10 Things to Enliven a Journey Through the Mountains

Adventurers are often trekking deep into the wilderness in search of terrible foes and glittering treasures. Forgotten temples, tribal lairs and abandoned tombs all lurk in the craggy, wild hills of the borderlands.

The Twisted Gorge by Matt Morrow

The Twisted Gorge by Matt Morrow

 

Use the table below, to add minor points of interest to the PCs’ journey through the mountains:

  1. The trail hugs the north side of a steep cliff. In the cliff’s shadow, it is noticeably colder and frost still clings to the ground and stone.
  2. A huge bird circles above the party, high up in the air. After a few minutes, it flies away to the west.
  3. High up on a cliff overlooking the trail, several cave mouths pierce the rock face. A narrow ledge—perhaps chiselled into the living rock by unknown hands—links the caves together.
  4. The trail reaches the steep, slippery banks of a swiftly flowing mountain stream. The water is fast and only just above freezing. Someone has dumped several large rocks in the stream to act as stepping stones.
  5. Here the trail splits to go around a huge, jagged shard of rock thrusting upwards from the ground. The rock is perhaps 20 ft. high and wreathed in pale green moss. Perceptive PCs notice some of the moss on the rock’s left-hand flank has been rubbed off.
  6. Stinging, cold rain—borne on harsh winds—engulfs the party, rendering them cold and wet (and probably miserable). The rain lasts for 1d3 hours.
  7. The party’s trail passes the mouth of a steep-valley. Sheltered, by steep flanks, fog yet lingers within, giving the valley the appearance of a portal into another, ethereal place.
  8. The roar of a mountain lion echoes through the mountain air. The echoes make it impossible to locate the lion, but given how loud the roar was, it is surely nearby.
  9. The picked clean skeleton of a mule lies near the trail. The skeleton is clearly old but still wears its rotting and rusty bit and bridle.
  10. As the trail approaches a particularly narrow stretch where it passes between two towering cliffs a large boulder looms over the trail. Daubed on the boulder in faded red paint is the word “Danger” written in Common, Dwarven and Orc.

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This article will appear in GM’s Miscellany: 20 Things II, available in March 2017. For more, check out our Free Resources page.

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