Excerpts 04/07/2006


Fields of Ruin Excerpt
By Richard Pett



Fantastic Locations: Fields of Ruin features two double-sided poster maps designed for roleplaying and miniatures skirmish play. An accompanying 16-page adventure can be dropped into any campaign. Enemies include creatures from the recent D&D War Drums miniatures expansion. The two poster maps can be put together to form a ruined stronghold, while the reverse sides feature more ruins and battlefields players can explore. The excerpts below include introductions to the adventure and various areas, plus two encounters.

Kings Road and Death Moon Orcs

1: THE KINGS ROAD

The part of this adventure takes place along an old road that leads to the Keep of Fallen Kings. The road cuts across wooded fields and vast battlegrounds where the legions of the old kings fought the armies of their neighbors. Some say these "fields of ruin" are cursed and that the vegetation and wildlife have been tainted by the vast amounts of blood spilled here.

Raseris passed through this area about two weeks ago and encountered a small force of howling orcs belonging to the Death Moon tribe. The sorcerer and his hired mercenaries easily overpowered the orcs, killing more than half of them and scattering the rest. The Death Moon orcs have since regrouped and are now led by a half-fiend ogre called Homthorg. Under his leadership, they have reclaimed a section of the Kings Road.

2. DEATH MOON ORCS (EL 10)

Orcs of the Death Moon tribe watch the Kings Road and attack anyone who appears. The orcs have dug up three graves belonging to soldiers who perished in battle some years ago and have made grotesque scarecrows out of the dead soldiers' skeletal remains, hanging the garb of fallen bandits upon them. At first the PCs might mistake these scarecrows for undead; place three miniatures on the graves to represent the scarecrows if you wish.

The orcs camp at the edges of the road by the graves. Searching their flea-infested bedrolls unearths the treasure. If the orcs fail to notice the PCs (see Tactics, below), they go about their business. Some of them play a game called Knife, Rack, and Troll (see sidebar), but most spend their time scavenging, eating, bragging, or pushing each other around.

Creatures: A skullcrusher ogre named Drax (marked D on the map) sits atop the ruins of an old siege engine, picking at his toes. Eight howling orc barbarians occupy the squares marked O on the map. The Death Moon orcs scream for blood as they charge into battle, and their battle cries are loud enough to bring reinforcements (see Development, below).

Drax, Skullcrusher Ogre: See below.

Howling Orcs (8): See below.

Tactics: Unless they have reason to believe interlopers are passing through the valley, Drax and the orcs take 10 on their Spot checks. Once enemies are detected, Drax stands atop his rock pile and begins hurling rocks at interlopers. Meanwhile, the orcs spread out (to avoid area spells) and hurl javelins.

Once Homthorg appears on the field, the orcs coat their greataxes with oil of magic weapon before entering a rage and moving toward the nearest foes. Drax remains atop the rock pile until he sees an enemy close enough to smash with his morningstar and spiked shield, or until he has no easy targets to hit with rocks.

While raging, the orcs use Power Attack to reduce their attack rolls by 2 and increase their damage by 4. Once they realize how tough the PCs are, the orcs are smart enough to attempt to overbear enemy fighter-types, move into flanking positions, or make aid another checks on attack rolls. They also try to lure enemies into the light undergrowth.

Treasure: Each orc carries a pouch containing 3d10 gp. Searching the orcs' bedrolls reveals a large amount of furs and tattered clothing. Characters also find the equivalent of six courtier's outfits and one noble's outfit, as well as three sacks containing 100 gp each. The orc camp also contains a pair of dire bear pelts worth 500 gp each. Drax carries no treasure other than his armor and combat gear.

Development: One round after combat begins, Sliprursh (area 3) enters the fray. Two rounds after combat begins, Homthorg (area 4) appears. In the following round, Thogbad the Unhinged (area 5) enters the battlefield. If two or more of these unique NPCs are slain, or if all four orc sergeants are killed, any remaining orc warriors attempt to flee.

Drax CR 5
Skullcrusher ogre
NE Large giant
Init +0; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Listen +0, Spot +0
Languages Common, Giant

AC 20, touch 9, flat-footed 20
hp 60 (8 HD)
Fort +9, Ref +2, Will +2

Speed 30 ft. (8 squares)
Melee morningstar +12/+7 (2d6+7) or
Melee morningstar +8/+3 (2d6+7) and
shield bash +8 (1d8+3)
Ranged rock +6 (2d6+7)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Base Atk +6; Grp +21
Special Actions rock throwing

Abilities Str 25, Dex 11, Con 17, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 9
Feats Improved Grapple[B], Improved Shield Bash, Mounted Combat, Power Attack, Two-Weapon Fighting[B]
Skills Craft (armorsmithing) +5, Handle Animal +4, Intimidate +1, Knowledge (architecture and engineering) +5, Ride +7, Listen +0, Ride +7, Search +0 (+2 secret doors), Spot +0
Possessions spiked half-plate, spiked heavy steel shield, morningstar

Rock Throwing (Ex) Drax gains a +1 racial bonus on attack rolls when throwing rocks (already included above). He can hurl rocks of 40 to 50 pounds (Small objects) up to five range increments. The range increment is 100 feet.

Hook "Drax hates puny adventurers! Drax will crush their puny skulls!"

Howling Orc CR 3
Orc barbarian 3
CE Medium humanoid
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Listen +2, Spot +2
Languages Common, Orc

AC 16, touch 12, flat-footed 16; uncanny dodge
hp 31 (3 HD)
Fort +5, Ref +3, Will +0
Weakness light sensitivity

Speed 40 ft. (8 squares)
Melee greataxe +6 (1d12+4/x3)
Ranged javelin +5 (1d6+3)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Base Atk +3; Grp +6
Combat Gear oil of magic weapon
Special Actions rage 1/day (7 rounds)

Abilities Str 16, Dex 14, Con 15, Int 10, Wis 8, Cha 8
SQ illiteracy, trap sense +1
Feats Cleave, Power Attack
Skills Intimidate +4, Jump +8, Listen +2, Spot +2, Survival +5
Possessions combat gear plus chain shirt, greataxe, 3 javelins, pouch with 3d10 gp

Hook "Chop, chop, chop!"

When Raging
AC 14, touch 10, flat-footed 14
hp increase by 6
Fort +7, Will +2
Melee greataxe +8 (1d12+7/x3)
Grp +8
Abilities Str 20, Con 19
Skills Jump +10

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