Ravenswharf

Years of adventure have gained you a reputation as a troubleshooter – just the person to call upon in a crisis. Your current sponsors, the Eastern Trading Trust, are concerned that their foothold on the unexplored northwest is in jeopardy. They have commissioned you to journey to the region to protect their interests.

They are particularly troubled by unconfirmed reports of an invading army gathering along the borders of the human settlements in the Eaglesridge region. The local Overlord claims to have everything in hand, but your sponsors are nervous. The hostile invasion force may number in the thousands and it is not clear that the Overlord understands the scale of the problem.

Your task is to find-out what's happening on the ground and to take whatever steps are necessary to secure the town of Eaglesridge and the nearby port of Ravenswharf.

As you arrive at Ravenswharf several ships and boats are leaving the port and sailing south. The dockside itself is crowded with people clamouring for places on the remaining ships. The captain of your ship is unwilling to land, so it's left to you, (and any companions), to swim ashore.

It's only a short distance from the harbour to the bookshop where you're to meet your local contact - but it takes a while to get there through the crowds of refugees and livestock packing the streets. Much of the talk around you is centred on rumours that the Overlord of Eaglesridge has already sailed south. The entire region is thought to be unprotected and some claim that the the Overlord and his mercenaries emptied the treasury before leaving.

Unlike many shops throughout the port, Nightingales' Rare Books and Manuscripts is open for business. A richly-dressed client is looking over books recently brought in by sellers desperate to buy a place on a boat out of Ravenswharf. He appears to like some of what he sees, but he is also looking for something more - or something else. He's very insistent that the shopkeepers bring him everything that's been brought in overnight.

Deadly Dragonflies

A young women watches from the sidelines and is quick to step forward. You check to see if she has a tattoo, ring or broach in the shape of a dragonfly, as this would confirm her identity as your local contact. At which point she gives you a book called, 'Deadly Dragonflies', with an example on the front.

There's a loose map and a short company gazetteer tucked inside the centre of the book, which are easily removed and tucked aside. The map plots the main locations and roads within the Eaglesridge region, while the gazetteer offers a short account of each area within the overall region.

At this point the wealthy client may become interested in buying your book. He's been told a rival collector sold a book about dragon lore to the shop last night. (This is probably not true and the rival dealer may well have been the source of the story).

The collector doesn't want to hang around - and you're holding the only book with the word dragon in the title that he's come across so far. He'll offer up to 500gp just to take the book and get out of there. If refused he will insist he's never going to shop there again and leave.

Regardless of whether or not the book collector pays out, the young lady hands over a pouch to 'cover expenses'. It holds gems worth 1,000gp and 100gp in coins. Fresh horses are ready and waiting behind the bookshop.

Eaglesridge Gazetteer

The Eaglesridge region is secure territory equipped with good quality roads. Four bridges span the two major rivers that cut down through the centre of the countryside. These bridges shorten journeys between the settlements to regular distances of roughly 20 miles.

The Countryside

Those exploring throughout much of the Eaglesridge region can expect to encounter travellers near the major crossroads marked on the map as jewels. Some caution is urged when journeying further from Eaglesridge, as this is frontier territory and a variety of monsters can be encountered in overgrown or wilderness areas.

Encounter 1

Encounter 2

Encounter 3

Encounter 4

Encounter 5

Encounter 6

Encounter 7

Encounter 8

The Territory

Chapter

Chapter is an area of woods and grasslands gifted to an order of knights for their part in the capture and defence of Eaglesridge and Ravenswharf at the point when the region was first torn from the wilderness.

The land produces grain and orchard fruits through the efforts of monks and householders attached to the knights' holy order.

At present relations between the Overlord of Eaglesridge and the knights are strained to such an extent that the order will not fight in defence of the Overlord's territory.

Eaglesridge

The prosperous merchant city of Eaglesridge holds some or all territorial rights over most of the surrounding region. Almost 20,000 humans live inside the city walls.

The city rests on the top of a long line of hills, which form a continuous ridge from north to south. The site enjoys a panoramic view over the local landscape, but few eagles soar over the crags and outcrops, as they were considered a nuisance and fed poisoned bait until most died.

A hereditary Overlord, Ascaric, owns the surrounding region by right of arms. He wrested the holding from the wilderness 27 years ago. His hold over the region is secured by a force of 1,500 mercenaries. The Chapter Knights who were once instrumental in the capture of the dragon-infested land have become a much weakened force in recent times.

Foundry

Local iron deposits and silver from the Sapphire area are melted-down and forged in the Overlord's foundry. The workshops produce a wide range of goods, including weapons, armour, farming equipment, mining equipment and many household and luxury goods.

Orchid

Orchid is an area of grasslands and orchards. The orchards produce pears, apples and peaches, which sell for good prices throughout the region and beyond.

The territory gained its name from the varieties of orchids which once thrived there. The orchids were prized by dragons and the land was cleared of orchids to discourage their visits.

The current landholder is the sister of the Overlord of Eaglesridge. Ironically, the self-styled 'Lady Orchid' personally supervises the removal and destruction of any orchid stems starting to grow within the area.

Ravenswharf

Ravenswharf is a frontier port packed full of explorers, merchants and pioneering families seeking freeholds. The current population ranges from 15,000 in winter to 25,000 in high summer.

Sapphires, silver, fruits, wheat and timber are exported through a busy harbour, which imports gold, spices and alchemical supplies.

The city has grown rapidly in recent years. This is largely the result of rich merchants supporting a burgeoning middle class, which provides services and luxury goods for the wealthy few.

The city and its surroundings are controlled from Eaglesridge, with a Harbour Master looking after much of the day-to-day running of the city and its harbour.

Royal Lodge

The Royal Lodge area is a wooded, craggy estate used for hunting deer and wilder animals. That includes monsters hiding in lairs to the southwest. The territory gets its name from a complex of hunting lodges and cabins known as The Royal Lodge, which belongs to the Overlord of Eaglesridge. He uses the complex to impress important visitors and to charge the wealthy for expensive hunting holidays.

The 'royal' tag is not sanctioned by any recognised kingdom, but serves to emphasise the luxury accommodation and, perhaps, the Overlord of Eaglesridge's wish that he should be declared king – turning the region from a territorial confederacy into a fully-fledged nation state.

Sapphire

Much of the wealth used to build Eaglesridge and Ravenswharf came from the region's sapphire mines. These are deep mines, which require a lot of investment to access the rich veins of sapphire and silver buried cut far below ground.

Tunnelling operations have created countless abandoned mineshafts and pitheads, which are quickly occupied by creatures suited to the underground conditions. It would be expensive to protect the whole area against bandits and monsters, so defensive fortifications are built around working the pitheads.

Shadowcaster

Shadowcaster is a remote area and for the most part the domain of a magician who somehow came to hold rights over this section of the Eaglesridge region. Small villages and cottages are dotted over the more southern parts of the area; and these are administered by Eaglesridge. However, the more mountainous north is largely deserted and home to a sorcerer's tower.

Travellers have encountered monsters within the Shadowcaster area – but few, if any, seem to break-out into areas inhabited by humans. Travellers' rumours and speculation also talks of some kind of ruins or ancient relics located to the north, but the rumours are unconfirmed. Most talk on the subject simply warns against wandering into the area.

Thornwood

Thornwood is a dense forest, which supplies much of the timber for building in Ravenswharf and Eaglesridge. There is also a high demand for timber to support the mining activities in the Sapphire area.

Several small settlements on the edge of the forest house woodcutters and wagon teams. These are all positioned on the northern edge of the forest and no one enters the forest unnecessarily. It is widely believed that Thornwood is haunted and those who venture in only do so in groups of a dozen or more.

The workers' fear is, perhaps, part superstition, part self-fulfilling prophecy - as any accidents, mishaps or animal attacks are invariably blamed on or linked to 'ghosts' and 'monsters'. However, there is much talk of a cursed field of barrows hidden deep inside the forest. Others claim to have come upon friends left dying from terrible claw and pincer wounds inflicted by creatures of the forest.

Sapphire

The heart of the mineral rich region of Sapphire is a series of hills and peaks, which can be seen from as far away as Eaglesridge. The combination of silver and sapphires found there, alongside a variety of other valuable ores and minerals in smaller quantities, is the result of mountain ranges colliding and driving both together and upwards at the same time.

Sapphire has been the source of much of the money used to develop Eaglesridge and Ravenswharf; to build the local roads; and to pay the Overlord's mercenaries. Unfortunately, the negative effects of such industry on the local area are plain to see in the slag heaps and the tainted water supply.

The silver mining in particular involves large amounts of toxic run-off. The water tastes metallic and often has a thin glistening sheen across the surface.

Anyone choosing to drink water from within the area suffers d4 damage/ day for a week. Bathing in the streams or rivers is an even worse idea, as sores appear across exposed skin within two hours, causing blistering for 4d4 damage.

As you approach the mining area the land lies largely unused. What must have been a large forest has been felled, leaving tree stumps dotted across the landscape. Without removing these the land is of little use for growing crops or keeping livestock – though this hardly matters due to the toxic water supply.

A junction in the road has a signpost clearly indicating that one branch of the road continues to Royal Lodge, while the other continues to Sapphire. This is slightly curious, as most signposts within the Eaglesridge region appear to have been chopped or torn down to avoid providing directions form the invading forces.

The road to Sapphire continues in a straight line cut through the foothills and it looks as though some sort of magical blasting was used to clear a route that would make it as easy as possible to maintain the supply of ores and minerals shipped out of the area's mines.

Silver Lake

The route to Sapphire's mines carries on for a further three miles. There are deep channels cut on either side of the road. These trenches are full of a slow-flowing, mineral-glazed sludge that occasionally forms puddles - which are best avoided.

You eventually see the road curving upwards to the left due to a large dam placed between two low hills lying straight ahead. The base of the dam is made from huge, weathered stone blocks, which have clearly been in place for many years. The rest of the dam appears to be made of timber, but years of overspill and seepage have steeped the wood in minerals, gradually hardening the timbers into a form of concrete.

A slight overflow spills into the roadside trenches, but sluice gates at either end of the dam look as though they are usually used to control the flow.

Rising to the top of the road brings an extraordinary sight, as the surface of the reservoir behind the dam glistens with a silvery luminance. The lake spreads over a wide area and the silvery slick spread over the surface is slimy and viscous to the touch. Fifty or more over-sized rafts are dotted across the surface, with a radiating mesh of walkways linking one to another. Some of these rafts are square, timber buildings used to form a mining camp and depot, while others are low, circular and look like large, floating tables.

Most of the circular rafts have a hardwood base, a 4' high wooden platform above the base and a thick layer of white marble set on top. Many of these are covered with crushed rock, which is there to be raked and washed as part of the process of separating silver and other minerals from slag.

As you cross the maneuverable, barge-like walkways that link the numerous islands it's clear that something curious is going on. There is no one in view, but unlike most of the settlements you've seen so far you can hear the sounds of horses in the stables, see that many doors have been left unlocked and identify various tasks were abandoned before completion.

A look inside some of the buildings around the perimeter of the floating camp reveals dormitories, store rooms full of pit props and a large refectory, where over two hundred people appear to have simply stood up and walked away from a half-eaten meal of porridge and fruit. The food inside this floating galley is certainly starting to rot, but not some much that it's been there for more than two or three days.

The stables are positioned at approximately the centre of the lake, alongside a wharf which has one of the floating marble tables lashed to it. An abandoned wagon full of ore sits nearby and the contents were presumably about to be poured out on to the top of the marble.

There are several horses inside the stables, but they are all either recently born or recovering from a minor injury of some kind.

Do you wish to search more or to continue to the other side of the lake?

If you choose to look around the floating settlement as a whole, you'll get an impression of people living tough working lives where the grinding, daily hardship is only broken by a handful of rafts set aside as community meeting places.

If you explore further you will quickly find areas which may be of particular interest. Firstly, there's a large sqaure raft supporting a tall cabin with a heavy wooden door.

Locked Cabin

Do you want to go in?

The door is locked, but not trapped. If you unlock it or break in you'll find a twin-level timber interior with a ladder leading to the second level. The lower level is an office, which has half-a-dozen chairs set around a large table. The top of the table is weighed-down with a large set of scales and several ledgers. There's a cluster of sapphire-packed rock which might be worth as much as 3,000gp set on one side of the scales.

Do you wish to look through the ledgers?

The ledgers are busy with transactions, but clearly marked with dates, weights and values. The current pitheads have clearly reached the point where the Overlord has been losing money. The miners need to hit a new seam or open-up an entire new rock face – with all the investment that calls for. The miners are paid a wage, but that has been halved over the last year.

Do you want to go upstairs?

The Overseer's living quarters are not luxurious, but they are at least clean and homely. There is a locked chest under the bed, containing 17,000 silver pieces, a +1 dagger, 4 healing potions and three magic scrolls – all for casting fireballs.

Dry Dock

A particularly large circular raft acts as a dry dock for the other rafts. One of the old, circular rafts is lying there getting repaired. It was been flipped over and the ore-washing marble tables lie nearby. You can see that the base of the raft was not made with the same wood or skill as the fixtures placed on top.

A rack of twelve rakes and half-a-dozen harpoons is fixed to the dry dock.

Do you check them out or carry-on?

This area of the lake is especially prone to attacks from a massive octopus that lives in the polluted water. The harpoons are all +1 weapons kept here to fend-off the octopus when it attacks. It is most likely to attack if anyone stands alone on one of the square rafts or a walkway within 100' of the harpoon rack. The octopus may also loose patience when hungry and attack a group which doesn't move on quickly.

Octopus

Charge Hand

A square raft bearing a cabin similar to the Overseer's is both locked and padlocked. It's easiest to enter through a set of shutters carelessly left open at the back of the cabin - but breaking in through the door or going down the chimney also works. Unlike most of the rafts the lower of cabin's two decks has a fireplace, comfortable seating, a long couch and a bookcase. The bookcase holds several volumes of familiar tales imported from southern lands. There is also a collection of titles about wildlife and flowers. These include A Guide to the Unexplored North, a bestiary detailing the types of creatures encountered by the Chapter Knights when they first arrived and a book simply titled Dragon Orchids.

A stepladder leads upstairs to a chamber already lit by a candle that doesn't appear to burn out. The walls have been plastered and then been painted in green and purple. Cushions, a charm bracelet and an incense burner suggest that the area is set aside for calm, meditative thinking. A sheaf of several scrolls lie open across the top of a rug-covered, wooden chest. The documents record the work of a sorcerer employed to blast tunnels and to help with extracting and washing the ore from the mines. The papers look recent and are all dry descriptions of a series of fireball and lightening bolt strikes used to both open and seal mining tunnels. There are lots of calculations and possibly formulae for working out the likely yield and distribution of blast effects.

Overall locations can't be pinpointed from the diagrams, but the documents are dated to the current year.

Do you choose to open the chest?

If opened the chest it contains a leather-bound, locked book and and a green, serpentine figurine. The serpent is cast in jade and looks quite valuable. However, if anyone tries to reach into the box the serpent will animate and attempt to bite.

Jade Serpent

Hit Dice: 1+2

Armor Class: 7 [12]

Attacks: Bite (1d4)

Saving Throw: 12

Special: Poison and Immunities

Move: 5

Alignment: Neutral

XP: 100

The serpent is immune to fire, cannot be charmed or similarly enchanted, regenerates 3hp/ round and may only be hit by magical weapons. However, cold damage equal to half its total hp changes it back into a statuette for d4 rounds. In addition, they have a keyword trigger written on the base. Once someone knows this the keyword can be used to switch the snake back to a statuette at any time - providing the reader can pronounce the word correctly.

The paralysing venom requires a saving throw to avoid 2d4 rounds of complete paralysis. A Jade Serpent usually sells for up to 3,000gp as they are valued both for their magic and as ornaments.

The Charge Hand is paid more than the Overseer, because magic costs and the magician has some powerful spells. It is, therefore, worth checking the rest of the room

Spellbook

The locked book radiates magic and belongs to the mining operation's spellcaster. She keeps the only key on a chain around her neck. The book contains a handful of spells: Burning Hands, Continual Light, Floating Disc, Web, Lightning Bolt and Fireball.

Sapphire Mines

The far side of the lake has jetties lined with several boats that clear the water of some of the run-off when it starts to thicken and crust. There is also along line of slag mounds and a collection of several damaged or yet to be unloaded wagons, which have been parked here.

Roads lead off across the foothills in several directions, but it's not hard to see which road is in current use, as the ruts and potholes in all the others haven't been repaired recently.

Do you feel you have enough time to explore any of the old mine workings?

Mine Workings

There are six old mining zones within Sapphire at this time. All have been exhausted, leaving large subterranean galleries stretching far into the hill- and mountain-sides. As a result of the mining operations, and the Overlord's guard over the area, the tunnels and caverns remain empty for the most part. However, creatures from the Royal Lodge area are beginning to break into the mine workings and it is possible that at creatures from further west are also exploring the galleries.

Between the journey and the time taken to search a pithead it takes d4 hours to explore each one of the exhausted pitheads. You can roll on the table below to see what you encounter:

  1. The pithead has been completely collapsed and none of the entrances are accessible.
  2. A nest of 2d4 Giant Spiders has occupied the tunnels and hunts as a pack.
  3. A Storm Ogre and d4 Ogres have opened and occupied the tunnels as a forward command post. They are accompanied by 2d4 Mountain Orcs each equipped with a Worg, which allows them to distribute the Ogre Mage's orders.
  4. A cluster of sapphires worth d4 x 500 gold pieces is easily removed near one of the otherwise inaccessible entrances.
  5. The tunnels can be accessed. A nugget of silver worth 5,000 silver pieces is not difficult to spot and may sell for 5x if sold as a single nugget.
  6. Explosive gas has leaked into the subterranean chambers. Explorers using lanterns, torches or other sources of naked flames or sparks must roll a successful saving throw or take 4d6 damage from an explosion throughout the chamber. Each further chamber risks the same outcome. There is a 1 in 12 chance of uncovering a fresh seam of silver-rich ore, but you'll need to set-up a mining operation at a later date to get at it.

Ogre, Storm

Ogre

Orc, Mountain

Worg

Sapphire Pithead

The road from Silver Lake to the current, active pithead follows a straight path through and over the foothills. The land has been stripped of most vegetation and a stubbly, brown grass covers most of the landscape. before long the crags and cliffs of the centre of the Sapphire mining region start to rise in front of you. After about three miles the road takes you over a rise and you are confronted by a wall of cliffs jutting out of the landscape.

The area between the cliffs and the top of the rise contains a large encampment. Some parts of the camp are semi-permanent timber buildings, but a larger area is taken up by a canvas covered assembly of wagons and crates. The camp itself shows little activity, because the area right in front of the cliff is a hive of industry.

Five long columns of the young and old are arranged in chain-gangs, which all lead to a wide cavern entrance leading into the cliff face. Perhaps 700 people are all busy lifting chunks of rock from the cavern. It seems they have been working for quite some time, as a tall cairn has formed at the end of each line. No one stops work as you approach, but most look-up - their faces etched with fear and exhaustion.

As you near the entrance to the cavern word has clearly passed down the line and a well-dressed man and three dwarven miners emerge to greet you. The human wears expensive, but practical clothing that has become torn and frayed in recent days. He introduces himself as the miners' Overseer and says, '' it's two days since the pit collapsed and we don't have much time left. Have you brought help? Are the invaders close?'

There is both exhaustion and desperation in his voice. He will be disappointed to hear there is no help in numbers, but feels there might be another way you can help.

Are you going to offer to help or leave immediately?

If you choose to stay the Overseer calls the three miners over and one unrolls a grimy chart, which maps most of the recent mining operations. The Overseer explains that the crags were mined long before the Overlord arrived and were hollowed-out using some unknown mining technique that focused on extracting seams laden with sapphires. The silver mining is a more recent development that involves expanding the original tunnels to blast out layers of silver-bearing ores. The old entry points are spread around the outcrop, so most entrances are sealed once a seam has been mined to stop monsters wandering into the mines.

An explosion inside the mine roughly two days ago collapsed the open pithead, trapping the whole night shift below ground. The day shift are inside the outer cave trying to break through, but the explosion was huge. Two of the closed entrances on the other side of the tunnel might be easier to access, but there are no trained warriors or magicians to protect anyone sent to try to attempts to use those access points. The third entrance was sealed after that section of the mine was hollowed-out, but might be the easiest to access, as the original explosion didn't yield as much force as hoped for at the time.

The Overseer has been to check the entrance, but it is already thick with large bats and cobwebs large enough to suggest that there are giant spiders lurking inside. Without troops equipped to fight monsters he has been too fearful to send a rescue team in. At the same time there is no real prospect of breaking through the current pithead before any survivors run out of water and the invaders arrive in force. Unless a warrior such as yourself is prepared to brave the caverns in the hope of finding a way in.

Do you volunteer to try to break into one of the entrances?

Sapphire Pithead Level 1

Explosions

These are places where the the tunnel has been collapsed by an explosion - usually to discourage or prevent access. The miners adopted this technique to prevent the risk of surprise attacks through entrances created by earlier miners. The damage is considerable, but blasting is an imprecise method and most of the entrances blocked in this way can be cleared with magic such as Transform Rock to Mud; or through the efforts of those with exceptional strength.

The top left explosion is different from the others, as this tunnel was open until the recent colossal explosion collapse one whole side of the cavern.

Sapphires

A small cluster of sapphires appears at each of these locations. The cluster can be removed or snapped from the rock with a simple hammer blow. The value of the find depends on rolling once on this table each time a set of sapphires is taken:

  1. The sapphires are worth d4 1,000 gold pieces
  2. The sapphires are tarnished and only worth d4 100 gold pieces after cutting
  3. The sapphires are worth d4 1,000 gold pieces, but taking them results in a loud hissing sound. Any spark or flame will ignite the gas causing an explosion for 12d6. How much of this damage is sustained depends on a countdown from five seconds immediately after the gas is released. Those who extinguish any lit fire source on their person take 2d6 less damage, anyone who runs takes 2d6 damage, anyone who falls to the ground takes 2d6 less damage. Damage can therefore be halved by anyone completing all three actions within the count from five down.
  4. The sapphires are worth 2d4 1,000 gold pieces, but there is a low hissing sound. This indicates the release of a corrosive gas, which ruins metals, (including weapons and armour). Fortunately, magical items are not effected, but other metals remaining in the chamber after a countdown of five seconds must save or be put beyond use.

If either of the two northern sapphire clusters are removed it becomes much easier to see into the partitions concealing the tunnels to the hidden chamber. Anyone looking through will see that the tunneling is smooth and worked like the rest of the earlier mining. If an explosion takes place at either of these points the nearest partition will fracture and fragment.

Galleries

(Left to Right, Top to Bottom)

  1. The section of the cavern that hasn't collapsed is full of the miners who were off shift when the explosion happened. They are working furiously, but the sheer volume of the material in front of them makes it clear they are days away from uncovering the tunnel beyond. The strength of magic required to move enough material quickly would call for something along the lines of a full-blown wish. No one is talking about giving-up, but everyone looks desperate.
  2. This hidden gallery has remained concealed behind a 6" wall of stone throughout recent mining operations. You may be able to notice a difference in the texture of the rock from that around it, i.e. the partitions can be detected in the manner of locating a concealed entrance. Further explosions close to either wall may make obvious cracks appear. The tunnels behind the partitions are rubble-strewn and clear cracks in the ceiling suggest it would be best to proceed with care. It is possible to see the tunneling in this area as it was before the mining operations of recent years. The rock appears to have been sheared away using some kind of very large, incredibly sharp cutting tool. The resulting plating effect may explain how the ceilings remain in place despite the absence of the pit props used to shore-up other areas. The cave itself forms a darkened vault and, as you enter, the form of a huge dragon looms in front of you. Fortunately, the 20' wall of jaws, claws and wings is a sculpture fashioned with the same kind of slicing strokes that carved the walls. it is possible to detect magic within the sculpture and the plinth it rests on. Rough tracks scrapped in the rock on either side of the plinth suggests that it has somehow been slid out of place on previous occasions. However, the weight of the statue currently prevents any movement. It will take magic, some crafty engineering or 500 hp of damage to remove the statue quickly. Any forceful or explosive methods are likely to result in the collapse of the cavern. In that event cracks will spread over the ceiling and walls, possibly allowing enough time for a quick escape. Clearing the area after a collapse would involve weeks of mining work.
  3. Both routes into the cavern have been opened-up by intruders. The miners responsible for the work have left, but two guards remain on watch. They are spear-wielding Mountain Orcs - mounted on Giant Wolf Spiders. The creatures are controlled by chain reins and are capable of attacking.
  4. This is where surviving miners who have been hurt or wounded are resting. There are several with injuries caused by falling rocks, shrapnel wounds and/ or blast burns. However, twice as many have weapon wounds clearly resulting from combat. The injured are weak and dehydrated, so the best chance of gaining a coherent account from them is to offer water or to heal someone. In brief, a break-in from the south forced the miners to defend themselves against orcs and goblins. While this was going on a group of Ogres advanced along the northern tunnels and stacked barrels into the tunnel leading to the pithead. They included a magician who then unleashed a massive fireball into the tunnel containing the barrels.
  5. The open pit-face at the centre of the outcrop is a battle-scene with a dozen miners lying still alongside the bodies of a Giant Wolf Spider and half-a-dozen Mountain Orcs. Most of the miners have had to use their pickaxes to fight, but one of the fallen figures is the mine's spellcasting Charge Hand. She still holds a +1 Dagger and a key attached to a scarlet cord set around her neck.
  6. A large Cube lives in here and has done so for a long time. It waits until someone steps inside and then tries to fall right on top.
  7. From the outside this cavern is filled with large bats, fist-sized spiders and lots of scorpions. It has been left undisturbed and it's understandable that the miners are wary about trying to work there. Nevertheless, finding a way to clean-out the pests quickly would let the miners get to work on a tunnel that could break through inside a couple of hours. Some forms of magic might be more direct or speed things up. From the inside, the tunnel leading to the cavern contains most of the surviving miners. The airflow in this area is almost non-existent, so they are oxygen starved and incapable of making any major progress. They know they can't be too far away from escape, but have reached the point where they're no longer physically capable of carrying on.
  8. Two Mountain Ogres and four Mountain Orcs are waiting here. They know where the miners are, but have been told to hold back until reinforcements arrive or the miners keel over. It is unlikely they will be caught off guard from the left, but those entering quietly from the right may surprise them. The Mountain Ogres are armed with large spiked clubs, while the Orcs all have spears. One of the Orcs also has a +1 Composite Bow and a healing potion.
  9. The outside entrance to this cavern has very obviously been re-opened. The large cave lying inside has a lit campfire set in the centre. A cloaked figure sits on a log beside the fire - facing away from the outside entrance. If you continue towards the fire from either direction the figure will stand and face you. She is an Ogre sorceress and it won't bother her whether you want to fight hand-to-hand or target spells at each other.

 

Ogre

Hit Dice: 4+1
Armor Class: 5 [14]
Attacks: Weapon (1d10+1)
Saving Throw: 13
Special: None
Move: 9
Alignment: Chaotic
XP: 450

Orc, Mountain

Hit Dice: 1+2
Armor Class: 6 [14]
Attacks: Spear (d6) or Long Sword (d8)
Saving Throw: 17
Special: None
Move: 12
Alignment: Chaotic
XP: 150

Giant Wolf Spider

Cube

Sapphire Pithead Level 2

Explosions

There are two locations where explosions may occur. There is adefinite hint of some form of acrid gas on entering both areas and you must extinguish flames and avoid creating flames or sparks in both the actual areas and surrounding chambers. This may call for considerable care when breaking through partitions to explore further. If an explosion occurs powders in connected chambers will fill the air and mix to form different shades. As with the rest of the dust, once disturbed the material remains suspended in the air.

Start to sparkle when

Galleries

  1. The floor is thick with a coating of a red dust.  If the powder is stirred-up at all it remains suspended in the air in the form of a mist.
  2. The slab on the level above requires the strength of ten to move aside. Underneath a broad, spiral stairway turns down into complete darkness. The sides of the stairway are open, so torchlight reveals the scene below. The floor of the entire cavern is white and as you get closer it becomes apparent that the area is thick with a coating of some kind of white powder. If the powder is stirred up at all it remains suspended in the air in the form of a mist.
  3. The floor is thick with a coating of some kind of orange dust. If the powder is stirred up at all it remains suspended in the air in the form of a mist.
  4. The floor is thick with a coating of some kind of yellow dust. If the powder is stirred up at all it remains suspended in the air in the form of a mist.
  5. The floor is thick with a coating of some kind of green dust. If the powder is stirred up at all it remains suspended in the air in the form of a mist.
  6. The floor is thick with a coating of some kind of blue dust.  If the powder is stirred up at all it remains suspended in the air in the form of a mist.
  7. The floor is thick with a coating of some kind of indigo dust.  If the powder is stirred up at all it remains suspended in the air in the form of a mist.
  8. The color of the powder in this cavern depends on which powders have already become mixed.
  9. The floor is thick with a coating of some kind of violet dust. If the powder is stirred up at all it remains suspended in the air in the form of a mist.

Thornwood

The main route into the forest is a military-grade road, which runs for miles. There are numerous branches and forks leading off in various directions, but the cobbled road continues without break.

Overhead, the dense canopy makes the forest naturally dark. However, large, dimly-lit lanterns filled with over-sized fireflies provide an eerie, multi-coloured glow. The woodcutters and wagon crews have fled to Ravenswharf, but the local wildlife seems calm and quite vocal. There isn't much undergrowth due to the lack of light, but there's plenty of debris formed by tangles of fallen branches.

The journey into the forest is interrupted after, perhaps, two miles by movement among the shadows around the trees and the occasional snapping twig.

Do you stop to investigate?

A Honey Badger has been tracking you. It will approach to within a few feet and wait for your reaction. If you offer-up all the supplies you're carrying the likelihood of an attack is 2 in 6. Otherwise, it attacks, fearlessly, on a roll of 1-4 on a 6. It will stop attacking if you run away.

[expand trigclass="arrowright" title="Giant Honey Badger"]

Badger, Giant Honey

Hit Dice: 7

Armor Class: 0 [19]

Attacks: 2 Claws (1d8), Bite (1d12)

Saving Throw: 9

Special: Damage Reduction, Resist Poisons, Immune to Distraction, Fear and Enchantments

Move: 12

Alignment: Neutral

XP: 700

These predators are the size of a full-grown human and extremely aggressive when hunting or defending their territory. They have unusually tough, very flexible skin that halves the damage of any attack which harms them. In addition, swarms cannot distract Honey Badgers and they are too single-minded for Fear or enchantments to affect them. Poison does make them sleep for d4 rounds, but they then recover fully. [/expand]

Or hurry along?

The road arrives at a clearing in the forest, which is normally used as a wagon depot and lumber yard. The whole place is quiet and abandoned. The buildings include a lumber mill, a lumber yard and and half-a-dozen log cabins. If you glance inside the open doors of the first couple of cabins you can see that the floorboards have been shattered from below and the contents are strewn around inside.

Do you stay and investigate the other cabins? If so, there are six locations left to search. Reveal the contents as you enter.

Lumber Yard

The lumber yard contains several stacks of cut timbers and six large wagons. There is also a selection of saws, claw hammers and heavy axes. One of the axes hangs on the wall of the workroom attached to the yard. It's of obvious good quality and balanced as a weapon. Through trial and error you'll discover it's a +2 Battleaxe.

Lumber Mill

A young Forest Scorpion is listening for sounds of movement and will attack through the floor if the cabin is searched. The young creature is reckless and will pursue you beyond the shelter of the mill.

[expand trigclass="arrowright" title="Forest Scorpion"]

Scorpion, (Young) Forest

Hit Dice: 3

Armor Class: 3 [16]

Attacks: 2 Pincers (d4), Sting (d4 + Poison)

Saving Throw: 14

Special: Surprises on 1-3

Move: 12

Alignment: Neutral

XP: 300

This creature is about the size of a Halfing and is skilled at attacking from or through unexpected places. Cutting upwards through wooden floors is a favourite tactic, but they are just as comfortable scuttling along tree branches - where they have excellent camouflage.[/expand]

Cabin #3

This is a dormitory and appears to contain nothing of value. However, a through search will uncover a collection of carved bird whistles. Each makes a bird call: an eagle, a crow, a dove or a nightingale.

Cabin #4

A young girl is hiding on a bunk inside this cabin. She has been running from hut to hut after nearby Forest Scorpions worked-out that some easy prey had been left behind. The girl was out among the trees when the wagons left and says no one thought to fetch her. She is, perhaps, nine-years-old and has unusually pale skin. If asked she will give her name as Faith - before asking to be allowed to go free.

Faith has no interest in questions about where she's from or who looks after her and, once the scorpions are dead, she will not hesitate to run-off alone. If she's around for a while you'll probably notice that whenever she walks on grass her feet leave a trail of tiny silver wildflowers behind her. However, in the forest it's more likely someone will touch her to prevent her running-off. This won't make her lash-out, but she will look straight at her assailant with eyes that suddenly glaze over as if pools of liquid silver. Her gaze has no obvious effect and the glazimg passes once she looks away.

Faith is determined to escape alone and will use every opportunity to get away. If you want or try to stop her from going she will make a nuisance of herself and explain that her real family will be looking for her. In the unlikely event you try and manage to keep her with you, the next time you meet Hope, she'll release Faith and help her on her way. To the point of using force.

Cabin #5

The foreman's cabin looks to have been emptied, but there is a locked cabinet containing a +1 Longbow, 6 +1 Arrows and two Potions of Extra-Healing. These items are kept for dealing with the creatures of the forest. A box holding 6 flasks of Holy Water rests at the bottom of the cabinet.

Cabin #6

An adult Forest Scorpion is listening for sounds of movement and will attack through the floor if the cabin is searched. This Forest Scorpion will not go out into open ground, as past experience tells it not to get caught in the open by humans.

Scorpion, Forest

Hit Dice: 6

Armor Class: 3 [16]

Attacks: 2 Pincers (2d4), Sting (d6 + Poison)

Saving Throw: 11

Special: Surprises on 1-3

Move: 12

Alignment: Neutral

XP: 600

These creatures are the size of a human being and are skilled at attacking from or through unexpected places. Cutting upwards through wooden floors is a favourite tactic, but they are just as comfortable scuttling along tree branches, where they have excellent camouflage.[/expand]

Or do you get out of there fast?

The centre of the forest is marked by an end to the road and an area where the trees are much shorter than those elsewhere. Initially this is because they have been growing for no more than twenty or thirty years. However, a central area covered with large barrow mounds only has the broken remains of battered tree stumps left standing. Digging into the mounds during daylight reveals thirty mounds with a mixture of bones – mostly human, but some humanoid. A further twenty barrows contain larger, reptilian bones.

It takes about an hour to uncover an intact dragon's skull. The human and humanoid barrows contain rusted weapons and armour, which are still usable.

After dark the animals in this section of the forest fall silent. As midnight approaches the mounds begin to break open as an army of skeletons - both human and dragon – burst from the barrows. There must be 500 humanoid undead and 20 dragon undead; of which a cluster at the centre of the humanoid undead are unusual creatures with veils of shadow running around and between their skeletal frames.

As the two sides form they immediately join battle with each other.

You can face-off against the undead, but they don't set out to fight you unless you put yourselves directly in the way.

The two armies join battle against each other until both are all but annihilated. Towards the end a cluster of the Veiled Knights stand victorious against the dragons. Amidst them their leader stands triumphant as the others hail him for striking down the last of the dragons. However, just as they celebrate their triumph the dying dragon curses the battlefield and all upon it.

Eaglesridge

The approach to the region's capital at Eaglesridge involves a gentle climb up along the series of low peaks leading to the top. Trees line most of the route and a series of crags form steps along the continues ridge - creating significant barriers to any forces attempting to capture the town.

There are no eagles to be seen, which is perhaps explained by the baited traps positioned at several points. Various cottages, sheds and barns along the way have been abandoned and stripped of valuables by those fleeing from Eaglesridgeto Ravenswharf.

The town itself is not quite large enough to be described as a city, but there are high defensive walls surrounding the settlement. Freshly cut ditches below the walls suggest that there was some thought of trying to defend Eaglesridge. However, the ramparts are unguarded and the cities gates lie open.

Ravenswharf has not been completely abandoned, as a small number of people - mainly the old or infirm - have been left behind. Several of them watch your progress through shuttered windows and gaps in their curtains. No one dares to come out to greet you, but a straight path leads directly to the main square. This is a large, courtyard-like area lined with large buildings with imposing fronts. Chief among these is a large structure with a double-doored entrance formed into an arch.

Colourful crests mark the building as the Overlord's headquarters or great hall. However, there is no time to take in more detail, as there are two people standing outside the arched doorway. They appear to be about to go their separate ways, but both turn and pause as you arrive. They regard you with a mixture of surprise and suspicion.

As you draw nearer it's possible to see that one of them is a well-dressed nobleman or merchant; currently nursing a broken arm. The other is dressed more in the manner of a priest or cleric. He is carrying a stack of papers and scrolls.

Wounded

A ragged band of thick-set, middle-aged men emerge from trees near the side of the road. Some wear bandages that have been freshly blooded and all of them look rather bedraggled and lost. They call-out for food and your protection.

Do you go to meet them and offer what help you can?

Or do you back-off and prepare a weapon?

In either case, the closer the group get the less they add-up. The bloodstains are too fresh for other signs of combat to have gone; the men seem just too obsequious; and the staffs they carry show no signs of wear and tear. Within a few paces of them it also becomes clear that their facial features are slightly distorted - as if the lot of them are wearing ill-fitting masks.

If you chose to back-off you have a chance to attack first or flee. Otherwise, you'll have to take your chances against the masked men.

As soon as blows are exchanged the facial muscles will start to tear through the surface of the masks, revealing the

 

Renegade

As you approach a roadside villa you hear shouting and calling coming from inside. The voices are not human - but it's a human who jumps out of a top floor window, lands on the roof of the first floor while slightly off balance, and then tumbles backwards on to the top of the ground floor. As you watch you're thinking, 'that has to hurt'. However, the falling figure rolls straight-off the edge of the roof and lands effortlessly.

Above you a gaggle of orcs and goblins standing at the top floor window are is pointing and shouting. They're trying to decide whether or not to attempt the same leap, but they're not the most immediate concern. A group of axe-wielding humanoids spills out of the front door of the villa and none of them look happy.

The human takes a couple of strides, jumps on to a crate and then straight on to his waiting horse. He calls to you, saying, 'I wouldn't hang about,' and beckoning for you follow him.

Do you wish to follow, flee in the other direction or take on the milling crew of 20 angry orcs and goblins?

While you decide, you see the fugitive's horse speeds away at a remarkable pace. Sparks literally fly from the hooves of his horse as they strike the hardened road surface. He's almost out of view when you see him pause to check if you're following. If not he waits and calls to you. In the event that you aren't mounted, it may be necessary to run for some distance to leave the orcs and goblins behind.

If you eventually meet the fugitive he introduces himself by offering a clenched fist for you to punch in greeting. Assuming the war-party is out of range, he pulls out a rolled-up map and opens it to have a look at what it shows. It's a crude representation of the Eaglesridge region, which includes several symbols. You may have come across a few of them before, as some match the banners carried by war parties encountered elsewhere.

After shaking his head a couple of times he says, 'we don't have much time. They've held back the main forces while the shock troops press everyone in towards Ravenswharf. On the plus side, they're definitely taking the army down the northern road. I need you and anyone else you meet to gather on the eastern side of the northern bridge. Better to die there than packed like rats inside Ravenswharf.' You've no time to answer before he says, 'the map's already out-of-date, so we're all in it now. By the way, if you see the girl, Hope, tell Riskin we can't rely on the miners. They're trapped underground and the invaders' map shows it's too risky to try taking Hope up there to get them out.'

The fugitive will pause to let you take in what he's said, but doesn't want to delay. Any questions will be met with a repeat of the request to gather at the northern bridge before dawn the following day. Short of a fight, he won't reveal anything more.

Hope

You see a raven-haired girl of about 9 or 10 skipping down the street, followed by a knight on horseback. The child is in good spirits and sings to herself. The knight remains mounted and introduces the pair. He is Ardmore, the child's protector and the former leader of the Chapter Knights. She is Hope.

The child plays at the roadside as you talk with the knight. If you appear friendly and offer news of current events he will advise you to leave for Ravenswharf immediately. Failing that he suggests that anyone with the spirit for a fight should take themselves to the bridge on the border of the Chapter Knights' land.

He further explains that the Chapter Knights will be honour-bound to clash with the advancing army and that the river crossing offers the best chance of splitting the enemy forces.

Ardmore has no concerns about the safety of the girl and himself; and will state that they are going to the battlefield at the bridge after collecting items which may aid the Chapter Knights.

Ardmore is a 9th Level Paladin who will defend Hope with his life.

Hope has the powers of a 16th Level Cleric.

The panniers on Ardmore's horse hold strengthened glass jars containing several orchid stems. Some flowering, some not.

Ardmore is a Paladin and he uses Detect Evil to establish whether or not you can be of any help. If he detects no evil he will urge you to join him later at the bridge close to the Chapter Knights' land. He may also be willing to explain more of the background to current events.

Years ago the local hill farmers lived alongside the dragons in mutual respect and negotiated with them through an intermediary. However, the arrival of the Overlord and his mercenaries provoked conflict. The Overlord fueled further trouble by turning every disagreement about sharing the land into an incident. At the same time healso set about harvesting the rare orchids so prized by the dragons.

Conflict flared on a couple of occasions, allowing the Overlord to request a detachment of dragon-fighting knights from the holy orders of the south. These warriors, the Chapter Knights, duly arrived and zealously set about confronting the supposedly hostile dragons. Ardmore was among the most fervent in pursuing the dragons at first.

Following a particularly nasty incident the Overlord appealed to the priestess who talked with the dragons from her temple atop the Dragonsridge - now Eaglesridge. He asked the dragons to meet at his stockade in the Thornwood for a great treaty-signing feast. The terms of the treaty favoured the humans, but offered the dragons the land most sacred to them. The tough terms suggested the offer was sincere and the priestess convinced the dragons to attend.

The Chapter Knights, the Overlord's mercenaries and the first wave of silver miners feasted and honoured the dragons for two days. The treaty was then just about to be signed when the dragons' leader asked to know why the priestess hadn't joined them for the ceremony. With an agreed signal, a further force of mercenaries concealed within the forest rose as one and fell upon the dragons.

The Chapter Knights were bewildered - as there was no honour in an ambush - and Ardmore lead many of them from the field. The dragons fought furiously and would have won the day were it not for a pack of Veiled Knights recruited by the Overlord. The dragons could not cope with the undead creatures' attacks and before long both dragons and humans were slain by the creatures.

The Overlord was furious with the Chapter Knights and Ardmore in particular. He petitioned the knights clerical patrons and the order might have been disbanded were it not for their illustrious history reaching back over centuries. Instead Ardmore's banners were thrown down and the spurs cut from his boots on the steps of the chapter house. Thereafter, the Overlord starved the order of recruits and resources until they became a shadow of their former selves.

Ardmore does not seem particularly concerned about this and adds that he had other duties, as that was when the Renegade brought Hope to him - just as she is now.

The girl skips and plays by the edge of the road while you talk. As she moves you start to notice a pattern forming where she steps on the grass. A closer look shows tiny, golden four-leaved wildflowers growing among the grass. As you take this in the girl turns to you and her eyes become completely glazed in pools of liquid gold. She says, 'do you have time to play?'

If you agree to play Hope ask to play one of her favourite games.

Roll a d6 to find out which game Hope would like to play:

1-2: Dragonflies

3-4: Dream

5-6: Wildflowers

 

Chapter

 

Foundry

The route to the Foundry lies through pleasant, lightly forested countryside. The trees become more dense as you near the Foundry, but there is nothing to prevent you making good time along the empty road.

As you approach the buildings you see a group of three women leaving the complex. They look like refugees and have heavily-laden pack-mules with them. They don't seem over enthusiastic about coming across you, but do pause to urge you to leave the area. The oldest among them says they've stayed as long as they can to look after the remaining livestock, but may already have left it too late to escape to Ravenswharf.

They are about to move on when a shower of silver coins spills from one of the satchels swung over the mules. Curiously the coins are not minted with the Overlord's Eagle's Crest. Nor are they minted with the Dragonfly design of your employer. These coins bear an orchid on one side and a dragon's head on the reverse.

Do you grasp another satchel to find out if it also contains coins or simply let them go on their way?

The Foundry

  1. Chute #1
  2. Chute #2
  3. Chute #3
  1. Crucible #1
  2. Crucible #2
  3. Crucible #3
  1. Workshop #1
  2. Workshop #2
  3. Workshop #3
  1. Craftshop #1
  2. Craftshop #2
  3. Craftshop #3
  1. Firepit

 

Captive

You're passing a barn next to a farmhouse when you hear a single, strangled cry for help coming from inside.

Do you carry on regardless or stop to investigate?

Inside you find two cloaked warriors guarding a middle-aged man dressed in expensive clothing. One of the warriors holds a lit torch, while the other one is threatening the chained captive. The guards pause to gauge your reaction, but the well-dressed and carefully-groomed prisoner does not delay in blurting out that he is the Overlord of Eaglesridge. The rich clothing and livery suggest that the prisoner might be telling the truth.

Instead of denying the prisoner's claims the warrior closest to him says, 'he must come with us to answer for his crimes, but you can just walk away.' The warrior's accent is thick and difficult to follow, but does manage to leave the impression that the warriors will fight to hold on to the Overlord.

Do you challenge them or walk away?

Brawl

A roadside tavern and it's surrounds have been taken over by a force of roughly 500 of the Overlord's mercenaries. They've been in some kind of battle – and judging by the many wounded lying outside the tavern – it hasn't gone well. Apart from the wounded the tavern's surrounds are packed with soldiers lying sleeping the sleep of the utterly exhausted. The remainder seem to be inside the tavern, which is the source of a tremendous racket.

A glance inside the doors shows a packed bar heaving with some kind of on-going mass brawl. There are no weapons in use and few of those inside look capable of doing each other much harm. They just stumble back and forth between the drinks on the top of the bar and the scrum in the centre of the room.

You can leave them to it or try to take some kind of action to bring them to their senses. A display of powerful magic is most likely to get their attention immediately, as they've seen the power of sorcery in battle and are very wary of spellcasters. The magic need not be destructive, but would have to achieve more than curing a few light wounds to avoid a wait of two or three hours before the drink-fueled brawl peters out.

The 500 or so mercenaries found here are just about all that remains of the Overlord's fighting force of over 2,500 professional warriors. They were sent to seize land on the western side of the Sapphire area and stirred-up a hornets' nest. The massed army that has followed them back is reckoned to be over 20,000 strong. The main reason these mercenaries escaped was because their regiment ran into orcs and goblins. Others faced ogres and trolls without standing much chance.

They are far from keen to fight again and plan on heading for Ravenswharf as soon as they've drunk the bar dry. However, they know there won't be many boats left and as professional soldiers they might be persuaded to fight a delaying action against the vanguard of the approaching army - providing each receives 50gp. Anything less doesn't make the risk worthwhile and they only money of interest is cash in hand. If you can find the money the mercenaries will stand and fight until they see escape routes getting closed-off.

Orchid

A short climb up a steep escarpment carries you on to the moorland plateau known as Orchid. The road continues into the distance and it is possible to see for miles across the moors in all directions. There are numerous fruit orchards placed at intervals along the roadside. These lead to clusters of white cottages, which usually house those who tend the orchards.

A large sign at the side of the road states the following:

Dragons Kill!

Orchids attract dragons!

Report stems or flowers immediately!

Orchid theft is punishable by ordeal!

The same signage appears alongside the main route at roughly five mile intervals.

You have not traveled far when you catch sight of a pair of riders in the distance. One is a richly-dressed woman; the other a cavalryman. The woman is hawking, but pauses once her escort catches sight of you. They ride towards you and the lady addresses you. 'I don't know what you're doing here, but I urge you to get off my land - unless you are trained to fight and want to earn some gold in my service. What say you?'

Whatever your initial thoughts, a further escort of a dozen heavy cavalry appear on the horizon as she speaks. They stay at a distance, but could clearly close the gap quickly.

Do you choose to leave or do you agree to join her forces?

If you agree to sign-up she will immediately wave you in the direction of her aide who summons one of the cavalry and tells him to take you to the western watchtower. Your escort isn't talkative, but does tell you that you're lucky to have found a safe berth. If you keep a sound watch and light the beacon on the tower at the first sign of trouble he reckons help can arrive from Lady Orchid's castle in about twenty minutes. An offer of food or gold may persuade him to add that there shouldn't be any problems, as Lady Orchid is said to have cut a deal with the invaders.

The guard already stationed at the watchtower shows you where some basic supplies are kept and leaves with the other warrior.

Whether or not you agreed to be recruited, if you want to investigate Lady Orchid's castle it's clear that you're going to have to break in. Fortunately, that's not as difficult as it might be, because Lady Orchid has had difficulty recruiting more guards. No one can be completely sure that she can or will protect them from the invaders - and they are in little doubt over just how unpleasant she can be if everything doesn't go to plan. That said those who remain have taken the gold and trusted to her protection in return for obeying orders. Their complicity makes them loyal to Lady Orchid.

At a distance the castle, including a high tower set within the walls, appears to present quite formidable defenses. However, though defensible, the structure is no stronghold. The walls are steep but also have lots of good handholds. While the number of guards available to patrol the walls aren't sufficient to cover every angle - providing you can arrange a short distraction.

If you manage to scale one of the walls you should be able to enter one of the towers before the guards are back in place. Though an over-top-distraction may foil your plans by setting everyone inside the castle on edge and alert. Moving between towers on either level calls for care. Moving between levels is quite straightforward, as each tower has a steep spiral stairwell at the centre.

The doors are made of oak and kept locked. The nearest guard usually has the key to each door.

  1. The main hall is where most of the troops wait around when off duty. A d8 guards or cavalry can usually be found here. They are not particularly experienced or battle-hardened troops, so magic or weaponry that obviously affects half of them will be enough to make the rest flee from the tower and the castle. To ease the boredom the soldiers have sets of knuckle-bone dice, a supply of chewing tobacco and a couple of wooden targets with daggers stuck in them. One of the dice is a non-magical d6; carefully weighted to never roll a 1.
  2. The canteen consists mainly of a couple of long tables, some battered bowls and cutlery - and a hatch in the wall. The hatch raises shortly after anyone enters and voice says, 'what d'you want?' There is no sign of anyone at the hatch, but the voice continues. 'We got gruel, we got stew and we got dumplings. What d'you want?' The Halfling cook doesn't care much for the guards, so he'll just close the hatch if no one places an order. If anyone does, he'll open the lower part of the hatch and bring out a tray with the required amounts of gruel, stew and dumplings. He'll then stand and watch as you eat. The gruel, stew and dumplings smell as bad as they taste. The flavour is from some kind of rancid meat. After a couple of bites the notice something stuck in one of the portions. It's a skeletal finger, complete with knuckles. The Halfling reaches out, takes it and mutters, 'I've been looking for that.' If you don't eat it all or say anything uncomplimentary about the food the Halfling will shake his head, take what's left back to the kitchen and close the top and bottom hatches. If you lick your lips or say how much you enjoyed the food the cook will burst out laughing and ask, 'shall I'll fetch dessert?' Dessert is a tray of pear, peach and apricot pastries. There are two of each and they look and smell delicious. When eaten each of the pear flavoured pastries increases dexterity by a point for 48 hours. The peach flavour increases charisma for 48 hours and the apricot flavour increases constitution for the same time. If anyone asks, the cook is called Hopscotch and most the food is made of crows. He'd be happy to leave, but he was sold to Lady Orchid and fears being hunted down if he flees. The skeletal finger serves as a handy jar and bottle-opener.
  3. The servants' quarters are also used as a store room and laundry. There's a well in the centre of the large room and that's where two maids usually work when they are not wanted by Lady Orchid. Two gardeners also work here at times. Otherwise, they are found maintaining the grounds in the courtyards between the outer towers and the high tower. None of them wish to get involved, but won't stand in your way. However, there is a 50% chance that a guard will enter the room while you are there, as they constantly hand-off work and chores to the servants.
  4. The guards' barracks are a basic dormitory with a washroom and next to no trimmings. However, there is a fireplace, which the servants tend, so at least the place is warm and dry. A d4 guards can typically be found sleeping here. Most of the guards have 5d6 silver pieces stored in a money belt, but they decided to put their gold all together in one place. If you move the beds around the 400gp hidden inside of one of the wooden legs becomes obvious. Getting it without waking the guards is likely to be very difficult, but not impossible.
  5. The castle's chapel is locked tight and the interior is covered in dust and cobwebs. No one has been inside for several years and
  6. Stables
  7. Gardening Store
  8. Garden

First Floor

Greenhouses

  • Black Orchid
  • Red Orchid
  • Orange Orchid
  • Yellow Orchid
  • Green Orchid
  • Blue Orchid
  • Indigo Orchid
  • Violet Orchid

High Tower

  • White Orchid
  • Rainbow Orchid

 

Characters

Influential characters from in and around Eaglesridge are detailed in the PC sheets below:

Faith

The child is unusually agile and quick on her feet. She simply wants to return to her home - and when free heads straight for the coastline in the hope of making contact with rescuers sent to search for her.

Hope

Though only a child, Hope's magical skills are available to her as required. She is not usually encountered with a weapon to hand. As a result of events in her past Hope owns a very considerable hoard of treasure. However, she is unaware of this and does not know where it is.

Lady Orchid

The Overlord's sister became a sorceress at a young age and has worked hard to become a very capable spellcaster. Unfortunately, her manipulative nature and ambition means her skills are not put to good purpose.

Mendle

Mendle has a history of carrying-out reckless magical experiments. Some work remarkably well; while others go badly wrong. This is an expensive pastime and Mendle has gained and spent several fortunes pursuing his goals. It is unclear where his motives and ambitions lie, but those who have met him see no harm in most of his actions.

The Overlord

____ was a

Silver Lake Mines Overseer

The

Renegade

The Overseer has tried to hunt down the Renegade on numerous occasions

Tildenmor

Hope's companion and bodyguard Ardmore may have been driven out of his role as Marshall of the Chapter Knights, but he did not lose his status as a Paladin in the eyes of his deity. It would have been easy to become embittered over his treatment by both the Overlord and the churches to the south. However, he has enjoyed looking after Hope through the years spent free from warfare and the discipline of a military order.