Friday, August 12, 2011

Hex Mapping Part 9: Valley of the Avians

Hopping back to the eastern side of the mountain, we’ll next populate the broad, long valley south of the jungles. Starting in the far east, there’s a tower built by the orcs. It’s not as necessary as it used to be, but its primary purpose remains to guard against large forces moving through the gap between the mountains and the sea. I suppose the hidden lair of the mind flayers could be below it as well, but I haven’t really decided just where I want that to be, and it would make more sense if it was further north and west in the range, I think. At this point, there’s no need to force the issue.

Moving west up the valley, we see a village marked on the southern range. This is actually an ancient monastery that’s fallen partially into ruin. The current inhabitants are a community of kenku. Assuming the PCs can put up with their antics, they could serve as potential allies for the PCs, but knowing the way most players deal with thieving kenku, this is likely to turn into the target of a vengeful raid. ;p

Moving up (to the west in) the valley, we find a village in the plain between the mountains, alongside the river. These are orcs, captured from across the mountains and enslaved to toil here by the batfolk who live in deep caves where the town is marked on the map to the north and east of the village. (What are batfolk? Not entirely sure just yet. I’ll probably throw up stats and such next week.)

Finally, all the way up the valley is a castle. It was built by cloud giants in ancient times, but the current inhabitants are stone giants. In a massive aviary on one side of the castle they keep rocs, and they use them to raid all across the island. Most of their slaves are ankeri from the eastern side of the island, though they also have gnollish mamluks and a few hill giants among their menials.

Most of these creatures are neutral (or under the thumb of neutral monsters) and so any could conceivably serve as allies to the PCs. At the same time, none are obvious allies for the PCs. The players could easily end up antagonizing all of them which will make life very difficult, especially if they’re moving clockwise around the mountains. This is their last best chance to make powerful friends for a while.

Finally, there’s that one, single mountain south and west of the dead volcano. That was an oops on my part when I way plopping down mountains, but I left it, and I’m still tempted to do something with it. Perhaps it’s the home of reclusive, xenophobic dwarves? Again, there’s no rush to drop something in there now, but it’s certainly something to keep in mind for later.

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