Huddled in a sheltered cove at the base of lofty cliffs, the tiny village of Red Talon is inaccessible by land for all but the best climbers. Its folk are insular and vague rumours lay cannibalism and devil‐worship at their door—with good reason. Founded by the vicious pirate captain Hagruk Stormrider Red Talon hides a vicious, depraved cult dedicated to the unholy, cannibalistic worship of the little-known Ukre’kon’ala. Adventurers often come to Red Talon—not to battle the hidden cult—but for the pirate booty said to lie in the waters just off the coast. Twenty years ago, Hagruk and his entire crew went down with his ship and now rumours of glittering treasure yet lying among the wreck of his galleon bring many to the village. Few leave…
Huddled in a sheltered cove at the base of lofty cliffs, the tiny village of Red Talon is inaccessible by land for all but the best climbers. Its folk are insular and vague rumours lay cannibalism and devil‐worship at their door—with good reason.
Red Talon was founded 20 years ago by the bloodthirsty orc pirate captain Hagruk Stormrider when he retired from full-time plundering; he named the fledgling community after his infamous vessel. In his prime, Hagruk Stormrider sailed to the four corners of the globe in search of booty, visiting many exotic lands during the course of his long voyages. On a remote tropical island Hagruk raided the village of a strange orc tribe, worshippers of a dark god of gluttony and greed called Ukre’kon’ala. In exchange for his life, the tribal priest promised to teach the pirate captain vile rituals honouring the deity which would bring him great power and wealth. Hagruk agreed, making the priest his first bloody sacrifice to the god as soon as he had mastered the dark rites.
With the power of Ukre’kon’ala, Hagruk and his men were invincible: they took dozens of fat prizes and their vessel’s hold swelled with plunder. No one survived an attack by the Red Talon–the captain and his men ate the crew of the ships they took in gory feasts to honour their new god.
Eventually, Hagruk grew old and settled down in Red Talon village, but would still sail forth on occasional raids. One fateful night in a furious storm, his ship struck the reef known as Devil’s Shoulder as he returned to the village. Hagruk and his crew abandoned ship as the galleon started to sink beneath the waves, but they were too slow, and their drowned bodies were washed up on the beach. But the dark power of their cannibal god saved the pirates—Ukre’kon’ala brought some of the crew back from death to unlife as ghouls; Hagruk Stormrider became a ghast.
That was ten years ago. Nowadays, adventurers come to Red Talon to search for the sunken treasure of Hagruk Stormrider and the depraved cult continues to worship vile Ukre’kon’ala; their sacrifices go to feed the ghast captain and his ghoulish shipmates.
Most of the village comprises peasant homes. A few locations, however, are of interest to adventurers:
- The Flensed Whale: Red Talon’s unwelcoming inn stands in the middle of the village; it has few guests.
- The Docks: Busy during the day with fishing boats and merchant vessels arriving from Deksport and other ports.
- Algrid’s Creels and Nets: This shop stocks a variety of general goods, as well as lobster pots and fishing nets.
- Saltblood Hall: This well-appointed house is home to Red Talon’s mayor, and once belonged to Hagruk Stormrider.
- Village Church: At first glance a small stone temple to the sea god Serat, the church is in reality dedicated to Ukre’kon’ala.
- Ossuary: Located beneath the church, this charnel house is the lair of Hagruk Stormrider and his undead crew.
- Cliffs: Steep, 300-foot high white cliffs surround the village, making it hard for anyone to reach Red Talon by land.
- Devil’s Shoulder: This dark reef is where the galleon Red Talon met its doom, and acts as a magnet to treasure-seekers.
Praise for Village Backdrop: Red Talon
“Richard Green paints in vivid strokes a rather nasty pirate village of the worst kind, the kind of place that makes Freeport or Port Shaw look cosmopolitan or welcoming.”
–Endzeitgeist (four stars)
A Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatible GM’s Resource by Richard Green
Released 2 April 2015; Pages 10
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