Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Lingusia: Age of Strife - The Duchy of Aeornin, North-Eastern Hyrkania

Originally written for and used with D&D 5E, you can adapt this to 13th Age or other D&D clones easily enough. CRs and XP advice refer to D&D 5E....at the end of the article is my unedited map, which I'll try to clean up some day.

On spelling: Aeornin (in the Imperial Middle Speech) is also known as Eor'nin (in the Old Tongue) and the common lower class vernacular is to drop the 'nin which means "city" and call it Aeor, or sometime Eor. If you happen to have access to the Tomb of the Lizard King module from TSR, that module's venerable tomb is located somewhere in this region in Lingusia.

The Province of Aeor Gazetteer

Capitol of the province, ruled by Aramis Gonn Malastrond and seat of power for close to four centuries now. The city was founded on the ruins of the older Hettanar city of Cagastos, which was the southernmost city of the old Hettanar Expansion during the 1700’s, before a lengthy war between the empire and old Hettanar flared up and resulted in the annexation of the city (and recovery of the provinces of Yllmar and Dra’in).

Eor’nin is a modest but thriving city of roughly 20,000 population with a healthy community of halflings called the Marsh Feet and a small but robust community of local Silver Elves called the Green Folk (or the Graeleinuriens in elvish). There is also a small but distinct community of dragonborn in the area that are descendents of the old dragonkind of Skullheim who fled to the human controlled regions of the province between 1850-1920 when the reign of Cauthlicus the Supreme, the Black Dragon Lord, led to the annexation of Skullheim.

Eor’nin is structurally a Venetian-style canal city with large dikes and damns protecting certain lower-elevation quarters of the city from flooding. Major local products include rice and peat, valued for its use in enriching soil in the more arid corners of the Empire, as well as a variety of unique local products harvested from the vast Aeor Swamps.

Adventure Seeds and Ideas in Aeornin:

Some of the old city of Castagos still exists in partially flooded catacombs beneath the streets of Aeornin. These catacombs contain hidden secrets, tombs, and remnants of the era from when the northern Hettanar conquered the provinces right up to the gates of Capitol Hyrkan’ien.

The Duke Malastrond has an illegitimate son named Radavos who was born to one of the swamp witches of the Aeor tribes, local folk who predate Imperial control of the land. The swamp witch’s name was Serisada, and stories abound as to the duke’s wandering nature when he was younger and served as a general in the Emerald Guard in the region. Radavos, the story goes, has a strong following of those who would seek to do harm to the duke and elevate his power to the rank of Gonn (duke). One of the rumors suggests he has allied with Cauthlicus the Supreme of Skullheim. His plans to move on the capital of the province could lead to a variety of scenarios working against and for him.

Aeornin still maintains strong trade ties with Zarnian and Autrengardian neighbors to the north along the Baldaric Gulf. Hettanari pirates and plunderers still regularly target vessels allied in the name of Aeor, and also periodically seek to raid along the coast. A warlord named Hamodar has grown bold and in a vision from Hargameth he has assembled a vast army and plans to siege the city.

Qaliad, the North Temple
This ancient temple is one of the oldest and largest in the northern provinces, said to have been around before the era of the War of the Gods 2200 years ago. The temple is apart from the city some 20 miles east and north along the coast, and it is still maintained by a strong contingent of ascetic monks, priests and temple guards numbering some 200 strong. The temple itself is not unlike a fortress in appearance, and rumors that no demihumans are allowed on the grounds are true; only humans are permitted into the sacred grounds of the temple, which is dedicated to the worship of Naril, the lord of the sun, humanity and kings as well as a triumvirate of lesser deities including Hellias, Nyctaris and Temina, each goddess of which is regarded in this esoteric  sect as a daughter and wife of Naril. The prietss of this sect reject the Naril/Selene construct as a construct of human and elven relations and contend that there are Idean Codices, specifically the Codex of Original Light and Dark, which identify this first relationship among the god of sun and man and his three consorts.

Local provincial law is on the side of the temple, and a nonhuman violating the grounds of the temple is subject to three months of imprisonment, or worse if the violation is exceptional.

Special Encounters in the Qaliad: if an encounter happens here, there’s a 50% chance it’s one of the following instead of the regular chart:
D12        Result
1-6          A party of 4D6 paladins will be patrolling the area under sergeant Kalis Morn, a half elven woman.
7-8          A cluster of 4D6 skeletons directed by a ghast named Ragamond enigmatically appear and begin prowling through the area as if looking for something…will be destroyed when revealed to the temple (they work for the skeletal warrior Patharos in forest encounter 18). Ragamond will explain he is looking for a unique circlet but not why.
9-12       A cluster of 4D20 pilgrims seeking the temple will seek to convert or get the PCs to join them. Their leader is a priest of Hellias named Armondos who says he had an epiphany when serving on the battlefield during the war when the goddess appeared before him and told him to seek out Qaliad.

Hedras Forest
This forestland is thick and filled with mystery, but it is also a home to hundreds of peasants under the jurisdiction of the Duke who pay fealty to him in exchange for his protection and services. These villages make up the lifeblood of resources for the provincial capital, but they are also a notoriously superstitious lot and many have more than little blood relations to the Aeoric swampfolk. 

Despite its ominous nature and thick overgrowth, the Hedras Forest does not attract many monstrous denizens, though there is a rumor of a crafty tribe of kobolds in the region. There is also a remote community of dragonborn called the Sons and Daughters of the Fallen who dwell in the deep woods and claim to have descended from the great gold dragon Nimbus, said to have been a leader of their kind eight millennia ago. Supposedly their village in the woods contains a shrine made of the scales and bone, a sort of dragon reliquary called the Shrine of Nimbus.

Special Encounters in the Hedras Forest: if an encounter happens here, there’s a 50% chance it’s one of the following instead of the regular chart:
D12        Result
1-6          Kobold Village (2D20 kobold guards and 1D100 kobold commoners)
7-8          Dragonborn Shrine of Nimbus and village (3D12 dragonborn monks)
9-12       an abandoned cottage. 50% chance it contains a skeleton at a table, still clutching a dagger driven in to a map which shows the location of the Forgotten Temple to the south.

This lone fortress and community at the edge of the Misty Bay serves as a center of trade for the swampfolk and imperial villages in the area, of perhaps 2,000 folk in total. The fortress is ruled by Baron Alandor Elas Droask, a dour man of middle years who fought valiantly in the War of Strife and returned home less than a year ago to find his barony overrun with poachers, bandits and orcs.

Special Encounters in Kaskar: if an encounter happens here, there’s a 50% chance it’s one of the following instead of the regular chart:
D12        Result
1-6          4D4 guards, 2D4 knights and Baron Alandor Elas Droask are on patrol hunting orcs
7-8          A war party of 3D12 orcs, 1D3 orc chieftains and 1D4 orc eyes of gruumsh are attacking a village
9-12       A shipwreck along the Misty Bay has spilled out cargo and bodies. There is a gilded chest with a mark upon it indicating it is property of the Emperor Patraeus. It could be worth more delivered properly….the ship was the “Selenic Ray.”

The Forgotten Temple
Rumors of this temple are reinforced by some bandits who claim to have used its walls and ruins as a hideout at times, but most who deliberately seek out the temple do not find it. Half submerged in the swampland, this is said to be a ruin as old as Qaliad, forged by the servants of chaos when Qaliad was newly built, a sort of antithesis by the cults of chaos to the temple of order in the north. Its use as a temple of chaos seems to have fallen into dim memory, but the haunted halls of the temple and the catacombs beneath, even partially flooded by swamp water, is said to contain many ancient evils. Some bandits report of demons haunting the complex and hunting them, while others contend that the ghost stories are merely an excuse to keep other squatters away.

Special Encounters in the Forgotten Temple: if an encounter happens here, there’s a 50% chance it’s one of the following instead of the regular chart:
D12        Result
1-6          3D12 bandits and 1D4 bandit leaders have settled in the temple. The bandit lord is named Casperus Thorne, a half-elf rogue who fought in the war but went awol.
7-8          A lich named Sartorios from Jhakn has arrived with a contingent of ominous looking azer (2D6) mercenaries to research the temple. They may have driven out the bandits.
9-12       Three banshee sisters now haunt the temple hauls and prey upon those bandits who stay here.

One of several villages consisting primarily of swampfolk (Aeorics), this is a relic community that suffers from inbreeding and a suspicion of outsiders. Despite this, the people of Vardan will still take foreign gold and welcome any who might offer a sword’s protection against the many lizardfolk, orcs, kobolds and other denizens of the swamps which prowl the area. They have a constant problem with bullwug attacks, which increase dramatically during the spring when bullywug males go into violent frenzies after mating season.

This imperial township is a mix of Aeorics and Hyrkanians, and is ruled by Baron Altos Teskoar, another veteran of the Warof Strife who came back with many scars and memories of the brutal conflict against an army that had harnessed demons to do its bidding. Teskoar has been a bit “not right in the head” since his return and his paranoid suspicion of others has reached a weird high in which he regularly jails those who act strangely, foreign visitors and passers-by under suspicion of demonic possession or seditious behavior. Rumor is he has locked his wife Altressa and daughter Timione in the High Tower of Trellis Keep, which itself is a tottering-moss covered relic of an older era that has barely been refurbish and reinforced even as it keeps trying to sink into the swamps.

It doesn’t help that the swampfolk of Beauvul would like to see Trellis fall and its imperial baron go away. There’s a suspicion that a doppelganger named Atrea works in the area to sew discord in the name of Tsathoggua.

Beauvul and the Temple of the Frog God
The remote Aeoric village of Beauvul does not like outsiders and its strange looking locals are suspicious of all who might stumble across the village. Unknown to most, the village long ago made its peace with the bullywug tribes and have actually interbred, creating a strange half-batrachian folk who worship the Temple of the Frog God, Tsathoggua to the south of the village. Outsiders who get too close to the truth of this village are made to disappear into the depths of the temple.

The Green Haunt
Here is where the bulk of the bullywug tribes are located, worshipping their dark god Tsathoggua and other demon lords. The Green Haunt is a deadly neck of the Aeor Swamplands, and no swampfolk guide would ever willingly steer a party of adventurers into this area save perhaps in revenge. Swampmen of Beauvul are the only who dare enter…and they are half-folk of this land, one of the few welcome amongst the batrachian tribes.

Aside from bullywugs, froghemoths, shambling mounds and other swamp denizens abound in this region. There are believed to be three young green dragons, two brothers and a sister, which hunt in the region as well.

Special Encounters in the Green Haunt: if an encounter happens here, there’s a 50% chance it’s one of the following instead of the regular chart:
D12        Result
1-4          A village of degenerate Aeorics (roughly 200 total) that will be immediately untrusting and suspicious of the party. They will provide instructions to anyone who asks for temple directions that instead take them to the next encounter.
5-6          a war party of 2D20 vegepygmies, 1D4 vegepygmie guards and 1 chief are looking for a fight
7-8          1D4 froghemoths on the prowl
9-10       2D4 tendriculous waiting in ambush.
11-12     2D4 algoids waiting to attack

It is said that the heart of the bullwug empire is located here, in the treacherous heart of the Green Haunt, where the bullwug king Vaarg rules. Many monstrous beings inhabit this evil city, which is itself said to be a remnant of an ancient elven city lost to time. Skalios is said to be protected by an avatar of Tsathoggua itself which manifests as a 288 hit point froghemoth.

Dagan’s Rest
This ancient fortress-spire in the swamps is visible from several miles away due to the immense size of the ancient tower, forged entire in basalt and iron. The tower is believed to have been much larger at one time, but much of its mass sank into the swamp, and supposedly the first several levels of the tower are now beneath the mossy earth and possibly flooded. Its current occupants are unknown, though there is a rumor that the bastard son of the duke, Radavos, the son of the Swamp Witch, has occupied the tower and uses it to garrison loyal demihumans, including the orc chieftain Khorus and his tribe.

The name of Dagan’s Rest is a mystery, but some scholars in the area note that it was first identified in 1192 AW in the region, over a thousand years ago, and that the Aeorics of the time were calling it b y that name already. No one knows who built it, but the style of the tower is reminiscent of old Kadantanian construction from Amech.

Special Encounters in Dagan’s Rest: if an encounter happens here, there’s a 50% chance it’s one of the following instead of the regular chart:
D12        Result
1-4          a patrol of 2D8 orcs, an equal number of wargs and 1 orc war chief plus his warg.
5-6          A war party of 3D12 orcs, 1D3 orc chieftains and 1D4 orc eyes of gruumsh
7-8          2D4 orcs and 2D10 goblin vassals
9-10       2D4 adherers….these creatures live in the spire and maintain it. They are cohabitating with the orcs
11-12     Radavos is visiting with 2D4 rogue knights (see knight stats) and 3D4 veteran soldiers to speak with Khorus.

The Lair of Ungash
The ogre king Ungash is one of several would be underworld conquerors who claims to own the swamps. He fights with the orcs of Khorus and the bullywug tribes of the Green Haunt regularly, but doesn’t spend that much time battling the Aeorics for reasons unknown (it is believed the local swampfolk pay a lot of tribute to him). He will attack Hyrkanian caravans whenever the opportunity arises. He has at his command a medly of monstrous denizens and an entire tribe of ogres who call themselves the Vagada’Ungash, or “fists of the warlord.”

Ungash avoided the entire War of Strife event, and as such his tribe of monsters in the deep subterranean lairs is quite strong.

Special Encounters in the Lair of Ungash: if an encounter happens here, there’s a 50% chance it’s one of the following instead of the regular chart:
D12        Result
1-6          1D8 ogres and 2D4 half-ogres on patrol
7-8          Ungash (who is actually an ogre with 5 levels of fighter) and 3D4 ogre attendants plus 2D4 hell hound pets
9-12       1D3 ettins that are trying to start a fight with the ogres in the area

This is a smaller human community of mostly Hyrkanians with a few emancipated Aeoric swampfolk. Navaris has a brisk trade with the gnomes of Rogrondae, and also has an effective tower keep and modest stone wall for defense. It is ruled by Baron Altimore, who coordinates closely with Wesnaris and Trellis to keep the roads through the swamp safe and operable. He is a cousin to Baron Teskoar and worries for his relative’s mental sanity, and may send adventurers to check on him.

Special Encounters in Navaris: if an encounter happens here, there’s a 50% chance it’s one of the following instead of the regular chart:
D12        Result
1-6          A swamp festival is underway and folk from all over are coming to celebrate the Feast of the Green, which seems to be a relic of an older sacrificial pagan ritual of old. During the ritual 2D4 druids of Gravenor will show up and try to disrupt the ceremonies and revelry.
7-10       Baron Altimore (level 8 fighter) and 2D6 knights on patrol
11-12     a raiding party of 2D4 ogres and 1D4 half-ogres from Ungash are attacking one of the outlying villages in the area.

Fort Wesnaris
This is the Hyrkanian garrison which provides protection for caravans in the region, and serves as an inland hub of trade for the settlers in the region. From this point where the swamps end much of the land is farmable with rich soil, and hundreds of villages in the region provide resources and food for the Imperial Capitol to the south. Wesnaris is ruled by Commander Helena Asoctair, a former paladin of Naril and current Imperial Guardsman who is assigned to protect the region against threats like Ungash and Khorus. She falls under the provincial control of Aeor, but is considered a vassal of the Emperor.

Special Encounters in the Fort Wesnaris: if an encounter happens here, there’s a 50% chance it’s one of the following instead of the regular chart:
D12        Result
1-6          A village is under attack by 4D8 orcs and 2D4 guards are defending.
7-10       Commander Helena Asoctair (level 3 paladin/level 5 fighter) and 2D6 knights on patrol
11-12     a wealthy caravan from the Capitol with some potions and scrolls is passing through and willing to do business.

The river port of Asteros is ostensibly the “Eastern Capitol” of Hyrkania but really it’s just an affluent port town dominated by the merchants who purchase much of the land to move goods to and from the capitol while avoiding the complexities of the West Bank. It is ruled by Baron Tulimaros, a vassal of Aeor who pretends like he is not one river’s length from the glory of the Imperial Province across the river.

Special Encounters in the Asteros: if an encounter happens here, there’s a 50% chance it’s one of the following instead of the regular chart:
D12        Result
1-6          A patrol of 4D6 guards and 1D6 knights will check out the PCs.
7-10       Baron Tulimaros with a contingent of 2D4 sycophants and 3D4 guards is out touring his town.
11-12     A tiefling ship captain named Altar Vadane lost all his crew recently due to “reasons” and he is recruiting, promising to pay good gold (50 GP per head) for a voyage to Autrengard in the north carrying a cargo of silks and ore.

Carst Mill
This is the largest and most productive lumber mill in the region, and generates a majority of the lumber used by the northern provinces of Hyrkania. Much of the lumber in Carst is hauled to Asteros for export across the empire. Its biggest threat comes from the monsters in the area, as well as the rogue druids of northern Gravenor who violently object to the deforestation of the region.

Special Encounters in the Carst Mill: if an encounter happens here, there’s a 50% chance it’s one of the following instead of the regular chart:
D12        Result
1-6          3D4 crazed druids of Gravenor will be either assaulting or planning to assault the mill.
7-10       Quartermaster Devon Farstor (fighter level 5) is out on patrol with 3D4 guards against threats
11-12     A raiding party of 3D6 orcs and 1D10 ogres (a mix of rebels from Khorus and Ungash’s gang) have decided to hit the mill to start fires.

Safar Ruins
The Safar Ruins were once a prosperous local township and barony, but it was sacked and destroyed during the forces of the war in 1,960-1962 and the land was never repopulated. Efforts to retake the town from the ghosts and monsters of the area were unsuccessful as villagers would be found mysteriously murdered and later even reanimated. Stories of a necromancer named Crowlus are told by locals, a ghoulish lord of darkness who claimed the land for his own after the Dark Pharaoh fell during that war.

Special Encounters in Safar Ruins: if an encounter happens here, there’s a 50% chance it’s one of the following instead of the regular chart (chance is 100% if night time):
D12        Result
1-4          4D8 skeletons with 1D12 skeletal warhorses will attack the party as if simulating some great battle from when they were alive
5-6          4D6 specters will begin to stalk the party
7-8          a ghost will appear and beg the party to aid it in some task it was doing in life but can never complete, before going mad and attacking
9-10       4D6 zombies and 1D6 ogre zombies prowl the ruins
11-12     The necromancer Crowlus (archmage) is out for a stroll with 3D4 zombies, 2D4 ogre zombies and his pet nothic to protect him

The Great Tree of Rogrondae contains a community of several hundred forest gnomes, who call themselves the “Genuri” in their own gnomish tongue. The genuri look to a council of five elders to provide leadership, but local defense goes to the gnomish warrior captain Alrond, who also heeded the call to arms of Hyrkania during the War of Strife and returned recently, bringing with him a filthy amount of loot taken from Hyrendan coffers. His gnomish community is one of the only ones which regularly engages with humans in trade.

Rogrondae’s proximity to the spider haunts as well as its knightly contingent of warrior-gnomes who call themselves the Spider-Slayers is no accident; some claim Rogrondae was founded specifically to serve as a fortress against which the threat of the Spiderhaunts could be fought long ago.

Special Encounters in Rogronde: if an encounter happens here, there’s a 50% chance it’s one of the following instead of the regular chart:
D12        Result
1-6          3D4 crazed druids of Gravenor will be prowling the area to cause problems for the gnomes.
7-10       Warrior Captain Alrond (gnome knight) and 1D6 gnome veterans will be on patrol. They may ask for aid against the accursed druids.
11-12     2D6 giant spiders and 1D4 ettercaps are making a  raid on the gnomish settlement from the Spiderhaunts

The Spiderhaunts are a stretch of the Niras Northwood which is occupied singularly by giant spiders and other arachnid denizens, including ettercaps and other monstrosities. Stories tell of a giant queen spider called Hylliasca ruling from the heart of the region. The gnomes of Rogrondae maintain a martial order dedicated to killing whatever comes out of this region. Few sane folk dare venture into its depths, but stories tell of how the region was once home to an ancient elven kingdom now lost to time, which succumbed to a terrible plague that left only spiders in its wake.

Special Encounters in the Spiderhaunts: if an encounter happens here, there’s a 50% chance it’s one of the following instead of the regular chart:
D12        Result
1-6          2D6 giant spiders and 1D3 ettercaps prowl about
7-10       an Aranea named Persiphene takes an interest in the party, and will appear as a elven woman in need of aid to lure them into a trap where up to 3D8 giant spiders lurk
11-12     A gargantuan spider queen Hylliasca takes an interest in the PCs

Dragon’s Rest and Sholoth
The mountains that are said to be forged from the bones of a fallen ancient dragon (Nimbus?) in which the wayward ashtarth city of Sholoth resides. Sholoth’s descendants are said by some to be the survivors or exiles of the lost elven city where the Spiderhaunts are now.

Special Encounters in Dragon’s Rest: if an encounter happens here, there’s a 50% chance it’s one of the following instead of the regular chart:
D12        Result
1-6          A drow guard patrol of 12 drow, 2 drow warriors and 1 drow mage
7-10       A mad drider and his flock of 1D6 othrer driders called Sallitath who will likely attack but if somehow befriended can show the adventurers a way in to the depths of Sholoth.
11-12     A hidden entrance to the depths of Sholoth (Perception DC 21 to find it); 75% chance guarded by a drow patrol (as above)

A mining town of great important, held by the imperial guardsman commander Kalgoas, a half-elven war marshal who insures the gold mines remain safe from interlopers (such as the rogue druids of Gravenor).

A city of mostly Nirasien descent, the folk of Gravenor are ruled by Baron Vorlusk, who pays nominal heed to the will of the provincial duke. The city is known for its rogue druid circle led by the heretic Yapandar which believes that the purity of the forest and encroachment of man must be stopped by the divine proclamation of the World Spirit, Ga’Thika.

Spirit Hills
A thick wooded hillland laden with rich gold deposits. The hills are rife with old mines now abandoned and left to be occupied by monstrous denizens and bandits, as well as numerous thriving gold mines under the protection of the soldiers of Askan.

The last stop before descent along the northern rim of the Rift of Tragonor, where Belladasian merchants make their way through the highlands to trade with Hyrkania. Run by Baron Mandaras, a half-Belladasian/Hyrkanian who is suspected to be one of the richest men in the empire outside of the Emperor himself; he maintains a private garrison and entourage larger than the duke’s in the province, and Eskalos itself is nearly 8,000 population strong, in an area not known for its resources.

The river-port and protective garrison for the great western bridge. Currently ruled by Commander Malthias, a loyalist to the duke of Aeor.

Inn of the Seven Sisters
A well-known respite for travelers to the dwarven lands in the Agarask Mountains. The Inn’s proporietor’s are the so-named seven sisters, all dwarven women of supreme beauty (yes, really) named Esgrata, Vimi, Tulleris, Vada, Brunera, Migdana, and Julie. They are protected by a burly half-ogre named Kin who is the bouncer and overseer (and also a 12th level fighter).

The Lost Tomb
This is the legendary lost tomb of the Lizard King, where he periodically rises once every century to try and fulfill his destiny to conquer the swamps and drive humankind out. He has failed so far and been destroyed recently, it seems. When it is not housing undead lizard kings it is used as a bandit lair and also contains a temple to the undead demon lord Orcus.

The Lost Tomb is also the lair of the black dragon Aulicus, one of the sons of Cauthlicus in Skullheim. He is a conflicted dragon exiled for his own sense of cowardice, then forced through magic to work for the Lizard King. Now free of compulsions, he seeks his own path.

A modest imperial town which suffered greatly under recent bandit and lizardfolk attacks that ended when the Lizard King was destroyed.

A village of mostly swampfolk that are extremely shy of foreigners. They have friendly trade relations with the lizardfolk in the area and some lizardfolk families live with the humans in Skall.

Vaskaris and Vam
Two noteworthy lizardfolk communities in the area. Numbers are vague but it is believed there are close to three thousand lizardfolk in the region, and these two communities serve as trading and religious hubs. The lizardfolk seem to revere a variation on the Amechain pantheon borrowed from Belladas to the east, which is not unusual a some scholars believe these lizardfolk migrated here a thousand years ago from Terkithyi lands in that region. They call themselves the “Anikathi.”

The western dwarven city, and the only city which permits humans and elves to visit. Ruled by Prince Galodar of the iron dwarf clans in the region.

Iron Angdar
The dwarf-only capitol of this region, ruled by King Haggadas, cousin to the Great Iron King of the south. One of many colonies of the Iron Kingdom.

Lake Savathe
A deep and forbidding lake said to contain the Serpent Beast of Savathe, a predator which hunts those who walk its shores. May just be a voracious drake or dragon of unknown nature, but it’s very efficient and few villages will reside closer than a mile from shore, saying almost all who get too close will be slain eventually.

The lake is sulphurous and unwelcoming to most; it is in the heart of the great caldera formed by the Agarask mountains.

Isle of Asadan and the Temple of the Scorpion
A remote haunted isle noted only for its enigmatic and abandoned temple which houses an immense metal sculpture of a giant scorpion. Unknown as to what god this represented, but some think it is a depiction of Kathak. The temple is usually occupied by monstrous denizens seeking the solitude of the island who have somehow avoided the beast of the lake.

Isle of Hinir
This even more remote isle is unoccupied but there are stories that ghosts of the victims of the beast of the lake reside on the isle, drawn to an ancient dolumn of Dreaming Stones which prevent them from finding their way to the underworld.

This bold tree-village of wood elves who call themselves the Kaelythians maintain a safe relationship with the creature of the lake apparently for they have been here for centuries. They are mistrustful of outsiders and sometimes even of “gentrified” elves.

Pyramid of Vosk
This pyramid was built long ago by unknown forces, although it too bears some symbols and design styles reminiscent of early Kadantanian monument design. No one knows how to get in, though the immense stone blocks which bar passage into the hidden complex within have been identified. No one who claims to have gone to find its hidden treasures or secrets has ever returned in the last four centuries. Hettanar centuries ago said it contained the spirit of an ancient god called Higilithur the Devourer.

The ancient fortress of Skullheim was once ruled by men who harnessed the dragons as beasts of burden and war. About six centuries ago the dragons revolted and cast off the control of men, and two centuries later Skullheim was abandoned, only to be taken over by the black dragon lord Cauthlicus and his brood. It is now occupied by a couple dozen chromatic dragons and at least two hundred spawned dragonborn and marlak draconians. There are always stories of how they seek to expunge all humans from the land, but nothing ever seems to come to pass. Another rumor is that Cauthlicus is in a century-long sleep, but that when he awakens he will have a master plan to drive the humans out of the region and claim the swamps for his own.

The elven city of Ialithe is friendlier to outsiders than its neighboring township, but still leery of those who take the time to forge their way into the dangerous Agarask Mountains. Ruled by Queen Sevene’, these Kaelythian elves are always on the watch for threats from Skullheim and the many orcish tribes that prowl the north mountains, as well as irate iron dwarf war parties seeking to drive elves out. The dwarves have long hated the elves of this region due to an old feud over the ownership of the complexes at Anterol and Angdar when the iron clans first arrived in the region three centuries ago. The elves ceded the territory that was once theirs, but only after a lengthy and bloody conflict.

The war-citadel of the Burning Blood orcs led by warlord Skolkaros, this clan was one of many that answered the call of the southern armies, fighting against the local forces to distract and deplete reinforcements to the Empire during the War of Strife. They lost hundreds of orcs in raids against Ialithe, Angdar and Aeornin, but there are still thousands or orcs in this region.

Another underworld community of mixed monsters, it is rumored that a dark elf clan called Mazdibharethe settled here and dominates the local orcs as fodder. Why the clan migrated away from Sholoth or Dahik is unknown. They are said to have a male ruler, however, called Civerizas, who worships Black Annis and Corrigan as Unseelie goddesses.

Encounters in the Province of Aeor:
XP Quick Reference: Easy 1800-2700; Medium 3600-5400; Hard 5400-8400; Deadly 8400-12600

Swamp Encounters in Aeor (EL 6-8)
Check six times per day: 18+ on D20 an encounter occurs
D12+D8                Result
2                              adult black dragon (raider from Skullheim) named Kalista. She is looking for good prey or treasure, and will toy with any adventurers she comes across.
3                              A drow raiding party from Sholoth. Includes 8 drow warriors (50 XP each), 2 drow elite warriors (XP 1800 each), and 1 drow mage (8400 XP total). They are looking fo human and elven slaves to carry back to Sholoth as plunder in honor of Dalroth.
4                              A remote swampfolk town; the Aeoric of this town are reclusive and possibly xenophobic; will attack if the adventurers aren’t careful. The town has 12D20 commoner occupants and 4D8 guards. If befriended,75% chance that 1D4 scouts in the village will be willing to work for the PCs for 25 gold each. 50% chance the village grows witch grass in the area as a protection from magic.
5                              A bullywug community of approximately 200; will be hostile without quick negotiations. A bullywug priest of Tsathogghua will call upon the town protector that arrives in 1D3 rounds from the swamps nearby: 1 colossal froghemoth (XP 7200)!
6                              A large field of witch grass (Nature DC 15 to spot what it is before getting far in).
7                              A war party of 7 (3D4) trolls are making their way into the swamps. They are either hunting men (1-2), seeking the Temple of Tsathoggua (3-4), looking to consult with the hags of the swamp on some matter for the Troll Queen Invidia (5-6) or they are refugee mercenaries from the War of Strife seeking a cave to hole up in.
8                              A village of lizardfolk. Roughly 10D10 normal lizardfolk, 2D4 shamans and one king are here. There is a 20% chance they are harboring a vampiric lizardman and are evil, but otherwise will be neutral or cautious to visitors that don’t outright attack them.
9                              A party of 3D4 hunters and trappers are working their trade. Will be hostile if the PCs seem to be encroaching on their turf (use veteran stats).                    
10                           A war party of 40 (8D10) bullywugs (XP 50 each) hunting for sacrifices to Tsathoggua.     
11                           A hunting party of 12 (4D6) lizardmen (XP 100 each), and 2 (1D3) lizardmen shamans (XP
                                450 each) looking for game, trade, or an easy raid; will be friendly if approached, but
                                20% chance they are under sway of a vampiric lizard man and are evil
12                           A cluster of 2D4 will-o-wisps (450 XP each) will harry the party and try to get them to chase the wisps. They will lead them to either the lair of a hydra (1-4) or a hangman’s tree (5-6) with 3D8 hangman’s zombies.
13                           A party of yuan-ti are seeking out the Forgotten Temple for research to be conducted by the pureblood noble named Alanna Sevaris. She is accompanied by 4 pureblood servants (XP 200 each), 2 malison bodyguards (XP 700 each) and her advisor, the abomination Grotash (XP 2900). They won’t be openly hostile and would barter for knowledge on the location of the temple; she’ll explain she thinks it was a temple to the Amechian god Dakkanich long ago, and may be as old as the elven ruins of the land are.
14                           A coven of three green hags (1800 XP each) named Sadie, Vermille and Tesha lurk in the swamp waiting for likely victims, masquerading as Aeoric girls who are lost, or dryads who are in need of help. They have a marshy cove in which they seek to lure victims where a jack-in-irons giant called Omvusor waits to assist in the murder (XP 2900). There’s a 10% chance the PCs accidentally stumble on the cove first, catching the giant off guard….it is clear he is a victim too, though perhaps deserving of his fate.
15                           5 (2D4) shambling mounds move along in a feeding frenzy. Perception DC 12 to spot them before they see the party.
16                           A lost elven ruin: this relic of the forgotten elven empire of old juts up in ancient alabaster pieces mixed with emerald remnants of what must have been a vast and impressive complex; most is submerged in the swamp. It is a safe place to rest, but at night there is a 50% chance an elven ghost manifests in the darkness, and a 10% chance a faerie circle containing a planar gate to the Feywild might sprout at dusk. There is another 10% chance the drow from encounter 3 show up at night drawn to the lights, or if found during the day they may be camping here.
17                           A party of 3 demonic knights ride through the swamp in search of the Lost Tomb to visit the temple of Orcus. Their names are Pyrros, Vaskar and Sadeena. They will possibly not attack a party that provides direction to the tomb, or gossip and news, but will regard any party sporting the amulets of good gods as fair game.
18                           A lone hydra prowls the area; Stealth DC 14 to avoid it catching the PCs’ scent.
19                           A froghemoth moves through the swamps (DC 14 perception check to spot it).
20                           2D3 hydras prowl as a pack!!!! Stealth DC 18 to avoid being detected!

Forest Encounters in Aeor (EL 6-8)
Check six times per day: 18+ on D20 an encounter occurs
D12+D8                Result
2                              adult green dragon (20% chance adventurers stumbled on its immediate territory)  prowls the area looking for food or loot.
3                              A drow raiding party from Sholoth. Includes 8 drow warriors (50 XP each), 2 drow elite warriors (XP 1800 each), and 1 drow mage (8400 XP total). They are looking fo human and elven slaves to carry back to Sholoth as plunder in honor of Dalroth.
4                              A ryven badgerfolk village; 6D10 Ryven badgerfolk will appear to defend the village, especially if there are elves visible.
5                              A barrow tomb of a lost noble or chieftain of the Aeorics; 30% chance the tomb has been corrupted with necrotic energy and contains 5 (2d4) wights (XP 700 each) which will attack if the tomb is entered. 40% chance that the tomb will contain 5 (2D4) sepulchral guardians (700 Xp each) instead and 1 wight.
6                              A nomadic tribe of 4D20 grippli move quietly in the forest; they will avoid contact unless the adventurers are obviously friendly, and will engage in trade if offered (they have little though).
7                              A pack of 7 (2D6) scythe trees wait in ambush, will attack for sure if elves are present.
8                              A group of 10 (3D6) druids of Gravenor (XP 450 each) with an equal number of giant badger pets (XP 50 each); these druids are TN or NE and appear to have a strange aspect about them, as if brainwashed, though it is not by magic. Will attack if the PCs exhibit any possible harm to the woods, or seem to show improper reverence to nature; they will state they are hunting ryven for the damage they have caused the forest.
9                              A hunting party of 4D6 kaelythian wood elves (rangers level 1D4 each) will possibly spot the party first unless the party rolls DC 15 or better Perception. Neutral to party or friendly if wood elves are amongst them.
10                           A hunting party of 15 (3D10) Ryven badgerfolk (100 XP each); they will not be openly hostile but will try to be intimidating if the party is obviously weaker/smaller; will attack if elves are present
11                           22 (4D10) orcs (XP 100 each) along with a war chief (XP 1,100) and eye of gruumsh (450 XP) are in a raiding party; 50% chance they are caught camping in a shelter cave if encountered during the day.
12                           A sprite home. There are 4D12 sprites (XP 50 each) and they will immediately harry any who appear to drive them away.
13                           A cluster of 3D4 satyrs and 3D4 nymphs cavort about in a faerie circle and will invite the PCs to join them; DC 14 Wisdom save to avoid being caught in the reverie, disappearing into the circle and aging 1D12 years (re-roll 11 or 12 and add over) after reappearing the next day. If the PCs avoid the faerie circle the satyrs and nymphs will remain in the mortal plane to dally with the mundane folk for a while before disappearing.
14                           A group of 11 (2D10) eladrin led by the seelie knight Kesvorin who are hunting the rogue grimm that have been assaulting fey in the mortal realm as well as the feywild. They will gladly accept aid in this task.
15                           A caravan from the southern woods has lost its way as the road seems to have vanished. The caravan master named Camadus Long would be grateful for assistance; he and his 8 guards and 20 commoner servants are quite lost. There’s a 50% chance that a cluster of 4D10 pixies led by Percivus are responsible for his plight.
16                           A lost elven ruin: this relic of the forgotten elven empire of old juts up in ancient alabaster pieces mixed with emerald remnants of what must have been a vast and impressive complex. It is a safe place to rest, but at night there is a 50% chance an elven ghost manifests in the darkness, and a 10% chance a faerie circle containing a planar gate to the Feywild might sprout at dusk.
17                           Ominous Black Tower in the woods: home to the cadaver lord Immortus (XP 700), who will be friendly at first, but his tower is riddled with 16 (3D10) cadavers (100 XP each). He will seek to lull the party into a compromising position using illusions of the tower to disguise himself and his minions as living beings (DC 15 Wisdom save to penetrate the veil of the illusion) and add them to his collection. He has a long term goal: to steal the sacred codex of Qaliad and will pay evil adventurers to do it handsomely.
18                           A skeleton warrior (XP 11,500) named Patharos who is searching for his circlet. He was told by the witch Black Annis herself that he would find it in the Northwood, but he has had no success so far. He has found it confounding…his ability to track it is haywired; unknown to him the Grimm in encounter 19 has it and his unseelie magic is causing scrying confusion.
19                           Grimm: a trio of grimm (XP 2900 each) named Luthor, Asperus and Vennatos are hunting elves and other fey beings of the woods. There is a 40% chance that the PCs find them at the tail end of slaughtering a village of elves, gnomes or ryven.
20                           A treant named Ossivos will take an interest in the adventurers (for better or worse conditional to their actions) and if they are deemed good he will mention that the druids of Gravenor seem to have become corrupted, and now seek to stop all deforestation…..both natural and unnatural, breaking the harmony of nature; he explains that he thinks they have been corrupted by the Bramblewood of the unseelie in the Feywild, and that spots around Gravenor are starting to show this corruption….he also thinks the Grimm were summoned here by the druids, and that they do not really worship Ga’Thika.

Road Encounters in Aeor (EL 6-8)
Once per two hours: 17+ on D20 an encounter occurs
D20                        Result
1                              A party of pilgrims seeking out Qaliad; will tell the PCs all about it
2                              A lone knight named Ralavaston who is a bit off acting and is either mentally unstable or possibly a deserter from the war
3                              A horse with saddle that appears to have lost its rider. A saddlebag contains a potion and a sealed scroll with instructions it be delivered to Esgrata at the Inn of the Seven Sisters. It’s a love potion (potion of charming); the scroll is a poem from Lord Saladan of Hyrkan’ien
4                              A weary band of adventurers who recently survived a brutal fight with river pirates
5                              A lone Halfling trader named Sminden who specializes in prayer scrolls
6                              A suspicious party of seven men in red cloaks on black horses. The leader is a half-elf named Dalesh Tryvaros and says they have private business in Aeornin.  They are actually Fire Knives on their way to assassinate a marchant lord named Gosteros who owes their order money for a hit he failed to pay up on in Krythia (use assassin stats if a fight breaks out)
7                              A caravan of gnomish traders from Rogrondae looking to go to (13) Eornin or (4-6) the Capitol; they may offer 20 GP to the PCs for protection to travel together to Asteros or Eornin
8                              four scholar-priests of Nistur are journeying to Aeornin to study at the Librarium of the city temple and welcome any gossip or news
9                              A half-orc ranger named Augustos with his pet Baboon Brutus will avoid the party if possible; he is a ranger of the order of Kom’Huandyr, and is leaving southern Hyrkania due to the backlash his kind has experienced following the war
10                           Six road wardens (rangers level 6) in the service of the king will stop the PCs to check them out and ask them their business, especially if they look suspicious
11                           an eladrin warlock named Serros is traveling with four trained blink dogs. He is looking for elven ruins, as be believes they may have been remnants of an ancient eladrin city that was teleported to the material plane. He’ll pay 50 GP for directions to ruins the PCs can tell him about
12                           A silver elf sorcerer named Regulus travels with a tiefling rogue named Telura; they recently eloped and are fleeing their angry families in the Capitol to settle in the swamplands, but have no real plans beyond that
13                           A large force of mercenaries of the Order of the Blade, totaling 100 men, led by Captain Dro Sevaris are making their way to Aeornin to pledge their blades to the duke, as they heard the rumor of a vast sum of money as a reward to solve the city’s problems
14                           Dazhak Tagal, a dragonborn mercenary warrior (level 6) is traveling with five hired hands who are all rough looking rogues. He seeks out evidence that the dragonborn have a presence in the region
15                           a large group of fanatical cultists are making their way to Gravenor to join the druid circle. The leader is the lady Covessa, daughter of baron Charador west of the Capitol, and she is acting quite deluded (among other things druids don’t usually accept recruits like this). There are 30 cultists and 4 cult fanatics including Covessa in the group and they will get violent if anyone tries to detain them
16                           Bandit lord Shamaskar Amaro (a Belladasian rogue) is traveling with 13 tough thugs, but he is currently not up to his usual bandit-self. Amaro seeks to travel to Askalos where he intends to pursue marriage with Baraon Mandalas’s daughter Evaria. The Baron may not like this.
17                           A caravan of Belladasian merchants making their way to either the Capitol (1-3) or Aeornin (4-6). They will have a handful of +1 spears that were crafted to be collectible masterwork items, but will sell them for 1500 GP apiece. The caravam master is Ruus Hudan, and he travels with a sorcerer from his home land called Tarsa. She is very good at divination.
18                           A caravan of Hyrkanian merchants heading to (1-3) or from (4-6) Aeornin. They have a 10% chance of some interesting magic being for sale, but otherwise mostly will have useful mundane goods.
19                           A group of four odd looking men and women in ragged garb but well armed with what looks like surplus military gear from the war. The leader is a woman named Lakuna Helbyrn (Fighter level 11) and she will explain that they are on a mission to Aeornin of secrecy; the group is carrying a small coffer in saddle bags that contains a crystal skull; the coffer is enchanted to explode with fire if anyone tries to open it (DC 14 DEX save or take 8D8 fire damage for 10 feet). The man at the end of the expedition is Severus Prine, a tiefling warlock of some repute in Aeornin. He’ll pay 1,500 GP for receipt of the coffer unopened. Lakuna may ask the PCs to assist if they indicate major trouble ahead…..she’ll off 75 GP apiece for an escort.
20                           A contingent of 12 paladins and priests of Naril from the Capitol that are following Eirik Kalgornin in an effort to patrol and eradicate strife in the troubled province. Eirik will promise adventurers that the Throne and Church will pay 5,000 GP if the adventurers take up the task so Eirik can instead fulfill his ultimate duty of delivering scrolls to Qaliad.

THE MAP OF AEORNIN: in all of it's unedited glory.....!

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