Uncanny Marches snippets

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Before Bleakstone, I was working on the Uncanny Marches. I still love the name, so it may wind up as a region in Bleakstone.

Uncanny Marches master doc (Word doc)

Eldritch, Howling, Jade, Baleful, Pale, Pallid, Dread, Fell, Ashen, Undying, Deathless, Lurid, Cursed, Accursed, Decadent, Forsaken, Damned, Infernal, Bony, Outer, Southern, Shambling, Eerie, Uncanny

Uncanny: “The uncanny (Ger. Das Unheimliche - "the opposite of what is familiar") is a Freudian concept of an instance where something can be familiar, yet foreign at the same time, resulting in a feeling of it being uncomfortably strange or uncomfortably familiar.”

Conceits “Does this make sense?” is the wrong question; “Is this fun?” is the right question. The Fiend Folio is the only monster book. Monsters in modules can stay as-is, but they only exist in those areas.

Inspirations Jeff Rients’ “the Fiend Folio is the only monster book” idea Robert E. Howard’s Hyboria The map from TSR’s Divine Right boardgame

Gazetteer

About 1,380 square miles (counting every hex south of the Umber Mountains, not counting sea hexes), or roughly the size of Rhode Island.

Ath-Xoth—

Barony of Karath—

Duchy of Myros—

Rhu—

Zothmar—

Making the Sausage Created a forest map bounded by mountains in the north and sea in the other directions of Wizardawn to use as inspiration. Set Hexographer to Few Oceans, 20x22, and generated a random map. Filled in some pieces, removed the deserts, added mountains to the north, and made it a peninsula. Ran the random features generator for everything that sounded cool, tweaking as needed. Added rivers. Named it all with the Poetic Destinations, Castles, Wizard Towers, and Pulp Fantasy Nation generators on Abulafia, tweaking as needed.

Points of Interest

0003 Locust Head Manor

A poorly-constructed royal palace. The castle's 10-foot-thick walls, standing 40 feet tall, indicate its occupiers regularly saw heavy warfare. While the mighty walls and high turrets of the castle are alone enough to stagger a seige, its greatest defensive feature is a great round bastion with a still-functional onager. The main gatehouse portcullis is rusted shut in the up position, and the defenders have blockaded it and dispatched a large percent of their force along the high, crenallated gatehouse walls. Some of the key ditches are filled with an awful mixture of noxious poison and acid. This was the location where Viceroy Habakkuk Enway made his ill-fated last stand.

0006 Looming Fastness of Erathia the Mad

Erathia is primarily concerned with biological experimentation. The area around the tower is subject to Fortean weather phenomena. Generally constructed in Cluttered and disorganized style, the tower contains the following levels: Three Levels: the wizards private chambers and the library, plus Henchmen's quarters – rough quarters, some gold and silver, weapons, dice and cards. Protected by (Crude mechanical traps (roll 1d4 to determine the most common type found in the tower: 1 – pitfalls 2 – deadweights 3 – pots of boiling oil 4 – ) and (Complex mechanical traps (roll 1d4 to determine the most common type found in the tower: 1 – gaseous attacks 2 – tripwires that fire crossbows 3 – doors and chests trapped with poison needles 3 – descending spiked ceilings 4 – ). Also, Don't touch that because It's cursed! Oh no, you knocked that one thing over and Now we seem to be somewhere else. At least one room is/has Naked portrait of the wizard. Abortive Experiment: Half-ettercap, half-drider (spiderman). In the Dustbin: Pipe cleaners.

0211 Tower of the Stargazer

0216 Black Mouth Mine

0218 Magnificent Bastion of Rijj the Arcanist

Rijj is primarily concerned with Golem construction. The area around the tower is subject to spectral howling at all hours. Generally constructed in Gaudy; nouveau riche style, the tower contains the following levels: Two Levels: the wizards private chambers and the library. Protected by (Magical traps (roll 1d4 to determine the most common type found in the tower: 1 – trap releases monster from stasis 2 – fiery explosions 3 – curses 4 – petrification)) and (Hauntings (use the What Type of Haunting is Afoot Table)). Also, Don't touch that because It's cursed! Oh no, you knocked that one thing over and Now we seem to be somewhere else. At least one room is/has Wall covered in runes. Abortive Experiment: Shadow shedu. In the Dustbin: Gelatinous flesh.

0315 The Bloody Spear

Seat of the Baron of Karath. An obsolete keep with a 20' blackened iron fence to its front, tied into the surrounding cliffs and crags as a natural defense. It has a crenellated stonework wall standing 80 feet high.. The once-time garrison here, the Viscount's Own light crossbows, was immortalized in song for their heroic defense throughout the years.

0407 Cyclopean Tower of Sersus

Sersus is primarily concerned with planar travel. The area leading up to the tower is a perpetually skeletal forest. Generally constructed in Ascetic and monkish style, the tower contains the following levels: Four Levels: the wizards private chambers and the library, plus (Torture chambers – the rack, thumbscrews, the iron maiden, whips, manacles), and (Mutational experiment laboratory – vivsection equipment, animals in cages). Protected by (Enslaved humanoids (roll 1d12 to determine the main type of enslaved humanoids in service to the wizard: 1 – kobolds 2 – goblins 3 – orcs 4 – hobgoblins 5 – bugbears 6 – gnolls 7 – ogres 8 – trolls 9 – dwarves 10 – elves 11 – halflings 12 – lizardmen)) and (Charmed beasts roll (1d8 to determine the most common type: 1 – cadaver grub 2 – umber hulk 3 – basilisk 4 – medusa 5 – cockatrice 6 – manticore 7 – griffin 8 – otyugh 9 – lycanthrope 10 – )). Also, Don't touch that because It's going to explode! Oh no, you knocked that one thing over and Now it's eating through the floor. At least one room is/has Choked with furniture. Abortive Experiment: Shadow shedu. In the Dustbin: Empty hourglass.

0409 Dungeon

0411 Lair

0503 Bad Magic Source

0505 The Plague Pool

0515 Death Frost Doom

0604 Forsaken Sanctum of Thunder

0605 Radiation

0606 Fort

0614 Fort

0617 Monument

0804 Dungeon

0807 Anomalous Subsurface Environment

0821 Bad Magic Source

0907 Vault of Bones

0915 Cape Reckless

1003 Ruins

1005 Ruins

1010 Fungal Blight Giant mushrooms in a variety of lurid colors, ranging from a few inches tall to over 100’ tall.

1020 White Sanctuary of Ymett the Black

Ymett is primarily concerned with Apotheosis. The bodies of former interlopers hang from the trees. Generally constructed in Neo-classical style, the tower contains the following levels: Four Levels: the wizards private chambers and the library, plus (Trophy room – stolen goods, broken wands from wizardly duels, treasure on display), and (Observatory – telescope, astrological charts, hymns to those beyond the stars). Protected by (Complex mechanical traps (roll 1d4 to determine the most common type found in the tower: 1 – gaseous attacks 2 – tripwires that fire crossbows 3 – doors and chests trapped with poison needles 3 – descending spiked ceilings 4 – ) and (Necromantic servitors (roll 1d10 to determine the main type of necromantic servitors that follow the wizard's commands: 1-3 – skeletons 4-6 – zombies 7-8 – ghouls 9 – wights 10 – wraiths)). Also, Don't touch that because It's cursed! Oh no, you knocked that one thing over and Now we seem to be somewhere else. At least one room is/has Naked portrait of the wizard. Abortive Experiment: Half-owl, half-boar (owlboar). In the Dustbin: Multicolored prisms.

1102 Fort Scimitar

1107 Fort

1110 Temple

1111 Agamir’s Nail 200’ wooden watchtower with a catapult on top. Lower walls covered in treated hides. Small garrison of Myrosi troops.

1112 Bad Magic Source

1204 Brother Herne's Wall

Seat of the Duke of Myros. A mighty chateau. The castle keep is defended by 7 round towers, each with a ballista in various stages of functionality. The walls are lined with oil cauldrons and crenellated points for archers and crossbowmen. The outer wall is 13' thick and 50' high, and has a walkway for defenders and 7 postern gates. The gatehouse is flanked by towers and has a still-functioning turning bridge. Much of the castle was charred and burned in a forgotten war, and its still-standing stonework lends an unsettling eerieness.

1215 The Weeping Forge

1217 Temple

Seat of the Prince of Madness, ruler of Ath-Xoth.

1218 Dungeon

1304 Ruins

1316 Town

1318 Ruins

1418 Undying Pillar A cracked black monolith, apparently made from a single piece of stone of unknown type, that stands 700’ tall. The pillar is covered in graven runes: the names of the 10,000 lords of hell and their concubines, carved in a dead language.

1593 Ruins

1511 Temple

1516 Bad Magic Source

1518 Dungeon

1603 Lair

1605 Fort

1609 Dungeon

1615 Dungeon

1616 Lair

1702 Dungeon

1811 Radiation

1814 Tower of the Broken

Wizard here is primarily concerned with black masses. The area near the entrance is a forest of corpses impaled on wooden stakes. Generally constructed in Cthulhoid, tentacular style, the tower contains the following levels: Five Levels: the wizards private chambers and the library, plus (Henchmen's quarters – rough quarters, some gold and silver, weapons, dice and cards), (Extra-dimensional rooms – dimensional doors, portals, gifts from otherworldly beings), and (Scrying chambers – mirror pools, crystal balls, tarot cards, books on divination, entrails). Protected by (Misguiding illusions (roll 1d6 to determine type: 1 – illusory wall 2 – phantom sound 3 – illusory image 4 – illusory image that causes terror 5 – illusory image that causes horror 6 – illusory image with phantom sounds)) and (Enslaved humanoids (roll 1d12 to determine the main type of enslaved humanoids in service to the wizard: 1 – kobolds 2 – goblins 3 – orcs 4 – hobgoblins 5 – bugbears 6 – gnolls 7 – ogres 8 – trolls 9 – dwarves 10 – elves 11 – halflings 12 – lizardmen)). Also, Don't touch that because It's cursed! Oh no, you knocked that one thing over and Now it's eating through the floor. At least one room is/has Wall covered in runes. Abortive Experiment: Hybrid medusa/gorgon. In the Dustbin: Insect husks.

Another UM fragment (Word doc)

Uncanny Marches

Zothmar—Old, vast empire that swallowed the former kingdoms of Karath and Myros. As long as Ath-Xoth doesn’t grow, they ignore the marches.

Duchy of Karath—Think coastal England crossed with Germany: mist-shrouded hills, haunted, overgrown woods, and a cold sea. Two towns. Forts and castles are manor-like, protecting villages that support them.

Barony of Myros—Formerly a kingdom, Myros was devastated by whatever terrible event formed the Boiling Plains and created Ath-Xoth out of Myrish territory. Well-defended by its many forts. Think Eastern Europe.

Ath-Xoth—A blasted land of devil-worshipping sorcerers and the things they call up.