Homebrew Letís Make a Hexcrawl Setting - Page 21
  1. #201
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    I've updated the appendices.

    I'm finding the evolution of the King in Splendour very interesting.

    The description of the tarrasque as the 'greatest of all beasts' reminded me of Behemoth, and that reminded me of this fascinating triplet of posts from Beyond the Golem about how, according to Jewish mysticism, the Behemoth and two other mighty animals will be devoured by the faithful at the end of days. Given the existing consumption of the tarrasque, the Passover connotations of the sangreal, the Abrahamic feel of the King in Splendour, it seemed fitting to incorporate this idea in the setting.

    The Long Table (06.03)
    Lying across a valley of the Draugmere Peaks is a stone. A man could walk for ten minutes and not reach its end. Deep carvings of animals and plants cover its surface. At one end, a great lionís head has been carved into the rock. At the other end, a manís head Ė eye sockets empty and wild Ė has been carved. The stone is roughly rectangular, and striped with many different colours and varieties of rock.

    When the Long Day has begun, taught a lion priest, all the faithful will gather by this rock. We will wash our feet in the river that runs beneath the stone and then take our places upon the stone. The King Himself will come before us with the sangreal, and each will drink from it in turn. The Lion Himself will come before us, dragging the body of Old Leviathan behind Him. By the time He has brought it before us, it will have cooked in the radiant heat that marks the end of days. His claws will slice through Old Leviathanís thick skin and out will pour steaming blubber and tender meat. The faithful will eat well. Finally the King and the Lion will go together down into the dark places of the earth and bring back the Dragon, who will gnaw through the mountains to make homes for the faithful. The faithful will rest easy.

    According to the quiet monks of the Stern Way, this rock marks the tomb of a stone giant emperor who once ruled the world. His body still lies buried beneath the river, and it is his face and his symbol Ė the roaring puma Ė carved into the table. He was not blind; the carving of his face was adorned with two ruby eyes as big as millstones, but they were long ago looted by the Pirate Kings. The giants scoff at pilgrims of the King in Splendour, but do not harm them.

    Hooks:
    What is the Old Leviathan?
    What is the true origin of the Long Table?
    Are there any other traces of the first stone giant king?
    Could someone retrieve the rubies from the Pirate Kings?

  2. #202
    Skeleton of a Great Bird, Sunken in Sand (11.32)

    At the far southern edge of the Shrouded Lands, there is a region of harsh desert where even the hardiest of nomads rarely venture. It is said that somewhere in this arid landscape there is to be found the skeleton of an enormous bird, with a wingspan of five hundred feet or more. In the shadow of its ribcage, small flowers grow, similar to those in the footprints of the Tarrasque (48.24) but dark blue instead of yellow. Inside its skull, which is cracked as if from a mighty blow, there dwells a man, shaggy-bearded and ancient, bearing a talisman which displays the twin faces of the Lion and the King. If questioned, he will claim to be the last keeper of the World's Edge Lighthouse (46.10).

    All around the bird skeleton there are drawn images in the sand, the same two over and over. The first, which the hermit refers to as 'despair', is an image of a hammer; the latter, which he calls 'hope', is that of an egg.

    Hooks:
    - Is this the skeleton of Ziz, the third great beast to go alongside Old Leviathan and the Tarrasque?
    - What are the properties of the blue flowers?
    - If so, how will this affect the prophesised banquet that the lion priests are awaiting?
    - Is the hermit really Nikos Farver, last of the lighthouse keepers? How did he get all the way from the lighthouse to here?
    - What is the significance of the hammer and the egg?

    The Piss-and-S*** Castle (13.12)

    This ruined castle in the west of Thring is caked with grime and smells appalling. Only the most miserable beggars dwell here, picking over the scraps of rubbish which are dumped here by Thringish folk for miles around. Indeed, once a year, the major castles including Tarengael send out a cartload of their most repulsive garbage and dump it in the castle's putrid halls.

    The story of the Piss-and-S*** Castle is this: long ago, when the Stannevs dwelled in Thring, they were joined by marriage to another family of sun-worshippers, the Tellevs. This alliance came to an end when the Tellevs adopted a divergent religious view, claiming that there was no division between King and Lion, and that His light was immanent in all things. The Stannevs regarded this as a vile heresy, an insult to the King in Splendour that implicitly denied his god-nature. A vicious religious war was fought, and the Tellevs were supposedly wiped out to the last man.

    Thereafter, the Lord Stannev decreed that all the former serfs and bannermen of the Tellevs would dump their waste in the old castle, and after this practice continued for one year and a day, it passed into law. In these latter days, the Stannevs are a much smaller house, and dwell far from Thring, yet the lords of the Duchy wisely continue to make their annual delivery to the castle. As a result, much of the castle's interior is now filled with waste, ranging from feces and food scraps to discarded objects and papers. The deeper one delves, the further back in history the rubbish goes...

    Recently, a hedge-wizardess named Taliah Bartleby, allegedly an illegitimate child of one the Foolish Sages (20.18) has begun snooping around the outskirts of the castle. Rumour has it she is looking for something specific.

    Hooks:
    - Did any of the Tellevs survive? Does their heresy live on anywhere in the Shrouded Lands?
    - Why did the Stannevs leave Thring, and what made them a smaller house?
    - Has anything valuable or interesting been thrown away along with the general waste?
    - Why is it wise to keep up the annual 'tribute' of rubbish?
    - What is Taliah Bartleby looking for?

    (Think of a fantasy version of this: Collyer brothers - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia )

  3. #203
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    For this post I’ll be creating a Thieves Guild for Blind Midshotgatepool using the random guild generator in the 2ed Complete Thief’s Handbook.
    Results: neutral to assassins, neutral to beggars, neutral to bards. So far, so boring. Attitudes of the law: opposition. Merchant attitudes towards the Guild (-4 on dice roll due to the city being poor as a result of the Shuttered blockade): opposition. There are 29 professional thieves in the town (using guestimated population I’m going to say that Shuttered has about 200K people and that Blind Midshotgatepool has 40K, but the pool of professional thieves is small in Blind Midshotgatepool due to it being poor and thus having slim pickings, I assume that there’s a lot of other random scum around that aren’t included here).

    The guild is led by a Guildmaster, whose rule is strong, cruel and despotic. Nice guy. The thieves guild is also centralized. That provides an interesting counterpart to the hopelessly divided legal government. OK, 85% of the 29 thieves in town are members of the guild. To make things more random, let’s roll a d100 for each. According to those rolls, a surprisingly-high five of the thieves in town are not a member of the guild and (rolls) they co-operate with the guild. So this despotic tyrant who rules the guild with an iron fist is friendly with the people who won’t bend knee. Interesting. Now we’ll roll for the experience levels of guild members, this won’t be canon since we want to keep this edition neutral but it gives us more information to riff off of: the guildmaster is 7th level, the second in command is 4th level and the rest of the big-wigs are levels 4, 6 and 2. I rolled pretty low. Hmmm, why is the second in command lower level than the guy who’s 4th in rank? Let’s have the second in command be in bed with the first in command, that’s a good all-purpose reason for promotion.

    Now let’s roll for the races of the top five members: Human, Half-elf, Human, Gnome, Human. The half-elf dabbles in magic, while the gnome is a straight thief (yay 2ed multi-classing!) Let’s roll for alignments (not canonical due to this being edition-neutral, but maybe some ideas here): The boss is CN, second in command is NE, the rest of the council is CE, NE and TN respectively. Nice guys. Determining gender randomly: MMFMF. Equipment availability: fair. Now the text tells me not to roll for special resource but to choose them by hand. Fah! Let’s choose one randomly! The guild has a “government snitch.” Interesting. Let’s write this up!

    The Thieves Guild of Blind Midshotgatepool

    With the civil government of Blind Midshotgatepool (26.20) hopelessly divided between five rival lords, much of the power of the city is held by the thieves guild and all of the power of the thieves guild is held in the well-manicured fist of Wortimer the Scrivener. Unlike the local merchants and lords who grovel before the men of the City of Shuttered Windows, the thieves have earned themselves a reputation as heroes among those who are too poor to live on dry land for their daring raids on Shuttered merchants and even the Tower Savage itself.

    Despite the tales that are whispered in the houseboats, most of the local thieves target Shuttered merchants because they’re the only ones with much money but Wortimer himself has nursed a sharp hatred against the sinking city ever since the warehouse where he was employed was burned to the ground in the war, leaving him poor and with few outlets for his sharp mind except for crime. And his mind is sharp enough to avoid risking his best men against dangerous outlanders, so he instead sends freelance thieves (especially travelling adventurers) against Shuttered merchants and provides them with intelligence and assistance in return for a cut of the loot.

    Recently Boros of Thring, the uncle of the current lady of Thring and the Duke’s personal representative in Blind Midshotgatepool has been coordinating with the five lords and what remains of the local merchant community in order to attempt to root out Wortimer’s operation. They have met with little success because many of the locals respect the swift, if arbitrary and cruel, justice that Wortimer metes out. Also, Boros’ squire is an informant for the guild.

    Aside from Wortimer himself there are several notable members of the Blind Midshotgatepool thieves guild.

    Mabalaquain: a half-elven enchanter of some minor skill. Wortimer’s right-hand man is vicious and conniving, always ready with a cruel mockery or a half-true rumor for other members of the guild. However, his position is secure as he is Wortimer’s paramour.

    Gwened: Mabalaquain’s human half-sister. She was brought on board by her brother, over the heads of some rather resentful junior members, but she soon proved her worth with the blade and silenced all doubts about her ability. She serves as Wortimer’s enforcer, carrying out his orders with excessive and creative force. The episode with the honeyed roped annoyed Wortimer but all was forgiven when she managed to suborn Boros’ squire.

    Mousey: after being exiled from his old home within the walls of a northern giant’s holding, the local gnome who the humans call Mousey quickly proved his worth as the most skilled sneak thief in the city. He favors traditional gnomish suspenders and sports a navel-length beard and appears quite harmless but often leaves traps, poisons and other nasty surprises behind in the buildings that he burgles. He especially favors “gifts” that only begin to have their effect years afterwards.

    Granny Lin: the guild’s professional fence. She has an especially sharp eye for rare herbs, plants and spices. She drives a sharp bargain but is known to have a soft spot in her heart for urchins and orphans and often scoops out snacks from her barrel of roasted peanuts for them and they tell her all that they know.

    Hooks:
    -Who is Mabalaquain's elven parent?
    -Wait, gnomes live between the walls of the homes of giants?
    -Who have some of the victims of the thieves guild been?
    Last edited by Daztur; Sunday, 29th April, 2012 at 03:48 PM.

  4. #204
    Three Curiosities of Blind Midshotgatepool (26.20)

    The Snake Wall:
    Nearly two hundred years ago, the five towns that make up this city were growing into each other, and it was decided that they should each ratify legislation that set their borders on exactly contiguous lines. However, the sly officials of Blindsnake snuck in a clause that no-one saw, making Blindsnake's borders approximately one yard wider than those of the other four towns. As a result, Blindsnake commands a monopoly on the tariffs for those entering and leaving the town. The other four towns were furious about this, and hired a coven of Earth Whisperers to destroy Blindsnake's margin by vanishing the very earth it was built on. The officials of Blindsnake acted quickly to arrest the Earth Whisperers on grounds of 'making an illegal construction without prior planning permission'. The apparently bottomless pits that they made can still be seen along the northwest edge of the town.

    The Hall of Five Gates: At the centre of the city stands a large wooden hall with five wide gates. This is the only place where one can legally pass from the jurisdiction of one town into another. It is not uncommon to see, for example, a Banshot merchant delivering her goods (always her - for all merchants of the Five Towns are women) to a warehouse, where prospective buyers from Sepool inspect the wares. If they agree to a deal, the merchant will then load up her goods, take them to the Five Gates, move into the jurisdiction of Sepool, then return to the place where she has (physically) just been.

    People, goods, animals and buildings are all marked as being under a particular jurisdiction, daubed with one of five colours of paint. Tampering with official paint is punishable by a harsh fine, but this doesn't often dissuade the Thieves' Guild. Nevertheless, Wortimer understands the importance of the system to the city's economy and does not want to dismantle it completely. For example, as the law currently stands, only a man painted with the yellow of Blindsnake can leave the city at all (see above), which means that he must pass through the Blindsnake gate. On any given night, there is a fair chance to see agents of the Thieves' Guild hanging around this gate, waiting to pounce on some enemy or traitor who they know is trying to flee the city.

    The Road Paved Quince: This road is a relic of the time before the war with Shuttered, when the August City was still rich. This minor streetway became the site of a battle of civil one-upmanship. Sepool had it paved in cheap raffrock, but the locals began to complain of the wailing, so Midton decided to go one better and pave it over with good quality granite. Puffed-up Pontgate paved it thrice, this time with marble. Next came Banshot to pave it quadrice, in silver, and lastly rich Blindsnake to pave it quince, in gold.

    Not coincidentally, this road ends at the old mansion of the Yaboon family, who for over a century have been known as "wizards of bureaucracy" for their almost supernatural ability to manipulate officials and bend civil ordinances to their own ends. The current owner of the mansion, Dabbon Yaboon, frequently offers his services as a consultant to Wortimer the Scrivener. It is possible that this relationship is the only reason that the thieves have not already stolen the entire road.

    Hooks:
    - Who are the Earth Whisperers?
    - Are the bottomless pits really bottomless? If not, what's down there? If so, do they at least intersect with any other tunnels?
    - Why are all the merchants of Blind Midshotgatepool female?
    - Who has betrayed the Thieves' Guild recently? Are they trapped in the city due to ridiculous regulations?
    - Why does raffrock cause wailing? Where can raffrock be mined, and is it good for anything?
    - How do the Yaboons manipulate bureaucracies? Are they a Mountain Clan, or just really good at what they do?

    (Note: 'quadrice' and 'quince' are not real words, but someone on Yahoo Answers seems to think they are, and for myself I think they should be.)

  5. #205
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    Well...


  6. #206
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    The Houseboats of the Five Towns

    Living within the laws of the Five Towns of Blind Midshotgatepool is a burden and it has only grown worse since the war as taxes on land have replaced taxes on the trade that no longer flows. In order to avoid this many of the poor of the cityl have taken to living in a dense warren of houseboats that now line the cityís waterfront. Officially lying within none of the five towns, the inhabitants of the houseboats are free from any laws but those of the thieves guild. However the five lords resent this and seek to make life difficult for these people, so there are some children in this neighborhood who have never set foot on dry ground.

    The Drowned Temple
    Hex 27.19

    Note: some inspiration from the ever-awesome blog at rolang.com here but a lot of details have been added and changed.

    Shara, the founder of Pontgate and companion of Ban the Clever, was one of the last priestesses of the old religion of Thring. Before Duke Ulthar the Loved tore off their crowns and replaced them with lead diadems, Thring was ruled by a gaggle of petty kings and behind each king was an earth whisperer. These priestesses, transformed as they were by their worship of the Pacharia, would lie with a king at the beginning of his reign and lay their knives across his throat at the end of it so that the land would be the king and the king would be the land. Long after the earth whisperers had been driven from the castles of Thring, their voices could be heard in its caves and hidden valleys, but their numbers dwindled with the passing years.

    Shara of Pontgate, seeking to reverse this trend, laid plans to build a temple to the Pacharia and called the witches of the wild woods to join her there. She promised her four companions that their fields would always be fertile as long as the pews of the temple were full of the bodies of worshippers. The other four accepted on the condition that the temple be built on a nearby island rather than within the city.

    The standing stones of Sharaís temple stood on that island until the men of Shuttered came. The five lords of Blind Midshotgatepool made no attempt to defend it and the invaders swarmed over it, searching for loot. It was then that the island sank beneath the waves with incredible speed, leaving behind a whirlpool that did more damage to the Shuttered armada than the five lords managed to. Neither the sailors nor the temples priestesses were ever seen again.

    After the signing of the Treaty Savage, the local people investigated what had happened to the temple and found it sitting undisturbed at the bottom of the Keening Sea. Fearing that their crops would fail if the temples pews were ever empty, the lord of Pontgate rounded up every criminal that he could lay hands on and chained them to its watery pews. Since then, every time a corpse rots away and slips its chains a new worshipper is sunk down to replace it.

    The temple is small but the fish of the Keening Sea are hungry and new victims are constantly needed. Some of the other lords resent Pontgate's insistent demands for new victims and the people have grown fearful knowing that stepping afoul of the August City's morass of laws means being manacled beneath the waves.

    Hooks:
    -What is the Pacharia anyway?
    -How did worship of the Pacharia transform its/his/her/their(?) priestesses?
    -What did it mean for the king to be the land and the land to be the king?
    -Where did the priestesses go after they sank it beneath the waves?
    -Does the August City really need to keep chaining people under the sea to keep the crops from failing?

  7. #207
    Oh god. That Drowned Temple sounds like America's actual penal system.



    The Tomb of Jarmond of the Knife
    Additional information about hex 29.14

    In days long past, there lived in the City of Many Windows a priest named Jarmond of the Knife. In those days the God of the City still walked its streets, always in the guise of a local city-dweller, sometimes with his wife on his arm; but it was given to the faithful to see his true form during moments of enlightenment. Jarmond was blessed to be visited in this manner not once, or twice, but eleven times, more than any other man in history. The last time was the most famous: Alberon appeared as a blacksmith, and he said unto Jarmond: "Go you to Bergolast, in the land of eternal ice, and tell the people there to repent their wickedness; for a day of shattered bonds is coming, and if they do not give themselves over to me they are lost." And he gave Jarmond a knife he had forged himself, and bid him keep it always.

    So Jarmond came to the City on the Tarrasque, and preached to the wicked there, but they ridiculed him and bound his limbs, and made him a jester for the Nine Immortals. To abase him and his religion, they forced between his lips the blood of the Tarrasque, and thus made him like them.

    The rest is already known. When the Shrouded Lands shook and Tiamat was slain, the Tarrasque broke free and razed the city to the ground. The men of Bergolast went into a frenzy, striking and stabbing each other to get free, but none could harm any other for the blood of the Tarrasque flowed in their veins. And Jarmond was dealt eleven mortal wounds with eleven spears, and eleven times he survived. And he saw the Tarrasque coming toward him, with the city all aflame. And he knew that Alberon his god was merciful, and he took the knife and plunged it into his own heart, and so died.

    Long was the journey to return the body of that saint to his homeland. When he arrived, he was interred in the greatest tomb that the city had ever seen, and his eleven prophecies were inscribed upon the walls of the tomb. Of those eleven, it is said that three had already come true, including the fall of Bergolast; the other eight passed into obscurity, and none can say if they have yet been fulfilled.

    The Tomb lies now at the very lowest depths of the Shuttered City, as it was built before the time of sinking began. The original streets are cold and silent, though some whisper that they are not entirely uninhabited...

    Hooks:
    - Wait a minute, Bergolast was in the land of eternal ice? What happened since then to make it into the Burning Lands?
    - Who were the Nine Immortals? Are any of them still alive?
    - What happened to the Knife of Jarmond? Was it taken back to his tomb or left in Bergolast? And what exactly are its properties?
    - Who carried Jarmond's body back to the City, and how?
    - What are the other eight prophecies of Jarmond?
    - What else can be found on the lowest level of the Shuttered City?

  8. #208
    The Temple of the Dead God (03.13)

    Far to the west of Thring, in a cold and haunted forest, there lies an evil temple which is the last great bastion of the Cult of Dead Tiamat. It is presided over by the witch-priestess Kolfrosta. The other inhabitants include a vulture with poisonous talons, a male slave who serves Kolfrosta, and a demonic bull shackled behind the temple's altar. When a pure-white heifer from the Lands of the Night Cattle is mounted by the demon bull, the heifer's flesh becomes corrupted. Thereafter, any who eat it will become corrupted and transform into ogrish monstrosities. Kolfrosta and all her predecessors began their service to the temple by eating this evil flesh.

    Recently, Kolfrosta has seen in her scrying of the future that her life will not last another month. In order to continue the succession of the witch-priestesses, she flew out on a storm-cloud and kidnapped the maiden Hleid, sister of the lord who rules the Castle of Dances. It is her plan to feed the corrupting beef to poor Hleid, who will then become the new witch-priestess of the temple. However, it will take the slave a long time to bring the night heifer all the way from the Kingswood to the temple in the west.

    The treasures of the Tiamat cult are stored in this temple, some ancient artifacts, some merely stolen by Kolfrosta from the surrounding regions. One of the most famous is a vulture's egg covered in gold script, which is rumoured to be kept in the nest of the poison vulture.

    Hooks:
    - Where is the Castle of Dances? Is it in Thring, or somewhere else?
    - Why is Hleid the chosen victim? Why not kidnap a local peasant girl instead?
    - Who was Kolfrosta before she ate the evil flesh? Did she eat willingly or not?
    - Where is Kolfrosta's slave right now?
    - What is written on the vulture's egg? What will it hatch into?

    (this entry is taken more or less unmodified from a Viking saga called Bosi and Herraud. I always find a disproportionate joy in finding D&D-like things from before D&D was invented.)

    The Wedge-Stone (47.11)

    The land is barren here, in a narrow gap between the Keening Sea and the World's Edge. One of the few features of note is a small split in the dry earth, running northeast, into which has been inserted a huge wedge-shaped stone ten feet high. The point of the wedge is driven into the crack, while the flat top appears to have some sort of runes engraved upon it. The runes read:

    All shall be as it was in the beginning. Drowned Andara again shall see the sun; black Serpantia, kingdom of worms, shall sleep beneath the waves.

    What Melnir did shall be undone; what the Traitor Prince did shall be undone; what the Drowned await shall come to pass.

    Look to me when the Hammer of Bronze is forged anew. Look to me on the twelfth night when the sea boils. Look upon me, ye of Serpantia, and despair.

    Sages say that the names Andara and Serpantia refer to ancient kingdoms, one of which was situated in the lands which are now the Keening Sea, and the other in the lands beyond World's Edge. The meaning of the rest of the inscription is currently unknown.

    Hooks:
    - Where are the lost kingdoms of Andara and Serpantia?
    - Who was the Traitor Prince and what did he do? Was he the Prince of Men, or someone else?
    - What is the Hammer of Bronze?
    - Could this stone be used to drain the Keening Sea into the sunken lands beyond World's Edge? Who would want to do such a thing?


    (I think this would be a more manageable apocalypse than the Long Day stuff. It would be a suitably epic change to the status quo, but the rest of the setting would be left more or less intact.)

  9. #209
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    Hmmmm, I'm realizing that Tarrasque blood is a bit like spice in Dune (my subconscious must've been telling me that what with giving a guy the epithet "of the knife"). So...the blood must flow!

    I like the apocalypse, a whole damn sea moving is sufficiently epic without being setting-destroying.

    And when I fall in age,
    In the sore necessity of death,
    May I not be smiling,
    If I praise not Urien.

    From the Llyfr Taliesin

    For the compilation, I’m working on welding the lands SW of Thring into a coherent region, so what I’ll do here is take the older post “The Jester Prince,” and incorporate it into this post about that old capital of the ruined kingdom which is now controlled by the Lords Sanguine (which I’m calling Gore since that is a kingdom in Arthurian legend and its name fits with all of the blood, also the MST3K episode about Outlaws of Gor was funny ).

    The Bastion of Rhegard
    Hex 05.20

    The old High Kings of Gore once looked from the windows of the high mountain towers of the Bastion of Rhegard out upon the lakes and hills of their kingdom. In those days, they alone drank the blood of the Tarrasque of Bergolast (38.28) and ruled the land with wisdom. But last of their line was Turien of the King of Fools and now the castle is home only to mice and ravens.

    Before it fell, every year without fail the kings who sat on the falcon throne would hold a festival where people traded roles for a week: freemen paraded around in their wives’ dresses, kings wore fool’s motley and – in the last year of the kingdom – twelve butchers acted as the king’s council of ministers. These were snidely called the Lords Sanguine, for they wore their robes of state beneath their bloody aprons.

    When the week had passed, the Lords Sanguine realized that they preferred the work of ministers to that of butchers and guzzled down the blood of the Tarrasque. They cast the king and his family from the south and Turien, still in tattered motley, begged the vassal kings of Thring for help in winning back his throne. But they were far too busy fighting the Lords Sanguine and each other and neither they nor the Verlimes (18.07) opened their gates of him. In the chaos Ulthar the Loved, the first Duke of Thring, was able to conquer the banks of the River of Crystal Waters and proclaim the Duchy of Thring.

    The Sanguine Lords keep the festival to this day, though they are careful to trade roles only with their wives. As for Turien, the King of Fools, he lived out his days Castle Tarengael (16.16.01) as court jester as did he son and his grandson after him.

    Today the Jester Prince (16.16.01) can often be found at the side of the Duke of Thring. In memory of the lost kingdom of Gore, the Jester Prince has the sigil of the Tarrasque rampant emblazoned on his shield and often accompanies the Duke on his hunts for the great beast.

    As for the Lords Sanguine they soon fell to fighting among themselves and soon the land of Gore was as stained with blood as the aprons of the first bloody lords. They rule still in the lands southwest of Thring, but the blood of the Tarrasque has given them more madness than wisdom.

    Hooks:
    -Why was it called the falcon throne?
    -Why did King Turien agree to be Duke Ulthar’s jester?
    -Is there anything worth exploring in the Bastion of Rhegard?
    -Who are the various Lords Sanguine today?
    Last edited by Daztur; Thursday, 3rd May, 2012 at 06:15 AM.

  10. #210
    Hound's Hearth (05.12)

    A walled town built on a hill in the midst of a dark forest, Hound's Hearth is populated by a unique race of humans who share a distant relationship to the tribesmen of Dogtur (04.08). They swear no allegiance to Thring, or the Freeholds, or the Lords Sanguine, and pride themselves on their strength and independence. The people of Hound's Hearth mock the patrilineal or democratic transfer of power in other nations of the Shrouded Lands. Here, their political system is driven solely by strength; specifically, by the strength of a man's dog.

    Each year there is a great dog-fight assembly in Hound's Hearth, where each Houndishman fields a dog (women are technically eligible, but traditionally do not compete). Whoever owns the champion hound will be King of Hound's Hearth for the next year. A good champion can win for up to 10 years consecutively, so there is some stability of power, but nevertheless each year's competition is fierce.

    The judges of the competition are a trio of wizened elders, former Kings. Senile and short-sighted, they are willing to accept just about anything with fur and four legs as a 'dog'. The current king, Hjalk, has reigned eight years with the help of his fire-breathing bear, Snalfi. However, Snalfi is now ailing, and the King is desperately searching for someone who can cure the bear before next year's dog-fight.

    Meanwhile, others are hoping to take his place, and will pay handsomely for a potential champion. One contender, a fiery youth by the name of Ilfann, has been making grand speeches about how deceiving the judges is wrong (despite it being a tradition honoured for nearly 400 years). Ilfann has put up a wandering lion priest in his house, and has heard the tale of Hound of the Underworld (see 'The Chant of Morning'). Despite the lion priest's assurances to the contrary, Ilfann is certain that this hound must be tamed and brought to the dog-fight in order to bring a new age of glory to Hound's Hearth.

    Hooks:
    - How did such a bizarre political system come into being? Why are these two related groups both obsessed with dogs in different ways?
    - Fire-breathing bears? Where do they come from?
    - What other creatures are fielded as 'hounds' in the dog-fight?

    (This also comes from a Viking saga, in this case Arrow-Odd.)


    Re: advice on running the Shrouded Lands in the 5E playtest: one thing I was thinking about a long time ago was to make elves exclusively non-player characters, as befits their more eerie, mythological nature in the setting. The traditional PC Elf will be reskinned as a Half-Elf. The traditional PC Half-Elf won't really have any place to go, but oh well, does anyone really play Half-Elf anyway?

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