30 May 2015

13th Age: Duskmarsh

Since I don't quite know what my players are interesting in doing, I've taken the opportunity to brainstorm a little bit about locations that I'd like to eventually have them encounter. I've had to keep it intentionally vague so I can leave hooks lying around [1] and eventually they can choose to go there if they like. If they don't, that's fine- I'll just reuse and recycle my ideas for later.

Anyways, here it is:



Duskmarsh

The swamp is actually a nice enough place;  there are some undead there, sure, and probably more stirges than there should be, and yeah, there are actually a lot of carnivorous plants, plus some giant hunting spiders... you know what, let's not go to the swamp.

The thing about the swamp, though, is that there are quite a few rare plants that won't grow anywhere else in the world. There's a dungeon there, too, the ruins of an old outpost from the last age. They both attract different sorts of folks...

A swamp is an explosion of life. All kinds of life. Strange things grow there. Be careful.

6 Monsters

  • Stirges
  • Skeletons
  • Fungaloids
  • Spiders
  • Oozes
  • Carnivorous Plants

 6 Sites

  • The Old Outpost- The surface is an old fort where spiders and stirges make their lair. Underneath is the mouth of a dungeon, where oozes and skeletons roam. 
  • Fungaloid Duchy- Fungus-people have built stone walls and rule over their decaying, marshy realm.
  • Spider's Nest-  A thickly wooded grove infested with the predations of unnaturally huge spiders.
  • Pit of Decay- A tremendous sinkhole in the ground where oozes gather. Carnivorous plants catch prey and the oozes further decompose it, creating a beautiful (if smelly) symbiosis.
  • Overgrown Grotto- A lush cave with a pond. Nest for a bloated Stirge queen.
  • Lake Leomund- Verdant, with a lake island. Forgotten undead lurk there, bound by a curse.

6 Hooks 

  • Stirges have been spreading from the swamp and killing people. The stirges won't stop without the source being removed, so the local authorities are offering a reward for each stirge proboscis, plus a handsome bonus for the corpse of any queen. ~OR~ Somebody's set out to kill the stirges, and the local druids aren't having any of that. Stop the stirge-slayers before they upset the balance!
  • A nobleman from far away has tracked the location of a priceless family heirloom. Its location: Somewhere in the Old Outpost. 
  • An old pirate's dead and one treasure-hunter's got his map. They're pretty sure that the treasure's buried on Leomund Isle, if this map can be trusted. Of course nobody's dared visit that island for decades...
  • The Fungaloid Duke has deigned to expand his territory, much to the chagrin of the local farmers who prefer their lands solid and their hearts beating...
  • A bolting horse carrying a prince's ransom has disappeared into the swamp. The King is despondent that he'll never see his son again; if nobody can recover the random before the next new moon his son will be slain! It turns out that the horse is busy being digested by the Pit of Decay. The inorganic metal coins are intact, but how do you get retrieve them when a three foot thick carpet of ooze layers the place?
  • Somebody from a nearby settlement has been attacked and wrapped in thick silken webs by the spiders. When they capture the person, they are weak and, as it turns out, have been implanted with spider eggs.
6 Hazards [2]
  • The air is thick with gnats and biting flies. Getting a full-heal up here is impossible while the insects swarm.
  • A thick slimy sludge covers the party and its belongings, rendering 1d4 non-magic items useless in the next battle. (Which should be soon, or the party will just pause to clean it.)
  • An unnaturally long leech attaches to one party member (chosen at random). Before it can be discovered and peeled off, it drains 1d4 recoveries.
  • Pockets of swamp gas occasionally erupt with flickering lights, rendering meaningful stealth impossible.
  •  The battle takes place near a breeding pool- every round after the first, a Stirge attacks the party member that's furthest back.
  • There's some sort of forgotten shrine here. If any of the players attempt to pray here, have them roll a die. 1-2: Lose a recovery. 3-4: Roll to recharge a power of their choice. 5-6: Gain a recovery.




[1] If there's any way to describe my GMing style, it's probably "leave lots of hooks lying around." One of my players always asks about rumors, so I keep a nice long list of things that are happening lying around. Usually they don't investigate it, so I just keep track of it and have the rumors of something related happen. One example is that two merchant houses started up some shit with each other; one was smuggling in the others' territory. The players found out, and reported it to the local authorities, who promised they'd do something. Couple of days later, it turns into open skirmishing, and the players happen to be around people fleeing the countryside under the protective aegis of some cavalrymen. Couple of weeks later, they hear that one of the merchant houses has captured an important nobleman from the other house and that they're entering negotiations. Things like these help keep the world moving and, more importantly, remind my beautiful players that the world is in constant flux and that you'll never have enough time to do everything.

[2] I mean environmental hazards; things you can use to slow down your party if you think it'd be interesting. Thinking of these ahead of time is pretty difficult- usually everybody else will inform me about the sorts of things they're worried about or thinking about, and then I riff off of that. You know, basic "Be careful in the water! There could be snakes or alligators!" says one player. Hey, good idea- I'll keep that in mind, especially if a paranoid player asks for some sort of perception roll.

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