Adventure, B/X, Basic, Dungeons & Dragons, Fantasy, Labyrinth Lord, Maps, Regional, RPG, Treasure Map
Ye 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.
Wandering Monsters around the Fetid Swamp:
- 1d12 Bandits
- 1d8 Acolytes of Chaos (if 4 or more, leader will be level 2-5, see rules)
- 1d2 Black Bears
- 1d10 Giant Bats (night only)
- 2d4 Giant Centipedes
- 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.
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 )
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.
Quinton Baran said:
Really cool Dyson; I like the idea of the treasure maps, especially fake or under-powered ones.
Dave Inacave said:
This is the perfect amount of detail to inspire riffing upon your idea. Short enough to read quickly and get your head around the circumstances. The scale is small enough that it can go into any forest/river hex within my map.
I’ll swap the 1000 gp out for a MacGuffin necessary for my meta-game… and we’ll get to play tonight!
I often employ your stuff this way. Probably will more so now that i have the book (HB!).
The only thing that slows me down is AC. I use C&C instead of LL, thus ascending AC. I end up going through and looking up all the monster AC’s prior to or during play. (Yeah, I know, most of you guys can do this on the fly in your head, but I’m a dorque)
Your content is so good that there must be more of us doing the same. An ascending AC in parenthesis would make this extra shiny…
(S&W ascending AC would be a good OSR compromise that would get most of us 90% of the way there)
For your consideration.
Here’s the simplest way to do it (Print and Keep Handy):
subtract the descending AC listed in the adventure from 20 to obtain the ascending AC
( AC:4 [from adventure] subtracted from 20 = AC: 16 [ascending AC] ).
Hope that makes it easier for you!
Dave Inacave said:
Admittedly, the conversion is embarrassingly simple.
But due to circumstances my sessions are typically flying-by-seat-of-the-pants affairs, and having certain mechanical details pre-staged really helps free my mind for the fun stuff.
Dyson’s creations usually hit my preferred sweet spot in their balance of beauty:crunch:fluff and run with minimal prep really well.
I recommend his book if you don’t have it yet.
I would suggest making/printing a simple 2-column grid listing the descending AC of the left and the ascending AC on the right. Punch a few holes to put in binder and viola! no worries. Maybe do it in a LARGE bold font as well.
AC: 10 = AC: 10
AC: 9 = AC: 11
AC: 8 = AC: 12
…. and so on!
Got my hardcover about 10 days ago; wonderful book it is!
This point always confuses me. OD&D, B/X, and LL all use descending with a base AC of 9. S&W and other ascending systems start from a base of 10.
So in the example above, a creature with a descending AC of 4 has an AC bonus of 5 better than normal AC. Subtracting AC 4 from 20 as mentioned means hit on a 16.
However, in rules systems with ascending AC (like S&W) adding an AC bonus of +5 gets you a 15 to hit.
So the simple conversion above doesn’t work, because you are not taking into account that AC starts at 9 in descending systems and 10 in ascending systems.
The actual translation method from descending to ascending is 9-AC+10= ascending AC (9-4+10 = 15 ascending AC).
A very well done mini-adventure for any situation: a good challenge for a beginning party. The map is great (as always!) while the write up is to the point as well as easy to follow. Each locale has just the right amount of detail, yet allows for the DM to modify the locale descrips as needed. Best way to write them.
I chuckled at the names of the halfling’s two weapons; especially the short sword Tallcutter (an appropriate name from his perspective). Fantastic job as always, Dyson!
Absolutely inspiring and well-done. Concise yet rich location encounters and an overall gloomy setting lend some depth to a short, low-level adventure…plus a rare, Dyson wilderness map! I’d love to see it as a one- or two-page PDF for easy printing and insertion into a campaign binder or other sort of personal gaming reference.
Seeing some asterisks here (HD: 3* and HD: 7**), but no footnote key. What are the asterisks for?
That aside this seems like an excellent piece to stealthily insert into any hex that contains swamp, river, forest, hills, or any combination thereof, something I think I shall do 🙂
Dyson Logos said:
In B/X D&D the asterisks are there for calculating XP values – they represent special and uber special abilities.
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