Dungeon Backdrop: The Shadow Fane

Evil is everywhere and humanity must be ever vigilant against its slow encroachment into all that is great and good. Small cults—dedicated to ancient, blasphemous powers—lurk throughout the world ready to carry out their dark patron’s bidding. One such small cult dedicated to Braal, god of hate, malice and revenge, dwells in the Shadow Fane below Languard’s High City. The cultists kidnap and murder in their dark god’s name, but recently they made a mistake that threatens their very existence. Instead of kidnapping a beggar the cultists accidentally kidnapped the daughter of a wealthy merchant and he is offering a handsome reward for his daughter’s safe return.

Cartography by Dyson Logos

Dungeon Backdrop: Deszraul’s Hold

Hidden deep in the hills, Deszraul’s Hold has a sinister reputation. The medusa Dezraul claims the caves and evidence of her fell powers—a bewildering array of uncannily lifelike stone statues—stand about her gloomy domain. All that remains of adventurers daring to face the cave’s snake-headed mistress, the statues are a salutary warning on the dangers of facing a medusa in her lair. But does Deszraul still lair within? Has a band of savage, merciless bandits fallen under her sway? Only you can decide.

Cartography by Dyson Logos

Dungeon Backdrop: Delthur’s Folly

Hidden in the wild uplands beyond the Selka River, the sinkhole-mine of Delthur’s Folly is a byword among the locals for a fool’s errand doomed to fail. The only survivor of the fated expedition—driven mad by his ordeal and raving of “the water’s sibilant whispers”—died shortly after staggering into Dunstone a year or more after Delthur and his miners disappeared into the wilderness. And yet, every year adventurers cross the Selka in search of the mine—gold and silver are said to lie within. Some return empty-handed and some do not return at all. Local legend has it that something terrible dwells in the mine.

Cartography by Dyson Logos

Village Backdrop: Aubade 2.0

Laid low by a witch’s curse, life in the once-prosperous village of Aubade is lived in reverse. At dawn, the streets empty, residents remaining hidden inside during the daylight hours and avoiding the sun’s caress. At night, lamps lining the village’s cobblestone streets blaze to life, and the residents emerge to tend their fields and work their nets on the lake as best they can.

Aubade by Tommi Salama

Aubade by Tommi Salama

Village Backdrop: Gloya’s Bridge

Gloya’s Bridge is a village swathed in secrets. Wearing masks and veils in the streets is normal, giving a chance at unparalleled anonymity and the freedom to indulge in a variety of entertainments with minimal restrictions. Those who want a second chance flock here, in no small part because an unconventional order offers a chance for criminals to leave their pasts behind and be recognised as reformed. Yet, not everyone has the will to reform or the patience to prove it, and the work of the Merciful Order is not enough for all the foes dogging some troubled souls. The offer of a new life for anyone is an important promise to many in Gloya’s Bridge, but the richest patriarch has designs on a new, firmer order. And deep below the surface, a conspiracy threatens to dim or even extinguish this beacon of hope as it gathers the hidden secrets of dangerous and troubled people who have come here from across the region.

Village Backdrop: Brackendale

Brackendale was once a bustling borderland village beset by savage humanoids lurking in the nearby woods and hills. Then, the village was a busy place and wandering adventurers, sellswords and mercenaries were a common sight on its streets. The arrival of the Six—a band of adventurers charged with securing the village’s environs—changed all that. Their annihilation of the goblin and orc raiders along with the completion of extensive defensives work brought peace and security to Brackendale.

But peace it seems had a price. With nothing to hunt adventurers passed by without stopping at the village; the village traders and merchants  sold less and less each year and most now barely scrape a living. Now disgruntled villagers resent the adventurers that once brought peace to their little village.

Village Backdrop: Azagirn

Eschewing the deep, dark homes of their ancestors, the survivors of the reputedly cursed dwarven clan of Azacral now dwell amid the stark beauty of high, windswept hills. But life is not idyllic for the dwarves as their ancient enemy—tribes of half-mad, homicidal trolls— ever lurk nearby. While the majority tend herds of sheep and goats with the aid of their domesticated wolves, an unknowing, accidental threat lurks within the village—a threat that could return herald the return of the ancient slaughter and bloody death that birthed the village a century ago.

Village Backdrop: Hornwall

Five years ago, the bandits won. They overwhelmed the village of Hornwall, killed its citizens and looted their treasures. Then, they settled down. The bandits of Hornwall now reside within the very defences meant to keep them out. They have given up the sword and taken up the ploughshare, exchanging a life of danger for one of safety. The villagers hide their secret well, but bodies keep appearing—floating in on the current, dug up by dogs and even emerging from the thawing winter snows. And the citizens who wish to return to the old ways are murdered in their sleep by their loved ones and business owners who wish to keep the past dead and buried. If passing travellers learn the truth, they have a choice. Forgive and forget? Or avenge the uncaring dead and leave Hornwall nothing but ashes.