24 August 2014

From Weyland to the Forgotten Realms

I went on vacation and my players rebelled.

Sort of.

The kick off of our new 5E game got pushed back a month or so due to my schedule. My dad was visiting, then we went on vacation, so I missed two Sundays of gaming. On both of those Sundays, the group got together to play board games and talk about characters. During those conversations, they decided they would be more comfortable in a setting they knew, so they picked the Forgotten Realms.

I admit I was disappointed with this choice at first. I've been tinkering and jotting notes on the Weyland setting for years; I was finally going to get a change to play there! Actually running games in the setting would also motivate me to do more work and better organize the stuff I'd already done. But I understood the group's choice. There's a lot of newness happening, It makes sense to stick to a familiar setting when transitioning to a new rule set.

So no more new Weyland stuff for awhile. Instead, I'll gather 5E Forgotten Realms materials and rumors, post campaign updates whenever I get around to them, and (hopefully) post new, homebrewed material for the FR that others will find interesting and useful.

The game begins in Waterdeep tonight!

01 August 2014

Monsters of Weyland -- Bugbears and Gnolls

Beasts both fair and foul roam the wilderness of The Western Barony. Some are organized, banding with others of their kind to menace the travelers, farmers, and ranchers who populate the land. Two of the most prominent of these monsters are bugbears and gnolls. 

Gnoll by MarkTarrisse on DeviantArt: http://www.deviantart.com/art/Gnoll-156941776

Welyand is literally surrounded by gnolls. These nomadic, tribal, dog-like creatures roam both the Great Grass Sea and the desert wastes to the south. They routinely raid settlements on the edge of the Barony, killing inhabitants, stealing valuables, and taking slaves. They are savage, seeming to delight in slaughter, especially of elves. Most contact with gnolls are with war bands, raiding groups, or the like. These bands are often led by the largest and strongest gnolls; some have maintained such a constant presence they have their own standards and sigils, such as the Dead Dog or the Flayed Elf. Rumors persist of gnoll villages, but if they exist they are far away from the Barony. Some also blame the vicious behavior of the gnolls on their displacement from their lands in Weyland centuries ago by the Elves of Cadiz and repeated reciprocal savagery from Weyland’s inhabitants, but such soft hearts are no less likely to end up on the end of a spear.

Bugbear by robadimat on Deviant Art: http://www.deviantart.com/art/Bugbear-354397389

Bugbears are stealthy brutes and thieves. Roaming about in small bands or working alone, they menace outlying farmsteads and ambush travelers using stealth and ambush. They’ve been known to sneak into ranch homes, killing the inhabitants as they sleep, and taking everything of value. Worse, they occasionally steal children, selling them into slavery to the neighboring gnoll tribes. Bugbears are vicious and strong combatants, smashing skulls with clubs or morningstars, but they often flee when they loose the advantage. Many bugbears hide in the Var Balas — the broken canyon lands that lie in the northwestern part of the Barony — though they can be found throughout the lands of Weyland. 

In larger settlements, bounties are routinely paid by local authorities for gnoll scalps or bugbear heads. Though it must be said it’s hard to tell a gnoll scalp from that of a human or halfling after a few days.

While bugbears and gnolls are a constant, known threat, stories tell of darker beasts — goblins and orcs — that live underground, inhabiting the lost dwarven cities and venturing out only at night to menace the unwary and drink human blood. Those are likely just wive’s tales, however.