The PCs are traveling through a wooded or hilly region with notably few passerby. Eventually they reach a clearing in the woods or knoll that exposes them to the wardens of these forests. Read the following when the PCs take a rest or have prepared to sleep for the night:
The galloping of hooves grows in the distance and in less than a minute becomes a cacophonous clopping that heralds the arrival of not horses but three centaur; their bronzed skin is dulled by dirt and grime, each face bearing the same slack-jawed expression of hatred. Their gray eyes look on impassively as they charge forward, a slow guttural cry rising from their throats.
The tribe of centaur that lives here and have recently become violent, impassively murdering all they encounter – including the party. These noble beast-men were once the wardens of the region’s wilds but they unfortunately came upon the person of Tutti Crashsmith. The dwarf is not just an accomplished necromancer, but an illusionist of no small renown; after observing him for a few days the pack of centaur descended upon the sleeping wizard.
Unfortunately for the centaurs, Crashsmith was hidden in the trees above. Soon they were surrounded by the undead, the skeletal warriors quickly becoming legion around them. Since then the mad dwarf has taken to terrorizing the nearby settlements and anyone along the trade routes nearby, delighting in horrifying travelers with the swift undead he cleverly concocted.
Tutti is growing fat and complacent, attacking groups of travelers without spying on them first. His arrogance has not blinded him entirely however, and he chooses to strike when his opponents will be off their guard.
There seems to be black fold upon black fold within this wizard’s robes, the only clues to the stout spellcaster apparent being the bushy graying beard that fills the bottom of its thick hood and the chained tome swinging at his side.
Languages Common, Draconic, Dwarven, Gnome, Undercommon
SQ Arcane school (specialization – necromancy; prohibed schools – divination, enchantment), cantrips, defensive training (giants), greed, hatred, hardy, stability, stonecunning
Gear+1 light crossbow, 40 bolts, quarterstaff, ring of protection +1, spellbook, spell components (worth ~486 gold), handy haversack (2 potions of cure light wounds, 1,358 gold)
Tutti is bold, but not stupid; he remains invisible on the back of one of the centaurs, casting spells to empower and complement his undead steed. Once combat is in full swing he weakens his enemies with rays of enfeeblement before unleashing a fireball (which may include the centaurs – an impediment that stops Crashsmith not at all).
(3) Skeletal Centaur
At first these centaur seem like any other, but as you strike your first blow the flesh of the creature ripples like a breaking wave to reveal pitted alabaster bones. Its majestic countenance is completely gone and only the skeleton of a centaur remains before you, the once impassive grey eyes now only black pits filled with a malevolent red light.
Melee longsword +4 (1d8+2/19-20) and 2 hooves -1 (1d6+1)
Ranged spear +5 (1d8+2/×3)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Str 15, Dex 16, Con —, Int —, Wis 10, Cha 10
BaseAtk +3; CMB +6; CMD 19 (23 vs. trip)
Feats Improved Initiative, Run
SQ undersized weapons
Gear breastplate, heavy steel shield, longsword, spear, 42 gold
These centaur are mindless skeletons, but still under the control of Tutti Crashsmith. The dwarf necromancer always stays on top of or near one of his minions for protection and a swift escape, but the remainder of his undead target healers first (clerics especially), then spellcasters and finally any characters using blunt weapons.
The clearing used by the PCs was once the site of a horrendous battle, offering the necromancer a seemingly endless supply of bodies to re-animate. Rather than summon a legion of soldiers, he prefers to use remains underneath the ground to hamper and trap the victims of his ambushes. As a standard action, Tutti Crashsmith may make use of one of his Command Undead abilities for the day to replicate the effect of an entangle spell that only affects living targets within a 30-foot radius burst of the dwarf.
SCALING THE ENCOUNTER
To modify this encounter, apply the following changes:
CR 5 (XP 1,600): Remove one centaur from the encounter and reduce Tutti Crashmith’s level by one (-1 to attacks, -1 to all saves, -1 caster level, -1 concentration, remove false life and vampiric touch from his prepared spell list).
CR 7 (XP 3,200): Add one centaur to the encounter and the fiendish template to Tutti Crashsmith (DR 5/good, Resist Cold/Fire 10, SR 11, Smite Good 1/day).
The Campaign Setting is growing! We are granting one country to each of our hardcore AaW members. If you are an active member in our community and would like to join in the development of this world please hit us up on the forum!
Here’s a little blurb on each of the countries. Take in mind that this is a rough draft filled with brainstorming and messy creativity. It feels good to open the creative side and let it explode all over the page! GO!
Worldbuilding: Adventureaweek Campaign Setting
Klavek Kingdom Similar to Tsarist Russia. A hearty people who are patriotic and proud of their country. They live in an ice covered land and somehow manage to not just exist, but thrive here. The Klavekian monarchy is ruled by King Tokolvor XIII, a monster of a man who has made it his life quest to rid the Klavek Kingdom of the Vikmordere barbarians once and for all.
Quoted from the Campaign Setting:
Sometimes referred to as the Klavek Homeland by its citizens, the Klavek Kingdom hosts the most powerful military in the known world.The Klavek Kingdom is ruled by King Tokolvor XIII, a tyrannical leader and military genius. Tokolvor is a monster of a man who has declared it his life focus to rid the Klavek Kingdomof the Vikmordere barbarians once and for all. The King is rumored to have agents installed in every city, town, and village across the entire kingdom. Anyone who publicly speaks out against the Klavek Kingdom, the King, or anyone employed by the Monarchy are executed without trial.
Mohkba is the Capitol City of the Klavek Kingdom. A fortress-like city of towering spires topped with onion-domes. Mohkba is home to the Royal Monarchy and the majority of the Klavek Kingdom’s military. Mohkbavians are both feared and respected throughout the land.
The Klavek Kingdom encompasses a huge amount of land spanning across a substantial portion of the northern continent. Most of this land is covered in snow and ice where tough Klavekians work their fingers to the bone for their mighty Kingdom. Despite little help from the monarchy, the Klavek Kingdom People are patriotic and have always stood together to administer swift retribution to their enemies.
Few enemies are as dangerous to Klavekians as the barbarous Vikmordere. The Vikmordere are a nomadic tribe of barbarians who raid and pillage small riverside villages in the Klavek Kingdom. The Vikmordere threat has been somewhat reduced in recent years by the actions of King Tokolvor XIII.
In the rugged mountains of the Vikmordere Valley a small Klavekian settlement dubbed “Rybalka” has been dug out on the edge of the Serpent Lake at the site of an old Vikmordere village. Rybalka is a refuge from the cold harsh mountain snow and the Vikmordere barbarian tribes.
Similar to Northern Tribal Native American Vikings. The Vikmordere worship the Ancestor Spirit and believe that living in harmony with nature is the natural way of things. Most of their kind have been eliminated by the Klavekian over many decades. The Vikmordere Valley is this culture’s last stand. Luckily, the massive Serpent Lake and the surrounding towering mountains provide extreme terrain which hinder the Klavekian expansion. Looks like the hunter could very well become the hunted here. The Vikmordere lost their iron mine and the village of Rybalka a decade or so ago. This is a sore point, but they hope to take it back in the coming years… if they can band all the tribes of the valley together to do so.
Quoted from the Campaign Setting:
Culture and the Ancestor SpiritSporting one of the deepest and most sophisticated cultures in the entire world, the Vikmordere are not the unintelligent barbarians they are made out to be. In fact, the Vikmordere come from a highly sophisticated magical people who lived in this world over 1000 years ago. These people now collectively make up what the Vikmordere call the “Ancestor Spirit” which drives everything they do.
As legend has it, the Ancestor People lived in this world long ago and used amazing magic to travel the entire world and shape it as they saw fit. They made the mountains, the rivers, the forests, and the streams and then they began to build cities. Over many generations the Ancestor People lost touch with Nature and the world they created, instead opting to live in cities and laying waste to the gifts their ancestors forged for them.
Finally, a wise man came from the south who had not forgotten the ways of their people. He saved the Ancestor People from plagues and famines and taught them to hunt and gather in the forests and live free in the world. Within just a few generations, the people had returned to their former life. At this time a pledge was made with Mother Nature to always protect and respect her ways and to join her spirit force when one dies. Thus the Ancestor Spirit began to grow and evolve; now it is strong and the wild world lives again. The Vikmordere will never lose their way in the world and will fight to stay free and destroy the “city people” and their evil ways.
Silent Forest Isolationist Elves of which little is known. Fields of tall dead grass surround the forest when approaching from the north. As one grows closer the wind stops and it is apparent that nothing moves within the forest. There are no birds chirping, no wildlife, not a sound issues forth from this silent forest. Those who enter never return and group which band together and enter have later been found dead at the edge of the forest, no clue as to how they died and no way to bring them back to life nor speak with dead. Facts: the forest is full of life yet the elves have worked hard to isolate themselves from the other races due to a horrible atrocity which occurred centuries ago. The other races have no record or knowledge of such an event, but with the long lifespan of the elves and their impeccable memories they are not so quick to forget… or forgive. The elves live in twisting forest homes built into massive trees deep within the forest. These trees are thousands of years old and were rumored to have been the first trees planted by the gods upon the surface of the earth.
Obor Giants (Frost?) walled off from the Klavek Kingdom with a massive wall spanning hundred of miles (similar to wall of China). Treaty with Prajna. The Giants once ruled all the land of this great continent. Something happened over two centuries ago which drastically reduced the population of the giants and in turn gave rise to the “time of the humans”. As the years have gone by the giants have watched the Klavek Kingdom slowly eat up all the smaller nations and territories adjacent to it. The giants began construction of a massive wall spanning hundreds of miles to seal off the humans never ending expansion. The giants signed a treaty with PRANJA to enlist the gnome inventors and engineers to construct mechanical weapons with which to further protect their walls and borders. In return the giants agreed never to harm PRANJA and even to come to their aid should the need arise. (The gnomes and the monks which live in PRANJA are mostly peaceful and do not seek out war, so the giants feel they have received the better end of this agreement.) The Frost Giants have been assigned guard duty along the walls and other vulnerable points of entry by the Klavekians (such as by sea). Frost Giants are garbed in the piecemeal hides of woolly mammoths, saber toothed tigers, and other ice dwelling mammals. They carry massive clubs and ranged weapons which could crush numerous men with a single blow/throw. Other types of giants rule the actual government within the country. Humans know little about the giant realm other than that all creatures within are giant sized.
Pradjna Wise, meditative monks framed and protected by industrious, inventive gnomes. This symbiotic relationship was interestingly enough, formed organically. The wise monks gravitated to this land out of spiritual guidance and to spend their lives in meditation and inner reflection. A great upset on the gnome homeland (island far to the northwest) drove the most industrious of the gnome people off to find a new home where they could live in peace from the incessant nagging of the gnomish illusionists which rule their homeland. In the PRANJA Gnome’s mind illusions are an utter waste of time and fail to accomplish anything. They crave accomplishment and the betterment of life and society through the invention of creation of powerful machinations.
Magervare (changing name to Preservar or Preservare) Country of Wizards which use their magic to protect the planet from destruction (Shard of the Sun). The story of the Shard of the Sun is a long and complicated one (coming soon). The most powerful mages in the land bound together in an epic group spell to send a permanent blast of magical energy into space directly in the path of the Shard of the Sun (which was plummeting on a destruction course for the planet). The blast knocked back the Shard which almost immediately began to fall back toward the planet’s surface (due to the strong gravity of the planet). Luckily, with each rotation of the planet the blast again hit the shard which pushed it back up again. The wizards which began the spell realized that they could never stop lest the planet be destroyed. If the beam hesitated even for one rotation life would cease to exist. The magical energy which pours ever into the cosmos continues even to this day… many hundreds of years after the shard came. The wizards have been magically altered and protected with an impenetrable shield. This shield is created through crystals charged by excess magical energy shed by the shard (more to come on all of this!) Since so much magical energy exits the flow here the wizards of this country take precautions to teach the responsible use of magic and warn of the abuse of magic. Small prestidigitation spells are not of any consequence, but the higher level spells 8, 9, epic can have lasting effects on the natural balance of magic.(((Notes via email: nature is the natural way of things. Natural evolution, cycles, what have you. I meant the cycle of natural magic. If abused the flow of the nature of magic could wane causing an imbalance which could affect the stability of that which keeps the Shard of the Sun from crashing into the planet. Therefore schools where magic and the rules and laws of the use of magic in society are taught. Those that grow up and go rogue or renegade are tracked down and either imprisoned (or killed depending on who takes this realm and what they decide to write.)
Basically a very structured order of mages not necessary based on alignment of “good” or “evil”, but bound by certain laws to protect the stability of the flow of magic. Since elders become VERY powerful and high level a single spell can tax the flow of magic considerably. Spells must be used with care and epic spells only when absolutely necessary.
Take in mind this is all rough and whoever adopt this country may alter as they see fit. Todd and I have some additional details that are very exciting to add to each realm. We drew up some sketches and notes which will be refined and added to the site.)))
Free Country of Picollo Land of the Halflings. Tropical island paradise threatened by an evil insectoid race which thrives on the other side of towering snow-covered mountain peaks.
The green, rolling farmland that makes up most of the free Halfling country of Picolo is bounded on two sides by ocean, one by forest, and the last side by towering mountains.
The halflings are first and foremost a peaceful race of farmers, drinkers, and enjoyers of all the good stuff that life has to offer. They were also a simple people finding beauty in all natural things that the gods placed upon their isle.
It was an event almost fifty years ago which changed halfling society forever. A race of insectoid creatures which lived primarily on the other side of the massive mountain range decided to expand their territory. Unfortunately this meant a full scale invasion into halfling lands. The invading force was relentless and unwilling to engage in any form of diplomacy. They wiped out halfling villages everywhere they went, colonizing the new land and setting up hives like mindless drones.
The invasion summoned a new urge to thrive and survive within the halflings hearts. The small force of remaining halflings took to the forest and began to plot a way to regain their land. Through stealth, trickery, and valiant assault the halfling force began slowly to retake their land. Since the insectoids were so far from home, reinforcements took too long to arrive. The halflings joined forces with the fey of the Pico Forest and together with the ancient treants they wiped their land clean of the insectoid invaders. This did not happen overnight though, and the halflings still had their work cut out for them. When they returned to their homes they found everything their parents and grandparents had built completely destroyed. They had to start from scratch and build anew. The halflings again bound together to assist one another, again the halfling spirit came through and united as a people they took back their land.
Now, almost fifty years later most of the towns and villages have been rebuilt. Rumors still persist though of ruined ghost towns in far off parts of Picolo where undead halflings dwell, still existing in a state of undeath and eternal suffering. Bands of insectoid creatures still roam the distant plains where halfling travelers dare not go. Finally, a twisted race of malevolent Treants wander the Pico Forest, killing anything in their path. These Treants were infected with a strange disease that the insectoids brought to these lands.
All in all the free halfling country of Picolo is a wonderful place full of merry and celebratory halflings enjoying all the niceties in life, but there is a darker shadow now to the halflings, an untrustworthy part. This is the part that forges secret pacts, thieves guilds, and dark deals in an effort to further protect the halfling way of life and prevent outsiders from again invading their lands. Travelers in these lands are welcomed by day yet carefully watched and spied upon by night.
Most of the Picolo region is rural, and the halflings grow grains and vegetables for eating or sale to merchants from other lands. In the quaint communities of hillside tunnel-homes that dot the open country, the halflings often gather together to celebrate the onslaught of halfling holidays which take place at least once per week.
A massive swamp dotted with sources of black gold (oil). A powerful organization known as the Black Gold Consortium loosely rules over this land with cold hard gold coin. Humans live on the edge and just inside the swamp and must deal with the dangerous creatures which live there (such as Bog Trolls).
Quoted from adventure A16: Wild Thing which takes place in the Vast Swamp:
The Vast Swamp spans hundreds of miles/kilometers and dominates this region with foul smelling stagnant water. The swamp is a breeding ground for vermin, disease, and monsters. A hearty supply of oil brings humans to the region which must deal with the constant stream of vile creatures and putrid filth spawned from the depths of the swamp.
Quoted for an example of a village loyal to the BGC (Black Gold Consortium):
Cherrian’s Rest (Village)
Loyalty: Black Gold Consortium
Import: Tools, Clothing, Specialty Goods, Specialty Foods
Assets: 10,000 gp
Authority figure: Mayor Crockett LG male human ftr2
Authority: Kambel’s Mercentary-for-hire
Important Characters: Mayor Crockett, Merlin Kambel, Alexander Rofet (BGC), Sandalia
A small village which originally started as an inn and stop for travelers on their way elsewhere. When black gold (oil) was discovered here, the Black Gold Consortium (BGC) moved in and helped build up the population and support to the area. Over time a small village sprang up and was subsequently walled off to protect against wandering monsters and foul beasts from the swamp. A few long docks host local fishing vessels and visiting ships alike. While black gold is the primary source of income in Cherrian’s Rest, a steady supply of mud crabs and swamp eels has provided a rare and interesting export to food connoisseurs in distant cities.
Cherrian’s Rest Inn & Tavern
A quaint establishment which tolerates no roughhousing of any kind. A slow paced, relaxing place with good ale and swamp tales. Feels more like a large Victorian style mansion than an inn & tavern. 1 main room, 1 bar, 10 rooms, stables, cellar, tool shed.
Black Gold Consortium Warehouse (BGC)
This warehouse holds oil scheduled to be shipped out to neighboring towns and cities. The largest building in town it employs a massive workforce of local villagers. Alexander Rofet is responsible for all BGC operations in Cherrian’s Rest.
The Black Gold Consortium is an extremely wealthy, powerful, and influential company which manages oil extraction facilities at numerous locations throughout the region. The oil is then sold to be used in lamps and other household items as well as being used by military organizations in the field of battle and in defense of keeps and castles. The Consortium owns and operates both the extraction facility on Black Gold Island and the massive warehouse in Cherrian’s Rest.
The Black Gold Consortium employees over 80% of the population in Cherrian’s Rest. Obviously this company holds great sway over public opinion in this village.
Here’s one region of the Vast Swamp as an example: