Fort Mutska 0104

More of a trading outpost than a redoubt, the wooden palisades of Fort Mutska peek furtively above the waterline on a hundred hectare island at the fork where the Zamok feeds into the Alavil River. Fort Mutsa is the headquarters for a frontier trade company headed by two Riverfolk gentlemen, Fishbone & Opivy. Fort Mutska’s defensible island and the reputed gregariousness of Riverfolk make it a popular location for adventurers and myriad other outcasts for both repose and rumor-mongering.

Riverfolk or otherwise, all of the furriers, trappers and scouts of the Mutska Fork Collective (MFC) are equal partners, with Fishbone and Opivy calling all committee meetings. The MFC maintains Fort Muska as a demilitarized neutral ground for all kinds and have sought to make their frontier outpost indispensable as a way of forestalling otherwise disreputable trappers from taking Riverfolk pelts.

Nate Marcel ,  Otter , 2019

Nate Marcel, Otter, 2019

Kak Dela? (1d6)

1) Fishbone and Opivy are getting married! The fort is full of drunken well-wishers, both crashers and the invited. If any of the PCs are friends of F&O they are in the wedding party. Last-minute plans will be made as their invitations were lost in transit! F&O’s wedding guest gifts are generous and in some cases, miraculous. (If F&O are already married this result is an anniversary party or semi-regular romp).

2) Dozens of Alavil River-roaming traders have filled Fort Mutska to the brim. Rumors abound but are particularly prevalent and truthful with respect to 1) War 2) A rumored Peace 3) The Shadowlands 4) Faerie 5) A dungeon the PCs have delved. 6) A dungeon the PCs have not delved.

3) The faerie knight Laurel Snowthistle and their noble pig Blacksnout are present and are provisioning themselves for an expedition into The Gardens of Ynn. Laurel claims there’s a way through there to Faerie even for a Scáthsidhe like themselves. Fishbone is begging Laurel to stay or, failing that, to send scouts ahead to Ynn to help ensure their safe passage.

4) The “Crab-Men” upriver from here have declared some kind of holy war upon Fort Muska & it’s all anyone is talking about. Fishbone and Opivy are divided on whether to sue for peace, find allies against them or to send someone to take the fight to them. One of them would likely pay for any of these services.

5) A longship from Solneya and beyond has disgorged its wayfarers at Fort Mutska. The passengers are mostly 1) Utlanner mercenaries 2) Solneyan reinforcements bound for the Bone Campaign 3) The Vadim Caravan, trying their hand at river trade 4) A far-ranging Anadolan Empire [future link] expedition 5) war profiteers from Tolsk 6) Re-roll or other.

6) “The Three Brothers,” Lech, Chek & Rus, famed scouts and hunters, are at the fort. They are bored and are potentially available for hire. Lech is a uniquely unerring scout for all points north for many leagues, Chek similarly for the west & the youngest, Rus, for the locales east of here. Each are expensive but unusually willing to serve for less experienced adventurers.

Kyrgorod Keep - 0102

On a bluff overlooking an idle river, the ruined remnant of the Shadowland warlord who built this castle an age ago has been re-purposed by a company of Scáthsidhe (shadow fey) soldiers who call themselves the Raven Guard.

John Martin,  Moonlight - Chepstow Castle  (watercolour), 1815

John Martin, Moonlight - Chepstow Castle (watercolour), 1815

Kyrgorod Keep (Pop. 150) is badly dilapidated, most of its wooden interiors long since rotted away excepting the refurbished keep at the interior of the fortifications. Gaps in the crumbling battlements are filled perpetually by an undulant inky “smoke” which only the Scáthsidhe seem able to see through.

What’s Going On In Kyrgorod? (1d6)

1) The Shadowlands portal in the yard behind the keep has somehow changed and travel from here to there has become uncertain. The Raven Guard have tasked themselves as guardians to prevent umbral incursions but now find they are oft prevented from scouting those dark lands or joining their kin there.

2) 3d6+5 deserters from the Bone Campaign have drifted here from the camps at Ostrog. Captain Eithne (AE nyuh); Sca6, permits them to squat in the outer yard and has allowed some to escape punishment by emigrating to the Shadowlands - for a difficult fee or favor. Some have become desperate and are possibly for hire.

3) The faerie knight Laurel Snowthistle, and their noble pig Blacksnout have returned from the Shadowlands & have struck a great blow against Baron Krulak and his ghul regiments. Three nights of merry feasting by Cpt. Eithne (EN-yeh) and the Raven Guard are in progress.

4) The Vadim Caravan [future link] have ventured a detour from their usual circuit to provision the Scáthsidhe of Krygorod. The caravan leaders are in good spirits and have thrice their usual chance to have rare goods at hand. A re-roll is allowed for any fortunes told by their mediums.

5) Lt. Lohd Preben and 2d6+3 bear soldiers are quartering here until one of their 1d3+1 giant bee drones (stinger-less; produce memory honey) are recovered from injury. The billeting was agreed to and compensated, but there is a 1-in-3 chance of false pretense with Lieutenant Preben doing reconnaissance on behalf of another.

6) The Scáthsidhe tattoo artist Ciaran (KEE ur ahn) Nightshade is in camp. For a price, he can ink magical tattoos. Most are temporary, but he also knows The Final Sunset marking (Infravision but normal sight forever limited to 60’). Ciaran is prone to flattery.

Mimir's Head - 0101

A sylvan valley hides a shallow brook. Half-buried in the muck of the runnel lies the colossal form of Mimir’s Head.

Mimir’s Head nears nine feet ‘cross and weighs a thousand stone.

Odin left him ages past for some sin to atone.

His pallid skin and lolling tongue toll forgotten dread.

His haunted eyes weep anon and stain the waters red.

John Bauer,  Odin Speaks With Mimir’s Head For The Last Time  (illus.), 1911

John Bauer, Odin Speaks With Mimir’s Head For The Last Time (illus.), 1911

What’s on Mimir’s mind? (1d6)

“Stay awhile and listen.”

1) Gibbering madness. Mimir cast Contact Higher Plane and it went… poorly last time out. He’ll be himself in 1d6 weeks.

2) The 2d4 giant centipedes painfully feasting on his ever-regenerating flesh & the fey Branch Sisters not three leagues away who left them here to feed and grow plump with wisdom until they come to collect them. Or perhaps it was Baba Yaga who did this?

3) The faerie knight Laurel Snowthistle and their noble pig Blacksnout have not returned from the quest which Mimir bade them. Mimir senses they have run into trouble 1d6 chambers into a fell place 1d6 hexes from here in a random (1d6) direction.

4) The dreams of the dragon Vaithrax to which Mimir has unhappily become attuned. Mimir knows where Vaithrax is when the wurm sleeps and for how long they are likely to slumber. Mimir is vexed with bouts of useless greed until this bond is somehow broken.

5) The latest scheme of either a lich or Khoschei the Undying. Present company excluded, there are few who know of Mimir’s location. Mimir knows the hiding place of the lich’s/Koschei’s phylactery. If the latter, Khoschei’s goat Peony is nearby to ensure Khoschei knows when and whether this information is relayed, but it’s possible (2-in-6) Peony has wandered off for a bit.

6) Little to put into words for those whose lives are but a candle’s length. Mimir is thirsty for knowledge of the lands where he’s been abandoned & is predisposed (+ 2 reaction) towards those who might provide such.

Mimir cannot likely be slain nor moved, however much he might wish. He can cast Contact Higher Plane, Geas, and its reverse as a 14th level caster. If well-disposed, he might act as a sage with nine specialties including Ancient History, Dragons, & Northern Lands. Mimir knows the properties of most magical items created on this plane. If ill-disposed and/or poorly-treated, expect a Geas involving collecting some intelligence or artifact for him.

Inspiration for Mimir’s Head comes from John M. Stater’s NOD #6 (p35)

Seeds on the Borderlands

M Meredith Williams,  Lagertha  lithography, 1913

M Meredith Williams, Lagertha lithography, 1913

1. This season's viking was unfruitful. Some clans log the forests of the borderlands west of here, repairing the ships that will bring them home for harvest. Your jarl has allowed you to travel and seek opportunities at the keep during this interval. Led by the shieldmaiden Kadlin, a dozen of your rival clan Tjärnholm are rumored to be scouting the keep in advance of a final raid. (Ftr)

2. Among other intents, you're to retrieve from the keep's armorer a suit of silver-ornamented chain mail for your captain. Due to a logistical error the suit is not yet paid for. Return to your captain empty-handed or find a way to pay for the suit and be compensated later? Your cousin Dražen is assistant to the smith Nazer. Dražen is brave, but his pockets are as empty as his head. (Ftr)

3. A confidante has informed you the jewel merchant Tikhon is quartered in the keep and the caravan he waits for will be delayed for weeks. You also know he secrets gems in his belt. He is reputed as cautious and you'll not likely get close to him without jewels of your own to sell. He’ll drop his guard if he’s inspecting a large gem. How to find such a thing? (Thf)

4. Your sister Mira and her new husband have been captured by the Spinebreak hobgoblins. If that witless honey merchant hired adequate protection she wouldn't be in this fix. Doubtless father's magical dagger Dustbringer she made off with after the wedding is missing now as well. She's always been there for you. Maybe it's not too late to find her. (Thf)

5. An ascetic priest from your village, Brother Dalibor, came to this region years ago. Some say he was a heretic, others that he held great wisdom and knowledge but was a bit touched in the head. You've been tasked to find him and entreat him to return to the order or, failing that, to request from him the Ring of Martyrs which he took from the elders when he left. Assuming he's still alive, he may be difficult to track down. (Cl)

6. A priest of your order, your mentor, directed you to ask the keep curate Radovan about rumors of an amulet worn by the dead-who-walk, a ward which makes it more difficult to turn them. If you recover such an amulet, Radovan may be able to teach your order how to nullify its potency. (Cl)

7. You've come into the possession of a fantastical magical formula. For all the good that is likely to do; the ritual requires a pound of ground owl beak! It is bad luck to kill an owl and this ritual would required scores of owl beaks. Unless you are clever enough and can find some way forward from this dilemma... Maybe you'll find answers at the keep. (M-U)

8. When the Spinebreak hobgoblins ambushed a honey caravan some weeks ago the seer Naum, your mentor, was traveling with them. He must have been struck down before he could wield the wand of paralyzation you know he always carried.  It's unlikely they know of its properties and have made kindling of it by now. But perhaps not! (M-U)

9. Your uncle Beinost, a naturalist warrior, and his partner Almithara indicated their intention to collect blistercress from the red alder trees of the swamplands in this area. That was three years ago. Someone sent word that Almithara was seen at the keep recently. It may be she knows where he was last wandering. (Elf)  

10. The raids upon your people by the Bonesnap goblins and Spinebreak hobgoblins have increased. Your leaders are occupied with even larger problems, but you have heard there is no love lost between these goblins and the Skulltooth orc tribe said to garrison near here. Perhaps they can somehow be turned against these goblins - use one trouble to fight another. (Elf)

11. In years gone by, your clan earned its reputation by the heroes among them who slew giants. You are setting out to make your own mark. There is an ogre by the name of Irok dwelling in these lands who has worked as sellsword for the hobgoblins which have raided your people. He is no giant but his death would increase your name. (Dwarf)

12. You escaped the torture chamber of the Spinbreak hobgoblins just a couple months ago! Your wounds have healed and you know the location of their cave entrance in the ravine near here. You also have a fairly accurate memory of the location of that hated chamber relative to the cave entrance and have drawn a map. With your comrades-in-arms, you are intent on paying back your stripes with interest. (Dwarf)