Coming soon to Dungeon Masters Guild is a massive low- to mid-level adventure that is, in essence, a heavily revised and significantly expanded version of Treasures of a Dragon’s Corpse. The setting has been moved to the area including Trielta Hills, Forest of Wyrms, and Najara region of Forgotten Realms, and features not only a fully detailed look at the town of Hardbuckler, but a versatile village generator for the small specks of civilization that dot the hills. Oh yeah, and a multi-level adventure that will see the characters traveling throughout the region to determine the source of a mutating curse, as well as to stem the tide of a lizardfolk tribe that begins to force other monstrous humanoids and less savory types out of the wilderness and into direct conflict with civilized lands.
As a taste of what you’ll see, here are a few maps that I’ve created for the adventure.
The first is Veil Down, which is clearly inspired by Hobbiton as it is built in and on hills, but is now occupied after waves of invasions by a band of ogres. They’ve been forced southward into civilized lands by the rise of lizardfolk savages, and settled in this semi-ruined, mostly-abandoned halfling village. Of course, the size difference between ogres and halflings is pretty big, and while these halfling holes are rather spacious (note that each square = 10 feet), it’s just not enough. The ogres have resorted to knocking down walls, and in one case, one of the ogres accidentally knocked out a few supports, trapping him in the home (location #5)! He won’t admit it to his fellows, so there’s some fun roleplaying potential here.
What else might you find in Veil Down? Well, there’s one family of halflings that haven’t left, and are currently making use of the father’s ability to cast Leomund’s tiny hut to stay alive and out of sight. There’s also a druidic sprite that inhabits an air-filled cave accessible only through a tunnel underneath the pond (location #8); he’s fallen into a deep depression since he witnessed the slaughter of the original townsfolk and was grievously wounded, unable to help the poor halflings.
Created with Hexographer (by Inkwell Ideas), this map uses roughly 10-mile hexes to represent the region around the Trielta Hills, Najara, and a bit of Elturgard. Though the scale might be sightly off (hey, I tried!), hopefully it does its job and works for the (not so) limited adventuring area.
The only non-canon change I made was adding more marshland around the southern banks of the Winding Water near Ss’thar’tiss’ssun. This is the primary location of the lizardfolk at the center of the adventure, and it’s not completely out of the blue given the attributes of Najara’s topography. The DM’s version contains lots of adventuring sites, including over a dozen small villages and “friendly” sites near Hardbuckler, plus a lizardfolk encampment, kobold caves, an abandoned mine (see below), a repurposed mountain temple, and the corpse of a black dragon — the source of the lizardfolks’ power.
Caves & Mine Complex
I’m really proud of this map, as it’s the first one I’ve ever done in my new style of hand-drawn map, which is heavily influenced by Dyson’s Dodecahedron (support Dyson Logos on Patreon to get new maps every couple of days!). I like to keep my maps clean and leave the “set dressing” to the room descriptions, and Dyson’s maps taught me a lot about what to create visually and what to leave out. Plus the cross-hatching (which I do slightly differently, based on other old-school maps I’ve seen) helps make it clear what stuff is underground or separated by thick walls and whatnot. Anyway, even if it sucks, I’m proud of it!
This map specifically shows a network of caves that the kobolds hollowed out and expanded, and then tunneled to connect to an abandoned mine that was played out ages ago by local gnomes. It creates a cool dichotomy between the chaos of the kobold caves and the more logical straight lines of the gnomish tunnels. There’s an underground river that has extensions pooling in parts of both complexes, which creates a unique travel experience for especially risk-hungry player characters; as they might help out the depressed sprite in Veil Down, it’s not hard to imagine they might get their hands on some potions of water breathing or the like. The fact that the kobold caves have so many entrances (some hidden or concealed) gives the players a lot of opportunity to take different routes…or get caught in the cross-fire of multiple rooms filled with kobolds.
Oh, Stop It, You Tease!
That’s a good chunk of it, but it’s really only the beginning section. The journey into the marshes, checking out the corpse of dragon, and trying to stem the tide of lizardfolk raiders is going to be a big undertaking, so you’re only getting a taste of chapter 1 and maybe a snippet of chapter 2. There are four chapters in total, and that doesn’t include full appendices for the Trielta Hills village generator and a deep-dive into Hardbuckler.
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