Tuesday, 17 February 2015

And now a word from our sponsors...

So, I have taken a break from prepping the lampless city, to put together some material for Tenkar's Landing. I thought you guys might enjoy a look at it. The Gazetter entry is not yet complete, but will hopefully be of interest, even in its current state.

The Wyvern Hills
Hex 20.16


The Wyvern Hills stretch from the [mountains in 19.16 ]. They were settled  150 years ago by refugees fleeing from aristocratic oppression in their homeland. They came to the wyvern hills to create a society free of rulers.  While hardy folk, determined to make a better home for themselves, they struggled, for the the Wyvern Hills were region of great danger, and there initial individualist tendencies and anarchic societies made doing anything to change the region almost impossible.  

It took 100 years for the region to change the people who had settled it. The constant threat of wyvern attack and goblin raid, slowly but surely trained the people of the region to become communal and altruistic. The hatred of laws and authority remained, but was joined by an almost equally strong hatred of selfishness. The region became a dangerous hinterland, with pockets of insulare settlement,of little interest to the rest of the island. A number of hardy villages clinging to the marsh, coast and nestling amid the hills.

Twenty five years ago things changed. Varne Oakheart a hunter and trapper from the village of Ashen, took up arms against the goblins of the hills, after a raid on the village resulted in the death of his travelling companion and best friend, Tannis Rell, a Bard and swordsman of great skill. Varne travelled to each of the villages of the region, forming a band of oath bound champions, sworn to protect the folk of the Wyvern Hills and kill every last goblin in the region. However, once their campaign began, it became clear that goblins were not the only threat posed to the folk of the wyvern hills. Over the space of a decade, the Oathband drove out or exterminated all but one of the goblin tribes in the region, drastically reduced the number of terrible beasts stalking the hills, and slew all but three of the wyverns that gave the region its name. It was in battling one of the last few Wyverns of the region that tragedy struck. Varne Oakheart died at Wyverntree, battling a vicious old wyvern known to the people of the hills as Long Barb. His companions transported him back to Ashen, burying him besides him companion, Tannis, at the base of a great old oak tree. That was 25 years ago, and in that time, the work started by Varne and his companions has continued, though without the same level of success. The remaining members of Varne’s band used their wealth to fund groups of young men and woman to patrol the region, fighting off threats and honing their skills.

Since Varne’s death, the communities of the hills have banded together to a greater extent, bound together by the common sense of reverence for there fallen hero, and the new born tradition of Oathbands. This banding together represents the first steps towards the formation of a Polity in the region, and through they have not named themselves as such, the people of the Wyvern Hills could soon find themselves becoming a nation of sorts. The communities strong anarchic tendencies mean however that it is unlikely to be any kind of state that others would recognise.

The wyvern hills also stands ready to rise to great influence. The peace won at the tip of a blade by Varne has allowed the development of industry and  far greater amounts of farming in the region. Rich iron mines in both Orne Tey and Mistley, and excellent sheep grazing at wyverntree and Orne Tey, combine with a safeport, good fishing and excellent salt making conditions at Dunmow, promising a rich future, especially when combined with the recent discovery of gold near Mistley.      

There is no formal rule of law in the Wyvern Hills. While each settlement has a set of legal traditions they tend to be disparate and ad hoc, with no underlying structure beyond the wisdom of the village elders and a tendency towards avoidance of violence by the community against the individual.

Upon the night of the winter solstice, each year, youths who will turn sixteen years of age in the year to come set out on a journey. They travel to Ashen, to visit the site of Varne’s Grave, to pay there respect. They stay in Ashen for a month, training with bows, swords and stranger art, being tested all the while by member of Oathbands. Those with little talent are given a basic training, Gathered together and sworn to protect a community other than there own in the region for a year and a day. Those who show real promise are asked to stay and train for a year, before forming or joining an Oathband. Such recruits are expected to serve for five years, as wandering adventurers and messengers. Upon returning home they can expect to have a place of honour in their community, and enough collected wealth to start a family and a business.

The Cult of Varne:
Since his death, Varne has been held in reverence by local people, who have made journeys to his grave to pay their respects to him. Tales of his deeds are shared at important events, and young people are taught to live by his example. In short, there is among many local people, a growing hero cult dedicated to him. Increasingly, travelling to the site of his grave as part of the passage into adulthood, and the joining of an Oathband, are now seen as a religious pilgrimage.


The Wyvern Hills are a set of low hills that run north and a little east from the foot of Mt. Ontube.
Along the southern edge of the region the Teyport road winds its way through between the bases of the hills, allowing travel between Tayport and Nary Bend. However, the road is dangerous thanks to the attentions of Blackscale and Widow’s Curse, the last mated pair of wyverns in the region. Most travellers and merchants are better of taking the longer North road between Arol Durrig and Tayport.
To the west of the hills, a pair of small woods stand between the wyvern hills and the grasslands of the dolphin coast, while long stretches of the coastline here are made up on mudflats and salt marshes, where the watershed of the wyvern hills rolls down to the sea. It is through the edge of these marshes that the north road wends its way, avoiding the dangers of arrow wood to the south.

1. The Drowned Man Inn
Positioned on the North road, on a dry and stable island in the salt marshes, sits  the Drowned Man Inn. While the North road is safer than trudging cross country near to arrow wood, the marshes have a reputation as haunted, so it is unsurprising that most who face the prospect of night under the stars  in the salt marshes, opt instead to stay at the Drowned Man Inn. Such sentiments are wise, for in fact the salt marshes are haunted. This apparition is the ghost of Samuel Mope, the first land lord of the Drowned Man Inn(then called the Golden Frog Inn) who one night, deep in his cup went out for a stroll, only to fall into the mud and there suffocate. His spirit lingers in the salt marshes, and there is a 1 in 6 chance that those in the area at night can be hear the drowned man calling out for help. Those who go to the spirits aid are in for a shock, as it tries to drag them into the water or mud, to suffer the same fate.

The drowned man: HD 5; AC 2 [17]; Atk 1 Drown (save or die in 14+1 rounds); Move (Swim 12-cannot leave the mud or water); Save 12; AL usually C; CL/XP 6/600; Special:  magic or silver weapon required to hit, drown (if hit, save or die in 1d4+1 rounds).

Drown: those successfully hit by the drowned man are pulled into the mud or water, where they cannot raise their head above the surface. Pulling the character free requires a successful open doors check by another character. Fortunately for the victim, their thrashing around in the water, is very loud, meaning that close by party members may come to their aid.

2. Ashen
Home to the Varne Oakheart, champion of the Wyvern Hills, Ashen is a sleepy pastoral village, surrounded by farmland. It has a population of 800 people, with only about with only 1 in 10 being non-human, and all of those being halflings. As the site of Varne Oakheart’s grave, the village is starting to experience unprecedented growth, as his hero cult spreads across the region. The village is centred on a burial garden, with a  vast old oak at its heart. The limbs of tree spread out to offer shade to the two statues, marking the grave sites of Tannis Rell and Varne Oakheart. Tannis reclines against a pillar, apparently ready to play his loot, while the statue of Varne, is shown sat, in deliberation or rest, his blade Wyvernfoe (Longword +1, +2 vs. Wyverns), layed across his lap, as though he is cleaning it. Despite 25 years having past, the sword is untouched by rust. In recent years, a shrine to the memory of Varne Oakheart has been built at the entrance to the burial site, and with each passing week, more offerings are made to Varne Oakheart at the statue, or in the shrine. It is at the shrine that the young people of the wyvern hills are sworn to protect their communities, and it is within the garden that they train.

3. Borley
This sleepy fishing village is home to around 500 people, almost a 3rd of its population is made up of halflings, who run a number of farms and market gardens in an outskirt of the village named ‘Little Borley’ while the human residents make their living from fishing, salt production, and smoked produce. Smoked mackerel from Borley is considered a delicacy across the Wyvern Hills.

4. Wyverntree
Wyverntree little more than a hamlet, but is of economic importance as the primary centre of the wool and sheep trade in the northern Wyvernhills, when it comes time to buy and sell sheep representatives from every sheep farm in the hills can be found here, and it is to here that that the farmers come to sell their wool to the merchants of Tayport. In the last 25 years it has also come to a place of prominence as the place where Varne battled and slew the wyvern Longbarb , before succuming to her venom. The site of the battle, an old lightning struck tree, has become an impromptu shrine, which attracts pilgrims from across the region. The Wyverns skull can be found here, fashioned into a shield (shield +1, the bearer of this shield ignores the first successful sting attack made against them in a combat), while her scales have been formed into a suit of armour (Leather armour +2), both of which are stashed into the hollow of the tree. Oathbands often pass this way, carving their oaths into the wood of the tree.  
5. Tayport
A port town of some 3000 people (mostly humans, dwarves, and halfling), the town acts as a gateway to both the wyvern hills and the lands to their east and south east. Here Iron, wool and salt are loaded upon ships, in exchange for grains, coin and a range of manufactured goods, not found in the hill lands. It is a town of growing prosperity, thanks to the peace brought by Varne, and the continued vigilance of his last surviving original companion, the magic user Elspeth Marharen, dwells in her town on the edge of town.    

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