The d4, d6, and d8 belong to the NPC, and determine what they’re up to.
The d10 and d12 belong to the terrain. If the time of day is in doubt, you can use the one on the d12 entry.
Here’s a couple to get started with.
It’s all the same to the orc called Kel Strak Kel. Sektorbrav, Corespenio, Porlili, even Cradoon. She’s been there and it’s all the same. This she’ll insist to any of the sloggers her contract’s winged her with, once she’s pulled enough rum out of her flask.
A sixleg Kano-kako charging you down, she’ll tell you, puffing blue smoke into your face, has jack shit on a line of Corespenian cavalrymen. Hell, when I was at Billefuer and they broke through the pike line…
And so on.
HD 3, HP 14
AC as chain, with the biggest shield your system’s got. Big enough to grant her partial cover.
- Arbalest +4, 1d8+2 damage
- Stiletto +2, 1d6 damage
Kel Strak Kel has:
- An arbalest, old but varnished, polished, and impeccably kept. Its prod and windlass are newer than the rest. Kel spent her last paycheck on it.
- A stiletto, flaking gold leaf along the crossguard. She stole this from a lieutenant she once had.
- A brigandine, studded with little copper death’s heads (she made these herself while bored out of her skull at the siege of Therrostrace)
- A long-stem pipe she won off a Porlili furrier in a card game.
- 11 ounces of cheap Corespenian tobacco.
- 3 ounces of rare Porlili tobacco, laced with stuperoot. Save or you’re unconscious for 2d6 hours after the first puff.
- A dray horse she’s named Bigshits.
- Wendla, an ensorcelled pavise. Stamped with the chipped sigil of Ketterlin the Comely, witch-queen of Sektorbrav. Strak Kel extracted an enchantment from a Corespenian magician at boltpoint. Bury Wendla in a shallow hole overnight (a foot’ll do) and tomorrow morning when you dig it up its face will have changed to perfectly mirror the land in which it slept. See Kel marching with Wendla strapped to her back, and you’d think a chunk of the peat up and took a walk—if you see her at all.
It also whispers hateful deprecations to her as she sleeps, in remembrance of its enchanter and the Sektorbravish quarrel that took him through the neck. Kel finds the white noise a comfort, and has a 50% chance of waking up after a few minutes without the sound.
Encountering Kel Strak Kel
- Setting up her bivouac and burying Wendla, in the company of…
- Laying with her pavise on her back, arbalest trained on…
- Engaged in a tense contract negotiation with…
- In transit, singing an old Bravish marching song called The Road Opens Her Legs To You with…
- A skittish hessabird she’s nicknamed Pinchi.
- Four armed and armored caravan guards on outrider patrol.
- Carno ti Rammador, a mercenary halberdier who intends to kill and loot her.
- Her current boss, a squat, leathery caravanner by the name of Emuliri.
- About a dozen squabbling pilgrims and their harried guide.
- A straw archery dummy, face painted to look like her current boss, a squat, leathery caravanner by the name of Emuliri.
- In full fuck-you-I’m-surviving mode, finger on the trigger.
- Furious about being underpaid and ready to take it out on someone.
- In a low-down mood, her rum having run out.
- Stoic and contemplative, remembering fouled fields and dead friends.
- Smoking her pipe, feeling content.
- Buzzed and confident.
- Drunk and cheerful.
- Putting together a little concern, scouting for talent.
Silt and shale curling and swooping like you’re trekking across the exposed brain of some banded godhead. The Hellestrathe Badlands hiss and sigh under heavy boots, burping little carbon clouds as they slowly digest the tiny dead fossiliferous things crushed beneath the sediment.
The ancient volcano (Gryle, it’s called) that killed these things was (is) evil, and it trapped their ghosts here, too. They are its minions. Most of them are microscopic, and impossible to see during the day, but at night the will-o-wisp ostracodes and trilobytes and bryozoa filter through the air, faint and guttering like a starfield on the Earth.
Don’t eat the grass here, and don’t smoke it either, no matter how good the tingling feels. Not without a companion or a good tether to tie you down at night. Or you’ll rise and sleepwalk in the train of the dancing lights as they obey their orogenic idiot-god, and lead you into one of Gryle’s calderas. Gryle sleeps for now and eats for ever.
d10 Hellestrathe Badlands features
- Braided river, green with minerals, flowing languid, shin-deep. Step in it and it yanks you suddenly downstream.
- Muddy shoreline, the skeleton of a two-sail junk boat washed ashore. A leathery mummy in ancient Corespenian Waterpriest robes lays atop.
- A caldera of Gryle, hungry and bubbling with dioxide. 50% chance a well-outfitted corpse floats below the surface.
- The ghost of a reef, curling from the shale. Looks like a transparent Chihuly sculpture, sways without wind.
- The remnants of a naturalist’s camp, hastily abandoned. Tethers on iron spikes, blown-over tents, some valuable equipment.
- The geometric ruins of a neolithic Volcano Cult’s sacrifice site. A dried pit in the center, ancient bones, the mouth of a deep fissure
- A caravan road, winding through the wrinkled lowlands, oxidized and pooling at the carved-out edges
- A high, striated hill, one partially-excavated face threaded with laminated Gypsum
- A copse of scrubby trees surround a hardscrabble Trellak trading post
- A dam made of milky filament and felled saplings blocks a dry riverbed (this marks a Kano-Kako’s lair)
d12 Hellestrathe weather and time of day (if needed)
- Morning. Harsh, bright, and baking.
- Morning. Wind cutting you to the bone. Dust and fingernail-size leaves swirl.
- Morning. Rain. Rock dust churns to mud, gets everywhere, colors you gray.
- Morning. Overcast, unseasonably cold.
- Afternoon. Sun throws down heat haze and blinding mineral reflections.
- Afternoon. Wind carries the smell of sulfur and brackish water.
- Afternoon. A fine and clear day.
- Afternoon. Beetlestorm. It’s raining beetles.
- Evening. The primordial ghosts are especially active tonight. They land sensationless on your skin.
- Evening. Cold as hell. You can see your breath.
- Evening. The air is oversaturated. Your clothes stick to you.
- Evening. The little ghosts are forming strange, tectonic geometries ten feet in the air. Tides and swarms, mingling and splashing.