More from the Mountains of Chaos

This is the Frazetta painting that inspired the Klarkash Mountains (found HERE)

Hey folks – the art is ordered, the supplemental articles are being written (very excited about the pen & paper football game – I’ve run 31 seasons so far), and I think I’m on track for a February release. Hopefully, I’ll get another Bloody Basic released as well – I think the Fairy Tale edition. We’ll see on that one. In the meantime, a few more locales from the Klarkash Mountains. Part of the fun in this hex crawl is that it takes place above and below ground. Underground encounters are put in a box, while the surface encounters are not. The first bit is an excerpt about movement through the mountains.

Movement through the mountains is complicated. Many valleys are dead ends, and frequent landslides make dead ends of passes that were once passable. Whenever a mountain hex is entered, the Treasure Keeper should roll 1d4 to determine how many exits the hex currently has, and then roll 1d12 to determine how the hex can be exited. Assume that the characters can always leave the way they came, even if the roll on the table does not indicate that they can:

D12 EXIT
1 North – surface
2 North – subterranean
3 Northeast – surface
4 Northeast – subterranean
5 Southeast – surface
6 Southeast – subterranean
7 South – surface
8 South – subterranean
9 Southwest – surface
10 Southwest – subterranean
11 Northwest – surface
12 Northwest – subterranean

A subterranean exit must be discovered by searching (treat as searching the hex for a secret door, with one check per day). If the hex contains a subterranean encounter, the exit will always involve dealing with this encounter.

7321 IRON GOLEM | MONSTER
A key tunnel in this hex is being held up almost entirely by a stout iron golem. The iron golem is blocking the tunnel. If it moves (which it will if attacked) the tunnel collapses after 1d6 minutes. A total of 1d10x200 feet of the tunnel will collapse when the iron golem moves.

7326 DIRE STAIRS | WONDER
The remnants of a deep staircase can be found in this hex. After descending about 300 feet, one begins to detect warmth and sulfuric fumes. The stairs keep on descending until the reach the center of Nod, wherein Hell is located.

7333 FIRE LIZARDS | MONSTER
1d20 fire lizards are crawling over and through a series of basalt tunnels. The tunnels are hot to the touch, and the air is excessively dry and acrid. Crystal growths explode from the sides, ceiling and floors of the tunnels at random (1 in 6 chance per round, 1 in 6 chance of a growth hitting an adventurer for 1d6 points of normal damage + 1d6 points of fire damage, Reflex save to halve damage). The crystal growths glow a deep orange, and they are lousy with the raw energy of fire magic. A person holding a piece of this crystal can double the effects of the next three fire spells he or she casts.

7606 KATYA’S MAGNIFICENT TOWER | STRONGHOLD
The mountains here are composed of green stone, slightly glossy, with valleys filled with purple grasses and large mud flats fed by scalding mud geysers. The land is lovely and dangerous, and home to a large village of fierce yeomen clustered around the green tower of Katya the Magnificent, a magician who specializes in teleportation and other modes of magical transportation. Her tower is a sort of beacon on both the Astral and Ethereal Planes, and serves as an anchorage for the weird vessels that ply those dimensions, depositing interesting visitors and their strange cargoes in the little town.

The townspeople do some farming and herding, but most are engaged in the tourist and mercantile trades. The town has three grand inns and several taverns.

The green tower is about 300 feet tall, and composed of the same stone that dominates the landscape, with floral carvings around the windows and doors. The interior is crowded with visitors, servants and guards. The servants are swathed in layers of white silks, which hides the fact that they are animated skeletons. The guards are living iron statues made to look like gothic knights. Katya’s personal guard is composed of the succubus Hamzhara, bound to her service by Katya’s possession of her true name, and her three alu-demon daughters, Lividia, Xaspera, Inflamidine. Katya permits them some demonic fun to keep them docile, but otherwise keeps them on a short leash.

7721 MERWIN PETERS | MONSTER
The ghost of Merwin Peters, former trader, sits on a stump in this hex on moonless nights. The ghost is headless, and does little more than point to the west, perhaps indicating where his head has been carried away. The ghost has a set of keys on a chain around his neck – perhaps they would open a treasure chest if the ghost could tell adventurers where to look.

More from the Mountains of Chaos

A few more locales. I’m commissioning art today, so I think I’m on schedule to get NOD 25 out at the end of this month.

5534 GIANT’S VAULT | DUNGEON
In the elder days, the giants constructed a vast dungeon beneath the mountains here to hide the hammer first used to construct the lightning bolts hurled by Jove. The hammer broke, but it contains massive residual energies useful for forging lesser magic items. The dungeon is guarded by all manner of giant creatures (all large or huge), and it is sized accordingly. The halls are patrolled by ten purple worms with amethyst faces embedded in their heads. The faces can communicate with one another and control the monsters, making them all the more dangerous to intruders.

5728 COUNTY OF NIMBUS | CITY-STATE

Nimbus is a great mountain fastness, a concentric castle of light grey marble painted white, with five towers and a central keep flying the green banner of the Countess D’Aurzi, a pleasingly plump woman with perhaps the shrewdest mind in Umbriago, and an iron stomach that allows her to drink ogres under the table. She is attended by three consorts, her chosen knights Melus, Urgis, and Amarionnus (her favorite, but the stupidest and thus not worthy of ruling by her side).

Surrounding the castle there is a village of tall, narrow houses composed of grey brick with red doors. Brass nails are pounded into the doors for good luck, and hung with strings of beads. The houses are set on gravel streets radiating out from the castle and separated by triangular pastures on which the city’s fine cattle are grazed. Wooden posts, strangely carved in demonic shapes, look over the cattle. The people fear these totems, which preceded the founding of the city, and never look directly at them without spitting on the ground and tossing a copper coin.
The people walk to their fields, which are watered by underground springs and frequent rains. The city boasts a few artisans and merchants, a mercenary company that is always hiring for the summer campaign season in the north, and a shrine to Eurynome, the titaness of pastures and the matron goddess of the city-state. Three female druids oversee the shrine and tend to the spiritual needs of the people. The trio always includes a crone, a matron and a maiden. The crone tends to the countess and the city government with her wise council, the matron to the needs of the common people, and the maiden to the needs of the herds and fields.

Besides the city’s cattle, there is also timber in the mountains, fertile fields in the surrounding valleys (each protected by a fortified tower keep controlled by one of the county’s knights and topped with a beacon fire to alert the city to danger) and fur-trapping. The fur trade is where the real money is, with traders leading caravans down to the sea in [5627] once per month to trade with merchant galleys from other city-states.

In all, the city-state of Nimbus boasts a population of 600, and the domain around it 5,400 people in four manors, three of them controlled by the aforementioned knights. The fourth is overseen by a huntsman in the employ of the three druids of Eurynome. The city watch consists of six men-at-arms, and the county’s army consists of about 40 men-at-arms, 30 armed with Lucerne hammers and short swords, the others with longbows.

5744 DUCHY OF KESSEL | CITY-STATE
Kessel is the hard-drinking, hard-working red city of the deep mountains. Long isolated from the rest of Umbriago, the strain of orc blood runs deeper here than elsewhere, and the peoples are only barely governable by Duchess Maladi. The people of Kessel are miners and quarrymen (basalt, olivine and peridots), farmers and herdsmen (mountain wheat, stunted pears, cattle), some lumberjacks in the mountains, fisherwomen in the rivers, and a small band of artisans, especially gemners and smiths.

The bourgeois of the town dress in rough finery, the men in arming coats, the women in virago sleeves. The commoners dress in tunics and stockings. The city-state has 400 citizens, the hinterlands 3,600 peasants on four manors, two of them baronial (Baroness Lemba and Baron Morix, siblings with a deep, abiding rivalry that borders on hatred) and one dedicated to the Poor Brothers of Pluto’s Trident, Pluto being a patron of miners, and the patron deity of Kessel.

Duchess Maladi is casually cruel and bombastic, and feared by her people. She has high cheek bones, ruddy skin, and deep eyes of black flecked with gold. Maladi is always well dressed, with leather corset and full skirt and sleeves of crushed damask silk. She carries a silver horseman’s mace as a symbol of office (the face stained with blood, as she uses it to personally execute traitors) and a brace of daggers hidden on her person. Half-orcs and orcs would call her handsome.

The buildings of Kessel are made of red brick with slate roofs. The walls are made of basalt. The city is situated at the end of a broad, long valley, backing up to a dormant volcano. It is also protected by the two rushing rivers. Each river is spanned by a bridge with fortified gatehouses controlling access to the valley and, thus, the city and its fields. An army of 30 men-at-arms (pikemen and crossbowmen on mountain ponies) can be raised to supplement the four permanent guardsmen who man the gatehouses on the bridges.

6026 BROTHERS OF THE EVIL EYE | STRONGHOLD
A monastery is perched on the seashore here, an imposing, windowless structure of basalt blocks, an unsightly pile indeed. The building is home to the Brotherhood of the Evil Eye, a band of goblinoid monks dedicated to Azathoth, the Lord of Entropy and Chaos. They are brutal in their discipline, and many who join the monastery do not make it out alive. Those who survive become a potent force for chaos. The leader of the monastery is a smallish goblin called Zozzo, his lieutenants being Zum and Karx. Under them are 17 first level monks. All of the brothers cover their entire bodies with tattoos or brands of eyes. In addition, they carry silver flutes in honor of their chaotic god.