There are several things that stand out in this modular campaign notational tidbit from many others. The first is that it might feel incomplete, there are many places where random results overtake listings that would ordinarily be documented in a module. Many of the magical items are unlisted but may be drawn from not only the charts listed here (showing a regional flavor) but from other usable sources such as those in any appropriate game system or even the DM’s own ideas. The second is that the Details are tied into a non-typical campaign universe but most of the ties are left loose so the module could be converted over.
The Wolfqueens are the current rulers of the Stave Ruled lands. The kingdom’s capitol Scytheopolis was originally a frontier barony. The lands have grown their population and renown though the deeds and tasks of their Stave bearing leaders. The laws indicate a stave bearing queen should rule these lands and the magics ensure all the stave bearers support that though their means may be different. The rulers are identified by unduplicatable pattern of moles easily recognizable to anyone with a little knowledge of heraldry. These marks: which no illusion or shape shifting can copy or cover forces other leaders to recognize them, spontaneously grow when the chosen are birthed, by stave duel or even carving a stave. These staves are legally and magically obliged to rule these lands from which they are born, grow old in, and die.
It is speculated the staves were most likely originally formed at the hands of druids in the old lands of the baronetcy, though any Staves formed (possibly enchanted though that is significantly rarer) in the Duchy have the possibility as well as those who face one of these weapons awake or sleeping in a duel. Such enchanted staves activate and deactivate, sleeping or awakening within a day of crossing the duchy’s border in most cases. Generally, those staves outside the border sleep while those within are awake. The staves seem to have an allotted lifespan of 100 years of wakefulness though this may be cut short by their destruction and may be broken into any segments of time they are awake.
If needed here are some Adventure Hooks for campaigns that might start outside of Ormegarten Area. These are a few ways to get near the dunjon and/or learn something about it, note: these don’t necessarily stuff the adventurers’ _in_ the dunjon, that task is left up to the referee as to how to bribe, trick or beguile the players into starting the challenge.
- The players learn of old legends surrounding Tyrk-ahn an ancient dragon killed by the Father of one of the great kings of the past who it is rumored killed the dragon and took most of his horde but left some behind.
- The players are hired to escort a disgraced bard from a major city to the Ormegarten Valley. He is a fairly crippled (especially by arthritis in his hands) and useless in combat though he does spin stories in a gravelly voice. He never bothers to escape the group or cause issues. The source of his disgrace or crime is not mentioned (merely cough and look pained if asked or change subject). When they get to the valley he cautions them to not enter or follow him citing that this he must face this alone. As another option the Players know he won’t make it to the Actual dungeon because of the problems in the valley.
- A youthful bard missing a portion of his leg hires the Characters to scout out around the area as part of a lay in honor of the king’s heroic father. He feels has enough on the events around the adventures and killing itself that he doesn’t need for them to go inside, merely get details about the Guild KEEP and the foot of the mountain then return.
- Mention by a person hunting for dragons or dragon hordes may lead to an NPC mentioning the old lair and its location some parts of the tale as cautionary examples of the sorts of successes or dangers one may face. It also may be a place to look at an example of how a dragon might set up its lair.
- A ‘snake charmer’ offers the group a reasonable fee to escort the NPC near the Ormegarten in order to find a new pet/ally. It is highly likely (80%) his attempt at conjuring a snake will result in getting himself killed which if the party leaves the snake alone it will merely disappear into a presumed den.
- The players make a discovery of a team of ratcatchers warning other groups to avoid the area around Ormegarten as there are many snakes who will kill you and or your familiars and pets. They may show halfhearted interest in acquiring puppies, weasels or other vermin enemies for eventual training but frankly it may take a winter or two before they will be able to act again. They may advise upon animal health and training and may offer to do so for coin to drink and winter over. The group calls each other by their nicknames, they have real names too (Bullpup [F2, dog breeder and trainer], Snakeskin [C2, he could be, associated with or related to the character from 5], Weasel and Ferret [ T2, T2, the Gorge twins] they might help find familiars or good places to find familiars (altering the tables by 10% in favor of the desired result) they all might be willing to help, but not adventure for revenge against those terrible things that slew their friends.
- A Short play is performed near the PC’s to incite the Populace against the crown with particular emphasis on the villainy of the king’s father in slaying a decent enough Dragon. The Play isn’t successful by any of the terms but the badly written play and the author may suggest there is rewards for those who are truly noble, unlike the Duke.
- An elderly NPC known to the party is dying (gods are refusing all allowances for healing including by wand or potion) he feels bad about his contribution to the sacking of Ormegarten so he asks the players to let him rest better by seeking out the old lair and casting three silver pieces to the left of the exit where the Dragon passed away as supplication to the Dragons spirit.
- Recently among members of the nobility not of the Royal family there has a risen a ‘popular’ idea to use the Ormegarten as a combination prison and trial by force of arms. Arguing it is more merciful as well as the will of the gods and law and Justice (for cheap). The characters could be hired to survey the exterior of the dunjon (to show how impossible it is to escape) or even be hired to get in and out (by one or more opposing groups) in order to prove one or more points of view.
- Members related to the newer portions of the royal family might have some information about the Ormegarten (perhaps even the, of course how to get that from them can be a quest in and of itself for the characters. Some characters may have a better chance with some of their servants perhaps looking to exploit conflicts without appearing to be an outsider. While members of the nobility classes may know some information simply from being part of the ruling crowd, rather than needing to find out information.
- Several once powerful Adventurers have disappeared near Ormegarten, last seen at the Guild KEEP. Friends and family might ask for a few brave adventurers to seek out if there any news about them. Of course, since these were advanced adventurers they might have dropped or left behind something of great interest to the party.
- A powerful Guild Lord is seeking candidates to help with issues in his area. The rewards are in some ways slight because the search is open to many volunteers but if they earn distinction the rewards will increase.
Rumor Chart for areas outside of the keep:
roll 1d12, up to d3 times for each NPC who is likely to pass on rumors (or use a d10 and eliminate repeats). Most of the rumors have a 60% chance of being true and conversely has a 40% chance of being false. This is in part to keep the play of the adventure fresh for multiple play through for Gm’s and players. In some cases, most notably with #’s 2 &11, the truth and lies can be mixed to where they are more accurately described as 60% true and 40% false
- There is a library of how to develop your own organic defenders (if false it was started by the wily sage who bought the books to cover his purchase) left in the Ormegarten too well defended to have been taken by the future Duke. Someone interested in such hobbies could either hire the players’ characters to get what they can or drop hints of this in the hope to buy them off of the adventurers later.
- There is a shield of Dragon scales left behind in the Dunjon. (If false see the Squiggle Shield for ideas) from a very unlucky member of the adventuring party.
- Vomitus: A Stone creature that has a few ‘Doses’ of various oozes, molds and jellies is still in the dungeon as the creature was too powerful for the Dukes troops to defeat and still have a chance to defeat the dragon. Some stories of Vomitus are told of as one would tell a child. “Go to sleep and be good, or Vomitus will get you. “
- There is an ancient Gelatinous cube that is still driven by Torches on pikes to clean the city streets of Scytheopolis that was ‘donated’ to the cleaning and defense of the city by the then future Duke. This ‘tool’ was used by the Duke and donated to the city as a part of his campaign to win the heart of his then future fiancée and father in law. There may be more in the Dunjon, so the adventurers could be hired to gain one for those without or replace a dead or dying one for those with such a useful thing.
- The Duke financed the expedition by selling his idea for something called a Caltrop Chain to a sage for use by the king’s armies. This item has never appeared in the use of the armies of this kingdom or any other, so there is a suspicion the sage may have perished on the expedition either nobly or having run afoul of ignobility. If he did pass away there, perhaps speaking with or raising the dead could gain all sorts of advantages.
- The Duke hired a worshipper of Thoth who would only use his abilities to gain knowledge. But he never returned to his home temple, leading to a schism between the duke and that religion. They may be an ally against the Duke or have information about the former Dragons lair. They offer assistance in exchange for the characters looking for clues as to the fate of their follower.
- In some tales a sword in others a ruling stave was lost in the dunjon by the Dukes party, this enchanted marvel is of great value yet left behind because of a heroic sacrifice. Perhaps it could be recovered?
- Dread undead Pirates infest the watery caves at the bottom of the Ormegarten because of infrequent sightings of lights offshore. (if false the lights are a hallucination/special effect of light upon the water)
- The Duke had several potions of treasure finding built for this mission in part to make certain no copper was left behind. The potions were undetectable by each other, a few were left behind because of this interesting factor and lack of utility elsewhere. (this rumor refers to the potion of dragon horde detection created for the future Duke)
- One of the treasures that could not be taken away was a way in the Dunjon to become immortal, Something the Duke was obsessing over as he died from a wasting disease.
- The Dragon had henchmen and allies (currently Dwarves and Elves top the list) that were not around when he died who may still be using the old lair as a base of operation from which they are trying to assassinate hated members of the royal family. (This might fit the plans of the poison Wight if determined to be true)
- There is a Beehive at the bottom of a fissure that hides gold (if false the gold could be honey, if true there is some treasure that draws bees to it and causes queen bees to be attracted to the object or enchantment)
Money: This kingdom has its own financial system because the coins in this kingdom are based upon various animal concepts due to an ancient legend about the animals having banded together to save the Barony from a terrible fate. The coins are Dragon Diamonds, Gold Lions, Silver boars, Copper goats, Brass baboons, and snake pins. The pins are worth about 10 straight pins to a Brass baboon or 13 bent pins to a Brass piece with these being used as a form of currency among those considered poor such as beggars, buskers (street performers), and others of their ilk. From there each one is ten times more valuable in most cases. Shaved copper or brass coins might be at metal weight values or many just convert at a 13 to 10 value for damaged copper and Brass. The higher values of coins have interlocking designs and artwork on the edge with the higher the value the lower the odds someone could fabricate a fake. The Dragon Diamonds are glassteel coins rather than true diamonds. With their nigh indestructibility, the coins last for centuries and to the poor and even the middle class they can be put to more use than merely money if they could ever keep a hold of one.
Converting to AD&D standard coinage Dragon Diamonds are platinum, Gold to Gold, Silver to Electrum, Copper to Silver and the rest form even smaller ‘coins’.
The Guild Keep is a venture on the Broken Lands as an extension of the county of Wendell (the Winding dell), an area of natural, broken, difficult, terrain and ridgelines that forces many of the nastier elements to either pass within sight of the walls of the keep or camp out near or in the ORMEGARTEN ENTRANCE VALLEY. This keep had few problems until years ago when something began forcing (pulling/calling or even birthing) darker and more dreadful things to head this way. Originally set up to trade with the dragon it also may be a key point for future trade with the Oriental areas.
The nearest town is probably the village called originally Lake of the woods but now known as Lakewood, a day away by most travel and efficiently run by Charlotte the Good, a witch rumored to be producer of minor charms, potions and a healthy dealer in curses. She and certain of the villages attempt to keep the magical protections of the land strong. This town trades well with Applewood but not as well as with Thorntown or Orlane. All the other villages being in the area belonging to Kendell (the Dell of Kin) a light mix of swamp and forest with some shipping by sea. Other nearby towns that the adventurers have heard of include the following Two Locations.
Town of Thorns: This small town once had a keep within sight of the Broken Lands that stood guard over this section of the border. This keep was ruined, when at the height of its power a visiting princess and the inhabitants were basically entombed in sleep and surrounded by a forest of thorns. This town is the one that bore witness to that story. Now though centuries later the town appears normal yet there is something subtly off. As they approach the town the characters realize all accesses to the town are thickly overgrown with stinging nettles at the base and crowned with impressively large wild roses with exceptionally long thorns except for the road in, there is no road out.
The townsfolk have taken what would be a huge problem and instead have turned this to their advantage because all the lands around can only grow that which bears thorns. As such they grow the most amazing roses that are in great demand as well as of great beauty, Blackberry brambles, and Keisha’s which are thorny trees that grow a bitter fruit that is made into savory desserts. Thornton once had a different name but now that may only be found in a copy of the Domesday book stolen, last seen heading into the Broken Lands.
Thornton is not only known for its horticulture and its connection to the legend of a sleeping beauty but the princesses’ grandfather had retired to here. The wall of thorns that protects the town is rumored to be from a planted ruling stave as well as terrible magics.
Scytheopolis: There is a major agriculture city, way far and away from the Broken Lands. This city in a small bowl like valley and much of the surrounding lands support this city.
Well that is it for the introduction. More to come later!