The outlying areas of Scalecrown are a set of unique and diverse points of interest. Are you looking for some interesting stops along the road? This article is just what you need.
Scalecrown, like most nations, is more than just its capital. In this article, we cover some of the points of interest in its outlying areas, from the Grim Swamp in the west to the dwarven fortress of Hig Loduhr in the east. The people of these places are technically all subjects of Scalecrown, though the influence of Brezarth’s government gets less and less prominent the further you get from Handclasp.
The Grim Swamp
The Grim Swamp is the home of a local goblin tribe, who live in stilted multi-level buildings. The goblins have green skin and their forearms are covered in hard, crocodile-like scales. The goblins use crude rafts to move around the swamp.
Towards the western end of Scalecrown, the River Oka widens out into a patch of swampland known as the Grim Swamp. This place is filled with thick, broad-leafed trees that shade most of the area. To most, this place is dark, dreary, and uncomfortably humid, but to one tribe of goblins, this place is home.
The Grim Goblins, named for the swamp and not necessarily their demeanor, live here. Their stilted wooden huts keep their living spaces well above the water, and their crude rafts let them move around the swamp with relative ease.
Near the center of the swamp, where water bubbles out of a deep hole in the ground, there is a complex of stilted goblin structures connected by bridges. Most of the buildings are two storeys, with a working area on the main floor and a residence above. This complex is known as Dank Pit, and that name is no more appealing in the goblin tongue.
Dank Pit is centered on a three-storey building which stands above a fenced-off area of this swamp. This fenced-off area is the gator farm, where the goblins keep a small population of captive gators as livestock. Above this is the cookhouse, where the local goblins cook and eat. Goblin cuisine is neither complicated nor elegant, and almost every meal served here is gator meat with a side of whatever could be foraged from the swamp. Click here for some free and customizable alligator tokens.
At the base of the cookhouse, there is a platform for docking rafts, with a ladder that goes up to the cookhouse itself. The danger posed by putting the dock right beside the gator pen has, seemingly, never occurred to the local goblins.
The goblins of this region begin their life as eggs, which are put into the swamp water. Once they hatch, they look like large tadpoles and are referred to as “goblings.” As they grow, they climb onto land, shed their tails, and are then raised communally.
Ven-Ven, goblin hunter. Ven-Ven is a dark green goblin with wide, pointed ears. He roams the swamp on his raft, armed with a bow and a knife. He’s quite talkative while he’s in town, though he’s not good at conversation. He generally just rambles on about methods for killing crocodiles and what you can do with their corpses. He does not have many friends and as such may be willing to engage with outsiders.
Zrollot, goblin logger. Zrollot is a muscular goblin who spends his days searching the swamp for fallen trees, which he then hauls back to town by lashing them together with a rope and pulling them through the water. He has a pair of small tusks sticking out of his jaw. He will avoid outsiders, leaving his cargo behind if necessary.
Dragnex & Slagnex, twin goblin traders. Dragnex & Slagnex are a pair of red-eyed, green-skinned goblins who haul goods across the swamp, generally from the goblin town to where the swamp comes close to Larnwick. They’re friendly to outsiders, because outsiders have coin. Slagnex is missing more teeth than Dragnex. This is the only way to tell them apart.
Inzig, goblin crafter. Inzig is a pale green goblin who, unusually, has a bushy red beard. He makes most of the leather goods in the goblin town, which makes him an expert on working with crocodile hide. Like most goblins, he is suspicious of outsiders but willing to take their money.
Kraz, goblin priest. Kraz is a surprisingly tall, wiry goblin who believes himself to be the vessel of the swamp’s guardian spirit. He wanders the swamp, putting charms and runes on the trees to protect them from outsiders, plagues, and large rocks falling from the sky. To his credit, the last one hasn’t happened in a very long time. His main mode of interaction with outsiders is screaming at them from a distance.
Ked, goblin crechemaster. Ked is a thin goblin with a jar-shaped head. He maintains the creche, a small hut where young goblins are raised. Ked spends most of his day surrounded by young goblins and has a bad habit of talking to other people as if they were also children.
Scalecrown Occultic University
North of Handclasp is the Scalecrown Occultic University, a restored stone building occupied by various mages. In eons past, it was a castle that was home to the Perron noble family. Most of the pennants and insignia of the Perrons have been destroyed, but a statue of Lord Shaw Perron stands in the courtyard.
The library accumulated by the Perron family has been augmented by the mages that now rule the castle, meaning it is fairly substantial. Most of its stock is dedicated to either magical theory or economics. The economics books are very dusty compared to the magic texts, since mages have little need for such knowledge. There are smaller sections for various other noble-beloved subjects like military tactics and archives of heraldic symbols. These are also quite dusty.
Of note is Rodents of Our Realm, a book which has been hollowed out. The space inside it contains a brass key and a map of the nearby area with the crest of the Perron family stamped on the side of a valley several kilometers from the Occultic University. This is the location of the Perron family’s tomb and vault.
The wizards of the University are not generally seen as a threat to Brezarth’s rule of Scalecrown. Wizards are insular and prone to both petty feuds and occasional feverish grandiosity, meaning their ambitions either do not encompass much more than the University itself, or they are so grandiose and out of touch with their actual capabilities that they are no threat regardless.
Each magic-user, upon joining the university, takes on a suitably cryptic-sounding name that they will use for the rest of their lives. Why be remembered as Joe Muckraker when you could be Alzabak, after all?
It is perfectly possible for any interested person to visit the university if they are undertaking some form of research, have a cursed item they would like dealt with, and so on. However, camping within a kilometer of the university is not recommended, lest you be struck by a stray fireball or toad.
Amonar, human wizard. Amonar is a dark-skinned man who wears red robes. He carries a wooden staff topped by a large, clear gem held in place by tendrils of wood. He specializes in magic that manipulates nature. He is one of the more personable wizards, though he will often ask deeply personal questions of any non-human.
Vrobarin, human wizard. Vrobarin is a scholar who has dedicated his life to the history of magic. He is an expert at identifying spells and artifacts. He mumbles constantly, such that it is very hard to tell when he’s talking to you instead of himself, and even then it can be a struggle to figure out what he’s saying.
“Froggy” Evibus, former human. Evibus was once a wizard of the university, unfortunately, an ill-fated attempt at surpassing the limits of the human form instead turned him into some kind of toad. Now he hops around the campus, eating flies. On the bright side, he does appear not to age anymore. Some say he’s over two hundred years old.
The Perron Family Crypt
Near the northern edge of Scalecrown, there is a set of square ruins at the roadside. Travelers sometimes rest here for lunch, but beyond that, none pay it any mind. But among these ruins is a staircase down into the earth, which leads to a locked iron gate, whose key is in a book at the Scalecrown Occultic University. Behind this gate is the crypt of the Perron Family, where they stored both the ashes of their dead and their treasures.
The crypt consists of four major chambers. The main chamber is a three-tiered room with several alcoves along its sides. Each alcove contains a stone coffin filled with ashes. In the center of this chamber is the treasure room, where piles of gold coins sit on a raised dais.
In the northeast corner of the main chamber, a small alcove holds a longsword on a plinth. The weapon would need substantial repairs to be of use, but if any living descendants of the Perrons still live, they would surely appreciate having it. The sword sits on top of a red tabard with a beaver on the chest, the heraldic symbol of the Perron family.
An attempt to expand the tomb broke into a cavern filled with fungal spores. Over the course of several funerals, the entire noble family was infected. The wall between the fungal cave and the tomb has since collapsed in two places, allowing the orange, glowing fungus to germinate and spread.
Anyone who spends more than 10 minutes in the tomb without some form of face covering must make a DC 15 Constitution save or suffer disadvantage on Strength and Constitution checks for 1d3 days as fever wracks their bodies. The effects get worse with every visit to the tomb, resulting in death after five visits within a single year.
Deep in the Western Mountains, there is a place known as Loduhr Pass. This mountain valley, between the twin peaks of Mount Loduhr, provides a relatively easy crossing through the center of the mountain range. One of only a few places where the range can be crossed, many travelers pass through here. One of these groups of travelers was a trio of dwarves, seeking the perfect new home. As they crossed the Great Divide through Loduhr Pass, a voice spoke to them, asking them to stay and make this place home. The dwarves obeyed and by winter, they had dug into the side of Mount Loduhr and, with drops of their blood spilled at the threshold, Hig Loduhr was born.
The Loduhr Valley sits high in the mountain range, between the twin peaks of Mount Loduhr. During the summer, it is a few hundred meters below the snow line. A small lake has formed in the center of the valley, and streams flow out from both sides of the valley, each headed for a different ocean.
Several stone structures dot the pass, providing a safe shelter for travelers, regardless of the weather.
Beyond Hig Loduhr’s main entrance is, first, the entrance to the barracks. Dwarves serving their time in the guard live and train here, close to the place they are most likely to be needed. Beyond that is the Mason’s Hall, a wide carved-out full of tools and workstations for every kind of craft known to man or dwarf. At the far end of the Mason’s Hall are the stairways further down into the mountain. Down these stairs are floors of dwarven lodgings. At the center of each is a common area with seating and cooking areas. When not working, most dwarves spend their time in these areas. Ingenious dwarven mechanisms above the cookstoves siphon out the smoke, sending it out the top of the mountain far above.
On the eastern side of the Mason’s Hall, there is a brewery and a tavern. During most seasons, dwarves and non-dwarves alike can be found here, eating, drinking, and making merry. The spirit of choice here is a sharp, potato-derived spirit that you and I would recognize as vodka. Traditionally, they dilute it with water when drinking socially, but it is not uncommon to see dwarves challenging each other— or travelers of the other species— to tests of constitution, seeing who can drink more of the undiluted spirit. There are, really, no winners in these contests.
Galgron Cavesunder, excavator. Galgron is a hardy dwarf with dark skin and a red beard. He leads the fortress’ underground expansion projects, whether that means carving out new areas from the rock or turning underworld caves into livable areas.
Keylud Silvermace, weaponsmith. Keylud is a black-skinned dwarf with stark white hair. He is nearly deaf as a result of having spent most of his life working in the forges, and as a result, he tends to shout every word even when he believes he’s whispering. He is a talented weaponsmith and his masterwork, the Silver Mace from which he got his name, is displayed proudly in the barracks.
Zangor, nomadic scholar. Zangor is a traveling dwarf with a wagon full of books and scrolls, searching for the hidden truths of the world however he can find them. His beast of burden is a cube with two wheels at its base. This is a clockwork construct that tows the wagon. He is originally from Hig Loduhr, and returns regularly.
Basrug Wolfslayer, shieldguard. Basrug is a pale-skinned dwarf with bulging biceps and short red hair. He guards the main entrance to Hig Loduhr with a shield in one hand and a spear in the other. As much as he tried to be professionally indifferent to outsiders, he’s very curious about the world beyond the mountains.
Fosrir Blackbraid, cleric. Fosrir is the spiritual head of Hig Loduhr, responsible for interpreting the will of Yeus, the spirit of the mountain, and bringing new life into the fortress as needed. He is one of the few craftsmen who doesn’t work in the main hall or the forges. Instead, he carves the stones that will one day be dwarves in his quarters, because the methods used to create life must be kept secret.
Buzgon Frosthand, acolyte. Buzgon is a pale-skinned dwarf with ice-cold skin. He is studying under Fosrir to be a shaman. He used to work in the tavern, employing his strangely cold skin to make drinks cold as needed, until his talent for stone-carving was noticed by Fosrir.
Thanks for reading! I hope these locations have proved interesting to you. They should all be usable even outside the broader context of Scalecrown, so feel free to take whatever parts you like!
Hopefully in the near future you’ll see a part three, covering points of interest in the west and south of Scalecrown. Let me know in the comments if you’re interested in an article like that.
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