Tuesday, 8 April 2014

The Bandits of Shorgan Forest part 2

Part 2 - Finding the Spy in Elfmeet
This follows on from Part 1 where the PCs have escorted a merchant and his cargo through several ambushes that have evaded army patrols.
The spy can't be collecting info as the caravans are leaving (there is no-one else setting off at the same time) - it must be beforehand, so the spy must be operating in Elfmeet, a crossroads town of about 560 people.

The Merchants Guild requires members to register significant business transactions such as large trades between towns.
The clerk at the Merchants Guild has been charmed by the spy and passes the info on without question
The clerk is Ranulf, NM, neutral, AC 9, Mv 120', hp 2, Att 1 dagger for 1d4, who is normally good at his job and discrete.
The spy is Zendilla (4th level magic user chaotic), an attractive woman who dresses more as a lady than a mage (AC 9, Mv 120', hp 11, Att 1 dagger or 1 spell. Spells include Sleep, Charm Person, Web, ESP)
Asking around town about merchant caravans will get a range of replies:
"Try the local tavern - it's called the Longbowman"
"Try the town guards in the Watchtower"
"Try the Thieves Guild" - a red herring as there is no thieves guild in Elfmeet
"Try the Merchants' Guild"
"Try the Tax Office" (which is actually inside the Merchants' Guild)
The PCs could be given the runaround about town. However, they should end up at the Merchants' Guild.
Ranulf the Clerk will be quite honest and open about passing info on to Zendillia - "It's her hobby - she's very interested in that sort of thing"
Ranulf is both magically charmed and infatuated with Zendillia and will not accept she is involved with banditry.
Zendillia will initially brush off any questioning from PCs or officials, but if the questioning persists she will try to cast a spell (usually Sleep) and make a run for it. She will use sleep if there are a number of PCs but she may try to charm a lone investigator. The tactic of coup-de-gracing sleeping PCs might be tempting, but a bit harsh. If she is able to incapacitate the entire party, the DM can say she just panics and flees.
If the PCs kill her, there will be a commotion and they will be charged with murder - nobody else in the village has suspected her of anything.
If she is captured, she will be co-operative, particularly if she thinks she can avoid a trial.
At her residence there is a map of the local area with marks indicating ambush points between Elfmeet and other local settlements such as Firebright Keep. There is also a symbol that does not correspond to any known settlement. This is the bandits' lair. 

Just as an aside - other things may be going on in Elfmeet, and only two out of a possible 560 NPCs have been outlined. If the DM wants to add side-treks or additional adventure hooks in the village, go ahead and expand it as much as you want. 
Part 3 - The Bandits' Lair - to be continued...

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Bandits of the Shorgan Forest part 1

This is an adventure seed that I have developed into almost a proper adventure for characters of levels 1-2. There are gaps, but I am sure a good DM can improvise or write down the stuff that they might need. As this would be a long post, I've split it up into three parts.

The adventure takes place in Teiglin, in the borderlands between the wild Shorgan Forest and the more civilised baronies of Glensor and Bauglir

Part 1: The Caravan
The adventure starts off in the town of Elfmeet, with PCs being hired to escort a merchant's caravan along the road to Firebright Keep. There have been an increase in bandit attacks in the last week, always targetting merchants, and avoiding army patrols.

The Merchant's name is Orizon, and he has 2 assistants - Dermish and Macmoon, but he knows he needs more muscle to defend him.
He has 5 pack mules laden with wool cloth (30 sacks, each worth 70gp for a total of 2100gp).
Orizon, 2nd level fighter, neutral,, Str 13, Int 13, HP 12, Equipment: Chain mail, longsword, shield, 3 javelins
Dermish 1st level fighter, lawful, Str 13, Con 13, HP 6, Equipment: Chain mail, longsword, shield
Macmoon 1st level thief, neutral, Dex 13, Int 13, HP 3, Equipment: leather armour, shortbow, quiver with 20 arrows, hand axe

The journey is about 40 miles long and the caravan can do it in 3 days (18 miles per day) unless the PCs are very slow. The caravan encounters at least 2 sets of bandits (no particular location on the map).

1st attack is when the caravan has camped for the night - the attackers automatically gain surprise unless there is a guard posted.
4 orcs (AC 6, HD 1, hp 5, 4, 4, 3, Mv 120' (40'), Att 1 weapon for 1d6, Save F1, Ml 7, Al C, 15sp each, Leather armour, shield, hand axe),
4 goblins (AC 6, HD 1-1, hp 3, 4, 2, 3, Mv 60' (20'), Att 1 weapon for 1d6, Save NM, Ml 6, Al C, 10sp each, Leather armour, shield, Spear)

2nd attack is around a fallen tree that is blocking the road. In this encounter one of the bandits will have a schedule of expected caravans from Elfmeet. The bandits are
2 goblins (AC 6, HD 1-1, hp 3, 4, Mv 60' (20'), Att 1 weapon for 1d6, Save NM, Ml 6, Al C, 10sp each, Leather armour, shield, Spear)
2 orcs (AC 6, HD 1, hp 5, 6, Mv 120' (40'), Att 1 weapon for 1d6, Save F1, Ml 7, Al C, 15sp each, Leather armour, shield, hand axe)
2 human F1 (AC 5, HD 1, hp 5, 4, Mv 90' (30') Att 1 weapon for 1d8 or 1d6, Save F1, Ml 7, Al C, 3gp each, Chain Mail, Battleaxe, shortbow, 10 arrows)
1 human F2 leader (AC 4, HD 2, hp 11, Mv 90' (30'), Att 1 weapon for 1d8+1, Save F2, Ml 10, Al C, 10gp + 30sp, Chain Mail, Longsword, Shield, Shortbow, 10 arrows, schedule of caravans).

There could be other encounters if the PCs don't pick up the schedule after the second attack. The schedule indicates that someone is telling the bandits whom and when and where to attack.
In neither encounter are there clear tracks leading back to the bandit lair.

There may also be random animal encounters on the journey (1 in 10 chance every 6 hours)
1d10  Encounter(number appearing)
  1. Black Bear (1d2)
  2. Beetle, Giant Fire (1d4)
  3. Wild Boar (1d3)
  4. Giant Ferret (1)
  5. Herd Animal (2HD deer) 2d6
  6. Herd Animal 4HD wild cattle) 1d8
  7. Giant Shrew (1d3)
  8. Snake, Pit Viper (1)
  9. Giant Crab Spider (1)
  10. Wolf (1d4)
After the safe arrival at Firebright Keep, Orizon thanks the PCs and advises them to return to Elfmeet to find the bandits' spy in town.This may lead them to the bandits' lair.

Part 2 Elfmeet to follow

Friday, 22 February 2013

So what's going on with the blog?

The simple answer is "Not Much". Currently I've started a university course and I'm also trying to run a business. Things have been quiet on the blog since November last year and right now I don't know if I can find time for regular posts.
However, I intend to keep the blog here for the foreseeable future, partly for my own reference and reading, partly for anyone else who wants to look at it, and partly on the off chance that I start blogging regularly in the future.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

NPCs of Ironmarket part 2

These non-player characters are all found in and around the city of Ironmarket in the Godsblood Straits region.

Arrack Highhand
10th level thief, align Chaotic, male
Str 10, Int 13, Wis 13, Dex 16, Con 11, Cha 16
AC 1, Move 120', HP 31, THAC0  14 (sword) or 14 (bow) Att 1 sword for 1d6+2  or 1 arrow for 1d6, Ml 8
Equipment: Leather Armour +2, Shortsword +2, Shortbow, quiver & 20 arrows, Ring of Protection +2, 3x potion of healing, Thieves Tools, 50' rope + grappling hook, crowbar
Arrack Highhand is both the leader of the local gang of thieves and the top local agent of the Red Hand. He will monitor but not move against PCs who disrupt Red Hand activities elsewhere, unless told to by his superiors. When left to his own devices he is greedy, ambitious and dominating. He seeks to turn the "Burglars' Guild" into a proper Thieves Guild, achieve dominance over other Red Hand members in Ironmarket and make lots of money in the process.
Appearance: Arrack is tall and thin (6'3" and 120lb) with short dark hair, clean-shaven  and a pinched, drawn face that makes him look almost emaciated. He wears a dark brown leather jerkin studded with dull iron rivets and his shortsword buckled on nearly all the time. His voice is deep and growly and it sounds very menacing when he wants to be. 

Velipnar the Zealous
7th level cleric, align Neutral, male,
Str 8, Int 14, Wis 14, Dex 10, Con 13, Cha 10
AC 2, Move 90', HP 26, THAC0  17, Att 1 warhammer for 1d6 or spell, Ml 10, 
Equipment: Chain Mail +1, Shield +1, Warhammer +1, Holy Symbol, 2 vials of holy water
Spells: Detect Magic x2, Cure Light Wounds, Light, Hold Person, Silence 15' radius, Find Traps, Dispel Magic, Remove Curse, Cure Serious Wounds 
Velpinar is in charge of a shrine to Khazep in Ironmarket, and keeps in contact with members on the Town Council (namely both the Clerics' Representative and the Mages Representative). Velipnar has visited the Students of Gerontium in Maquosmouth, and believes they are worth helping. He will often try to drum up support for their fight in Ironmarket, though so far without much success. He has a friendly rivalry with the churches of Law in town.
Appearance: Velipnar is 5'9", and average weight. He has short brown hair and has a moustache and sideburns, and grey eyes. Most of the time Velipnar is relaxed and jovial, wearing his clerical vestments around town, but if he is either expecting trouble or wanting to impress, he will wear his chain mail underneath his clerical robe. 

Garraville Shrelk
4th level thief, align Chaotic, male
Str 8, Int 16, Wis 13, Dex 15, Con 8, Cha 8
AC 6, Move 120', HP 8. THAC0 18, Att 1 dagger for 1d4, backstab THAC0 14, dam 2d4, Ml 6 
Equipment: Robe of Protection +1, Ring of Protection +1, Dagger +1, Potion of Invisibility
Garraville is an unpopular moneylender in Ironmarket who is also a member of the Red Hand. He is aware of Arrack Highhand, and avoids him when possible. Garraville sometimes gets debtors to repay him with questionable or even illegal favours when they can't produce the cash. Garraville does not like getting violent with debtors - he has plenty of contacts with street gangs who can do it for him.
Appearance: Garraville is 5'4", 95lb  and really not much to look at. He has a face that bears likeness of both a rat and a vulture, with a large hooked nose and crooked teeth. His hair is a dull grey and there is a bald patch on the top of his head. He will usually dress in cheap merchant clothes, usually dark grey or black. 

Lieutenant Vandergrun
5th level fighter, align Neutral, male
Str 16, Int 10, Wis 7, Dex 11, Con 14, Cha 13
AC 2, Move 60',  HP 40, THAC0 13, Att 1 sword for 1d8+3, Ml 10
Equipment: Plate Mail, Sword +1, Shield, Light Crossbow, case with 20 bolts
Vandergrun is a lieutenant in the Ironmarket town guard. He is heavily in debt due to an ongoing gambling problem, and has borrowed money from unsavoury sources, including Garraville Shrelk. He is now basically in Shrelk's pocket, albeit grudgingly so. Most of the time he is a tough and effective law enforcer. However, when Shrelk or money is involved, he becomes extremely untrustworthy and duplicitous. Vandergrun knows he's in a really difficult situation, but his instincts are to cover it up and hope that no-one knows what's going on. After all, he doesn't want to lose his job or his rank over this.
Appearance: Vandergrun is a heroic figure, 6'3", 200lb (most of it muscle) and a thick black mane of hair with a large black handlebar moustache and heavy black eyebrows. He has several scars, including one on his neck and another on his left forearm and back of the hand. He is usually in uniform (plate mail with an Ironmarket tabard over the top) and always armed. 

Sunday, 4 November 2012

The Ruined Town of Brasstooth

Brasstooth used to be a bustling Toutian town of 2300 people, near to the provincial capital of Teiglin, Erkhart. During the Summoning, that all changed. The majority fled westwards, away from Erkhart and the Chaos Portal that was spewing out monsters. Some were caught and killed by the monsters.
A group of about 60 villagers fled into a small wood just outside Brasstooth and asked a powerful elf spellsword (called Gerrillion)  for help. His answer was to transform them into trees with a Massmorph spell. Since Gerrillion lived in a wood, the transformed townsfolk are now indistinguishable from the normal trees. Massmorph has no time limit, and as such they have remained as trees, in a sort of deep slumber, for nearly 50 years. Gerrillion has since moved to Glensor Town and he still remembers the incident. He honestly believes that he did the best he could as at the moment the townsfolk are still fairly safe as long as the monsters don't start chopping down trees. However, if the Massmorph spell is dispelled, there would be 60 confused and helpless non-combatant humans in the middle of the monster-infested lands of Chaos.
Escorting them 30 miles to Castellan Keep (which in itself is really only a temporary stop, not an end of their journey) would require plenty of soldiers and supplies (food and water) if it is not to turn into a massacre that has been merely delayed for 50 years. One adventure hook is if a brother of one of the townsfolk wants to have closure about what happened to his brother and asks the PCs to investigate. They fled Brasstooth 50 years ago in different directions, with his brother saying he was going to ask the elf "wizard" for help.
The town itself is not that interesting. It was not walled or fortified, just a sprawl around a crossroads and a marketplace. There is no Chaos Portal within the town, but plenty of monsters from Erkhart have wandered over here as the ruined capital is quite crowded.  
There seem to be two main camps - a band of ogres who have dominated a small tribe of hobgoblins, and wererats who have allied with both human chaos cultists and kobolds. The ogres and hobgoblins have taken over the surface buildings in the centre of town, including the desecrated church of Sestarna, the mayor's house and the town hall. The kobolds and wererats have taken over the sewers and cellars, and have been industrious in tunnelling under Brasstooth. The human cultists worship Pelepton and believe the wererats have been blessed by the treacherous deity.
 Beyond these two groups there are individual monsters and small clusters, including a lone owlbear that wanders the streets at night, several ghouls that seek to pick off careless humanoids and a single troll who the ogres are trying to persuade to join them. 

Sunday, 28 October 2012

An Overview Map of Kaelaross

This map shows the four Empires at their height, just as the Wars between the Empires broke out.
In the Northeast is Toutus, the yellow border showing the extent claimed (not necessarily controlled) by the empire. 
In the Northwest is Bursia with the red border
In the Southeast is Bellenos with the magenta pink border. 
In the Southwest is Telthus, which has not been described yet. I'm thinking about leaving this only outlined for anyone else to fill in. 
The areas already detailed in this blog (the Kingdom of Teiglin, the Godsblood Straits and Walrus Freehold) are in the boxed areas on the west coast of Toutus.
In the south of Bellenos there is the region that contains Tekhumis the Desert Port
As can be seen from the map, the Empires, though great, did not cover the whole of the surface of Kaelaross - large areas are unclaimed. Some of this is uninhabitable wilderness, others dominated by barbarian tribes and a few places there are small, independent realms that refused to be dominated by any of the four empires.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Dungeon of the Month October 2012

The Fungal Caverns
This is a short adventure using the B/X D&D or Labyrinth Lord rules, for characters of levels 4-6

This is a corner of the Underworld, relatively close to the surface. It benefits from several small aquifer springs that supply the pools on the map with a steady supply of water. This in turn allows numerous fungi to grow in the caverns (shown on the map as green dots), giving the caverns their own ecosystem.

The PCs may find themselves in the caverns for a variety of reasons: they got lost, they are curious or they have been sent there to collect samples of strange fungi not seen on the surface, or to look for a dwarven cleric who has been missing for quite a few months.

1) Empty

2) 8 cave locusts (also known as Subterranean Locusts in LL, hp 3, 10, 12, 10, 8. 7, 8, 10) feeding on a large patch of fungi. Anyone entering the patch of fungi will cause the locusts to panic, jumping about into the party and spitting at anything non-locust.
The patch of fungi includes several large goldencaps and cave clover.

3) 2 Tarantella spiders (hp 25, 20). Unlike some tarantellas, these specimens can climb on walls and ceilings with ease (90'). They will be encountered on the ceiling of this cave, among the stalactites. They will attack anything that looks vaguely like prey. Among the remains of partially devoured white apes and fire beetles there is a deceased dwarf wearing dirty but serviceable leather armour +2 and has a  non-magical silver and garnet ring worth 400gp and a silver and jade necklace worth 600gp. .

4) 7 white apes (also known as albino apes in LL, hp 9, 18, 31, 21, 22, 17, 17) browsing on the fungi, particularly goblincorn. There are also 4 young apes (hp 3, 4, 2) which are non-combatant. These apes are defensive and will only attack if they feel threatened. If the PCs enter the area but do not attack or approach too close the apes will hoot and grunt and the dominant male will beat his chest, but the apes won't attack first.

5) The Grand Cavern. This area has a high, vaulted ceiling with large stalactites and stalagmites. There are several sub-areas.
  5a) 3 gray oozes (hp 10, 7, 10) all lurk in this pool. Anyone either entering or touching the water will be attacked. The oozes have gradually digested all metal and organic matter of their prey, leaving just minerals. In this case these are 4 topazes (worth 800gp, 400gp, 300gp and 150gp), 3 rubies (worth 1600gp, 750gp and 500gp) and 2 aquamarines (worth 200gp and 150gp)
  5b) 1 giant python (hp 22) lives in this pool. It will ambush anyone approaching it except Meldrew the dwarf cleric.
  5c) 1 dwarf cleric, 4th level. Meldrew got lost in the underworld and has somehow wound up here. He would very much appreciate any help getting back to his clan (XP value could be for rescuing rather than killing him). Meldrew has spent at least a year underground, and has lost his mind a bit, though he has not lost his clerical spells. He has used the Speak with Animal spell on a wide variety of inanimate objects and ended up in prolonged conversations with stalactites and fungi. In actual fact he is on good terms with the white apes in area 4, and has persuaded the giant python that he is not edible.
Meldrew has constructed a crude hideout from the stalks of the larger fungi.
Meldrew: AC 8, Move 60' hp 20, THAC0 17, Att 1 warhammer for 1d8+1, Ml 10, Align Neutral, XP value 135xp
Str 10, Int 8, Wis 15, Dex 10, Con 13, Cha 10
Equipment: Warhammer +1, leather armour, wooden holy symbol, 14sp
Spells: Cure Light Wounds, Protection from Evil, Speak with Animal

6) The Long Cave. This cave, rather than having a proper ceiling, has the two walls sloping upwards to meet each other about 40' above the cave floor.
  6a) There are numerous types of mundane fungi at the northern end, including Goldencaps, Greenshrub and Goblincorn. However, there are some nasty surprises hidden in this patch, and only PCs who are looking for unusual fungi have a chance (Int check) to spot 2 shriekers (hp 15, 15) each covered in a patch of yellow mold (hp 4, 7). As per normal the shriekers will begin shrieking if they detect light or movement within 30ft. This will alert both the ochre jelly in area 6b (70% chance to investigate and attack), the adult owlbears in area 7 (50% chance to investigate and attack) and the white apes in area 4 (40% chance to investigate, but unlikely to attack). Any attack against the shriekers has a 50% chance per hit of causing the yellow mold to release its spores in a 10'x10'x10' cube.
  6b) 1 ochre jelly (hp 21) is on the wall of this corner. It will lash out and attack any animal or person that approaches.

7) This large cavern smells of guano and rotten meat. It has a high vaulted ceiling and there is a patch of luminous fungi (Cavern Puffballs and Magentastalks) that can mess up infravision. 2 adult owlbears (hp 18, 24) + 3 young owlbears (HD 2, half damage, no hug damage, hp 14, 4, 10). The adult owlbears will fight to the death, while the young ones will try to flee if the parents are slain. The owlbears here have created a nest out of bones, broken pieces of fungi and fur. Buried under the detritus is a sack of 4300gp and a single diamond worth 1500gp plus a Ring of Command Plants (which can conveniently also command fungi).

8) 2 carrion crawlers (also known as Carcass Scavengers in LL, hp 21, 14) are feasting on the remains of 4 white apes they have paralyzed and slain.

9) 1 Caecilian (also known as a Gray Worm in LL, hp 28) is lurking in the pool, waiting to ambush any approaching creature. It has resorted to eating fungi  (there are plenty in this cave) but it is eager for fresh meat. Inside its stomach are various gastroliths, including 13 gems worth 500gp, 500gp, 450gp, 400gp, 400gp, 350gp, 350gp, 300gp, 300gp, 250gp, 250gp, 200gp & 200gp.

10)  2 rhagodessas (hp 18, 20) are climbing along the walls and ceiling of this large cave, and they will attack anything vaguely edible.
  a) 6 giant fire beetles (hp 8, 10, 5, 10, 8, 5) are feeding on the cave clover and magentastalks that grow densely in the northern half of this cave. These fire beetles will not attack other creatures out of hand, they will only fight to defend themselves.

11) This cavern is littered with unusual rock formations, including what appear to be statues of an owlbear, two apes and two giant beetles. Poking out of the water is the statue of what seems to be a large crocodile with its jaws agape. Anyone aware that some monsters can turn enemies to stone can work out that these "statues" were once alive.
  a) This is a patch of different fungi species, including goldencaps, goblincorn and cave puffballs. Hiding among the fungi is 1 cockatrice (hp 19). It will try to wait until the PCs get in amongst the fungi so that it can get straight into melee where its deadly touch can be used. In one corner of the fungus patch, the cockatrice has made a nest in which it has stashed all its glittering baubles, including 520pp, 1400gp and 2600sp plus a Scroll of Protection against Undead.

Monster XP values & treasure totals
#2 304xp
#3 270xp, 1000gp
#4 560xp
#5a 240xp, 4850gp
#5b 350xp
#5c 135xp
#6a 206xp
#6b 500xp
#7 770xp, 5800gp
#8 270xp
#9 570xp, 4450gp
#10 430xp
#10a 90xp
#11a 350xp, 4260gp
Total= 5045xp, 19960gp

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Fungi of the Underworld

Fungi are the basic producers of food in the Underworld. All organic life that does not get food from the surface will get its food directly or indirectly from fungi. 
There are hundreds of types of fungi, each with its own role in the ecology of the underground. Similar to surface plants, fungi can occupy a range of environments, but generally speaking they flourish when they have both water and soil or fertilizer. Unlike surface plants, the fungi do not need sunlight. Some sages speculate that whereas surface plants draw energy to grow from sunlight, these fungi draw energy from the darkness - the darker it is, the better the fungi grow. 

Goldencap is a large, tough fungus that is inedible to humans but eaten by herbivores of the Underworld. When disturbed, it releases a cloud of spores like dust or flour which is irritating but not dangerous. 
Cavern Puffballs are often taller than a human. They are inedible to most creatures. but their ball on top of their ridged stalks will glow with a soft yellow light. This will interfere with infravision, but allows humans to see as if in candlelight or moonlight. Some races cultivate it as a form of communal lighting. Also there is a solid core in the heart of the stalk that, when dried and prepared, is similar in strength and weight to a wooden stick. This is very useful in making hafted weapons and tools and even furniture. 
Greenshrub looks superficially similar to surface plants and it can grow using sunlight as well as darkness. The caps are edible to humans and the whole fungus is edible to both Underworld and surface herbivores - mules and horses can be fed indefinitely on Greenshrub. 

Goblincorn grows easily and is eaten by goblins when meat is not available. Humans and demihumans find it bitter but just about edible. It also has a very useful property in that it absorbs bad gasses and releases fresh air. Other fungi may do this on a lesser basis, but it is quite noticeable with Goblincorn. 
Wormwort grows from ceilings and walls in a tentacle-like fashion. It is edible and tasty for humans and many other creatures but gathering it can be a challenge. Dwarves know how to use Wormwort in brewing their own ale when surface barley and hops are not available. 
Cave Clover is common fodder for herbivores. Its cap is split into three or four sections by deep clefts. It is quite hardy and can survive in drier caverns with less nutrients than other fungal species. It is often on the outskirts of fungal forests or in patches on its own. 
Magentastalk is inedible but when dried its tough fibrous stalk can be used to make a rough, hemp-like rope. It also glows with a pinkish light about the same intensity as candlelight or moonlight. 

Sunday, 14 October 2012

The Walruses of Walrus Channel

(Picture from Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977))

Name Walrus, Normal Walrus, Giant
No. Encountered 2d10 1d4
Alignment Unaligned Unaligned
Movement 30'/swim 120' 30'/swim 120'
Armour Class 7 5
Hit Dice 4+8 (26 hp) 10+20 (65 hp)
Attacks 1 tusk 1 tusk
THAC0 15 11
Damage 1d8 2d10
Save As F2 F5
Hoard Class Special (see below) Special (see below)
Size Medium Large
Type Animal Animal
Intelligence 1-2 (Animal)1-2 (Animal)
XP Value 140xp 1000xp
These animals are not normally aggressive towards humans. They are marine mammals similar to seals and sealions, and they feed on crustaceans that dwell on the rocks of shallow, cold seas such as the Walrus Channel. Normal walruses will try to escape into the sea if possible rather than fight, and will only pose a threat if cornered. Giant walruses are less easily scared, and if faced with just one or two humanoids, the walrus may well decide to defend itself. A family of three or four giant walruses can chase off even a polar bear.
Walruses have long tusks (up to 3' long in normal walruses, 6' long in giant walruses) which are used both to defend themselves and fight for mates and also dig holes in the pack ice so that they can breathe when the sea is frozen over. Unfortunately for the walruses, these tusks are good-quality ivory, and are sought after by humans and other intelligent hunters. Normal walrus ivory tusks are worth 1d4 x 50gp each while giant walrus tusks are worth 1d6 x 100gp each. This alone makes them worth hunting, but many hunters are also efficient enough to butcher the animals for their meat (as much as a cow or large pig) and hide (which can be tanned to make effective leather armour). As such they have become an important part of the economy of Walrus City.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

The Independent County of Iryanland

Iryanland is a region of Toutus on the west coast, immediately north of the Godsblood Straits, and several hundred miles south of the Walrus Freehold

During the latter stages of the Wars between the Empires, the Count of Iryanland proclaimed that he would no longer fight for the Emperor of Toutus and that Iryanland was neutral and independent. The county had already received a battering during the wars from invading enemies, but the count still had an honour guard of 200 troops, and using these he fended off Toutian, Bursian, Telthian and monstrous incursions. These honour guards were soon bolstered by deserters fed up with the war and other Toutians fleeing the Emperor's wrath. It came through after the Summoning weakened but intact, which was better than most of its neighbours and the Toutus Empire (which completely collapsed as a coherent entity).
The present count, Count Carnovon, is the great nephew of Count Barastin who proclaimed independence. His court advisors include two wizards, two clerics, two merchants and four generals.
Iryanland is relatively stable and peaceful. It has some problems with wild frontiers but is otherwise a safe, lawful place. Its economy of agriculture and trade supports 125,000 people and a standing army of 2000, including 2 regiments of 300 longbowmen each, a 400 strong heavy cavalry regiment 200 light cavalry and three regiments of heavy infantry.

Heriston, City of Cynics
Heriston was an important Toutian port city overrun by armies and then monsters and left for dead. It is amazing that it recovered, but this can be in part attributed to Iryanland's need for a usable sea port. The port flourished and proclaimed independence from Iryanland which was too busy defending its own borders to do much except protest. It is less safe than Iryanland and law enforcement is haphazard. The 60,000 strong population rely on fishing and external trade.
Heriston has acquired its unusual epithet because of its angry and ruthless attitude towards clerics. Worshipping gods is not allowed in Heriston, and clerics face the death penalty if caught preaching. 

The Border Baronies
These states were formed as the Count of Iryanland paid off restless mercenaries and shifted refugees by giving them licenses to settle and expand the borders with the rest of the Empire.
Like other borderlands, the baronies are not really cosmopolitan or under full control. The federation between the barons is a loose one and inter-baronial conflicts are common, as are monstrous raids.
The economy is based on sheep, cattle, furs and timber. The small population of 15,000 people are all trained with weapons of some sort and in times of great need a militia of 3000 can be raised.

The Clanhold of Duradin
The Duradin had suffered raids and losses from the wars when Iryanland declared its independence. The Thane of the Duradin Clan quickly followed suite, recalling any of its warriors it could contact. Iryanland and Duradin became allies and much of Duradin's food now comes from Iryanland. In return, Duradin shields Iryanland's eastern border from various incursions. Of its 18,000 inhabitants, about 6000 are warriors.

Trade between Duradin, Iryanland, Heriston and the Baronies is vigorous, with many dwarf-forged armour and weapons and dwarf-brewed ales traveling across the region to paying customers.

Astarril County
This realm collapsed during the Summoning. It was spread across the north coast of Mackerel Bay and Khorid Island. During the Summoning Khorid Island was shattered by a massive earthquake, that both leveled the main city of Mostor and also split the island into three smaller isles. Further north the city of Telverhain was invaded by monsters as a Chaos Portal opened up in the city. These chaotic monsters overran the County, and now it is against these monsters from Telverhain that the Border Barons stand guard.