Saturday, April 27, 2019

Book of the North - Map A: Encounter Key #1 - #12

Here are the static encounter location notes for my first of 9 overland maps in a set.  This set is for my Book of the North project, parts of which have appeared on this blog.  Map is at the end of this blog entry.  I recommend you save it and open it as an image so you can zoom in for use.

I only had time to add two of these encounters today (Saturday 04/27/19) but I will come back and add to this list as time permits.

For stats and such for these encounters I will be referencing the Advanced Labyrinth Lord rules but certainly they can be translated without many tweaks into Swords and Wizardry or OSRIC or the good old 1st Edition AD&D rules.

Static encounters are lairs and locations which are home base for monsters and NPC's which make an appearance in the rumors, legends and stories of this map.  I like to work on a smaller, more intimate scale in my adventure writing where the big world saving stories don't often come into the picture.  Instead most of these creatures and legends have to do with saving or helping the local villagers or investigating a local legend which probably wouldn't matter to someone from outside of this part of the world.

To make finding each numbered encounter area easier on my maps I have them set out in a grid with numbers running across the top and letters running down the side.  Because of this I can give you a grid coordinate after each encounter number to save you from having to hunt all over the map to find them.

1 (P2): Devil's Howe

Devil is the name given to a black alpha male wolf who leads the largest and most dangerous pack of wolves in this part of the countryside.  Devil and his pack take down cattle and sheep from farms and villages all throughout the territory of map A as far to the East as the Ogresmarch Hills and as far North as Grolbeak swamp.  Devil and his pack also raid into the Western areas of Map B which will be presented on this blog with details and notes in a week or two.

The Huscarl's or village leaders of Thorby, Weedle, Gallowsthorn, and Hotoft have all posted wanted posters offering 3 silver pieces for the pelt of any wolf and 1 gold for the pelt of any wolf with a solid black coat in the hopes that these bounties will encourage hunters and trappers to eliminate the problem.  Devil and his pack of wolves have survived to continue their raids and hunting for the last four years.  The attacks become especially bad during the winter months when the wolves will even try to take down lone or paired riders traveling along the Sodden Ride.

Devil's Howe is a tumbled pile of large granite boulders spilling along the top of a low ridge.  The Howe is just low enough to remain hidden by the surrounding light forest of pine, oak and birch.  It is important that the DM understand that nobody has traced the wolves back to the Howe at the present time.  The wolves are prone to taking long wandering routes over the countryside, taking days to hunt and spiral their way across the countryside before returning to the Howe.

Devil is a Worgrim Wolf.  This means that he is a mix breed, half mountain worg and half forest wolf of the breed that dwells in the shadows of the Whistling Death Forest.  Worgs are intelligent enough to be capable of the dark speech of the goblin folk.  Devil cannot speak but he is quite intelligent and extremely crafty in a wicked and wily manner.

Worgrim Wolf (Devil)
No. Enc.: 1
Alignment: Neutral (evil)
Movement: 180' (60')
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 3+1 (19 hp)
Attacks: 1 (bite)
Damage: 1d6+1 (Tackling)
Save: F1
Morale: 9
Hoard Class: None
XP: 100

Wolves, Worgs and Tackling.

Wolves and Worgs in my campaign all have a special attack called tackling.  Any time you have three or more wolves in melee combat with a target, any bite attack they land generates a tackle, where the wolf and its fellows work together to drag the target off their feet and onto the ground where they will be more vulnerable prey.  I treat this as a special ability which only activates when three or more wolves are engaged in melee attack against a single target.  Tackling forces a saving throw versus Breathe Weapon any time the target is struck with a bite attack.  If the target fails they are pulled off of their feet and are now prone.  Additional attacks by the wolves gain the benefit of attacking a prone target until the target manages to get back up on their feet.  I add +25 experience points to the wolves and worgs and worgrim (mixed half wolf / half worgs) in my campaign because of this ability.

Devil leads a large pack of wolves, it numbers 30 wolves strong plus Devil as alpha.  Devil's pack is so large that splinter patrols of the larger pack sometimes hunt in groups of six to nine members or scout an area for possible targets or threats.  This season there are 8 cubs being raised back at the Howe which are not counted in that number.

Pack Wolves
No. Enc.: 6 to 30
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 180' (60')
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 2+2
Attacks: 1 (bite)
Damage: 1d6 (Tackling)
Save: F1
Morale: 8
Hoard Class: None
XP: 60*
*Raised by 25 xp above the normal because of the added tackling special attack I have added to the wolves and worgs in my campaign.

2 (S19): Willy Boy and Rodger the Ogre's lair.

Willy Boy and Rodger are a smarter than average pair of brutes who dwell up in the Ogresmarch Hills to the East of the large village of Bolgrad.  Even the average Ogres who usually range as isolated bachelors up and down the Ogresmarch give this pair a wide birth.  They are bigger than most, crueler than most and more ruthless.

Willy Boy and Rodger fashion themselves to be brigands.  They have grown fond of gold and silver, casks of ale, mead and beer when they can get them and the flesh of horses.  They will eat men but prefer dwarves and small folk who they consider to be more suitable for pies.

Willy Boy and Rodger range from their lair Westward, especially around the tumbled down tower of the old Asmorgar ruins just Southeast of Bolgrad.  Sometimes, after dark, they will haunt the country within view of the road leading North from Bolgrad towards the Sodden Ride and sometimes they will haunt the trails near Lantha's Steading and the Giant's Crown Inn.  They never venture so close to the trails and roads during the day and always well after the darker hours of night have fallen, sniffing about for someone still on the trail or encamped away where they can be attacked and robbed.

The Ogres can be bribed if one has with them a cask of wine or good drink and they and their party look a little stronger than the easy sort of pickings the Ogres feel comfortable taking down without concern.  In those cases the Ogres may accept the drink as payment and let the travelers go on their way or if they are polite and good talkers they may trade back and forth with them what things they have observed in exchange for news from the surrounding lands.

Treat Willy Boy and Rodger as individual NPC characters built using the Ogre monster stats as a guide, somewhat modified.

Willy Boy

No. Enc: 1 of 2
Alignment: Chaotic (evil)
Movement: 90' (30')
Armor Class: 4
Hit Dice: 4+1 (30 hp)
Attacks: 1 (Great Sword)
Damage: 1d10
Save: F4
Morale: 9
Hoard Class: XX + 1,000 gp
XP: 150

Willy Boy is sufficiently intelligent to have armed himself and learned to wield a great sword, taken from one of his victims.  He uses this weapon one handed.  He has improved the Ogres usual armor coverings of hides and rags with a patchwork breastplate made from different human pieces of plate armor hammered flat and cobbled together with rope and crude welding.  He wears a large floppy hat made of hide with a broad brim.  Willy Boy keeps a long wicked curved knife made from a hammered and bent sword strapped to his thigh.   In the field he carries 200 gold in a sack on his hip and another sack for food.  Both ogres carry large sacks of canvas rolled on their belts which they can fill with an impressive amount of loot and gear, bodies and dead beasts to haul back to their lair.  Willy Boy is somewhat more cautious than other Ogres, dropping his morale score to a 9.


No. Enc: 1 of 2
Alignment: Chaotic (evil)
Movement: 90' (30')
Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 4+1 (32 hp)
Attacks: 1 (Club)
Damage: 1d10+2
Save: F4
Morale: 10
Hoard Class: XX + 1,000 gp
XP: 175

Rodger is somewhat larger and more muscular than even most Ogres and he stands a foot taller than Willy Boy, and considerably more ponderous in the stomach.  Rodger is frequently hungry and is more likely of the pair to want to ambush and come to blows with a party of characters because he is hungry and wants to eat someone or something.  He savors horse flesh over most other foods and he can sometimes be bribed off by offering him one of the character's mounts for dinner.  Rodger wears a long pointed red cap and has filed some of his Ogre teeth to points.  He is stupider than Willy Boy but strangely is more interested in riddles and stories and tales of what is happening in the world outside of their usual territory.  In the field he carries 250 gold in a sack on his hip, which he may drop during a retreat to use as a bribe to convince party members in pursuit to give up the chase and leave him for another day.

Willy Boy and Rodger lair together in a broad but fairly shallow cave concealed within a thick stand of trees in an area of Light Woods just to the East of the Silent Pool, a lake found within the Northern Ogresmarch.

Within this lair they have 3 chests, a dozen empty casks and barrels along with three other casks which still hold varying quantities of wine and mead, several piles of useless pieces of armor and weapons, bent and crushed in Willy Boy's attempts to fashion them into various things.  An old anvil.  A large two handed sledge hammer.  126 gold, 43 silver and 970 copper pieces which are just loose and kicked around all throughout the dirty interior floor of the cave.  There is a large fire pit with a spit for roasting and a nearby cage fashioned cleverly from hammered pieces of metal armor and weapons into solid bars and a roof for the thing.

The contents of the 3 chests I leave to you, the referee of your own campaign to stock with whatever loot seems most appropriate for your party and adventuring style.  At least one of the chests is trapped with a simple length of rope set up as a place to trip a person and bring down a pile of precariously stacked nearby boulders onto their person.  The boulder trap would inflict 3d6 damage on whoever is caught by it but it is a crude trap and easier than most to spot (+15% to find the trap if one of the characters has the skill and searches for traps.)

3 (P13): The Asmorgar Ruins

The Kingdom of Asmorgar once ruled over most of the combined lands of what are now the Kingdoms of Ostvick and Hraedir.  Asmorgar was ruled by a foreign sorcerer, a Necromaster from the distant Eastern lands of the Necrogarchy of Leng.  The evil kingdom of Asmorgar crumbled centuries ago but ruins of the place can still be found scattered across the landscape of Hraedir Warhold and Ostvick.

This ruin is centered around the partially collapsed remains of a square tower which rises out of the surrounding trees like a dark warning on the Eastern shore of Bodkin Lake.  Little is left of the original fort which once stood here apart from some piles of cracked stone and the remaining four stories of the tower.  The whole place is open to the weather and overgrown with weeds and creeping vines.

Immediately to the East of the ruins is a tree topped barrow where the remains of the evil Captain which once commanded this fort in its last days are interred.

Note:  My April 22, 2019 blog entry entitled, "The Asmorgar Barrow" provides the contents of the barrow as a mini-dungeon adventure complete with map.

4 (O12): The Cave of "The Mother"

The nearby town of Bolgrad is constructed on top of a tall mesa which rises a hundred feet above the surrounding plain.  The mesa provides the guard towers of Bolgrad with a commanding view of the entire area.  Bolgrad was said to have grown up around a shrine to the Northern god of heroes, Balder.  It is said that the shrine was put there by the nearly mythical hero Frordrin, who confronted and defeated the evil goddess Aglaeca, binding her in magical mithril chains provided to him and his men by the dwarves of old.

The shrine of Balder has always been tended by a dedicated Cleric, responsible for its protection and upkeep.  Assignment to this particular shrine is a high honor and usually the Clerics assigned here are proven defenders of the common people and heroes in their own right, perhaps between levels five and nine who are nearing the end of their active adventuring careers.

The Cleric of Balder has long been responsible for the shrine, the low hill atop the mesa where the statue of Balder stands and a small warren of natural caves which begin up in the hill, right in the heart of the town proper and which extend down through the mesa itself and even deeper still.  The highest levels of the caves starting up at the shrine have been used by the Clerics as a burial place for every Cleric who has served at the shrine over the centuries and later for the townsfolk who died and needed burial in the growing town of Bolgrad.

The Cave of the Mother is a large and ominous entrance into that same complex of caverns which fills the Mesa and extends further underground.  It is believed that long, long ago when the Warholds of the Northmen were new in this country that a Northern hero entered this very cave along with a dozen of his sworn men.  Down into the darkness they went in search of treasure and adventure and they stumbled upon the dark hole into which the weeping, betrayed goddess of the Elves, Aglaeca had fled after she had been cursed and betrayed into turning her own Father, the Elven God of Magic to stone.

Up until that time Aglaeca had evolved from a more or less minor Elven goddess who was the shy and perhaps to innocent daughter of the Elven God of Magic; into a brooding, wounded, angry being who plotted revenge against the consort of the Elven Sun God whose curse had brought her to this low state.  Aglaeca might have been content hiding herself below ground in these very caves for all eternity, using her power to create little creations, things of slime and jelly which stuck to the shadows, if it had not been for the party of men who intruded into her lair.  The Northmen killed her small creations and set upon the goddess with fire and flashing axes and swords.

Up, up, up, grew the goddess whose curse had turned her into a terrible gorgon and with each great snap of her jaws she cracked breastplate and bone, biting men in half and growing ever more gigantic as she killed every last one of them.

Out of the cave issued forth Aglaeca.  Naked.  Deformed.  Cursed.  Horrible.  For ages she had brooded over the betrayals of the Elves and how she might best visit revenge upon them, but now these new beings assailed her, daring to slaughter her innocent children and violate her comfortable lair with the flicker red flame of the Elven God of the Sun.  She was determined to visit her wrath upon this race of men.  Out into the surrounding countryside she strode and within the stroke of a year and a winter she emptied all of the eastern Kingdoms of the Northmen of living people, all the way from the Warfang River Eastward to where the snow blind white wastelands of the Wintersmark began.

It is said that Aglaeca strode across the land as a gigantic horrifying hag with black talons sharp as spears and teeth as strong as swords.  She heaped the dead, men, women, children in piles as tall as houses in all of the villages and strongholds of the East until all were dead or fled and the entire landscape was as silent as an empty grave.

For nearly a century Aglaeca was in command of the entire Eastern landscape of the Warholds of the North.  In those days she began to use her powers to make the Trolls and Ogres and other terrible monsters of war which all were born with her deep hate of men and even deeper hatred for the elves.

It was the Northman hero Frordrin and his host of heroes which rose up and went forth to challenge Aglaeca and who finally defeated her, binding her in chains of mithril and hauling her over the ice and snow to the summit of a great obsidian volcano.  There Frordrin and his men toppled the goddess in, still chained to the gigantic sled upon which they had been forced to drag her gigantic body.  There, far off many miles from this place she is believed to remain to this day.  Aglaeca, the Mother of Monsters.

The Goddess Aglaeca and her story can be read on my old google site whose link is featured below.
World of Chimera - Gods, Goddesses and Powers

This section of the Caves of the Mother deserve their own map(s) and dungeon descriptions and encounters.  I have already detailed out the shrine, village of Bolgrad and the caves used for burials up on the mesa.  The most upper sections of the caves have been protected and used for burials for so long that they represent a different flavor from the more arcane and dangerous areas of the caves which begin here.  I will detail out another entire entry to the blog that focuses just on the Caves of the Mother, which if given their full name from the lore of the Northmen would be something like, The Caves where Aglaeca, the Mother of all Monsters was found.

5 (T14): Bonesplitter Warren (Pig Faced Orcs)

This location is the lair of the Bonesplitter Orcs.  They dwell here in an underground warren built within the shafts and caverns of an abandoned dwarven gold mine.  The gold mine played out a hundred and twenty years ago and the outpost of dwarves who quietly settled here in the hills, explored the cave, discovered gold and constructed their mine shafts and quarters here has long ago moved on to other adventures.

(Art by JE Shields)

The Bonesplitter Orcs discovered the abandoned mine forty years ago and they have inhabited it ever since.  They are of the common Hill Orc variety, not to be confused with the larger and more dangerous Mountain Orcs of the Goblinspite Mountains, farther off to the South.

Hill Orcs (Pig Faced)
No. Enc.:                  Hunting Party 2d12
                                 Raiding Party 4d12
                                 War Band 10d10
                                 Warren 15d10
Armor Class: 6
Move: 120' (40') Ground
Hit Dice: Typically 1 HD
Bonesplitter Orcs: 4 Hit Points + 1d6= Total HP
Treasure: Individuals carry a small amount of treasure.  1d6 Gold, 1d10 Silver and 1d12 Copper.  Warrens sometimes contain significant treasures, usually well-guarded somewhere near the quarters of the clan’s chieftain.
No. of Attacks: 1
Damage of Attacks: 1d6 (Weapon)
Save: F1
Morale: 8
Hoard Class: XIX
XP: 25 Each

Hill Orcs are the most common variety of these creatures encountered throughout Chimera and this is true in the lands of the North as well.  They should not be confused with the considerably more dangerous Mountain Orcs with their shorter snouts and larger and more muscular frames.

Hill Orcs were brought through the capture plane traveling teleportation gates of the High Elves when they were taken over by the Ancient Gods of Chaos.  Hill Orcs and Men were the humanoid thralls of the Gods of Chaos and they boiled through the gates of the Elves in vast numbers.  Huge swaths of these creatures were slaughtered in the war which followed and the Hill Orcs and Men living in the world today are the long distant descendants of those that escaped. 

It is possible, but it has never been proven, that Mountain Orcs are some experimental merging of the Hill Orc and Humans into a third race of warrior creation.  This merging must have occurred thousands upon thousands of years ago when the great war between the Elves and Chaos was in full sway.

The Hill Orcs of the North organize their communities in Warrens.  Orc warrens are tunnels and caverns either naturally formed or dug out of the ground in permanent mines.  Once a warren is established it will slowly expand and grow over the lifetime of the clan settled there.  The warren will remain until the Orcs dwelling within it suffer significant enough casualties to force them to move elsewhere, usually this means a loss of at least 80 to 100 members.

Individual tribes of Orcs are independent and suspicious of other tribes.  Despite being organized into a militaristic society where the strongest rule the weak, Orcs do not cooperate well together and Orc troops from two different tribes are just as likely to fall into fighting among themselves than to attack a common enemy.

Hill Orcs are most often encountered within 30 to 40 miles of their warren.  Human magic-users of an evil nature have been known to manipulate the chieftain of a particular tribe in order to gain the service of its clan as mercenary fodder.  Fortunately the Orcs inability to cooperate with other tribes limits the practical application of this to a single group at any given time.

An Orc chief is always a warrior in his or her prime with the maximum possible hit points for the creature (10 hp).  Orcs regularly squabble over who is strongest and changes in leadership are shockingly frequent to outsiders.  At any give point the clan has a 40% chance of having a new Chief, making control of a tribe through its leader even more complex.  If the clan is in possession of any magical weapons, armor or shields the clan Chieftain will -always- be wearing and using as many of these as possible.

Orcs can learn priestly magic but never beyond the first level.  First level Orc priests worship a shrine to whatever Chaos god the tribe traditionally follows.  In a large warren of 100 or more Orcs there may be up to a dozen such priests.  With only a single clerical spell each these will focus more on spells meant to hinder an enemy than healing spells, which can be gained later after the fighting is over to heal any important Orc survivors.  Any Orc cleric will have on hand one of the following spells (roll 1d4 to determine) 1. Command 2. Protection from Good 3. Fear, Cause Light Wounds.  Orc priests usually stay behind in the Warren and are used to protect the Warren, the Throne Room and the Treasury.

Both male and female Hill orcs fight as warriors and telling the two apart can be difficult, except for another Hill Orc.  Hill Orc females who have recently given birth to an infant, called a runt, will stay in the Warren and take care of the young for up to six months before returning to their usual duties.  Six month old runts are called pups.  Pups are responsible for simple work inside of the Warren until they reach the age of 18 months, when they are considered a young adult, ready to fight with the rest of the tribe.  The short period required from birth to fighting as an adult is largely responsible for Hill Orc tribes being able to replenish their numbers after only a few years, even after great disasters befall the clan.

The Bonesplitter Orcs are currently led by their Chieftain Nozkar Ironhand.  Nozkar wears scale mail armor and carries a Northman round shield, reducing his AC to a 5.  On his right hand he wears an impressive plate mail gauntlet, which he found partially buried and forgotten within the mine.  This item was made by the dwarves and it is slightly magical in that it provides a +1 bonus to attack rolls and damage rolls against orcs and goblins and such creatures.  This bonus has served Nozkar well since it has given him a decided edge in maintaining his hold over the orcs in his own tribe.  Hanging from his belt is a Light Pick, another relic from the mine which is not magical but which he can swing for a +1 bonus to melee attack and damage rolls because of his Strength score, which is 15.

There are 125 orc warriors within the Bonesplitter warren.  This does not count pups, mothers raising their pups or any injured or elderly Orcs (which are rare) dwelling in the mine.  

The Bonesplitter Orcs are served by ten priests of the Rag Man, a strange Chaos God who seems more like a monstrous beast than an intelligent immortal.  The Rag Man occasionally stalks the cities of mortal men, hunting beggars and others who dwell in the back alleys and fringe of mortal society.  As usual the shrine set up to the Rag Man within the throne room of Nozkar Ironhand grants only a single first level clerical spell to each of the clan's ten priests.  The priests use their magic to protect the throne room and the attached treasure chamber and act as a sort of bodyguard for Nozkar.  Nozkar keeps on his belt the two magical potions which are part of the tribe's treasure horde.  These are a potion of fire resistance and a potion of human control.

The Orc's treasure chamber contains 1,240 copper, 1,450 silver, 2,940 gold all piled in a loose heap upon which Nozkar Ironhand sometimes enjoys taking a "treasure bath" which he feels enhances his good fortunes in difficult challenges or combats.

Nozkar does not trust his orcs to behave themselves and remain loyal should he leave the mine for more than a few hours.  He feels he must stay close to the treasure horde or one of his minions will make off with it, which is probably true.  Because of this large organized attacks by the tribe are unlikely because Nozkar will want to keep the bulk of his warriors close to the mine so that they can defend it from wandering Ogres or monsters or even attacks by humans.  Nozkar does sometimes dispatch a raiding party of his Orcs into the lands of the humans but their goals are mostly to capture cattle or sheep to bring back to the lair for feasting.  Nozkar is smart enough not to stir up the wrath of the human King, who he knows to be dangerous and well supplied with superior warriors compared to his own.  

6 (P19): Bachelor Griffon (Old Crooked Beak)

Up atop a tall outcrop of granite boulders is the nest of the bachelor griffin known as Old Crooked Beak.  Crooked Beak is something of a fixture along the Eastern border of the Kingdom of Ostvick.  He is old, having been known to nest in these parts for at least the last sixty years.  He griffon ranges back and forth and up and down along the length of the Warfang River, hunting deer and other native animals.  Like all griffons he has a fondness for horse flesh and will sometimes attack a wagon or lone rider along some trail or road.  In those instances he is more interested in flying off with a big chunk of the horse for a special treat than killing the rider although he won't hesitate to kill men when he gets close to them.

Old Crooked Beak
No. Enc.: 1
Alignment: Neutral
Movement 120' (40')
Fly 360' (120')
Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 7 (43 hp)
Attacks: 3 (2 claws, 1 bite)
Damage: 1d4/1d4/2d8
Save: F4
Morale: 8
Hoard Class: Limited
XP: 440

Griffons are merely beasts in my campaign world.  Crooked Beak has no treasure to speak of because men, dwarves and elves are not his usual food and if he did kill and eat one he would never carry it back to his nest because he would find the scent of one of his natural enemies offensive to have right where he sleeps.  Old Crooked Beak's nest is surrounded by heaps of animal bones and skulls at least a quarter of which are the bones and skulls of horses and cattle.

King Gudbrand is known to have a standing reward for anyone who brings the head of the griffon to the Huscarl in charge of the village of Bolgrad or any other large village, or to the main Warhold.  This reward stands at 300 gold, which is a handsome sum here in the North.  Despite this nobody has gone hunting for the griffon for ages and ages, mainly because of the size and horrible danger presented by such a creature.  That and the fact that it is known to lair somewhere up in the Ogresmarch which is one of the most dangerous wild places in the entire Kingdom.

7 (S2): The Willow Woman

This area of light woods is the lair of the Willow Woman.  This entity is a more or less benevolent or at least neutral being, sometimes sought after by the people of the village of Weedle, the village of Algridt or even folk from in and around Ostvick Warhold.  It is known that small offerings left at the foot of the trees in this area and prayed aloud over can sometimes gain an appearance of the Willow Woman who may offer up wise advice or recommend an herbal remedy for some ailment.

The Willow Woman is Hatheir the Dryad.  She has dwelt within this area of light woods for more than three hundred years and the simple villagers have come to regard her as something akin to a lesser immortal although she will deny this claim if asked.  In more recent times Hatheir has become less willing to appear to the villagers.  The region has become more dangerous and violent and so Hatheir has responded accordingly.  She never charms men or children who wander into her part of the woods but has, on rare occasions, charmed beautiful women to be her consorts, leading them into her tree never to be heard from again.

Hatheir the Dryad
No. Enc: 1
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 2 (14 hp)
Attacks: Charm
Damage: Spell Effect
Save: F4
Morale: 6
Hoard Class: XIX
XP: 29

Buried beneath the roots of her tree is the following treasure.  320 copper, 210 silver, 240 gold, 14 gems worth x2 = 50 gp, x6 = 40 gp, x3 = 20 gp, x2 = 10 gp and 1 = 100 gp.  Javelin of Lightning, Flask of Curses, Potion of Longevity.

8 (K1): Owl bear Lair

Therus Thord, the fifty year old farmer who lives alone at Thord Steading, spotted the beasts prowling around the Western border of his fields a few weeks ago.  Fortunately they have not yet decided to press their efforts to get past the old palisade wall surrounding the steading to come after Therus and his dogs and his flock of wool laden Northern sheep.  Therus has been to cautious to go investigating the true nature of the beasts.  All he knows is that they keep to where the stands of tree are thicker and shamble about like bears, but they are not bears.

Owl Bear (2)
No. Enc.: 2
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 5 (28 hp and 32 hp)
Attacks: 3 (2 claw and 1 bite)
Damage: 1d8/1d8/1d8
Save: F3
Morale: 9
Hoard Class: XX
XP: 350 xp each

The owl bears have but recently wandered up into this area.  They have loitered here because they are interested in Therus Thord's sheep (for eating).  Because they have not dwelt in this area for long they have not established a place where the treasures of their victims have gathered.  Owl Bears are barely intelligent beings and are not attracted to gold, gems or magic items on their own.  When they lair in a location for a long time, sometimes the belongings of those which have died in those area accumulate, scattered about the forest floor or cave where they dwell.

9 (J4) Ulf's Farm

This is the home of Ulf Frostblade, a farmer whose skills as a Fighter are somewhat renown among his neighbors.

Any heroes passing through the villages of Thorby, Hotoft or Bolgrad may hear rumors about Ulf Frostblade.  For years, Ulf was just one of the farmers who chose to live on his own isolated land, North of the Soddenride.  He was tall, powerful in build and handy in a fight.  Nobody really knows what inspired him to go searching around Grolbeak swamp but one afternoon, about three years past he walks right into the Yawning Giant Inn in the village of Hotoft and declares that he’s found himself a fortune.  He shows off a collection of valuable glowing gems, the sort which the elves used  as coins long, long ago and a magical elven blade, the likes of which had never been seen before around these parts.

“There’s more in there, I’m sure…much more.”

After that, not much was seen of Ulf although his neighbors reported him coming and going from the nearby swamp, that horrible stinking and dangerous place.  Back and forth he’d go and becoming more dark and secretive in his mannerisms all the time.

Finally, about six months after he’d announced his big find he vanished altogether.  Left his farm and all of his animals just like that.  Neighbors went through his place but only found a few of those elven gems and no sign of any greater treasure, no sign of Ulf or his elven sword.  People in these parts figure he stuck his big Northern nose into something he shouldn’t have and that was the end of him.

Nobody goes to the Grolbeak swamp if they can avoid it and most folk don’t have any reason to go there.  There’s no game, no fish, nothing worth anything in that stinking muddy pit of filth.
Sometimes sheep or cattle will get out and wind up there in the muck and farmers that track their beasts and find them trapped in the swamp just leave them there, cause it’s not worth going in after them.

It’s possible that a neighbor of Ulf’s, like old Therus Thord, might offer to hire the characters to go into the swamp to see if they could find out what happened to him.  It’s not all that big of a place after all.  Certainly someone should at least make an effort to go in and find the man.  The neighbor will offer to pay the characters 25 gold pieces per day for their efforts, up to a total of 100 gold.  This is a tidy sum to be offering and the neighbor will explain that the gold they are offering is part of what they received in trade for the elven gems, which are known to be fairly valuable, even magical.  You might have the neighbor go along and maintain a base camp for the party at the edge of the swamp, up on one of the surrounding cliffs where they can watch their progress, and make sure that they aren’t being ripped off.

Description:  Ulf's farm is a single humble cottage with a roof of thatch and a single chimney.  The walls are of daub and attached to one end of the cottage is an animal shed of a size which might fit a few pigs, sheep and perhaps a cow or horse.  The fields surrounding the farm are modest and becoming overrun with weeds.  The remaining interior of Ulf's house is spartan, unusually spartan, for after his disappearance his neighbors came over to haul away what furniture, tools and goods seemed valuable.  Ulf's farm animals too have been collected by his neighbors.  Mounted on a rack fixed into the stones of the fireplace is an old Northman style broadsword.  This weapon is well made but is not magical.  It belonged to Ulf's Father and the neighbors felt it might anger Ulf's ghost or the ghost of his ancestors if they removed it.  It has been left here, awaiting a time when Ulf's remains can be found so that it might be buried with him.

10 (L10): Huge Bald Faced Hornet Nest

Half concealed inside of a large fallen and rotted tree is a huge bald faced hornet nest.  The nest won't disturb you unless you wander close.  Characters randomly traveling through this mile of mostly tall grass and wild flowers have a 40% chance of walking near enough to the fallen giant tree to spot it.

Hunters and a few villages have been badly stung over the last couple of years and just two months ago a child died from being stung so badly.  The Huscarl in charge of the village of Gallowsthorn has posted a notice and is offering 25 gold pieces to anyone willing to go out into the field to destroy the nest.  Pieces of the destroyed nest (without hornets) are required to be turned in to collect the bounty.

Insect Swarm (Bald Hornets)
No. Enc: 1 swarm
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: Fly 60'  (20')
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 4 (23 HP)
Attacks: 1
Damage: 2 Hit Points (Stinging)
Save: 0 level Human
Morale: 11
Hoard Class: None
XP: 135 xp.

11. (H19) Keetha the Ranger

Keetha has her semi-permanent camp in this location, hidden away with some trees near the Warfang River.  Keetha is an introvert.  She enjoys her time alone, hunting or fishing up and down along shore of the river and the woods nearby.  Occasionally farmers from the nearby villages will seek her out for aid in tracking down dangerous beasts.  She tries to aid the villages when she can but she will not agree to a mission which seems foolhardy.

Keetha the Ranger (6th Level)
Half - Elf

Strength  14  +1
Dexterity 16 -2 AC +2 Missile +1 Initiative
Constitution 13 +1 HP
Intelligence 10
Wisdom 15 +1 Saves
Charisma 11

HPs 34
AC 5 Studded Leather Armor with -2 AC adjustment for Dex

Sword, Bastard 1d8/2d4
Longbow with 20 arrows in quiver 1d8
Daggers x2 1d4

60' Infravision, Detect Secret Doors 1-2 on 1d6, +4 save vs. ghouls

Languages: Neutral, Common, Elvish, Gnoll, Hobgoblin and Orc

+1 damage vs. goblinoids and giants
Surprised 1 on 1d6

12 (H15) Lantha's Steading

A steading is a small fortified collection of cottages, perhaps a barn and a few animal pens contained within a protective wall.  The wall can be anything from a low stone wall, just four feet tall to rail and picket style protective fencing where the pickets are crossed poles set into turf with sharpened ends to discourage charges by mounted creatures to full scale wooden palisades.

Lantha's Steading is like most of the other farm steadings in the Kingdom of Ostvick accept that this is a community of the Halfling folk.

Halfling folk are more rare to the North of the Goblinspite mountains but their kind are not completely unknown.  When they are encountered in these colder and often less kind landscapes they are usually found together where they can watch after and protect their kin.

Because it is a steading of the Halfling folk, white it maintains roughly the same physical size and perimeter as any other such community it has a greater concentration of buildings, each small two or even three story house piled very nearly one on top of the other.  All of the structures are built around a central square which doubles as a little market during the warmer months. 

Where perhaps twenty to thirty men might live in a steading the Halflings have nearly a hundred souls dwelling here.  The extra labor has allowed them to construct a very strong wooden palisade, reinforced in some spots with stone walls and perimeter watch towers.  At least a dozen Halflings well armed with slings or bows stand watch around the wall and towers, day or night, making it one of the most well protected and indeed one of the safest steadings in Ostvick.

Like the other steadings the Halflings venture out into verdant and abundant surrounding farm fields and pastures during the daylight hours, returning for the most part behind the safety of their walls at twilight.  As a rule, an hour after sunset the gates into the steading are barred and no one is allowed in from the outside until the morning.

Men can pass the gate provided they secure their weapons at a small stone block house next to it.  The block house serves as a lock up for any drunken rowdy types or trouble makers.  Patrols of the King's Sworn Men are allowed into the steading fully armed as the community considers itself to be loyal subjects of the King of Ostvick and not prone to stirring up trouble.

Halflings, Gnomes, Dwarves, Elves and Half-Elves can all receive an easier welcome in Lantha's Steading than they might receive in some of the other communities.  Ostvick is primarily and largely a human Kingdom and the members of the other races tend to be uncommon within its borders.

Because it is more of a small Halfling village, Lantha's Steading has its own Halfling Pub - The Rook and Archer, where good drinks, better food and friendly company can almost always be found.  The owner of the Rook and Archer, Tubsin Burrowfoot keeps a room built for man sized folk as the second story of his own small house right up against the back side of the pub.  The room is reached up its own stair and has its own narrow but comfortable and sheltered porch for sitting and smoking a pipe of an evening.

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