An “Abandoned” Regio

Andrew rolled over, trying to avoid the latest rock jabbing him in the back, only to find that larger one he first lay down on at the end of his watch last night was still there.  The first glimmer of sunrise was just starting to cast a rosy-golden glow across the stream, dissipating the mist over the water .  Andrew sighed and pulled off the blanket.  “May as well rise and see if Gerard needs help getting breakfast going.”  Of course, Gerard had fallen asleep on watch; why the masters kept him on was a mystery.  Andrew stood, ready to kick the lazy grog awake, when he noticed the small bridge across the stream shimmering in the mist.  It looked rather decrepit from what Andrew could see, and it had not been there last night.

This island regio was once claimed by a now defunct covenant, and has since been abandoned by those in the mundane world.  A stream surrounds the island and appears to have no source; the water just flows around the island like a “living” moat.  The only apparent way onto the island is via the bridge.  The bridge, constructed of wood and about two paces wide, contains eight arches woven from various types of branches over the path, and only appears at dawn on certain days of the year.  The stream it crosses is much wider than the stream visible in the mundane world.  The half of the bridge nearest the mundane side is decrepit, with planks missing from the walkway, the railing missing in places, and two of the arches broken.  The magic half of the bridge is meticulously maintained, with living vines and bright flowers decorating the arches and railings; the planking is polished.  

From the island, the far bank of the stream is shrouded in mist.  Crossing the stream from the island leads immediately back to the mundane world.  The island is roughly 1500 paces across, is gently hilly and is covered by a forest, with several paths meandering through.  Birds and small wildlife can be heard and seen in the trees and scampering through the underbrush.   The island rises toward the center, and a low, slightly crumbling wall containing an arch on one side encircles an area about 50 paces across.  Within the wall, the forest continues, and at the very center are seven crumbling stone columns.  Walking a particular path spiraling around the island toward the center and passing through the arch in the wall reveals the next level of the regio.  There is vis to be found on the island, in the flowers, animals, and stones, but the island has guardians.

A family of fauns inhabits the island, and serve as guardians and caretakers.  They live in a small cave in the side of one of the hills, facing the stream.  Anyone harming the plants, animals, paths, or stone structures immediately gains the attention of the appropriate faun.  (Straying off the paths is likely to harm some plant in some way.)  All four fauns know the way to the next level, but are reluctant to disclose that another level exists or how to get there, until the visitor gains their trust.

  • Trames is a male faun who maintains the bridge and the paths.  He is upset that no one has been maintaining the far side (mundane half) of the bridge, and will bar entry to the regio until that is fixed.  He can also change the arrangement of the paths, although the path to the next level of the regio is fixed.
  • Calx is a male faun and maintains the wall.  He sometimes adds a stone back on, and sometimes removes one, all in an effort to make the wall as aesthetically pleasing as possible.  He knows every stone in the wall, and has a story for almost every one.  He appreciates new and interesting stones to add to the wall.  He does not appreciate anyone climbing over the wall, as that would likely displace some of the stones.  Calx is the most gregarious of the fauns and can usually be found working on part of the wall or arch.
  • Silve is a female faun and cares for the plants on the island.  She is the least trusting of the fauns because she remembers the careless harm previous magi inflicted in their hunt for vis on the island.
  • Opilia is a female faun and cares for the animals and birds on the island.  She is also the most reclusive of the fauns, but will act swiftly if one of the island’s creatures is harmed.

All four fauns can become invisible at will, can use their pipes to induce people to sleep, and can push people out of the regio, landing them back in the mundane world somewhere within three miles of the bridge.

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Items on a Wizard’s Shelf

  1. Ceramic jar of dried leeches
  2. Spindle full of spider web silk
  3. Glass vial with powdered chalk
  4. Wooden box with chicken feet and beaks
  5. Wooden box with parchment scraps
  6. Ceramic jar full of ashes
  7. Glass jar of squid ink
  8. Leather tube containing various sticks
  9. Cloth pouch with glass beads
  10. Leaves and flowers pressed between two wooden boards
  11. Ceramic jug labeled <monster> urine
  12. Ceramic vial labeled <monster> blood
  13. Glass vial of salt water
  14. Small ceramic box with bits of hair tied in knots
  15. Parchment envelope containing fish scales
  16. Ceramic flask of oil
  17. Parchment envelope with various seeds
  18. Ceramic jar containing powdered glass
  19. Parchment scrap with the same word written over and over
  20. Tall glass jar with eyeballs in brine
  21. Glass bottle containing a mouse in oil
  22. Wooden box containing the bones of a cat
  23. Ceramic box containing guano and droppings
  24. Leather pouch containing owl pellets
  25. Leather packet containing various feathers
  26. Set of small glass jars containing powdered gem stones
  27. Metal flask containing spider venom
  28. Metal box with ceramic marbles of various sizes
  29. Large silvered bowl
  30. Small bronze brazier
  31. Leather folder with tongs, tweezers, scalpels, picks, etc.
  32. Cloth bag containing burned stubs of candles
  33. Leather packet containing various claws and talons
  34. Ceramic jar full of dirt
  35. Ceramic jar containing candied fruit
  36. Wooden box of crackers
  37. Cheese under a glass dome
  38. An egg on a stand under a glass dome
  39. Wooden box containing sealing wax and various seals
  40. Glass jar containing small reptiles in brine
  41. Glass jar containing ears suspended in oil
  42. Three hour glasses filled with different colored sands
  43. An abacus with knuckle bones as beads
  44. Wooden box with different colored chalks
  45. Stone mortar and pestle
  46. Wooden board with a regular square grid burned into it
  47. Empty ceramic and glass jars of various sizes
  48. A blown glass ball, stoppered on one side, with nothing in it
  49. A blown glass ball, sealed, with silver dust
  50. Glass jar of metal filings
  51. Wax tablet and stylus
  52. Inks of various colors
  53. Small wooden box with gold leaf
  54. Seven ceramic orbs of different colors connected by metal rods; the orbs can be rotated around each other
  55. Gold wire on a wooden spool
  56. Copper wire on a wooden spool
  57. Exotic wooden box containing lengths of undyed silk
  58. Silver chain
  59. Silk rope with 13 knots spaced evenly along the length
  60. Eight unpainted ceramic tiles
  61. Wooden box containing bits of colored glass
  62. Leather pouch containing a magnifying glass
  63. Wooden spools containing threads of various colors, with needles
  64. Basket containing stones of various sizes
  65. Balance scale and assorted weights
  66. Wooden boxes with a variety of charcoals
  67. Leather packet containing glass, metal, wood, and ceramic stirring rods of various lengths and thicknesses
  68. A silver fork
  69. A forked willow branch
  70. Glass vial containing what appears to be molasses
  71. Glass jar containing a octopus in oil
  72. Wooden box containing the bones of a right hand wired together so it can be posed
  73. A life-like set of chess pieces
  74. Carved-stone gargoyle
  75. A cloth pouch containing plain gold and silver rings
  76. Wooden spool containing silken cord
  77. Leather scroll case containing metal rods of various lengths and thicknesses
  78. Wooden box containing a well-worn child’s blanket
  79. Parchment envelope containing a small gem and a ring with an empty setting
  80. Metal box containing a dozen arrow heads
  81. Wooden box containing blank parchment sheets
  82. Ball of twine
  83. Wooden box containing a set of five small silver bells with different tones
  84. A badly tuned recorder
  85. Large wooden box containing well-preserved animal pelts
  86. A wooden bowl full of teeth
  87. A wooden bowl containing dried fruit
  88. Wooden box of salt
  89. Leather flask of wine
  90. Leather flask of vinegar
  91. Leather flask of water
  92. Leather flask of a vile-smelling liquid
  93. Metal flask containing a ceramic marble that is too big to take out, and blocks the neck of the flask when inverted
  94. Vase of dried flowers
  95. Parchment envelope with small wood shavings
  96. Metal bowl containing sawdust
  97. Cloth bag full of rags
  98. Basket containing various rodent skulls
  99. A metal wind-chime, disassembled
  100. Cloth scraps with various patterns embroidered on
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Ars Magica Sample of Play

The magi have discovered a magical regio near their covenant, and decide to investigate. Margo is playing Iocasta ex Criamon and Charles plays Calamus ex Bonisagus. The other two players, Owen and Brianna are playing Andrew, a musician with the virtue Second Sight, and two grogs (Mattias and Hubert). Peter, the Story Guide, sets the scene …

Peter: As you step off the bridge over the stream and into the regio, a lightly wooded forest spreads out before you. Several of the trees look ancient, and the undergrowth is thick in places. A path leads from the foot of the bridge, winding through the trees.

Margo: Iocasta sniffs the air, and starts casting a spell to detect vis.

Peter: With a duration of concentration and range sight, that’s a level five Intellego Vim spell. To cast with fatigue, you’ll need to cast a level 10 spell.

Margo: I have a high Vim score, so it might be possible to cast without fatigue, or to get a duration of sun. <Margo rolls a die, with a result of 7.> With my Intellego Vim score of 13, that’s at least 20, so I’ll expend the fatigue level to get at least level 10 and a sun duration. Iocasta chuckles a bit as the spell takes effect.

Peter: The colors around you sharpen a bit, but nothing glows brightly indicating the presence of vis.

Charles, speaking as Calamus: I think we should best stay on the path. We know not what lives in this place, and t’would be best to avoid antagonizing those who may be our hosts.

Owen: Andrew is using his Second Sight to see if there’s anything he can notice that way. <Owen rolls a die, with a result of 2.> With my Perception and Second Sight skill, that’s five, probably not enough to see anything new.

Peter: Nope, nothing else comes into focus for you. What are the grogs doing?

Briana: Mattias and Hubert are a little surprised to find themselves in the wood. Mattias will keep his axe handy, but Hubert is ogling the surroundings. He moves to the middle of the path after Calamus’ warning.

Charles: Let’s move forward on the path, and keep our eyes open.

Peter: Okay. The path curves toward the left, going uphill away from the bridge, then curves back right and descends. A break in the trees reveals a depression in the forest, filled with bright blue, pink and purple wildflowers. Many red and gold butterflies flutter around the flowers. The path continues, curving to the right around the depression. Iocasta, several of the flowers glow brightly in your enhanced vision but they don’t seem to have a steady glow.

Margo: Ooh. Iocasta gets excited about the vis. What do you mean the glow isn’t steady? Is there vis there?

Peter: Roll your perception plus Awarness to get a better look; are you stepping off the path?

Charles: No!

Margo: I’d rather see what I can tell from here. <Margo rolls a die, getting a 2.> So that’s four. Can I tell what’s making the vis flicker?

Peter: Not without getting closer.

Margo: I don’t want to get too close just yet. Let’s keep going.

Briana: The grogs look around, trying to see what caused the break in the trees or if anything else might be living in the depression.

Peter: Okay, roll your Perception plus Awareness.

Briana: <Rolling a die for each grog.>  Mattias rolled a five, and Hubert rolled a seven if his specialty in wooded areas applies.

Peter: The specialty applies, and Hubert notices that a huge broken stump lies just off the path, outside the depression. The fallen tree should have blocked the path when it fell, but it doesn’t. You can still see the trunk of the tree, slightly raised off the ground in the middle of the depression, and some of the branches on the far side. It looks like the tree took down a number of smaller trees when it fell. As you get closer to the broken stump, it appears the path branches here, one way continuing around and out of the depression, the other way leading to the trunk of the tree, which has apparently been used as a natural bridge over the depression.

Owen: Is it big and sturdy enough to walk across?

Peter: While it is wide enough to go single file, it looks a little tricky in places. The very bottom of the depression isn’t visible due to the flowers and other growth, but you guess a fall would be at most ten feet.

Margo: I’d love to get a closer look at the flowers, so I’m going to walk out onto the log bridge.

Briana: Hubert will follow, since he wants to stick close to Iocasta. He know the kinds of trouble she can get herself into, and wants to be close to help get her out.

Peter: As Iocasta steps onto the log, it rocks a bit to one side.

Charles: Wait a moment, Iocasta. Let me secure the bridge before you walk out. Calamus wants to cast a Rego Herbam spell to hold the log steady. <Charles rolls a die, getting a result of 1; he rolls again, getting a 10.> Wow! That’s twenty, plus my Rego Herbam casting score of eleven, for 31, plus whatever the aura is.

Peter: Nice roll! Keeping the log steady with a concentration duration would be a level five spell. That log is not moving, as long as you concentrate, and you don’t need to use a fatigue level.

Margo: Excellent! Iocasta walks out onto the bridge.

Briana: Hubert follows, but not too close.

Peter: Even though the log is steady, the surface is still pretty uneven. You need to make dexterity stress rolls of three or better to avoid slipping off. <Peter decided that the original ease factor of nine should be greatly reduced, given Calamus’ success with his steadying spell.>

Margo: I rolled a nine, plus my Dexterity of one for ten. Iocasta practically skips along, she’s so excited about the vis!

Briana: <Her die roll shows a zero.> Uh-oh. That’s not good. Even with my Dexterity and Athletics skill, if I can use it here, I’m only at a two.

Peter: Hubert is going to slip off the log and fall. Roll two botch dice; let’s see if anything really bad happens. <Neither of the botch dice Briana rolls shows a zero.> Okay, Hubert gets snagged on a branch sticking out from the log, and loses his balance trying to get loose. He does manage to grab the branch as he slides off the log, which eases his fall. He ends up on his back, cushioned by the underbrush, as a flurry of butterflies and flower petals form a cloud around him, but he is uninjured.

Margo: Iocasta sighs, and shakes her head at the grog’s clumsiness, but she asks Hubert if he’s okay.

Briana: I think so, mistress, just had the wind knocked out me. Hubert’s going to get up, and walk back to the others.

Peter: Hubert brushes off the foliage stuck to him, and starts back up the side of the depression, crushing some of the plants in his way. A woman with tightly curled ram’s horns in her hair appears in front of Hubert, and demands, “What have you done to my children, mortal?” Calamus, the sudden appearance requires that you make a Concentration roll of at least six to maintain your steadying spell.

Charles: <Rolling a die, and adding his Stamina and Concentration.> No problem. Calamus’ eyes widen at the sudden appearance, but his spell does not waver.

Margo: Iocasta glances nervously at Calamus, then addresses the woman. “Good morning, Fair One. We mean no harm to you or your family!”

Peter: The woman takes a step closer to Hubert, and you see the plants bend around her so that her movement does not bruise them. You also notice that she while she has two legs, she has the lower body and legs of a goat. A set of reed pipes hangs around her neck, and a small pouch from a belt at her waist. She responds, “No harm?! It will be weeks before those crushed by this oaf return to health! You should not have come here.” Hubert, what do you do?

Briana: Hubert takes a step back and pulls his axe from his belt.

Margo: “Hubert, put that away!” Iocasta strides back along the log toward the rest of the group.

Peter: The faun’s eyes flash silver at the sight of the axe. “I should expel you for your insolence!”

At this point, the players have a number of options. Perhaps one of the magi could attempt to pull Hubert out of the depression with a Rego Corpus spell. Andrew could use his Enchanting Music ability to try to calm the situation. Hubert could beg forgiveness. The group could try to bargain with the faun. Starting a fight is also an option, but probably not desirable, given that the magi set out to explore the regio, and probably want to be able to come back at some point. Peter, as Story Guide, know what the faun wants, and the powers she can bring to bear on the situation. The entire group knows that this story is about exploration and investigation, so they are probably not going to try to make an enemy or engage someone they just met in physical combat.

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Random Tavern Names

I’ve been creating lists of random items as part of my pre-writing exercises, and I started a list of Tavern Names.  I thought mixing up some of the names might also be interesting, which led to the following random tables.

Each tavern name consists of two words.  Roll 2d4 to determine which two of the following lists to use.  If a 1 comes up twice, reroll one of them.  You can use the people, animals, or items as adjectives as well.  For example, “troll” and “nose” could be “The Troll and Nose” (which is a little silly), or “The Troll’s Nose” (a tavern run by former adventurers, and containing a number of odd trophies from their adventuring days), or “The Nosy Troll”.

Tavern names often relate to a story from the history of the area or of the establishment itself.  Once you have a name, come up with a story and atmosphere to fit.

Light and laughter spill from the windows of the Nosy Troll.  Locals gather here nightly to have a bite and a pint, and to hear the tales spun by the traveling bards who know the customers to be appreciative tippers.  No tale is a good as the one the barman and owner, Dannil Brewer likes to tell of his great-grandfather, Pedrick Brewer, and the troll that came sniffing around the brewery.  The troll would sneak into town, search out the best cask, and make off with a barrel every six-month.  Pedrick, powerless to stop the creature on his own, hired a sellsword to dispatch the beast.  The sellsword followed the troll’s trail, and easily dispatched the drunken beast, bringing its head back as proof of the deed.  Pedrick paid the fellow, and mounted the head above the fireplace.  Unfortunately, Pedrick forgot that trolls regenerate, and a week later discovered the head climbing down on tiny hands and feet.  Evading the troll as he ran through the tavern, Pedrick tried to subdue the creature by throwing casks of ale at it.  Of course, true to its history, the troll continued to chase poor Pedrick until he drenched it with his finest brew.  With the troll head thoroughly soused, Pedrick was able to kick it into the fire, and was once again able to sell his best brews to human patrons.

d4 and d4 to determine which tables to use.

 

1. Adjective 2. Animal 3. Person 4. Item
d6,d10 d6/2,d10 d6,d6 d6,d6
1 Angry Badger Bard Apple
2 Bloody Boar Beggar Arrow
3 Blue Cockatrice Cleric Barrel
4 Brazen Donkey Courtesan Boot
5 Copper Dragon Drunkard Bottle
6 Cornered Eagle Dwarf Cloak
7 Cozy Fish Elf Crown
8 Crooked Fox Glutton Dagger
9 Dancing Frog Gnome Finger
10 Dizzy Giant Halfwit Fire
11 Drunken Goblin Hangman Flagon
12 Easy Golem Huntsman Flute
13 Empty Griffin Husband Foot
14 Filthy Horse Jester Hand
15 Five Hound King Harp
16 Flying Lamb Lady Head
17 Four Lion Lord Hearth
18 Golden Manticore Lover Horn
19 Greedy Mermaid Maiden Kettle
20 Green Ogre Master Lantern
21 Grinning Pixie Merchant Nose
22 Gusty Rabbit Minstrel Oak
23 Happy Serpent Orphan Platter
24 Invisible Stallion Pirate Rest
25 Jolly Troll Poet Rose
26 Jumping Turtle Prince Scroll
27 Laughing Unicorn Princess Ship
28 Lumbering Weasel Queen Staff
29 Lusty Whale Sailor Sword
30 Masked Wyvern Smith Tail
31 Merry Soldier Treasure
32 Messy Thief Tree
33 Red Traveler Trophy
34 Roving Wench Trough
35 Running Wife Wagon
36 Salty Wizard Welcome
37 Seven
38 Silent
39 Silver
40 Singing
41 Six
42 Sleepy
43 Sober
44 Stout
45 Tasty
46 Thirsty
47 Three
48 Tired
49 Two
50 Vulgar
51 Wandering
52 Wary
53 Wasted
54 Watchful
55 Wicked
56 Windy
57 Winking
58 Wise
59 Woeful
60 Wretched
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Books

I’ve been trying to jostle my creative brain by spending a few minutes each day writing a list of something.  So far, I’ve got “names for swords”, “items of jewelry”, and “things found in an abandoned dwarven mine”, among several others.  Today’s list was “book titles” which got a little silly (Auntie Medalia’s Guide to Poultices, Balms, and Salves is kind of my favorite), and probably resulted from my perusing a new-to-me blog about medieval books.  (I sent the link to my Ars Magica group, who are appropriately geeked-out.)  But the book theme intrigues me, so here are a few books for an Ars Magica saga …

On the Interactions between Forms and Techniques  (Magic Theory Summa level 5, quality 8) by Thomas ex Bonisagus.  Written in Latin on parchment, illuminated and illustrated, bound with leather-covered wooden boards.  The book systematically addresses all 50 combinations of forms and techniques, organized by form.  If the book is left open during a new moon, the symbols for the techniques glow with their associated color (white for Creo, gold for Intellego, fluctuating colors for Muto, black for Perdo, and purple for Rego); this is a side effect of Thomas’ sigil and has no other effects.  However, so thoroughly did the author treat the techniques, that a season of study just on one technique discussed in the book gives the benefit of a tractatus of quality 8 on that technique.

Man’s Magnificent Mansion (Mentem Summa level 9, quality 7) by Iocasta ex Criamon.  Written in Latin on parchment, illuminated and illustrated, bound with hard leather covers, dyed green.  The front cover has been worked into the image of a face with glass eyes, which, from sitting Iocasta’s lab for a long period has developed some warping, and now has the virtue, piercing gaze.  Some claim the face laughs at them, but the laughter may be the echo of Iocasta’s sigil.

De Alterationes (Muto tractatus, quality 7) by Iocasta ex Criamon.  Written in Latin on parchment, illuminated, as an extended scroll sewn to a soft leather cover.  The sentence “Woe to one who unfurls this scroll without first paying tribute to its author; you shall find the contents too unwieldy,” are the first words written in the text, and are immediately followed by an illustration of a naked laughing woman, which is the only illustration in the book.  Anyone unrolling the scroll past this point without kissing the image triggers the magical effect instilled in the book:  the scroll unfurls and unfurls and unfurls, resulting in a huge and unwieldy scroll, one-thousand times longer than the original.  Iocasta was known for her sense of humor.  (The Terribly Long Scroll MuAn(Re)30: Makes the scroll 1000 times longer and unrolls it completely, one time per day for sun duration.  Base 4, +1 req, +2 Sun, +3 size)

On the Care and Healing of Beasts (Animal tractatus and Animal Handling tractatus, quality 6) by Boniface ex Bjornaer.  Written in Latin on linen sheets, bound with polished wood with silver and pearl decorations.  Also contains lab texts for the spells True Rest of the Injured Beast and Soothe the Ferocious Bear.

Stimulating the Senses (Imaginem tractatus, quality 8) by Carolinus ex Jerbiton.  Written in Latin on parchment, illuminated and illustrated, bound with hardened leather decorated with quartz, and containing a bookmark made of five brightly dyed cloth ribbons.  If the ribbons are stroked while the book is open to particular pages, animated images appear, some with sound and some with scent, to further illustrate the text, raising the quality to 10.  (The Illustrated Text CrIm5: creates images that affect two senses while the reader strokes the ribbon while reading aloud text on particular pages.  Base 2, +1 Touch, +2 Sun)

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Haryld’s Ferry

HaryldsFerryThe town of Haryld’s Ferry lies a couple days south and downstream from Minersford.  Upstream from Haryld’s Ferry, the river is too narrow and fast for safe transport, so the town serves as a link between overland and barge traffic.  The Ferry itself is at the north end of town, just upstream from the “Folly Rock”, a large boulder in the middle of the river. Local community leaders tried to build a bridge over the river at this point, but the project was plagued with setbacks, and several attempts at bridges collapsed into the river after traffic started across, if not before.  Folly Rock was manouvered here (at great cost to two merchant families, one of which is now bankrupt) in an attempt to create a firm foundation for a bridge.  But finally it was determined that the soil on the west bank was too soft to hold the bridge pilings securely for very long and the idea was abandoned entirely.  Folly Rock and some mouldering pilings are all that are left of the scheme and now serve as great sources of entertainment for the local children as a place to swim and set challenges for each other.

The river also takes a jog to the east here, and the relatively flat terrain, combined with the quick current running south have produced a significant and swampy wetlands, known as the Bargewoe Fens, on the outside of the bend.  On the south east bank of the river a swampy forest has grown up, and is rumored to be haunted by travelers who got lost and drowned there.  The inside of the bend has a more sturdy bank and is reinforced with stone from a quarry a day’s ride west of town.  Most of the buildings have stone foundations from this quarry as well.

The road west joins with a road north to Minersford.  The eastern road follows the river, turning south again, and leads to a larger city in that direction.  With the swampy wetlands to the south and west, and the rocky gorge upstream to the north, the Ferry is the last crossing before reaching Minersford a day’s travel north up the road on the west side of the river.

Barges travel in both directions downriver from the town; cargo needing to go further west or north from here is typically transferred to wagons for the overland trip.  The docks are owned by the three ranking merchant families.  A member from each family, along with a Haryld scion and a representative from the garrison fort make up the town council.

The town has three inns, several warehouses, a temple, garrison fort, and a thriving market square.  The only reason the town has not grown larger is due to the lack of quality farmland in the area.  Most of the town’s income comes from taxing the barges and caravans that come through, and from fishing and hunting in the wetlands.

Important people in Haryld’s Ferry are:

  • Robert Haryld (human), the current head of the family running the Ferry.  Robert is quite old, and most of the day to day Ferry business as well as Town Council business is handled by his son, Martin, and grandsons.  Robert is still a force to be reckoned with, and is probably running the show, given the apparent ineptness of Martin.
  • Allisandre Goldsand (human), the current face of the Goldsand merchant family.  The Goldsand family rose to prominence about 75 years ago, when Allisandre’s great-grandfather staked a claim on a goldmine in the hills to the northeast, and used his newfound wealth to finance a lucrative trading business.
  • Hamish Fielding (halfling) sits on the town council for his family, which controls much of the grain and domestic animal trade in the area.  Hamish is the grandson of the patriarch of the family, which is based in a larger city to the east.
  • Corvalla Oresmith (dwarf), represents the dwarven miners and metalsmiths on the Town Council.
  • Thomas Warden is one of the lieutenants of the Garrison Fort on the hill, and represents the Garrison on the Town Council.
  • Matthew “Mayor” Cheswithe (human) runs the Staff and Wheel Inn on the Market Square.  While he holds no official position in town, he knows almost everyone in town, remembers pretty much any traveler he encounters, and is a font of “down home” wisdom.

Story Hooks:

  • A drowned man has washed downstream and snagged in the Ferry lines overnight.  He wears a signet ring from a merchant family based in the city to the east, but not represented in Haryld’s Ferry.
  • One of the barges tied at a dock came loose from its moorings in a late night storm.  It was found the next day grounded on the edge of the wetlands with what appear to be bite and claw marks on its sides.  The cargo has disappeared.
  • Matthew Cheswithe recognizes a PC, in town for the first time, as a guard for a merchant caravan that disappeared on the road north several months ago.

Minersford

MinersfordMinersford is a small village that grew up outside a dwarven mining outpost.  The population of Minersford is mostly human and halfling; the dwarves who work in the mines under the eastern hills don’t live in this town.  North of the town is the Wolfwood, a relatively tame but unsettled forest.  The ground rises steeply on the east side of the ford into the rocky hills of the Cragwood.  The gentle rolling hills and meadows of the Wooly Downs lie to the west and south and are home to numerous farms and sheep and goat herders.  The economy of the area is based on local agriculture (oats and barley), sheep and goat-herding, brewing, lumber, and on trade with the dwarves of the Dwarfhold.  MInersford Stout is a particularly good ale and fetches a good price in the city a few days’ ride south.  (The dwarves drink their own brew.)  The citizens of Minersford pay taxes to the city in order to keep a small garrison here.

The Dwarfhold is a small stone fort on the east side of the ford; it contains a warehouse, blacksmith, dwarven miners’ guild hall, a shrine, and in the tower an entrance to the mines and refineries themselves.  A trail behind the tower leads to another mine outpost further up in the mountains.  The Mithril Hammer Inn caters to the merchants who trade with the dwarves.  A shrine to Hephaestus is the only completely stone building in town, and serves as the home to the local magistrate and garrison.  A mill and the Minersford Brewing Company are at the south end of town.  The buildings closest to the river, including the Inn, mill and Brewery, are constructed of local wood and thatch, and raised on stone undercrofts as the spring floods will occasionally overflow the banks of the river and make the ford impassable.  The Dwarfhold itself is built on raised ground with a fairly steep climb between the guard towers, to prevent flooding the bailey and to dissuade anyone from trying to take the mine by force.

Businesses in Minersford, in addition to the Inn, Brewery, and Mill, include a blacksmith (smaller than the one in the Dwarfhold), wainwright, cooper, and warehouses.  There are some smaller “home” breweries near the farms to the south.  Lumber is typically hauled by wagon from the mills to the northwest, as the river is too narrow (and shallow at the town) to permit transporting the logs by water.

Important people in Minersford are:

  • Micah Silvershod, the dwarven emissary who resides in the Dwarfhold
  • Quentin Barleyfist, the halfling brewer and owner of the Minersford Brewing Company
  • Cordelia Hightower, the local magistrate and commander of the garrison (human)
  • Egon Potts, the proprietor of the Mithril Hammer Inn (human)

Story hooks:

  • Lumberjacks northwest of the town are being harassed by a creature (or maybe a druid upset at the logging).
  • Bandits on the road to the city have been raiding traders and evading their hired guards with greater frequency of late.
  • Fires at a couple of home breweries have the locals worried, including the Barleyfist family, who also fear they might be blamed.
  • Something has started raiding the sheep and goat herds of the Wooly Downs.
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