Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Hill Cantons Wilderness Crawl

Spring Break has my fantasy creative writing class all canceled, so I am going to play hooky and run the beginnings of a new mini-campaign tomorrow.

1. New characters to be rolled as per the HC Compendium and the draft version of Live Weird or Die.

2. Each session will have to end back in town or at a "save point" (a safe, habitable spot in the wilds that I will indicate as you discover them). New sessions can begin at any of the locales a PC ends at.

3. It's all about the blank hex map. In fact you will have a standing (paying) commission to survey and explore the land. Following up on your own personal El Dorados and the like of course is encouraged.

4. The action will take place just off the eastern border of the Overkingdom (to the north and east of the Hill Cantons proper), so expect some tie-in and recycling from the campaign.

Background Whoha
Countless centuries of gavelkind succession laws have cranked up the fractionalizing, autarkic, hair-splitting pettiness—so typical of life in places with a foot in the Weird--to a feverish pitch in the Translittoral Canton of Hoimatbuch. That chilly, windy easternmost bastion of the Overkingdom is further plagued by a strangely-virile nobility creating a maddening over-proliferation of hyphen-crazy micro-fiefdoms as each holding is divided equally among the male children of each line.

Matters have come to what seems a breaking point with the death of the Vastvoj the Viscous, the Wildgraf of Velky Hoimatbuch-Voka-Untmuntschaifen--at least in the mind of Jakov XXXIV the newly-anointed Sub-Wildgraf of Velky Hoimatbuch-Voka-Untmuntschaifen-Ujzed, a lordly domain comprised of a single blood-apricot orchard, giant-bat pasturage/fertilizer lot (shared with his brother-lord) and a decrepit hunting lodge located near the dread Pass of Sighs.

The rakish Jakov, known for his scandalous and calculatedly provocative views while at college in Marlankh, has a decidely more ambitious plan for avoiding the slow, slumbering idiocy of declining rural gentry life—expansion and exploration of the Weird beyond the Pass. He has put out a call for the usual rough and tumble sort of freebooters, border ruffians, sybarites, raving heretics and others to map and survey the wilderness to the east.

Jakov offers the following:
  • 30 gold suns for each hexagonally-organized 21.6 square mile area unit of land--quaintly referred to as “five mile hexes” by laymen—accurately mapped.
  • 100 suns for each settlement of sentient (preferably exploitable) life found. (Generous bonuses for maps of said sites to be paid according to detail.)
  • A variable bounty for sites of “particular, unusual interest”.
  • Use of his paid-up membership in the local hiring hall of Golden Guild of Condotierre, Linkboys, Roustabouts, and Stevedores located in the nearby town of Velky Hoimatbuch.
  • Room and board when you are back in the Lodge.
Scale is 5 miles to a hex. Click to Enlarge.

Hireling offerings for the Guild (contract period for one session only):
Men-At-Arms (20 golds suns rate)
Kracki the Hooded One, 3 hp, Half-Plate (AC:5), pike, nunchucks. Laughs at all your jokes.

Brown Tomas, former indentured servant, arquebus (only works in Corelands), studded leather, morion helmet, scimitar. Stands in your personal space.

Arsus of Ultima, 5 hp, loincloth, bear hat, spear. Has no tongue, smells like ass.

Mohag the Wanderer, 3 hp. Studded leather, quarterstaff, elaborate great helm. Has never left town.

Underlings (10 gold suns rate)
Pavol, 2 hp, claims to be a duly-elected “Master Torchbearer”, will carry two light sources at once, but complains about his back the whole time. Padded armor, dagger.

Craccus, 3 hp dogsbody and professional sycophant. Dagger. Is lying to you now.

Malinka, 4 hp executive assistant. Whip and club. Will get you to the dungeon on time.

Chargen Particulars
1. We are using Laby Lord.

2. No standard demi-humans though all AEC advanced classes are open to humans and all my stupid variant classes are available (see the Appendixes here for that).

2. Roll 4d6 drop the lowest IN ORDER for stats. No swaps or cheating mccheatering.

3. Give yourself 2800 experience points as a signing bonus for indulging me. First hit die is maximum, roll others as normal.

4. 4d6 (drop the lowest) x10 starting gold (called a “sun”).

5. Five-fold alignment is in use. But who cares.  


  1. Pray tell, good sir, how does one get involved? Will there be another post tomorrow? Is this a normal (if you may excuse the presumption) G+ game?

    1. Yes G+ hangout game (find me there). Today is way over-booked player-wise, but I will be doing an evening session next week.

  2. I'm curious -- regarding the sessions end at camp or a save point. How is this encouraged? I've been wrestling with this problem, and I can't figure out a fix.

    1. One general inspiration is Jeff Rient's abortive Mormon wilderness crawl that I managed to get in on. He had a punitive mechanism about becoming lost in the wilds if you didn't make it back to a safe spot (and boy did you an incentive to do so.)

      Link here:

  3. Great ideas here, thanks! My OD&D campaign already uses the idea of a home base where they get free room and board since they all start out as indentureds... but I like the idea of paying them to map additional hexes, and while I've required them to return to Milburn Hall at the end of every game, I ought to figure out some additional safe zones as well.

  4. I like the bounty on explored hexes idea. That is dead brilliant and I will be stealing it for my Blood, Gold, and Lizards campaign.

  5. I'll use this opportunity to say again that in the HC pdf, it makes reference to the Death and Dismemberment table in the Appendices...and I can't find one. Was it left out? Am I stupid? Please note that these are not mutually exclusive.

    I rolled a character as well that I doubtless will never use because I don't have any spare time.

    1. I have a second free compendium coming out. In the meantime see here for the table: