sent their children there. An ill-considered comment on a report card last spring kindled the fires of rage, so to speak, in the heart of one of the more volatile parents. Luckily, all of the students were away on a field trip that day. They returned home to find not the welcoming domes of the underwater school, but the cooling lava of a new mountain range. Although no villain has publicly claimed responsibility, the modus operandi has narrowed the search to one particular suspect. Dr. Volcano, however, is in hiding and refuses to comment on the disaster.

The first couple months of this school year were rather challenging, as both the returning Miskatonic students and the newcomers adjusted to sharing a common school. The principal, Mr. Black, has dealt promptly and efficiently with fights, accidents, and other disturbances, which has greatly reassured the parents of new students who might have had any qualms about Arkham's sinister reputation. (Most potential troublemakers, on the other hand, live in terror of the harsh and seemingly omniscient Mr. Black.)