On Venatia – Part Three

Six more encounters for the Southeast quadrant of Venatia …

3939 Mysterious Junk: A merchant sailing vessel of Mu-Pan design is anchored off the coast and seems perpetually blanketed in fog. The junk is home to Kevote, the commander of a brotherhood of thieves and assassins that operates throughout the Tepid Sea region. The brotherhood engages in smuggling, murder, blackmail and loansharking. Besides the inscrutable Kevote, the ship is home to a dozen low-level thieves and assassins and two lieutenants, Morfinda and Dourne. Morfinda was born in Blackpoort. She has long, black hair, a pale complexion and very dark, brown eyes. Morfinda is cunning and without mercy, and expects to replace Kevote in the very near future when a few of her own plans come to fruition. Dourne, on the other hand, is a native of Tremayne with reddish-blond hair, pale blue eyes and a quick and ready wit. He is also a cowardly killer, very skilled with poisons and “accidents”, but unsteady in a direct confrontation. Both are tied to Kevote via secrets, and both are unaware that Folas, Kevote’s apparent valet, is his true lieutenant. Kevote regards Morfinda and Dourne as nothing more than useful idiots for establishing his empire in the Motherlands. All of Kevote’s operative have a small, black dragon tattooed on their backs at the base of their neck. Kevote’s treasure, kept below decks in steel boxes (puzzle locks, -5 to open, spring-loaded needles with deadly poison), consists of 11,000 sp, 500 ep, 4,500 gp, two rose quartz (worth 500 gp each) and seven fox skins (35 gp each, actually taken from seven kitsune sisters who believed that Kevote was a man they could cheat).

• Kevote, Level 11 Assassin: HP 36; AC 6 [13]; Save 5 (4 vs. death); Special: Sneak attack for x4 damage; Three daggers (one is wavy bladed and coated with deadly poison), five darts, burglars’ tools, leather armor worn under a many-colored silk robe embroidered with a black dragon.

• Morfinda, Level 5 Thief: HP 26; AC 7 [12]; Save 10; Special: Back stab for x3 damage; Two daggers, four darts, burglars’ tools, leather armor, a black cloak with many pockets.

• Dourne, Level 4 Assassin: HP 12; AC 7 [12]; Save 12 (11 vs. death); Special: Sneak attack for x2 damage; Three daggers, five darts (two coated in paralysis poison, three in poison that deals 1d6 damage), leather armor, burglars’ tools, vial of poison.

• Folas, Level 7 Magic-User/Thief: HP 21; AC 9 [10]; Save 8; Special: Spells (4th), back stab for x3 damage; Dagger, three darts.

• Thieves (8): HD 2d6; AC 7 [12]; Atk 1 weapon (1d6); Move 12; Save 13; CL/XP 3/60; Special: Back stab for x2 damage. Carry short swords, daggers, three darts, shield and wear leather armor.

• Assassins (4): HD 2d6; AC 7 [12]; Atk 1 weapon (1d8); Move 12; Save 14 (13 vs. death); CL/XP 3/60; Special: Sneak attack for x2 damage. Carry short long swords, daggers, light crossbows, shield and wear leather armor.

4044 Dragon Ship: The sorcerer Henakhe, bitter exile of Ibis, plies the Golden Sea in an animated dragonship called, Revenge, which looks like a merchant galley with a large figurehead in the shape of a dragon’s head and neck. The ship is crewed by two dozen dragon men and their leader, a warlock called Felia. The Revenge has no home, as yet. It sometimes docks in Cutthroat Cove (see NOD #1, “Wyvern Coast”, hex [3119])), but more often finds small coves along the Golden Coast. Ibisian ships sacked by Henakhe have their crews slaughtered, their heads sent back to the king of Ibis through mysterious means. Henakhe’s treasure consists of 5,200 gp and an aventurine worth 2,000 gp.

• Henakhe, Level 7 Magic-User: HP 22; AC 9 [10]; Save 9; Special: Spells (4th); Grey robes over a black velvet doublet, crimson leggings and long, black velvet slippers that come to a point, grimoire, curved dagger, ebony staff topped with an obsidian jackal’s head (worth 60 gp).

• Felia, Level 4 Fighter/Magic-User: HP 13; AC 9 [10]; Save 12; Special: Spells (2nd), bite attack inflicts 1d4 damage plus 1d4 fire damage; Battle axe, dagger, grimoire.

• Dragon Men: HD 1+1; AC 6 [13]; Atk 1 bite (1d4 + 1d4 fire) or weapon (1d8+1); Move 15; Save 17; CL/XP 3/60; Special: 1 first level magic-user spell, fiery bite. Leather armor, curved long sword, dagger, crossbow.

• Revenge, Dragonship: HD 10; AC 0 [19]; Atk 1 bite (2d8) and 4 slams (1d6); Move 15; Save 5; CL/XP 13/2300; Special: Breath fire (3/day, 30-ft line, 10d6 damage), navigate, double damage from fire, control winds.

4049 Ley Nexus: A nexus of ley lines runs through this hex, culminating a monument constructed on a low sea mount. The monument consists of twelve whale tusks, each 10 ft in length forming a circle. Each tooth has a tiny line of runes carved into it from tip to base, facing the center of the circle. If a druid cuts his forefinger and traces each line of runes, he can activate a teleport spell that will take him up to 90 miles (15 hexes) in any direction, so long as the last tooth touched is in the direction he wishes to go. Others can be taken with the druid, but must be bound to him by some medium (rope, chain, etc).

4127 Pine Ridge: A steep, granite ridge lined with pine trees stands out like a rampart over the surrounding forest. The ridge is the lair of five woodwose, ill-tempered brutes who survey the surrounding woodland for victims on which to release their pent up hostility. The woodwose will attack from the ridge using their spikes when possible. The ridge is roughly 20 feet higher than the woodland floor. It can be climbed with relative ease by rangers, assassins and thieves even during a fight, but under pressure, other characters must make a saving throw midway during their climb to avoid falling for 1d6 damage. The woodwose have collected 10,000 cp, 10,000 ep, 4,500 gp and 20 pp over the centuries, and sometimes leave heaping piles of it in plain sight as bait. Otherwise, it is stored in a dark crevasse atop the ridge.

• Woodwose: HD 9 (44, 42, 42, 39, 33 hp); AC 2 [17]; Atk 2 slams (1d6); Move 12; Save 6; CL/XP 10/1400; Special: Spells, spines, double damage from iron.

4128 Ruined Villa: An ancient villa of the Nabu rests atop a rocky hill. One side of the hill is overgrown with pine trees and brambles, while the other is bare granite that has been carved into a bas-relief of a grape harvest and wine pressing under the gaze of Mut and Min, goddess and god of fertility. The villa is almost completely destroyed, with one two intersecting walls remaining and the rest a pile of masonry overgrown with weeds. One of the surviving walls bears a faded and damaged fresco showing the green-skinned god Osiris holding a goblet and with barrels of grapes at his feet sending ten men bearing jugs of wine away from him toward the setting sun. This is a really a clue directing one to proceed ten paces to the west. At this point, now buried by a couple feet of rubble, there is a secret trap door that leads into a wine cellar. The cellar contains several barrels of what is now vinegar, and a cache of twelve bottles of very fine wine, worth at least 50 gp each. One of these bottles contains a long vial that contains a map showing the location of the tower in [4433].

4138 Sadhnath: Sadhnath is a fishing village built on bluffs overlooking the coast. Beneath the bluff there is a sandy beach and several caves in which the fishermen store their boats. Narrow, precarious steps lead from the village to the beach. The village is protected by a 7 ft tall, 3 ft thick wall of stone with a iron portcullis opening to the stairs and two thick wooden doors to the woodland beyond. A single beacon tower rises near the bluff, giving a commanding view of the sea and woods. Passing very near the village is a stream that pools and then flows underground, eventually spilling into the sea from a submerged cave.

The village consists of a number of stone hovels with gabled, wooden roofs. Over 300 fishermen live in the village with their families. They are outspoken, honest and exceedingly rude, and both men and women make a habit of smoking clay pipes. The largest building in the village, a 3-story tower keep of weathered, pitted stone and warped, wooden shutters is home to Lord Porht, an aging man with heavily creased, olive skin and salt-and-pepper hair. Porht has a well groomed mustachio and beard, and a jutting jawline. He claims the entire coast, from river to river, but hasn’t the ability to back up his claim. His entire “army” consists of fifteen men-at-arms in ring armor with spears and long bows and a brusk, burly sergeant named Jaltyr who wears a long, chainmail hauberk and pot helm and carries a double-headed axe (treat as a pole arm). Lord Pohrt’s treasure consists of 1,200 gp.

The most interesting aspect of the village, however, is its hostel. It is constructed in a large cave about ten feet above the beach. There are two entrances, one through a door facing the sea (itself reachable via warped, wooden stairs), and the other through a long tunnel that crosses the aforementioned subterranean steam before terminating in a circular staircase that leads to a hidden trapdoor on the surface. Either entrance is guarded by a zwunker bouncer (twins named Colleja and Serta). Within the cozy cave there is a taproom serving crabapple cider (the trees grow near the village) and a concoction of fermented goat’s milk flavored with berries and honey, as well as fish stew, boiled eels and large oysters steamed with wild onions and parsnips. The hostel is run by Nidee, a likeable old woman with the mouth of a sailor, and her two sons, the elder March and the younger Linder. The hostel sells space on the floor of the taproom for 1 sp per night, and has two private rooms rented for 3 gp per night. Nidee has about 90 gp to her name.

• Lord Pohrt: HD 4 (16 hp); AC 1 [18] in platemail, otherwise 9 [10]; Atk 1 weapon (1d8); Move 12; Save 13; CL/XP 4/120; Special: Men-at-arms under his command are +1 to initiative. Wears red velvet doublet and striped red and white leggings with black, leather boots with silver buckles. Always carries a long sword and dagger.

• Jaltyr: HD 3 (14 hp); AC 4 [15]; Atk 1 weapon (1d10); Move 12; Save 14; CL/XP 3/60; Special: None. Jaltyr loves Pohrt like a son loves a father, and enjoys a +1 bonus to hit and damage when defending him.

• Colleja & Serta, Zwunkers: HD 2 (8, 7 hp); AC 7 [12]; Atk 1 weapon (1d6); Move 9; Save 16; CL/XP 2/30; Special: Control wind, magic resistance 10% in 10′ radius. Twin sisters, they were wrecked up the coast, losing their comrades and parents, as girls and were given a home by Nidee, who reminds them of their grandmother. They wear leather coats and carry leaden clubs and three darts.

• Nidee: HD 1d6 (4 hp); AC 9 [10]; Atk 1 makeshift weapon (1d4); Move 12; Save 18; CL/XP B/10; Special: None. Usually wears a long peasant’s dress and a dingy apron.

• March & Linder: Same stats as mother, save they have 5 and 4 hit points respectively. They wear peasant’s clothes and carry daggers.