Village Backdrop: Hard Bay

Hard Bay’s fate has ever been tied to the sea. Although blessed with a natural, protected harbour and plentiful fishing, foul weather and a dangerous, unwholesome reputation have conspired to keep the village nothing more than a dreary, isolated place. A vein of smuggling and thievery ran deep through the village until the Sharkrazor pirates were crushed four decades ago. Now administered by three minor noble families, a darker horror than mere piracy lurks within the place. Rumours speak of strange fires set amid a circle of ancient, weathered stones atop a nearby shunned hill when the moon is new and of strange, abhorrent fishmen lurking in the abandoned, half-drowned smuggler tunnels beneath the ramshackle village.

By Thomas Fayen


Notable Locations

Most of the village comprises peasant homes. A few locations, however, are of interest to adventurers:

  1. Blufont Manor: Family home of the Blufonts, much of the business of the Cult of the Deep is conducted within. Tunnels have been dug in its basement that lead into the Depths.
  2. Moisan Manor: Formerly a large brothel, Moisan Manor is the most renovated building in the village and drips with excess. Most nights, it hosts raucous ball.
  3. Gerou Manor: Small home of the Gerou family, it is notable for its roof mounted telescope.
  4. Stronghammer Metalworks: The smithy is run by a family of dwarves that try to protect visitors to Hard Bay.
  5. The Driftwood: The curio shop is owned by the Blufont family. Trading in unusual items and lore is always possible here.
  6. Docks: The docks are the focus of trade in Hard Bay. The warehouses are in varying states of disrepair.
  7. Lighthouse: Lookout Point is capped by a lighthouse that guards the bay and is reachable by a dangerous causeway.
  8. The Evening Mist: The public house has rooms for let.
  9. Maritime Hill: Topped by an altar and standing stones, the hill is clearly used for some fell purpose.
  10. The Depths: In these secret tunnels the Cult of the Deep meet to worship their piscine gods.

Notable Folk

Most of the population are nothing more than hardworking peasants. A few, however, are of interest to adventurers:

  •  Aldal Stronghammer (location 4; NG male dwarf expert 3/fighter 2) Forgemaster of Stronghammer Metalworks, Aldal goes out of his way to gruffly encourage visitors to town not to stay past sunset. He is rarely seen without his overly large flask.
  • Councillor Ellagana Moisan (location 2; NE female tainted one human bard 6) Ellagana is the beautiful and hedonistic leader of the wealthy Moisan family. Through her family, she controls the docks and most of the trade.
  • Councillor Reynard Gerou (location 3; N male human aristocrat 4) Reynard smoothly plays a dangerous game, paying lip service to the Cult of the Deep. He has wandered from the cult and now seeks only to further his family’s position.
  • Fancy Tomnal Staggers (location 9; CN male human rogue 5) Sent by the Sharkrazor pirates who once held Hard Bay, Fancy Tomnal is spying on the village to see how the buccaneers might regain control. He isn’t sure what, but he has noticed that something is not quite right in Hard Bay. Unfortunately for him, the cult has already marked him as the sacrifice for the new moon.
  • High Councillor Affric Blufont (location 1; NE male tainted one human sorcerer [aquatic] 8) Patriarch of the Blufont family, Afrric is the senior member of the ruling council and the most powerful, ruthless member in the Cult of the Deep.
  • Old Moreg (location 7; CN male human sorcerer [abyssal] 4) The crazed Moreg tends the lighthouse with his summoned “friends.”

(Note, the statistics above are drawn from the Pathfinder edition of this product; check out the free samples below for edition specific statistics).


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A Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatible GM’s Resource by Greg Marks

Released September 2013; Pages 10

PDF ($2.45) d20pfsrd, DriveThruRPG, Paizo, RPGNow, Warehouse 23

Download a Free Sample Hard Bay at a Glance


A 5e Compatible GM’s Resource by Greg Marks

Released 24 May 2017; Pages 10

PDF ($2.45) DriveThruRPG, RPGNow

Virtual Tabletop ($2.45) Fantasy Grounds

Download a Free Sample 5e Hard Bay at a Glance



A System Neutral GM’s Resource by Greg Marks

Released 24 May 2017; Pages 10

PDF ($2.45) DriveThruRPG, RPGNow

Download a Free SampleSNE Hard Bay at a Glance

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Download Hard Bay’s Maps Hard Bay Maps

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6 thoughts on “Village Backdrop: Hard Bay

  1. Voice of the Deep ability in 5e.

    Is that ability meant to apply to the next damage roll and only one roll (like sneak attack), or is the ability meant to apply until the specified target is dead? If just one damage roll, does it expire after one turn (if the servant misses) or does it stay until the damage is done.

    If a xd6 permanent boost against a specified target, then on the higher end of effectiveness, but what about servants with multiattack? That would make it very powerful.

    For balance purposes, I would assume that it is just the next attack that hits and does damage, but I am wondering what the design intention is as the way it is worded it does not end and applies to every attack from multiattack.

    • Hej Michael!

      Thank you for your question!

      Dev here:

      Multiattack is an action, so yes, the boost would apply to all attacks executed in a multiattack. It was intended for the ability to work in conjunction with multiattack.

      The intention is for the command to apply to one action made to attack:

      “As a bonus action once per turn, the tainted
      one can command a servant of the cult within sight to strike
      down an infidel.”

      The “once per turn” is the give away here – it applies to the whole of the feature – the command is already locked in via action economy (bonus action) and the action required in addition by the servant striking the target, which would make the “once per turn” redundant otherwise.

      Apologies for the confusion caused – it’s a fine line between being as concise as possible and being precise.

      I hope that clarifies the matter!
      Cheers and all the best!

      • Thanks for the additional detail on your intention.

        The wording says the tainted one can grant the bonus once per turn (bonus action), but does not say when the bonus ends. It does not say the next attack action the target takes. In theory, the tainted one could, given time, give all of the servents in sight a permanent bonus given the wording. It does not even say the intended target of the attack needs to be there. 🙂

        If you look at the sneak attack/martial advantage and leadership/inpiration abilities of some other NPC, you will see that how long the bonus lasts is spelled out. Hex, as another example, gives a damage bonus and lasts a long time and applies to all damage done whereas most other effects are the next time damage is rolled and not every attack for a multiattack.

        I had guessed only the next time.

        • Yeah, I am aware of these references; however, we have tow different topics here: Duration and whether Multiattack applies or not.

          Regarding duration:

          Sneak Attack actually does not mention an end of the duration;
          “Once per turn, you can deal an extra 1d6 damage to one creature you hit with an attack if you have advantage on the attack roll. The attack must use a finesse or a ranged weapon. You don’t need advantage on the attack roll if another enemy of the target is within 5 feet of it, that enemy isn’t incapacitated, and you don’t have disadvantage on the attack roll.”

          Compare that to:

          “As a bonus action once per turn, the tainted
          one can command a servant of the cult within sight to strike
          down an infidel. When using an Action to attack the
          specified target, the servant inflicts an extra 3 (1d6) damage
          of the weapon type for every 3 Hit Dice the tainted one with
          this feature possesses.”

          I think you wanted this:
          “As a bonus action once per turn, the tainted
          one can command a servant of the cult within sight to strike
          down an infidel. When using an Action [during the directed creature’s turn] to attack the
          specified target, the servant inflicts an extra 3 (1d6) damage
          of the weapon type for every 3 Hit Dice the tainted one with
          this feature possesses.”

          My argument was that, analogue to sneak attack, the once per turn applies to the whole feature; don’t get me wrong, I totally understand why you read it that way, mind you, just explaining my reasoning. 🙂

          Regarding Multiattack:
          The wording here is exactly as I intended it. Using an Action to attack =/= attack, since it includes, as you have observed, multiattack.

          Anyways, I wanted to thank you for the kind and civil discussion! Pleasure to interact with you! 😀

          All the best!

          • How many times the extra damage happen is not specificed. The number of times it can be granted is (bonus action). The fact that it is an attack action that triggers it is.

            But it does not say that it ends after the first trigger.

            If it said the “next Attack action”, then it would be all buttoned up.

            I guessed your intent anyways, so I am not saying there is any huge issue, I just needed to program the action into a VTT the parsing and exact wording becomes important and that is what made me want to make sure I got it right.