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This assume the player's are travelling near Alphatian Neatharum. There they are approached by a party of Neathar wanting their help to rescue their brethren who were taken prisoners by Azcans. The player follow the trails back to Azcan territory. There the player will overtake the Azcans who are resting at a small town before continuing to the city of Atacantli. The player will be able to rescue the Neathar.
During their travels the PCs meet with a party of Daltrai Neathar (4 hunters with slings, clubs and staves ). The Daltrai are a small tribe of Neathar living north of the Alphatian Neatharum. They are similar in culture to the Balarai tribe. They walk barefoot and wear loose leather clothing. Their traditional weapons are the sling, quarterstaff and club. Their few villages are near the end of the Nogai river.
These will approach the player's asking for help. Azcan warriors have captured some of their villagers. They were looking to find Nogai to help them, but so far they have not located any (reason : they have been assimilated by the Alphatians ). They claim to have found a magical horn on some Beastman war party many nights ago which is stored at a secret location. If the PCs can bring back the captives to the ending of the Nogai river they will bring them the horn.
They say that the Azcans attackers attacked a small outpost near their village looking for sacrifice victims for Atzanteotl. 23 Neathar were taken prisoner including their village cleric.
If the PCs accept they will be taken to the start of a trail the Azcans used to get back to Azca with the prisoners. The Neathar say they have to protect their remaining tribesmen.
Towards the jungle :
The PCs will now have to take the trail through hills until they reach the forest of the gentle folks.
In the hills they will encounter a group of Hyenodons, place one Hyenodons for each party members and NPC's. If the group is been badly damaged and things look bleak for them, they will retreat.
Another encounter will be with a group of 6 Nogai Neathar refugees who will be scared of the PCs of they are not of Neathar or elven descent. These have recently fled Alphatian Neatharum where they have received poor treatment from Alphatian. There are 3 men, 1 adult woman and 2 young woman.
Later the player's will encounter a lone Triceratops who will pose no threat and continue on it's way unless provoked.
Lands of the Gentle Folk :
As the PCs approach the forest of the gentle folk, have a Tyrannosaur attack and kill a triceratops. This will let smart PCs flee the scene (not as smart PCs will have a run for their money with the T-rex ). Even tough the T-rex will follow in pursuit of the party after a short while. As the player are running they will encounter the gentle folk valley. Make it so that the player can reach the valley before the T-rex reaches them.
When the PCs approach the gentle folk valley they can see the mighty oak and see a clear change in terrain. They also spot 4 markers, each about 250 feet from each other with the signs or Alphatia and Koryis on them. If they search for more they will not see any.
At about 500 feet from the signpost the T-rex will slow down a lot. It will not come closer than 200 feet from the sign posts or the "invisible line" made by all the signposts.
The players will be safe in the valley of the gentle folk.
As they begin to enter the forest of the gentle folk they will come across Tunnviel, an old passive Gentle Folk who has been lured by Somnastis. The PCs will probably think the elf is under attack and try to rescue him. But unfortunately the elf is currently under the effect of the plant and very far out.
Tunnviel, AL TN, 0 level elf, HP 5, Tunnviel is looking like a 30 something year old human. He is a perfect example of his race.
The plant has currently enthralled Tunnviel and as the PCs arrive he will begin to enter the plant in an hypnotic state.
If the PCs rescue him Tunnviel, under the effect of the plant, won't have noticed.
Later about an hour's march they will find a Gentle Folk village (Laslanionel ) of about 150 persons. Here the players could meet Drianna from the p.44 of the HW DM source book. This village is a chance of the PCs to experience the Gentle Folk culture.
The next day the players will meet a treant during their travel. This treant is pretty bored with the elves around here. He call's himself Green Sap. In fact, because it's been many, many cycles since he last had any sort of conversation, he will be very interested in any news the player's can bring of the Neathar forests. Particularly the forest outside this valley, he claims to have visited those lands once, but is now to busy.
Green Sap will ask the help of the PCs. He will offer them a minor quest. It seems that an Actaeon living in the forest and guarding it from outside creatures has caught a strange sickness. It all began when some wounded Neathar came here after being wounded in battle with a large reptile. He was nursed back to health and then left, but during his stay, Giltheniel, the actaeon fell sick with a strange wasting disease. Giltheniel is now to weak to continue his duty. The treant has tried recruiting elves to help him but with no luck.
The treant wants the player to find anyway to cure the disease, he's ready to offer them some magical potions of his own concoction if they succeed. He says he knows that the Neathar and Azcans shamans and clerics sometimes have access to magics to cure such things. He gives to actaeon only a month or two to live (meaning the PCs aren't in that much of a hurry with this ). The treant will show them the way to the actaeon if they have some means to heal him or return with those means.
The player can either cure the Actaeon themselves with the Cure Disease spell. Head back in Neathar lands and find someone who can and convince him to take the trip and cure him or as we will later see they will have the opportunity to get their hands on a Scroll of cure disease during their trip into Azcans territory.
The treant will give each party member a small bottle-like bark container containing a slightly yellow-green liquid. If asked, Green Sap will say this will boost the character's lifeforce. Characters drinking a potion will feel invigorated, will be healed for 1d4 hp, will have had the effect of a meal and will not be hungry again for 48 hours and finally will be 1 year younger (although their physical appearance will not change, this will just increase their life span by one year, but will still count as if the drinker was one year younger ).
Later the player will come to another Gentle Folks village (Vilveardnas ) of about 200 souls. This village is a typical Gentle Folk village. In the village
The rest of the trip will be uneventful.
As the players approach Azcan territory the land will become more and more of a south American jungle.
Be sure to emphasise that the jungle is hot, sweaty and disease ridden. Often tell the player they are bitten by large mosquitoes, large flies drone about them, they see a large (but still normal sized ) tarantula spider (which will not attack them, this is just like earth's spiders). Also remember that it rains very often in Azca.
After about 30 minutes inside the jungle tell the player they often hear sounds in the upper branches of the jungle. They also feel like they are being watched. Keep this up for a few minutes. After which 3 Flying Viper which are waiting for them will spit poison once and then flee all in different directions, as fast as they can hidden by the dense foliage of the upper branches of the jungle trees. Try to make it so that the player's cannot attack or pursue successfully the vipers. Repeat this process 2 or 3 other times or even more if you wish. Don't be afraid to jinx the die rolls a bit to make sure that at least 1vipers hits a character (you can make it target the least armoured PCs and jinx it's roll ) so the character will feel bothered by the vipers. After a bit the Vipers will make another such attack and then dive into combat on the PCs. This should only be a minor fight for the PCs.
As the player's continue to walk in the jungle have them come across a well travelled trail. On it they find a sling similar to the ones carried by the Daltrai Neathar, they also find a leather bandanna which fits in style Neathar clothing and not Azcan clothing and some old dried blood on the ground. This is because the prisoners have been lead by their Azcan's captors along this trail. Someone had hidden a sling and tried to attack his captors but was quickly beaten back the Azcans. This is a sign that the Neathar may have continued this way.
You could also put some other encounters with great cats or plant monsters like archer bush along the way.
Eventually the player will approach Atacantli. As the player approach they will be in what could be called the "suburbs" of Atacantli. Several farms and small stone buildings will be present. In the distance, the PCs can see the Pyramids of Atacantli. If the players are not careful they will be found and have to face several Azcans guards (use standard Azcans from Atlass ), at least 12, while commoners flee into their homes and scouts race back to the city to get more armed forces. A direct attack against the city should be impossible. The PCs should have to use stealth to infiltrate the city.
In my group one player is from the Atruaghin Plateau, another has a hat of disguise, the mage can cast invisibility and finally the thief has hide in shadows and move silently. Although you can make for a few combat encounters, the PCs should have to infiltrate the city. From commoners they can learn that captives were sent in a small stone building which serves as a prison. The building is near another small stone building which is actually a guard barrack. The PCs could also learn this from spying on guards, snooping around and finding the small prison or any other means. The captives are supposed to be executed in 2 days at the main pyramid in Atacantli during a ceremony to Atzanteotl.
The trouble will be coming back with the group of Neathar once they are freed, especially since the player's can't use the cover of the night to escape.
Here are some descriptions of some of the buildings (map).
NOTE : There are always 4 standard Azcans guards patrolling the village, 4 more can come out of the barrack and the prison guard can also assist if trouble arise.
There are always 1d20 villages going about their daily businesses.
1- This is a barrack which contains 4-5 Azcans guards (1-2 will be sleeping ), 9-10 more are on patrol at various locations and will report here from time to time. It also contains 14 bunk beds, each with a chest containing various possessions. There are 3 rooms, dormitory, main area and a small closet which currently hold 10 clubs, 10 spears and 4 wooden medium shields and 2 horns. The horns are meant to be carried by patrol which sound them when needing reinforcement. Each patrol has 50% of having a horn. When blown, half of the guards in the village will leave towards the area the horn sounded. This is a good diversion.
2- Prison. This is a one story building with no windows guarded by a single guard fitted in leather armour, armed with a shield and a spear. The door is locked from the outside by a heavy log. There is no proper "lock" mechanism. Just a log that holds the door barred. The Neathar prisoners are inside this building.
3- This is an apothecary office where a local wise-man resides. He has a small laboratory where he has herbs, oils, potions and charms. The only useful items here are 2 magical potions, 1 of cure disease and 1 of cure poison. The apothecary is a 5th level mage armed with a quarterstaff. He has 16 hp and the following spells memorised : burning hands x 2, sleep, invisibility, web, blink.
4- This is a storage barn where the city officials store grain, tools and other things. A ladder leads to the roof of the storage where an alarm gong with a hammer calls in reinforcement. The players could possibly use this, but since the gong is only 100 yards away from the prison, it wouldn't make to much of a diversion. But who knows, it could prove useful.
5- This is a normal farm inhabited by a typical Azcan family.
6- This is another Azcan farm.
7- This is a field of maize.
8- This is a residential area where more farms and fields are present.
When the PCs escape with the Neathar prisoners they should face some jungle random encounters where they have to protect the Neathar. If the players have a potion they can bring it to the treant, or else when the Neathar are back in their village, their local cleric can come and heal the actaeon for the PCs.
When the player return the Neathar, the villagers will give them the promised horn, a horn that when blown produce the effect of an aid spell on the horn blower for a duration of 10 rounds. This power can be used once per day.