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Wonders of NaeraCull: Grimstark Stoneturner

When scholar-meets-profiteer nothing is sacred or forbidden as long as it can offer coin, fame or fortune. One such eager individual is Grimstark Stoneturner, dwarven surveyor. Though considered on the fringe of academia and usually dismissed by professional scholars, the dwarf has managed to become quite popular with the common folk of Aventyr, and accounts of his adventures (often exaggerated or fabricated) are among the most frequently requested tales for storytellers.

dwarf-1Grimstark Stoneturner, Dwarven Surveyor     CR 4
XP 1,200
Male dwarf ranger 2/rogue 3
CG Medium humanoid
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +11

AC 18, touch 13, flat-footed 15 (+4 armor, +3 Dex, +1 shield)
hp 40 (2d10+3d8+13)
Fort +6, Ref +9, Wil +3; +2 vs. poison, spells and spell-like abilities); +2 vs. falling and falling objects; +2 vs. sleep and charm effects
Defensive Abilities evasion

Speed 20 ft.
Melee masterwork longsword +7 (1d8+2, Crit 19-20/x2), silver dagger +6 (1d4+3, Crit 19-20/x2)
Ranged composite longbow +7 (1d8+2, Crit x3)
Special Attacks favored enemy (giants +2), sneak attack +2d6, +1 on attack rolls against humanoids with the giant subtype

Str 14, Dex 16, Con 15, Int 18, Wis 14, Cha 6
Base Attack +4; CMB +6; CMD 19 (21 vs. overrun and trip)
Feats Breadth of Experience, Dodge, Mobility, Point-Blank Shot, Uncanny Alertness
Skills Acrobatics +10, Appraise +10 (+12 nonmagical metals or gemstones), Climb +10, Disable Device +10, Knowledge (geography) +7, Knowledge (local) +7, Knowledge (history) +7, Linguistics +5, Perception +11 (+13 unusual stonework), Ride +5, Survival +10
Languages Common, Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Giant, Nr’Cul, Terran
SQ rogue talents (combat trick), track +1, wild empathy +2
Gear chain shirt, masterwork buckler, silver dagger, composite longbow (+2) with 60 arrows, masterwork longsword, climber’s kit, light horse (combat trained) with military saddle, saddlebags, thieves tools, map case, collection of maps of NaeraCull, adventurer’s logbook, archaeologist tools, surveyor’s tools, and 15 pp; 1,700 gp; 800 sp; 100 cp.


grimstarks journalGrimstark Stoneturner’s Adventurer’s Log

In addition to what appears to be a daily log of his journey into and throughout NaeraCull, the book has many pages of notes referencing dozens of historical tomes. Most of the entries are focused on the Stone Sentinels of NaeraCull, and when read it provides the following information:

  • The great stone men of the jungle, though inanimate, are living. Their hearts beat in rhythm with the spirit of the land as they gaze out across the endless valley and great waterfalls to the southwest.
    –Vymil Ghorstin, excerpt from,The Forgotten Lands.
  • From a time when the gods walked the lands and committed great atrocities among the lesser races, the brave lords of stone arose to the defense of mankind. For their bravery, they were punished – cast upon the mountainside and bound to gaze upon the suffering of those they sought to protect.
    – Ursal Lanbythem, excerpt from, Times Forgotten.
  • It is said the hearts of the titans bears the blood of ancient gods, though forever sealed within their stone bodies. It is possible that a faint hint of this magic may persist within each of the statues.
    –Thomalon Solbeur, excerpt from, Old Arcanas.
  • The gem, glowing with power, casts an amber light upon the cavity. Once bound within, the energies from this gemstone, bound to the earth, will force the vigorous lot of the living upon the stone figure.
    – Xeddick, excerpt from, Grimoire of a Golem Master.

The book also contains various detailed drawing of the Stone Sentinels from various angles, including one that depicts Grimstark’s engineering plans for excavating one of the giant statues.

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Wonders of NaeraCull: The Brothers’ Stone

The Brothers’ Stone     CR 5

I. One Man’s Religion is Another’s Fortune
The famed dwarven surveyor Grimstark Stoneturner [see tomorrow’s blog entry for more information about Grimstark] has turned his attention to the Stone Sentinels of NaeraCull. His research has led him to believe that the great stone monuments at the Stepping Mountain contain ancient magic, and he’s determined to uncover that magic himself.

brochures png 1Grimstark has made the arduous journey to the depths of NaeraCull with a crew of workers (20 human commoner 1) from nearby villages and has set up an excavation site at one of the sentinels. Their survey focuses on one of the giant stone statues posed in a postulated kneeling stance that provides him and his workers with easy access to the main torso of the figure.

Unfortunately for Grimstark, the Stone Sentinels are also a sacred site for a sizeable group of stone giants that inhabit the region. The stone giants believe the sentinels to be the resting souls of their ancient ancestors—progenitors to their own gods.

Not long after starting his archeological dig, Grimstark was approached by three angry stone giants who demanded that he cease defiling the sanctuary of their ancestors. Not willing to take on three stone giants himself (and finding none of his workers brave enough to try), he agreed to abide by the giants’ wishes, expressing feinted regret that he was “unaware” of the site’s sacred nature. This temporarily appeased the angry giants and they have returned to their nearby encampment to await the dwarf’s departure.


II. Seeking Giantslayers, Will Pay!
Unwilling to give up on the opportunity of fame and fortune that could be gained by such an important archeological find, Grimstark sends several of his workers to various villages in the area offering a reward (1,000 gp) for anyone brave enough and strong enough to slay the giants. The adventurers are approached by one of the surveyor’s workers and informed of the prize being offered. If the PCs are interested, the worker safely guides them back to the dig site on Stepping Mountain where they can meet and negotiate with Grimstark himself.

When the party accepts the job, Grimstark tells the PCs where the giants have set up camp (further down the mountain’s base). He doesn’t’ much care how the situation is taken care of—diplomacy or slaughter, whatever works—and is willing to pay as long as the stone giants stop interfering with his excavation.


III. Three Angry Brothers
The three stone giants in question are brothers named Vontu, Vanat, and Volder, young pilgrims who traveled for several days from the home of their people further up the valley. They came to Stepping Mountain to pay homage to the Stone Sentinels, only to discover them being defaced!

The three brothers are stone giants (CR 5) with the young (once) and drunk (twice) templates.

Completely inebriated and highly uncoordinated due to an angry drinking binge after their initial meeting with the dwarf, the three brothers are unwilling to discuss any other outcome to the situation short of Grimstark leaving the mountain. If the PCs insist on continuing discussion of other options, the trio eventually become enraged and attack the party. After meeting the adventurers, the stone giants allow three hours for the excavation site to be cleared out or they attack Grimstark and his workers (and anyone else there), fighting to the death.

[There is no peaceful resolution to the situation; either the PCs kill the three giants and claim the reward from Grimstark, or they do nothing and leave the surveyor and his crew to their demise. Both parties are uncompromising. -JAM]

brochures png 2


IV. Unleashing a Curse
After the conflict between Grimstark and the three stone giants has resolved, if the trio has been slain the PCs return to the excavation site to claim their reward. When the adventures get there they find that the dig has already resumed, and the dwarf has discovered something “interesting” inside the Stone Sentinel.

In the presence of the PCs Grimstark removes, from the Stone Sentinel, a massive glowing gemstone [the Heart of the Neolith, truly a magic item—the earthbound gem—to be revealed later this week. -JAM] which triggers the spirit of the Sentinel haunt, then leading to the wrath of the effigy landslide trap [both also available later this week].

If Grimstark survives the haunt and trap, the dwarf gladly pays the PCs but abandons further excavation at the site, convinced that the Sentinels are actually cursed (a threat he’s not willing to assume). He leaves the Heart of the Neolith behind, fearing its possession may also be a curse.

However, if Grimstark is killed by the haunt or trap, the workers (if any survive) all flee in fear, leaving behind the dwarf’s dead body and all of his gear for the PCs to collect.

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Wonders of NaeraCull Brochure #3: The Fire-lit Mountain

If you’d like to download a copy of this FREE PDF head on over to the Store page, but AaWBlog Presents: Wonders of NaeraCull Brochures are available on,,, and as well!

We’re keeping it short and sweet again today; enjoy your free PDF!

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fire-lit mountain 10

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Wonders of NaeraCull: Mahanguan Pilgrimage Trail

mahuanga pilgrim trailRising high into the sky, Mount Mahangua dominates the skyline of the Pirate Isles. The top of the volcano—at roughly 7,000 feet in elevation—is always in an active state. Lava gurgles in the crater, 1.4 miles across at its widest point. The very center is in a constant display of pyrotechnics, shooting flaming rocks hundreds of feet in the air; seafarers use the mountain as a natural lighthouse. Despite its volatility and near constant lava flow, an eruption has not happened for centuries. Because of this, the forest is thick almost all the way up to the lip of the crater, with patches of burnt timber in spots where the lava has made contact with the woods.

The native lizardfolk settlements on the island are clustered around the base of the mountain, and range in size from 25-100. Most of them are hunters and Indifferent or Friendly to strangers. A few villages are Helpful towards outsiders. One such village, Xacana, is located on the eastern side of Mount Mahangua, at the trailhead of the Mahanguan Pilgrimage Trail (detailed in The Ash Spirits of Mt Mahangua).

If the lizardfolk of Xacana’s attitude towards the PCs is Helpful, there are 1d2 igneous trinkets available for purchase. The party is told that evil fire spirits are sometimes found at the top of Mount Mahangua, and that these stones will protect them. They are also told to steer clear of The Shrine of Mahangua; it is a sacred place and quite dangerous.

The trail itself is 24 miles long and somewhat steep; moving at normal speed, the trip to the top takes 2 days. Lizardfolk regularly patrol the trail and dispense justice—thieving and robbery are dealt with swiftly and violently. The trail is kept clear of encroaching vegetation, and although the forest can be quite thick at times off of the path, most of it is paved, covered in crushed volcanic rock packed down from years of pilgrims’ journeys. There are four points of interest along the way, marked on the map available for purchase from Lescius the merchant.

  1. Lava Falls: On the left side of the path, a small stream of lava continuously flows. At this point it drops 20 feet, making a small lavafall and a very unique splash pattern at the bottom of the falls formed from the cooled lava.
  2. Campsite #1: A 100-foot diameter cinder rock clearing that contains 2 cabins and a firepit.
  3. Iron Tree: A 20-foot diameter tree actually grows in the lava stream. It is badly scorched and has no bark on the lower third, but it is somehow still alive.
  4. Campsite #2: This simple campsite is little more than a firepit in the middle of a small grassy clearing with a small water stream next to it.


At irregular intervals the mountain shakes as the volcano belches out a cloud of steam and ash from the center of the crater, though a full-scale eruption is not recorded in history. The top of the trail ends near the edge of the crater; the Shrine of Mahangua is about ¾ of a mile away. The view from any point at the top is incredible—visitors can get within about 50 feet of the actual lava and watch the pyrotechnics safely. The western side of the crater is 200 feet higher than the eastern side and rises into a steep lip. From the top of this lip, the ocean to the west can be seen, and on a clear day the island to the northwest is visible as well.


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Wonders of NaeraCull: Shrine of Mahangua

The Shrine of Mahangua

The Shrine of Mahangua
XP 600
CN haunt (10 ft. by 10 ft. area centered on altar)
Caster Level 2nd
Notice Perception DC 20 (to notice the thin rock near the altar)
HP 4; Trigger proximity; Reset 1 day
The cooled lava near the edge of the lava has been carved to resemble flame. Sharp rock flames ring a flat, black surface.
Effect When this haunt is triggered, the target must make a DC 11 Will save or halt in place. Once halted, the cooled lava cracks open, dropping the PC into a pool of lava (DC 11 Reflex save to avoid) dealing 1d6 fire damage per round. It requires a DC 15 Climb check to escape the lava. Anyone killed by the lava in this way rises as an ash ghoul. Acquiring the map for the shrine of Mahangua grants the party a +1 luck bonus to the Will save so long as it has been blessed by the lizardfolk. [In tomorrow’s Story Locale post! -MM]
Destruction The remains of a destroyed ash ghoul must be taken away from Mt Mahangua and buried with a proper ceremony.
Adventure Hook A short time ago Mt Mahangua became more active than normal. One of the lizardmen tribes abducted a pilgrim and threw him into the lava near the shrine of Mahangua, believing that the sacrifice would appease the spirits of Mahangua and prevent a catastrophic eruption. As the victim perished, he cursed the lizardmen and their spirits—a curse that lingers still to this day.

If there is an ash ghoul present, it engages the party as soon as they are within 100 feet of the shrine of Mahangua. It has 1d4 ash spirits under its control.

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Wonders of NaeraCull: Igneous Rock

Igneous Rock

Igneous Rock

Eons of lava flow have created layers of igneous rock on the side of Mount Mahangua. In many places this has created treacherous footing where hard to see holes in the rock are surrounded by razor sharp rock edges.

Igneous Rock (CR 1)

The side of the hill is treacherous, as it is mostly formed from igneous rock.

Type: natural; Perception DC 18; Disable Device —

Trigger location; Reset automatic


Lava flow here has made the terrain treacherous and uneven. In a few spots the rocks give way to expose small holes that can trap the foot. Igneous Rock (1d3 damage plus character is entangled and immobilized, DC 17 Reflex Save Avoids, DC 17 Escape Artist or CMD 17 to escape, treat entire area as difficult terrain)

As the adventurers climb Mount Mahangua to reach the top, there are several places where they have to deal with deposits of lava covering the landscape. You can spice this up a bit by forcing the PCs to hurry over the landscape by having minor lava flow eruptions happen during the ascent. If the party is moving faster than normal, raise the initial Reflex save to DC 21. Should they get stuck, the lava deals 1d6 fire damage each round until they are free.



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