Yes indeed, it’s time to start previewing some of my material for the next issue of NOD, the centerpiece of which will be the eastern half of the hexcrawl from NOD 19, which I’m calling … The Damnable Sea.
Here, then, is the intro to the hexcrawl …
There were riches across the ocean, of that there could be no doubt. The elves and dwarves hailed from across the sea, and while both their elder kingdoms were now in ruins, their stories were fantastic and full of wonders.
The earliest forays were made by the swaggering bravos of Guelph in small cogs that were barely sea worthy. These voyages proved profitable, though, as they first constructed the port of Janus on an island that lie mid-ocean, and then went on to build colonies in Hybrasil that disgorged from those shores tons of gold and silver to fund their wars against the hobgoblins. These treasure ships attracted the attention first of the filibusters of Brigantia, who found is worth their while to abandon their galleys for swift caravels. Like wolves they hunted the over-laden treasure galleys of the Guelphlings, showing a portion on their Queen Gloriana.
The Antigooners were not pirates (well, not usually), but merchants with a keen eye for profit. Drooling over the gold and silver of the Guelphlings and hearing tales of green shores north of their colonies, they ventured into a stormy patch of sea that came to be known as the Damnable Sea. Here, they discovered the Virgin Woode and, with the Brigantians hot on their heels, began the Motherlander colonization of that land of elves and ancient secrets.
Upon the disappearance of the Emperor of Nomo and the subsequent decline and fall of that empire, the tributary city-states of the Motherlands sought to claim a portion of their old master’s power. This was first attempted in a series of ineffective wars, as no one city-state was powerful enough that it could best its rivals, separated as they were by vast tracts of wilderness.
While the secrets (at least some of them) of the Virgin Woode were revealed in NOD 19, the Damnable Sea itself holds many secrets. An ancient elven empire lies beneath these waves. The Emperor Jasconius has conquered the city-states of Basilea and Tartessus, scattered the hated sahuagin to the currents, and now looks to extend his suzerainty above the waves, reclaiming from the humans the Virgin Woode as the ancient birthright of the elves. There are also the islands of demonic Satanazes and wondrous Bermoothes with its sorcerous Duke and, in the eastern depths, something more ancient and horrible than the elves.
Three locations from the hexcrawl follow …
3501. Temple of the Wolverine | Stronghold
The wild elves of the north maintain a shrine here dedicated to the Carcajoue, the Wolverine Lord, a deity of savagery and gluttony to the wild elves. The shrine is a spirit house composed of wooden sticks and four stout poles capped with images of the wolverine spirit painted in stark shades of white and blood red.
The shrine is protected by three spirit-wolverines as well as a wild elf druid, Paskatootsk, an elf with a rather sinister cast and a skin covered with white blotches and an evil eye. Paskatootsk is a were-wolverine, and when threatened he does not hesitate to assume his hybrid form to frighten his enemies. Fallen foes are dragged into the temple and fed to the strange, sinister wolverine spirit that dwells within the temple (actually a black pudding who dwells beneath the shrine at the entrance to a series of caverns that holds Skraeling catacombs, lost treasures of the ancient elves, a secret society of fungal mages and the world’s largest opal.
3520. Telchine Forge | Monster
The sea floor here is rent by a great volcanic vent. A tribe of 200 telchines has set up shop here, operating a forge that is now under the control of the Atlanteans. The Emperor Jasconian has sent a company of soldiers and a military governor, a warrior-mage called Xercelad – a haughty elf with delusions of his prime importance in the schemes of his emperor. He detests the telchines, but treats them reasonably well so long as they meet their quotas and deliver their goods on time.
The telchines are primarily working on orichalcum plates for the submersibles of the Atlantean navy. The plates are picked up fortnightly by an old Atlantean cargo submersible.
The telchines dwell in sea caves, their forge being open to the ocean. The Atlanteans have constructed a domed structure of stone in which they bivuac.
3618. Floater | Monsters
The bloated, rotting corpse of a sea giant is floating in this hex, and might be spotted by travelers near or on the surface. The body is floating face down, and shows signs of a great deal of nibbling by sea scavengers. Seven giant bristle worms (i.e. sea centipedes) are even now feasting on the underside of the corpse. Should it be disturbed, they will certainly leave the water to investigate. The giant still wears a chainmail sleeve on its left arm and a gold necklace (300 gp) around its neck. A crystal eye is still lodged in the sea giants eye socket. About twice the size of a human eye, it can be used to project a color spray once per day with the command word “Saskatoon”.