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The Hutaakan Valley HWRby Mischa Gelman, Andrew Theisen, Matthew Wang and Håvard
Geography (maps of Dogvale, Northern Gnollheim Hills and Xyqata are available)
Nestled between the World Spine Mountains and the Jaws of Ranivorus, the Valley of the Hutaaka is largely isolated from the rest of the Hollow World. Aside from the treacherous mountain passes, the only easy access to the region (sometimes known as the Valley of Dogs to outsiders) is via Lake Menkor. As the lake's only sailors are the occasional Nithian fishermen, visitors to the valley are rare. This, of course, is exactly how the inhabitants of the valley like it.
Though the valley is named after their race, the hutaakans inhabit only a small portion of it. Early expeditions led to some development in various areas, but these sites were abandoned when Xyqata was formed as the central hub of Hutaakan civilisation. The Hutaakans now make their home on the hilly peninsula that extends into Lake Menkor. The largest concentration of hutaakans is in the capital city of Xyqata (pop. 20,000).
A small settlement lies along the shores of the Bay of Ronkat, in a village known colloquially as "Lower Xyqata" (pop. 500). It is here that the hutaakan fishermen ply their trade, and where merchants travel south to Nithia. The hutaakans maintain an ambassadorial building in this village, where they greet and house foreign diplomats journeying to their valley. It is almost unheard of for any non-hutaakan to ever be allowed entrance to the city of Xyqata proper, with clerics of Pflarr often serving as exceptions to this rule.
The pastures between Lower Xyqata and Xyqata are taken up by numerous farms and manors. Here, hutaakan workers till the land and raise their cattle. Several mines are worked by the hutaaka, yielding precious minerals and the metals that are used in the fabrication of their tools and weaponry. Hidden in the hills south of Xyqata is the Tower of Bytaxa (pop. 50). Here, specialty priests of Pflarr carry out their most sacred and secret rituals, and perform experiments to further their understanding of magic.
To the north of the peninsula lay the lands of the allied lupin tribes. The lupins that inhabit these forests and hills are direct descendants of the original hutaakan transplants to the Hollow World. Their bloodlines are more pure and closely linked to the hutaakans than those of the lupins elsewhere in the valley. (DM Note: If using the lupin rules from Dragon Magazine #237, treat these northern lupins as if from the Nithian Rambler breed).
Nearly as civilised as their hutaakan cousins, the northern lupins live in small settlements of 5-40 lupins (5d8). Though capable of forging metal weapons and armour like the hutaaka, they generally do not have access to the proper raw materials, and instead tend to use bone, stone, and wooden tools and implements. They maintain a semi-nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle, migrating between two or three small campsites seasonally. In the past, they have occasionally come into conflict with the hutaakans, but it is rare that more than one or two tribes band together, and the hutaakans rout them with little trouble.
There are a few permanent settlements in these lands, however. Hutaakan priests, bringing the word of Pflarr to their "lesser" kin, built several mission houses in the lupin lands. Gradually, families of lupins built houses and farms around these missions, becoming increasingly like the hutaakans in many ways. The hutaakans carry on trade with these settlements, as do the nomadic lupin tribes. More recently, the hutaakans have begun to teach the lupins to work more effectively as a military force, that they might assist with the gnollish threat. Given the lack of a military tradition among the hutaakans, such teachings are of limited use and more patronising than practical.
Tykal (pop. 750) is the oldest of the mission house settlements. A coal mine was recently discovered in the hills near this village, which has raised its significance in the eyes of many. Some more militant hutaakans are lobbying for increased fortification and settlement in and around this village.
Qatak (pop. 301) and Hraxyt (pop. 424) were founded within two years of one another, during a period of fervent religious ambition. The northern lupin tribes were seen as increasingly belligerent, and that the word of Pflarr was needed to bring them in line. Today, the mission house at Qatak maintains only two hutaakan priests at any time. It is considered a mark of shame to be assigned to the mission here. The village of Hraxyt, by contrast, has boomed into a trading village, shipping goods between the capital and the tribes of the north. The gnoll threat to the west has only increased the significance of this settlement, which provides many necessary supplies to the village of Roqat (pop. 132). Founded in 996 AC, Roqat was meant to be the first line of defence against any gnollish attack from the western hills. It is still a small frontier village, and the missionaries find the lupins difficult to work with (some argue that the distance from their hutaakan forebears has lessened their ties). Hutaakan priests and workers assigned to operate in this village are given extensive combat training.
Where the Tylaxu River empties into Lake Menkor is a place of low swamps. Muggy, wet, and treacherous, they are largely uninhabited, though a few lupin tribes call them home. These lupins are nomadic fishermen, and appear to have little regard for the ways of Pflarr, so the hutaakans ignore them. A mysterious obelisk rests in the centre of Menkat Swamp. It is some twenty five feet tall, every inch covered in mysterious runes that defy all attempts to decipher them. The swamp lupins often leave offerings around the obelisk, believing they will bring the favour of the Immortals.
The village of Kraqal (pop. 82) lies just south of the swamplands. Another recently founded mission (1002 AC), it faces many of the same problems as Roqat in the north. As the lupins south of the Tylaxu River are descended from lupin tribes transplanted from the outer world, and are not closely linked with the hutaakan bloodlines at all, it has been even more difficult to bring the Word of Pflarr to them, and to get them to change their nomadic ways.
As the lowlands begin to rise, they quickly turn into the steaming expanses of the Qlarri Jungle. Hundreds of tribes of lupins wander these jungles. Around 500 AC, as the lupin tribes of the Savage Coast began to adopt more sedentary lives, large groups of them were transplanted to the Valley of the Dogs that their original culture might be preserved.
They were placed here, in the jungles and hills south of the Tylaxu River, where they have gradually expanded to fill the region. [DM Note: If using the lupin rules from Dragon Magazine #237, these tribes are mostly of the Nomad breeds (Long-Runners and Borzoi), though there may be several types of other breeds here as well as new species). A few ruined structures stand in the central jungle. The ruins of Zkraq are an ancient hutaakan settlement that fell under mysterious circumstances several centuries ago.
Rumour varies as to precisely what happened, but some hutaakan scholars may be able to tell the true tale. The unnamed ruins to the south of Lake Duqak predate the hutaakan presence in the valley. They are made of an unknown silvery building material. The hills to the west of the lake are home to a tribe of manticores.
The southern lupin tribes often come into conflict with the valley's most recent transplants, the Gnollheim gnolls. As settlers from Vestland and Ostland began to civilise the southern hills of the Northern Reaches (in the outer world) and as the Nordhartar Defence League was established, the gnollish inhabitants were increasingly driven out of their former habitats. In response to this threat, as well as to further his own ambitions within the Hollow World, Ranivorus transferred several clans of gnolls to the hilly regions of the Valley of the Dogs in 988 AC. This also allowed him to more easily extract revenge against his long-time enemy, Pflarr. As the gnolls were placed within striking distance of both Nithian and Hutaakan lands, Ranivorus had followers near both lands favoured by his rival. They proceeded to expand their territory in the unclaimed (and inhospitable) hills, avoiding only the treacherous craggy valley of the Wulven. They live in clans of 20-60 individuals (3d20), of which almost a third are warriors. They are mostly nomadic, though the largest clans have founded semi-permanent encampments in which they live for several seasons of the year (marked by the camp icons on the maps.) They live primarily as shepherds, though they occasionally raid other clans and the lupins. They are fond of slave labour. They are unable to work iron, though they do possess some iron weapons and armour (stolen or traded for, or remnants of their Outer World stay). Mostly they wear primitive leather and hides, and use crude stone and wooden tools.
The gnolls' arrival was largely unheralded by the hutaakans, at least until a few short years ago. At that time, several of the southern gnollish clans began to ally themselves in an unprecedented manner. They constructed a large fort in the shadow of the Jaws of Ranivorus, and began seriously raiding the lupins of the southern jungles. At least one raid reached the village of Kraqal before being the raiding party turned back to their base. The hutaakans are very concerned with this new threat, not the least due to the fact that they seem to be very well armed and organized- evidence (such as the make of the gnolls' weapons) points to Nithian influence, but the hutaakans are not as yet sure what interest Nithians might have in the valley.
The lupins and hutaakans are not the gnolls' only targets- they have been pressuring the western and northern gnollish clans to join their alliance. The southern gnolls (who are, in fact, being aided by human priests of Ranivorus working from a secluded valley in the mountains) foresee a day when they will rule the entire valley; the northern and western gnolls despise their cousins for their weakness in allying with humans. Nevertheless, the better armed gnollish alliance seems to be gaining support.
All of the inhabitants of the valley shun the valley of the Wulven. It is a broken, barren land, where old and weak thunder lizards go to die. Bodies of the creatures litter the valley, providing food and shelter to the valley's only other denizens, the Wulven. These brutish, vicious creatures are terrible enemies, but fortunately they rarely leave their homes. For more information on the cause of this situation, see dresh.html
As explained in the Hollow World boxed set, the hutaakans are a meritocracy, with the genders being equally divided between the different societal roles. Both parents are expected to help raise the young, and grandparents (and great-grandparents, if living and able) also lend a hand. Priests are also accepted as unofficial members of each family - they have the ability to give a child an order and overrule the pup's parents. This is rare, but not an unknown occurrence.
Hutaakans may marry for life, but multiple marriages and divorces are very common. This is often a cause for internal conflict, with the priests stepping in to mediate, but is an accepted fact of life and divorcees will often still remain friends. Marriage is done for reasons of convenience, romance, lust, companionship, all kinds of reasons - and can end for even more reasons. The process of both marriage and divorce is a fairly simple affair, with the clerics presiding. It is not comparable to most human marriage ceremonies, which are grand affairs oftentimes, or lengthy divorces fraught with tension and dispute.
The elderly are to be granted respect, for their contributions to society and for all the knowledge they have gotten. Dementia is not unknown among the hutaakans, and physical disabilities are fairly common in old age for this fragile species. Those who are so inflicted are cared for by family and church, but they lose the respect granted to other hutaakan elders who are able to carry out all their activities of daily living. It is commonly accepted that Pflarr will claim a life when its time is up, but the process is not be rushed in any way. Death while fighting for some heroic ideal, the goal of Antalians or Children of the Tiger, is utterly a foreign concept to the hutaakans, with one exception - they will fight ruthlessly to preserve a relic or temple of Pflarr. Hutaakans are both cremated and buried - neither method is favoured. Mimicking the Nithian culture their creator was familiar with, some are mummified - usually this honour is reserved for priests.
Hutaakans live to about 85 at the oldest, with aging similar to humans - childhood lasts till around age 10 or 11, hutaakans begin their trade of choice, get married and start other adult paths around age 20 and are seen as elderly by approximately ages 60-65.
Justice is conducted by all three strata of society. Any hutaakan accused of a criminal deed is bought before a tribunal for judgement. The tribunal consists of 3 labourers (picked in a manner eerily similar to American jury duty selection), one functionary who must have at least a skill of 10 in Codes of Law and Justice and one shaman (preferably at least level 3). The functionary does the questioning of all parties involved and any witnesses to the scene, then the tribunal conducts a brief prayer session. After this, the tribunal consults for a brief period, then they issue the judgement. Punishments are not set according to the crime, but rather vary a good deal, depending on the judgement issued at the trial. One exception is that any cleric convicted of a serious crime (as judged by the tribunal) is exiled from the land and has their powers removed by Pflarr. There are no police as such, though all Hutaakans may be called upon to catch a law-breaker. On a related note, any Hutaakans in the area are called upon to deal with fires and other disasters - no individuals are trained specifically in those regards or deal exclusively with those situations.
The clerics of Pflarr are responsible for all health care. Level 1 shamans function as orderlies, level 2 or 3 shamans tend to minor or moderate injuries and level 4 or higher shamans deal with the serious cases. Obviously, the same level of care cannot be provided in times of a national disaster or warfare, but this is the ideal level hoped for. There are no charges for service, as this is one of the deeds demanded of any priest or priestess of Pflarr. There are also thankfully no middlemen in the form of insurance companies or HMOs to bitch about, making the situation much less stressful than in the United States in the year 2000 CE. The lack of access to the strongest healing magics due to level limitations is not a serious concern, as Hutaakans have so few HP that a cure serious wounds is far more powerful than it is among neighbouring nations.
The Hutaakan population has remained fairly low, despite the lack of conflict, due to a very low birth rate. Being magical creations rather than natural beings originally, their blood is weaker than that of many races, and as such they tend to have few children and a fair number of mutations. They also tend to only give birth once in a lifetime, though generally to a litter of two. This mutation trend led in the Outer World to the arrival of the lupin, and a similar process has taken place in the Hollow World, which has slowed but not extinguished the trend - the original race must be preserved, but its tendency to mutate must be preserved too. Lupin are seen as descending from those with the weakest blood, while priests are often seen as having strong levels of hutaakan blood, as they are closest to Pflarr and thus to Pflarr's original creation and intent. Those who are not purebred are often exiled outside the valley.
The hutaakans are not violent beings, but will fight if backed into a corner or if there is no alternative. All receive basic training in some weapon, but few achieve even a "skilled" level of weapon proficiency in one weapon. Should they face a major aggressor, they are likely to fall back on hit-and-run tactics rather than direct confrontation. There is no military arrangement in place, though a crude semblance could be pieced together, given the bureaucratic and orderly nature of hutaakan society.
This is partially a factor of their inherent cultural tendency against warfare, while also being a factor of their environment, as there are no threats, nor have there been any major ones in their years in the Hollow World. Should an invader attack their lands, they could well be at the mercy of any numerous or powerful foe. Many hutaakans are trained in the basics of weapon usage (the equivalent of basic proficiency in one weapon) but it is not a universal practice and few develop their skills beyond this stage. The foot-pad lizards could be used as mounts for a cavalry unit, should a military be developed, but few are trained for battle - while the lizards are aggressive, it would go against the stability of the Hollow World cultures for them to develop large forces on lizard-back. A few adventurous souls, especially those who visit among the Krugel or Jennites, may imitate those nations though. Hutaakans also lack a worship of adventurous types, which leads few to exit the valley and develop their combat skills. Few natural pests roam their land and there are no major enemies among the nations of the Hollow World - little internal conflict adds to the inexperience of melee fighting among most Hutaakans. The new gnollish threat does present some concern, but so far no efforts have been mount to contain it - it just isn't Hutaakan nature. Unless some adventurers arise to quench the threat, it may threaten their civilisation.
The social hierarchy is outlined pretty plainly in the Hollow World sourcebooks and most Hutaakans readily accept this system. Some of those at the bottom of the totem pole, though, have raised their voices against this class system. This group has also been highly critical of the religious basis for Hutaakan society - they wonder why Pflarr asks so much of them, and gives so little in return. Instead, they favour a quasi-atheistic approach, realising the power of the immortals but refusing to worship them. Membership in this organisation is growing, and some officials are considering banning such a seditious group. The organisers behind the workers play on the instinctive haughtiness of the Hutaakans to demand that they get more power - why must they do all the hard work and get little of the comforts? The possibility of armed conflict may even arise, though it has not yet. PCs may wind up on either side of things, or in the middle, trying to mediate and organise a peaceful end before the argument gets blown out of proportion.
Hutaakans do not think too highly of fashion for the sake of fashion, favouring pragmatic clothing. Still, the Hutaakans do like eye-catching wears; trends in designs are non-existent, especially in the Hollow World. Brightness of colour is the primary thing sought after in clothing. Dyes are accumulated from numerous sources, especially from some fish in the Tylaxu River which no longer exist in the outer world. Very fancy dyes often come from extremely rare plants or monsters - tracking them down will win a PC a great reward from a tailor.
The Hutaakan culture accepts art as a key part of life. Much artwork is dedicated to Pflarr, in order to further the glory of their creator. Architecture is an art mix of various cultural influences - Roman-style arches and fountains co-exist alongside domed structures, even a rare Nithian pyramid alongside fairly common Traldaran stone houses and statues. Nithian mud-houses exist in the countryside in addition to the Traldaran buildings. Finally, hieroglyphics are not just writing, but rather yet another indication of artistic talent. Priestly documents often have such hieroglyphics, making them more recognisable to the eyes of those who cannot read the Nithian/Hutaakan languages.
The only real relations are with the Nithians, who are viewed as inferiors, though at least well-meaning, unlike other humans and non-humans, whose motives may be impugned. At the same time, the Nithians greatly respect the Hutaakans, which further encourages the arrogance and ethnocentrism that they display in their relations with others.
The hutaakan diet shows, like much of their culture, some of their Nithian roots. The foods listed on pg 44 and 45 of the Nithian HWR compose the menu from which the hutaakans select their eats, with few variations. Cooking is not a skill they have advanced very far with, and as such, there is no distinctive hutaakan cuisine.
The hutaakans do not look on pleasure like most other cultures. To them, learning and serving Pflarr are the sole sources of joy, and there are as a result few to no 'leisure' activities for them to bide their time. They view the presence of such elements in other cultures as a waste of precious life, using it on trivial elements than what's important in the world.
The Hutaakans do not use any calendar. Instead, the priests announce when a festival has arrived - it is entrusted that they know the correct times and dates for such occurrences. The most common event is a monthly celebration, which at one time marked the half moon, as this was the lunar stage when the Hutaakans were created by Pflarr. This original reason has been forgotten over time (especially since Hutaakans would now have trouble conceiving of what a half-moon is) and the occasion has become a highly transcendental one, where one is supposed to reach their maximal spiritual plane. It is a highly individual affair, with each Hutaakan supposed to find this point on their own. Meditation, prayer and other isolated activities are the key here.
The date of arrival in the Hollow World is now (falsely) recalled as the day of creation and is the major event of each circle. At this time, too, tribute is paid to Pflarr for placing a higher form of life into a world dominated by savage humans. All Hutaakans must gather at their local temple, to hear the retelling of this time from the local priests.
The Hutaakans also have a harvest festival, which is one of the rare moments where religion does not predominate Hutaakan life. Thanks is given to Pflarr for the foods, but it is generally a time to celebrate in a manner most un-transcendental and worldly - eat, drink and be merry seems to be the philosophy at these festivals.
Given the central location of most Hutaakans, the lack of other cities and the common view of the race, there is little internal strife. That conflict which does exist in the nation is between the gnolls, lupins and the hutaakans and rarely among the hutaakans themselves. The rising "class warfare" mentality may result in quite a break from domestic tranquillity, though.
The worship of Pflarr is the central aspect of the life of almost every Hutaakan. Combined with their fervent devotion to the being who gave them existence and allows them to survive to the present day is the organisation-loving aspect of their culture, wherein structure is a central element. This blend allows for one of the most theocratic cultures of the Mystaran world, moreso even than the Ylari or Azcans. It is of much help obviously that unlike the Azcans, they do not use force in the name of their deity but rather centre around books, learning and mysticism for a more truly theistic society. In fact, the temples are the centre of all Hutaakan learning and education. Following in the pawsteps of Pflarr, they strongly advocate for increased knowledge. Spending time in the temples for study is a pursuit of most Hutaakans, and the temples house a good deal of knowledge, both religious and (though a good deal rarer among the Hutaakans) secular. The great temple is one of the largest libraries of Mystara and certainly of the Hollow World. Quite a number of texts on magical theory are present and Lighthouse scholars often drop by, though visiting magi are rare, as they do not expect to find such gems of knowledge among non-human temples (which the wizards often deride as pagan ritual and superstition devoid of substance). In addition to the visiting Lighthouse scholars, many Hutaakans go to the Lighthouse, and their representation per capita there is among the highest of all the Hollow World denizens.
The Hutaakans are not divided into separate clans.
Since religion is at the heart of the Hutaakan world, so too is the temple at the heart of the Hutaakan culture. All organisation is done around the priesthood - the temple was at the centre of their Lost Valley homeland, and is again central in their new residence in the Hollow World.
The high priest of Pflarr runs the country. The next in rank are the other 8th level shamans, in order of seniority and ability, and downward from there. The few outlying areas where Hutaakans reside are also run by priests, who get their orders from the central temple (messages are delivered by foot-pad lizard riders, who unlike most Hutaakans generally are skilled with a weapon, as they are on the rode alone. Being a courier is a glamorous [if tough] role for the labourers among the Hutaakans, putting them on par with the middle-range functionaries). The high priest(ess) has practically total control over the whole nation, but so far the track record has been one of shamans equally committed to the people, truly acting in the best interests of Pflarr and the denizens of the valley, rather than for their own honour and self-interest.
There are specialty shamans to Pflarr among the Hutaakans, even more devoted than most (in other words, every waking moment is meant to consecrate the service of Pflarr). They get the abilities listed in HWR2, pg 14-15, namely magic-user spells, the read magic ability, the Javelin of Pflarr [which reaches d10+1 at level 8 and doesn't advance further], limited saving throws and responsibilities to protect and study magic, use magical defences and destroy gnolls. They are very closely bonded to their fellow Nithian specialty priests. Should either branch of the priesthood call on the other, they will travel to the other country and assist them in their battles. Currently, both groups may soon be using this authority, with the rising influence of the chaotic forces in Nithia and the gnoll arrival in the Hutaakan Valley. The specialty shamans of Pflarr have been at the forefront of pointing out the danger the gnolls present.
Another variant class among the Hutaakans are the Spellmasters. These are magi who devote their attentions to the special wishes of Pflarr - as a result they get some of the same benefits and hindrances of specialty shamans of Pflarr. Unlike Hutaakan wokani, who max out at 4th level, they can advance to 8th level. Also, unlike wokani, they have access to the full spell list of a Hollow World magic-user - and more, as the Spellmasters have devised some spells unknown among other cultures, or even Hutaakan wokani. Their specialty in understanding spell mechanics grants them a +3 to saves vs. spells. On the other hand, they suffer a -1 to hit points, leaving them with only d4-1 per level (before Constitution), making them very limited physically. They must spend 3 months of the year in research in the main temple of Xyqata. Like the specialty shamans, their saving throws do not advance with time. In addition, they are limited to the weaponry of a wokan (dagger, staff and sling only) and require twice as many XP per level as a regular Hutaakan - so 2400 for level two, 4800 for level three, 9600 for level four, etc.
Finally, they must take Magical Engineering in addition to Mysticism.
The Hutaakans place a good deal of emphasis on one's ability to work, and on one's competence at their occupation. There is little reward for a hard worker, though, as this is precisely what society expects of you - hence some workers feel unappreciated, leading to the sentiments that allow the critics of the current system to arise. Compensation is not tied evenly to the amount of work - most of the wealth goes to the priesthood, and a good bit of the remainder goes to the functionaries, leaving little for the workers, under an unbalanced distribution system. Few go so far as to question the culture, though, especially given the effects of the Hollow World - most are content to work hard without little credit. Also, some fields are given far greater respect than others - a priest will always be treated better than a functionary or a labourer, a functionary from the temple will generally be treated better than a functionary who works away from the city and a labourer who serves as a lizard rider/courier will be treated better than a ditch-digger. Equality is not part of the Hutaakan traditions. All work revolves around the worship of Pflarr and is seen as deriving its purpose from the immortal. Those who do not work hard or who question the social system which rewards some jobs more are thus often seen as opponents of the deity's desires, making them targets of suspicion - after all, why should one trust those who disrespect Pflarr?
A merchant, then, only gains admiration if he deals in goods that help honour Pflarr - so a seller of theological texts will be given greater respect than a baker. Middlemen are frowned upon, as they do little productive - as a result there is little bureaucracy in the economic sector, and a good number of small businessmen and women.
Adventurers similarly only gain honour by supporting the right causes - ridding the dinosaurs from an area to allow for a temple to Pflarr would bring a good deal of acclaim. Adventures into distant lands for the sole purpose of self-enrichment and power gain result merely in scorn, as they are seen as an utter waste of time.
We could go on, but hopefully you get the gist - respect is derived solely from how much you further the path of the Hutaakan creator, creating different social strata than in other cultures.
Proper behaviours and rituals are an essential element of Hutaakan society. When foreigners fail to proper through with the right action in a given circumstance, it leads to a strengthening of the Hutaakan conclusion that foreigners are ignorant and lesser beings. Many of the rules of manners are set forward by the codes of Pflarr, and others were instituted at various points of the Outer World existence of the Hutaakans. For instance, the proper blessings must be said before eating, in the proper position, with the proper intonation, by the proper individual...and of course the individual, the prayer (and manner of enunciating it) and position differ for different foods. DMs are free to create whatever mannerisms they wish (or none at all) to bring home the point that doing things the "right" way is important for Hutaakan citizens.
An example of the right etiquette: It is customary for neighbours to give a gift a week after the 23rd birthday. This gift must be hand-crafted and be small enough to fit in one hand. If the gift is intended for a male, it is brown in colour, and green in colour if for a female. It should be given with the left hand, and received with the right. This commemorates Pflarr's entrusting the land to the Hutaakans once they had shown enough maturity to watch after it.
The various Mystaran materials, as is often the case, contradict each other often. B10 and the creature catalogues mention infravision, and the Hollow World books do not. B10 and the Hollow World books mention a move silent ability, but the creature catalogues don't. The Hollow World books also allow progression only to level 8, while the creature catalogues allow level 11 for shamans. The Hollow World book even contradicts itself by listing different languages spoken by the Hutaakans, on separate pages.
The DM, as always, has the final say as to which canon source is, well, canon. If one wishes to allow level 9-11 shamans, it is suggested that a process similar to that of PC3 (pg. 38) is used - that is, seeking to advance beyond 8th level is rare and could cause harm for the shaman themselves. The PC2 rules can just as easily be substituted - XP losses, accompanied by a limited chance of advancement.
Throughout the HWR, the terms "Hutaakan" and "hutaakan" are used someone interchangeably. The two can be used differently, with the latter identifying the race and the former the nationality - we did not feel it was a major issue so freely alternated.
History: Kfitiqa was born 22 cycles ago in Xyqata itself. She was accepted into the ranks of the bureaucrats at age 19 and is still adjusting to independent life, which she finds a bit lonely; she has been unable to yet find a male Hutaakan who interests her enough to spend her life with. She is in the fairly stable position of scribe and may not advance much further in life, but she is satisfied with the job at the present time, as it helps serve Pflarr by saving the priests and priestesses the time to write.
Personality: Kfitiqa is a loyal servant of Pflarr, going about her work, but it doesn't thrill her. She is somewhat bored by her life, somewhat confused by it and just sometimes wishes Pflarr would help her by giving her a bit more to be thankful for. Such heretical thoughts don't cross her mind often, but they may increase with the cycles ahead. She doesn't deal well with change, though, preferring the same old-same old.
Appearance: Kfitiqa is of pretty plain appearance, which isn't helped by the drab functionary outfits. She is somewhat on the tall and thin side and considers herself gawky.
Combat Notes: She is a 1st-level Hutaakan. AC 8; hp 2; at 1; D 1-4 (dagger), save C1; ML 6; Al N; S 10, I 11, W 10, D 10, Co 10, Ch 8.
Languages: Hutaakan, Nithian, Neathar, Orc, Gnoll, Neutral. General Skills: Mysticism (W), Modern Hieroglyphics (I +1), one unspent skill slot.
DM Notes: There are all kinds of uses for even a simple functionary.
Perhaps Kfitiqa comes across a text which seems to prophesise the coming of the gnolls and that Hutaakan civilisation is doomed unless a certain quest is undertaken. Perhaps she gets so fed up with her work that she sets the library on fire. Perhaps she falls for a "Mr. Perfect" among the PCs, who she believes will solve all the problems of her boring existence.
Perhaps she is seen as Lighthouse material by a PC affiliated with that group, and asked to join. Perhaps a sister joins the priesthood, causing a jealous attack orchestrated by Kfitiqa. The possibilities are, as always, endless.
History: Jasiteq was born...well, no one really remembers. Pflarr knows it's been a good number of years! Even Jasiteq isn't quite sure how old he is. He never married and any relatives are long dead. He no longer does much of anything, though at one time he was fairly active in the priesthood. He still performs some priestly tasks and rituals, but mostly he is forgotten by all, as he spends his time in his tiny stone hovel.
Jasiteq travelled a good deal in his priestly duties when he was younger, even to Nithian lands, where he associated a fair amount with the specialty priests of Pflarr there, and gained knowledge about the chaotic priesthoods as well. He is very familiar with the monsters of the Nithian deserts, human and otherwise, and has a sharp memory, despite his years.
Personality: Jasiteq is resigned to his quiet life, after a long and fruitful existence. He is concerned about the recent presence of the gnolls, and sees the hand of Ranivorus and Thanatos at work. He has no one who would listen to him though, to gain his knowledge about those cults and their weaknesses.
Appearance: Jasiteq is old and wrinkled and his fur has greyed with age, which is unusual even among the elderly of Hutaaka. He is somewhat stooped over, but still of moderate height, and he has watched what muscle he had turn to fat. His eye-sight is not as strong as it once was, and he uses a cane to get about.
Combat: He is an 8th-level Hutaakan specialty shaman of Pflarr. AC 10 (DEX penalty); hp 15; at 1; D 1-6 - 2 (staff, strength penalty) or 1-10+1 (Javelin of Pflarr); save C1 (+2 vs. spells); ML 12; Al N; S 5, I 12, W 16, D 4, Co 8, Ch 9. Languages: Gnoll, Nithian, Neathar, Hutaaka, Orc, Neutral. General Skills: Honor Pflarr (W+2), Knowledge (Nithian theology) (I+1), Knowledge (Hutaakan theology) (I), Nature Lore (Desert) (I), Knowledge (Gnollish culture) (I). Spells: 3/3/2/1.
DM Notes: Jasiteq is obviously a great source of information, should the PCs manage to find that out. Perhaps they can travel to Nithia to try to discover the reason behind the gnollish menace, only to find out that they need travel back to the street they started from to get to the proper informant. Jasiteq is unlikely to adventure at his age, but will defend his home, should the violence reach it, and can lend advice.
Magic Items: Jasiteq still has some of the items acquired during his adventuring days, but does not carry them about with him. PC visitors to his home may come across several useful devices that could assist them in their goals, which Jasiteq is willing to give to those who prove their commitment to Pflarr.
Harek the Flayhand, chief of the Hoary Rock clan.
History: At 25 years of age, Harek is just about to enter into his middle years. Having spent most of his young adult life clawing and whipping his way to chieftainship, he'd like to be able to live out the rest of his days comfortably, having his clansmen do all his bidding.
Unfortunately, the recent arrival of the Nithian priests is interfering with his plans.
In Harek's view, the humans are outsiders, and have no business meddling with the ways of the gnollish clans, and he refuses to ally his clan with them. Harek personally flayed the previous shaman of the Hoary Rock clan to death when he attempted to convince his chieftain that cooperation with the Nithians was Ranivorus' will. As a result of Harek's stance, the Hoary Rock clan is at war with several other gnollish clans.
Fortunately for Harek, they are not alone.
Personality: Harek is a typical gnoll- territorial, aggressive, and domineering. He has overcome several personal difficulties to become the chieftain of his clan, and had begun to turn them around and become one of the more successful gnollish clans in the valley prior to the humans' arrival. He hates the Hutaaka and the Lupins of the valley, but he also despises the humans, and will refuse to cooperate with them unless his situation becomes totally untenable.
Appearance: Harek stands 7' 3 inches tall, and has a lean build. To his shame, he has never been able to grow the traditional gnollish mohawk; instead, a long strip of white fur runs down the middle of his head and along his back. He earned his nickname due to his tendency to whip anyone who comments on his misfortune.
Combat Notes: Gnoll 9. AC 6 (Dexterity bonus); hp 58; MV 90' (30'); #AT 1 whip or hand axe; D 1d2 (whip) or 1d6+2 (hand axe and strength bonus); Save F8; ML 8; AL C; S 16, I 10, W 9, D 11, Co 15, Ch 16. Languages: Gnollish (Gnollheim Dialect). Skills: Bravery (W), Intimidation (S), Snares (I), Storytelling (Ch), Leadership (Ch), Drinking (Co).
DM Notes: An encounter with Harek and his clan can be a very interesting one. Though Harek despises all outsiders, he may be convinced to spare the lives of anyone he captures if it is in his best interests.
He would also be a good gnoll to approach on a diplomatic level, perhaps by Hutaakan PCs seeking to gain allies against the Nithian priests and their gnollish minions in the valley. Be warned, though, that once their mutual interests are accomplished, Harek will turn on his new allies in a second.
History: Baqateq is 44 cycles old and has resided her entire life in Xyqata. She is a construction worker, and has been one her whole life, working to expand upon the city and repair damaged structures. She was married at age 22, divorced at 24, married at 28, divorced at 31, married at 36 and divorced at 40. She is the mother of one daughter, from her second marriage, who she spends her time tending to, when not at work.
Personality: Baqateq cannot understand the recent murmurs and complaints about the Hutaakan caste system, and is very happy where she is. She wishes she had a bit more luck in relationships, but 3 marriages is not rare among the Hutaakans, and she is still seeking out a good husband. She is a devoted mom, and a hard and devoted worker. She is easy to get along with, except when someone tries to push off some of that revolutionary propaganda on her.
Appearance: Baqateq is a tad on the short and chubby side by Hutaakan standards, and is starting to develop some grey hairs and wrinkles in her light red fur. She dresses in plainer colours than many workers, as fine clothes easily get ruined in the construction business.
Combat Notes: She is a 2nd-level Hutaakan. AC 8; hp 8; at 0; d 0; save C2; ML 9 (11 when protecting her daughter); Al N; S 10, I 12, W 12, D 11, Co 14, Ch 12. Languages: Hutaaka, Neutral, Neathar, Nithian, Orc, Gnoll.
General Skills: Profession (Builder) (I+1), Mysticism (W), Fire-building (I).
DM Notes: Baqateq is trying to match off her daughter with any promising young Hutaakans, and is still seeking out a more mature Hutaakan for herself. She also may be an interesting encounter for PC revolutionaries, who may be surprised that many common Hutaakans don't agree with their radical approach, and can assist those who seek to track down the movement, as she has been approached by two co-workers about joining.
Also, she can be a source for canny, thieving chars (or law-obedient ones who need to do some underhanded manoeuvres) on how to break and enter buildings in the city, as she has worked on a fair number of them and knows the locations of secret entrances and exits and traps.
History: Born 31 cycles ago in Dashur, the son of one of the prominent artists of that city. Unfortunately, he was touched by the dark from a young age - he was just one of those boys who didn't play well with others. His life of petty crime was covered up by his powerful father, and the deeds grew worse and worse. Then, tired of the minor crimes, he decided to hit the big time, and volunteered his services to Ranivorus. He was gladly accepted, and assigned to the project of coordinating the gnollish arrivals into a competent military force.
Personality: Sifima thrives on the same chaos, hatred and violence that drives Ranivorus, making him the ideal servant. He is cruel, vicious and knows little compassion or remorse.
Appearance: Sifima is of short stature, even by Nithian standards, being just 4'7". He is of moderate build and is a very handsome lad, which helped him get away with even more. He wears whatever clothing is appropriate, wearing plate mail, robes, gnollish clothing, whatever suits his purposes at the present time. His sole concession to personal style is a fancily kept moustache.
Combat Notes: He is a 12th level specialty cleric of Ranivorus. AC 0 (Plate+1, dexterity bonus); hp 47; at 1; d 2d4+2 (expert proficiency with flail+2, strength penalty); save C12; ML 11; Al C; S 5, I 12, W 16, D 17, Co 14, Ch 17. Languages: Nithian, Gnollish, Hutaakan, Chaotic, Neathar.
General Skills: Honor Ranivorus (W+1), Deceive (Ch), Leadership (Ch), City/Outdoors Stealth (D), Snares (I).
Special Abilities: Whisper hateful suggestions, turn snakes, instil berserker rage
Magic Items: Plate Mail +1, Flail +2 (I 7, Ego 5, Al C, See invisible), Charm of the Asp (HWR2, pg 34), Viper Standard, Efreeti Bottle, Mirror of Life Trapping.
DM Notes: Sifima's parents still live and may hire a Nithian or Hutaakan party to find their son and bring him back - unaware of how evil he has become. Generally, Sifima could serve the role of powerful adversary for the party, leading gnollish attackers into Hutaakan territory or corrupting Hutaakan officials with his clerical abilities.
History and Personality: Chiphorqa is just 19 cycles old and is full of the energy and hope that stereotypically belongs to the young. He aspired to the ranks of the lizard riders from a young age, and was accepted into their ranks just one month ago. He is eager to do his job and make a name for himself (and hopefully find a lovely young Hutaakan lass along the way). He is brave, far more than other Hutaakans, and hasn't yet learned restraint or that sometimes tact and calm are more important that bluster and courage.
Appearance: Chiphorqa is of average height and on the thin side. His fur is neatly groomed before a ride, though often gets windblown and dirty by the time a delivery has finished. His tunic is a bright green, making him stand out quite a bit even among other workers.
Combat Notes: He is a 1st-level Hutaakan. AC 5 (Chain Mail); hp 3; at 1; D 1-8 (sword) or 1-6 (light crossbow); save C1; ML 11.5; Al N; S 11, I 12, W 6, D 10, Co 13, Ch 10. Languages: Neathar, Hutaakan, Nithian, Gnoll, Orc, Neutral. General Skills: Riding (Foot-Pad Lizard) (D+1), Bravery (W), Mysticism (W)
DM Notes: As he is very rash, Chiphorqa is bound to get into all manner of troubles, which will require rescue. He is a willing volunteer for many a mission, should PCs seek out assistance, and is a good source of knowledge about the valley's geography, given his role. He is out and about a lot and knows the fastest or safest routes, which could help in military planning, should a war break out.
History: Shadowfall Lightfoot is a member of one of the Borzoi clans that inhabit the central valley forests. Many of his family were killed by marauding Wulven 16 years ago, when he was just 5 years of age. Since then, he has had an overwhelming hatred of the mongrel lupins that inhabit the broken lands of the valley, and has made it his personal crusade to wipe them out. Since the arrival of the gnolls in the western hills, Shadowfall has found less time to pursue his vendetta, as he and the warriors of his clan are on constant guard against the gnolls. When he is able to find the time and volunteers, he leads small raiding groups through the hills to the broken lands, and attacks his ancient enemies on their own turf.
Personality: Shadowfall's hatred of the Wulven borders on the obsessive. When he isn't hunting them, he's planning a hunt. There is concern among his family that he is neglecting his duties to the clan by thinking about the Wulven rather than the immediate threat of the gnolls. They hope that he will grow out of his enmity with age and the responsibilities of clan life.
Appearance: Shadowfall is a huge lupin, standing 6' 2" tall, and weighing in at 247 lbs. His shaggy black fur is often unkempt, full of leaves and twigs and dirt. Shadowfall likes it that way, as it helps to disguise him in the wilderness.
Combat Notes: 4th level Lupin fighter. AC 6 (leather armour, dexterity); hp 23; MV 180' (60'); #AT 1 axe or bite; D 1d8+1 (axe and strength bonus) or 1d4+1 (bite and strength bonus); Save F4; ML 10 (11 vs. Wulven); AL Lawful; S 15, I 8, W 10, D 14, Co 13, Ch 11. Languages: Borzoi. General Skills: Tracking (I+2), Nature Lore (I), Danger Sense (10). Note that Tracking is an innate Lupin ability due to their senses, but can be improved as a normal skill by addition of empty slots (hence ?'s +2 to the score, even though he only has 4 total skill slots.)
DM Notes: PCs are likely to encounter Shadowfall, either singly or with other members of his clan, anytime they are near the valley's broken lands region. Depending on their objective in the region, Shadowfall may either ally with them and offer to lead them through the Wulven' territory, or attack them if they seem to be in league with his enemies.
History: 45 cycles old, Bakitiqa has spent her life some distance from the rest of the Hutaakans. She resides along the Tylaxu River, right before the rapids, at the very end of the Hutaakan territories. Her parents had served as the priests for a remote temple here, and she has followed in their footsteps. She now cares for her frail father, her mother having passed on last year. They are the sole residents of the temple at this time, though Bakitiqa is always ready to welcome in guests.
Personality: Having never been exposed to many social situations, Baki can come across as shy and introverted. She is well-meaning, but has trouble getting along with others. She is a devout follower of Pflarr, having been raised in a temple, and having little interaction with outsiders - she comes across as even more of a proselytiser and zealot than other Hutaakans due to this, which may turn off outsiders.
Appearance: Somewhat on the short side, Bakitiqa's fur is beginning to grey a bit. She doesn't see much need to spruce up her appearance, but she does keep her priestly robes in good shape. Being in an area which most would label wilderness, she often is armed with a staff and crossbow, who has them at close reach. Her most prized possession is the family heirloom, a holy symbol of Pflarr.
Combat Notes: She is a 5th-level shaman. AC 8; hp 11; at 1; D 1d6 (staff or light crossbow); save C5; ML 10 (12 defending her temple or her father); Al N; S 9, I 10, W 17, D 10, Co 9, Ch 7. Languages: Gnollish, Neutral, Hutaakan, Nithian, Neathar. General Skills: Honor Pflarr (W+2), Nature Lore (Mountain/Hill) (I), Temple Maintenance (I).
DM Notes: Bakitiqa could help provide the PCs shelter or food or simply an opportunity for rest and recuperation after long sojourns in their wilderness. She is always glad to have visitors, and questions them endlessly about the happenings of the rest of the valley. She could use some assistance helping care for her father as well, something any shaman of Pflarr would feel obliged to assist with. She also may be called upon to leave her home and join up with the rest of the shamans, in case an emergency should occur - if only somebody could inform her of that emergency, and safely escort her back through the wilds and into the heart of the Hutaakan lands.
History: 22 cycles old, Kfizen was raised from his days as a pup to be a loyal worker, helping keep Hutaakan society strong. He never was as zealous as his fellow workers, though - and when some of the rebels offered to recruit him to their cause a year ago, he immediately seized on the opportunity. Since that time, he has found meaning in his life, and now seeks to subvert the theocratic state of the Hutaakan lands.
Personality: Kfizen is generally a self-serving individual, though he believes himself to act for the good of Hutaaka - he really is out for what is best for him. He sees himself as an energetic, committed soul - but he was always a lazy worker and could well revert once his initial excitement over this cause dies out. He sees himself as a sceptic - yet he shows no scepticism about his current associations, only about Pflarr's existence. He simply can't see the contradictions inherent in his claims.
There are truly selfless souls among the revolutionaries, Hutaakans who want a real change for the right reasons - Kfizen isn't one of them. He's one of the handful of folks doomed for a meaningless life who figure anything else has to be better.
Appearance: Kfizen is of average height and strongly muscled. He is rather vain about his looks and keeps his fur neatly combed and cleaned at all times - hardly the guerrilla fighter he imagines himself to be.
Combat Notes: He is a 1st-level Hutaakan. AC 8; hp 3; at 1; D 1-8+2 (sword, strength bonus); save C1 (-2 penalty vs. spells); ML 8; Al N; S 17, I 8, W 5, D 10, Co 14, Ch 6. Languages: Gnoll, Hutaakan, Neutral, Neathar, Nithian. General Skills: Muscle (S), Endurance (Co+1), Knowledge (Revolutionary Propaganda) (I)
DM notes: Kfizen is a sign of the worst elements among the revolutionaries. To PC sympathisers, he can help show that the movement has its non-utopian facets. To opponents of the movement, he can serve as a convenient stereotype for those who truly mean well. Kfizen is quick to start a brawl with those who disagree - this can lead to PCs fighting him, or siding with him, or having to hunt him down after he slays a Hutaakan citizen. He is a somewhat unpredictable character, and can thus serve as a real wild card for the DM.
3rd level - learnable by Hutaakan shamans, spellmasters and wicca, including specialty shamans
Range: One floor of a building, no limit in terms of yards covered Duration: 5 rounds + 1 per 4 levels
This is a spell that comes in very handy for Hutaakan researchers and library staff. It allows someone to locate books more easily - a spellcaster may look for books by a given author or on a given topic. The spell will cause all books by the author or on the subject to glow for the duration of the spell. The glow is visible only to the caster and the exact name of the author must be known for an author-search. If several Hutaakan authors had the same name, books by each and every author will be highlighted by this spell.
HD: 4+1* (L)
MV: 120' (40')
Atks: 1 club/1 bite
NA: 2d6 (5d6)
Wulven are a degenerate offshoot of the Lupin race. Standing 7-8' tall, these vicious creatures hunt for sport, not simply for food. They are massively muscled, and receive a +2 to damage with their mighty stone or bone clubs. They are also able to use their toothy jaws to deliver a powerful bite. They hunt in packs, and when fighting Lupins (or other similar humanoid creatures) they enter a bloodthirsty rage in which they gain a +2 to hit. Their hairy, unkempt bodies resemble the wolves from which they get their names.
Wulven society is very primitive. They make use of bone and stone tools only rarely, preferring to use their short claws and rending teeth instead. The Wulven language is relatively simple- consisting primarily of barks and howls- but there is a subtext of looks, gestures, and fur bristling that cannot be duplicated by most outsiders (save perhaps a Lupin, Gnoll, or Hutaakan). Lupins and Wulven hate each other with a tremendous passion, and will fight to the death on sight.
"Time Lost Love"
3-5 PCs between the levels of 1-3 (Total Levels 8).
The PCs are sent by the priesthood to bring a package to a shaman on the outskirts of the valley. She is taking care of her ailing father and he has asked the shaman to summon the PCs there. The shaman's father is a chronomancer, a wizard specialising in time magic, and he is close to death. He has summoned the PCs to go back in time and perform one task for him and his dead wife. For the last couple of years, he has conserved his energies for one last spell that will send the hut and its surroundings back in time for an hour. When the PCs arrive at the hut, the father begins to cast his spell. As they enter the hut, the outside world disappears in a shower of colours and the father slips in a coma-like state. When the outside world reappears, the PCs will find themselves back in the past. Due to the spell's nature, they don't have any time to ask about the purpose of the time travel.
Sixty years ago, a young Hutaakan wizard was journeying through the outlands when he came across a small village. He stopped in to gather some supplies and rest, when he saw a beautiful Hutaakan woman sitting on the river bank washing clothing. His short stay became a long one and eventually the wizard and the young woman were married.
The shaman's father has sent the PCs back in time to defend the small village from a mob of undead that attack shortly after the PCs arrive in the past. The PCs will also learn about a box of mementoes that the young wizard and the beautiful women kept, but was lost in the battle with the undead. The father asks the PCs to find the box back and bury it somewhere safe.
When the PCs successfully defend the village and return back to the present, they can dig the box out of the ground and return it to the father, so he can pass away in peace.
"The Lizard Express"
4-6 PCs between the levels of 3-5 (Total Levels 18).
The lizard rider, Chiphorqa, was delivering an important message to Xyqata from an outlying outpost when his foot-pad lizard had an accident and injured its foot. The PCs stumble on the distraught rider as they are entering or just exploring the Valley and he pleads with them to help him on his mission. He claims that the message is time-sensitive and that without the PCs' help people may die. If the PCs decide to help they need to strip off their armour and leave it with the injured lizard. Chiphorqa's plan is to hide his lizard and run to the city. He needs the PCs to provide protection for himself or continue the mission if something should happen to him. This adventure provides a good way for PCs to receive an abbreviated tour of the Valley as they race to get to the city quickly. They can encounter gnoll patrols and monsters, but due to the party's exhausted state, challenges that they normally could handle are more difficult now. Evil DMs can even have a gnoll patrol find the PCs equipment and have them waiting for the poor party to come back and get it.
"We Have to Go Down There?"
3-5 PCs between the levels of 4-6 (Total Levels 24).
Baqateq and her crews are working on a construction site, when there is an accident and some of the construction collapses. The collapse inadvertently opened a hole in the ground to some previously unknown construction. Baqateq and her engineers are scratching their heads because their blueprints have no record of these underground tunnels. The crew begins to investigate the tunnels, but are too afraid to venture too far in. Baqateq hires the PCs to map out the tunnels and clear out any dangers that may be lurking there. It turns out that the tunnels were part of the original construction of Xyqata and used by the high priesthood to move around the city. Because the tunnels can access any part of the city, they could also be used by the Hutaakans to defend the city in times of siege - as there was little need for such a defensive system, they were mostly abandoned and forgotten by the masses. The PCs will encounter various magical guardians, clever traps and whatever the DM would like to throw at them. Very few Hutaakan know about the tunnels and the high priest will be very upset that commoners have discovered it. They will dispatch the PCs to some far-off location to keep them from spreading the news about it.
They may even send the PCs on some suicide missions. As soon as the revolutionaries hear about these tunnels, they will see it as another example of the priesthood's elite status and demand that the tunnels be opened to everyone. The PCs will have to figure out some way to appease both sides and deal with radicals on both.
"Escort me into the Valley of Dogs"
4-6 PCs between the levels of 4-7 (Total Levels 30).
The party should include a Thief or Hutaakan specialising in stealth skills. The scholars of the Lighthouse have finally decided to test Kfitiqa as a candidate for induction. Before her trip, the scholars give her a map and a specific route to follow to the Lighthouse. The PCs are hired to escort Kfitqa on her route and through the Valley.
Unbeknownst to both Kfitqa and the PCs, the trip through the Valley is her test. The route is littered with shrines, ruins and rest stops, some occupied and some not. The Lighthouse would like to reopen this abandoned trail to provide a safe route to Xyqata.
They are hoping that the PCs will clear out any monsters inhabiting the ruins and that Kfitqa will record her trip. She will be graded on how thoroughly she investigates these ruins and the analysis she performs. The DM can cater this adventure in any way he chooses. The ruins can contain monsters, exiled priests, elaborate traps and strange sites. One additional wrinkle that the DM can add is having the PCs unknowingly awaken an undead exiled Hutaakan priest and having the undead priest stalking the party throughout the rest of the adventure.
"Can I Get a Drink of Water?"
4-6 PCs between the levels of 5-7 (Total Levels 32).
Lizard riders have reported an increase of gnoll activity near the lupin border. The frequency and numbers of gnoll patrols have risen dramatically and the priesthood is worried that they may be amassing for an assault.
The PCs are sent to investigate the rise in activity and determine whether or not it poses a threat to Xyqata. The truth of the situation is significantly more frightening. Sifima, the Nithian priest mobilising the gnolls, has come across ancient texts describing a magical fountain near the lupin border. The description was very vague, but the fountain promised great boons to whoever drank from it. Sifima is determined to find the fountain and use it as the launching point for an eventual takeover of the valley; therefore he has sent numerous gnoll patrols searching for it.
Unbeknownst to Sifima, the lupins already know about the fountain, which they regard as a holy place. Except for high holy days, they are even hesitant to approach it, although they have an honour guard protecting it at all times. The honour guard has done a good job of distracting the gnoll patrols, but their numbers are few and the gnolls are getting closer. They have asked for help from their tribes, but they will arrive too late to help. The PCs are the miracle they are praying for. The DM can decide how the PCs meet up with the lupins. The PCs initial encounters will be some gnoll patrols until they eventually help some lupin honour guard members against some gnolls or the PCs can be observing the gnolls, until they begin to realise they are being watched by the lupins.
The PCs will then have to choose how they deal with the gnolls. They could use force and defend the fountain. The fountain is in a secluded part of the valley and is naturally easily defensible. They could stall the gnolls until the lupin reinforcements arrive.
The PCs could also try something a little trickier. As fate would have it, the fountain does have magical properties, but it only works on certain days or it could only work for those of Lawful alignment. Whatever the DM chooses, the PCs can allow the gnolls to find the fountain and have Sifima himself test the fountain. When he finds out that the fountain doesn't work or have the properties he expected, he will call off the search. This only leaves a bunch of gnolls and a high level Nithian priest that the PCs and the lupins have to get rid off.