I chose the Frogstar Peninsula for my first hexcrawl. It's the only place in Centerra where you can see the Frogstar in the sky. I wrote some rumors for it a couple of days ago.
So here's the area of Centerra that's getting turned into a hexcrawl. I've never done a hexcrawl before, so a I figure that a 16x16 grid of 8-mile hexes would cover a decent area.
Anyway, I made the hex map. That doesn't look so hard to fill out! That doesn't look so big!
Except it is big. 16 x 16 = 256. Even if I didn't fill in the water tiles, I'd still be writing 125 entries. That's on par with that giant bullshit House of Hours thing I wrote once. (And that thing is halfway to having an actual PDF. It's just LARGE and WEIRD and STRANGELY HUGE).
(I wonder how much work it would be to cover the whole continent of Centerra with hex crawls? Is that a good life goal? I'm 26, and I don't know what good life goals are anymore.)
Anyway, I plan for the Frogstar Peninsula to be a good spot for levels 1-3. It will have 10+ mini dungeons (<10 rooms) and 3 full-size dungeons. The TREE PALACE OF THE APE KING, the WATERFALL WARRENS, and the SECRET FROGSTAR DUNGEON THAT DOESN'T EVEN APPEAR ON THE MAP.
Honestly, I'm more excited about the mini dungeons. My favorite part of any Zelda game is taking time out from the epic main quest to investigate some random hole in the ground, and then being delighted when the hole in the ground has more than 1 room. Because I never know what I'm going to find in those random mini dungeons. Big epic dungeons, I got expectations.
I have given some thought to how to start players out. They could enter from the civilized direction: Fort Forello, on the southern border. They could land in one of the harbors from god-knows-where. Or they could be passengers on a ship that is attacked by pirates, and then either escape to shore or join up with pirates. Or they could be prisoners on a ship that is attacked by pirates, and make their escape through the hole that the catapult stones tear through the wall. That would be cool.
If you happen to be already playing on the Frogstar Peninsula, you should probably stop reading now. You know who you are. Yes, you in the loincloth. And your friend in the puffy pirate shirt. Stop reading.
Or if you keep reading, just skin through it really fast. I mean there's 125+ entries. No way are you going to remember more than a smidge of this stuff. I can't remember more than a smidge of this stuff.
Stop Procrastinating and Show Me the Entries
I reference the Book of Mice a few times in here. It's a pdf bestiary I wrote.
CAUTION: These entries are very big (17,000 words) and may bog your computer.
0111 POETS NPCs Obvious
A quartet of gossamer-sailed pleasure barges are moored together. They are filled with teenage nobles from Trystero, as well as their vast retinue. They are fulfilling the aristocratic tradition of celebrating adulthood by travelling the world and describing it in poems. So there's that, but there's also 1d3 bottles of magic wine and a metaphorical whirlpool of teenage drama.
0114 ANGELSPIT Town Landmark
Generations of buildings have been slurped into the swamp, with successive construction just adding to the top. Your grandfather's attic is your basement, now filled with mud, moss, and frogs. Basements flood constantly, and so poorer folks use them as greenhouses, and cultivate snails and frogs. And everyone's poor in Angelspit.
There are mounds of snail shells on every corner. Handshakes are given with sticky fingers, redolent of snail slime. People keep pockets full of live snails; they are handy snacks (squelchy and impossibly rubbery, but not bad). And fried frogs are the pinnacle of the local cuisine (many dipped in delicious sauces and chutneys). The Saucy Frog and the Pissy Bishop are the two local taverns. “Fishguts” McGee is the harbormaster, belly as taught and as round as a cannonball. Harkness is the local provisioner, and doesn't let his fetishes get in the way of selling the party torches and rope (much). Annabelle is the local herbalist, and can knows some minor healing spells.
Most of the town is dedicated to the harbor. It's a rough neighborhood. Sailors, trappers, whores, regretful botanists. And the mosquitoes are legendary. They form a cloud over the roofs, along with the birds that hunt them.
. . . . Missing Girl Quest Obvious
Most of the locals are still talking about a missing 9-year-old girl. Her name is Threnody. A lot of the locals believe that the witch kidnapped the girl, probably to eat. That's what witches do, right? Threnody's mother is offering a 20s reward for bringing the daughter back to her dingy, snail-infested shack, as well as all the frog jerky the PCs can carry.
. . . . Bilge Shivers Quest Obvious
The locals also talk about the recent epidemic of bilge shivers, a disease that normally only affects sailors who piss off mermaids. It causes extreme trembling and the expulsion of salty fluids from both ends.
The closest Angelspit has to a doctor is is the local herbalist, Annabelle. She believes that this epidemic is being caused by something in the swamp. She is prepared to offer 100s and a pair of enchanted onions (treat as potions of cure light wounds), half up front. (Annabelle has some small magical talents.) If the PCs agree, she will also give them a dozen fresh-picked water-lilies. Drop the water-lilies in the water, and they'll turn blood red the closer they get to the source of the plague. Deeper red equal nearer to the source. She suspects the witch, but isn't sure.
She'll also give the PCs the warning, “If it is the witch, don't touch anything in her hut! Leave everything where it is. Witches put curses on everything that they own.”
. . . . Annabelle the Herbalist NPC Obvious
Annabelle is a level 2 magic user. Late 20s. Brown hair in a bun. Freckles. Wears practical overalls and gloves.
Annabelle's shop is on the second and third floors of a building that is leaning so severely that it touches its neighbor over the alleyway. Even from the street, it windows are visibly packed with plants and growing things. There's a young warehouse guard named Lee who is smitten with Annabelle. He has a 25% chance to be here during normal business hours, flirting and fretting over Annabelle's hands.
Those two unsteady floors are filled floor to ceiling with live plants of all types (and relatively few snails, thankfully). There's also an excellent view of the harbor. Her cat is Winny, and she is a grey and thoughtful. She also babytalks a cluster of fanged flytraps, and keeps a very dangrous mandrake in a back room in case of emergencies. From these cramped floors, Annabelle sells flowers to lovesick sailors and herbs to ailing mothers.
She is also a liar. Nothing in the swamp is causing the illness—she is.
Annabelle was once the apprentice to the witch, Myzrael. . . but then she ran away. There's some bad blood there, and each woman feels like the other treated them unfairly.
Annabelle has decided to study magic in earnest. The easiest way for that would be to kill Myzrael, the witch, but she is not powerful enough for that. Easier to get someone else to do it, and then recover Myzrael's books and reagents from the now-defenseless hut. And she gets to finally kill that horrible old hag, who deserves it.
So, Annabelle has been getting people sick with bilge shivers. No one's died—her medicines have seen to that—but they've just been laid up in bed for a while. And the water lilies that she gives to the PCs aren't enchanted to detect the source of the disease; they're enchanted to detect the witch.
0212 WHALERS NPCs Specific
Three dozen whalers happily sing songs as they butcher a whale in the shallows here. It will take 2 days. After filling the water with whale blood and sharks, they will camp on the shore, drunk and happy with the all the valuable oil in their hold.
0213 WRECKAGE Specific
Ship wreckage floats among the brine-bog. Bloated corpses. Curious mermaids keep their distance. 1d12 items are recoverable from the wreckage, 2 items found/hour. Mostly rope, rum, and wood.
0214 DROWNED CITY Obvious
Algae-covered statues and slime-slicked streets are visible beneath the surface of the water. Herds of luminescent orange piranha swim down the drowned avenues. A few statues break the surface, their hands raised in benediction. The statues are of bog mermaids. Every full moon a few demonologists meet here and attempt to commune with spirits.
0215 LIZARD LICKERS NPCs Specific
A hidden community of lizard lickers live here in brightly colored tents. They lick lizards and then stare into the sun, blissed out. Most are malnourished and half-insane. They are strange and friendly, but can turn violent quickly if someone judges or mocks them. A panther has been slowly leisurely picking them off, one by one, but they are too stoned to notice yet. The lizard lickers are well-equipped for swamp life and have many useful tools, including rowboats with painted eyes. Their leader wears a ring of speak with reptiles.
0301 OFFSHORE TOWERS NPCs Obvious
See page XX
0311 DEAD PIRATES
Nine pirates on the sand, dead to the last man, victims of a heated disagreement. A halfway buried treasure chest is ajar, with only 3 gold coins remaining. Footprints lead away. The pirates have lots of pirate clothes and a few interesting things. Yawn lizard gun. Bone flute. Carving of a mermaid (very masterfully done). Letter of introduction to a death priest in Gengrimon: “Most Honorable Death Priest Vuzhj, allow me to introduce Captain Clayshanks and his men. Although they are outsiders, I believe that they may be the ones best suited to help us with our little problem. I have promised them 20,000 silver coins upon completion—I trust this will be a simple matter for a man of your resources. . .”
0312 FRAGRANT MOTHER
Enormous Swamp plant. 20 feet tall, crowned by an enormous red blossom. 40 tons of plant biomass. Subtly intelligent. More emotive than clever. Petals are huge and silky. This is the fragrant mother (but due to translation difficulties, it might also be calling itself “smelly woman” or “perfumed vagina”).
It constantly releases pollen with psychoactive properties. Anyone approaching within 100' of it must save vs charm or become enraptured, and feel compelled to walk closer, to caress. Once within 30', the plant will pick up the PC with a tendril, put a flower in the PCs face, and inhale. The flower smells you, and it can read your emotions and intent (as ESP). If it doesn't like what it smells, the flower opens up into a O'keefian vagina dentata and swallows the person whole.
It's not malicious or evil, but it is uncaring, and has no understanding of our morality. If shit really hits the fan, it will release berserker pollen.
AC 12 (double damage from slashing)
Tendrils +10/+10 (grab) (30' reach, has 10 HP, can be cut to free grabbed person)
Swallow automatic (2d6 acid damage each round)
Sniff: can read minds, emotions, and intentions by smelling you closely
Happy Pollen: 100' aura, save or be charmed, then approach within 30'
Sleep Pollen: 100' aura, save or fall asleep
Angry Pollen: 100' aura, save or be enraged, must attack a random creature each turn
tended to by sprites
wants you to plant their sapling and come back in a year
frog dudes can harvest the seed of rejuvination
is also a six-room mini-dungeon
[frogling loot room, legendary flute] [sprite apartments] [glowing pools, random powers]
[dream pool] [spirits in the wood] [sprite library]
0313 MOSQUITO MEN
Four mosquito men share a meal of a living sheep (feels no pain, soon to collapse). They are overcome with ennui and nihilism. They are lost, and have no way to bring blood to their females. Since this was previously their only goal in life, they're having a crisis of existence. They may offer to buy blood off the PCs for 20s.
0314 HILL OF STICKS
Despite the bog being quite deep here, there is a huge mound rising out of the swamp, made entirely out of sticks (a bit like a beaver dam). There is a faint smell of burning peat, and several deep channels of bog water stretch out in all directions. Vibrant blue dragonflies skim the surface among lush red water-lotuses.
This is the secret city of the bog folk (think swamp mermaids). They were thought to be extinct, but that proved harder than expected, since they sometimes hibernate in cold mud for decades. A couple of warm years have revived enough of them to build a working population, but they are still an endangered species.
This is where you'll find King Zaroob (glum, hungry) and his Shaman Griplock (playful, ambitious). Both want to rebuild their society, but King Zaroob wants to scour the bog for more hibernating bog people immediately, while Griplock wants to get the algae farms running again, as well as regain their favor with the Fragrant Mother (she currently favors the sprites—plants have bad memories).
0315 ALBINO CROCODILE
Crocodiles sun themselves beside the willows. One of them is twice the size of the others. The bog people call him Whiteback. He is old, cautious, nearly blind, and much smarter than his brethren.
0402 BLUE FROG TEMPLE
See page XX.
0403 MUSCULAR CLERIC
Tempus the muscular cleric practices his boxing forms amid the crashing surf. He worships St. Ferragun, the patron of wrestling and fair fights. His favorite thing is to heal his opponent after defeating them in a duel.
0411 MONKEYBACK JACK
Monkeyback Jack and his band of bloodthirsty pirates have built a small fort in this tributary. This is where they hoard their treasure and hold court with the shaggy apes of the swamp. Some pirates have families living here. 35 people live here, a population that doubles when the pirate ship is back to resupply (as it currently is). It hold 11,000 gp worth of treasure.
0412 WARNING SIGNS
Someone has put up a bunch of warning signs, cautioning people to go no further, as there is a giant carnivorous plant up ahead.
0413 STRANGLE VINES
Three full grown strangle vines have grown fat and huge in these trees. Long loops of leafy vines are visible high in the treetops, but most newcomers will only notice the pile of shiny stuff beneath the vines. There's about two dozen skeletons (including 3 human and 1 bog person), as well as a breastplate (frog insignia), rotted crossbow, 14 bolt, 5 gold, 54 silver, 21 copper, a bottle filled with water and mosquito larva, and a coil of sturdy rope with a grapple.
0414 SWAMP OGRES
A simple hovel, barely big enough to house the four ogres that live in it. At any given time, only 1d4-1 of them will be here. Hanging from a nearby tree is an enormous burlap sack with a bunch of stunted apples from 0913, a 10 lb bag of rice, and two live sheep.
0415 RED FROG TEMPLE
See page XX
0501 RAI STONE
6' tall rai stone on cliff overlooking the ocean. As anyone in Angelspit or Soggybottom will tell you, it belongs to the Red Road Trading Company, for whom it represents a vested worth of 5000s. Although it is partially buried, a determined party could move it.
0502 LONELY OLD MAN
Small cottage. Slightly insane but not unpleasant. Used to have a dog, but it ran away (See #0910) because the dog didn't love him. Doesn't want to get another pet because of possibility of rejection. Terrified of cities and towns, but loves visitors. Desperate not to be left alone. Possibility of crying. Has 120s buried beneath bed and a 200g is treasure-dollars (redeemable only on the island of Foxentown).
0503 MERMAID CLIFF
One of the sea folk, a mermaid named Vanfhua-Ji is sitting on a rock, waiting for someone to notice her. She needs a message sent to a woman in Drytop, and then to hear the reply. In return she is offering to pay with a clamshell stuffed with pearls (worth 400s). Alternatively, she could provide some other mermaid stuff (e.g. Anchovies of Water Breathing) but the PCs will have to barter.
Absolutely thick with mosquitoes. Con check or catch hot pox. 1d3 days from now, fever that lasts 3d6. Only bed rest is possible. Need lots of hydration. You see a prickling haze around the sun during that time.
0511 TREE PALACE OF THE APE KING
See page XX
0512 GARGANTUA BONES
Huge sun-bleached bones reach up from the mire. Some are covered with wiry black vine-moss. Arranged loosely in a circle, although some have fallen over. At nights, bog folk congregate here, hang oil lanterns from the trees, and try to conduct trade + socializing.
0513 BROKEN TOWER
Remains of a failed attempt by the Keldish to build a lookout tower on a small hill in the swamp. The project failed abjectly, and the tower is now in a perpetual state of overgrown decay. It has a ground floor and a second floor, but no roof above that. Rangers still sometimes use it as a rest stop and a landmark. It can also be used to get a look of the surrounding area. However, the tower is also home to 5 shaggy apes. (50% chance that they are out foraging during the day.)
0514 FROG STATUE
Birds, insects, wind. Everything in this area seems to make the same three notes. The effect is centered on an enormous frog statue sitting in the bog. 40' tall and made of moss-colored (oxidized) copper, it squats on its haunches with its mouth closed, looking disapprovingly at the heavens.
The three notes of increasing pitch are part of a progression. If the fourth note is sung, it harmonizes with the first three, and the mouth of the frog statue snaps open. Grappling hooks make entry trivial. The inside of the frog is filled with six feet of brackish water and a harmless insect larva. After the first person passes fully inside the mouth of the frog, it will snap shut, trapping them inside for 24 hours.
After 24 hours are passed inside the frog, the person inside the frog gains 1 point of Wisdom, assuming they haven't drowned yet. Additionally, the entangle spell gets entered into their memory, where it will linger for 1d6 days before fading; during that time, they can cast it normally (even if they are not a wizard). Wizards can also enter it into their spellbook.
0515 CROCCUS VICTIMS
A pair of merchant guards are treed, hiding from the seven hungry, patient crocci lurking in the reeds below. The two guards are feverish and will die in 1d6 days without medical aid.
0601 BELCHER'S LIGHTHOUSE
See page XX
While the party is walking along the cliffs, a pair of leviathans will erupt from the ocean less than a mile away. The larger one (500' long, insectile) chases and catches the smaller one (400' long, serpentine). Then it beats the smaller leviathan to death on the rocks and leave it there. It's tail waves out into the surf like a highway.
2d6 glittering scales, each as broad as a man's spread hand, fly over the side of the cliff and land near the PCs. These scales are green and gold, and are worth 10s each.
If the PCs climb down onto the corpse, they can pry off more of the glittering scales: 1d6+Str bonus per round. Additionally, there is a silvery harpoon stuck in the leviathan's face, a few feet below its eyeball. It takes a round to run over to the harpoon. It takes another turn and a Strength action to pull it free. However, it is a +1 harpoon of serpent-slaying. It also casts cure poison on things when it does at least 5 damage to them. Whenever it does maximum damage to a poisonous creature, that creature's poison is neutralized until more can be produced (usually a couple of days).
After 1d6 rounds of this, the leviathan stirs, because it isn't quite dead. It vomits blood, shudders, and begins to rouse itself. Any PCs on or near the leviathan must make a Dex check to get back on the cliffside (+2 if they discard all of the scales in their arms). PCs that fail their save are thrown hard enough onto the cliffside to take 3d6 damage. Then the beast dives back into the ocean, washing everything into the ocean. There is a tiny, rocky beach at the base of the cliff.
If the party has a bunch of scales, they can be made into excellent armor. 30 scales can be made into a scale mail shirt that gives bonuses as a breastplate but penalties as leather. 45 scales can be made a full body suit that gives bonuses as full plate but penalties as as a breastplate. There are no master armorcrafters with the skill to make this armor on this hexmap, but a village armorer can attempt it with a 50% success chance (failure ruins the materials).
0603 SINKING FARMS
A pair of farms sinking into the mud. They've been abandoned for years.
See page XX
0605 FISHING FLEET
Nine boats, out there just about every morning.
0609 WATERSPOUT CAVE
See page XX
0610 SECRET COVE
A family of 6 bog folk live here, raising fat swamp eels and several prodigious catfish. The witch has sent crocodiles to smash their catfish pens and, if possible, eat a family member or two.
0611 MAMOONA GROVE
Twenty-nine mamoonas (dog-sized, freshwater whales) live in this section of the swamp, amid the wreckage of a barge. The rudder of the barge is raised from the water, and on it someone has carved an amateurish picture of town life. For some reason everyone seems to have dog legs, or at least have an extra joint.
0612 CROCCUS NEST
A grove of mangrove trees covered with moss and brambles. Chirps and warbles occasionally drift over the thicket. Inside, Croccuses are having their annual mating season dance-offs. Any interruptions will be eaten. There are 18 croccuses in this lek.
0613 WICKER BASKETS
Wicker baskets containing human remains hang from the trees here. Docile swamp mantas suck the slime off submerged rocks. Three thieves are here with two boats, and they don't want to be seen or disturbed. They are looking for a diamond that they hid at this location, but now they cannot find. Anyone diving for the diamond has a 1% cumulative chance of finding it for every 6 hours searching.
0614 INSECT TREE
This large tree resembles a giant cluster, with thick skin mottled between bright purple and dark green. Players who approach them hear a slight hum and crackling in their head. Animals avoid this place, and it is a safe place to spend the night. However, anyone who spends more than a few minutes in the area will suffer powerful headaches and mild amnesia, and will lose access to their active (non-passive) class abilities for 1d6 days. Attacking the cacti is a Bad Idea.
Some sort of resonance between the tree and the insects has created a sort of intelligence in them. All sorts of insects live in this cactus-tree, but especially dragonflies, cockroaches, water striders, and mosquitoes. They can read minds, but are not telepathic.
These insects want to learn more about the world, and are eager to obtain some books, especially spellbooks. If the PCs prove to be trustworthy, the insects might even ask them to help colonize a new area of the swamp. This will require planting a branch from the psycho-cactus, and well as carrying a bunch of bugs around in your pocket. They have no money or treasure, but in exchange they can share share a lot of information about what's going on in the swamp. They know of the bog people vs ape feud, for example. They know what's going on in the adjacent hexes, and they've seen bog people playing a flute in order to make the frog statue in #0514 open its mouth. They're even willing to send along a bug with you—a bug of your choice (cockroach, eh?)--to assist in future endeavors by reading the minds of people around you.
If attacked, the bugs will swarm. Use swarm rules (weapons do 1 damage unless they're set on fire, torches deal 1d4, AoE does double) and the insects bite for 1d4 damage per round automatically. There are a few poisonous spiders lurking on the tree, so if the PC is near enough to the tree, they'll get a bite from those spiders as well (Easy +2 save or die).
0615 CROCODILE BUTCHERY
Two ogres are butchering a huge crocodile. It's sweaty work, and they pass a bottle of fermented swamp cow milk back and forth between them. Their armor hangs from a tree branch (their AC is now 10).
0701 DREAM DRAGON CORPSE
A strange creature has washed up on the beach, bloated and stinking. It looks like a cross between a jellyfish, a kelp seahorse, and a dragon. A carpet of insects and vermin are devouring its gelatinous flesh and delicate brain. There are some exceptionally large houseflies and crabs here, up to five times their normal size.
This is the corpse of a dream dragon, a poorly understood creature that swims in the black oceans beneath the bedrock beneath the continents. It's very far from home. The vermin that feast on it are growing huge and weird. If the corpse is not disposed of, a horde of giant insects will attack Soggybottom in 3 days time.
If a PC digs through the teeming mass of feasting vermin and eats some of the dream dragon, they will grow 6” taller and get +1 Strength. Then, they must make a save. If this save is failed, they will permanently fly into an insane rage, and will attack and devour everything, beginning with whatever seems most helpless and least aggressive.
0702 CLIFF BOAT
Decades ago, a freak wave picked up a ship and lodge it between two cliffs. Though the sails have all rotted, the ship still remains there. Flaking paint reveals that the ship was once called the Black Albatross.
The Albatross is about 20' above the waves. The easiest way to get into it is to swim 200' out into the brine and climb up the anchor chain, since the anchor is firmly on the bottom.
The ship is a frequent hangout for teenagers from the nearby town of Soggybottom. The deck of the ship has been painted to resemble a miniature map of the Frogstar Peninsula. The captains room has a bed with neatly folded sheets beside it. On the floor there are wine bottles, dried rose petals, and a single glove. The crew's quarters has been cleared out, and the walls are filled with graffiti.
Apparently, it's tradition to write on this wall before running away. A lot of the graffiti mentions running down to Fort Fargello and “leaving this shithole” or catching a ship. Some of the graffiti mentions that the merfolk in 1204 can be persuaded to stop and chat if you throw them gifts of booze. Some of the graffiti tells of romantic liaisons with mermaids—apparently mermaids possess a method for instilling water-breathing in a land creatures (see also: anchovies on page XX).
0703 ABANDONED FARM
Appears to be an recently abandoned farm, mostly unremarkable. The place is tidy, and cleared of valuables. Crops still grow in the field (mostly pumpkins). A small herd of cows is badly needing milking. There's no food to be found. There are chairs shoved underneath the empty bookshelves. It smells of pipesmoke. A single chicken egg has rolled under the kitchen table. The lock on the back door is broken. The fireplace is bricked up. A huge pile of dirt is sitting in the backyard, just off the steps. Aside from that, the house is extremely tidy. Nothing out of place.
It's not obvious yet, but there are 9 dwarves secretly hidden beneath the house. When their ship sank (See 1204) the surviving dwarves grew desperate and afraid. Their (non-dwarven) captain drowned, and they are too dull (read: robotic) to think of a way home. They set out to find the nearest humans that could guide them home.
The first encountered this farmhouse, occupied by the Murchenson family (Mr., Mrs., and 14-yr-old son). They captured the family and excavated an dirt hidey hole beneath the house. In that hidey-hole, the dwarves will determine which of the three humans is best suited to lead them back to civilization. The other two will be killed and made into jerky, along with a bunch of food on the farm. The dwarves have only just begun this task.
There is no dirt in the house because the dwarves swept. They do serve the 12 gods of toil, after all.
If the party sneaks quietly into the house, they may hear the dwarves talking quietly beneath the floorboards, interviewing the Murchensons about their leadership abilities (the dwarves will fall silent as soon as their hear footsteps above). If the party sleeps in the house, they will be ambushed by the dwarves during the night.
The dwarves are not unreasonable, but they are completely amoral. They need to return to their home of Wotansk, a location that no local person has ever heard of.
0708 FAILED FISHING CAMP
Decrepit shacks. Rotted docks with a sunken ship beside it (mast still visible). Torn fishing nets. Carpet of fish bones between the buildings. There is evidence of someone recently trying to fish from the dock, and a recent campfire.
A 1st level rogue hides here, fleeing Drytop after murdering his employer. His name is Vodesk the Ship-Builder, but he will give a false one. He's skittish, paranoid, desperate, and very hungry.
0709 STINKING HOLE
Grassy fields with clusters of trees. Cicada drones. Cool ocean breeze.
A shallow, sandy pit. 30' wide, 5' at the deepest point. There is a rotten, rancid smell, and no plants grow near the pit.
In truth, this is where a famous pirate, the Zombie King, has buried some of his treasure. Unable to get it into his ship, he commanded some of his undead servants to hide the treasure somewhere he could return for it, and then bury themselves on top of it.
If the sand in the pit is disturbed, 16 zombies will emerge from it over the course of three rounds. Buried 7 feet down is a chest containing 20g, 600s, a quartet of veritum candlesticks (worth 20s each) wrapped in purple silks (worth 100s total), and an ornate pipe in the shape of a skull (10s).
0710 FROG TOTEM
Tall trees rustle in the breeze. A frog totem marks the edge of the swamp. A bowl at the totem's feet hold offerings of teeth (mostly animal).
There are six beastmen hiding in this hex. They are being hunted by the rangers from Fort Farello. Inside a small tent , the beastmen's Speaker lies slowly dying. She was badly injured by a ranger's arrow, and is now laying in an inch of swamp water, her eyes unfocused.
Beastfolk males have the heads of animals, and so they can only make animal noises with their mouth. Beastfolk females look just like human women, except for the cloven feet. Beastfolk usually travel with a wife or two. These are their Speakers, translators who usually speak a few languages.
If the beastfolk think the PCs look dissimilar enough to rangers, one of the beastmen may approach and ask the PCs for healing (while the other 5 remain in hiding nearby). Their charades are crude and grunting, and they still look a bit threatening even when their heavy axe is in a loop on their waist.
If the PCs attempt to heal the Speaker but fail, the beastfolk with suspect treachery. Unless they can be quickly reassured, they will attack.
If the PCs successfully heal the Speaker, the beastfolk will be enormously grateful. They can offer the PCs vegetarian rations, water, a bow of black yew, 20 arrows, a fish trap (works great in the bog), and a poisonous snake in a leather bag. They'll also send one of their own members along with the PCs. He'll follow them as a hireling for 2 weeks, then bow deeply and leave to regroup with his fellows.
0711 MYZRAEL THE WITCH
See page XX
0712 SWAMP GAS
The ferruginous surface of the swamp here is covered with an iridescent crust. There are acrid smells in the air, like rotten eggs and burnt matches. People entering will become very dizzy if they fail a save (-2 to hit until the hex is exited).
At night, will-o-the-wisps dance along the surface of the water. Green lights billow and leave smoky contrails. They vanish when they are approached, seemingly to reappear more distant.
This enormous tree is known as a zone of truce among the swamp-dwellers. This is where the men of the Fort will bring their payments to the apes.
The tree is currently watched over by 9 shaggy monkeys and 2 fanged apes. Roll reactions as normal, but regardless of the result, neither the apes nor monkeys will initiate an attack.
0714 DEAD BOA
There is a enormous snake in the branches of this tree (30' to 40' long). It has apparently just swallowed something, since there is an enormous bulge in its belly, about the size of a human.
Upon closer inspection, the snake is dead, having choked to death. Inside its throat is a dead bog man wearing a harness. Strapped to him is a bag of catfern nuts (treat as 1 ration), a blowgun, and 3 poisoned darts (easy +4 save vs paralysis). His name was Omrelom, and his family will be very grateful to have his body back. (Bog folk funerals involve a lot of floating candles. The corpse is cremated.)
0715 PEAT CUTTER
Gormaine the peat cutter works here from his small cottage. He's currently smoking some sausages. He'll sell some peat to the party for a reasonable price (3c a bundle). Gormaine also buries the bodies of criminals and vagabonds that the Keldish knights don't want in their graveyard. He's got 5 bodies stacked behind his cottage, awaiting burial underneath coarse blankets. 3 men, a woman, and a child. He'll tell the PCs that these are all cultists that the Keldish knights caught trying to flee arrest.
Rugged shore. Beach of crushed shells, filled with smelly kelp drying in the sun. Tiny flies uninterested in people. Madman wearing a loincloth gathers armfulls of shells, then discards them. Will offer to sell “magical” shells to the party, and will “put a curse” on them if they refuse. He has no magical power. His name is Tam, and he is well known to the merfolk, as he is fond of chasing them into the water while screaming. They rescue him sometimes and tease him constantly.
0804 DEAD HORSE
Man sits beside the road atop two largish sized chests, both full of books. Beside him is a dead horse. His name is Rigaton the Ironbrow, and he's actually well-known in Trystero as a herbalist of some renown. He knows a lot about plants, but his bodyguard robbed him and took his money. And now his horse has died. He wants desperately for someone to convey him and his books to Angelspit. And would you like to buy a dead horse?
0808 DROP FLOWERS
A field of drop flowers (see the Book of Mice). In the middle of the field is the corpse of a horse and a man. This is Melchun, the bodyguard who robbed the botanist in #0804. He is carrying a tent, 3 days rations, an empty waterskin, a mosquito-net hat-drape, a crossbow with 10 bolts, and a beautiful longsword (worth 3x the normal amount because of craftsmanship).
0809 OWL STATUE
Atop small hill, there is a 15' tall owl statue. It is made of clay and painted with red and green triangles. The head moves—ever so slightly—to observe events and watch people approach. This is a prison stone, and there is a 400 year old bog folk druid inside it (7th level, owns a cursed trident).
The big problem with the prison stone spell is that the person is conscious the whole time, and can see out the front of the stone. This tends to make people insane. The revolving owl face is a concession to allow for more interesting things to look at, to minimize the risk of insanity.
If the statue is smashed open, the bog-merman inside will be released. Roll 2d6 for reaction as normal, but then roll another 2d6 for sanity. Either way, the bog man will be eager to get back to his village in #0415. (He is unaware that it has been abandoned for 300 years).
0810 STONE GAZEBO
It's a bit like a well, with water filling it up almost to the brim. It's much wider, though, about 15'. And there is a stairwell going down along the inside, exactly as if you were standing at the top of the tower and looking down. The gray limestone is covered with ivy and frogs, and the whole “inverted tower” is inside a stone gazebo.
100' down, it's murky enough that no light shines through. There is a hungry eel here, grown fat and confident on frogs (stats as a wolf). A horizontal passage leads on another 20'. This horizontal passage is filled with roots, and is such a tight squeeze that any human-sized PC wearing a backpack or other bulky item risks becoming stuck if they fail a Dex check. It takes 1d6 minutes to free yourself from your backpack, which cannot be unstuck from the roots.
At the end of the tunnel is the tomb of Danderodan, a bogman hero. His scum-covered bones are laying in a shallow depression, and he wears a jade circlet worth 50s and clutches the Flute of Drowning. This is a magic artifact treasured by the bog folk, and long thought lost. (See #0314.)
0811 ANGRY PANTHERS
Immense clumps of Spanish moss grow in the trees. Spiny caterpillars crawl, pupate, and turn into spiny butterflies with dusty orange wings.
A halfling is clinging to the highest branches of a nearby tree, although this isn't obvious. Beneath him, a pair of panthers are arguing over who should get to eat the halfling. The female panther claims that since the tracked him and treed him, she should get to eat him. The male panther claims that since the female panther left for a while to get a drink of water, she has forfeited her claim to the halfling.
If the panthers notice the PCs, and barring a very positive reaction roll, they will each encourage the other to eat one of the PCs. Given enough time, they will decide to work together.
In Centerra, the language of panthers is the language of all things. They use this gift to charm their prey and talk about how majestic panthers are.
12 Keldish rangers (technically, they're Dembraavan, but don't worry about that) patrol the woods here. They're looking for some beastfolk who earlier killed one ranger and injured another. This is human land, not beastfolk land, and they're eager to protect it. They are friendly, wise, and ruthless. They've been in these woods a while and appreciate good company. They'll trade a dinner of biscuits and catfish stew for a few stories of the PCs' adventures. However, any stories that talk about non-humans in a respectful or appreciatively light will be met with mild hostility—they're all pretty racist. (Halflings are okay, though, I guess.)
0813 NAUS-GARAUNT EXPEDITION
An expedition of naus-garaunts have met their demise here; there are six corpses. Some have been torn to shreds, some have merely had their limbs twisted in their sockets until the bones cracked. Swarms of tiny eels, the size of rats, are quickly devouring the singular body in the water. Five more bodies have been wedged into the nooks of trees. The eel swarms are in a frenzy, and will attack anyone in the water.
Close examination of the bodies and the battleground will reveal that they were killed by fanged apes. A person wise to the swamp might even conclude that the fanged apes put these bodies in the tree for later retrieval. If the PCs linger here for any length of time, six fanged apes and two shaggy monkeys will return, and they will be very angry (-3 reaction) with anyone messing with tomorrow's dinner.
Searching the bodies reveals a three short spears, a hand sickle, a vial of deadly poison (applied to blade, lasts 24 hours before going bad), a vial of antidote (gives new save vs ongoing poison with a +4 bonus), a mushroomskin pouch containing dust of red lotus (love effect, sort of like charm), 5 glowsticks (shed light as candle when cracked), a masterfully crafted repeating crossbow, a weird sort of gauntlet that ends in a fragile-looking bident, 44g, and six rations.
Naus-garaunts are humanoids with a hole through the center of their ribcage big enough to fit a woman's hand through. They have lime-green skin, blonde hair, and a singular, monstrous red eye. They are the marooned survivors of another dimension, and their curse is that their monstrous red eye will grow to absorb the other one, even as it warps their bodies and their minds. They can stave off this transformation only by steadily eating brains of sentient creatures. They obey a thing called the Red Voice, which they hear in electricity, especially lightning.
0814 APES VS BOG PEOPLE
A group of 8 bog mermen have fled inside a structure that is a bit like a huge, complicated beaver den. The structure is incomplete, having no roof. Fanged apes lurch onto the roof from trees, ripping up sticks and hurling oversized rocks and branches. The 9 fanged apes are attempting to tear apart the structure and kill the bog people, while their opponents are trying to preserve the structure and kill the apes. The bog people are armed with spears. They also have a 2nd-level sorceress in their number who can cast ignite.
The apes will call to the PCs with cries of “Bad fish! Evil fish! Help kill! Nasty bad fish!”. The bog people, unable to speak a word of Common, can only bare their needle-like teeth and thrash their tails in what they hope is close to a human smile.
0815 FORT FARELLO
See page XX.
0903 DYING DWARF
Alone and dehydrated, a dwarf is crawling across the landscape. He is wearing a tunic and breeches that were once bleached white, and a pointy hat. The birds circling him can be seen from the adjacent hexes. He is ungrateful and has no knowledge of the world outside his community. He is powerfully boring. Lacking any more meaningful task, he will follow the PCs if healed. Don't roll morale checks for him (except for fear). It's not that he's perfectly loyal, it's just that he can't think of anything else to do. (Dwarves are sort of like organic robots—or at least these Doldrumite dwarves are.)
0904 FAILED TROLL
Last week a troll attempted to set up shop at the small bridge here. He charged tolls for five days and ate 11 sheep before Keldish knights killed him. Now, his body has been dismembered and stuck on spikes beside the bridge as a warning to other trolls. If the pieces were ever rejoined together, the troll would still be able to regenerate.
0905 THE EXCAVATION
See page XX.
0906 PAINTED COWS
Yelzin, a cowherd, is travelling to Soggybottom (#0604) with his herd of 4 cows. The cows have all been shaven and painted with religious scenes from the life of Iasu, the founder of the Hesayan religion and savior of the universe. The paintings are quite majestic, although they could use some touching up. He has traveled the land, selling cows in every town that he has passed through is preparation for the Small Snake Festival. Soggybottom is his last stop (and he hates that place). He is travelling with his teenage son, Sprenkel, and a female mercenary named Vandal (F2) who will be unemployed once she reaches Soggybottom.
0907 HALFWAY HOUSE
A sprawling, single story inn occupies the entire west side of the crossroads. The wooden walls are grey with age, and the shingles are black with moss. Smoke rises from the chimney, and the smell of burning peat is apparent. A single sign over the door simply proclaims, “HALFWAY”.
Inside, the wooden floor is covered with straw and peanut shells. Most of the furniture is carved from enormous trees. The bark is not removed, and it looks dark and mossy, like the roof. There are no chair, only low-backed benches carved from logs. There is a peanut garden in the back, but guests are not allowed back there.
The proprietor is a Mr. Bufton, who is a squat, unpleasant man who eschews words in favor of descriptive grunts. He spends his days behind the counter, squatting on a low stool and glowering at his guests. His wife, Mrs. Bufton, is a squat, pinch-faced woman who is fantastically polite, and expects the same decorum from her guests. She is quick to offer snacks, clean sheets, ice cubes, and other little conveniences—but only as long as she can charge a couple copper for the amenity. Their son is 21 years old and named Cooner. Tall, broad-shouldered, he is sadly an imbecile. He spends his days in the garden chasing and consuming bugs.
The food isn't bad. Peanuts, fruit preserves, and even a bit of rice. The rooms are passable.
But the Buftons have a secret. They're weretoads. They're also thieves, murderers, and cannibals. Whenever they think they can get away with it, they will ambush a lone guest in his bed, kill him, and take his belongings. Or multiple guests in the same night, if enough of them are drunk. Murder is a family affair. The ground beneath their peanut garden is full of bones.
Sometimes they'll even kill a guest's horse or dog, take the corpse to a shack in a nearby grove of trees, and turn the animal into strips of dried meat. And then when morning comes around, they'll yawn, scratch their chin, and say that the animal must have run away in the night. And look! While the animal was escaping, it broke the lock to the stall. Don't worry, I won't charge you for a new lock, even though it's a long walk into town. Looks like we're both suffering, eh? Tell you what, this next beer is on me. (Their beer has a strong coppery taste.)
The basement is damp and wet and sometimes the Bufton family all sit down there in the dark, side by side, just reveling in the moisture. Barefoot, so they can feel the worms beneath their feet. Sometimes they do this in human form, sometimes in giant toad form.
Hidden inside the beer barrel is a small chest containing 300 copper, 122 silver, and 60 gold. In a hidden drawer in his desk, Mr. Bufton has a silver dagger +1 of lycanthrope slaying with a handle of black antler (because he trusts his wife about as far as he can throw her) and magic button that can make any article of clothing appear to be made of the most luxurious and expensive materials, for as long as the button is affixed to the item.
0908 TOPPLED STATUE
A regal face and an outstretched arm rise 5' from the swamp, part of an enormous copper statue, now rusted to a dusty, pale green. If a few minutes are spent clearing away the moss and duck nests, it will be plain that the face and arm belong to a bog merman (not a human).
0909 ROAD CONSTRUCTION
The unctuous Papil Voorminthresh supervises a slave crew repairing the road while sweating profusely and dabbing at his forehead. This is exhausting work, and he longs to be back in Drytop. One slave is looking for a way to escape into the forest, and may appeal to the PCs.
0910 STRAY DOG
A stray dog walks down the muddy road. It's long hair is clumped together. It's a good dog. It's also an fantastically good judge of people.
0911 EGG GIRL
Amathera is a 15-year-old brunette girl and the incarnation of a much older sorceress. Gelatinous lotus-dreams have lead her from Trystero to this very spot. Her once noble clothes are in tatters, but she has finally found what she sought: a trio of semi-translucent, amber-colored eggs in a mossy nest. If the eggs are held up to the sun, you'll be able to see what appears to be a living human fetus in there. Of course, that won't happen, because Amathera has spread herself atop the three amber-eggs, trying to cover all of them with her body.
Amathera (MU3) will buy food from the PCs at 10x the normal cost—she hasn't eaten anything in days, and hasn't spent any of the money she stole from her parents (such was her haste). She'll also buy any cloaks or blankets at the same mark-up. If the party threatens to hurt or remove the eggs, she will respond with violence and the sleep spell. She can't explain her feelings, but she can defend them.
If the party seems supportive of her strange mission, she'll ask them the PCs to stick around until the eggs hatch (soon, she's sure) and then escort herself and her new babies back to Trystero where she has some friends. She also needs to be kept away from her parents, the Duke and Duchess of Quaya (who have offered a 100g reward for her safe return, no questions asked) and Amathera can offer all of the money that she has in exchange (500s, minus whatever food and blankets she just bought). Both Quaya and Trystero are about 90 miles away.
The creatures inside the eggs are homunculi. After they hatch, Amathera will begin nurse the three small creatures, lactating blood and moaning with pleasure the whole time. The homunculi will grow to “adulthood” over the course of 3 weeks, in a process that will leave Amathera greatly weakened and has a 25% chance of killing her. At the end of the process, Amathera will have gained another level of magic-user and begun to see the strange unreality that magic unlocks behind the everyday.
The homunculi will grow up to be near-clones of Amathera, except that their hair is perfectly black, their skin is perfectly white, and they are perfectly mute. They will bleed water and their flesh is bloodless (similar to tofu). Although the three homunculi will adore Amathera, they will prefer each others company above all else, and refuse to be separated.
If Amathera dies or is removed far enough away, the eggs will attempt to imprint on the next nearest spellcaster (save negates). Once imprinted on someone else, the adopted “mother” will care for the homunculi in exactly the same way the prior paragraph describes. The amber-eggs will not mature nor hatch if they do not have a “mother” nearby.
Although tricky, the eggs could also be transported and sold to a wizard. They are extremely valuable, and worth about 750s each, if intact.
0912 MURDER INVESTIGATION
Although the road takes some twist in order to stay on dry ground, in this place it turns into a boardwalk and passes over several miles of swamp. There are hooks for lanterns every half-mile, but no lanterns. Keldish knights are gathered beside the boardwalk, investigating what they think is the murder of a squire and the a abduction of their cook. They will want to interrogate the PCs.
0913 ARCHERY CONTEST
Fort Farello maintains a small orchard here. A Keldish knight and a Dembraavan (also Keldish) ranger are taking turns shooting stunted apples off trees. PCs will be invited to join, if they can wager something worthwhile. The pot currently contains three braces of fresh-caught rabbits and a trio of silver arrows with white owl feather fletching.
0914 BIG TREE
The Keldish call it “the Big Tree”. It's almost 200' tall. They use it as a viewing platform, and there is actually a small treehouse built in its upper branches, usually with 1 man-at-arms keeping watch over the sea of billowing green treetops below.
An small island in the river is densely populated with willows. A small rowboat is pulled up on shore, seemingly abandoned. There is a small fire pit with ashes that are several days old. The ground is churned up in a couple of places, as if something large was buried here. Digging up the earth will take about 8 hours, and will not reveal anything except willow roots.
In truth, the willows on the island malicious and animate. Anyone spending the night here will be attached by creaking willows, who will sneak up and sloooowly wrap your head in their roots. It will take them 30 minutes to break your neck, and another 3 hours for them to bury you deep enough for their roots to benefit from your nutrients. That's what happened to the last two guys.
If the players are very patient and/or just love setting things on fire, they might manage to excavate the two rangers from the roots of the trees. The rangers have 2 leather armors, 2 short swords, 2 short bows, 16 arrows, 220 silver, and a copper ring with a tree insignia (10g). They also have a pair of the dark green cloaks w/ wooden broaches that identify a person as a member of the Dembraavan rangers.
1003 CREEPING REEF
At dusk and at dawn, this offshore reef is covered with the figures of merfolk and their pets (giant seals which they dote upon, and giant crabs which they abuse and cover with graffiti). It is the roof of a much larger hive of merfolk, called Ulanalu.
Merfolk are sometimes kind, sometimes cruel, but under no circumstances will they let anyone into Ulanalu. In fact, they are likely to attack anyone who approaches (-2 to reaction rolls) unless they are waving a white flag or making conciliatory gestures. They consider the ocean to be entirely their domain, in the same way that the land is entirely the humans'.
1004 CRAB DENS
These sea caves are is where the merfolk breed, raise, and train their giant crabs. There are 22 caves along the coast, most just a single room, halfway flooded. Each cave is home to 1d2 giant crabs and 1d4+1 merfolk. These merfolk have more bravado than their peers, and are prone to showing off by challenging humans, throwing spears into their masts, etc.
Giant crabs are ritually abused and beaten (it's the only way to keep them docile). They're also covered in graffiti: a mixture of scratches and neon paint. In combat, they froth at the mouth, and blow out plumes of yellowing bubbles. The bubbles have no mechanical effect, but they are distracting.
1005 DESTROYED TEMPLE
The site of an ancient temple built to worship Laculethys, an ancient pagan goddess now associated only with destruction and nihilism. The temple is completely razed. Not one stone stands atop another.
A disgruntled cultist of the Radiant Maiden is kicking around here, throwing rocks at thorn bushes and muttering. His name is Danyo. Since the destruction of his cult-temple, he's had a crisis of faith, and has decided to go soul-searching up and down the peninsula. He'll admit none of this, of course, but if the PCs stick around and/or befriend him, he'll suggest building a small altar and sacrificing the biggest animal they can find “just to see what will happen”.
Davros the Ineffable lives here in a two-story wooden tower. He is studying the Frogstar, and has a telescope pointed at the star at all times. He's a bit obsessed, and believes that the Frogstar holds some sort of “generative power” or “inductive animalcules”. He thinks that the light from the Frogstar can somehow affect how creatures grow or think. Except for the bog people, Davros is the best source of knowledge about the peninsula's history.
His eyes are brilliant green, but they weren't always. Davros believes that his eyes are grey.
He is conducting a secret experiment. H has a complicated apparatus and points it at the night sky. Although you can't see the interior, it's actually a bunch of lenses and prisms with a flower pot on the bottom. Every clear night, he opens the reticule and focuses the machine on the Frogstar. All of the Frogstar light that hits a square meter is reflected and concentrated down to a square millimeter, producing a beam of green light that is a million times brighter than the normal exposure of the Frogstar's light. And now, he's finally gotten a result, although he doesn't know it yet. A tiny plant has begun to grow in the soil of that apparatus. Something like a fern. This pseudo-fern has never known the light of our sun. It has only ever been warmed by the viridescent glow of the Frogstar.
1007 GRACENE BOUNDERS
A pack of 8 gazelle-like creatures are eating something in the tall grass near a farm. PCs that venture closer can see that it is 8 gracene bounders picking over the bones of a cow. Gracene bounders are sort of like carnivorous gazelles with weird-shaped heads. Use wolf stats, but remember that gracene bounders bounce instead of running, and that they are impressive jumpers.
The farm is abandoned, and has been for some time. However, the PCs can find a hatchet stuck into a door lintel. And a loose floorboard in the bed room hides a small cavity that contains 22s 10c, a copy of the Book of Bondri (one of the many holy books in Hesaya), and a small rosewood box that contains the crushed and partially burned bones of a newborn. There's also an one-eyed, yellow cat lurking around.
This is the Noimund Ranch. You can buy horses and donkeys here. There's also a few smallcows and greatpigs (smallcows are pig-sized cows, greatpigs are cow-sized pigs and you'll only ever see female greatpigs unless you go to a breeders'). There is an ankheg head mounted over the entry to the ranch, a trophy from an earlier time. The rancher is good friends with Mr. Bufton in #0907, and receives frequent gifts of peanuts.
The rancher (Sigmund Noimund) has two problems. One is that his daughter (Ama) is being seduced by a hat salesman (Ottersby) from Drytop. The second is that something has been stealing his cattle. He's down to half his herd. Out of these two problems, he's far more worried about the hat salesman. He'll tell anyone who'll listen about his problems. If they're the adventurin' type, he might even ask them to help him out. He'll offer 100s for each problem solved.
Investigating the cow pastures will reveal a multitude of weird curving tracks, as if there were an army of people and they were all walking on the sides of their feet or something. There's a bit of blood, but no bones, so it looks as if the cow was transported after being killed. There's also a strange hole that appeared in the middle of on of his fields. It's big enough inside for a halfling to walk inside without stooping, but the tunnel is collapsed after a few horizontal feet. The tracks lead south, and Noimund figures that they can't have gone far. Cows are heavy.
Getting the hat salesman to stop sniffing around his daughter is a much simpler task, Mr. Noimund thinks. Just pop him in the nose a couple of times. Teach him a lesson. Real straight forward.
1009 CHAINED MEN
Two men are chained together, fighting in a rocky field. The smaller man is trying to club the larger man with no restraint. The larger man is bit gentler, and although he is boxing the other man around the ears a lot, he seems reluctant to hurt him too much.
The men are both slaves of Papil Voorminthresh. The large man is Unger, a chief-among-slaves who is nevertheless loyal to Voorminthresh. He was tricked into coming this far, and now he is taking out his anger on the smaller man. He beat the smaller man severely at first, but then realized that (a) he didn't want to kill his master's property, and (b) he probably couldn't carry him all they back—he would need to be walking.
The smaller man is Arctur. He is desperate to be free, and wants to join the poachers that he heard live in Hex 1011. He's willing to kill Unger to do this.
Both men are liars. Unger will say that they are both slaves who were going for a walk when Arctur accidentally ate some madgrass and began flipping out. (Unger is somewhat stupid.) Arctur will say that he is a slave trying to escape from Unger, who is actually a werewolf and a sadist. (Arctur is somewhat insane.) If the party doesn't interfere, Unger will eventually triumph when Arctur gives up. Both men will possibly remember the party's actions if they show up at Lord Voorminthresh's house in Drytop later on.
1010 THE FENCE
There is a square area here, completely fenced off. The fence has a bit of overhang on it, facing out, so if you walked up and leaned against it, you would be sheltered from the rain. The fence encloses about 2 square miles of area, and is made of a motley mixture of wood and metal. There are plenty of gaps big enough for a man's arm, but none that are big enough for a person to fit entirely though. (Alhtough a halfling could do it).
A man called Tiberys lives inside the fence. He calls himself the Warden. He can explain that he decided, long ago, that the whole world was a criminal. He was a judge, you see. And so he built this prison to hold the world, while he would be safe from it inside. (And indeed, there is a luxurious tent-based living arrangement for him at the exact center of his compound.)
Tiberys is usually accompanied by his active pack of 6 Small But Vicious Dogs, who have no problem leaping through the narrow gaps in the fence. They're very loyal and very bitey.
Tiberys also has a son named Hamero, who is 7 years old and has never been inside the prison (outside the fence). He believes his father utterly. His mother is buried nearby.
The Warden's tent-house contains very accurate maps of the Frogstar peninsula (and decent maps of the world, if we're honest). There's a chest with 1800 copper and 70 silver under his bed. There's a full-sized ballista hidden under a camouflaged tarp between two trees. There's another box filled with rare and expensive teas inside the kitchen-tent that's worth 50s. And there's a plethora of weapons: 3 swords, two axes, two crossbows, and a crate of 6 molotov cocktails (treat as lamp oil).
1011 POACHER CAVE
This cave is well hidden. Walk up a rocky streambed and slide into a narrow crevice, which opens up to a much more spacious cave. The streambed makes tracking impossible, and the crevice is no visible except from very close. The large cave admits a few shafts of light, and ferns grow in the crevices. There are several smaller subcaves that branch of from this main one. The cave is filled with furs and moonshine that will be smuggled down the bog to Angelspit. Chained to the wall, a metal lockbox (trapped with disease needle) contains 400 silver, 125 copper, a potion of healing, a potion of neglect (not true invisibility, but people will not notice you unless you do something obvious), and deeds to all of the farms in hex 0603. There's also 500 silver of moonshine and 200 silver in animal pelts stacked against the walls.
There are nearly 50 “poachers” in the woods. In truth, these are more like men who flout Keldish law and refuse to recognize the government. Nearly all of them are the scions of much older families who lived in the area, and a consummate hunters and trappers, but a few of them subsist by foraging.
Despite the large numbers of poachers, only 1d20 of them will be in this cave at any time. The one constant figure is a man named Dilas the Bellringer (C5), after the job he held as a child. He is a member of the Cult of the Radiant Maiden, and an empowered one, too. His countenance seems noble and kind (and he is). During times of stress or emotion, a halo is slightly visible above his head, but only out of the corner of ones eyes. The halo gives him +4 to saves and allows him to see invisible.
He is sympathetic to the plight of the cultists from Angelspit, and the massacre that they endured. He gave shelter to the 14 who escaped here, but those 14 have since left for Hex 1112, where they intend to rebuild their church. He wears a bearclaw necklace (can be used to summon an albino black bear that smells like geosmin and petrichor, used 2x, 3x uses remaining, represented as black and white claws) and wields a long hunting spear, that does double damage against mounts, but can never strike an elf.
The Cult of the Radiant Maiden believe that Good lost the war against Evil a long time ago. The world is wicked and harsh, and the only way to save it is to allow it to be reborn. So, they work towards the absolute extinction of sentient life on the planet. Aside from that, they are indistinguishable from good guys, and their motifs are white robes, kindness, justice, halos, glowing light, and healing (also instant, painless death). The cult appeals to people from all walks of life, but especially poor families.
1013 HILLSIDE CAVE
Distant, a wild piglet has been caught in a snare and now dangles 6' off the ground, squealing sadly. Regardless of what the party chooses to do with it, there is a 33% chance that a poacher is watching and a 33% chance that the mother boar is watching.
1014 STRANGE FOG
Navigation is impossible in this hex, and players will exit into a random hex when they leave it.
A small cave in a hillside is clearly visible from below. Inside is a trio of shriekers (roll for an automatic encounter if they are disturbed). In the detritus beneath the shriekers are a dozen skeletons of various species, a rusted shield, a rusted helmet, and a rusted sword. The sword is useless.
1015 AXEBEAK TRAPS
In this clearing there are 4 poachers setting up axebeak traps in the tall grass. Axebeaks are predator birds the size of ponies, so the traps are quite deadly as well (wooden spike pincer smash, 3d6 + impalement, save negates). Several traps are already set up around them. One of the poachers carries a magic chicken arrow, which does no damage, but instead turns the target creature into a chicken if they fail their save.
1104 WINGED MERMEN
The mermen that sit on these cliffs aren't actually winged—they just have the manta phenotype. They are counting a few coins that they salvaged from the wreck in Hex 1204, and letting some of the more fragile scrolls dry so that they can be unfolded without tearing. They 180 silver, a scroll of levitate, scroll of speak to coin, scroll of tirelessness, and a scroll of knock. If they are ambushed or startled they are more likely to hurridly gather half of their stuff (roll randomly) and flee (+2 reaction roll). If the party continues traveling along the coast, however, the mermen will stalk them until nightfall, when they will attempt to retrieve their treasures.
1106 Leper Colony
There are 17 lepers gathering scrap and salvage along the shore. Their leader is a plague wizard (MU3) who succumbed to his own engineered diseases and was kicked out of the academy as a result. He wears a wooden mask and rides a leprous horse. He wants only to protect his lepers, but he also wants to marry a non-leprous wife. He believes that his magic can prevent her from contracting the disease. As a whole the group is very gloomy, and will pronounce doom on everyone that passes (unless they are thrown some coins or some bread).
1107 MACURDAY FARM
A two story farm. A large and prosperous family. Golden grain growing in the field. A newly built windmill, big enough to grind the grain from neighboring farms as well. Inside the house is a flensman, newly escaped from the merfolk. The flensman has come to this farm in order to acquire mind slaves and consume enough food to grow to a larger size. It is current reclining in the bathtub, awaiting its next meal of pounded grains.
Working the farm are 14 people from the surrounding area, including the MacUrdays and their 8 kids, a giant crab man (near death from dehydration, needs salt water), and a leper from Hex 1106. The people are mind-controlled and will work the fields until they collapse. As soon as they are able to stand, they are put back to work. If strangers approach, the people will try to get them to go into the house, one by one, so they can be mind controlled as well. Lensman can be clever, but their control is never subtle, and the strained, warbling voices of the mind-slaves make it obvious that something is very wrong.
If you teleported all of the blood vessels out of a merfolk's body and embedded them in a gigantic, pink ooze, you'd get something resembling a flensman. Flensman can control a great deal of people directly (seeing through their eyes, speaking through their voices) or they can animate their slime and fight as a giant ooze, but they cannot do both at the same time. Even if it is not directly controlling them, their mindslaves are paralyzed and immobile without mental commands from their master. The flensman also has the usual smorgasboard of psychic attacks.
1108 EMPTY FARM
Once an orchard, this farm has been picked clean by the ants to the south. No corpses. The larder has been torn open as if with great crushing/prying implements. Bloodstains in the house and in the barn. Fruit trees mangled and empty.
1109 GREAT MOUND
Huge mounds of dirt. From a distance, it resembles the skyline of a town. This is the anthill from which the giant ants have been issuing. See page XX.
1110 FLOWER VALE
In a small valley, cool and damp, a field of flowers grow, seemingly from barren rock. In the center there is a circle of stones. In the center of the circle is a monolith, covered with runes. In front of the monolith is a mystic, meditating. He is responsive, but nothing is more important than meditating right now. He has almost reached enlightenment.
He is right. Soon he will give a contented sigh, say “At last I understand”, and then slump over dead. And then the monolith with rise into the sky and fly into the a random location in the next hexcrawl the PCs will go on. It will bring all of it's magic and weirdness with it.
1111 HOT AIR BALLOON
Some sort of airship is draped on a low crag. The balloon is torn up and in pretty bad shape. Scattered around the crags are a fluttering sheets of paper, like loose sheets from a book. Inside the hot air balloon is a fresh corpse, withered and nearly bloodless. (This man is the victim of a surgeonbird swarm.) Also in the balloon: 50 silver wrapped neatly in paper, 50 copper wrapped neatly in paper, three potted plants (all rare but harmless swamp species).
It takes 1 hour to search for pages of the book, and with a successful Wis check, a significant bundle of pages are found. Multiple people can make Wis checks (search for papers) if they split up to search different areas nearby. If the group collects 5 successes, the book is mostly reassembled, and will grant a +4 bonus to all Int checks to identify swamp plants.
The book also contains chapters on rare plants, and lists their nutritional requirements, magical properties, and general information. This rare plant list includes the Psychic Swamp Cactus (see Hex 0614) and the Odiferous Rose of Zhul (see Hex 312). Importantly, it also presents an accurate account of how the Apple of Revivification restores a person to life.
If and how the balloon can be repaired is up to the DM.
1112 CULT REMAINDER
The 14 men and women camping in these dry hills are all that remains of the Cult of the Radiant Maiden, which was active in Angelspit until it was discovered and the cultists slaughtered. Their self-appointed leader, Agnew, has led them here to rebuild their temple in the wilderness, safe from meddling paladins. Many of the cultists believe that this is agains their philosophy (See Hex 1011) but are too meek to speak up.
With surprisingly little prompting, the 13 cultists can be convinced to murder Agnew or commit mass suicide while praising the Radiant Maiden. In fact, if they are left a lone, each of those options has a 25% chance of happening independently. Five of the cultists are 1st level clerics. One is an 11-year-old boy. And Agnew is a 3rd level magic-user. There is also a small toy dog running around, but it will not fight, merely yap and get underfoot (one person gets -1 to hit).
1113 COOK AND MURDERER
Harmulin the Chef has worked for the Keldish knights in Fort Farello (Hex 0815) for eight years. They never suspected that he was loyal to the Radiant Maiden the whole time. He has just committed murder in Hex 0912, killing one of the Keldish. And now he has fled to the hills, hoping to find his companion cultists. He is covered in blood and not prepared for this level of wilderness.
If he does rondezvous with the other cultists to the north, they will not be happy to see him; he was their mole on the inside. They will begin making plans to get Harmulin the Chef back in the good graces of the Fort, against the protestations of Harmulin himself.
1114 HERD OF DEER
In this chain of meadows, you will find 22 females (including an albino), 14 juveniles, and 1 enormous buck, standing taller than a horse. Tangled in among the buck's antlers is the skull and antlers of a former rival. The pressure on his skull has induced new, strange wrinkles onto his brain.
The ents have called a meeting in order to charge three small redwoods with the crime of aiding a spellcaster in Forest-murder and Nitrogen-squandering. The evidence is unclear, but the young redwoods do have a history of being sympathetic to mammals, including humans. If the PCs do not interfere, the redwoods will be found guilty and the ents will trample them into splinters and then spread the mulch the judges. Related note: tree screams are unsettling.
1204 THE MAGNETIC PRINCESS
This is a dwarven shipwreck dungeon. It's layout depends highly on the tide. See page XX.
1208 NORMAL FARMS
Four farming families live on this hex, all related. So normal and boring it's honestly a bit suspicious.
1209 HOT SPRINGS
These hot springs contain hot mud. Yellow sulfur clouds. 6 hippies (skilled in massage) and 1 wandering swordsman who is looking for her girlfriend.
1210 FUNGAL GROTTO
A broad hole in the ground leads to a half flooded grotto. There are even stairs leading down. The floor is filled with softly glowing blue water, strange fungi, pungent gases, and huge (but herbivorous) slimes. A mated pair of tubular peacocks lurk in the back reaches of this half-cave, but they are not aggressive unless approached. Although it is not obvious, the mature form of the fungus in Hex 1309 can be found here, growing in in elegantly-limbed, leafless, mauve tree. It is mostly harmless in this form, but anyone entering the grotto has a 5% chance of contracting the same purple rot that killed the ogre in Hex 1309
One of those ancient servitors is half buried here, under all of the growth. Two small arms on one side, and one large one the other. It has been picked over and partially disassembled, but one of the outstretched arms has a particular spiral pattern on it. This metal hand can be used to open the ancient doors inside the Waterfall Warren in Hex 1412.
1211 HARPY NESTS
There are 4 harpies nest in squalid nests, beneath and beside the mountain path. At any given time, there are 1d4 harpies present (the rest out hunting). They are cruel, vocal, and talented at insults. They will rake their foes with filthy claws, and try to draw their opponents off the path, where they will fall (50%) fall 50' to the base of the crevice, or (50%) tumble 10' and land in a rancid nest, where they will be set upon by 1d4 nestlings (as goblins).
1212 CLIFFSIDE CARVINGS
The party will begin to notice small markings and designs carved into the cliffside. Sparse at first, these grow more numerous until the wall resembles a shallow facade of a Greco-roman arcade, although with spiral pillars and a persistent amount of wavy lines. Between the pillars are scenes from a marketplace, or perhaps a forum. Although there are doorways in the carvings, there are no actual doors. This section is about 200' across, an in the exact center of it is an actual doorway.
Inside the doorway, a huge stone disk (10' across, 3' thick) is suspended over the doorway, and clearly intended to fall down into a groove and permanently block the door. And this is exactly what it will do if it's wooden supports are knocked away. In truth, the builder of this place intended it to be his tomb, but died before he could seal the door forever (see next paragraph).
This tomb was built in exacting detail by a refugee from Lost Lykorum, which sank under the ocean hundreds of years ago (so basically Atlantis). If you want to know what a lykorian looks like, picture Cousin Itt stretched to the lanky dimensions of a basketball player, and juiced full of sorcerous aptitude.
This particular Lykorian was named Ool-Mung-M'gar, and he was one of the saddest people in the world. He spent the last 80 years building this tomb. And on the walls, he recorded every single regret he had; there are 2,626 of them carved on the walls. Some are banal (breakfast related), some are obscure (ancient magical failures), a few are relatable (I wish I told her I loved her). Full study of the walls takes several hours, but will also reveal the silence spell, the rubberize spell, and a full map of the Plexus Arcanum, a building in Lost Lykorum (over a continent, 400 miles away, and on the bottom of the ocean).
Ool-Mung-M'gar died in his favorite chair (although he regrets many things about it, as well) with his arms folded across his lap, holding only a chisel and a wooden goblet. His corpse is wearing a grey tunic, and a metal hammer is concealed beneath his shaggy foot, where it fell. The only think of value is his amulet (a heavy, red, marble torus) that glows in the presence of poison, and purifies any liquid that is poured through its center.
In case the PCs somehow get trapped in the tomb, here's the process for escaping. First figure out how long the air will last until people start passing out: 40 hours divided by the number of people. Up to three people can attempt to smash the stone disk at a time, and this requires a combined Strength score of 60 between the three. HOWEVER, this number (60) is reduced by 1 for every crack put into it. In order to put a crack in the door, it takes (1) an appropriate tool, such as a hammer or chisel, and (2) a successful Str or Con check. Each attempt to damage the door takes 1 hour, and up to 3 people can work on the door simultaneously. So if 3 people get lucky and all put cracks in the door during the first hour of work, a combined Str score of only 57 is needed (down from 60).
1213 SHADOWED CRAG
Benath an overhanging rock face, several small springs trickle from a limestone wall. Enormous orchids grow in the shade here, and are slightly warm to the touch.
If the party lingers in this area, they will be accosted by a trio of wild jelly-johns (see the Book of Mice). If possible, the jelly-johns will try to sneak into the rations. Failing that, they will just jump down someone's throat. If they succeed in reaching the stomach, they will seize control of the person and run in a random direction, screaming the whole while.
Spiderwebs span this narrow canyon. An unusually talented and cunning orc scout is visible in the canyon, creeping along silently and filling his backpack with giant spider eggs. He is using an extremely sharp chargale (ceramic) dagger to cut the webs without the spiders noticing the loss of tension. (This is 1-year chargale. It gives +1 damage but shatters whenever a natural 1 is rolled.)
1215 STONE DOORWAY
In the middle of a forest, an old stone doorway, overgrown with vines. There is no sign that it was ever part of a building, or anything bigger. It has places for hinges to attach, but no door. A soggy-looking tabby cat is wandering this area. A collar names him as “Checkers”. The cat is not a natural hunter, and its ribs are showing.
In fact, this is not just a cat—it is a catbook. Catbooks were invented by a wizard named Rigalene as an alternative to books. A certain pattern of pets and pats will cause the cat to fall catatonic and then open up along the spine, revealing paper-thin tissue cross-sections that have printed words on them. When you are done reading, simply close the catbook, and it will revert to normal (although it will be a bit colder and have trouble synchronizing it's blinks for a while). This particular catbook contains 1st through 6th level spells, including two spells that haven't been cast in hundreds of years. Eat disease is a 2nd level spell that transfers any mundane disease from the target to the caster. Explode vermin is a 5th level spell that causes a mundane rodent or vermin to explode as a fireball spell. Timers can even be employed.
A person has a 5% chance of opening the catbook by accident per hour of petting, although a dedicated, trained searcher can go through all possible pet/scratch/pat combinations in about 2 hours. Since a lot of the books in Rigalene's library were powerful spellbooks of forgotten lore, some wizards will take strays home and perform the two hours of brute-force petting-passwords. It's a bit like buying a lottery ticket for them.
1218 Abandoned Outpost
Keldyn has stopped maintaining this outpost, a small tower on a cliff. The front door is still locked and barred, but quartet of goblins has snuck in through the sewer, thrown a party, and fallen asleep inside. There's a bunch of furniture, a weapon rack with 2 spears and 2 bows (no arrows), and a cache of red smoke signals on a high shelf.
A city. See page XX.
1308 REMAINS OF A CAMPFIRE
Dented copper kettle in the bushes. Human bones and teeth among the ashes. Nearby, frogs awake from hibernation and emerge from a sinkhole.
1309 DEAD OGRE
Apprently died in an unusual position: sitting against a tree, with his thumbs buried deep in his eyes. Some sort of strange fungus infesting its body. Belt pouch contains five infested chicken corpses, 200 copper, ten large ingots of high quality iron, and a merfolk idol made of soapstone (worth 50s to the bog people). Disturbing an infested corpse will release a puff of purple spores, all adjacent must save or become infested. Infested individuals suffer intense fever for 1d3 days, after which they must make a second save or engage in self-harm until dead. Strange fungus will eventually grow into a branching, tree-like thing but is killed by sunlight and low humidity.
1310 WHELK SHELL
An enormous spiny snail shell sits atop here (bolinus brandaris if you must know). It's as big as a house because it is, in fact, a house. A crone (MU7) lives inside it. The only clothing she wears is a layer of living moths, which surround her like a cloud. She is accompanied by a creature she calls “Softbones” who resembles a pony-sized elephant with a human face. In combat, the moths give -4 to hit to all in their area, and Softbones has the stats of a bull (although he bites, rather than gores).
Her name is Mazira and she has lived here for longer than she's been alive. She loves the moon. All of the moons. Especially the invisible ones. She speaks in mathematics and moons. Literally. If she can answer a question with a math, moon, or orbital science metaphor, she will. “The periapsis has grown too be too far. I fear it is too much for my babies, my moons. They have grown eccentric in their orbit.”
Although she is hard to understand, she is not crazy. With prompting, she can recount the entire history of the Frogstar peninsula, as well as the methodology for traveling to the Frogstar via the lenses. (found in the two frog temples).
1311 DEAD RAPPELER
A dead man hangs on his harness, still attached to the rope. He is 30' from the top of the cliff, and his rope is anchored to a small boulder there. He is 60' from the floor of the cliff, and his rope doesn't extend beyond him. There appears to be a small ledge beside him, as well as a crevice. Bald-headed vultures can be seen on his shoulders and backpack, picking at the rappelers brains amid a cloud of flies. A harpy sits on a nearby rock, surveying the situation.
The man is Yofes, Son of Briac. He was exploring this place when he investigated a crack in the wall and was promptly stabbed in the face by goblins. In fact, the last 18 goblins in this whole hex crawl, now that vorglins have taken over the Waterfall Warrens in Hex 1412.
The crevice in the wall actually leads deeper in. There is a watch-goblin here, but one who has a 50% chance of being asleep at any given time. The front cave is about 40' in diameter and holds 11 uncomfortable goblins. They have few possessions except for their weapons, and are in the process of eating a sorry meal of harpy eggs, mostly-dead crows, some smashed beetles, soft pieces of bark, and a handful of small stones.
The deeper cavern is only accessible through a 5' tunnel that is only 3' tall. Halflings can fight normally in here, but everyone else will have to crawl. This defensible chokepoint leads to the deeper cavern, which is only 25' in diameter. This is where the goblin “royal family” has fled, along with their treasures. There is a rotund king goblin (Gubok) with 2HD, his two concubines, his sniveling cowardly son (Makbobo), and his two freakish bodyguards (2HD, but get +1 to hit and damage).
The goblin royals are arguing. Should they retake the Waterfall Warrens (Hex 1412) or flee to friendly goblin tribes in another hex map? Both of these are bad ideas, because they lack the resources to retake the Waterfall Warrens and everyone else hates them.
The royal goblin treasure includes 8 gold, 160 silver, and 3200 copper, 6 chicken arrows (does no damage but target must save or turn into chicken), a collection of mystic boogers from prior shamans, a talking fish in a helmet, a whistle that attracts insects, and poisoned shortsword named Toechopper (actually, a long sword that snapped in half) that glows whenever there's humans around (currently wielded by the king).
An ancient aquaduct soars over the landscape here, seemingly reaching into space. It has fragmented, and the sections between the “legs” have fallen, leaving only a series of islands 60' in the air. The ones in the southwest seem to arc upwards, but to the northeast a large section of the aquaduct remains intact, and goes directly into the mountainside. This section is still mostly inaccessible, however, since the sides of the aquaduct legs are smooth, and the aquaduct itself is rounded on top. (The easiest way I can think of to get up there is to throw a rope over the top of one.) If the aquaduct is followed into the mountain, it connects to the aquaduct entrance of the Waterfall Warrens (Hex 1412).
(DM's Note: Not an aquaduct, actually. Ancient space train.)
1313 GIANT MAGPIE
This former companion of a druid has grown monstrous and apathetic. It will attempt to steal the biggest, shiniest thing that it sees, but never anything smaller than a shield. A person in full plate counts as a big shiny thing. It then takes the material back to its nest, high up on the cliffs, where it wedges the object into the wall. During sunset, the sun shines directly into the shallow cave, and enough light reflects off the shiny stuff that the characters get -4 to hit (a save cuts this penalty in half).
The giant magpie can talk, but it rarely has much to say. It's hoard contains a suit of full plate, three Keldish breastplates, 3 metal shields of different types, a gold cup worth 150s, 5 identical pikes, the head of an ancient automaton (still huming), a functional crystal ball that looks like a giant glass marble, 16 hunks of quartz from Hex 1513, an ogrish helmet, a gold sword+1 of rust-monster-slaying, what looks like a bisected disco ball, and pieces of brass scale mail (now scattered across the floor, but it would not be hard to reassemble them). There's also a few skeletons, although not many, since corpses offend the magpie's nose.
1314 CARNIVOROUS SQUIRRELS
An enormous black oak. A few skulls are visible at the base once you draw closer. There are 28 carnivorous squirrels in this tree that hunt as a pack. (1 HP, +0 to hit, 1 damage and attach, Morale 5)
1315 ELF GUIDE
Inscrutable elf stumbles nimbly through the forest. Will demand that the PCs hire him as a guide, as the rightful place of an elf is as the leader of men. His knowledge of the forest is peerless, and he can talk to all plants. Drinks madwine every night and then spends the next 8 hours staring at his hands. (Elves normally sleep 2 hours a night, but this one never sleeps.) He is good to have beside you during a fight, but is painfully obstinate. Every day, someone must make a Difficult -2 Charisma check to convince him to go in the direction you want. If the Charisma check is failed, the elf will lead you in whatever random direction he feels like that day (random).
If he is not allowed to lead the party on his mad quest for self-dissolution, he will grow increasingly angry, loud, and incomprehensible. When it becomes 100% clear that the party will not allow him to be their Perfect Elven Guide, he will run screaming into the woods (and the DM should roll for another random encounter, because noise). He has a 67% chance of returning later that night to kill the whole party in their sleep. He is a 8th level thief and can cast entangle once per day.
1408 LOW WALL
Ancient stone wall was once built here that ran from the ocean to a point 8 miles inland (so pretty much the across the center of the whole hex). The wall is made of monolithic pieces of stones (seriously, they look like crude obelisks piled together) and is 30' tall. However, enough holes have been smashed in the wall over the years that shepherds rarely have to detour more than a mile to lead their flocks through. In the shadow of the wall, shepherds play panpipes together and will make a show of ignoring the PCs if they are approached. In the sky, crows wheel together in almost-patterns.
1409 OPEN TOMBS
A landslide has opened part of this hillside, exposing a pair of chambers. This are single-room tombs built to honor ancient orc princes. Each one has a strong military theme and is full of spartan, brutal artchitecture. 2 tombs are currently exposed, but 1d6+2 more tombs can be exposed. Each additional tomb merely requires 1d20 man-hours of digging (divided by the total number of workers) to discover, and then another 1d20 man-hours of work to open the damn thing.
Each tomb contains 2 items, rolled at random from the following list.
1 – 1d100 silver
2 – 1d12 gold coins and a mask made from a turtle shell.
3 – warhammer with in the shape of a screaming boar's head.
4 – calligraphy set worth 25s.
5 – 1d3 surprisingly heavy candles made from black wax (grenades 3d6 damage to adjacent)
6 – rotted silk robe. Fingertip ring-needles (1d4 damage with scratch)
7 – chair made of merfolk tails
8 – mummified orc laid at the feet of the main sarcophagus
9 – 1d8 gold rings, each in the shape of a different kind of humanoid skull, 10s each
10 – silver broadsword
11 – ridiculous orc bow. Need 16 strength to wield, but it does +1 damage. Needs string.
12 – green slime on the roof and roll again.
1410 VORGLIN AMBUSH
Narrow, cramped canyon ends in an engineered roadblock. 8 vorglins attack from above with slingstones and taunts. If you roll an random encounter for this hex, the random encounter will sneak up behind the vorglins and attack them. The vorglins are from the Waterfall Warrens in Hex 1412.
1411 CLOBSTROK NESTS
The cliffs above the path here are the nesting ground for 15 clobstroks (see the Book of Mice). The clobstroks will vocalize with threatening chirps and perform aggression dances before swooping down from on high, en masse. They will not attack if the party immediately retreats to the hex from when they came. (Clobstroks are very territorial and will follow you for miles to make sure you leave. They also call for help before they attack.)
1412 WATERFALL WARRENS
A dungeon full of vorglins. A waterfall flows through all of it. See page XX.
1413 STEAM RAINBOW
Sweet smelling steam vents up from the tip of a nearby peak. If the party climbs the peak in the late morning or mid-afternoon, they will be able to see a beautiful 360 degree angle beneath them in the fog. A heady euphoria means that they must make a Dex check on the way down to avoid stumbling for 1d6 damage, but they also get +1 to hit and save for the rest of the day.
1414 ORC CAMP
A low profile camp, halfway hidden between two rocky cliffs. 11 orcs eating cold rat jerky. They have fled here after a force of Keldish army regulars invaded and destroyed their tribes mountain stronghold. They have been quietly raiding poachers and vorglins. They've lost 4 of their members already—both of those groups are well organized. They know a bit about the other groups activities, though.
The orcs' leader is Raknost (HD 4) who is a scheming rat pretending to be a loud bully.
1415 RUNE-COVERED OAK
This huge tree is called Sundering Break Broken Wood to the dwarves, and it has an important role in their religious history. To everyone else it is just a huge oak tree covered with dense runes, carved and painted into the bark.
1507 ABANDONED WAGONS
These two wagons contain 800 silver worth of exotic spices. Free for the taking. If a party wants to sell them, they'll probably need horses; spices are heavy. A small town (Foggybottom, Drytop) will usually buy 1d100 silver worth of spices. A large town (Angelspit) will usually buy 3d100 worth of spices. Every port has a 1-in-6 chance to have a merchant ship in harbor who will buy the whole bunch of spices for 75% of their worth, if the PCs are willing to sell.
A small sign along the path reads, “Cameleo, the King of Horses, bids you welcome to his Horse Emporium. 24 miles to the south, and worth every inch! If that distance seems far, you need a better horse!” On the back of the sign, someone has written “horses horses horses horses horses”.
1508 MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE
Written by Riddlerum, a man who betrayed the Zombie King and is now being punished for it. It contains directions to the buried treasure in Hex 0709 (although no mention of the zombies buried with the treasure). The message concludes that if the party recovers the treasure, the recipients owe him enough to rescue him from Zombie Island. Please please please. Also he can lead you to more treasure, and he was only imprisoned for trying to do a good deed, etc. He writes as if he were well-educated. Maybe someone in town has heard of him?
1509 SILVER MINE
An old silvermine sits in the hills here. It is boarded up and with a big skull drawn on the boards. If the party pries it open and goes inside, they will find 3 dead miners who appear to have been skinned alive. A little further on and on a short side branch, 4 bottles of lantern oil. A little further on and on a side branch, a working bullseye lantern and 3 broken ones. Then there is a mine cart on its side and a set of minecart tracks that go uphill for a very long ways.
After 200' of incline there is a smal pallet of silver bars (worth 600 silver total) under a dusty tarp. After 400' of incline there is evidence that a large rock has fallen from the roof right onto the tracks, and a few pebbles besides. After 500' it levels out into a dead end. There is another minecart here, sitting on the tracks on top of this underground hill. Also, 5 skin kites will shake the dust off themselves and take to the air, eager to suck the air out of the PCs lungs.
The PCs could ride a minecart back as an easy escape, but if they didn't clear the track where the rock fell on it, it'll be a very incomplete escape. Either way, when the minecart takes a tumble (and it will) everyone in the cart takes 1d6 fall damage.
1510 KING OF HORSES
Cameleo the King of Horses is clearly not from around here. He is protected by a quartet of masked guards who sit together on a fence like birds on a wire. Behind the fence is his inventory: 8 horses, 4 giant mountain goats, 1 camel (who can drink seawater), and even a pair of ridable axebeaks (they are mated, and must not be separated). The horses are the cheapest thing for sale.
One he is sure that the PCs didn't come here merely to rob him, he'll take them back to a secret pasture where his prize horse is kept. “This mare is named Verity, and she can tell when a person is lying.” Incredibly enough, the horse trader is not lying, and when the mare hears a lie, she will whinny with a scoffing, incredulous sound. Psht. All for the low price of 1000 silver!
If the PCs buy the magic horse, Cameleo will yell after them as they are leaving, cautioning that the mare must never be allowed to lose her virginity. He doesn't know what will happen. He is just passing on the message that was passed to him. Probably nothing. I wouldn't worry about it.
4 giant, muscular women riding giant geckos. They are not malicious, but they are playful and mocking, especially of the weak and silly things that civilization engenders. They are 4th level fighters and very well armed. Each carried 1d6 gold and a magic tooth on a necklace. If the thong is dissolved in water and drank, it grants the recipient a new save against an ongoing disease with a +2 bonus.
1512 CRYSTALLINE CLIFF
The side of an entire cliff is sheer and semi-translucent, like it were cloudy, scuffed glass (it's quartz). Dark shapes can be seen behind the quartz, but nothing indistinct. If the party lingers here, a dead harpy will fall from the sky with a splat of feathers. She was just dropped by her three sisters; this is a harpy funeral.
1513 INJURED POACHER
A poacher named Ol' Madder is lying down beside a stream bed with a nocked bow in his lap. He broke his leg in one of his own traps and is wondering how the fuck he is going to survive this. He will be overjoyed to see human faces, and will bargain for rescue. Any payment he promises is going to be mostly paid in furs—he doesn't have many liquid assets.
In another part of the hex there is a meadow with a flat stone in the center, upon which someone has carved a (surprisingly deep) spiral. (Seriously, how deep is this carved line?)
1514 GRIZZLED PALADIN
A (3rd level) paladin, Grundar the Chaste, is quietly riding a nimble warhorse through the dense trees. He is every inch a paladin, even though he is wearing dark leathers. He is has been tracking a pack of orcs for days through these forests. In another day he will have found them (in Hex 1414).
He's not so foolish as to think that he can fight 11 orcs at once and win. He was contemplating guerilla warfare for a few days followed by a brave charge into their midst. But now that the PCs are here, he has a better idea: get one of the PCs to challenge the orcs leader, Raknost, to a duel. Orcish law dictates that untested chieftans can never turn down challengers. Grundar the Chaste would challenge Raknost himself, except the savvy old orc knows him by face, and would refuse because they hate paladins. The orcs will disband or surrender without they're leader; Grundar knows that they're stretched to the breaking point. He offers 75s plus whatever the dead orc is carrying.
- No alcohol was consumed during the writing of this. It felt weird.
- Vorglins are the same thing as Yoblins/Veglins because I'm an indecisive twat and can't pick a name that sounds good.
- The magic horse in 1510 might be my favorite entry. Although I do like Annabelle's plot in 0114, too.
- In my imagination, the dead mountain climber in 1311 looks exactly like +Patrick Stuart, because he's always writing stylish rules for climbing and rappelling, and that's what happens when you don't write more rules for dodging goblin-stabs aimed at your head meats.
- +Claytonian JP might be doing some illustrations for some elements of the Frogstar Peninsula. I'll probably do fuller write-ups for the different factions and creatures of the Peninsula in the days to come, so look for his art there.
I skipped over a bunch of monster entries. The treasure is probably all screwy, so I'll need to drop some math on that shit, too.
The random monster tables are halfway finished. . . but I expect they'll complete themselves as I pull ideas from the dungeons as I write them.
Each mini dungeon has a few sentences of idea meat. Each full dungeon has a couple pages, and some shitty maps, but that's not nearly enough.