Monday, November 15, 2010

On Western Venatia - Part Fourteen

Still moving ahead with Western Venatia and NOD #6.


0518. A large village occupies the southern shore of Lake Krusk. The village is collection of longhouses constructed of stone taken from the surrounding cliffs, which happen to be made of travertine. Despite the simplicity of the occupants, each house is worth a good sum if one were able to carry the stone away through the winding, evil valleys of the Klarkash Mts to a lowland market.

The people of the village, Zamat-on-Krusk, are humans, but with more than a little hobgoblin blood flowing through their veins. They have orange-red skin, protruding jaws and stiff, black hair with the consistency of straw. Born mostly of slave-stock, they are fiercely independent folk and prone to react violently to provocation.

While the main industry of Zamat-on-Krusk is fishing and the production of fish oil (the Zamati know a process of distilling the fish oil to produce a pungent sort of naphtha), it is also a trading town, receiving goods from amoral merchants that with to trade with the goblin-folk of the mountains and serving armies of orcs, goblins and human bandits on the march.

Zamat-on-Krusk has a 30-ft tall wall and a standing army of 50 men-at-arms, half armed with crossbows and axes and the other half with pole arms. The villagers do most of their fishing with a legendary breed of giant fishing eagles. Some of these eagles are trained as war beasts – they do not carry warriors, but instead harry besiegers from the air. The village supports three large road houses located outside the village walls. These roadhouses cater to travelers – mostly bandits, hobgoblins, goblins and orcs.

Zamat-on-Krusk is governed by a council of chiefs, the population being divided into multiple close-knit clans headed by hereditary chieftains. The chieftains rarely convene – usually only in times of war or other severe crises, and when they do their first order of business is usually a series of violent challenges to determine who shall serve as head of the council and de facto ruler.

0609. Atop a hillock there is a lone pine tree that sings melancholy dirges heard up to 9 miles away. Anyone foolish enough to harm the tree is immediately set upon by a pack of four hounds of Yith.

| Hound of Yith: HD 3; AC 1 [18]; Atl 1 bite (1d6+1); Move 18 (F25); Save 14; CL/XP 7/600; Special: Baying (cause fear 100-ft), harmed only by magic/silver weapons, fly, magic resistance 10%,

If the vandals survive, they are attacked for twelve more nights by more hounds, with the pack expanding by one hound each night. On the thirteenth night, they will face Arawn, a death god.

| Arawn: HD 20 (137 hp); AC -5 [24]; Atk 2 club strokes (1d6+5); Move 15 (F15); Save 2; CL/XP 28/6800; Special: Cast spells as 20th level druid, death spell 1/rd (as black ray from eyes), immune to damage dealing spells and magic weapons, magic resistance 50%. Looks like a pale man in a black cloak and sable tunic wielding a large +3 club.

The ground around the tree is littered with copper coins, some several centuries old. Adventurers can take the coins without fear of reprisal, finding 20-80 with each hour of searching until a total of 4,000 have been recovered.

[Because hey - what kind of jerk beats up a tree suffering from depression?]

0613. The White Wolves are a small hobgoblin tribe that dwells in a cave lair. They keep six carnivorous apes and 50 goblin slaves. The White Wolf clan consists of 200 warriors. The warriors wear chainmail and wield short swords and throwing axes, with half of the tribe also carrying pole arms and the other half short bows. The goblin slaves can be equipped with spears and clubs in a pinch.

Each platoon of ten hobgoblins is commanded by a sergeant-at-arms (2 HD) with chainmail, polearm and longsword. The White Wolves are led by Grishna the Flayer. He is an old, large, gnarled hobgoblin covered in decades of scar tissue. Grishna is a canny tactician who has held his own in many campaigns against the knights of Pfeife, Blackpoort and Guelph.

Grishna is assisted by a wizened old female hobgoblin shaman called Fruze. Fruze has been around even longer than Grishnak and bears a special hatred for the Pfeifers that wiped out her old clan, the Dragon’s Tongue hobgoblins.

Treasure: 270 cp, 270 sp and 250 gp locked in an iron chest that is kept beneath a boulder in Grishna’s chamber.

| Grishna, Hobgoblin Fighter Lvl 6: HP 27; AC 0 [19]; Save 9 (7 vs. disease); CL/XP 6/400. Heavy flail, dagger, +1 platemail.

| Fruze, Hobgoblin Adept Lvl 2: HP 7; AC 8 [11]; Save 14; CL/XP 3/60; Special: Adept spells (1st), guide. Staff, fetishes.

0711. The Goblin Tower abuts the Klarkash Mountains. Built ages ago by a dwarf lord, it has since fallen to a strange cult of goblins that worship the Gnawer at the Root. The cultists’ leader is Grinkle, an exceptional goblin shaman who uses his powers to snatch away children from all over the world, putting them to work mining beneath the tower to eventually open the tomb of the Gnawer, a creature said to combine the powers of an ancient black dragon and type IV demon.

| Grinkle, Goblin Adept Lvl 10: HP 38; AC 8 [11]; Save 6; CL/XP 11/1700; Special: Adept spells (3rd), sage. Owns a crystal ball through which he snatches disobedient children.

0804. This wide plateau is littered with the remains of a terrible battle. One can pick out dozens of skulls and skeletons of humans and hobgoblins and rusty weapons and armor that look to be a hundred years old. One side of the field contains a ruined catapult, its arm splintered. At the other there is a massive boulder from under which stick to legs still encased in armor.

The armor is +2 platemail that remains in perfect condition (if it can extracted from the boulder). The old inhabitant of the armor, a Sir Goresby, now possesses the armor. Those who wear the armor must succeed at a saving throw to avoid charging goblins and hobgoblins on sight and to avoid feeling animosity towards elves and half-elves.

At night, the skeletal warriors rise and engage in mock battle. Intruders find themselves attacked by twenty skeletons for every adventurer present. Unlike normal skeletons, they age those they hit by 1 year.


Art from Otherworld Miniatures hobgoblins boxed set.


  1. Am I write in reading a lot of sly references in these write-ups? I know Klarkash, and Yith are--but that also makes me suspect Goblin Tower, Gnawer at the Root, and even White Wolf! ;)

  2. Gnawer at the Root is a reference to Nidhogg, the dragon in Norse mythology that gnaws on one of the roots to Yggdrasil. White Wolf - I might have had the White Wolves of Warhammer's Old World in my mind, but it was an explicit reference. Goblin Tower just sounded fairy-tale-ish to me, and that was the vibe I was going for in Western Venatia.

  3. Hey there John, I recently bought a few issues of Nod in PDF form. I'm enjoying them so far for inspiration.

    I have some questions though about the map. There is no key so I don't know the scale (I think I read 5-6miles per hex in a comment) and I don't know what the colors mean on the map. Some hexes are labeled as desert but look green on the map. Some rolling hills looking hexes are described as other things.

    Can you post some kind of in depth key explaining the maps, and including what the colors mean?


  4. Darren - you're spot on - I've been lax on this point. My very next post will go over the map symbols, and I'll make a concerted effort to get them on the published maps - blame is totally my own.

  5. I'm looking forward to it! Maps are very important to this geek.

    I love the blog by the way, and hope to see the recent entries (including the owlbear stuff) in #6. Like I said, the books are great inspiration! And I'm surprised how much underwater content is on the maps.

    Keep publishing as much fluff on the gods too, this stuff is money.

    I'm looking to incorporate this stuff into my own campaign, but mine will be using Runequest (MRQ2).


  6. P.S. Your name is John but you post as and have your url with "Matt" in it. What's the deal?


  7. Glad you're enjoying the content! First name is John, middle name Matt. I like to keep people guessing.

    Underwater content - hardest thing to write, but on the off chance that somebody out there wants to run an aquatic campaign, I try to include as much as I can. One of these days I'm going to do an article on underwater races for fantasy games - a race/class sort of thing - along with some ideas on underwater adventuring, treasure, etc.

  8. I'd also humbly suggest that region names and perhaps borders be displayed on the maps.


  9. Yeah, I suspected Nidhogg there. I had Goblin Tower pegged as a reference to the L. Sprague DeCampe novel of the same name, but I guess I missed that one.

  10. I'm just starting to read DeCampe's stuff - so his Goblin Tower is new to me. I'll have to read it some day.


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