Homebrew Letís Make a Hexcrawl Setting - Page 14
  1. #131
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    RITETHAL (18.03)

    This small village leaves its sheep to roam on the hills while the villagers gather around a lake to fish. When night falls, they blow a horn and the sheep shuffle back to the village.

    It is not just the sheep that are suggestible. Any who drink from the lake are inclined to do as they’re told.

    An old woman lives half a mile from the village. She refuses to drink from the lake and instead collects rainwater. It has been some months since it last rained. She is constantly scratching for she is infested with Widows’ Mites.

    The village is far from the Mache but dutifully sends a flock of sheep to the Winterjarl each autumn as tribute. Each year this practice leaves them with fewer and fewer sheep, and it is not long before they will starve.

    Hooks:
    If anyone approached the old woman, could the mites spread?
    If the situation were explained to the Winterjarl, might he reduce his tithe?
    What do Widows’ Mites do?
    What will the widow do when she runs out of water?

    THE LONG PRAYER (39.00)

    The priests of this shrine to the Speaker of Bronze believe that their patron can be returned to life if dwarves keep faith in him-her. They pray in shifts, so that every second for the last 999 years prayers to the titan have rung out.

    Recently, priests have spoken in tongues. One has prophecised that the Speaker to Bronze will be reborn as a dwarf-child to parents who have never touched iron.

    Hooks
    What does the Hoard think of the shrine?
    What do the priests of the Drinker of Iron think of the shrine?
    If the Speaker to Bronze returns to life, what will happen to the silver that has been mined from her bones?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daztur View Post
    For the law of 1,001 nights, I'm thinking of shortening it to a year and a day to make the kinds of shenanigans that chutup is thinking of easier to pull off. Thoughts?
    I really like the fact that it's called the law of 1,001 nights, but you're right that a lot of adventurers can't wait three years to have their plans realised: many adventurers will go from level 1 to 20 and save the world in that time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daztur
    Sanglorian: those fit in sooooo well to some thoughts that have been going about in my head. I've written up bits about Lisbet's daughter and a the beginning of a full fairy tale about dreamers and the Doge's wives and will try to get them posted soonish...
    Excellent! It's always good when two ideas jive.
    Last edited by Sanglorian; Wednesday, 4th April, 2012 at 10:03 AM. Reason: Formatting

  2. #132
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    I havenít had much time to post this week but here is a monster post to make up for that. Iím also pretty far behind on the compilation and map now but am a bit short on time to do those now, but will get to both of them eventually. For the compilation I will re-name Ethne the White and change the Law of a Thousand Nights and One to the Law of a Year and a Day. For this post the first post is inspired by The White People by Arthur Machen (go read it now if you havenít, itís pretty short and is public domain), the second by the Italian version of Sleeping Beauty.

    The Journal in Green

    In a disused room in one of the lower levels of the Broken Spear (40.6) lies a book bound in green leather within a pile of gnollish garbage. Time and gnolls have not treated it well so most pages are illegible but a few can be made out, such as these:

    I always wanted a book just like this one to write my secrets in. When I found it in uncleís chest after he turned blue and died I knew it was just the book to write secrets in, but not all of them. Lizzy told me that I must never write down the true names of the days nor the language of the leaves and when I asked her how I was supposed to write that down she just gave me one of her looks like the one that she gave me when the Alehvaleh came and she told me she would throw me in the black pit if I ever told. I can write about the Beautiful Circles and the Alley Games but never how to do them. And there are the things that I call the secrets of the secrets of the secrets, but I only think about them when I close my eyes and put my hands tight over my mouth so that I wonít whisper them so I would never write those and I donít have long enough fingernails to write them down in any case. I remember so many secrets but one is from a few years ago when Lizzy didnít know I was listening to her and she talked to the other one about how I was talking to myself without using any words but I was using words, or at least I was trying to, the people with the faces that moved around used to come and look at me in my cradle and talk with me about their home where the grass rises higher than trees so that it sings when the wind blows through it on its way to the white hills above the moon and I tried to talk to them but the words never came out quite right like when you try to talk when youíre swimming. I tried to do that once in the lake that Lizzy took me to and when she was dancing with the people who came out of the lake I tried to swim and talk to the long mice but it was hard to do that. One day I tried to go back to that lake, it was so strange. That day I walked a new way and the stream I followed lead me into a new country and I caught my dress on thorns because it was dark and after a time there was no more stream, but the trees surrounded where the stream should have been like a tunnel. And I went on and on under the dark trees and at last I came to some brambles and they scratched so that when I had finally gotten through them my skin stung all over. When I finally got through them I came out crying on the top of a hill and I saw that I was now much higher than I thought because I could see black trees surrounding it like those nasty people in the city and the trees had a shape that was different from the ones I had seen before. But up on the hill there were stones, big ugly stones everywhere. They looked like eggs that had fallen from a big bird and they went on and on, all the way to the trees, a long long way and everything had a dark kadr over it so that it was hard to see. Then I walked out into the stones and some were like bugbears putting out their tongues and their arms so that I would stay with them in the stone forever and others were like creeping dwarves with wide smiles that lied and others were like the ceremony that Lisbet told me not to do and others were like dead people. But I kept on walking and walking and I sang the green song that Lisbet had taught me, the ones whose words should never be spoken, only sung, so that I wouldnít feel scared anymore and I went up to one of the ones that was like a crying orc and I kissed it so that it wouldnít be sad and after a while I came to one stone, bigger than any of them, great and tall and white like the color of my teeth. And I climbed up and sat down on it and I felt like I had come such a long way like I was on the other side of the Edge of the World were Lisbet had taken me so that I could see the funny jumping elephants or in one of the other places that I had read about in uncleís books before he turned blue like the one about the king who turned all of his people into flowers or across the ocean in one of those lands that nobody had ever heard about. And I looked down at the smaller rocks that lay all around the big rock that I was sitting on and they seemed to make shapes, circles inside circles, inside circles and I started spinning so that I could move like the rocks did in their circles so thatÖ

    Hooks:
    -Is the author Lisbetís half-elven daughter?
    -What is the book doing in The Broken Spear?
    -What is the girl talking about?

    The Lady of the Vale

    Once upon a time, a Lady of far Adherion was walking through the Kingswood remarking on the beauty of its wildflowers. ďHow I wish I could view them by the light of the sun,Ē said she. And her wish was granted for the hours passed like seconds and she saw the rosy glow of sunrise on the horizon. She looked about in fright, for it does not do for one of mortal blood to linger in the Kingswood by the light of the sun, and what did she see but a lord of the elves smiling upon her clad in a coat of gloomwings. She was speechless before his beauty and he bore her off to the Sleeping Vale (24.07) and longs years she slept there.

    Now in those days there was a lord of the night people by the name of Tristifer Bartley (30.03) who loved above all things to feel the light of the sun upon his face. He feared not the elves, not even Tehaar (29.10), and often hunted beneath the forestís leaves. On one day when he commanded his blood falcon (36.04) to catch a cat on the wing the bird instead flew into a strange tower that he had never seen before. He paced about the tower, admiring the cunning of its design and wondering how he might enter to retrieve his wayward falcon for the tower had no windows, when he saw a ladder of human hair. He climbed up to a room at the very top of the tower and beheld a sleeping maiden of radiant beauty sitting at a window seat. He called to her but in vain for no matter how loud he shouted she slept on. Finally Lord Bartley was overcome by passion and carried her sleeping form to a bed. Returning to his keep, the lord was overwhelmed with pressing business and thought no more about the woman of the forest except in dreams.

    But in his dreams, the lord called out to the lady of the forest and his wife heard his words as she lay beside him. She grew worried that her husband had claimed another lover and set out one night into the Kingswood with two trusted servants to see what she could see. The paths of the forest took her quickly to the Sleeping Vale and to the very tower were the lady of far Adherion lay sleeping. Imagine her surprise when she beheld two infants that bore the mark of her husband giving suck at the beasts of the sleeping lady. She shouted with rage and then, as the night turned to morning, there appeared the elf lord. He was as little pleased as Lady Bartley and they fell talking about what was to be done.

    To be continuedÖ

  3. #133
    The Living Arrangements at Ettin Castle
    Further information on Hex 13.06

    Three households are joined as one in Ettin Castle - that of Etienne, Castaneu and Vantisse. Each of the castle's servants, pages, knights and so on belongs to only one of the households. Furthermore, for the most part none of them will acknowledge the existence of the other households. As a result, the lord of castle is cooked three meals every night, one from each house; the castle is stocked with over twenty different privies, each aligned to a different house, since the muckers refuse to clean the of those not in their house; there are three stewards, three training courtyards for three retinues of knights, and so on.

    The households compete endlessly for primacy. If the lord Etienne samples more of one dish than the other, then it will be seen as a great victory for one house over the other. If one band of knights brings in more loot than the other, that too will be a victory.

    In the lord's apartments reside two spouses: Serina Castaneu and Dovan Vantisse. The wife of Alvisse Etienne sadly died shortly after the forging of the three houses, and her replacement now dwells in Alvisse's own chamber. The young Serina, deprived of her husband, seeks companionship from Dovan, but he is focused solely on the task of revenge. There are three whom he marked as his enemies: Severard of the Seven Chins, the sorceress known as the Lady, and Alvisse Etienne himself.

    Of the three, two are now believed to be dead. And rumour has it that Dovan has a plan to manipulate the byzantine politics of the castle in order to finally have vengeance on Alvisse Etienne as well.

    Hooks:
    - How did Alvisse's first wife die? Who is the replacement, and how is she able to bear Alvisse's enormous offspring?
    - Did Dovan Vantisse have a hand in the death of Severard and/or the Lady?
    - What is Dovan's plan to get revenge on Alvisse?
    - Do the stewards of the three houses have any plots to advance their own cause?

  4. #134
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    Two more entries. Entry one is inspired by a post on Planet Algol.

    The Black Ziggurat (18.26)

    Rising out of the desert is a dark ziggurat, squat and horrid. The Dust Walkers will not travel here; they say that the monument appeared out of thin air six months ago. Others claim that the sand that covered it simply blew away.

    The structure has some curious properties. Compasses do not work within three miles of the ziggurat, and though the ziggurat has but one long stairway leading to its entrance, travelers always find themselves approaching facing the stairs. Finally, around the ziggurat time does not appear to pass: the Sun does not move from the centre of the sky if it is day or the full moon does not move from the centre of the sky if is night. Yet when travelers emerge from the ziggurat, it is always day if they entered during the night, or vice versa Ė no matter how long they spent inside.

    The ziggurat itself is patrolled by white-haired minotaurs and worse things besides. The minotaurs will pursue intruders out of the ziggurat only if it is night.

    At the top of a tower at the back of the ziggurat, there are four windows. One looks out on an expanse of snow and stone, one looks out on lava and islands of brimstone, one looks out on fog-shrouded green hills and one is boarded up.

    Outside of the ziggurat trot the flayed hides of horses, who ask useless riddles and trample their victims regardless of their answer.

    Hooks
    What is the connection between the Black Ziggurat and the green Ziggurat (06.10) and the Temple of the Seven Shadows (37.01)?
    What happens if some travelers enter while some remain outside observing the sky?
    What would happen if you leapt out of one of the four windows?
    Is there any connection between the minotaurs and the night cattle?

    The Haunt of the Peryton (11.15)
    This stretch of hills is stalked by a peryton: a great purple-blue eagle with the head and breast of a stag. Though it has two antlers, they have twisted and fused into one mass.

    The perytonís voice and shadow are that of the last man (not woman) that it has killed. Someone familiar with Severard of the Seven Circles might startle upon hearing the perytonís taunts.

    The peryton keeps watch over a flock of deer, including a talking stag who once rode with Tehaar (29.10).

    Connections
    A lady of Thring believes that her husband was the latest man killed by the peryton, and she would pay dearly to hear his voice again.

    Hooks
    How did the stag make it here?
    Did the peryton truly eat Severard?
    Why did the stag leave Tehaarís ride?

    Quote Originally Posted by chutup View Post
    The Living Arrangements at Ettin Castle
    In few settings would 'encountering a family of ettins' be more likely to end in a high-stakes political game than a battle, but I'm proud that the Shrouded Lands is one of the few!

  5. #135
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    The map's been updated, I'm working on the compilation now. I love little touches like the elves and the elephants. I can just imagine PCs gleefully driving a properly-painted elephant through the Kingswood

    The Lady of the Vale (Continued)

    The lady of Adherion awoke with a start, freed from the elf lord’s magic to see a strange woman standing before her and two beautiful infant girls beside her. Lady Bartley and her servants bound the waking lady with cords and, with the laughing elf lord leading them on the shortest paths, quickly returned to her husband’s keep and locked the confused and weeping three in the dark cells that lie below each keep in the Lands of the Night Cattle. That very day she set a great feast before her husband and told him time and again “you are eating what is your own.” The good lord, Tristifer Bartley, grew peevish and lectured here that he knew well that he was eating what was his own for everything that lay within his keep was his to dispose of as he willed it.

    After the feast, Lord Bartley called for his steed and set off into the Kingswood to hunt. As soon as he had left, his lady called for her prisoner to be brought forth from the dungeons so that she could be burned at the stake for enchanting her lord husband. As the kindling was laid around the stake, Lady Bartley told her weeping prisoner how her children had been butchered at her orders and fed to their father so that he could dispose of that which was his own.

    In mortal terror the prisoner told her captor that her shoes were made from silk of the Golden Realm and sewn with pearls plucked from the Boiling Sea before Broderick calmed it. And so her shoes were removed so that they would not burn. Then then she said that her mantle was fringed with the fur of a stalking cat of the Grey Mountains. And so her mantle was removed so that it would not burn. Then she said that her dress had threads of the mane of the unicorn itself woven into it. And so her dress was removed so that it would not burn.

    So it continued, the lady purchasing moments with her garments, so that when Lord Tristifer Bartley returned from his hunt he beheld his wife stood before a lady who shone naked in the firelight of his Keep. When it realized that his wife meant to kill the lady he had encountered in the tower he had his wife clapped in chains, but she only laughed and told him of how he had eaten his own children. The lord’s rage knew no bounds and he struck off his wife’s head with one blow from his sword and was about to do the same to her servants when they cowered before him and told him that they and served him but the meat of puppies and that his daughters were safe and sound. They had disobeyed their lady’s orders for the infant ladies had charmed the servants’ hearts with their beauty and they had found themselves unable to slay them.

    And so it came to pass that there was a new Lady Bartley who lived happily ever after and her daughters grew as beautiful as the sun and the moon. In good time the sisters grew to become the famed twin wives of the Blind Doge of the City of Shuttered Windows. The moral of the story is this: one who fortune favors will find good luck even in their sleep.

    Hooks:
    -How much of that story is true?
    -Where is Adherion? Who is the new Lady Bartley exactly? How long was she asleep?
    -What is a gloomwing cloak and why was the elf lord wearing it?

    The Holt Has Many Doors
    Additional information about hex 29.07

    The Holt of the Bloodied King has many doors. They can be found under the rocks on hillsides, beneath the roots of trees and in hollows in the banks of the Witchwater. Where they can be found changes from day to day but, wherever they can be found in the Kingswood they lead to the hollow hill of the Holt (except, of course, for the few that lead elsewhere…). Many wandering humans have stumbled into them over the centuries, few to return.

    But it was not always so. Although there are several stories that account for the doors, the most popular is that of a young Bargainer. She was young, wild and willful and made sport with all of the beasts of the Kingswood, even riding on the back of the unicorn. One day, when she was trading words and more with a prince of the fey, she complained of the heat of the noonday sun and how dearly she would love to return to her home for refreshment when the sun rose high. He promised her that there would always be a door to her home wherever her steed grazed at midday, if she would only meet his price. She gloried in her cleverness and agreed without a second thought, for as every elf knows and as the prince had forgotten, at noon the unicorn appears not in one place but in one and a thousand, although for just the barest instant.

    Since that day, the elves have been able to travel across the wide miles of the forest and return to the Holt with ease. Of the young Bargainer, little else is told for the price she paid was higher than she could have known. Of the elves who believe this legend, many fear what would happen to the doors of the Holt if harm should ever befall the unicorn…

    Note for clarity: the doors are active all the time, not just at noon; it’s just that each of them is located near one of the many places where the unicorn can be seen each day at midday and those change from day to day.

    Hooks:
    -Why does the unicorn appear in a thousand and one places each day at noon?
    -What was the price that the young Bargainer paid that proved to be so high?
    -Where is the “elsewhere” that many of the doors lead?
    -Did anything interesting ever happen to the humans who stumbled into one of the doors of the Holt?
    Last edited by Daztur; Thursday, 5th April, 2012 at 10:17 PM.

  6. #136
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    The compilation has been brought neeeeearly up to date, all that is missing is a few connection notations but all of the content of every post is there. We've now topped 63K words and with just one more entry the compilation will be longer than The Scarlet Letter. I've got a couple ideas for entries bubbling about in my head but I won't be able to make another post for a while since I'll be out of town for the weekend. Over the coming week I'll post over the few remaining posts from the old rpg.net thread, there are only a few left but they include some good ones that fill out details about the Burning Lands and the Pirate Kings.

  7. #137
    (This one comes from a vague idea I posted on my blog, where I'm making a bit of a project of mining the Aeneid and other ancient classics for D&D inspiration.)

    Swine Ravine (12.22)


    Southwest of the borders of Thring, there lies a ravine five miles long and thick with trees. It is extremely steep on all sides, making it a gruelling one-day trek just to get from the bottom of the ravine to the top. This is the haunt of the swine-harpies, vile creatures with the wings of birds, the bodies of virgins and the heads of sows. The swine-harpies are not directly hostile, but they are greedy, malicious and posessed of supernatural powers of perception. Whenever anyone prepares to eat while in the bounds of the canyon, the swine-harpies will swoop down and devour or defile the food. No mortal weapon can harm the harpies and no threat seems to scare them off. As a result, those who become trapped in the canyon may well starve to death.

    Recently, a young nobleman of Thring, bearing the name Martin of Wenstoke, arrived in the canyon. Having killed a man, he was bound to pay the price of blood, and rather than give up his own life he swore to slay the swine-harpies. Although he considered these isolated and non-aggressive monsters an easy target, his foolproof plan to slay them fell through and the rest of his party has since died of starvation. Martin has discovered a rather unsavoury way of surviving, although it is doubtful now that he will ever be allowed to return to Thring society. On the other hand, it is possible that he has learned something about the ravine, which is rumoured to contain a treasure which the swine-harpies were assigned to guard.

    Hooks:
    - Where is Wenstoke?
    - Who did Martin kill and why?
    - What was Martin's foolproof plan to slay the swine-harpies?
    - How has Martin survived without food for the past few months?
    - What is the treasure of the ravine?

  8. #138
    The Foolish Sages of Border's Hill (20.18)

    Long ago, a watchtower was built atop this hill, where men-at-arms would guard the border of Thring against incursions. Nowadays the tower is mostly in ruins, and the only inhabitants are a conclave of eccentric sages, who were exiled to the borders of Thring after an unfortunate accident involving a magical experiment on a herd of the Duke's cattle.

    They call themselves the Hunters of Truth, but others refer to them as the Foolish Sages. Their curiosity consistently surpasses their common sense and instinct for self-preservation. As a result, various calamities have befallen them and less than half their original number remain.

    Recently a party of Foolish Sages travelled to the Black Ziggurat (18.26) and in their hubris decided to experiment upon the changing of the sky from day to night. Half the party entered and then left the ziggurat, while the other half stayed outside. What happened next is unclear, but several of the former party vanished completely and several of the latter were driven mad, ranting about "the third sky". However, the most dramatic effect was upon the rest of the latter party (the ones staying outside). They become divided in time, with half their body parts (i.e. left arm, nose, right eyeball, left foot and liver, or some other such combination) being sent twelve hours forward in time while the other half of them remained in the same time.

    The time-splintered sages can still be seen back at Border's Hill. They look like a collection of body parts floating in the air, which walks around and talks quite cogently. Twelve hours after this body passes through a space, the other half of the body will arrive and play out exactly the same actions that it performed twelve hours ago. Alternatively, some early bodies will act out nonsensical scenes which are in fact premonitions of the action of the later body.

    To make matters even more grotesque, it is possible for the two halves of one sage to come into contact with each other, and it is not uncommon to see one of the sages arguing vehemently with his past or future self. In fact, one sage who brought his pretty young wife with him from Tarengael (16.16) is now constantly vying with his past self for her love.

    Hooks:
    - What were the 'incursions' that the tower on Border's Hill was set up to defend against? Why is defence no longer necessary?
    - What exactly was the experiment that got the Foolish Sages kicked out of Thring?
    - What other foolish experiments have the sages performed in their quest for knowledge?
    - Can a time-splintered sage be used to predict the future?

  9. #139
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    THE WINNOWING (08.06, and presumably others)

    A traveller who wishes to make his or her way to the Sunless Sea should travel to the caverns stalked by the Destroying Angel. Here, the traveller must identify which of the river’s forks leads downwards; the others pool in stagnant lakes polluted by the Angel’s droppings.

    The right passage is always marked, but never in the same way and not always in a manner perceptible to the eye.
    The correct passage, the Winnowing, is a combination of rapids where the glassy rocks jut out of the water – sharp edges seemingly always oriented towards approaching boats – and long, slow-moving stretches where dwell albino crocodiles, phosphorescent large squid and nests of stirges.

    Sound and light will disturb the crocodiles and squid, but if travellers make no sound and cast no light these aquatic predators will show only tremendous curiosity – nudging the boat, exploring its contents with their tentacles or pushing their snouts over the side to sniff the smell of the surface.

    The stirges, however, will waste no time in latching onto the intruders. Since it is rare that any traveller passes by, the maladies from previous victims that they pass on may be strange indeed.

    The fish in this river are fat and lazy, which explains the amiability of the predators.

    Hooks
    Who makes the markings?
    What infections do the stirges have?

    THE ORPHANS' MARCH (27.09)

    The bleak cobble path leading into the Kingswood is called the Orphans’ March. In the old tomes, when the elves ruled beyond the forest, this was the road taken by the children sent in tribute to the elves. An elf piper led the way while the children played their silver bells.

    Of course, the elves only took copperhair children, and to this day expectant mothers pray to the Green Lady for ravenhair, goldhair or even mudhair. The superstitious will dye their child’s hair green for the first few years of his or her life, to ‘ward off fay eyes’.

    Beyond the forest, the Orphan’s Road is in disrepair. The part at the entrance to the Kingswod, however, appears to have been carefully maintained. According to folk tales, a traveller carrying a single lit candle and who never strays from the Orphans’ March will find himself or herself in front of the Holt as the candle burns down to its stump. How the traveller can then make his or her way back is in no folk tale I know of.

    Hooks
    Why did the elves want human children? What happened to them? And why did they only want copperhairs?
    Is the folk tale true?
    Is the Orphans’ Road one of the paths that pass through the Fey-Realm or one of the thousand doors? Are those two forms of quick passage one and the same?
    What would happen if the Orphans’ Road were repaired?
    Last edited by Sanglorian; Friday, 6th April, 2012 at 12:22 PM. Reason: Formatting

  10. #140
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    The map has been updated, the compilation will be updated later.

    An interesting weekend spent helping harvest Chinese foxglove and eating poison ivy chicken soup but am back now. Will write up some ideas I've had and then get to updating the map and compilation. For the Lady of the Vale story (30.03), I'll add in a frame so make it clear that it's an in-setting story and not a neutral account.

    The first two entriesare inspired by a story-building activity that I did with my students.

    The Frogs of the Witchwater
    Hex 40.09

    Long ago there was a family of woodcutters and their daughter, Syla, often wished that she had a brother of her own. Image her joy when, despite her advancing age, her mother bore a beautiful baby boy. She cherished the child and took him with her into the Kingswood when she went to chop and gather deadfall. The young boy grew up bright and cheerful and was the joy of his family until a warg down from the Grey Mountains ate him up.

    Syla, stricken with grief that she had been unable to protect her brother, set about hunting down the warg and at the very foothills of the Grey Mountains where the orcish warhorns echo from peak to peak she caught it and split it open with her sharp axe.

    She entertained a mad hope that her brother would somehow still be able within the warg's belly but, alas, it was far to late for him. Nevertheless, she gathered up his splintered bones from the warg's gut and set off into the Kingswood in search of the Hierophant (36.04), for Syla had heard stories of her great magics. After weeks of searching Syla found the Hierophant and fell weeping at her feet and the old elf took pity on her and returned Slya's brother to life and the leapt with many happy ribbits from the Hierophant's hands.

    Even today the descendants of Syla's brother can be found along the banks of the Witchwater, but now are difficult to find outside of a few secluded bits of riverbanks since the previous Duke of Thring (16.16) sent his knights at great risk to gather the talking frogs so that they might be used for a great sorcery.

    Hooks:
    -How did Syla react to her brother's reincarnation.
    -What are the orcs of the Grey Mountains like?
    -What great sorcery did the previous Duke of Thring use the frogs for?
    -Are the frogs really intelligent anymore? How well do they talk?

    The Sepulchure of the Sword
    Hex 15.15

    The eldest son of Duke Ulthar the Loved (16.16) was named Broderick (mentioned in 01.08 and 02.07) who grew into a wild knight with all of the power and none of the gentleness of his father. When he grew to manhood he claimed his father's sword Caledbrand as his only patrimony and set off into the wilds of the west. The tales of his adventures have now faded from memory, all except the last. Even that has now faded into myth:

    Young Broderick, for he was still young, set out alone on an open boat to the Boiling Sea that once lay within the Ocean of Bitter Regrets (mentioned briefly in 30.03) where the water boiled with the heat of a dragon whose scales shone like orange gems who made its home there in those days. Broderick felt no fear since he wielded Caledbrand and bore a fairy charm against fire and indeed he slew the dragon and as its heart's blood washed over him he threw back his head and laughed and laughed.

    And the heart's blood of the dragon entered his mouth and unstopped his ears so that he could hear what men should not and the rage of a dragon entered his heart and he swiftly sailed into the east and made landfall at what is now called Broderick's Estuary (01.08). There, filled with rage, he smote the earth with his sword creating what is now a river and swore that he would slay his father and rule the Duchy of Thring himself.

    The traveled swiftly to Castle Tarengael (16.16) and cut down his father, but his father's blood washed away that of the dragon and he regretted what he had done and set the sword upon himself. His sister mourned them both and in the long years of her life spent much time overseeing the construction of a tomb so that the Duke and his son could be united in death as they had not in life. Deep within the tomb Caledbrand lies and it is said that in Thring's hour of greatest need a hero will bring it forth from the tomb and deliver the Duchy from its enemies. Many have tried only to die be killed by one of the Sepulchure of the Sword's many traps or killed by the sword itself which strikes with all of the strength of its old master.

    Hooks:
    -If he's buried here and seems to be able to animate his sword from beyond the grave, then why has Broderick's ghost been sighted at his Estuary?
    -What magical properties does the sword have?
    -Did the dragon that Broderick killed have any children?
    -What did Broderick hear that men are not meant to?

    This one's from chutup and has been lightly edited:

    The Skull of the Defiler
    Additional information about hex 51.29

    Soon after the fall of Bergolast, when the gnolls first came to the Burning Lands (51.29), the tribes were ruled in a different manner. Rather than the matriarchs of the current era, the gnolls had a Grand Chieftain whose supremacy was decided by mortal combat. The Grand Chieftain who led them out of their old homelands and into the fiery waste was a monstrously powerful specimen known to history only as the Defiler. At the time, almost all the gnolls thought it madness to move into the wasteland, but none of them dared faced the Defiler in a duel, so they were forced to follow him.

    The Defiler was a master of the devouring art, that foul ritual by which a gnoll may consume the hearts of beasts to gain their power. It is said that in his youth, he swallowed at least one heart from every creature known to the gnolls. However, the turning point came after he made a journey to the Grey Mountains, disappeared for several months, and returned with strange blood upon his lips. After that time, none could face him in battle, and he quickly rose to the rank of Great Chieftain.

    After the Defiler died, his skull was bleached by the desert winds and kept as a totem of his tribe. So large is the skull that any normal-sized human or gnoll can fit it over their head to wear as a helmet. While the Skull is worn, the bearer gains monumental strength and takes on a terrifying countenance that causes all but the bravest to flee from him in fear. At the same time, the wearer looking through the skull's eyes will see the world in a different light, as though bathed in blood. Enemies glow brightly, while things unimportant to combat fade into darkness. And sometimes, it is whispered, the wearer will see other things through the Skull's eyes - visions of the past, the future, and of the present that never was. The downside to wielding the Skull is that it puts a great strain on the wearer's body. Overuse can lead to exhaustion or even death.

    The Skull was used as a weapon by the gnolls during the Gnawbone Wars (against the City of Shuttered Windows). An entire army from the Duchy of Thring (16.16) was routed by a glance from the Skull, as were the defenders on the walls of the Shuttered City. However, at the crucial moment, the one who wore the Skull overexerted himself and collapsed. While the other gnoll chieftains bickered over who would take up the Skull next, the Waterworks of the Shuttered City were opened to drown the entire gnollish army on the shores of the Keening Sea.

    The whereabouts of the Skull of the Defiler is currently unknown. Some say it was washed into the sea and is now lost in sunken reefs, or was found by the wailing drow-ghosts. Others claim that it was captured by the Doge's men and locked in a vault in the depths of the Undercity. Still others report it was picked up by an adventurer and later lost on the fringes of the Kingswood.

    Hooks:
    -Where did the gnolls come from before they were in the Burning Lands? Why did the Defiler lead them there, and why did they remain after his death?
    -What creature did the Defiler find in the Grey Mountains that gave him such power?
    -How did the gnolls change from a duelling-chieftains hierarchy to the current one with the matriarchs?
    -Where's the Skull now?
    Last edited by Daztur; Sunday, 8th April, 2012 at 07:42 AM.

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