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Thread: Letís Make a Hexcrawl Setting
Sunday, 22nd April, 2012, 03:52 AM #181
The Ruins of Maddlow Castle (23.19)
In a high valley at the centre of the Witch Clans' domain, there is a place that they call a ruin but is more accurately the opposite of a ruin - a castle that was only ever half built and then abandoned. Long ago, this place was the seat of power for the Maddlows, who ruled over all the Witch Clans. The Maddlows had the frightening power to place geasa at will, and they used this to control the other clans of the mountains. If all the Clans had been perfectly united, they likely could have conquered the Duchy of Thring, but fortunately the Maddlows' power was precarious. A geas can only ever force the victim to carry out one task, and it must have a time limit. Therefore, the Maddlows were constantly worried about the other clans turning on them, and the Maddlow patriarch was in turn worried that his own kin would turn upon him. This also explains why the castle was never fully built - each Maddlow suspected the others of inserting secret doors and traps into the design.
All this came to an end in the time of Ban the Clever, founder of the town of Banshot (26.20). While travelling over the mountains, Ban and his four companions were captured by the Maddlows and geased into service. However, Ban managed to play on the Maddlow King's paranoia and convinced him to geas all the other Maddlows to travel to the far borders of the Shrouded Lands so that they couldn't steal his throne. After the rest of the Maddlows were gone, Ban's party escaped while the Maddlow King was gassed to death by a disgruntled Dunger (25.17).
- Any treasure remaining in the ruins?
- Any truth to the Maddlows' fears about traps and secret passages?
The Bureaucrat Descended From a King
Additional information about hex 29.14
Humanoid races entering the City of Shuttered Windows are required to take a geas that enforces the limited duration of their stay. However, there are hardly a large number of high-level clerics hanging around the city with nothing better to do that geas kobolds all day. No, that task falls to Simon Maddlow, last scion of his house. Simon is descended from the Prince of the Maddlows, who was sent to the Shuttered City along with his wife and children "to see how they do things there" (the exact words of the geas). While the other Maddlow lines have mostly died out or at least lost their powers, the Shuttered City Maddlows managed to find a way of keeping their genetic stock pure despite the small breeding pool.
Today, Simon Maddlow sits in an office at the gates of the City, placing geasa on all the goblins and kobolds who pass by his desk.
- Did any of the other Maddlows survive their geased journeys and settle elsewhere in the world?
- How did the Shuttered City Maddlows hang on to their powers without becoming impossibly inbred?
- Does Simon Maddlow hold any dreams of reclaiming his ancestor's throne? Would the other Witch Clans recognize his claim?
Sunday, 22nd April, 2012, 03:59 AM #182
The Order of the Broken Chain (27.04)
Somewhere along the Welt Road, beneath the lands of the Night Cattle, there is a secret lair where a strange society of revolutionaries lurks. This organisation was founded by a slave from Titan's Rest (33.01) named Ancient Meg. Having lived to the age of 119, Ancient Meg had accumulated a truly incredible amount of silver in her body (see entry for hex 34.01). All the profits from her death were bound up in a complex will, to be executed by a barrister named Arian Alders from the City of Shuttered Windows. The will stipulates that the money will be used to form an underground organisation dedicated to overthrowing the dwarves of the Titan's Skull and free the slaves there.
Alders believed he was onto a good thing, being able to pay himself a wage as 'Grandmaster of the Order' without doing much else except dwelling in the lands of the Night Cattle. However, he was not expecting the initial payment to be followed by several more from the wills of other slaves. In order to retain his wage, Alders was forced to begin actually doing the work that Ancient Meg had set out for him. He began hiring warriors and other agents and considering plans for raids upon Titan's Rest. When the dwarves got word of this they were furious, and threatened to cut off their supply of luminescent cave mushrooms to the Night Men. Thus, the Night Men drove Alders and his band of mercenaries off their land, which led to the establishment of the secret base they inhabit today.
Today, the Order of the Broken Chain consists of over sixty members, twenty-two of whom are volunteers and the rest being mercenaries. Bolstered by regular payments from the wills of argyric slaves, they have made two successful raids on Titan's Rest and freed almost a hundred slaves, some of whom have subsequently become volunteer members of the Order themselves. The mastermind behind all this is still Arian Alders, who is making good money out of it but whose colleagues in the Shuttered City now look upon him with distaste.
- How did Ancient Meg live to be so old in the terrible working conditions of the mines?
- Why didn't Alders just take the money and run? Does the will hold some special power?
- Why do the Night Men need luminescent cave mushrooms so much?
- What was in this cave before the Order arrived? Anything of interest?
- Any notable characters amongst the Order's members?
- What does Arian Alders think of all this? Has he been converted to the cause or is he still only in it for the money?
Last edited by chutup; Sunday, 22nd April, 2012 at 04:50 AM.
Sunday, 22nd April, 2012, 05:51 AM #183
The Lost Folio (39.12)
Amidst sparse woodlands, a mysterious dungeon is to be found, apparently built by the people of the Imperium Undying. It is believed to have been some sort of underground wizardly workshop due to the magical aura that permeates the place. Several adventuring parties have explored it over the years and generally reported it to be a terrible place, full of monsters and with hardly any treasure to be found.
Around seven years ago, the poet Trimoueil passed by this way and convinced his companions to help him delve into the dungeon. Unfortunately the expedition was a miserable failure, with several casualties and the rest of the party only escaping by leaping into a trap that teleported them naked to the entrance while spiriting away their items to some other place in the dungeon.
Among the items lost was the only manuscript of Trimoueil's epic poem, the Song of Ban and Ulena, being a retelling of the founding of Blind Midshotgatepool (26.20), beginning with the arrival of the five founders on the shores of the Keening Sea and ending with the companions' tragic death. Trimoueil subsequently felt unable to conjure up the creative energies to re-write the entire manuscript, and as a result the work is considered lost. However, scholars in the Shuttered City would pay an exorbitant price for the poem to be recovered.
- What was the Imperium Undying doing in this area of the world? Was it related to the Prince of Men?
- Why did Trimoueil want to go into the dungeon?
- Have any other items been stolen by the teleportation trap?
- Who was Ulena? Another member of the founders, or someone else?
- How did the founders of the five villages meet their tragic end?
Sunday, 22nd April, 2012, 08:09 AM #184
The Lake of the Flying Fish (9.22)
Southwest of the borders of Thring there lies a broad lake where cormorants nest in the shallows. Further out into the water, there are schools of enormous fish with the ability to swim through the air as easily as the water. Though they posess this remarkable power, they seem uninterested in using it, and will only fly up out of the lake if they are threatened by an attack from below. Because of this, the flying fish were known as the 'fat fish' until six months ago when their secret was discovered by the huntsman Lorenzo deMarr.
When word of these extraordinary creatures reached the ears of the nobles of the Shuttered City, an expedition was immediately sent out to capture them. Twelve flying fish were taken from the lake and flown through Thring and across the Keening Sea. Only three of them were left at the end of this journey. It was intended that the flying fish should pull leisure balloons for the nobles, but alas! during their first parade through the city, the fish were driven mad by the claustrophobic closeness of the tower walls. Another fish had to be put out of its misery after killing several bystanders, and the remaining two are now stabled in the Gardens of the Sea. Their owner will pay good money to anyone who can cure the fish of their madness.
- Who is the huntsman Lorenzo DiMarr, and how did he discover the fishes' ability?
- What happened to the rest of the fish? Did they all die, or did some escape?
- Who owns the remaining two fish? Will he/she be competing with the Doge for the highest spot in the city?
- What will happen to the flying fish when the flying snakes arrive this year?
(I just had to put this in, the image is so close to what I imagine the Shuttered City to look like. Note that it isn't a public domain image as far as I'm aware, just something off Deviantart via the Land of NOD.)
Sunday, 22nd April, 2012, 05:08 PM #185
Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)
Love the picture, it is indeed very much how Shuttered should look. For the map I've changed a few things, I've erased the outline of where the World's Edge should be and I've erased bits of the Lands of the Night Cattle from the map if the specific hex hasn't had a write-up.
I'm also moving the Market Pits to 28.04 since they the previous location of them was an error.
The Lords Under the Mountain
On the northern edge of the Barrier Range stands a tall lonely mountain that seems to lean drunkenly. It is the home of the Lords Under the Mountain, Clan Penderghast. Though one of the Witch Clans they swear fealty to the Duchy of Thring and hold their mountain fortress in his name. And quite a fortress it is. The power that runs in their line allows them to disintegrate any object with a mere thought and they have used this to dig tunnels that honeycomb under their mountain. However, much of their home was destroyed by Portos Penderghast when he disintegrated one section of rock too many and brought the mountain down on his family's heads.
Nearly all of the Penderghasts were killed on that day, leading Honorius Penderghast to marry a Lady of the House of Thring rather than his cousin. Honorius has only had one son by this union and, while his father loves him dearly, he shows none of the power of his clan. In order to hide this fact Honorius has bound his son's eyes with a blindfold, claiming that his disintegrating power is so strong that anyone he casts his eyes on would surely be destroyed. Honorius spends his days poring over charts trying to discern which distant cousin to marry his son to so that he would be able to obtain a gifted grandson. He knows that if his foes learned of this weakness it would be the doom of his family and those he is sworn to protect.
For the Witch Clans to the south hate the Penderghasts. Following the fall of the Maddlows (23.19), the knights of Thring were able to pacify the Witch Clans for a time and rich trade flowed unimpeded down the River of Crystal Waters down from the North to the Keening Sea and the city of Blind Midshotgatepool (26.20) grew quickly. Much of this was thanks to the Penderghast Clan, the Lords Under the Mountain, who allied with the Dukes of Thring and received rich gifts. At this time, Gishard Penderghast looted Maddlow Castle, disintegrating great holes in its walls in hopes of finding any hidden treasure. If he found any, he never told but his searches have left the walls of Maddlow Castle perilously weakened.
For a time the Witch Clans were cowed for those who oppose the Penderghasts disintegrate into muck and ashes but the Clans are unruly and the Penderghasts have never been numerous and soon travel down the River of Crystal Waters was as perilous as ever. In this time the alliance between the Lords Under the Mountain and Thring grew ever tighter until Penderghast land was formally annexed nearly a century ago. Since then, the land has officially been the personal fief of the Duke himself, but each Duke appoints a Penderghast as "steward" of their mountain, which had allowed the male line of the Penderghasts to remain in power.
-Why did Portos Penderghast cause the mountain to fall on (most of) his family's home? Was it just an accident?
-Did Gishard Penderghast find any treasure?
-Does anyone know that the Penderghast heir has no power to disintegrate anyone? Does the heir know? How does he feel about his father blindfolding him?
-Who is Honorius planning on marrying his son to? The pickings are pretty slim... How does he son feel about his marital prospects?
-Are there any Witch Clans who live under the protection of the Penderghasts?
Last edited by Daztur; Sunday, 22nd April, 2012 at 05:46 PM.
Monday, 23rd April, 2012, 06:52 AM #186
Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)
In my first post about the Burning Lands I mentioned that a few humans from Shuttered are allowed to live on the north edge of it as long as they pay tribute to the gnolls. I thought that I’d finally flesh them out.
Hairy Jack’s Tower
Lying on the south coast of the Keening Sea is a small outpost run by a man of Shuttered known as Hairy Jack. His men herd cows and engage in some minor trade with a nearby clan of gnolls, with which Jack enjoys close enough relations with that some have joked that he must be having an affair with one of them.
The tower that Jack operates out of is an old ruin that has only been barely renovated and its basements have been solidly boarded up, Jack doesn’t know who built the tower and does not have any interest in finding out.
Jack would be more than willing to hire on any capable-looking travelles to help guard his herds as the Burning Lands is a dangerous place and even the gnolls smile and take his tribute, he doesn’t trust them to stay away from his cows. He is right about the gnolls, some of them at least, a band of gnollish youths too young to listen to their elders is planning to steal as much of Jack’s herds as possible and then leave a trail that leads any who pursue into a dead end canyon with a fake gnollish campsite at the end. They hope to be able to trap Jack’s men at the end of the canyon and then stampede any of the cows they are able to capture in after them.
-Who built Jack’s tower? What’s in the basement?
-Where do the nearby gnollish clan live? Will they frown upon the shenanigans of their youth?
-Is Jack unnaturally hairy?
Tuesday, 24th April, 2012, 06:41 AM #187
Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)
The Song of Ban and Ulena
Addendum to 39.23 (The Lost Folio)
Although the frustrated poet Trimoueil later decided that The Song of Ban and Ulena could only be published as a poem, it was first conceived as a play for the stage. The script, while a trifle long, was written in beautiful poetic meter and after reading the opening monologue Lucin Seutorian went running to his uncle (30.12) for funds for its production.
It was never staged, it wasnít even rehearsed, the casting was bad enough. The stage gloves for the costume of the Black Duke of Thring were so bulky that many of the actors who tried out had difficultly ripping the wings off of the nightingale prop. To make matters worse, Lucin became inconsolable after his beloved Narosi hairless died in its sleep mere hours after he had finally found an actor who could pull off the Dukeís speech about the childhood injury he had suffered while place kicking puppies.
It wasnít long before Trimoueil stormed off into the wilds, taking the only copy of the script with him, vowing never to write for the stage again. But the very morning after he departed the youth who had been cast as fair Ulena, the lady who had been imprisoned by the Black Duke and who waited in her tower for her beloved Ban to return and free her with only a firebird (04.05) for company, awoke with a single glowing feather clutched in her hand.
-Was the Black Duke of Thring a historical Duke or did Trimoueil make him up?
-Is there some connection between the meter of the script of the Song of Ban and Ulena and the songs of the leviathans (00.06)? What else could explain its apparent ability to bridge the gap between this world and the land of dreams?
-Who is Lucin exactly?
-Did the strange events of the casting of the Song of Ban and Ulena have any permanent effects?
Tuesday, 24th April, 2012, 07:02 AM #188
Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)
Interesting snippet from a blog post I just read: Hack & Slash: On Renewal
"And the day will come when the earth will not sleep. Winter will not come and the earth will remain awake during the long night. When renewal strikes the earth, she shall be invigorated, burning longer then the creatures upon her can stand.
She will remain awake because it is her duty -- her final task of years before she can take a long rest. For she does not sleep so she can shepard the end of man."
Wednesday, 25th April, 2012, 11:59 AM #189
I've been a little bit wary of going near the Long Night and the possibility of an apocalyptic 'Long Day' (which might also tie into the fact that if the world is flat, then the sun passes through the dominion of She Who Waits). I'm afraid of writing in anything that's too world-threatening, because it seems counter to the goals of a sandbox campaign. Either it means that the PCs are railroaded into thwarting the apocalypse, or they ignore it and the whole sandbox goes up in smoke...
Don't really know what to do about that. One possibility to alleviate (but not remove) the problem would be to make the apocalypse something that only PCs can trigger. This happened in Zzarchov Kowolski's G+ game after we accidentally killed the Lion of Judah who was supposed to hold back the end of days...
Wednesday, 25th April, 2012, 07:29 PM #190
Enchanter (Lvl 12)
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