Sunday, January 4, 2015

Citizens of Ashbourne, Part 2

Here's Part 2 of my Ashborne series.  If I do these daily it should take me seven or eight days.  Today we meet Maximus, the leader of the village.  Ashbourne is a independent village that only loosely pays homage to the nobility because Maximus paid a great deal to keep them away.  So Ashbourne is isolated.  I imagine the nearest town is three days away.

You'll find a new creature, spell (I'm lousy at gauging the power of spells, everyone seems to squeal  'too powerful, too powerful'), a magic item and local legend.  The legend section is probably my new favorite.

Once Ashbourne is complete I plan to add 5E stats and a Swords & Wizardry Complete version and release it as a freebie on RPGNow.  The art work won't be included because I've Google ganked it. 

4. Storage
The iron ore that is collected from the mine is loaded into two heavy wagons (each can carry 2 tons of iron ore).  There are four heavy wagons total.  Two are usually in transit, delivering or returning from dropping off the ore.  There is a large basket in each cart, inside is a 3 to 10 pounds of shards and chips of cuprite, a reddish colored gem.  It is used for lower-end decoration of jewelry, sometimes used in paints or set in clothing to give it a expensive look.  The miners get bonus pay from the cuprite that is mined.  Maximus sells it and then divides the pay to all the miners.  He uses it as an incentive program to keep the miners motivated.  At market, the cuprite sells for 2 to 5sp a pound.  The iron ore sells for 75sp per ton.  Prices have decreased recently and Maximus is not happy.

The storage building has a heavy duty lock on it at night.  During the daytime, it is left open so the miners can deposit their ore.  There is no guard assigned to the storage building, but all the folks keep a close eye on it and will confront anyone poking around.

Value:  Prices are listed above.  The wagons are worth a good bit, 250sp each.  They are heavy duty wood, reinforced with steel frame and wheels.

Plot Hooks:  One of the cuprite baskets has gone missing.  The miners are pissed.  They will demand to check the players belongings.  If the storage building is checked, the players will find a weak spot in the floor.  It is a small tunnel that weaves under the hillside.  A batch of rat goblins (see New Creatures) are angry.  They believe that this is their hill and the humans are stealing.  They will not directly confront the humans, but they cause destruction and strife then slink away without being noticed.  The cuprite can be found scattered at the bottom of Muskrat Creek.

The local nobility has decided to no longer pay enough to make it worth while for Maximus to deliver the ore.  He asks the party to explore a different option, Lord Krunt, a half-orc warrior, whose fortress protects the mountain pass.  Lord Krunt disdains the nobility of the kingdom.  Maximus is hoping to strike a deal to sell of some of the ore to Krunt.  Krunt is known to put those who wish to speak to him through a few tests to make sure they are worthy to talk to him.

5. Maximus (leader, 6th lvl Fighter)
Maximus bought this section of land and the 2000 acres that surround it, including the mineral and water rights.  He is considered to be a lord of this land and he is responsible of keeping it clear of ruffians, bandits, monsters and other abominations that may cause strife to the surrounding population.  Maximus pays a tax at the end of each season to remain autonomous.

Maximus a big man, his arms are cut with thick muscles.  He keeps his beard and hair cropped short.  He is even tempered who looks for a solution without resorting to intimidation or threats.  If there is a dispute within the village he decides what the solution after considering all aspects of the situation.  If a dispute requires more insight, he calls upon a random group of citizens to discuss the problem before Maximus ultimately decides on a course of action.

Maximus lives alone.  Although he has women visitors occasionally.  These women stay for a week or two before leaving.  A different woman will stay the next month and so on.  He has two or three women that return regularly.  

His house is cluttered with trophies from his career as a caravan guard turned adventurer.  In the back, he keep his prize horses.  He has Dark, his black warhorse and a riding horse, Rush.

Valuables: There are several trinkets within Maximus's home that he wouldn't notice if they were taken.  Someone could take 1d4 trinkets valued at 5 to 10sp.  He has various weapons hanging on the wall, they are not in any significant order or position of value.  Maximus's main treasure is hidden by magic.  Within the northern wall is a magical portal that allows him access to a 10' x 10' room.  The magic is keyed to him.  Within the room are a total of 4302gp, 12,590sp and 10,000sp worth of gems and jewelry.  This is where he also keeps his magic sword, Grave Fall (see New Magical Items), a dark blade broad sword. 

Plot Hooks: Maximus conscripts the party, there was an ogre spotted just over the hill.  He needs to kill the it before it gets to eating people and smashing buildings.  However, the panicked, screaming individual that reported it as an ogre did not report accurately.  It is three ogres and two ogrelets.  The lead ogre carries the backpack of a a fallen mage, it contains two 1st level scrolls, a potion of levitation and a Wand of Reveal.  

A group of mercenaries enters Ashbourne.  Their leader Gillies, is a smooth talker and speaks to Maximus so he and his ruffians can stay.  They set up camp and help out the folks in the village.  Within two days the mercenaries become destructive.  Normally, Maximus would get angry and get the repairs done immediately.  But he laughs it off and confers with Gillies about decisions.  Maximus has been charmed.  Gillies has a wizard in his employ, Chargot, has Maximus under an Greater Charm Person spell (see New Spells).  He renews the spell in the morning.  Gillies is simply a creature of opportunity.  A dangerous one.  He and his small group are very talented.  They have no problem with killing, torture or taking what they want.

6. Deacon (shepherd, 2nd lvl Fighter)
Deacon has 220 sheep in his herd.  He is gone for a month or more at a time when he takes his sheep into the Golden Grassland.  His wife, Shonora, and three young children live here to take care of the sick sheep and responsible for cleaning the sheared wool.  Deacon likes to be alone and rarely speaks, even to his only family.  He is a tough man who isn't bothered by extreme temperatures.  He carries a spear with him at all times.  It is a simple wooden spear capped with a steel tip.  The wood looks ancient.

Deacon is what he appears, a strong, quiet man.  He walks away from foolishness.  If provoked into a fight he fights to kill.  He doesn't make a noise during a battle and no emotional reaction if he kills someone.  He'll dig a dig a grave to depose of the body, the meat attracts wolves.  The spear has been in his family for three generations.  His father told him it was given to his father as a gift for bravery.  Deacon has forgotten the details.  The spear's wood is as strong as steel, but has no magical powers.

Valuables:  On the mantle is a coffer with the families savings inside, 200sp.  The house is sparsely furnished, but the furniture is of very good quality (200sp).  Hanging on the wall is a skin of an albino wolf that Deacon killed two years ago.  At market someone could get 50sp.

Plot Hooks:  Deacon returns to the village, his spear broken, blood covered.  "The wolves, they come."  Is all he says before washing himself in the creek and seeking a new spear.  That night Ashbourne is surrounded by ten normal wolves and a dire wolf.  Deacon managed to kill the dire wolf's mate, but at the cost of losing his entire herd.

A two-headed black sheep (see Local Legends) is born.  Deacon kills it quickly and the ewe that gave is birth.  The next day a section of the mine collapses, two miners are injured.  One of his children is critically injured when a pot of boiling water falls across her legs.  He then tells Maximus about the black sheep and what must be done.  Since he is the one who killed the lamb, Deacon cannot be the one to ask the the Whispering Monolith what to do.  Since the monolith seems to take an interest in newcomers Maximus asks one of the party members to ask.  He cannot guarantee their safety, but adds, no one has been killed in three years (see the Whispering Monolith for more information).  It requires that one no of the Ashbourne capture the Skull of Sanctity from the Spider Witch, Aria.  You can use the adventure in The Manor #6,Witches of the Dark Moon, and add the skull into the treasure.  Return with the skull and place it within Ashbourne to fend off the disruptive forces.

New Monsters

Rat Goblins
by Nathan Bachelder

These creatures are distantly related to other goblins.  A less evolved goblin if there is such a thing.  It is less confrontational than normal goblins.  A rat goblin prefers stealth, sabotage and poison to combat.  They are experts in finding weaknesses in wooden structures and often rig them to collapse.  Their poisoning skills are directed towards animals since the poison they use has such an unpleasant odor it is easily detectable.

They live in small packs (3d4) and are very territorial.  If they feel someone has intruded into their space they are relentless with making it unlivable for the invaders.  If half their number is killed they move from the area.

New Magic Item

Grave Fall
Grave Fall is a weapon from the last age.  Maximus found it in the tomb of the rat lord.  Forgotten treasure, he found it discarded in a heap of shit and copper coins.  It hides its magical powers, only a Detect Magic spell is cast by a 5th level caster or higher will know it is magical.  Grave Fall is sentient and has little interest in combat unless it's with undead.  It acts as a normal broad sword in combat except when against undead.  Against undead, when it strikes an undead creature it does its normal damage plus critical damage, if an actual critical hit is struck, double the damage.

New Spell

Greater Charm Spell (4th level)
Greater Charm works identical as Charm Person except the duration is for 1 day and the victim will not automatically know it was you who cast the spell.  It cannot be cast on more than one person at a time even if cast at a higher level.

Local Legends

Black Sheep
The birth of a black sheep is considered an ill-omen.  And half are born with a mutation.  The legend says the family is cursed and those around them will suffer.  The degree of the mutation is the degree of the severity.  The birth of a normal black sheep causes bad luck, quickening of rotting food or sickness to the family or livestock.  The duration varies.

However, if a mutated black sheep is born it can bring disaster upon the family, such as financial ruin, the home burning down and death. 

Black sheep are living warnings from the petty gods.  There doesn't have to be a reason for it.  Sometimes it is just a reminder that they are gods and they can do this.  It requires powerful counter magic to keep the negative energy from saturating the area.  


  1. I see you are turning this up to '11'. Lots of good ideas and material here. I think I will turn Maximus into Ben Cartwright and look over some Bonanza episodes for inspiration. May have to change a few names. "Lord Krunt" is going to end up 'Lord Kunt' knowing my old gaming groups' maturity level.

  2. I like the flavor added by the legends, here. Also, the rat goblins are a cool monster. Keep it up!

  3. These excerpts are like campaign velro. The hooks and interaction points are all right there out front. I find the presentation style very effetive and engaging. Rather than pages of "look how cool my background is" you push the character-facing parts right up front.

    This really works for me, and is probably one of the several reasons your mini-adventures in The Manor are so effective.

  4. An excellent continuation. I really dig Deacon. No fartin' around. Walks away or goes all in. Cool.