Roadside Shrines

Roadside Shrines are found throughout Farghoal. Some are even far off the road, in the middle of the wilderness. Wherever people have found a reason to note a piece of ground, shrines can be found.

These shrines have multiple uses:

* providing a location to worship while on the road
* providing a source of (holy) water for travelers
* consecrating an area that once was tainted
* memorializing an event, such as a successful battle or a treaty
* memorializing a hero, especially one of the traveling saints
* providing spiritual or holy defense of an area

Sample Roadside Shrines

In the Central Valley, shrines are common roadside reminders of times past. The rich histories of the people who live in the valley are woven together in detailed, sometimes cryptic poetry and prose.

Every mile or so (twenty minutes walk) between towns and inns there is some shrine serving as a reminder of the teamwork and sharing that keeps the valley thriving.

Some towns have markers in the form of shrines on every corner, telling some part of the story. Though these have mostly taken on a more secular meaning. Those that have not are homages to Farlagn, though others praise Pelor, Moradin, or Toddemere Wolfhaven, a minor god of travel.

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Soup Stone

Dropped into a cauldron or pot filled with water, this knobby stone will leak the taste of onions, carrots, potatoes, and other root vegetables into the mix, proving a nutritious and tasty meal. The stone shrinks by a negligible margin with each use; a new soup stone lasts up to a year.

This meal will not cover all the nutritional needs of an adventurer, but will provide more than half, making soup stones a valuable, if not expensive item. Multiple soup stones add to the nutritious value of the meal, and make the meal tastier.

Unfortunately, if soup stones get wet (by rain or accidental dunking in a river), they wear away much quicker.

To make a soup stone, the caster must be able to create food through magical means and must be able to enchant objects. Price: 750 gp.

Drawing by Ben Dare.

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Dungeon A Day

Monte Cook (co-designer of 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons and author of the awesome Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil and Ptolus) has a cool new project out: He’s designing a megadungeon (hundreds of rooms, according to his definition) and posting them a room at a time. I’ve read over the preview of some of the rooms on the first level, and I have to say I’m super excited about this project. The art and maps look great, there’s background and handouts for the players, and, of course, the encounters are super interesting (spoiler alert).

To get access to the full content, there’s a subscription of $10 / month, with discounts for quarterly and yearly subscriptions. Personally, I have my plate full with games to run, but if I could find a DM to run this adventure for me, I’d gladly pay for the subscription.

Here’s a bit form Monte’s site describing the assumptions behind his design:

Whether you’re playing out of the little white box, the Basic Set, 1st Edition, 2nd Edition, 3rd Edition (or 3.5), or 4th edition, dungeons come into the game. But dungeons mean different things to different people. At, I plan on taking a rather old school approach–but even the meaning of that term varies depending on who you ask. So, I thought it valuable to share the assumptions I’m making as I design the dungeon.Adventurers going down into a pit

These, then, are my Ten Tenets of Dungeon Design.

1. Things get more dangerous as you go deeper….


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Manners, Customs and Dress During the Middle Ages

I just found this book on the Project Gutenburg site, and wanted to share it. It’s currently the #5 most popular book on the project’s site.

Although most modern games gloss over historical cultural and political structures, as a student of history I find the minutiae of such fascinating. Occasionally I will find something that I can write into a game that gives flavor, and sometimes it becomes a major underpinning of the story. For example, in “The Heir of Soguer”, the system of vassalage is really central to the story. I’ve tried to engage the players in that by having it brought up by NPCs, making it the source of the current major conflict in the story, and even knighting the player’s characters in the game. All of this has been wonderful detail that helps create a historical feel for my game, as well as informing the central conflict.

I’m hoping that this book yields more of such wonderful details. It has more than 400 woodblock prints, as well.

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Trangúll Dřevo Rumors

The following are quotes that various people who have heard of Trangúll Dřevo, or who are putting the party on, will say to them.

“It is said that southwest of Olde Bay is an ancient wood, wherein lives elf folk. Mischevious, kiniving they are, and will steal your pack if you don’t keep it close you. Be careful traveling in those parts.”

“I daresay, you should never head there. Only death and despair. ‘Tis why the Olde Bay’s been so haunted all these years. Foul beasts come form there, beasts half stone and half flesh. Carry you out to their island. Don’t go into those woods.”

“I never venture south of the Bay. Recommend you don’t either. It is said there is a haunted wood down there. Filled with dark fey folk.”

“In the heart of Trangúll Dřevo is a portal to another world — on the other end is a dragon. Can’t imagine anyone would ever want to find it.”

“We have seen wandering patrols of armed men dressed in deep robes, with shiny armor sneaking out from under their adornment. Their faces have a slight green hue, and they are armed with impressive weapons. If you’re heading there, be sure to be well armed, or you will face certain disaster.”

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Traveling to Minwood

After the battle of Clommel Bridge the players and their liege, Ludwig Staledwo, take their army in pursuit of Count Aguies and his protege, Trent. The most direct route is the road through Minwood. Once there they must decide how to deal with the hostile lord of Minwood, and possibally Oltorf as well.


  • Treatment of prisoners – if the players captured any Knights in the previous encounters (such as Ilúvënis, the haughty Eledrin Lord of Linton, and Jack the young human son of Lord Erding) they must decide how they are to be treated.

    As you survey the battlefield that Aguies has just fled, one of your troops approaches, looking uncertainly back at Iluvenis and Jack, the knights who have surrendered to you. “What should I do with these two, m’lord?”

    If given general liberty, good food and wine and otherwise treated as guests they will be social with the players, riding and talking with them, and may be disposed to ally with the party’s liege Ludwig later. If kept harshly they may try to escape or stir up trouble – Iluvens can teleport, so keeping him prisoner will be hard. If killed their families will greatly resent Ludwig during the reconciliation later.

    Skill Challenge Level 5, complexity 1, XP 200, 3 successes before 3 failures –
    Primary Skills (DC 12); Diplomacy, Intimidate to make friends or control the prisoners, can be carried out over the course of the journey to Castle Aguies.
    Success – the players make a good impression on their prisoners or frighten them into submission.
    Failure – the prisoners may attempt to convince some of the player’s troops to join them or they may try to escape (use Knight of the Realm stats for Jack, and Eladrin Knight stats (see Monster Manual) for Iluvens.

  • During the journey to Castle Aguies, the players may have a minor encounter if they want to attack the lightly defended Oltorf and Minwood – who may just surrender with a skill challenge. Lord Jared of Oltorf is still with Count Aguies, but Lord Toel of Minwood was injured at the battle at the bridge and is recuperating in his keep with his family and a small contingent of guards.

    The trip to Minwood takes 2-3 days for the player’s army.

    Description – they party comes upon the town, and it seems deserted – the keep is closed up and archers watch from their positions on the battlements / arrow slits. If parleyed with, they say that Duke Aguies rode by and warned them that Ludwig’s army was coming. They will gladly say that they will not attack the army’s flank in an attempt to convince the players to continue on (Insight or History DC 14 to realize that this is probably not ture).

    Skill Challenge – Level 7, complexity 4 – xp 1200. 10 successes before 3 failures. Primary skills – (DC 14) Intimidate checks to bully them into surrendering, Bluff checks to trick them into giving up, Diplomacy checks to convince them they will not be hurt if they surrender, History to make the argument that Ludwig is the rightful lord of these lands, Stealth checks to sneak into the castle, Athletics checks to scale the walls.
    Secondary skills – (DC 19) Endurance checks to keep watch while blockading them, keeping supplies from getting in or out, Nature to notice the spring feeding water to the keep, and to block or taint it, Stealth and then Acrobatics to squeeze in through the grate that lets the spring water in.
    Success – The castle’s defenders surrender to Ludwig’s army and if they succeeded at at least one Diplomacy check, the Lord swears fealty to Ludwig. Otherwise they merely surrender and the party faces a dilemma – what do they do with the captured troops? The sword of war suggests conscription or execution.
    Failure – The defenders refuse to surrender: to take the castle they must defeat the well-fortified 20 troops defending the place (see encounter below). If they do not take Minwood and Oltorf there is a counter attack from these troops during the siege of Aguies detailed below.
    Development – given the opportunity, the Sword of War will make it’s bearer attack the keep.

    Encounter – Level 7 – XP 1400

    If the players do not convince the defenders to surrender, they must defeat the well-fortified troops defending the keep. While the player’s troops help fight the rest of the forces off-screen (or are repelled by archers if sent in alone), the players make the main assault on the keep and fight:


    • Knight – xp 250
    • pikeman – xp 250
    • 3 x human guards (see MM) – xp 150 ea
    • 6 x human lackeys (see MM) – xp 75 ea

    Treasure – small money parcel as the keep and town are looted. Simple skill challenge to keep the looting from turning into pandemonium as their troops grab everything not bolted down, including livestock, furniture, erc. – the Sword of War tries to encourage the looting. Failure – flush with their loot, four of the player’s troops desert in the night.

    Development – If they do not take Minwood and Oltorf there is a counter attack from these troops during the siege of Aguies (to be detailed later).

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War Spear

This heavy reinforced spear is made to pierce heavy armor of battlefield troops, or the iron skin hide of the toughest beasts.

Superior Weapon
+3 proficiency bonus
1d8 damage
versatile, brutal 1

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Byzozius is an ancient unicorn who lives in the Forest of Light on Solania, a subplane of Celestia, accessible from a portal in the center of Trangúll Dřevo, a giant elven forest in Farghoal full of fey creatures. It is by making connections with them, and serving them for a time, that he is able to be encountered.

Byzozius lives on, but has grown weak and withered without his horn. Byzozius’ horn was carved by Kardâsuan, an elven carver who didn’t know its origin.

Fully restored with his horn, Byzozius has the following stats. Without his horn, Byzozius is roughly as powerful as a heavy war horse. This makes his very vulnerable until restored with his horn.

Byzozius (Level 11 Celestial Charger)
Size/Type: Large Magical Beast (Extraplanar, Celestial)
Hit Dice: 8d10+11d8+75 (177 hp)
Initiative: +10
Speed: 60 ft. (12 squares)
Armor Class: 27 (-1 size, +5 Dex, +7 natural, +5 bracers of armor +6), touch 13, flat-footed 20
Base Attack/Grapple: +15/+26
Attack: Horn +24 melee (1d8+10)
Full Attack: Horn +24 melee (1d8+10) and 2 hooves +16 melee (1d4+3)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Turn undead 13/day, smite evil, ride-by attack, spells
Special Qualities: Damage reduction 10/magic, darkvision 60 ft., immunity to poison, charm, and compulsion, low-light vision, magic circle against evil, resistance to acid 10, cold 10, and electricity 10, scent, spell-like abilities, spell resistance 20, wild empathy
Saves: Fort +18, Ref +14, Will +20
Abilities: Str 24, Dex 20, Con 20, Int 13, Wis 29, Cha 22
Skills: Concentration +15, Knowledge (nature) +10, Knowledge (planes) +12, Knowledge (religion) +8, Listen +15, Move Silently +19, Spellcraft +12, Spot +17, Survival +15 (+17 aboveground)*
Feats: Alertness, Combat Casting, Extra Turning, Improved Initiative, Improved Turning, Run, Skill Focus (Survival)
Environment: Celestia
Organization: Unique, solitary
Challenge Rating: 17
Treasure: None
Alignment: Chaotic good
Advancement: 11 Cleric levels
Level Adjustment: +12 (cohort)

Byzozius is an 11 HD celestial unicorn with eleven levels of cleric.

A unicorn has deep sea-blue, violet, brown, or fiery gold eyes. Males sport a white beard.

A typical adult unicorn grows to 8 feet in length, stands 5 feet high at the shoulder, and weighs 1,200 pounds. Females are slightly smaller and slimmer than males.

Unicorns speak Sylvan and Common.


Unicorns have a +4 racial bonus on Move Silently checks. *Unicorns have a +3 competence bonus on Survival checks within the boundaries of their forest.


The save DC for this celestial charger’s neutralize poison ability (DC 20) is adjusted for its greater Hit Dice and altered Charisma score.

Byzozius’ natural weapons are treated as magic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

Smite Evil (Su): Three times per day, Byzozius can make a normal melee attack to deal 15 points of extra damage against an evil foe.

Magic Circle Against Evil (Su): Three times per day, Byzozius can create a 20′ magic circle against evil, as the spell, with the larger area of effect.

Cleric Spells Prepared (6/7/6/5/4; save DC 18 + spell level)

0th: detect magic, detect poison (2), light, virtue (2)
1st: bless (2), calm animals*, obscuring mist, remove fear, sanctuary, shield of faith
2nd: aid* (2), animal messenger, lesser restoration, remove paralysis, shield other
3rd: prayer, protection from energy, remove curse, searing light (2)
4th: air walk, divine power, holy smite*, restoration
5th: atonement, flame strike, spell resistance
6th: blade barrier, wind walk

*Domain spell. Domains: Animal and Good.

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