Lately I have been posting information on one of the next book projects I have been working on, Land of Spirits (Black Hack’d classes; Fighter Class; Magic User Class; Session One Recap). I’m really glad people have been digging it and are supportive of the work.
Land of the Spirits is inspired by: Norse fairy tales, vikings, Labyrinth, Dark Crystal, Over the Garden Wall, Child of Light VG, Chrono Trigger VG, Spirited Away, Princess Mononoken, Skyrim VG, etc.
I have been asked a couple times how I will be doing the book. I plan on doing a map much like Hubris that will have several location and then charts and tables to generate encounters, features, etc. However I’m not going as heavy as Hubris (smaller tables, not d100).
I figured I’d showcase the Riverlands.
Here is the Hexographer map of Náttúraheim- this is not the finished product. I will commission art for this.
Land of the Spirits
An OSR-style Fantasy Setting
Written by Mike Evans
Land of the Spirits A DIY RPG Productions©, 2016
Here’s the PDF of this: The Riverlands Territory from Land of the Spirits
The Riverlands (a territory of Náttúraheim)
A land of numerous snaking and twisting rivers stretch as far as the eye can see, merging and weaving together with the Twilight Forest. The marshy ground squishes under foot, muffling the footsteps of approaching enemies and predators. The strange ruins of the Glemt (the Forgotten), an ancient and bizarre civilization, dot the landscape, even into the Twilight Forest and the throughout the Lower and Upper Tundra; even the Spirits fear to tread into these structures. When I was younger I ventured into one, looking for glory and riches, and what befell my comrades and the things I saw still haunt me.
Abandoned human settlements can be found on the Riverlands; sad wooden carcasses to remind us of our failed attempts to colonize this land. The burial mounds of humans and Spirits alike are holy ground and can be found throughout this region.
The human city of Ny Berjastad (New Fighting Place) rests at the southern peninsula where the river spills into the ocean. In the distance the haunted mist-shrouded Island of Tears can be seen; few choose to venture there by choice.
The Riverlands are dangerous, yet the safest place for humans- and is full of opportunities for those brave enough to seek riches and glory.
A hundred years ago a large fleet full of those seeking freedom, new riches, and lands in the northern sea set forth from Hilmirstad (Place of the King). After crossing the dangerous, turbulent seas of the Great Divide, the expedition sailed into the uncharted waters of Náttúraheim (Home of the Spirits). Over a month they sailed, encountering many extraordinary Spirits, but were losing hope of finding land.
Eventually the fleet crashed on the shores of the Island of Tears; many people drowned and many more were driven mad and killed by the malicious beings that call the isle home. Only a few ships made birth in this new land and the survivors set to building the foundation of this now great capital from the remains of the broken fleet.
Years passed and many more died, either at the hands of the Spirits, the frigid winters, or the constant raids by the Clan of Fang or the Clan of Tusk. However, we are cut from the axe and bred for battle and fought back and survived.
Over the decades the head of the clans came together and formed the Council of the Wyrm and the most proven warrior was anointed High Chief; as time has passed an uneasy truce has been forged with the Clan of Fang and Clan of Tusk. Through the leadership of the High Chiefs, Ny Berjastad has prospered.
We had not seen any ships from our homeland in ninety five years; the expedition was deemed a costly failure and was forgotten about until a prophet of King Wulfgard had visions of Ny Berjastad. In the past five years several landings have been made, bringing goods, merchants, news, free-peoples, slaves… and soldiers. King Wulfgard, ruler of Hilmirstad (Place of the King), resents our own council and is covetous of our ruler, Chieftainess Vyn’s, power, calling her a false ruler. Hostilities are building between the nations of the Old World and New as King Wulfgard demands fealty from us, and his men stir up troubles with the Spirits and clans. Those loyal to the king have established a small hold in the entrance of the bay, Wall of Wulfgard.
Ny Berjastad sits at the mouth of the Riverlands, with boat district, Wharfhiem, closest to sea. Longhouses stretch out towards the center of the city to the Mudflats, home of the market & warrior pit, and Vaskr Keep (Bravery Keep), home to the High Queen and meeting place of the Council of the Wyrm.
- The son of Chieftainess Vynn has been switched out by a Changeling. They must find the child and return him to his bed to his bed in a week or the child will be transformed into a Spirit forever.
- It is whispered that assassins lurk the streets of Ny Berjastad, sent by King Wulfgard to dispatch Chieftainess Vynn and the Council of the Wyrm.
- Nearly every night for a fortnight the body of a human has been found, mangled and mutilated. Citizens believe a malignant Spirit wanders Ny Berjastad at night, hunting them.
- The Festival of the Sun is about to commence and Spirits, Clan of Tusk, Clan of Fang, and Barnligs begin appearing to partake in the celebrations. There is a sense of excitement in the air, but tensions with the humans at the Wall of Wulfgard are high and problems may arise.
- A strange black obelisk with ten carved faces appeared in the Mudflats three days ago. As the sun rose this morning the faces awoke and began to sing of the approaching Everfrost.
Island of Tears
This island nearly destroyed all on the expedition from Hilmirstad (Place of the King); constantly shrouded in mist with the wails of the dead and malicious spirits hanging on the air. I have not set foot on the isle’s fetid soil, and few have, for it is a cursed place. I have heard tales told by Spirits that the Glemt practiced dark magics and experiments on the isle. Twisted trees, a single mountain peak, and a decrepit keep are all that have been glimpsed by human eyes.
- Ominous clouds hang over the Island of Tears as thunder, lightning, and hail pelt the island. The wails of undead and malignant Spirits travel over the water.
- An expedition of warriors from Ny Berjastad left to finally discover the secrets of the island. It has been three weeks and there has been no word. Many want to send another group to find their brethren and bring them home.
|Isle of Tears Encounters|
|1||2d6 Zombies/skeletons (these undead are the unfortunate men and women who died in the original expedition crash on the island)|
|2||1d3 plague rats|
|3||1 wraith (20% chance that the wraith is guarding an entrance to a Glemt ruin)|
|4||1d3 gargoyles (within 50’ of these gargoyles there is a roll 1d3: 1) treasure; 2) entrance to a ruin; 3) ancient book with an insidious ritual)|
|5||2d3 carnivorous snails|
|6||1d3 giant centipede|
|7||1d4 giant bats|
|8||1 banshee (this woman was a Seiðr who died in the original expedition crash, her bitterness at dying has transformed her into a spiteful undead creature)|
|9||1d4 ghouls (there is a 15% chance that one of the characters will recognize one of the ghouls as a friend from Ny Berjastad who went missing over 3 months ago).|
|10||1 mummy (the mummy wears a necklace that is a powerful magical artifact).|
Humans are not welcome in this village filled with frogmen and toadmen. These amphibious heathens practice strange and cruel rituals and have used more than one human or Spirit as ingredients for these dark rites. Oftentimes Crocs, humanoid crocodiles, serve as thugs and guards to the Grand Croak, an obese and sinister frogman.
- Drums and chanting can be heard issuing from Croak Village. There seems to be more Crocs, and frogmen and toadmen milling about the area than usual.
- The waters boil and churn in the bay by Croak Village. After days of the sea thrashing and large swells, a gargantuan toad, the size of a dragon, emerges from the waters.
Gurden is a small community that has transformed the marsh into farmland and lies a few days upriver from Ny Berjastad. Gurden was founded by those seeking a different life than that in the capital; these men and women are not warriors, and many have not once stained their axe in battle. Gurden offers trade with Ny Berjastad and with the Clan of the Tusk.
Many in Ny Berjastad believe a powerful Seiðr protects Gurden from attack and interlopers.
- The townsfolk of Gurden have all been put into a deep enchanted sleep by a Spirit. Now the town is being occupied by strange spirits that are comprised of a smoke-like body and a strange porcelain-like mask that changes based on their emotions.
- A giant spectral wolf was seen racing across the night sky. It caught the moon and ran away with it, into the distance of the horizon in the Twilight Forest. The sky over Gurden has been in perpetual darkness since.
Friðrhiem (Home of Peace)
Friðrhiem is the Barnlig capital and a haven for spirits that rests on the edge of the Riverlands and Twilight Forest. I have had little experience with Barnligs and little patience for their sweet and understanding manner. That said, even I am in awe of their connection with the Spirit World. Many of the structures in this town are made from vegetables that have been magically enhanced to be enormous or from massive tree trunks that have been hollowed out, or berms into the earth. Friðrhiem is ruled by a council of Barnlig elders and overseen by “The Great Wise One”, who is said to be a Barnlig who has merged with a Spirit.
- A circus/festival of Spirts has gathered in Friðrhiem. Entertainment, enchantments, and celebrations abound. Barnlig are hoping to create a stronger bond between the various Spirit clans, the Clan of Tusk, Clan of Fang, and humans. While delegations are arriving from all over Náttúraheim, there are rumors and fear of something dark and sinister brewing beneath the surface.
- The Great Wise One has become ill, his mind slipping. In his dementia, the Great Wise One cast a spell that opened a rift to the Shadowed Realm, allowing malignant Spirits to spill forth into Friðrhiem.
The Honored Home
This burial home is the resting place of all bodies that were recovered of those who perished in the original expedition to this strange new world. I myself have walked the halls paying honor to my ancestors. The halls are delved from the earth and reinforced with wood and iron. Priests guard the mound, keeping robbers out and the spirits at rest. High Priest Sygfurd is highly respected, even for an Ergi, keeps home here with a small shrine built to honor the ancestors and the spirit world.
- The wall in part of the burial chambers collapsed, revealing a Glemt burial ruin. Several undead spill out of the ruin, awakening the dead of the Honored Home, and are moving towards the surface.
- High Priest Sygfurd wishes to conduct a Spirit ritual that will allow him to speak with the great ancestors. He hopes to discover deeper meaning for the destiny of the humans of Ny Berjastad. However, the Spirits are agitated about a human casting this sacred ritual.
Place of Bones
These Glemt ruins are made of jagged pitted metal and are the color of bones that have been bleached by the sun. Stinking, yellowish clouds of smoke still billow out of Place of Bones, causing the air to become a thick, choking miasma. Several adventures and warriors, including my brother, have delved into Place of Bones seeking treasures and glory; none have returned.
- There are Glemt are still active in these ruins, they have become deranged due to isolation and turning to other sources of energy other than spirit. Several groups of human warriors that have ventured into the ruins; all that have ventured inside have emerged transformed into a hideous monstrosities.
- Monstrosities begin spilling out of the Place of Bones, capturing Spirits, animals, and humans alike, dragging them back to the ruins. Increased amounts of thick gouts of smoke billow from the ruins.
Portal of Gurm
These strange relics of an ancient age of spirits should be approached warily, at best. Often these portals will transport you into a new place of existence, or simply transform you into another creature! The Portal of Gurm connects to the Portal of Ferm in the Twilight Forest. These linked portals allow quicker travel to the capital of the Spirits, Nobbrolberg; the Ivory City between existences, instead of taking the lengthy (and often brutal) travel between the capital and Ny Berjastad. Each of these portals have specific conditions that must be met to be accessed. The Portal of Gurm and Ferm can only be accessed on the night of the full moon after a feast has been offered to the Guardian Spirit of Dreams.
- The Guardian Spirit of Dreams is found dead and drained of energy in front of the portal. A Spirit Naga has entwined itself around the portal, siphoning the energy out of it.
- An odd thing happens during the feast being offered for travel through the portal. No one is sure what it is, however it has caused another portal to be opened into the underground realm of Náttúraheim.
Wall of Wulfgard
The Wall of Wulfgard is a fortress built over the last couple of years to house the soldiers, sages, and merchants that arrive from the Old World, Hilmirstad. Tensions are extremely high between those who live in Ny Berjastad and the Wall of Wulfgard. The legion commander, Grugen Wolfcall has little patience or acceptance of Ny Berjastad’s rejection of King Wulfgard’s decree that we should fall into his reign.
- Several more ships have arrived from Hilmirstad over recent months, carrying troops, weapons, and materials. Workers are expanding the Wall of Wulfgard at a rapid pace.
- The sounds of celebration can be heard over the bay. It is rumored that King Wulfgard himself has arrived in Náttúraheim to claim this land under his rule and to declare war on Ny Berjastad and the Spirits.
The Riverlands Charts and Tables
|1||Glemt ruin constructed out of pitted stone; resembles massive hunched over Glemt. No Glemt remain, but a clan of humans too refuge here and have been turned feral and savage. There are several pieces of Glemt technology within the halls of this ruin.|
|2||Four small streams converge in a swirling pattern to create a powerful vortex.|
|3||Small farming community with 5+2d12 humans and 1d4 Barnlig(s). They grow (roll 1d6): 1) wheat; 2) mushrooms; 3) potatoes; 4) corn; 5) whatever they can to make alcohol; 6) corn.|
|4||Burial mound of spirts from over a thousand years ago. Restless undead spirits roam the burial mound, attacking those foolish enough to enter. The burial mound has a massive center chamber and 2d4+1 rooms and houses a powerful magic item.|
|5||Burial mound of humans of expedition to explore Riverlands. The survivors built the burial mound before returning to Ny Berjastad. The burial mound has a small center chamber with 1d6 rooms. Much of the top of the chamber has collapsed and the rooms have become filled with ankle to knee deep cold, fetid water. The finely crafted battle axe of a brave warrior rests here. As does (roll 1d6): 1) a rune of a 2nd level spell; 2) jewelry worth 50 gold bits; 3) a saber made of silver; 4) a staff that can store 4 mana points; 5) a tapestry of the history of a long forgotten clan; 6) a magic item.|
|6||Abandoned human settlement- there are some useful mundane items to be found here as well as a strange fragment of black rock that throbs and hums when held.|
|7||An outcropping of mushrooms, in the center is a Fungoid Watcher (pg XX). He is watching over the small grouping of mushrooms.|
|8||A group of stones, roughly 8ft high and 4ft wide, form a circle. Within the stone circle marble table surrounded by fairy ring of mushrooms; on the table is a silver knife etched in runes. This is a sacred meeting place for spirits.|
|9||A small village of Clan of the Tusk. The village is (roll 1d6): 1) contaminated by a strange curse- at night the inhabitants turn into crazed, mindless boar-beasts; 2) exiles that challenged the last clan leader; 3) secret worshippers of the Glemt- a hidden ruin is nearby; 4) peaceful farmers; 5) guardians of a secret treasure; 6) an expansion colony sent by the chief to establish more land in the Riverlands- they will be cold/hostile to humans.|
|10||An ancient meeting place for spirits. The ruin is filled with traps, beautiful art, and 1d3 powerful artifacts. The place is now home to a Spirit Naga and her thralls.|
|11||An ancient forgotten burial mound over two thousand years old. It is filled with thousands of human bodies. How can this be?|
|12||A Glemt ruin filled strange technology and spirits that have been transformed into bizarre horrors. There are Glemt that have remained asleep for all this time; they will awaken should anyone begin interfering with the operation of the ruin.|
|1||Soggy ground hinders movement, reducing it by half.|
|2||Raging river must be crossed. Slows travel by 1 day.|
|3||Terrible weather for season (I.E. snow, blistering heat, torrential downpour, etc.) forces group to seek shelter for 1d6 days.|
|4||Ground in area has flooded, halting movement forward for 1d3 days.|
|5||Soggy ground hinders movement, reducing it by one quarter.|
|6||Thick vegetation hinders movement, reducing it by half.|
|7||Rock outcroppings cause tumbles, scrapes, and cuts. Movement reduced three quarters and Saving Throw or suffer 1d6+1 damage.|
|8||Bizarre twister forces group to seek shelter. Slows travel by 1 day.|
|1||3d4+1 Goblins (for every five goblins, one is riding a worg or a dire chicken)|
|2||2d2 Zombies/skeletons (15% chance caster that summoned them is present)|
|3||1d6 Bugbears (if there are 4 or more rolled there is a 4HD caster present)|
|4||2d3 Giant Spiders|
|5||2d4 Gnolls (25% chance one is a caster)|
|6||2d3 Harpies (10% chance guarding something in their nest)|
|7||1d4+1 Hobgoblins (20% chance they have caught a creature to eat, torture, force into slavery, etc.)|
|9||4d4 Giant Rats|
|10||1d4 Worg (if 4 are present, they are led by a White Wolf)|
|11||White Wolf (10% chance an evil Druid caster is aligned with the creature, level 1d4)|
|12||1 Wraith (5% chance opening to plane of the Spirits is nearby).|
|13||1 Shambling Mound (may not be hostile towards characters unless they are defiling nature or have fire)|
|14||Will-o-wisp (Lyktgubbar) (this spirit will make the sounds of a female in peril in the distance. Will attempt to lure characters into a bog to attack)|
|17||1d4 Giant Bats|
|18||2d3 Carnivorous Snails|
|19||1d3 Giant Centipedes|
|20||1 Spirit (generate Spirit, pg XX)|
|2||Feurgal, a human trader, is returning from NAME HERE in the Twilight Forest. Accompanied by 1d3 warriors. Has several goods for sale. There is a 15% chance that Feurgal has a magical item.
While in the Twilight Forest Feurgal saw- roll 1d4: 1) elves dancing around a large living tree; 2) a Clan of the Tusk hunting party is searching for a member of their village that has become corrupted; 3) a massive shadowy creature consuming the energy of spirits; 4) a small Fungoid village.
|3||A hunting party of Clan of the Fang. They were attacked by a ferocious creature they had never before encountered (a living Glemt); most of the party is dead. Several are severely injured.|
|4||A lone Spirit sitting on a rock in the middle of a pond, humming. It knows the location of an ancient Spirit burial mound, but will only give up the location if it is given 2d4 new rocks to sing to.|
|5||A small camp of 3d8 humans. These men have exiled themselves and are building a community. All have are cursed werewolves and have removed themselves from Ny Berjastad. There is a 20% chance a character knows one of these exiles.|
|6||The head of a giant rock Spirt is patiently waiting for its body to return. One day its body got bored of sitting around and went for a walk.|
|7||The group has attracted the attention of Nattmara. (pg XX) 1d3 of these Spirits are stalking the group.|
|8||A Myling (pg XX), is found weeping by a riverbed. She begs for help from one of the characters. The Myling will leap on the back of the first person who shows her compassion.|
|9||A Spirit wandering the Riverlands. The spirit is a junk collector and has many strange and valuable oddities for sale. Will barter for other strange objects. In his collection he has- roll 1d4: 1) a talking thousand year old caterpillar; 2) a ruby that glows when a person is lying; 3) a bronzed skull (can cast Speak with Dead once per day); 4) a Glemt artifact that transforms into a 1 HD automaton.|
|10||An ancient, withered Spirit that desires one more adventure into the Ruins of Sleeping Dreams before they disappear forever.|
|11||Pesta (pg XX), a vile Spirit from Hilmirstad, can be seen in the distance, a trail of spectral bodies float along behind her. She is heading in the direction of Ny Berjastad- is she carrying a broom or a rake?|
|12||A gigantic humanoid skeleton that walks on all fours like a dog is marching through the Riverlands. Its flesh is comprised of emaciated humans and spirts that are conjoined together- some drop off like sloughing skin, to drop on the ground and charge the character.|
|13||A rumbling dark cloud hovers over the horizon, lightning flashes and thunder booms; red eyes can be seen within the cloud. A massive humanoid shape can be seen in the cloud when the lightning flashes.|
|14||A Linnorm has made its lair in a bog. The air stinks with rot and decay, bones litter the ground and poisonous serpents permeate the area.|
|15||1d3 Glemt have left their hideout and are actively attacking and collecting spirits for their energy and experiments.|
|16||A Stone Giant is building a home near a fork in the river, several of the rocks he is building with have a shimmering, shiny metal.|