Friday, 14 February 2020

ADVENTURE: Barrow of the Woad Chief (Levels 1-3) (and "Ancestries of the Borderlands")





Another Borderlands adventure, this time one which has been fairly well-tested - The Barrow of the Woad Chief, a low-level dungeon near the "starting town" of Gosswold. The Barrow has a small (3-4 room) tomb area with low-level learning exercises inspired by Skerples, and then two hidden areas - the Den of the Woad Archon, who runs a sacred cave-farm staffed by Sentient Cabbages and bees, and the Water Shrine, the last active Shrine to the Old Water God in Loam Country, with traps, tricks, and treasure. The hidden areas include large roleplay/negotiation opportunities - the "lead" NPCs in those areas, the Woad Archon and Dissurath the Water Elemental, are both open to friendly advances (but there's a lot of money available if you're not friendly!). Click here for the public Drive folder with my Borderlands material.

As a "bonus", find below a list of Ancestries in the Borderlands, most of which I'd like to make into Race-Classes:

The Kind Masters – Lords of dream and nightmare, in flowing cloaks of autumn leaves, iceshard dresses, flowerpetal masks. Even their kindness may seem cruelty to us. Once, they ruled every deep place in our world; now, they cannot even stay long in the Borderlands, and their great home realm is half-palace, half-prison for them. They intend to rectify that, though, never you worry.

The Book People – Living humanoid books. Their body flows with moving word in inks and fonts unique to the individual, and their skin is like a writing material to the touch; this forms their caste group (e.g. papyrus, vellum). Each one is an expert on topics written upon them in the process of birth. Often find employment as museum curators, antiquarians, or booksellers. The Establishment Book People don't care what is written in a book, and happily accept competing claims as equal truth, given that keeps the peace; their objection is to interlocution or debate. Upstarts believe in a meaningful development of knowledge and enquiry into what is true, but cannot agree on a framework to do so.

The Arbiters of Necessity, aka the Tumour-Men – Magically created by a Kind Master of great power. Corpulent tumour-slug-people. They recognize the only way to cure the Borderlands of its ills is via its destruction and dissolution into pure chaos. However, they also recognize that may take time – and they are free to enjoy its benefits in the meantimes. They are often puissant warriors or wizards.

Fungal Artisans - The Artisans are in fact only one group within a wider race of technicoloured mushroom-people, but outsiders name the whole Ancestry for them. They are usually nomads, seeking sustenance from decay as they travel. Sometimes these bands go wild and seek to create new dead matter from whatever is nearby. The Artisans make startling art out of dead matter, transforming it into bizarre, innovative sculptures and paintings - their most skilled members can even create animate constructs.

Flower Paladins - A strange species of sentient and mobile plant, who communicate entirely via scent and changing the colour of their petals. In winter they hibernate, their petals shrivelling and their disseminate minds slowing. In spring, they ride out under their great rose-bud banner to right what they perceive to be wrongs. The basis on which they identify these is unclear, and sometimes their actions can seem quite destructive to those in their path. Bizarrely, a few exhibit powers similar to those of divinely-supported adventurers. Some have made close alliances with Brocks.

Brocks – Badgerfolk, the Brocks are savage warriors and pensive philosophers. They were not originally from Faery, but from another place; they have retained their ancient ways in the Borderlands.

Brownies – Tinkering fae, known for their experiments in clockwork and gunpowder. A whole ancestry of obsessives, little known for their empathy, though greatly respectful of the effort and craft of others. Their technology is the most “advanced” the Borderlands will permit to function.

Pixies – Arrogant, magically talented, artistic, inquisitive, flight capable, born to rule, tiny. No-one can explain why the Kind Masters let the Pixies survive, especially given the fact that every recorded rebellion against the rule of the Kind Masters has been led by Pixies. Nor can anyone explain how the Pixies proliferate, given the fact that all known members are (apparently) female.

Gitsies – Like pixies, but gits. Their awkwardness and mischievousness is unbounded. They enjoy being pranked if it's done well, though, and will negotiate. Sometimes get it into their head to form bandit gangs, more for banter than for wealth or sustenance.

Dervishes – An Ancestry from a distant corner of the Borderlands, Dervishes are living man-sized tornados of wind and sand. Their ability to apparently dissolve themselves makes them cunning thieves, and their speed is famous.


Merrow – Marine fae, resembling both fish and humans in a disturbingly compelling way, able to breathe both in air and water. They are emotionally unexpressive, except in their underwater architecture – each head of a Merfolk household designs and builds their own home, expressing their worldview and passions through it. Many of their kingdoms and holdings remain loyal to the Kind Masters.

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ADVENTURE: Barrow of the Woad Chief (Levels 1-3) (and "Ancestries of the Borderlands")

Another Borderlands adventure, this time one which has been fairly well-tested - The Barrow of the Woad Chief, a low-level dungeon near...