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The Red Cave by the Fetid SwampYe must travel into the woods towards the fetid swamp. Ye will know that the right path has been found whenst thou arriveth at the camp of the forest ranger. But be warned, for this ranger is no longer one of ours, but has been twisted by sorceries most foul (and is really quite nasty) and will seek to slay those who enter his domain. Beyond the camp, north of the still lake, cross the river while still in the land of ruined trees. Then southwards you will travel along the edge of the fetid swamp, giving wide berth to the Skull of Evernost, and by the bent Obelisk of Hate, you will find the red cave which you seek.

This map was drawn as a handout for a recent game. A treasure map to find… well… almost nothing. (It was the lowest treasure possible for a treasure map in B/X D&D, so two days of trekking through horrible swamps, burned out forests, fighting a twisted ranger, finding a hidden cave, slaying the protector of said, and finally scoring the massive loot of 1,000 gp).

Have I mentioned how awesome treasure maps are?

The fetid swamp as listed below is suited for characters of roughly level 2-4, although at the higher end of the spectrum, you should probably consider upping the power of the Ranger.

The Red Cave by the Fetid Swamp

The Red Cave by the Fetid Swamp

Wandering Monsters around the Fetid Swamp:

  1. 1d12 Bandits
  2. 1d8 Acolytes of Chaos (if 4 or more, leader will be level 2-5, see rules)
  3. 1d2 Black Bears
  4. 1d10 Giant Bats (night only)
  5. 2d4 Giant Centipedes
  6. 1d4 Giant Geckos (night only)

The Twisted Ranger

This level 4 halfling (AC: 3, HD: 4, hp: 20, Mv: 90 (30), Att: 1, Dmg: 1d6+1, Sv: H4, M:8) is decked out in dirty old chainmail and wields TallCutter (a chaotic short sword +1 that paralyzes the first foe it strikes each day, as per the hold person spell) and EyeTaker (a shortbow +1 that can only shoot arrows hand-crafted by the bearer, and that blinds it’s target on a natural 20). He has a +1 attack bonus with both weapons because of his high Strength and Dexterity. He has long ago abandoned his camp, but watches over it for trespassers along with his two nasty overgrown badgers (AC:5, HD:1+1, hp:9, 7, Mv:150 (50), Att:1, Dmg:1d8, Sv:F1, M:8 ). He has no treasures beyond his hardware, as he dumps the bodies of those he has slain into the lake, gear and all.

Burned Offering

Deep within the ruined forest is the undead remnants of a treant, twisted by fire and chaotic magic. He is best used as a threat if the party lingers in the ruined forest too long, or if they wander too far off course. Twisted treant ( AC:2, HD:9, hp:46,  Mv:60 (20), Att:4, Dmg:2d6/2d6/2d6/2d6, Sv:F9, M:11 )

River Rats

Waiting in the reeds by the river crossing northeast of the still lake are a team of three wererats turned to banditry (increase the count if the party is particularly potent – heck, throw in some reinforcements part way through the fight who arrive by boat if the party is having too easy of a time). River Rats ( AC:7, HD:3*, hp: 20, 10, 12, Mv:120 (40), Att:1, Dmg:1d4 or 1d6, Sv:F3, M:8 ). In their small boat, the rats keep their treasure in a small coffer with a poison needle trap – 3,000 cp and 2 potions of delusion (both seem to be potions of healing).

Still Lake & the Fetid Swamp

Seriously, the whole map is about avoiding Still Lake and the Fetid Swamp. But warnings are for suckers, right? Murroin the Foul and her wretched child Herrath( AC:2, HD:7**, hp:44, 26, Mv:90 (30), Fly:240 (80), Att:3, Dmg:1d4+1/1d4+1/2d10, Sv:F7, M:8 ) are typically sleeping within the lake and swamp. They are a pair of foul wyrms, each capable of either attacking in melee as shown, or of breathing a line of putrescent goo (60′ x 5′) that deals damage equal to their current hit points and which nauseates humans and demihumans (giving them a -2 penalty on to hit rolls) – the stink sticks to it’s victims and until they have washed it off thoroughly they will have double the normal chance of encountering wandering monsters. A save vs Dragon Breath reduces the damage by half and prevents the nausea and clinging stench. Both of these foul beasts are intelligent and mean, and can cast the following spells each once per day.

  • Murroin: Charm Person, Hold Portal, Magic Missile (3 missiles), Sleep
  • Herrath: Detect Magic, Light, Magic Missile (3 missiles), Ventriloquism

Herrath, still completely under the thrall of her mother, hides little treasure in her swamp domain beneath the Skull of Evernost (the skull of a massive titan slain ages ago) – merely 6,000 cp. Her mother, however, has a cave in the deeps of Still Lake, and within that cave she covets her riches including 80,000 sp, 20,000 ep and 32 gems (8 x 10 gp, 10 x 50 gp, 10 x 100 gp, 2 x 500 gp and 1 x 1,000 gp). She just wishes she had some gold amongst all those coins.

The Obelisk of Hate

Leaning precariously as if it were about to fall over and sink into the swamp, the Obelisk of Hate seems to mark the edge of the swamp and the beginnings of the red hill country. The obelisk is a forty foot tall piece of deep red stone covered in black eldritch runes. Every day spent in the proximity of the Obelisk calls for an additional wandering monster check, with a 1 in 6 chance of encountering a group of acolytes (as per the wandering monster table for the region) who have come to worship or give sacrifice. If a cleric or other religious petitioner makes sacrifices of the same race as the petitioner equaling five times his level or hit dice (these can be done over time instead of all at once), then he is granted the ability to cast the striking spell once per day for the next year.

The Red Cave

The cave in the hills to the southeast of the Obelisk of Hate would be easy to miss without a map. It is practically just a small overhang in the hillside. In the back of the overhang, hidden by vines covered in red leaves, is a foul-tempered red-iron gargoyle ( AC:4, HD:4, hp: 20, Mv:60 (20), Fly:120 (40), Att:4, Dmg:1d3/1d3/1d6/1d4, Sv:F4, M:12 ) who defends his treasure with his life. Behind the gargoyle, in the nook he has hidden in for untold years (and under a pile of rock-hard gargoyle feces) is a small coffer containing 1,000 gp.