Each age of history saw a new type of conflict on the Moonlit Island.
During the Age of Heroes, Achiever, Yarnspinner, and Little Humble worked together to provide heroic challenges to the Dweorgs and Kobalts who lived on the island's coasts. Bigbeast lizards and spiders were created on the island's northern mountains as a threat to manage. Three witches were tasked with restraining where these bigbeasts roamed, barely intelligent, and well-fed. Mysterious bugaboos could empower the bigbeasts and the heroic people who hunted them.
Then something happened to the witches and bugaboos. Without oversight, the spiders and lizards became too smart and traveled far in search of food. Monsters normally cannot reproduce, but these somehow did. The Dweorgs and Kobalts fled to the south of the island.
During the Age of Escapades Maw Lute, Speleoth, and Futhorc brought new people to the island to help the Dweorgs and Kobalts reclaim their northern lands. Maw Lute oversaw dragon-riding Bergtrolls. Speleoth taught Barrowers how live underground and breed oozes. Futhorc taught Tuathsith how to manipulate the shadowlands and bargain with purblinds.
With the help of these new allies, the Dweorgs and Kobalts made slow progress at exploring their northern ruins and rebuilding their civilization. Most Dweorgs allied themselves with Achiever and Yarnspinner, and became hunters, lorekeepers, and archaeologists. Most Kobalts allied themselves with Little Humble and became generous and flamboyant barbarians and gangsters.
During the Age of Intrigue, Gnash and Frosty Kostkey had a competition to establish Ogres or Therions as the new dominant race in the island. The Ogres were given vampire allies, and led an undead legion. The Therions were taught to work with the winter-themed army of abominable animals. Remover tried to reduce all this conflict by teaching the Pixies to be diplomats and peace-makers.
A year ago, when the aristocractic families of Dweorghome decided to found the town of Awkeld, the Aralg family agreed to contribute most of the required effort and money. In exchange, the picked the location and claimed an amazing although immovable artifact—the Everspinning Wrench—in the caverns below the town.
The wealthiest Dweorgs in town are brothers Tyzak and Phazyk Aralg. The rest of their family has returned to Dweorghome, but these brothers stayed to increase their family's wealth. As skilled machinists and carpenters, they use the Everspinning Wrench to power a lumber mill and send both fine lumber and finished carpentry back to Dweorghome.
Quest: The Aralg brothers have heard a rumor about another artifact somewhere within a day's travel. They will pay well if anyone discovers more concrete information. If an adveturer were to actually acquire the artifact, they would offer to buy it for a fair (and outrageous) price.
Quest: One of their lumberjack employees is missing. The only clue is that someone found one of his tools in the nearby woods, broken and bloody. Someone should investigate! The missing Dweorg is Rustly, a vagrant who no longer uses a family name. He saw a suspicious bear (Hyphos the Therion), followed it, and was kidnapped.
Quest: The Aralgs have political enemies at Dweorghome. Tyzak recently survived an assassination attempt. He will hire someone to find out who tried to kill him.
Among the aristocractic families of Dweorghome who helped found the town of Awkeld, the Huedo family contributed the most in raw courage. They did most of the work clearing out the local monsters and dangerous animals.
Only one of that family, Dezek Huedo, lives in Awkeld permanently. He lives in the largest building, most of which is a single room. During the day it is used as an indoor arena for sporting events and rainy day archery practice. During the evening Huedo sometimes hosts parties with athletic competitions and friendly gambling.
Dezek is very committed to Achiever, bordering on fanatic in his devotion. Usually several members of his family from Dweorghome are visiting him, eager to join his hunting expeditions that seek out violent Argels or other worthy monsters. The Huedo family is esteemed both as brave hunters and as the town's primary source of tourist trade.
Quest: One of the visitors, Gaejix Huedo, spent a few years working in Blindvale as a poet and dragon hunter. He had to flee that city after a scandalous incident. Yesterday he saw a Blindvale coin in town, and today wants to discreetly hire someone to find out who spent it and if his past is catching up to him. (It was Tryna, who knows his history somewhat, punking him for her own amusement.)
Quest: One of the visitors, Tyrna Huedo, is a reformed criminal. She has heard that her old partner in crime is now out of prison and seeking to hunt her down for revenge on their last job going sour. She wants a bodyguard and investigator. (She is actually not reformed, and came to Awkeld with a contract to assassinate Tyzak Aralg. The attempt failed, and she hopes a bodyguard at her side for a few days will be a character witness about her faked kind and generous personality, if she is suspected.)
Quest: A famous monster hunter of Dweorghome named Marmin Huedo was recently killed when working. His death has caused a scandal when his wife, Kexlina claimed she actually did most of the monster hunting. She has travelled to Awkeld as part of her effort to prove her ability. The PC is hired to accompany her and witness this "test".
The aristocractic Zantinvo family also helped found the town. Most returned home to Dweorghome. But the family was tired of their antics of young triplet sisters, Abasta, Alerisa, and Alira Zantinvo, and made them stay in Awkeld to run a profitable brewery.
The sisters have taken an unexpectedly serious fondness for their new work. The climate and land around Awkeld is quite different from that around Dweorghome. The sisters pay nearby farmers to grow many different plants used in their brewing, and are able to concoct a refreshingly new beverage every few months. Their family in Dweorghome has become so enamoured of these "Awkeld Brews" that they contribute generously to paying the mercenary guards that protect the trade route and farms between Dweorghome and Awkeld.
The Bombastic Brewery also serves as the town's public house, where warm fires and friendly company keep many townsfolk warm in the early evenings.
Quest: A failed trip into the Enchanted Forest made Abasta a lycanthrope. She is having trouble rebuffing a suitor, a visiting Dweorg minstrel named Annollo Piper, who is close to learning her secret. She wants to discreetly hire help in rebuffing the suitor.
Quest: Alerisa has been having a secret relationship with a black market smuggler named Gvindel. She wants him to retire and marry her. He enjoys his illegal profession. She hires the PC to help persuade him.
Quest: The sisters have inherited a strange dagger with an odd power: whenever it kills a person the wielder becomes enchanted with a dangerous and evil ability. They were not told what it does, but knew it was once a gift from either Maw Lute (part of a panolpy) or Gnash (prize from a Last One Standing contest). Now it has been stolen.
Two Dweorg siblings, Grost Fastolm and Krutha Fastolm, run the town's monastary.
Grost is the day watch captain. With a virtuous Kobalt named Raisy he leads the efforts to cleanse the monsters out of UnderAwkeld.
Krutha, who is quite a bit younger than her brother, is the town's "priest" of Little Humble and its unofficial judge when disputes arise. She is also the teacher for the town's children with lessons four days each week.
An Argel named Gekot Thinlip also lives here: he helps the day watch and spends his other time praying to Little Humble and doing meditative exercises in an attempt to improve his recognizably Argel-like mind.
Quest: Grost and Raisy need help dealing with a particularly tough monster under the town.
Quest: A famous out-of-town group of assassins, the Women of Undesirable Reputation, has taken refuge in manor. Everyone wants them out, but Little Humble's rules for Meek Manors forbid expelling them forcefully.
This building serves as the town's armory, for when everyone needs to arm themselves to repel invading monsters. It also has the offices of the night watch.
A Dweorg couple, Omum and Rinja Pawlin, run the night watch and keep the armory's inventory ready for use.
Quest: A perfumed dagger, the calling card of a famous but anonymous wandering burglar, was left at the armory. Omum suspects it is a prank and haox, but will pay someone to investigate. (A Therion mercenary named Yali has managed to become employed by both the Spiders and the Argels to keep the north wild enough for them. She left the dagger hoping to create mistrust and division among the townsfolk.)
When some aristocractic families of Dweorghome founded Awkeld they cleared a road from the town to the North Dweorg river. Now many farms stretch along this road. Traveling merchant groups act as a defesive armed presence in exchange for food and lodging.
Most of the farms are Dweorg residences, with an underground home and aboveground farmland. A few are owned by Therions eager to escape the Therion-Ogre warfare in the south.
Quest: A farm home is mysteriously empty, with no signs of struggle, and no tracks or other clues. (An artifact throne was dug up in the farmer's field. Anyone who sits on the throne for an entire night gains both a blessing and a curse. Some helpful Purblind "owlbeasts" came to explain what it did to the farmer's family, and is helping them move it someplace secure.)
This mess of run-down buildings is where the town's Kobalts from Kobaton live. The violent squabbling natural to Kobalt society is allowed here, but not elsewhere in town.
Tezri is their leader, but his authority is diminished as he is not a true Ancestor of a complete Superfamily. He suspects that his wicked cousin Dalovia is the bandit leader responsible for intercepting Lammi's herb shipment.
Yatovi is Terzi's younger sister and the town's main minstrel. She treats the Argel named Runget who is infatuated with her like a pet (which is more than enough attention to make Runget the happiest Argel ever).
Darzi is Terzi's younger brother, who visits the nearby farms each day to check in on them helpfully (publicly) and also assist in smuggling to and from Kobalton (secretly). He works closely with Aralm.
Aralm is the Kobalt market-master. He is a genuinely reformed and retired pirate, whose investments were so successful that he could pay back his victims yet still retire in style. He hopes Awkeld is a safely isolated place, where he can oversee the market, notarize important business transactions, offer low-interest loans, and in other ways keep the town's economy healthy.
Grun-grun's Hut - Grun-grun is a Kobalt barbarian who prefer to lives slightly outside the town walls. He works as a bodyguard, and is happy to be paid with desserts. He would be willing to work for Tyrna, but she knows he would not serve as a charismatic character witness.
Quest: Tezri needs to deliver a message to Kobaton as quickly as possible. The route is well-mapped, but dangerous.
Quest: Grun-grun found strange black plants. Give him creepy feeling. Grow a day's journey south of town. Fish kept in bucket with the plants grow huge, spiny, and mean. Grun-grun has been "making" big fish to sell as pets. But someone ate one, and changed too...
Skewt, the talking Argel, and the other Argels who have joined him have adopted the last name Thinlip to better participate in Dweorg society. Skewt now devotes his time to the town's public gardens.
The town's two other social Argels live in a this "cave" made from a pile of boulders. They are very proud of their home.
Jernot Thinlip is a huge Argel that tried awkwardly to be helpful to everyone in town. After several disasters due to failed communication or clumsy displays of strength, he found a use working the town's millstone. The town's Dweorgs maintain the small public mill, which Jernot happily works whenever anyone needs their grain ground into flour.
Runget Thinlip is a small Argel who is infatuated with Yatovi and happy to be her pet. He spends most of his time at the Bombastic Brewery, adoring her music or waiting for her to return to her favorite seat near the fireplace.
Lammi Farrow is a Bergtroll herbalist who runs the town's boarding house and herb shop. The building has the herb shop and her rooms on the ground floor, and three rooms for rent above. Lammi also acts as the town's healer. She is unusually funny (especially for a Bergtroll) which makes her enough fun to be around that most townsfolk do not mind her racial pride and snootiness. Currently two of the rented rooms are occupied.
The first rented room has the Dweorg traveling scholar Pinzran the Old, who is actually an Ogre (named Incisey) disguised as the Dweorg partner with whom he is searching for magical gems and artifacts. "Pinzran" would love to steal the Everspinning Wrench, and has marked a few potential entrances to the caverns under the town with unwashable graffiti.
The second rented room is where Raisy lives for now. She hopes to find treasure under the town soon, to get her own small home.
Quest: Lammi is expecting a shipment of a rare herbs from the Bergtrolls of Mount M'Lady. The shipment is several days late. She will pay someonw to find the delayed merchant and bring back the herbs, or at least a report. (Dalovia and her bandits took it.)
Quest: Lammi has heard a rumor about rare berries growing in the swamps to the northwest. She would certainly pay for a map to where they grow, and a few berries as samples.
Quest: The PC finds a note, or other evidence, that suggests Pinzran is involved in a plot against Awkeld. But there is not enough proof to have the Pinzran questioned or arrested.
Two barrowers live in town. Odan-Joppo Vertun manages the museum and graveyard. His wife, Kelya-Ritti Vertun, breeds oozes and runs the town's sanitation service.
Quest: Grave robbers have been molesting the cemetery. Odan-Joppo wants to hire someone to stand watch during the daylight hours for several days, preferably stealthily. (A Dweorg named Puseth Ranger is a woodsman with powers from the Enchanted Forest to corrupt and command Undead. He has been taking the corpses as additions to his dormant yet growing army.)
The barrower Lydo-Pavo Yzyz hears prophetic whispers. She would like to settle down, but cannot find peace from the portents.
Quest: The town's council is facing a tricky decision, and the local Dweorg nobility hires the PC to find Lydo-Pavo and ask her about the issue.
The barrower Taliso-Embu Quilzu defends the "Bug Cult" area of UnderAwkeld. This is a lonely but important job, and rich in historical significance to make his family proud.
Quest: Long ago this hill was where the Dweorg king Tygare Strongthews ruled the underground city-state named Tygare-Ore. The local Dweorg nobility know this, and secretly seek evidence that their lineage is most direct. When Argels who conquered the caverns, a few stayed underground and slowly changed into the "Purple Argels" whose isolation kept them primitive, bestial, and irredeemiably predatory. Speleoth feeds them, but they are old, bored, and hungry for new flavors.
Quest: The "Bug Cult" was a dreadful group of ancient Dweorgs who kidnapped the people of Tygare-Ore to use as sacrificial victims. A Therion named Hyphos has learned of it and seeks its secrets: surely there was a Dealer who was doing something in exchange for what the cultists brought it, and those offerings got explained as sacrificing people? For now Hyphos forces some Purblind "imps" to bother the town, and has captured Rustly but is unsure what to do with the lumberjack.
Cheekpounches is the town's only Tuathsith. She has a hamster head. She runs the only spell-scroll store. She is so reclusive that no one else is sure about her gender or social interests.
Spell-Scrolls for Sale
Forced Improvisation - The first time in a combat that you attack with a specific improvised weapon (furniture, rocks, etc.) you get a situational advantage bonus
Critical Growth - For an hour your critical weapon hits cause you to temporarily grow in size
Critical Shrinkage - For an hour your critical weapon hits cause the target to temporarily shrink in size
Critical Knockback - For an hour your critical weapon hits cause the target to fly backwards
A "critical" hit can be a rare high die roll, or if no dice are used it can apply after defeating an opponent to the next target hit
Quest: A retired adventurer sold Cheekpounches some "treasure maps". She is especially curious about one map in particular: does it really lead to an interesting and profitable location?
Quest: A shifty-acting visitor to town (Dalovia) hired Cheekpounches to copy a very old book. Inside she found a small paper, hidden under the back pastedown page. The paper contains a message written in an unknown language, apparently a numbered list with the first three entries crossed out. Cheekpounches copied the message before replacing the original and completing her job.
A male pixy named Yosuru used to work as a smith in Dweorghome, but in that city of extraordinary craftsmanship his remarkable strength was not enough to earn him reknown. Here in Awkeld his work is much appreciated, and when his craft needs subtle finesse there are plenty of skilled Dweorgs able to lend him a hand.
A female pixy named Illysuru from the same tree also lives here when not traveling. She is the local Story Finder.
A young dragon named Chasethrukix has moved nearby. It claims to have gold, and want to buy armor, weapons, and artwork. But is it trustworthy?
Quest: An NPC was involved in a murder years ago. His partner in the crime kept a journal, now hidden in a cellar under a shop. The partner left Arlinac Town years ago. He recently sent the NPC a letter informing him of the journal. The NPC hires the PC to retrieve the journal, not read it, and deliver it.
Quest: A lodger in an inn paid for a week's privacy in a room (to decipher a treasure map and its accompanying page). He was murdered, and the map and page stolen. The PC is hired by the innkeeper when the smell becomes an unbearable clue.
Quest: A pirate treasure is buried beneath a temple. The temple's priests would not allow any digging. The PC must do favors for the priests to become allowed to dig there.
Quest: An NPC merchant specializing in enchanted items is the subject of suspicion and accusations when it is noticed that many of his items find their way back to his shop after the old customers die.
Quest: A young woman has braved for Enchanted Forest for an unusual reward: although her homely appearance is unchanged normally, in moonlight she becomes amazingly beautiful.
Quest: The son and daughter of two rival families eloped two nights ago. The PC is hired by both fathers, tasked with bringing back the missing son. The son's own father wants to protect him; the rival father wants him punished.
Ancient bugaboos are root cause of problems on the Moonlit Island.
When Achiever, Yarnspinner, and Little Humble established the island during the Age of Heroes, they planned a division of labor. Achiever would create bigbeast lizards and spiders to provide heroic hunting challenges to the Dweorgs and Kobalts who lived on the island's coasts. Yarnspinner would create three witches whose mission was to sustain a "monster preserve" for these bigbeasts in the center of the island, and constrain the bigbeasts to remain in that area. Little Humble would create bugaboos able to empower the bigbeasts and the heroic people who hunted them.
Unfortunately, the inexperienced Powers created monsters that were tragically unrestrained.
Achiever created lizard and spider bigbeasts that could breed. This mistake was quickly noticed, and ever since no other monsters breed. But the situation in this one case could get out of hand.
Yarnspinner did not sufficiently limit the witches' magic. They drastically transformed the island. They raised two towering mountain peaks in its center. They lowered sections of land, dramatically altering the coastline. The lives and cultures of the early Dweorgs and Kobalts were dramatically affected by these changes.
Yarnspinner also did not include self-preservation in the witches' mission. All three witches were eventually overcome by evil influences. With no magic maintaining the "monster preserve", the lizard and spider bigbeasts became free to roam the island.
Little Humble created a type of bugaboo named a dealer that was much too powerful.
When created, the dealers looked like a large orange crystal with shadowy eyes. They were immobile, sentient, and able to communicate telepathically with intelligent creatures near them. To a limited degree, including only very close to themselves, they could grant a person's wish in exchange for a kind of sacrifice.
The people who found a dealer and made a deal were called petitioners. Some deals were concluded quickly. Others established an ongoing relationship between the dealer and petitioner. Most petitioners visited the dealers they discovered more than once, and kept secret the locations of the dealers. Some petitioners managed to move the large crystals to a more convenient yet still secret location.
But Little Humble negelcted to disallow one dealer petitioning another. When people moved dealer near eough to each other, this began to secretly happen.
Dealers made alliances of which their Dweorg and Kobalt "owners" were unaware. Soon there were factions of dealers granting each other power and striving against the other factions.
Today only a few dealers remain. But those are the strongest, who have been most empowered by the wishes granted with their ancient factions. They still are made of living crystal, but are now serpentinely mobile, sinisterly intelligent, and hungrily able to receive more kinds of sacrifices.
Tekhoon is the Bergtroll King of Mount M'Lady. He continues the work that Maw Lute gave to his grandfather and father: using tamed dragons to assist the island's Dweorgs and Kobalts as they reclaim their northern lands from the bigbeasts.
He is the PC's patron, assigning the PC his or her first quest. The PC is asked to investigate why people are disappearing near one of Little Humble's shrines.
As the adventure unfolds, the PC will learn that an evil cult wants to assassinate Tekhoon. Will the PC save the king?
Gehain is a dealer that wants to be worshipped. Long ago, his now-defeated faction-mates granted him many powers. Gehain can subtly infect the mind of people who touch him, causing them to become increasingly corrupt and fanatical.
Gehain can "bless" a petitioner's blunt weapon. Thereafter, the petitioner can wield the weapon more expertly (it gains the +2 equipment bonus for magic equipment). The weapon also drains the mental energy of those it hits. A petitioner who defeats an intelligent opponent with this type of weapon can chose to turn the opponent into a mind-slave. The drained mental energy is stored in the weapon, when when touched to Gehain empowers the dealer, allowing him to more directly influence the world.
In a similar way, Gehain can "bless" a wooden pole, so sacrificing people on the pole allows communication with Gehain despite the distance. As Gehain grows stronger, he will gain the ability to "bless" a wooden pole to store the mental energy of a sacrifice victim until the pole is brought to him. Eventually Gehain will be strong enough that he can directly absorb the mental energy of sacrificial victims no matter the distance.
Gehain's cultists have given him enough mental energy that he can now bless weapons and wooden poles even if they are not close to himself.
How else is the stolen mental energy empowering Gehain? Why does he want his main petitioner to form a cult of worshippers?
Zyreel is a Bergtroll and a former advisor to King Tekhoon.
Zyreel wants the Bergtrolls of Mount M'Lady to extend their tiny kingdom and establish a strong empire that rules all of the Moonlit Island. He knows that Tekhoon would never do this. The king is content to obey Maw Lute's ancient instruction to help other races grow and expand.
Zyreel believes the Maw Lute's assignment is accomplished. The Dweorgs and Kobalts are safe from extinction. They have established large capital cities and safe towns north of the two mountains. Furthermore, the size of the original "monster preserve", as described in ancient texts, was larger than the far nothern portion of the island to which the bigbeasts have now been driven.
Zyreel has many followers who appreciate his honeyed words. "Surely the Bergtrolls have done their work well for three generations, and can recognize their success! Surely it is time for the Bergtrolls to make themselves the rightful rules of Moonlit Island! Even now, the Dweorgs and Kobalts grow too strong and ungrateful. They will not willingly accept status as vassal states subservient to the throne whose dragon-riders fought and bled to give them back their historic territory. The annointing of a Bergtroll emperor should be an event all three races joyfully celebrate! But instead you and I must plot quietly, and work to make it happen."
Zyreel is patient. He appreciates his king, and all that the royal family has done for their kingdom and island. He does not wish to overthrow King Tekhoon, and has not picked out anyone else as a better candidate for emperor. Instead, Zyreel has become an annoyance to King Tekhoon after years of pestering and urging the king to expand the Bergtroll kingdom beyond Mount M'Lady. He still enjoys the king's friendship, but was dismissed from his role as one of the official royal advisors.
But Zyreel has become increasingly fanatical since finding Gehain. Cautious from having studied old texts, he has not made any deal with the dealer. But he has caught himself thinking that if Takhoon were to vanish, perhaps the political chaos would be the crucible in which a new leader with a higher destiny would emerge.
Yengol is a Bergtroll and friend of Zyreel. He has always been the most zealous adherent of Zyreel's dream, and for many years has spread impatient whispers that King Tekhoon should be replaced.
Yengol recently snuck into Zyreel's rooms and read his private notes about Gehain. Wanting to know more, Yengol visited Gehain and was corrupted. But so far he has not gathered the courage to make a deal with Gehain.
Renzo is the Bergtroll most devoted to Yengol. Unfortunately, he discovered the private notes that Yengol had stolen from Zyreel. He also visited Gehain, and has been corrupted.
Renzo recently found Yengol's copy of the notes about Gehain. Wanting more power for himself, Renzo visited Gehain and was deeply corrupted. Renzo was given a "blessed" weapon, and has begun sacrificing people on "blessed" wooden poles.
Renzo can feel that Gehain is growing in power with each sacrifice. The dealer has promised to share this power in many ways! Together they will establish a wonderful Bergtroll empire!
Mitzi is a Bergtroll captive of Yengol. Ideally she is also a friend of the PC.