Tuesday, September 28, 2010

On Western Venatia - Part Four

Six more encounters from Western Venatia.

Part One | Part Two | Part Three

0432. The river here meets strong, ancient rocks and divides into hundreds of little waterfalls, playful streams and pleasant pools before re-combining into the river that flows into [0333]. Ample evidence around these pools suggests that the area was once visited often by the ancient elves and gnomes – wooden gazebos so delicately carved that they could only have come from a fey hand, discarded goblets, tattered scarves of spider silk, etc. The area is now infested by giant water wasps, who perhaps caused the olden folk to quit the area in the first place. Encounters with water wasps occur with groups of 1d6 insects on a roll of 1-4 on 1d6.

| Giant Wasp: HD 4; AC 4 [15]; Atk 1 sting (1d4 + poison), bite (1d6); Move 1 (Swim 12, Fly 20); Save 13; CL/XP 6/400; Special: Paralyzing poison, larvae.

0433. Seaxel is a small farming village on the banks of the river. Its sister village and rival, Nimroth, is on the other bank in [0434]. The Seaxels and Nimroths are descended from the serfs who served the elven families of the same names, families that despised one another and competed in all things for the attention of the Emperor Finrix. Whether hunting, racing, poetry or war, the Seaxels and Nimroths were always out to best one another. The lords of the manors, who only took residence in them when the Emperor was summering in Amvianda, accompanied Finrix to his war in the west and were never heard from again. With the emperor gone and the great families gradually dispossessed, the serfs eventually came to rule them-selves, putting decisions to a vote or following the wise counsel of one or another elder. But even though they were rid of their masters, the old enmity has gone on unabated. The Seaxels raise gourds, grapes and fields of barley. The 15 soldiers of the village dress in old-fashioned mail hauberks and carry the tall, Norman-style shields of the old elven legions. They arm themselves with spears and thick daggers.

0439. Nimroth is a small village of woodsmen, lusty rascals with a mean streak when gold and silver are up for grabs. They loath the people of Seaxel (see 0433 above). Nimroth’s warriors wear leather armor and carry long bows and battle axes. They have the services of a healing woman called Hallya, a freckled woman of thirty-three summers.

0502. A misplaced foot might send a character (1 in 6 chance) through a 20-ft deep hole into ancient elfen catacombs. The catacombs are crudely fashioned, and in fact any dwarf will declare them to be the work of goblins, the usage by elfs coming sometime after they were first dug. Within the maze-like catacombs are dozens of bricked up alcoves containing the remains of elf and human legionnaires from Nomo. While three of the alcoves contain but a single elf corpse, the others are stacked high with human skulls. Apparently, the catacombs were a goblin redoubt taken with much loss of life. The three elf burials are as follows:

Walgirth, an elf baronet interred with his family armor (mail hauberk, winged nasal helm, Norman-style shield) and his long sword (+1 weapon, growls in the presence of goblins and forces the owner to pass a saving throw in the presence of goblins, hobgoblins and bugbears or attack until he or the goblins all lie dead). Walgirth’s alcove is trapped with a flurry of darts (2d6 damage, save for half).

Inidubrid, a warrior-maiden (possibly a paladin) interred in her gleaming plate armor (un-rusted) and her crescent shield bearing intertwined doves. Her spear is a +2 weapon and is lodged through her rib cage and can only be drawn from the stone by a chivalrous character. The spear is haunted by her spirit, and will scold the bearer of the spear with electrical shocks (1d6 damage) when they behave un-chivalrously. Despoilers of this tomb will be marked for destruction by servants of Law until they make penance at the temple of a high priest of Law.

Galaddus, captain of archers. Galaddus was a drinking man in life, and in death he still holds court with a dozen shades of his former comrades. Galaddus’ mouldering corpse, still wearing the remains of his ring armor, his yew longbow close at hand, sits atop a barrel of spirits, shadows flitting about him, their umbral goblets raised to receive a splash of “the wine of ages” from a dusty bottle. Visitors are invited to have a drink, or chased away if troublesome.

0531. The burnt remnants of a stockade lie here, about one mile east of the river. Broken hobgoblin arrows are plentiful, but not a single body remains in the place. The walls of the stockade are in good enough shape that, if the gate is repaired, it can provide a fairly safe camp.

0539. A tiny cave overlooking the river serves as the sepulcher of a small gnome child, perhaps a prince. The cave is natural save for a single circle on one wall that has been ground smooth and painted with loving portrait of the large-eyed child. A small, soapstone altar rests beneath this portrait, covered by the stubs of candles and dried flowers. There is no treasure here, and the body is well buried, but the sepulcher remains a holy spot and a refuge from evil. Characters of a wicked bent find themselves unwilling to enter into the place without first throwing themselves to their knees and shedding a tear of remorse.

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