Vicious Venues
The Old Gristmill
By Skip and Penny Williams

The old mill is missing a few slates from the roof, and its stone walls have grown fuzzy with moss. Still, the waterwheel turns with a steady swish and creak. Willows and rushes line the millpond, creating a sense of benign neglect and rural charm. But, is all as it seems?

Background for the DM

The mill has stood for three generations. When originally built, it stood in a frontier area where an ambitious young overlord, one Symone Huclogh, was pushing out the borders of civilization and inviting commoners to occupy the newly cleared land (and become Symone's tenants and subjects). The new mill served multiple functions. Of course, it ground flour from the grain the locals grew. In this role, it also served as a source of revenue for Symone, who declared a monopoly of gristmills in the area. Symone received a share of all flour produced by the mill.

The mill, with its formidable stone walls and riverside location, also served as a strongpoint for the area's defense. In times of danger, folks who couldn't reach the safety of Symone Huclogh's castle could take refuge at the mill instead.

All went well for many years, and the area boomed. The mill stayed busy year round as nearby farmers took to stockpiling their grain and having it milled into flour as needed. The good time ended abruptly, however, when disastrous floods struck the area thirty years ago. The river on which the mill stood inexorably rose and burst its banks, wiping out once thriving riverside villages in a matter of hours. Croplands, carefully tilled for generations, flooded out and were converted in one storm-lashed night to sterile mudflats choked with debris. Bridges and roads washed out as well, but the mill, which had been built for strength, remained.

The area has not fully recovered from that disastrous night thirty years ago. Only a handful of hardy souls remain. The survivors have wisely moved to higher ground, but many still work to recover flood-damaged fields closer to the river. The mill still grinds grain, but only at a fraction of its former rate, and it sits idle most days. The heirs of Symone Huclogh still have a monopoly on gristmills in the area, and the locals are obliged to take their grain to the mill for storage and processing. The situation does not make the current miller, a young man called Cyndelwoc, a popular fellow.

Rumors, many of them unkind, about Cyndelwoc abound. He was born the summer after the disastrous flood. His mother, Ruxanna, was the miller's wife. The miller Clyve, and his oldest son, Bors died during the flood when they dove into the raging river to save someone being swept downstream. Neither the two men nor the person they tried to save were ever seen again. In the days and weeks after the flood, it was assumed that Ruxanna would remarry, and she attracted many suitors. Ruxanna spurned them all, however, working the mill herself with help from her two children, Bronwyn and little Clyve, and from a mysterious stranger who kept near the mill. Ruxanna and her helpers proved capable, but tongues soon wagged when Cyndelwoc came along. Ruxanna never revealed who Cyndelwoc's father was, but the mysterious stranger continued to live with the family, and the locals assumed he was Cyndelwoc's father. Eventually, Bronwyn and Clyve met and married two locals and both sets of couples left the area. Ever since Ruxanna's death a few years ago, Cyndelwoc has operated the mill on his own. The circumstances of Cyndelwoc's birth haven't helped his popularity with his customers and neighbors.

Cyndelwoc's father was indeed the mysterious stranger from the mill. The night of the flood, Dajuun, who is a nixie, and a few close friends recklessly ventured into the river to ride the wild currents. The group was soon scattered, and Dajuun was swept down the river and into the millrace (an artificial channel that carries water to power the mill's waterwheel). Though Dajuun was in no danger of drowning, debris from the flood threatened to batter him to death. It was Dajuun that Clyve and Bors tried to save. The pair couldn't drag Dajuun out of the millrace, and all three eventually were swept over the mill's wildly spinning waterwheel and dumped into the overflowing pond below. All three were knocked unconscious, but Clyve and Bors drowned. The following morning, Ruxanna found the two bodies, and Dajuun.

Ruxanna tended Dajuun's injuries as best she could and the nixie recovered in time. Dajuun was well aware that Ruxanna's husband and older son died to save him from a fate he had largely brought upon himself, and he resolved to help the family as well as he could. He became the family's helper and guardian, and soon deep affection developed between Ruxanna and Dajuun. He never revealed exactly how he came to be in the millpond where Clyve and Bors drowned.

Cyndelwoc's half siblings, Bronwyn and little Clyve, never quite knew what to make of their mother and her lover, but they became very fond of their half brother. Cyndelwoc was a delightful child, though perhaps a tad too fond of the river to suit the human members of the family. It was quickly agreed that Cyndelwoc's true nature should remain a secret, and the family let it be known that Cyndelwoc was a half-elf. In time, Bronwyn and Clyve left home to start families of their own. After their mother's death, they both moved far away, so as to avoid too many questions about their half brother. Bronwyn and Clyve were happy to allow Cyndelwoc to remain behind and become the next miller; to their minds he always was a child of the river. Dajuun still dwells in the millpond, keeping watch over his son.

Cyndelwoc spends most of his days avoiding contact with his neighbors and wandering up and down the river, fishing, swimming, and keeping a wary eye out for raiders from the wilderness that is slowly reclaiming the area.

The Setup

The PCs might discover the mill by merely passing by it one day. A fairly well-used road runs past the mill, and of course it stands on the river. Or, they might encounter Cyndelwoc on the river. It's also possible they might need Cyndelwoc's services, either as a miller (perhaps they need something ground up), but most likely as a tracker, guide, or boat pilot. Other possibilities include the following:

  • The PCs hear rumors of a cache of freshwater pearls hidden in or near the mill. Perhaps Dajuun had several pearls with him when he was trapped at the mill, or perhaps Dajuun and Cyndelwoc have collected them over the years. Gifts of pearls might have enabled Bronwyn and Clyve to strike out on their own. Perhaps the overlord who controls the mill demands an even greater share of the profits than the locals know, and Cyndelwoc makes up the difference through the sale of a few pearls each year.

  • The PCs are called upon to deal with monsters that menace the area where the mill is located. Cyndelwoc, or the area's overlord (or both) may offer the mill as a base of operations. The mill has served as strongpoint before, and it can do so again. The monsters could by anything from a tribe of orcs to a clutch of green dragons. It also may be a group of merrows, scrags, lacedons, kapoacinths, or some combination of these creatures has entered the river.

  • A conflict has broken out between the local farmers and various fey creatures living nearby. The PCs might be called upon to mediate, or they might simply be caught in the crossfire when they visit the area on business of their own. Dajuun and Cyndelwoc might be carefully neutral in this conflict, or they might be secretly allied with one side or the other. It's even possible that father and son favor different sides.

No matter what the true situation, anyone asking questions about the mill or the miller is apt to get an earful:

  • Cyndelwoc the miller? A creepy guy if you ask me. When you deal with him face to face, it's pretty hard to get mad at him, but it sure doesn't bother him to take the overlord's cut out of every bushel of grain he mills, or to skim off some for himself, neither!

  • As kids, we used to call Cyndelwoc "Cindi" for short. We thought it was pretty funny, but it didn't seem to bother him any. Now that he's the miller, he's getting his own back. I guess some folks can really carry a grudge.

  • They say the miller is a half-elf, but a half fish is more like it! No one knows who his father was really. And he sure likes the water. Goes swimming all the time. Look at his hands! They're webbed! It just isn't natural!

About Cyndelwoc

Cyndelwoc is about 30 years old, which is still rather young for a half-fey. He stands 5 feet, 1 inch tall and has a very slight frame; he weighs 112 pounds. He has blue-green eyes and light blond hair with just a hint of green. He has webbed fingers and toes.

Cyndelwoc does as well he can at the mill, and he bears the ill will he gets from his customers neighbors with fairly good humor. As noted earlier, Cyndelwoc likes to get away from the mill when he can, and that's fairly often. He usually leaves Dajuun to watch things while he's away, and sometimes he also leaves Galatea, his riding dog animal companion, for some extra security.

He tends to greet strangers coolly, but politely, when near the mill. When out in the wild he acts more cheerful and friendly.

The half-fey template in the Fiend Folio specifies butterfly wings and a fly speed for all half-fey. Since Cyndelwoc is a half-nixie, he has webbed appendages and a swim speed instead.

Cyndelwoc: Male half-fey/half-human expert 2/druid 1; CR 3; Medium fey (augmented human); HD 2d6+2 plus 1d8+1; hp 14; Init +1; Spd 30 ft., swim 30 ft.; AC 15, touch 11, flat-footed 14; Base Atk +1; Grp +2; Atk +3 melee (1d6+1/18-20, masterwork scimitar) or +3 ranged (1d6, sling with masterwork bullet); SA spell-like abilities; SQ animal companion (Galatea), damage reduction 5/cold iron, immunity to enchantment spells and effects), low-light vision, nature sense, wild empathy +3; AL NG; SV Fort +3, Ref +1, Will +7; Str 13, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 15, Cha 14.

Skills and Feats: Bluff +9, Concentration +4, Diplomacy +10, Gather Information +6, Heal +6, Intimidate +10, Knowledge (nature) +8, Listen +7, Profession (boater) +5, Profession (miller) +7, Sense Motive +7, Spot +7, Survival +5, Swim +5; Combat Casting, Persuasive, Scribe Scroll.

Spell-Like Abilities: At will -- charm person (DC 13); 3/day - detect law; 1/day -- enthrall (DC 14) or sleep (DC 13), faerie fire or glitterdust (DC 14), hypnotism (DC 13). Caster level 3rd.

Animal Companion (Ex): Cyndelwoc has a riding dog animal companion named Galatea. She gains the following benefits from her companion.

Link (Ex): Cyndelwoc can handle Galatea as a free action or push her as a move action, even though he doesn't have any ranks in the Handle Animal skill. Cyndelwoc gains a +4 circumstance bonus on all wild empathy checks and Handle Animal checks regarding her.

Share Spells (Ex): Cyndelwoc can have any spell (but not spell-like ability) he casts upon himself also affect Galatea if she is within 5 feet of him at the time of casting. If the spell has a duration other than instantaneous, it stops affecting Galatea if she moves more than 5 feet away and does not affect her again even if she returns before the duration expires. Cyndelwoc can also cast a spell with a target of "You" on Galatea (as a touch range spell) instead of on himself. Cyndelwoc and Galatea can even share spells that do not normally affect creatures of the animal type.

Nature Sense (Ex): Cyndelwoc gains a +2 bonus on Knowledge (nature) and Survival checks (already figured into the statistics above).

Wild Empathy (Ex): Cyndelwoc can use body language, vocalizations, and demeanor to improve the attitude of an animal. This ability functions just like a Diplomacy check made to influence the attitude of a person, but Cyndelwoc's modifier to the die roll is +3. The typical domestic animal has a starting attitude of indifferent, while wild animals are usually unfriendly. To use wild empathy, Cyndelwoc must be able to study the animal and it him, so they must be within 30 feet of each other under normal conditions. Generally an attempt takes 1 minute. Cyndelwoc can also use this ability to influence the attitude of a magical beast with an Intelligence score of 1 or 2, but he takes a -4 penalty on the check.

Druid Spells Prepared (3/2; save DC 12 + spell level): 0 -- cure minor wounds, flare, resistance; 1st -- obscuring mist, produce flame.

Possessions: Leather armor, heavy wooden shield, masterwork scimitar, sling, 10 masterwork bullets, scroll of cure light wounds, scroll of entangle, scroll of faerie fire, 1 pearl (10 gp), 12 cp.

Galatea: Female riding dog animal companion; CR --; Medium animal; HD 2d8+4; hp 13; Init +2; Spd 40 ft.; AC 16, touch 12, flat-footed 14; Base Atk +1; Grp +3; Atk +3 melee (1d6+3, bite); Full Atk +3 melee (1d6+3, bite); SQ low-light vision, scent, tricks (attack, come, defend, down, guard, heel, stay); AL N; SV Fort +5, Ref +5, Will +1; Str 15, Dex 15, Con 15, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 6.

Skills and Feats: Jump +8, Listen +5, Spot +5, Swim +3; Alertness, Track.

Scent (Ex): The creature can detect approaching enemies, sniff out hidden foes, and track by sense of smell.

Cyndelwoc: Male half-fey/half-human expert 2/druid 3; CR 5; Medium fey (augmented human); HD 2d6+2 plus 3d8+3; hp 25; Init +1; Spd 30 ft., swim 30 ft.; AC 15, touch 11, flat-footed 14; Base Atk +3; Grp +4; Atk +5 melee (1d6+1/18-20, masterwork scimitar) or +5 ranged (1d6, sling with masterwork bullet); Full Atk +5 melee (1d6+1/18-20, masterwork scimitar) or +5 ranged (1d6, sling with masterwork bullet); SA spell-like abilities; SQ animal companion (Galatea), damage reduction 5/cold iron, immunities (enchantment spells and effects), low-light vision, nature sense, trackless step, wild empathy +5, woodland stride; AL NG; SV Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +9; Str 13, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 16, Cha 14.

Skills and Feats: Bluff +9, Concentration +6, Diplomacy +10, Gather Information +6, Handle Animal +4, Heal +7, Intimidate +10, Knowledge (nature) +10, Listen +8, Profession (boater) +6, Profession (miller) +8, Sense Motive +8, Spellcraft +7, Spot +8, Survival +11, Swim +5; Combat Casting, Persuasive, Scribe Scroll.

Spell-Like Abilities: At will -- charm person (DC 13); 3/day - detect law, protction from law; 1/day -- enthrall (DC 14) or sleep (DC 13), faerie fire or glitterdust (DC 14), hypnotism (DC 13), suggestion (DC 15) or Tasha's hideous laughter (DC 14). Caster level 5th.

Animal Companion (Ex): Cyndelwoc has a riding dog animal companion named Galatea. She gains the following benefits from her companion.

Link (Ex): Cyndelwoc can handle Galatea as a free action or push her as a move action, even though he doesn't have any ranks in the Handle Animal skill. Cyndelwoc gains a +4 circumstance bonus on all wild empathy checks and Handle Animal checks regarding her.

Share Spells (Ex): Cyndelwoc can have any spell (but not spell-like ability) he casts upon himself also affect Galatea if she is within 5 feet of him at the time of casting. If the spell has a duration other than instantaneous, it stops affecting Galatea if she moves more than 5 feet away and does not affect her again even if she returns before the duration expires. Cyndelwoc can also cast a spell with a target of "You" on Galatea (as a touch range spell) instead of on himself. Cyndelwoc and Galatea can even share spells that do not normally affect creatures of the animal type.

Nature Sense (Ex): Cyndelwoc gains a +2 bonus on Knowledge (nature) and Survival checks (already figured into the statistics above).

Trackless Step (Ex): Cyndelwoc leaves no trail in natural surroundings and cannot be tracked. He can choose to leave a trail if so desired.

Wild Empathy (Ex): Cyndelwoc can use body language, vocalizations, and demeanor to improve the attitude of an animal. This ability functions just like a Diplomacy check made to influence the attitude of a person, but Cyndelwoc's modifier to the die roll is +5. The typical domestic animal has a starting attitude of indifferent, while wild animals are usually unfriendly. To use wild empathy, Cyndelwoc must be able to study the animal and it him, so they must be within 30 feet of each other under normal conditions. Generally an attempt takes 1 minute. Cyndelwoc can also use this ability to influence the attitude of a magical beast with an Intelligence score of 1 or 2, but he takes a -4 penalty on the check.

Woodland Stride (Ex): Cyndelwoc can move through normal undergrowth at normal speed, but he is still hampered by magically manipulated undergrowth.

Druid Spells Prepared (4/3/2; save DC 13 + spell level): 0 -- cure minor wounds, detect magic, flare, resistance; 1st -- goodberry, produce flame, speak with animals; 2nd -- barkskin, fog cloud.

Possessions: Leather armor, heavy wooden shield, masterwork scimitar, sling, 10 masterwork bullets, scroll of cure light wounds, scroll of entangle, scroll of faerie fire, wand of magic fang (28 charges), 2 pearls (10 gp each), 19 cp.

Galatea: Female riding dog animal companion; CR --; Medium animal; HD 4d8+8; hp 26; Init +3; Spd 40 ft.; AC 19, touch 13, flat-footed 16; Base Atk +3; Grp +6; Atk +6 melee (1d6+4, bite); Full Atk +6 melee (1d6+4, bite); SQ evasion, low-light vision, scent, tricks (attack, come, defend, down, guard, heel, seek, stay); AL N; SV Fort +6, Ref +7, Will +2; Str 16, Dex 16, Con 15, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 6.

Skills and Feats: Jump +9, Listen +5, Spot +5, Survival +3, Swim +4; Alertness, Dodge, Track.

Evasion (Ex): If Galatea is subjected to an attack that normally allows a Reflex saving throw for half damage, she takes no damage if she makes a successful saving throw.

Scent (Ex): The creature can detect approaching enemies, sniff out hidden foes, and track by sense of smell.

Cyndelwoc: Male half-fey/half-human expert 2/druid 6; CR 8; Medium fey (augmented human); HD 2d6+2 plus 6d8+6; hp 42; Init +1; Spd 30 ft., swim 30 ft.; AC 16, touch 11, flat-footed 15; Base Atk +5; Grp +6; Atk +7 melee (1d6+1/18-20, masterwork scimitar) or +7 ranged (1d6, sling with masterwork sling bullet); Full Atk +7 melee (1d6+1/18-20, masterwork scimitar) or +7 ranged (1d6, sling with masterwork sling bullet); SA spell-like abilities; SQ animal companion (Galatea), damage reduction 5/cold iron, immunities (enchantment spells and effects), low-light vision, nature sense, resist nature's lure, trackless step, wild empathy +8, wild shape (Small or Medium animal 2/day), woodland stride; AL NG; SV Fort +6, Ref +3, Will +11; Str 13, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 17, Cha 14.

Skills and Feats: Bluff +10, Concentration +10, Diplomacy +10, Gather Information +6, Handle Animal +6, Heal +9, Intimidate +11, Knowledge (nature) +12, Listen +8, Profession (boater) +6, Profession (miller) +8, Sense Motive +8, Spellcraft +10, Spot +8, Survival +14, Swim +6; Ability Focus (charm person), Combat Casting, Persuasive, Scribe Scroll.

Spell-Like Abilities: At will -- charm person (DC 15); 3/day - detect law, protction from law; 1/day -- confusion (DC 16) or crushing despair (DC 16) or good hope (DC 15), enthrall (DC 14) or sleep (DC 13), faerie fire or glitterdust (DC 14), hypnotism (DC 13), suggestion (DC 15) or Tasha's hideous laughter (DC 14). Caster level 8th.

Animal Companion (Ex): Cyndelwoc has a riding dog animal companion named Galatea. She gains the following benefits from her companion.

Link (Ex): Cyndelwoc can handle Galatea as a free action or push her as a move action, even though he doesn't have any ranks in the Handle Animal skill. Cyndelwoc gains a +4 circumstance bonus on all wild empathy checks and Handle Animal checks regarding her.

Share Spells (Ex): Cyndelwoc can have any spell (but not spell-like ability) he casts upon himself also affect Galatea if she is within 5 feet of him at the time of casting. If the spell has a duration other than instantaneous, it stops affecting Galatea if she moves more than 5 feet away and does not affect her again even if she returns before the duration expires. Cyndelwoc can also cast a spell with a target of "You" on Galatea (as a touch range spell) instead of on himself. Cyndelwoc and Galatea can even share spells that do not normally affect creatures of the animal type.

Nature Sense (Ex): Cyndelwoc gains a +2 bonus on Knowledge (nature) and Survival checks (already figured into the statistics above).

Resist Nature's Lure (Ex): Cyndelwoc gains a +4 bonus on saving throws against the spell-like abilities of fey (such as dryads, nymphs, and sprites).

Trackless Step (Ex): Cyndelwoc leaves no trail in natural surroundings and cannot be tracked. He can choose to leave a trail if so desired.

Wild Empathy (Ex): Cyndelwoc can use body language, vocalizations, and demeanor to improve the attitude of an animal. This ability functions just like a Diplomacy check made to influence the attitude of a person, but Cyndelwoc's modifier to the die roll is +8. The typical domestic animal has a starting attitude of indifferent, while wild animals are usually unfriendly. To use wild empathy, Cyndelwoc must be able to study the animal and it him, so they must be within 30 feet of each other under normal conditions. Generally an attempt takes 1 minute. Cyndelwoc can also use this ability to influence the attitude of a magical beast with an Intelligence score of 1 or 2, but he takes a -4 penalty on the check.

Wild Shape (Su): Twice a day, Cyndelwoc can turn himself into any Small or Medium animal and back again. His options for new forms include all creatures with the animal type. This ability functions like the polymorph spell, except as noted here. The effect lasts for 6 hours or until he changes back. Changing form (to animal or back) is a standard action and doesn't provoke an attack of opportunity. The form chosen must be that of an animal the Cyndelwoc is familiar with. Cyndelwoc loses his ability to speak while in animal form because he is limited to the sounds that a normal, untrained animal can make, but he can communicate normally with other animals of the same general grouping as his new form. The new form's Hit Dice cannot exceed 6.

Woodland Stride (Ex): Cyndelwoc can move through normal undergrowth at normal speed, but he is still hampered by magically manipulated undergrowth.

Druid Spells Prepared (5/4/4/3; save DC 13 + spell level): 0 -- cure minor wounds, detect magic, flare, light, resistance; 1st -- endure elements, magic fang, produce flame, speak with animals; 2nd -- barkskin, fog cloud, heat metal, summon swarm; 3rd -- call lightning, greater magic fang, meld into stone.

Possessions:+1 leather armor, heavy wooden shield, masterwork scimitar, sling, 10 masterwork bullets, scroll of cure light wounds, scroll of entangle, scroll of faerie fire, wand of magic fang (28 charges), wand of heat metal (39 charges), 9 cp, 3 sp, 4 pearls (10 gp each).

Galatea: Female riding dog animal companion; CR --; Medium animal; HD 6d8+12; hp 39; Init +3; Spd 40 ft.; AC 21, touch 13, flat-footed 18; Base Atk +4; Grp +7; Atk +7 melee (1d6+4, bite); Full Atk +7 melee (1d6+4, bite); SQ devotion, evasion, low-light vision, scent, tricks (attack, come, defend, down, guard, heel, seek, stay, track); AL N; SV Fort +7, Ref +8, Will +3; Str 17, Dex 17, Con 15, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 6.

Skills and Feats: Jump +11, Listen +6, Spot +5, Survival +3, Swim +5; Alertness, Blind-Fight, Dodge, Track.

Devotion (Ex): Galatea gains a +4 morale bonus on Will saves against enchantment spells and effects.

Evasion (Ex): If Galatea is subjected to an attack that normally allows a Reflex saving throw for half damage, she takes no damage if she makes a successful saving throw.

Scent (Ex): The creature can detect approaching enemies, sniff out hidden foes, and track by sense of smell.

Tactics: Three versions of Cyndelwoc and Galatea are presented here, all at different levels. At lower levels, Cyndelwoc tends to rely on his charm person ability in a fight. He targets the most aggressive and physically powerful foes first. If charm person proves ineffective, he usually calls Galatea to protect him while he uses summon nature's ally to conjure up some additional muscle.

At higher levels, Cyndelwoc prepares for a fight by using magic fang on Galatea and barkskin on himself or Galatea when he can.

At all levels, Cyndelwoc prefers making ranged attacks with his sling or with his produce fire spells rather than melee combat.

Visiting the Mill

As noted earlier, the mill isn't in the best condition these days, but it still functions. It's a two-story stone building.

A massive stone mill stands at a bend in the river, looking like a great, moss-covered rock. The lower walls look greener than the uncut grass growing around the place. Its steeply pitched roof seems to have lost some slates here and there, revealing weathered planks and even a few holes underneath. A thicket of willows and rushes hides most of the lower level, but there's a waterwheel just visible through the tangled shrubbery. It turns steadily, creaking and grumbling like an old man on a cold morning. Those mechanical sounds, however, seem barely audible over the noise of the falling water swishing over the wheel and splashing into the unseen millpond below.

The mill is located where the river bends in a wide loop that nearly forms a closed circle. A small dam diverts water into the millrace on the upstream side of the loop, and from there the water flows over the mill's waterwheel and into the millpond below. Another artificial channel carries water from the millpond back to the river on the downstream side of the loop.

The Mill Grounds

The millrace, millpond, and drain channel forms an artificial island inside the loop in the river. The only land access to the "island" lies through the mill.

The millrace and the channel that drains the pond are about 7 feet wide and just as deep. They both contain very fast moving water. It takes a DC 20 Swim or Strength check to cross, and the swimmer takes 1d6 points of nonlethal damage even with a successful check. A failed check means the swimmer is swept way on the current. A swimmer upstream of the millpond takes 2d6 points of nonlethal damage and 4d6 points of lethal damage as he goes over the waterwheel. (Dajuun was very lucky to survive his trip over the wheel.) A Reflex save (DC 15) reduces the damage by half. A swimmer downstream of the millpond takes 2d6 points of nonlethal damage, and a Reflex save (DC 15) reduces the damage by half. Anyone who goes over the wheel is carried to the bottom of the millpond and trapped there for 1d6+2 minutes before a random eddy in the current sets him free. A creature can break loose on its own with a DC 35 Strength or Swim check.

Jumping over either channel proves safer, but the willow thicket imposes a -10 penalty on Jump checks (the woodland stride class feature negates this penalty). Willows line the millpond and both sides of the millrace and drain channel in belts 10 feet thick. The willows are so dense it takes a move action just to push 5 feet through them. (Woodland stride allows normal movement through the willows.) The willows provide soft cover to anyone pushing through them.

The millpond is roughly oval and is about 40 feet long and 25 feet wide. In the middle, it is more than 30 feet deep. The very deepest part of the pond has an artificial grotto made of rocks, water plants, and live shellfish taken from the river. (Some of the latter might contain freshwater pearls.)

Creatures (EL 1): Dajuun makes his home in the grotto. A submerged tunnel near the grotto leads to the mill's ground floor and allows Dajuun to move between the pond and the mill without being seen.

Dajuun (Nixie): hp 3; see Monster Manual, page 235.

The Mill Building

The land side of the mill has two entrances. At ground level, a pair of double doors opens into a storage area. A short flight of stone steps leads up about 8 feet to a single door that leads into the chamber that contains the milling machinery. On the river side of the mill, there is a single door that opens onto a rickety wooden catwalk that runs along the mill's outer wall. One end of the catwalk leads to the water wheel, and the other leads to dry ground just beyond the millpond (on the river side of the mill), but the willows block this end.

The mill has stone walls strong enough to withstand a siege, though there are several windows one might reach by climbing. Cyndelwoc keeps the doors locked and the windows shuttered and barred whenever he is away. He usually opens a window when at home, but he keeps the doors locked unless he is taking grain delivery or shipping out finished product.

Strong Wooden Doors: 2 in. thick; hardness 5; hp 20; break DC 25; Open Lock DC 20.

Shutters: 1 1/2 in. thick; hardness 5; hp 15; break DC 18.

Stone Walls: 2 ft. thick; hardness 8; hp 360; break DC 60; Climb DC 25.

Inside the Mill

The mill has a ground floor given over to storage and machinery, an upper floor with living quarters for the miller, and an attic.

The ground floor has two chambers. The larger of the two holds sacks of milled flour, several huge bins full of whole grain, and a big scale for weighing goods. Cyndelwoc keeps a ledger here where he keeps track of all the grain and flour he handles. Entries show who delivered grain and when. Another column of entries shows when Cyndelwoc processed the grain, and the overlord's share of the resulting flour. In times of trouble, Cyndelwoc can pile several tons of grain and flour against the double doors leading outside, making it all but impossible to force them open.

The second chamber on the ground floor contains the millstones and the collection for gears and shafts that connect them to the waterwheel. A layer of fine dust coats everything in here. A flight of stairs leads up from here to a landing that goes to the outside door, and thence up to the second floor. A water-filled hole in the floor connects the chamber to Dajuun's grotto at the bottom of the millpond (see the Mill Grounds section) via a submerged tunnel.

The upper floor contains living quarters spacious enough for a big family, though Cyndelwoc has the place to himself now. There's a kitchen, living area, two big bedrooms, and a large, walk-in pantry.

The kitchen has a massive fireplace with a brick oven. There's also a rickety table and two battered chairs. The kitchen has ample storage space, but the cupboards are mostly empty; Cyndelwoc and Dajuun don't cook much, and Cyndelwoc's half-siblings took away their share of the household goods when they left. The rest of the living quarters are similarly bare. Cyndelwoc sleeps on a cot in the living area. He has a trunk for his personal belongings, but no other furniture. A pile of old flour sacks heaped near the cot serves as a bed for Galatea.

The bedrooms have bed frames, but no mattresses or bedclothes. The pantry has a small supply of flour and dried fish, but little else. A trapdoor in the pantry ceiling leads to the attic.

The attic holds nothing but a flock of pigeons that fly in and out through holes in the roof.

About the Authors

Skip Williams keeps busy with freelance projects for several different game companies and has been the Sage of Dragon Magazine since 1986. Skip is a co-designer of the D&D 3rd Edition game and the chief architect of the Monster Manual. When not devising swift and cruel deaths for player characters, Skip putters in his kitchen or garden (his borscht gets rave reviews).

Penny Williams joined the roleplaying game industry as Game Questions Expert for TSR, Inc. in the 1980s. Since then, she has served as RPGA Network Coordinator, PolyhedronNewszine editor, and Senior Editor and Coordinating Editor for the RPG R&D Department at Wizards of the Coast, Inc. Now a busy freelancer, Penny edits for several game companies and runs the online playtesting program for Wizards products. When not enhancing the cruelty of the deaths PCs will suffer at the hands of designers, Penny puts up jam, works jigsaw puzzles, and tutors students in math and science.


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