and Ends for Silver Marches
By Ed Greenwood and Jason Carl
Rand Sharpsword, collector
of bits of travel and geographical information, brings you further details
about the Silver Marches area. Rand provides these to supplement the information
found in the Silver Marches.
A Traveler's Aid
are considering exploring areas that get dark, consider finding and using
a driftglobe. Driftglobes are very popular with adventurers
of all types, and they often assist those who have such a tight traveling
schedule that they cannot stop moving even when night falls.
small sphere of thick glass radiates light on command, and it can
shed daylight for up to an hour by a second command (50 charges).
A third command causes the driftglobe to rise into the air and follow
the creature touching it when the command is uttered, much like Tenser's
floating disk. The globe floats about 6 feet above the ground within
5 feet of its owner, and it has a speed of 50 feet. It sinks to the ground
if its owner moves too fast for it to keep up. The driftglobe can
support up to 5 pounds of weight if some kind of sling or net were fastened
over it to hold the weight. It sinks slowly back to the ground again when
commanded or touched again by the creature it is following.
Level: 5th; Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, daylight,
Tenser's floating disc; Market Price: 7,200 gp; Weight: 1 lb.
Giants: Those traveling through the mountains be wary. Less dangerous
to the Silver Marches communities than their brethren, the stone giants
tend to remain in their mountain strongholds unless some greater need
forces them to enter the lowlands. It has been at least a century since
a gang of stone giants last attacked a settlement in the area. Travelers
in the mountain passes may find their route endangered by the sporting
events these folk sometimes conduct right in the middle of the passes.
The wise traveler retreats to a safer distance and waits out the game,
rather than risk being pounded flat against a mountainside by a stray
and Water: If you are thinking of dealing harshly with treants for whatever reason,
of the High Forest have learned an unusual trick: waterlogging themselves
to reduce their vulnerability to fire or carrying water for firefighting
in the forest. A treant must stand in a pool of water at least 2 feet
deep to do this, and it requires a full-round action to absorb 100 gallons
of water. Water carried in this way counts against the treant's carrying
treant can carry 1,864 pounds (roughly 200 gallons) of water or less as
a light load, 3,732 pounds (400 gallons) as a medium load, and up to 5,600
pounds (700 gallons) as a heavy load. To lose its fire vulnerability,
the treant must carry a heavy load of water, suffering the normal penalties
for doing so (refer to Chapter 9 of the Player's Handbook).
can release 100 gallons of water through its leaves, bark, or roots as
a standard action.
Ghost Guards: Though you may already be aware of this, a force of
no fewer than ten Tree Ghost warriors (CN human Bbn2) is always in the
vicinity of the Grandfather Tree. So, if you have business there and aren't
exactly friends with these folks, watch your backs, and don't expect an
Told around the Fire
Dangers of the Road
told to me by caravan guard Melenthros
had a bit of bard in him. At least that's what the rest of us thought.
He told numerous stories around the fire when he traveled. It seemed to
be his way of calming down after a long day of journeying and settling
in for the evening's watch. After he lost his arm in a fray with trolls
in the High Forest, he headed for Silverymoon. He mentioned that he'd
be working shorter trips around there. His skills were such that the lack
of an arm didn't slow him down much, but clearly he felt it was time to
settle in a bit more than he had been. He told us this short tale of warning
before he left us for good.
room of the Auvandell Arms was busy this night, Nimoeth thought. Lean
and strong like an old wolf, the tavernkeeper paused in his work to survey
the room in case trouble lurked. Nimoeth carried a cudgel at his belt
instead of the sword he once wore as an adventurer, but he was handy in
its use. He missed those days, of course -- just this morning he'd seen
off a band of freebooters headed for Silverymoon.
seemed peaceful enough tonight. A dozen townsfolk and a dozen more travelers
stranded by the snowstorm murmured and laughed, shouted and stomped, as
if through artificial good spirits they could keep at bay the bitterly
cold winds roaring down the pass. On a night such as this, no one but
a fool would dare the Silverymoon Pass, and so Nimoeth had a roomful of
customers to ply with hearty food and good drink. By the end of the night
he'd have plenty of their gold in return. The wind moaned outside, cold
and bitter, and Nimoeth found himself hoping that those adventurers had
had the sense to find shelter early. Maybe he didn't miss it so much,
oak door of the tavern rattled and thumped, then burst open wide as a
thick-shouldered dwarf battered his way inside the room. Snow and cold
blasted past his heavy form. Many of the room's denizens swore and huddled
closer for warmth. "Close the door, fool!" someone snarled from
one corner. Other patrons added their protests. Nimoeth straightened from
the tap to hurl a friendly imprecation of his own, but the words died
on his lips.
face and hands were deadly white. A rime of ice clung to his beard, and
fine snow powdered his cloak. And he half-carried another traveler, an
elven woman who lolled at his side, eyes closed, ice masking her face.
The dwarf took two steps into the taproom, and then sagged down on a bench,
trying to steady his companion. "Tea," he croaked. "Cider.
Something hot, and now. And for Moradin's sake, someone fetch a cleric
fell silent. Nimoeth seized Barik, the kitchen boy, by the sleeve and
pointed him toward the back door. "Quick, lad, bring Brother Thamin!"
Then, as the boy slipped out to seek help, the innkeeper and his barmaids
rushed over to the two frozen travelers with blankets and steaming mugs.
"Here, Sir Hurwald," the innkeeper said quietly. "We'll
look after her, now. Are others of your party still out in the storm?"
looked up, grief unreadable on his frozen face. "You won't find them.
Avalanche, maybe 5 miles into the pass. The mountain took them, friend."
Description of Felbarr
told to me by Caravan Master Llythnul
Master Llythnul had this to say about our destination when I had the honor
of working for him once. I'd not been to Citadel Felbarr at that point,
and I wasn't much looking forward to it after hearing this, either. It's
isn't the end of the world, but you can see it from there. We have to
stop in Sundabar to hire on extra guards, and we always end up needing
at least a third more than we can get. Sometimes, if we're lucky, we can
engage the services of a party of adventurers who are headed the same
way. You have to be careful about such groups, though: There's adventuring
bands as will turn on you halfway to your destination, strip you of coin
and cart, and leave you waiting for the dire bears to rend the flesh from
you finally reach the Citadel, it's all looming stone towers and massive
iron spikes and more deadly traps and pitfalls than you can imagine. And
smoke -- lots of stinking, foul smoke, because the dwarves vent their
smelters above the ground. And all around, in every direction, nothing
but screaming wilderness. But believe it or not, the folks of Felbarr
are some of my best customers.
Dogs and Experience
told to me by caravan guard Alena Strathford
heard this one while at the Dancing Goat. If a lesson is to be learned
with this tale, it's "never underestimate your foe," and perhaps
even "dogs can make great allies." The guard who told it was
a pretty thing, though she had a wicked way with dual blades. A besotted
(and soused) downy-faced boy tried to show her a bit too much attention,
and he found himself on the ground with both blades at his throat before
he could take another breath. What made for an even better show was the
great dog that landed on his chest and sat there for over an hour, keeping
him down while she caroused nearby. Alena is said to have at least one
dog or even wolf around her at all times.
probably saved Helver's life.
sound asleep, buried under a thick wool blanket against the bitter cold
of the early spring night, when Fang and Knuckle set up a racket that
would have roused a stone-drunk dwarf. Helver came awake in an instant,
hurling aside his blanket and leaping out of his bed. Outside, the dogs'
barks became snarls and growls, and now Helver heard the coarse shouts
of orcs -- several of them.
to the mantle and seized the old greataxe that hung above the fireplace.
Its blade gleamed wickedly in the ember-light. Helver hefted the weapon
once and turned to the door, but just then the whole cabin shuddered as
a hulking orc kicked down Helver's front door. "You think I fear
an axe in a farmer's hands?" the orc roared.
don't care what you think," Helver replied. He scowled and waited.
roared a challenge and rushed forward brandishing a wicked-looking sword.
With a mighty leap, the orc hewed straight down at Helver's skull. But
Helver was not there. He twisted to one side and spun, bringing his greataxe
whistling around in a deadly arc that plowed through the orc's shoulderblade
and out of his chest, hammering the raider to the stone-flagged floor.
Then the homesteader wrenched his axe free of the first orc and ducked
beneath the wild swing of a second orc. That one caught the edge of the
axe just under his chin and had most of his head taken off.
wiped the blood from his face and looked up at a third orc filling his
doorway. That one hesitated, glancing at the bleeding shapes sprawled
on the floor of the cottage. "That's right, I killed them,"
Helver growled, striding forward over the body of the second one. He shook
his axe at the orc in the doorway. "I've killed giants with this
axe, you boar-faced oaf. How long do you think it's going to take me to
backed out of the door cautiously, then turned and ran -- but not far.
Fang and Knuckle dragged him down out by the stone fence. Helver sat down
in his doorway, looking out over his land at the moonlit mountains beyond.
"Damn orcs," he muttered, but there was a grim smile on his
lips. It was good to know that the lessons he'd learned in ten years of
adventuring still remained with him.
Met While Scouting
told to me by caravan guard Hiran
says this happened to Morvin, a friend and compatriot of his sister Amhira,
while scouting out a bunch of orc patrols. I don't know if it's the truth,
but it certainly reminds you to make no moves until you know for certain
what you face. Sometimes, the situation gives you no breaks, however,
so you could also take away the lesson that bad things just happen and
there may not be a thing you can do about it but do the best you can.
Personally, I would've at least faced death with my eyes open and tried
to seek a further advantage out of the situation just in case one was
presented to me at such a terrible moment.
mist settled over Morvin as he crawled across the forest floor under the
cover of night. The chilling fog descended so quickly that he at first
believed it to be the work of an enemy sorcerer or wizard. Then he realized
that the icy fog was natural in origin. This sort of phenomenon happened
all the time in the Silver Marches, particularly at this time of year.
Only a few minutes ago he had been navigating easily, if slowly, by the
filtered starlight that seeped between the bare autumn tree branches;
now he could see almost nothing.
just terrific, he mused. Bad enough that there's an orc patrol somewhere
ahead, but now he couldn't see the orcs even if he stumbled into them!
He crouched on his heels behind the dubious safety of a young birch while
he took stock of his situation. A quick glance to his right and left confirmed
what he suspected -- he could not see either of his companions. He ground
his teeth in frustration. Without Amhira and Punarthan, this mission to
scout the movements of the orc patrol stood little if any chance of success.
Morvin's nostrils filled with a rank, bitter odor. He grimaced silently.
Whatever it was smelled like a rotten carcass that had lain too long under
a hot summer sun. Then it dawned on him: Orcs! Nothing else smelled so
bad. He must be right on top of the patrol. But his eyes could bring him
no help while the mist lingered.
his ears, he held his breath while listening for some clue to the orcs'
location. Then he heard it: Something moving off to his left, perhaps
two or three dozen paces away. Judging from the sound, it was one, maybe
two, orcs skulking through the forest. Probably separated from the rest
of their patrol, Morvin mused, just like me. But what do I do now?
was settled for him as the noise and smell grew stronger. Carefully he
loosened his sword in its scabbard and reached for the hunting dagger
tucked into the top of his boot. The odor of rotting meat grew even stronger,
and he could hear distinctly the deep, panting breath of one of the creatures
as it struggled through the wood.
gripped his weapons tightly. He should see the orcs any second now, and
he would get only one chance to attack from surprise.
for it, he told himself. Wait until you see them. Wait for it. . . . Now!
exploded out of his crouch, weapons clearing their sheaths with a metallic
ring that was somewhat muted by the fog. He dove forward toward the creature
that loomed through the mist. His blades cut a deadly arc through the
air and struck home, but it wasn't until the creature howled in surprise
and pain that Morvin realized that something was totally, awfully wrong.
orc. His mind registered that fact already. Too damn big. And shaggy.
What the --
never saw the blow that caught him in the torso and sent him flying backward
to crash against the birch tree that only a moment ago had been his shelter.
He felt it, though, and felt the claws as they tore through his leather
armor and shredded his flesh as though it were paper. The back of his
skull slammed against the tree and his vision blurred, even as his sword
dropped from his quickly numbing hands. As he slid to the ground, his
mind was still working to make sense of his predicament.
roar and another wave of the putrid odor rolled over Morvin as he tried
to pick himself up off the frozen ground. His vision cleared, and now
he could see the creature that towered a good 14 feet above him, its blood
trickling scarlet from the scratchlike sword wound in its side.
closed his eyes as the dire bear charged.