Friday, August 22, 2014

Institutional Stupidity

In our modern world we have frequent recourse to interact with large institutions. Whether you're employed by one or merely have business with one, you've seen the kinds of deep-seated root-level stupidity that plagues them. And this isn't because the institutions are stocked with morons. Far from it, it usually appears that one or two uniquely incapable people reach a bottleneck and clog the arteries of communication, killing all the workers down the line by starving them of necessary information, assistance, or whatever is needed. This institutional stupidity is something that inheres only in strongly redundant organizations. What do I mean by this?

Where institutional power is weak and things are accomplished more by individuals taking initiative than by following the proper channels, individual people have a tendency to communicate more. Failure falls not on the fact that a message slipped through, but on the fact that someone fucked up if a message wasn't delivered. In a well-organized and redundant institution, this missing information is likely not to be fatal to the organization as a whole. This is why it has safety valves, catches, and redundancies. In a smaller or less well organized institutional structure, these safety valves don't exist and failure won't be caught by the net installed to make sure their big kindred can continue lumbering on. Indeed, it is the very inertia of powerful institutions that makes them immune to small-time scandals of this nature.

Why am I even talking about this on a blog about D&D? Because there was far less of what I would qualify as institutional stupidity in the ancient world and the middle ages. Institutional power simply wasn't entrenched well enough to allow petty bureaucrats to gum up the works with no negative results. When the gears began to stick, people noticed, because it could lead to the loss of lives and livelihoods. This is something of an overgeneralization, which I am loathe to make*, but generally institutions were extremely weak if extant at all.

Institutions as we know them require structure, legal backbone, organization, and precedent. Crisis in the pre- and post-Carolignian world (the Carolignian Renaissance, as it is called, saw the emergence of temporary but not particularly robust institutions for administering the will of Charles) was generally dealt with in terms of individual situations. Each problem was a problem for an individual solution. Of course, again, there are cases where this isn't true—the ealdormen and shire reeves of England, the vast canonical courts of Rome, etc. However, the scale of institutions was greatly curtailed, the types of problems they dealt with were extremely specific, and they were generally much more vital (accepting of and capable of reacting to change) than modern institutions are.

The upshot of this is that your PCs are less likely to be "forgotten" by an institution and let slip through the cracks. They are unlikely to weasel their way through loopholes and use the inertia of bureaucracy to escape the eye of those in power. On the other hand, they are more likely to obtain power themselves and be permitted to exercise it. The lack of institutional safeguards cuts both ways.

*And here's where I take it back piece by piece. The Romans, of course, had much stronger institutions, which were necessary for the governance of the empire. Even after the Western collapse, in the east the Romans continued to operate on a much more organized and, indeed, institutional level.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Law School and the Move

I may have to take a brief hiatus for a few weeks while I move into my first house and enter the first semester of law school. If not, then this warning is for nothing (save moving the next date I have a blog post up). If so... you have been warned!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Paying the Penalty

Medieval crime and punishment is different in many ways from modern crime and punishment. I've talked about medieval law before, but this is the first time I've ever set out to catalogue how it could affect your idea of a fantasy society in any kind of definite way.

The most important thing to note is that there were no penalties of imprisonment in the early and high middle ages. You might be reduced to slavery or forced to pay a fine or even executed, but you'd never become a prisoner as a result of lawbreaking—excepting, of course, the period where you were waiting for your trial. Even then, you'd likely just be kept in the undercroft of a local manor, not a special-built jail or prison or even (gasp) dungeon.

The Anglo-Saxon Dooms
Taking a look at the laws of King Alfred, it becomes apparent that there are essentially two types of punishment: paying the geld (or value) of the crime, or death. In some cases the value of the crime was determined by the value of the thing destroyed or stolen. This is descended from the wergeld, or man-value, of early Saxon times, which was a price you paid the family of someone you killed (based on their social status) to legally prevent a feud from developing.

If you're truly seeking to simulate a medieval society, what you should do is draw up a short sample of fines and then determine what constitutes a capital crime. Capital punishment in the English system (the only one I'm really aware of in great detail at the moment, having not refreshed myself on the customs of Frankia in a long time) can only be dealt out by the king. In his absence, it was the job of the royal assizes to roam the countryside and give trial to those being held for capital crimes (usually, as above, being held in the croft of a manner until the time came for the assizes to try them).

The Process of Trial
The old germanic continental custom of trial was for the families of the accused to gather together in a central place. The accused would swear that he didn't commit the crime and his family would swear also. This would prevent "justice" from being done unless the accused's family didn't back him up—which could be the case, if they knew the accused was a dick and he was constantly making life harder for them by, for example, getting involved in court cases.

In England, the situation was similar though not as clearly one-sided. The accused would be asked to assemble oath-takers from amongst the townsfolk where he was charged. If he could assemble five or twelve of them (I don't remember the circumstances surrounding how many were needed and don't feel like looking it up: if anyone is really interested, leave a comment and I'll go back to the books and get you an answer). Essentially, these oath-takers would swear that the man did not commit the crime. If enough could be produced, he would go free. This clearly favors the social fabric above individual justice, but what is the point of justice if not to knit together the social fabric?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Orthodoxy and Orthopraxis

HERESY. A common word on the internet these days, mostly because its fun to say, and partially because its used commonly in the Warhammer 40k universe. But what exactly are heretics? Do they necessarily even exist in fantasy worlds? How can we better understand the way heretical movements functioned, what made them heretical, and why there were no heretics in diffuse religions? Well, we can examine the topics of orthodoxy and orthopraxy.

Orthodoxy — Right Belief.
This is a central tenant of the Catholic Church which was pushed to the fore by the co-opting of the previously underground church infrastructure by the Roman Empire. Orthodoxy reflects a necessity that everyone believes the same thing. Heresy (from the Greek root "to choose") cannot exist without a strong strain of ortho doxos, straight (or right, or true) belief. Thus, the presence of an orthodoxy inevitably hereticizes all other forms of belief. While this need not be universal and all-encompassing (There is only the One True God vs. When you worship this god, you must do it with this belief) but it tends to be.

Thus, one of the key elements to forming heresies is orthodoxic requirement in the faith. But orthodoxy requires other things to prop it up and promulgate it. They are (I) Centralized Authority, (II) Systems of Dissemination, and (III) An Orthodox Canon.

(I) Centralized Authority. In order to determine what qualifies as part of the orthodox canon and to administer the faith, some form of central authority is required. If a faith has no governing body, it cannot enforce orthodoxy. This can be a non-permanent assembly of all temple-leaders (such as a synod, convened to discusses matters of canon law and determine what does and does not fall under the rubric of the orthodoxy), a permanent position (such as the one held by the Roman Emperor, who could convene and threaten synods), or a permanent council (such as the rabbinical and Levitical councils which dominated Jewish faith). In any case, the central authority must pick and choose what belongs in the faith and what constitutes "right thought." If a faith is massively decentralized and has no overarching authority, it will be subject to many more permutations and local changes.

(II) Systems of Dissemination. Cathedral Schools, Rabbinical Schools, training centers, and public masses serve as systems of dissemination to the masses and the priesthood. Most pagan ceremonies of the ancient world took place in private, hidden from the regular laity, and training of priests was a secretive task that was performed in the sanctum sanctorum. But for a strict orthodoxy of correct beliefs to thrive, these training methods must be made open to scrutiny so they can be corrected. These channels are also required to transmit the central authorities version of the faith so they can be reproduced in the lower orders.

(III) A Canon. This isn't as strict a requirement as the others (though it is possible any or all of the three could be circumvented by processes I'm not thinking of at the moment) but it serves to cement orthodox practice. The canon doesn't just include holy writings or teachings, but also usually many crusted-on exegetical practices and treatises which help explain the original holy work. The Catholic example of this is the writing of the Church Fathers like Origen, Augustine, and Jerome, which explicates biblical writing and cemented it as a single strain of orthodoxy in the Late Antique Church, which chose certain interpretations over others.

Orthopraxy — Right Action.
Polytheistic Classical Antique religions are much more likely to be interested not in what their worshippers believe (because who cares?) but rather what they do. If you burn an offering to a god because you want something, you are participating in an exchange. The god may literally "eat" the incense and smoke of the offering as a form of sustenance (perhaps why more prayers make gods stronger) or it may be symbolic. However, the control of belief is much less important than the control of actions. Temples want sacrifices, they want loyal worshippers who will make the right choices, and they rarely care if someone believes something outside their faith. You think Mars can fix your house? Fine, we don't think so and we won't make the sacrifice to him on your behalf, but that's your business.

Thus, it is clear that without the trappings of Orthodoxy, heresy cannot exist. Extremely variant views may be relatable to heresy within even an orthopratical view (for example, eating the dead in honor of Mars would be disgusting, unthinkable, and awful and a practice to stamp out) but even then, it's not so much the errant belief that is responsible as it is the errant action.

So look carefully over your setting and ask yourself again: can heretics exist?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Scepter by Any Other Name

One of the most consistently viewed pages on this blog is the Symbology of Scepters, which gets looked at a few times each month without pause or interruption in its popularity. Recently, I've been reading a lot of Mesopotamian history and literature and I've come upon something I felt I should make public—

Scepters don't go back to Greece. Those long king-tall rods are even older.

The scepter is one of the meh handed down by Enki in the very dawn of time to the people of Eridu. The list of the meh includes:

  1. Enship
  2. Godship
  3. The exalted and enduring crown
  4. The throne of kingship
  5. The exalted sceptre
  6. The royal insignia
  7. The exalted shrine
  8. Shepherdship
  9. Kingship
  10. Lasting ladyship
  11. "Divine lady" (a priestly office)
  12. Ishib (a priestly office)
  13. Lumah (a priestly office)
  14. Guda (a priestly office)
  15. Truth
  16. Descent into the nether world
  17. Ascent from the nether world
  18. Kurgarra (a eunuch, or, possibly, ancient equivalent to modern concepts of androgyne or transsexual [6])
  19. Girbadara (a eunuch)
  20. Sagursag (a eunuch, entertainers related to the cult of Inanna [7])
  21. The battle-standard
  22. The flood
  23. Weapons (?)
  24. Sexual intercourse
  25. Prostitution
  26. Law (?)
  27. Libel (?)
  28. Art
  29. The cult chamber
  30. "hierodule of heaven"
  31. Guslim (a musical instrument)
  32. Music
  33. Eldership
  34. Heroship
  35. Power
  36. Enmity
  37. Straightforwardness
  38. The destruction of cities
  39. Lamentation
  40. Rejoicing of the heart
  41. Falsehood
  42. Art of metalworking
  43. Scribeship
  44. Craft of the smith
  45. Craft of the leatherworker
  46. Craft of the builder
  47. Craft of the basket weaver
  48. Wisdom
  49. Attention
  50. Holy purification
  51. Fear
  52. Terror
  53. Strife
  54. Peace
  55. Weariness
  56. Victory
  57. Counsel
  58. The troubled heart
  59. Judgment
  60. Decision
  61. Lilis (a musical instrument)
  62. Ub (a musical instrument)
  63. Mesi (a musical instrument)
  64. Ala (a musical instrument)

So we can see that the scepter springs from ostensibly the oldest civilized times when it was wielded by sacred kings of Sumerian city-states. The Greeks must have picked it up from the Mesopotamians; whether before or after the Anabasis is hard to say, but I'd wager they got it some time during the Archaic Period, because Homer talks about the rods of kings. Whether Agamemnon really had a rod of rulership is impossible to know, but Homer or roughly contemporary poets must have had the idea about the rods (scepters) by their time.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Thinking Through Outlaws, the Second Part

Now that we've sufficiently established outlaws as something other than bandits, and really begun to dig into their character, there are some other things we can do with outlaws. For example, outlawry makes a fine character background for adventurers (though be wary lest it be overused) and outlaw camps can be generated without resorting to combat scenarios with bandits.

The Outlaw Kit
This isn't really even a kit, just a skin that can be put on top of any class. The likelihood of a wizard being an outlaw is extremely low, but always possible.

Wizards
Wizards in general form a legal class all of their own that generally means "don't fuck with me," so while a wizard's tower in the wild is technically outside the legal jurisdiction of the law and you can technically waltz in there and kill him, this type of wizard doesn't really fit under the "outlaw" heading because they have a lot of interactions with the respectable members of society and because they are, above all, very wealthy, which generally precludes them from living the same kind of hand-to-mouth life as the classical outlaw. However, a wizard who lives in a cave or a hovel in the wild and has very few resources might train an outlaw-mage apprentice using this kit.

The Alterations
Outlaws begin play with substantially reduced resources. No outlaw character can buy armor better than studded leather at character creation. Weapons that incorporate steel in them cost double for outlaws, but bows cost one half their listed cost. Outlaws begin play with a -2 reaction penalty from townsfolk that live nearby and a +2 reaction bonus amongst intelligent forest dwellers of all kinds. These reaction bonuses will fade if the outlaw changes their lifestyle considerably or moves away from their home region.

Furthermore, outlaws may only keep 1d6 silver pieces after character creation—all other unspent gold should be used, because otherwise it will be wasted.

Outlaws may, with the permission of the DM, have a "home camp" where they are well-liked and may receive shelter and food for free (though they will be expected to perform some basic camp labors). These home camp folk will also be likely to tell the outlaw PC of any rumors they've heard and may offer to hire on as hirelings.

Randomly Generated Outlaw Camps
Terrain (d8)
If the roll is even, the site is graced with a river or lake to provide water.
1-4. Forest
5-6. Meadow
7-8. Caves

Number of Outlaws
For sites with watercourses, add +2d6. For every 4 outlaws, presume one complete family. For every ten people, assume one 1st level character is present.
1-3. 1d6
4-5. 2d6
6-7. 3d6
8-9. 3d6+2
10. 4d6

Band Leadership
1. Charismatic single character (any class, of level 1d4+1)
2-3. General consensus
4-6. No leader

Number of Bandits
This is the percentage of the outlaw camp that regularly engages in typical bandit activity.
1-2. 0%
3-4. 10%
5. 50%
6. 100%

Type of Defenses
1-3. None
4. Palisade
5. Moat
6. Moat & Palisade

Relationship with the nearby town
1. Very Poor
2. Poor
3-5. Average
6. Great (alms are frequently given)

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Charcoal Burners and Other Outlaws

The task thought of as most unpleasant and unclean in all the Middle Ages was undeniably charcoal burning. Charfolk were a people unto themselves, and they often lived in the woods and dells in much the same state as outlaws. This brings me to another point about outlaws: they were the equivalent of the homeless population of today, rather than generic bandits. Bandits, being a specific type of outlaw, were usually former military men who'd fought in campaigns, perhaps as levied peasants or even as knights of this or that lord.

Outlaws, however, established societies that tended to reject the town life that prevailed in the rest of Europe. Robin Hood's Merry Men are a good example of outlaw folk—not necessarily inimical, but simply living out of the normal sphere of public justice and decency. There were entire communities as well as small individual families (or even just individuals!) living outside the fabric of medieval society. So the next time you roll up some outlaws or bandits, consider...

The Unique Forest Encounter Table
1. A family (1d4+1 members) of outlaws chasing a boar through the underbrush for dinner.
2. Three drunken charmen tending a massive buried fire for making charcoal that is threatening to get out of control.
3. A gruesome grove of bandits, all hanged high from the branches of ash and oak trees. 1-in-4 chance there are ghouls prowling the site, gnawing at their dangling feet.
4. A small colony of wood-dwelling lepers, unkindly disposed towards travelers.
5. A little community of forest gnomes who want nothing more than to trade stories and share beer.
6. A defrocked priest or priestess dwelling in a cave nearby a little stream and a garden.
7. Two halflings who are selling fake treasure maps for a pair of silver pieces. Most of them lead to various lethal obstacles, such as trackless mires or dangerous pits.
8. A young level 1 bard playing an instrument or singing. If the PCs bother him (or her) they'll be in for tales about their idiocy and misdeeds to be spreading in their wake.
9. A young person who appears to be a level 1 bard, but is in actuality a leprechaun or pixie waiting to play a nasty prank on the next travelers he spots.
10. A spring where a number of outlaw families (1d12+1) are washing their clothes. If it's winter, they are also breaking the scum of ice and drawing water.
11. Four mercenaries who've decided to turn their hand to filching rather than fighting. They are of levels 1d4-1 (though the third might be 1d4+1 if he's a good leader). They wear mail and carry long killing axes and knives. If the PCs look dangerous they may instead choose to offer a game of dice or stories.
12. Three women of various ages cutting down their children or husbands from hanging ropes.
13. A knight, his squire, and 2d4 militia folk in leather armor flushing a number (1d6+2 families) of outlaws out of the forest with loud shouts and stout wooden rods.
14. Dungburners (1d4) and their families (a wife or husband and 1d8-1 children) tending to several large dung fires for creating charcoal.
15. A wandering master mason and his smith companion alongside three pilgrims.
16. Three young outlaws in a running sling battle with a platoon of goblins combing the forest for them.
17. A lord hunting with his party (1d4 other lords, each with their own knights, handmaids, beaters, etc.) riding through the forest.
18. Two outlaws leading a train of stolen pigs from the nearest town into the wild.
19. A furnished cave who's outlaw occupants are currently gone.
20. A black magician who's been forced to live in the wild by the local townsfolk. He (or she!) may be willing to trade stories or magic for food and information.
21. A community of heretics worshipping at an open air altar.
22. A small battlefield being picked over by outlaws for coins, daggers, and rings.
23. A falconer out in the wild looking for nests.
24. A caravan of 1d6+1 wagons (each with 1d4 crossbowmen and 1d6 guards) under attack by a number of bandits (2d6 per wagon) who are making good use of trees and bows.
25. A graveyard for the forest folk with wooden or roughly hewn stone markers.
26. A gathering of hastily abandoned woodsmen's tools by a half-cut tree.
27. Five woodsmen hauling away logs for their lord.
28. A small hunting party shouting at poachers who they've discovered have downed one of the local stags.
29. A stag. 10% chance this is actually a white hart, and shooting it (and killing it) will grant the offending PC either a curse (roll twice on every saving throw or skill check and take the lowest roll, unless remove curse is cast) or a wish. (DM's discretion)
30. A faerie noble set up in a tent in a mede in the forest.
31. Six wood elves dancing through the trees and leaving silken ties behind them, strung up on the boughs. If they see any cut wood amongst the PCs they will be enraged and possibly attack. Deadwood is fine.
32. A rock gnome sitting alone on a stone, memorizing a particularly long epic saga.
33. Eight dwarves returning from a lead mine with their haul. Not keen to talk or let PCs know what's in their wagons.
34. Eight dwarves returning from a secret vault with 10,000gp in their wagon. Not keen to talk or let the PCs see their haul.
35. A shepherd desperately trying to keep up with his flock as they trundle through the undergrowth.
36. Several unsavory men steaming wood in a rush-filled trench covered with sod.
37. An herbalist wandering amongst the forest, looking for specific plants.
38. A small family exercising their copice rights, cutting wood for repairs on their home.
39. A young maid who's run off with a brave outlaw lad.
40. A young lad who's run off with a brave outlaw lass.
41. A patch of delicious forest mushrooms.
42. A patch of extremely deadly forest mushrooms.
43. 2d6 bandits charging tolls for crossing a river, perchance squatting on a bridge which they've blocked with a barricade.
44. A dwarven smith who lives by himself in the wood and may be willing to make weapons or armor for the PCs.
45. The font of a natural sulfur spring bubbling up out of a mossy rock.
46. A man wanted by the assizes or the local lord for murder, hiding out in a makeshift home in the wood.
47. The home of a local cunning woman who knows how to make simple abortifacients as well as healing salves. She may also have the ability (at the DMs discretion) of casting spells as a level 1-5 wizard or priest.
48. A halfling family living in a hill-side house who are having trouble fighting off wolves.
49. A halfling family living in a hill-side house who are feigning having trouble fighting off goblins but who actually kill travelers and take their belongings.
50. Eight halfling swineherds tending their flocks in the underbrush.
51. A secretive halfling village full of friendly folk who will be eager to offer their aid, beer, strawberries, or whatever else they have available.
52. Several young women running water through buckets of ash to make ammonia.
53. A number of dangerous looking fellows stoking clay smelters for melting bog iron.
54. A group of local villagers beating the yearly bounds.
55. Some brickmakers by a riverside baking clay bricks in a kiln.
56. Lead miners constructing a hand-made tower of wood and white charcoal (very dry oak made in a separate furnace) in order to melt down a lump of lead ore.
57. A bog of drowned dead, killed by some mysterious magic. They may be ghouls waiting to grab passing PCs at the DM's discretion.
58. A deadfall that has the appearance of a bandit trap but which is actually a goblin or bugbear trick. There are a number of trees nearly chopped all the way through and ready to drop. The PCs are highly likely to be attacked by the bugbears or goblins if they appear to be easy bait. Otherwise, they'll be permitted to pass.
59. A knight on a religious vigil, determined to protect the sacred fingerbone he's been given. He is level 5 and assumes anyone (including PCs) is attempting to get near him for the purpose of stealing the relic.
60. A rancid sack of barley that's been cast aside some time in the past few months. It's filled with mice, and picking it up will expose the PC to 1d8 mouse bites which, themselves, cause no damage, but must be cleaned or they will become infected.
61. A priory of hermits living in separate cells and worshipping some obscure god.
62. Nine bandits living high on the hog, laughing and eating, some quite drunk. They have just raided a monastery, and have a haul of silver holy icons and books totaling a value of some 1d10x200 gold pieces.
63. A mysterious bonfire being tended by some 40 people in a strange religious ceremony. Holly is being added to the fire every so often, and much dancing and consumption of wine is going on apace.
64. An old druid clearing brambles from the road.
65. An abandoned wagon off to the side of the road or track with a broken axel. There is a 10% chance it contains some kinds of goods left within it.
66. An old chapel in the woods, dedicated to some beneficent god but currently untended. As it is still consecrated, it would make a good place to rest for good-aligned PCs.
67. A wedding ceremony between two nobles of the nearby area performed by a priest (or priestess) of the harvest in an open glade.
68. An angry dao, doomed to wander the world disguised as a farmer until he grants three wishes, fuming on the side of the road. He has 1d3 wishes left. He may only grant one wish per group, and the fewer he has to grant the more he'll want to grant them. However, any PC can piss him off to the point where he'd rather stymie them than grant the wish—of course, he may also attempt to pervert it for his own amusement.
69. A vile privy demon that follows the PCs around and waits until they're relieving themselves to throw curses and other nasty magic.
70. A priest proselytizing to a group of outlaws in a field.
71. A mad wandering philosopher, with many gems of wisdom to impart and long-winded speeches to deliver. He is being followed by three gnomish scribes; one is more or less ambivalent to the philosopher, while the other two take up complimentary and antagonistic viewpoints, variously.
72. A bacchanal composed of formerly well-ordered townsfolk now driven to sacred stupor on wine. They may attack the PCs if the spirits urge them.
73. 1d6 folks squatting around a lime kiln that's slowly burning the remains of a giant (turned to stone with age) into lime ash.
74. A gravedigger and his apprentice, en route to a new town for reasons both mysterious and unknown to the PCs.
75. Several cotters, full drunk from working on a harvest field recently.
76. An elvish market beneath a hall of towering ash and beech trees where all manner of strange (and sometimes intangible) goods are being sold.
77. Three gnomish laborers looking for work on the road.
78. A miller who has been driven out of his village for cheating the farmers. He will rant and rail, and eventually may ask the PCs for their help getting retribution.
79. A small outlaw camp being attended to by wandering cobblers and tinkers. They may repair the pots and shoes of the PCs for a small fee.
80. A silver-tongued nun who has decided to live in the wild to be free of the temptations of the world.
81. A heterochromatic man who can smell gems and gold naturally. He is wanted in several counties, but will accompany the PCs if he thinks they can protect him.
82. A family severely afflicted with dysentery—they are on the verge of death, lying by the roadside in the brush. No one will help them.
83. A family who are on the verge of starving. Desperate, they may attack the PCs even if they think they can't get food.
84. A traveling band of forest dwelling pain-worshippers. They flagellate themselves and groan in pleasure as they send their devotions to their lord. They will be led by a level 1d4+1 priest of their faith as well as 2d6 level 1 acolytes (all fighters with no armor and staves or clubs). The flagellants themselves fight as level 0 bandits if trouble should arise.
85. Merry men and their anarchist leader, who may hold up the PCs if they look wealthy enough. Everyone in the band is at least level 1d4+1, while their cocksure headman is level 2d4+1.
86. A camp of non-hostile goblin outlaws who will be willing to (grudgingly) share food or stories with the PCs. Look out though, because if they think they can get away with murder, they will.
87. A platoon of hobgoblin knights with their minotaur lizards. They will converse and eat with the PCs, but will not share rations willingly.
88. A mercenary company that's been without pay for months. They have taken to banditry, but will not hold up well-armed foes like the PCs. They may enlist the PCs to help extract their pay from their former employers.
89. A bandit ambush conducted by 3d10 former peasant leveemen, broken by the hard road of fighting for their lord, and now with nothing left to lose.
90. An old one-eyed man who whispers useless wisdoms.
91. A lone ogre who, for whatever strange reason, appears to enjoy assisting travelers. Gives good, concise, and clear directions and has a cauldron of stew back at his camp if anyone wants to share. Doesn't even eat human meat! (Probably)
92. A cluster of kobold scavengers (2d8) picking over the murdered remains of an outlaw camp and chewing on the ends of bones, ripped untimely from the fallen.
93. A leering magician teaching his impish familiar new tricks on a stump.
94. A devil itching to have a contest with some mortal in exchange for their soul.
95. A blind seer who lives in a cave, but can divine much of the future.
96. A cavern which actually leads to the underworld.
97. A massive enraged boar, several times the size of a man, which has become a maneater and will almost immediately become enraged and dangerous.
98. 2d6 swineherds from the nearby village feeding their pigs acorns. One of the pigs has been possessed by a devil and can speak, which is making all the lads and lasses uneasy. They will probably ask the PCs for help.
99. A lover's tree, carved with the names of all those who trysted beneath it. If the PCs sit under its boughs for any length of time, they can hear the whispers of true love lost spoken by all those who have died there.
100. An outlaw camp made within and around the bleached bones of a dead dragon.