Hi and welcome back to Dungeon Mastering by Candlelight. It has been blistering hot out this week in Kansas but otherwise today was a pretty good day. The kids are finally snuggled down in bed and I have a little time to slide into my desk and work on the AD&D campaign.
Last week I shared this same map minus the red bits and some wandering monster tables based on the types of terrain being entered. Remember this is my adventure scale map where one square equals one mile of terrain.
Now I've added in red spots on the map using a color pencil to help me drop in set encounters. Weather tables, a calendar, rumors lists, a couple of mini dungeons, custom wandering monster tables and between 30 and 50 set encounters for each map in the sandbox is the ultimate goal here. We are talking about a whole lot of work but thankfully a great deal of this has already been knocked out when i worked on other similar regions in the same campaign setting. It will still take me a couple of months to get this sandbox to where I want it but in the mean time my players are happily dungeon crawling in the barrows North of the city over in the Kingdom of Daria ( a few hundred miles away from this expansion).
I am running my Monday nights campaign using 2nd Edition AD&D and I plan to create encounters using those rules. Really this approach can be used for any version of the D&D rules from Basic to 5th. I recently picked up the 5th Edition box set and the game looks like it has some nifty little bits to it. Nothing particularly awesome to the point where I'd drop what I already have in early editions of the game. For me part of the problem is learning new rules sets is no longer very interesting to me. I'd rather use what I have already and spend my time working on my campaign / playing. I do plan to keep up with the new rules this time though. I may create a 5th edition version of this adventure area to haul with me to conventions just so I am sure I have something people will play. Sometimes it can be hard to find players for the older versions of the game.
Enough of that. On with setting down a few encounters.
We will start at the center and work outwards in a sort of spiral. I'll reorganize these for easier use in my notebook for play but working out from where the players begin is always better for me creatively in visualizing the world as it unfolds.
J9 Kilwich Royd - North
Kilwich Royd is the name for the old gravel and dirt road leading North and South out of the ruins of the city of Kyros. The road here is uneven but remains a reasonable path with a rolling slope covered with tall wild grass to the West dusted here and there with Red Mullberry and Frosted Hawthorne trees. Far off in the distance one can make out the silver thread of the Morda River carrying frigid water down from the Trollish Peaks far to the North as it twists its way South through Kyrene all the way to Shem and the Slavemark Coast in the Southeast.
To the East a narrower dirt cart path rolls into a sectioned and previously cultivated group of four fields, each a quarter mile in size and sectioned by tumbling gray stone walls lined with tall, old White Ash trees. Each field has or rather had its own attending farm house, barn and out buildings although only one of the four remains standing. The other three appear to have been burned or smashed into ruins by beasts or disaster or war. It is clear that the ruined farms and fields have grown wild and are now a thick mixture of wheat half choked out with wild flowers and purple bramble brush.
Encounter: Orc Outpost
Standing in the road are a dozen slightly stooped, primitive appearing humanoids with orange green skin covered in matted tangles of hair. They have snouts with overly large teeth protruding from slick, rubbery dark green lips. Their small eyes look intelligent and narrow if they spot the party but they do not attack immediately. They wear simple tunics and armor of leather and hide. They are armed with rough looking iron weapons ( axes and spears mostly ). One of their number holds up a bright orange banner on a wooden pole. The banner is blazoned with a black skull cloven in twain by an axe.
DM Notes: The Orcs who have migrated into the region, displaced from their home by more dangerous outbreaks of the undead plague have established themselves in the ruins of the old Kingdom castle at Q1. They have grown bold and have begun to assert themselves as a legitimate power in the region and have set up this outpost both to monitor and command the road out of Kyros, keep a watch on the ruins of the city and also to assert the Orc's authority by demanding a small tribute from everyone who happens along this way.
12 Orcs - Leader "Adjai" 8 HP Axe 1d6 AC 6. Two assistants "Togus and Oosun" 8 HP Spear and Axe 1d6 AC 6. Remaining Orcs HP's 7,7,6,6,6,5,5,4 and 4. All use weapons that inflict 1d6 damage. All are AC 6.
Note: Oosun and both 5 hp orcs are infected with zombie taint. They will rise as 1 HD, fast moving zombies that slam or bite for 1d6 (save vs zombie infection) within 1d4 combat rounds of being slain. They will attack the nearest living being to them whether it is a player character or another orc.
Experience: 240 Treasure: Adjai has in his possession a small wooden chest about the size of a box used to contain notecards. This chest is secured with a metal clasp and lock. Adjai has become adept at picking this lock with one of his own claws and there is no key. The chest contains 34 copper, 14 silver and 1 gold piece.
Adjai will demand tribute of anyone passing on the road but this tribute can be reasonable. A handful of silver coins is sufficient but he will obviously take more if he can. He is under orders not to simply attack human or humanoid survivors as the Orc Chieftain Nahmka Tarkan hopes to establish a sort of fiefdom here. The orcs will share a little information if they are dealt with respectfully. There is a family of human farmers dwelling in the surviving farmstead to the East of here and they have paid tribute and are now under the protection of the great Nahmaka Tarkan. Adjai advises any characters that they would be wise to leave those under the banner of the Tarkan alone. A few wandering traders passed through a day ago headed North out of the ruined city. The orcs do not enter the ruins as it is known to be infested with undead and dangerous monsters.
Curtly and Valina Farmstead
As the dusty dirt cart path makes its way out to the one remaining farmstead in this area you can see that to the North the Kilwich Royd can be just seen turning to the East and continueing along the Northern border of the farm where you are headed. Additional fields further to the East look just as battered and abandoned as those in this immediate area. A few in that direction of a building remaining, a sad looking wooden farmhouse here and a lone barn there. Here the dirt path is joined with a slightly wider drive paved in loose gravel. Flanking either side of this approach are large green leafed Mulberry Trees. Beyond the trees you can see a tall, three story red wood barn built atop a first story which is made from fieldstone. Beyond the barn is a single story fieldstone farmhouse. The windows have been closed with stout looking wooden shutters. Surrounding the front door is a barricade built from various things, piled stones topped with crates and pieces of what once may have been a wooden cart. Peering over this is a pair of male humans.
Fluttering from the side of the farmhouse chimney is a length of orange cloth like a small banner with a black spot painted in the center.
Curtly and Jorg
Curtly is a 40 something year old, tough, no nonsense farmer. He wears leather armor and a cap of iron. He is armed with a light crossbow with 10 bolts. Jorg (his son) is 20 and armed with a short bow and 12 arrows. Both are also armed with spiked clubs (1d4+1 damage). Both are zero level humans with 7 hp and 6 hp respectively.
Reaction rolls are made with a -2 penalty in this area even for fellow humans. Curtly is worried about bandits and cannot be convinced to allow the player characters close to his home no matter what the circumstances appear to be. He can be convinced to trade a couple of days of home baked bread and other foods (3 days rations) for a basic weapon or shield. He will require the goods be left on the road by the barn and that the party retreat 100 feet. He will walk out with the food and leave it in exchange for the goods.
Curtly will remind the party that he's made a deal with the orcs just to the West for protection. If questioned he will remind the party that the orcs are the only organized military aid anyone has seen in these parts for almost two years. Since they have been around chopping down the undead when they encounter them, things have improved a good deal for Curtly and he is not interested in other "maybe" deals and promises.
Inside the house is Bilfor (his second eldest son), Val (his wife) and Tessa (his daughter). Bilfor has a small hole dug in various places in the walls around the house allowing him room to fire his light crossbow but he is otherwise hidden from view. He is armed like his brother and has the same HP. Val has a small fire burning in the fireplace and to this she can add a handful of dried herbs which will put up a very thick, choking blue color smoke. This smoke will alert the orcs of trouble on the road and they will arrive to sort things out for their allies within 1d4 combat rounds. The orcs automatically side with Curtly and his family...apparently they were not kidding (shocking as this seems) about protecting the farmers here. They will attempt to kill anyone engaged in combat or harassement of the family under the immediate judgement that they are bandits out to rob from the farmers and orcs. Those they kill they will hang from poles set up near their road patrol location as an example to other would be bandits.
Little Tessa is only 10 years old. She is also the only member of the family who is infected with zombie taint. If she goes down she will open her eyes in 2 combat rounds and immediately attack the nearest person as a full strength, furious fast moving type of zombie.
Experience: 150 xp if the party kills the farmers but also a note on the DM's alignment chart. Attacking and killing the farmers is both a Chaotic and Evil action. It will not change a party members alignment immediately but a few more actions of this sort will. Treasure: The farmers gather, cook and preserve food supplies both for themselves and their orc protectors. This includes breads, pies, dried meat, dried fish and bundles of applies and berries. There are a total of 60 days of standard rations currently inside of the house although all of it except the dried meat will go bad for normal character consumption (not for orcs) in 10 days. Leaning against the door into the farm is a shovel covered in dried brown mud. There is an area of loose dirt under some of the old hay piled in the now empty barn. This is a location where Curtly buried a large sack containing what remains of the family treasure. There are a half dozen goblets, sets of forks and spoons, several dinner knives and some cook ware of high quality with silver handles or embellishments. All together this large sack of muddy clanking loot is worth 10 gold pieces.
K12 Hobbel Atford
Hobbel Atford is the name for the 80 foot long, 10 foot wide stone and wood covered bridge that spans the river in this location. Here the steep shores of the Morda River are nearly choked with stands of ghost sycamore trees and holly brush. This makes movement down to the pebbled edge of the slow flowing Morda slow going and counts as difficult terrain for between 60 and an additional 1d6x10 feet. The entrance to the bridge here has been barricaded closed with an over turned wagon and piles of dirt filed sacks. A banner of sorts made out of a string of squirrel hides flutters pathetically from a small pole nailed to the roof ridge of the bridge.
The Kobalds dwelling South and West of the Morda River have been driven out of necessity together into one large and determined clan. What was once a half dozen smaller communities has united into the Nut Smashers tribe and their banner is the skins of several squirrels fastened together. The Nut Smashers have claimed this name because their primary survival diet has focused on the walnut groves situated in the cultivated lands immediately West of the former community of Midge. The Nut Smashers have taken over the buildings in what was once the village of Midge and the entire place has been turned into one enormous kobald warren.
The kobalds recognize that closing the bridge just East of their community is a key move in attempting to keep themselves secure and so they plan to defend it enthusiastically. A group of no less than forty kobalds is on duty at the bridge at all times. Their standard tactic is to defend the barricade with ten kobalds and if pushed back will attempt to sucker the enemy into the bridge interior. They have stacked a few crates of food and a barrel of water both for their own supplies but also to lure intruders inside about half way down the bridge.
At the far end of the bridge the kobalds have repaired the double doors so that these can be slammed shut with ropes and secured by dropping beams behind them. These doors have a half dozen arrow slits cut into them so the kobalds can fire slingshots (1d2 damage) or darts from blowguns through these openings at anyone trapped inside of the bridge. The kobalds will enjoy cover and the protection of the barrier while softening up the enemy but the real trap awaits the foe should they manage to smash through the double doors and exit the bridge.
Outside on the far end of the bridge the remaining 30 kobalds will gather. They will fight savagely to stop the enemy force here rather than have it continue on to their community at Midge.
Every day a force of ten kobalds will travel up the road from Midge to the bridge to relieve ten of the kobalds on guard duty. If the kobalds find their force destroyed they will spend two days fitting out the bridge with every sort of trap and dead fall you can imagine. Ultimately the kobalds will work to make the bridge dangerous for direct travel and then will set about installing spikes and snare traps to mess with individuals who attempt to ford the river near the bridge.
The Kobalds are not especially hostile to other humanoids in the current environment. They demand control of the bridge and the road from the bridge to Midge. They demand that nobody interfere with or enter the walnut orchards West of Midge and above all else that nobody enters the old village of Midge where the kobalds have built their community. So long as these rules are respected the kobalds are perfectly happy trading the occasional crate, sack or bag of walnuts for whatever useful object or trinket they can get in return. While not especially bright the kobalds are not complete idiots. They want useful objects and will only trade for pretty shiny things one or two times before demanding something useful like a bow and arrows, spear, short sword, couple of daggers or something of that nature.
Experience: Defeating the Kobalds is worth 300 experience points. Treasure: Three crates of what passes for food for the kobalds. This includes some semi rotten fish, heaps of walnuts which have been shelled and smashed into a paste with rocks, a few dead birds brought down by slingshots and a small bag full of hard sour green berries. There is a barrel filled with fresh water and a somewhat rusty cup hanging off the side of it from a nail. The Kobalds have no other treasure here besides their trusty slingshots (10 of these), pouches filled with smooth stones, blowguns made from river reeds (10 of these) and 100 darts. There are also clubs, short spears, hand axes, small hammers, kitchen knives and a short sword or two.
Note: I will try to add one or two more set encounter examples down in this blog entry tomorrow or over the weekend when I have a bit more time. Ultimately I would like to share all of the wandering monster tables for this area and probably half of the set encounters leaving the remainder for you to expand upon and create for your own group.
That is it for this entry for Dungeon Mastering by Candlelight. Have a great evening and happy gaming!!!