Kingdom of Varnhold
Varnhold is another Charter Kingdom to the east of Magnamare. Country and Capital are both Varnhold. This hex contains the capital city.
- one south from the Rostlandic village of Nivakta’s Crossing,
- one overland through the wilderness and a low spot in the Tors known as Varnhold Pass.
Established by Maegar Varn and his auspiciously named group of loyal mercenaries, the Varnling Host.
Most of Varnhold’s buildings are constructed of fieldstones up to a height of about 3 feet, with wooden planking and even some frame and stucco above that. The windows bear shutters and are unglazed unless otherwise noted. Roofs are uniformly shake shingles. A few dwellings, however, are still the sod dugouts constructed in the colony’s earliest days. The primary buildings of the town are:
- an inn called the Water Horse or Hippocampus and sporting a sign of that creature outside belonging to Miriam Kolesau, a Surtova loyalist,
- a church of Erastil run by the High Priest of Varnhold, Caspar Morgarion,
- a town livery,
- a small brewery which brews ‘Cheerful Delver Stout’: an excellent beer if perhaps lacking a certain refinement,
- the local grange, where farmers can stockpile their produce for trade and sale
- artisan’s houses: potter, weaver (who has children and a cat called Dragon), gemcutter
- Willas Gundarson’s house in the hill
- Kitchen Stores
- Wizard’s apartments of Sefal, Dispatch Master of Varnhold
- Governor’s Quarters wherein was a map of Varnhold and its Nomen Heights surroundings
- Well with a secret escape route
- Sergeant-at-Arms residence of Howitt Gurney
The town is constructed around a ford of the Kiravoy River, above which stands a low, flat-topped hill. Atop this hill stands the hewn-log stockade and blockhouse built for the colony’s defence — the seat of Varnhold’s lord governor, Maegar Varn.
Varnhold is a fledgling colony comprised primarily of single adults evenly distributed between
craftsmen and farm laborers, though there are a number of married couples and even a few families with children.
On 1st Sarenith 4713, the Duchess of Magnamare stated to the Party that she had not heard from Varnhold for some weeks. She was also having nightmares about a ‘great red eye’. The Party set forth to investigate reaching Varnhold on 7th Sarenith. They found the city very quiet and crows circled overhead and the air smelt of decay…
The party found no evidence of human tracks newer than two weeks old. A chuul and four murders of crows attacked them and it seemed the crows were being controlled by a Raven. More distressingly, the stockade in the village has been conquered by a bunch of Spriggans.
On investigation the party found the following clues:
- the word ‘Nomen’ carved in the wood in the inn in the last two weeks, probably a reference to the Nomen Heights
- Letters and books of a Taldan professor called Maestro Pendrod (one had been protected by a sepia snake sigil which had accounted for a spriggan)
- the Temple had been ransacked by spriggans but they had failed to find some divine scrolls
- the potter’s house was closed by order of Varn because of fever and contained a secret door inside
- in the graveyard were 14 graves; ten died on the same day about a year ago after fighting Centaurs; the last grave’s occupant was the potter who had died just 17 days ago
- in Varn’s party’s rogue/ranger‘s house, we found a log in Skald of the party member’s travels including fights with Nomen Centaurs. The last entry was from two weeks ago about the Varnhold Pass where he had found a jade bracelet by the river.
- the stockade full of spriggans which were dispatched by the party
- In Sefal’s apartments we found his spellbook – an unlikely thing to just leave abandoned and communications between the colony and Restov including concerns about the Centaur problem especially some raids that occurred six weeks previously
- Signs of massed movement to the SE of the town – tracks of tens of humans and some demihumans
We had heard some rumours as well about these parts:
The Nomen Centaurs eat humans. I suppose that’s not technically cannibalism, but it’s still pretty horrible!
There’s a valley to the south that the Nomen centaurs say is an old Cyclops graveyard — rumour holds that an army of blood-drinking one-eyed ghosts guards the place!
One-eyed giants once ruled this entire area—the strangely regular mounds you see now and then on the Tors are the ruins of their buildings.
A tribe of Spriggans lives in the Tors somewhere. They’ve been at war with the Nomen centaurs for as long as anyone, I reckon. Rumour holds that the current spriggan chieftain stole a magic bow from the centaurs quite a few years ago, and that’s what started the whole fight between them.