On Western Venatia – Part Five

Six more wilderness encounters for you to enjoy. Also – if you’ll peruse the Sept 30 news at Frog God Games, you will see that yours truly has been tasked with writing some hexcrawl modules. The modules are not set in Nod, and are meant to be usable in just about any fantasy campaign. The first module is written, and is now in the process of illumination and editing.

Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four

0603. Here lies the head of Raldo. Raldo’s head measures 8 feet in diameter. It lies in a gully thick with ferns and rotting vegetation and itself is in a state of advanced decay. Despite the presence of dozens of giant centipedes consuming the head and crawling through it, Raldo thinks and speaks and can be consulted as though a sage. Raldo does seem to feel pain, but it doesn’t appear to consume him.

0620. A pack of four dragonnes roams these valleys, preying on the pale, gibbering things that scurry from boulder to boulder and cave to cave. Encounters with them occur on a roll of 1-3 on 1d6.

0628. A terrible image is carved into a mountain here. It depicts a squatting, vaguely humanoid shape. The thing’s head is a mass of tentacles that spread out over the mountain side and its stunted arms end in taloned hands. From beneath the squatting horror, which is at least 100-ft in height, a stream of water rushes out of the side of the mountain to fall into a deep, dark pool. The water has an oily sheen, and smells foul, but is otherwise safe enough to drink. The ground around the pool is often visited, and at night, random encounters with hags occur on a roll of 1-3.

0638. On a pleasant hill overlooking the river valley the gnomes of the hills have constructed a small, stone chapel dedicated to the goddess Minerva in her aspect as the goddess of crafts. The chapel is overseen by a lone priestess, a woman named Kothilda. Kothilda is a woman deformed by disease and abandoned as a child on the coast. Discovered by gnomes, she was raised among them and showed an astounding capacity at their crafts. As she grew to womanhood, they constructed this chapel and dedicated it to the human goddess they believed had blessed the child with her skill at woodworking. She now lives here along, often entertaining the good folk of the forest. The chapel has a single room furnished with an ornate kneeling bench and idol of Minerva that were carved by Kothilda’s own hands, and a simple wooden bowl for donations (she prefers items rather than coins, and people who leave items they have crafted themselves are Blessed by Minerva for 24 hours. Behind the chapel is a gnome-style burrow built on a human scale. This is where Kothilda lives her simple life. It is equipped with a hearth, woven rugs, comfortable chairs and has a small bedroom and a root cellar.

| Kothilda, Cleric Lvl 10: HP 47; AC 9 [10]; Save 6 (4 vs. paralysis and poison); CL/XP 13/2300; Special: Cleric spells (5th), turn undead.

0707. This hex is notable for its large, rolling meadow of tender grass and fragrant blooms. A large fairy circle is evident on the meadow, and it is visited on each full moon by a gaggle (4d6) dancing, fiddling grigs and other fey creatures. In the daytime, it is thick with game and the occasional hunting party of centaurs.

0809. A retired trader from Pfeife has repaired and rebuilt an old stone fort here and turned it into a coaching inn. The inn has a 15-ft tall curtain wall surrounding an oval courtyard with a well. Blending into the wall is a three-story tall round tower topped with crenelations and a tall, conical bell tower. The trader, Androse, lives with his wife and three children on the top floor, beneath the belfry. The second level is a common room for sleeping and the ground floor is a taproom in the day and common room at night. The taproom has two curtained booths which turn into semi-private sleeping berths at night. Androse and his goodwife put out a bountiful spread for their customers, with steaming trays of spiced meats (mutton and game mostly), crocks of soft cheese, wheels of sharp cheddar, round loaves of black bread and fruit cake and leather mugs of pale, sweet ale. Expensive wines are available on request. All of the food is stored in the cellar, which used to hold instruments of torture but now has cages full of wine casks and barrels of flour.

Illustration by Sidney Sime