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5E SKT - Yakfolk Village makes no sense.

twofalls

DM Beadle
So I try to have things make enough sense in my fantasy games that the sense of suspension of believe isn't strained too much. We are still a ways from it, but my party will eventually be pursuing the Vodindod and Duke Zalto, and the Yakfolk village just makes no sense. I may have to just cut it entirely out. The homlet is far north of the perpetually frozen zone, and not only that they are high up on the side of a mountain, yet a waterfall runs through the village and they grown grain and food as well as raise livestock, and keep slaves in outside (iron no less) cages overnight. Has anyone addressed this? A miserable little slaver village isn't going to have a mythal to magic up a sunny environment, and beyond that, being so remote and far from civilization how the heck did they acquire and feed so many slaves? I'm puzzled by this and am thinking about rewriting all of it, but am open to other ideas to save myself some work.

Anyone?
 

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cbwjm

Hero
Add in hot springs that keep the place warm enough? Maybe there are volcanic vents that also heat the area, kind of like an underwater vent that provides warmth for life to thrive. Unless the slaves are integral to the story then I'd probably remove them completely since that takes out the problems of feeding and sheltering them. This might not be a perfect way of explaining it, but during the game I'd bet that it is good enough for the players.
 

Eltab

Hero
Put the exhaust from the Fire Giant forge at the bottom of the slope where the farming terraces are. A little bit of magic: the heat creeps along the ground instead of rising straight up. (Maybe a "heat 'irrigation' system"?) The crops are still cold-weather and subpolar plants but at the warm end of their tolerance. Still the cold end of demihuman tolerance, though.

Add a few carefully-placed groves of pine trees which help some to hold in the heat.
 

ccs

40th lv DM
I just moved the whole mountain/village/dungeon somewhere more convenient. Theres plenty of mountains in an FR map to pick from.
Oh look, it played exactly the same.
But then MY FR is not the same as the TSR/WotC FR....
 

I've run groups through it twice, and you know what, not a single player has stormed out due to their suspension of disbelief being violated. Or, for that matter, given any indication, verbal or otherwise, that it bothered them in the least.

But if you need it, either the fire giant settlement or volcanism/geothermal activity (which would explain the location of said fire giant settlement) are simple answers.
 

twofalls

DM Beadle
I've run groups through it twice, and you know what, not a single player has stormed out due to their suspension of disbelief being violated. Or, for that matter, given any indication, verbal or otherwise, that it bothered them in the least.

But if you need it, either the fire giant settlement or volcanism/geothermal activity (which would explain the location of said fire giant settlement) are simple answers.
My players aren't children, no one would storm out, or even question it most likely, however we are all educated professionals and it would be noticed even if not commented upon. Making believable environments the norm helps with accepting those things that aren't the norm (fighting inside a volcano, or an ice cavern) when the time comes and makes them feel extraordinary because the world that they are in usually makes sense. This is the expectation I have created in my game, and I've found that it works very well.
 

twofalls

DM Beadle
Put the exhaust from the Fire Giant forge at the bottom of the slope where the farming terraces are. A little bit of magic: the heat creeps along the ground instead of rising straight up. (Maybe a "heat 'irrigation' system"?) The crops are still cold-weather and subpolar plants but at the warm end of their tolerance. Still the cold end of demihuman tolerance, though.

Add a few carefully-placed groves of pine trees which help some to hold in the heat.

I like this idea particularly well and will run with it. Thank you for your input.
 

twofalls

DM Beadle
Unless the slaves are integral to the story then I'd probably remove them completely since that takes out the problems of feeding and sheltering them. This might not be a perfect way of explaining it, but during the game I'd bet that it is good enough for the players.

I was thinking on this problem last night as I was laying in bed drifting off and decided that the best way to handle it without moving the entire location would be to change the slaves from human/demi-human to humanoids. That many human slaves would be difficult to explain in this remote inhospitable region, but humanoids are pushed to the fringes of habitable territory. Also, many are content living underground whereas humans being forced to live prolonged lives of labor entirely underground would become useless rather quickly. It also solves the food issue as I can use the old trope of fungal caves, which isn't particularly realistic, but will be accepted by the players.
 

Quartz

Adventurer
Put the exhaust from the Fire Giant forge at the bottom of the slope where the farming terraces are. A little bit of magic: the heat creeps along the ground instead of rising straight up.

I like this idea particularly well and will run with it. Thank you for your input.


No magic needed: geothermal heat works just fine. Maybe there are many fissures. Think Giants' Causeway. Of course, clever players might come back later and cause a massive landslide...
 

FrozenNorth

Adventurer
Put the exhaust from the Fire Giant forge at the bottom of the slope where the farming terraces are. A little bit of magic: the heat creeps along the ground instead of rising straight up. (Maybe a "heat 'irrigation' system"?) The crops are still cold-weather and subpolar plants but at the warm end of their tolerance. Still the cold end of demihuman tolerance, though.
To be honest, given the placement of the village, that is what I already assumed was the case.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
I, for one, would be bothered by this. I remember, many many years ago, we did a 2nd ed Ravenloft module in a domain where it was "always winter" - for the last 30 years. I immediately challenged it (I was a bit of a hothead back then) pointing out that if it had been winter for 30 years, everyone would have died of starvation. The GM was not amused.

As far as to making this vaguely plausible, I recommend reading up on the very high altitude communities in Tibet. Barley will grow up to 5000 metres. Yaks can be moved from valley to valley to graze. Yak butter (a sort of cheese-butter hybrid), tea and barley are the staple foods. If it's livable, people will live there, history has shown us this. However, if it's far north and high in altitude, it becomes a bit... less plausible.

So your next question is this: Is the Yakfolk village exceptional, or just the one that happens to be there near the PCs' path? Meaning are there 100s more of little such northern villages, just that the PCs won't visit them because they aren too far? Then consult the above. If the yakfolk village is unique, then there has to be a reason for it to be there beyond "there is marginally usable land here". Then you can start considering magical (maybe divine?), or special environmental factors (someone mentioned hot springs).
 

Coroc

Hero
I've run groups through it twice, and you know what, not a single player has stormed out due to their suspension of disbelief being violated. Or, for that matter, given any indication, verbal or otherwise, that it bothered them in the least.

But if you need it, either the fire giant settlement or volcanism/geothermal activity (which would explain the location of said fire giant settlement) are simple answers.

Well, then your players do not seem to pay much attention to detail, no offense, maybe they really do not care but that would not be my or my groups style neither as player or DM.

If things are against "nature" that is normally highly suspicious, and a major hook - normally that something powerful is at hand, and PCs should be looking for additional clues or so.
 

Well, then your players do not seem to pay much attention to detail, no offense, maybe they really do not care but that would not be my or my groups style neither as player or DM.

If things are against "nature" that is normally highly suspicious, and a major hook - normally that something powerful is at hand, and PCs should be looking for additional clues or so.
There is - a huge fire giant settlement directly below.

But beyond that, neither my players nor I are going to stop play to dig around to find pertinent weather data to ensure that the setting is 100% climatically valid. What purpose does it serve? How does that increase fun at the table? The assumption will be that they have enough heat and food through some relatively normal means, or else the settlement wouldn't be there. The hows and whys are, for the most part, immaterial, and, bluntly, would bring play to a screeching halt for no purpose. Should there be something abnormal going on, then the DM will drop hints that something is off, which will clue in the players that something odd is going on. Beyond that, normal means is assumed to be the default, and, thus, unnecessary to be investigated.
 

twofalls

DM Beadle
Neither play style is invalid or wrong, just different. What one group expects from a game or matters to them is different from another. One group likes heroic over the top gameplay while another likes grit and dust. What matters is that the players have fun and the DM is satisfied that he ran the best game he could, and also enjoyed himself. Insisting that one style of play is more valid than another is, I think we can all agree, pretty darn silly. I explained why I wanted (what I consider) a better approach and I received some great suggestions that will help me run my game. That was the point of the OP.
 

Coroc

Hero
Neither play style is invalid or wrong, just different. What one group expects from a game or matters to them is different from another. One group likes heroic over the top gameplay while another likes grit and dust. What matters is that the players have fun and the DM is satisfied that he ran the best game he could, and also enjoyed himself. Insisting that one style of play is more valid than another is, I think we can all agree, pretty darn silly. I explained why I wanted (what I consider) a better approach and I received some great suggestions that will help me run my game. That was the point of the OP.
Has nothing to do with playstyles imho, I mean as a DM you converse the surroundings to your group. If everything is normal then this might be a brief atmospheric detail for better immersion. But if you come to a thermal oasis caused by whatever phenomenon the DM should and will probably point out this anomaly.
A good DM hereby describes the situation, and (if it is indeed an intended hook for something else) if none of the players catches the bait say something along the lines like e.g. : "You notice that the temperature is very moderate in this village amidst that arctic conditions, and this really makes you wonder".

I mean i am fine with the given explanation that fire giants have their lair below the area, so there is a reason why things are like they are, but (i have not read or played the module so forgive me if i am making something up now):

Player 1 : It is really warm here, let us ask some of the locals why that is.
DM : You ask around and they tell you : "Ah make nothing of it it is just the fire giants below"
Player 2: Ah, then everything is fine, let us continue with our heroic monster slaying and just forget about the surroundings but rather concentrate on the next attack roll.

What?

Ok if you do not get it: There is fire giants below, so bad evil monsters, what do the players do about it? Do they ignore the dangerous menace or are they heroic enough to seek for an entry to these caves to engage the fire giants, after they did whatever is to do in the slaver village at the end of the world?
 

ccs

40th lv DM
I, for one, would be bothered by this. I remember, many many years ago, we did a 2nd ed Ravenloft module in a domain where it was "always winter" - for the last 30 years. I immediately challenged it (I was a bit of a hothead back then) pointing out that if it had been winter for 30 years, everyone would have died of starvation. The GM was not amused.
So you clearly missed the fact that this realm was a magical environment that wasn't required to work "normally".
 

twofalls

DM Beadle
Coroc, I agree with your views as it's the one I started this thread on, but I have to disagree that it isn't a play style issue. It's not really important what you call it in the end, different groups take different approaches to gaming. When I was a child (no offence intended by this comparison) I hardly cared about stuff like this, however I found as I grew older that incongruencies caused a disruption in the way the world was supposed to make sense to me, and I found it damaged my experience when other DMs failed to make their worlds sensible when I played under them, so my style changed to reflect that. If another group isn't bothered by it, hey, good for them I say.
 

akr71

Adventurer
If I had a nickel for every time I stumbled across something illogical or something that felt horribly out of place in a purchased adventure, I could retire would have a lot of nickels. It might have made sense for the writer, or it could have just sounded cool to them, but what is cool at one table is silly at another.

The great thing is we have ENWorld to come and ask other players and DMs their advice when we run into these silly premises and how can we fix them for our table. It doesn't mean the author was wrong, it just means they had a different idea to what would be cool.
 

twofalls

DM Beadle
If I had a nickel for every time I stumbled across something illogical or something that felt horribly out of place in a purchased adventure, I could retire would have a lot of nickels. It might have made sense for the writer, or it could have just sounded cool to them, but what is cool at one table is silly at another.

The great thing is we have ENWorld to come and ask other players and DMs their advice when we run into these silly premises and how can we fix them for our table. It doesn't mean the author was wrong, it just means they had a different idea to what would be cool.
Exactly this.
 

Mirtek

Adventurer
I, for one, would be bothered by this. I remember, many many years ago, we did a 2nd ed Ravenloft module in a domain where it was "always winter" - for the last 30 years. I immediately challenged it (I was a bit of a hothead back then) pointing out that if it had been winter for 30 years, everyone would have died of starvation. The GM was not amused.

As far as to making this vaguely plausible, I recommend reading up on the very high altitude communities in Tibet. Barley will grow up to 5000 metres. Yaks can be moved from valley to valley to graze. Yak butter (a sort of cheese-butter hybrid), tea and barley are the staple foods. If it's livable, people will live there, history has shown us this. However, if it's far north and high in altitude, it becomes a bit... less plausible.

So your next question is this: Is the Yakfolk village exceptional, or just the one that happens to be there near the PCs' path? Meaning are there 100s more of little such northern villages, just that the PCs won't visit them because they aren too far? Then consult the above. If the yakfolk village is unique, then there has to be a reason for it to be there beyond "there is marginally usable land here". Then you can start considering magical (maybe divine?), or special environmental factors (someone mentioned hot springs).
In Ravenloft it doesn't matter, it the ultimate "a wizard [Dark Powers] did it" by design.

It's a simulation set to run on infinite repeat to torture the resident Darklord.

How can village X actually feed and maintain it's population if the countryside beyond the walls are crawling with so many Horrors?

They actually can't! The Dark Power just make everybody unable to see it.

So the miller's boy is killed and eaten by wolves. The whole village is horrified. The a few weeks later the miller's boy awakes in his bed in the morning, starts his daily chores like usual and later their family meager meal is interrupted by the terrible news that the smith's daughter has been killed and eaten by wolves. The whole village is .....

Repeat forever .....
 

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