2013 Previews #15: Cold Mountain


Today we begin to preview some of our upcoming products for the Kings and Kingdoms Adventure Path Plug-Ins! First in line is a low-level adventure, intended for 4th-level characters, that explores a bit more of the cold and lonely wilderness before the PCs have a chance to establish their kingdom in earnest. Even the first hex map in the first adventure covers an area of almost 10,000 square miles, and it strains credulity to think that nowhere in all that vast expanse is there any human habitation. No organized kingdoms, certainly, but it’s already established that barbarian tribes live in the frontier lands to the north and west, and should it be any surprise to find tiny villages here and there as the PCs explore the forlorn hills and deep woods? What might these people be like, living in isolation from their neighbors, with their own insular customs, and what might be the opportunity to befriend them or to take an interest in the dangers of the wild lands that beset them?

Cold Mountain offers just such an opportunity, as a number of tiny villages, crude and perhaps even primitive to outsiders, find themselves beset by a terrible curse of blood that threatens to consume them.

Priya Nizolek was disconsolate when her only daughter, Fanya, took sick with a fever that would not abate, no matter how she prayed to the goddess of the mountain for healing. Long days and nights she prayed, but the village healers could do nothing and Fanya’s life slipped away. Pioska, loyal Pioska, ever her dutiful son, had sworn he would take an offering to the Orual’s mountain, imploring the goddess to restore his little sister, but she forbade him. Drowned in her grief, however, Priya never even noticed Pioska steal away to Orual’s Dolmen… not until three days later when a hunter brought back his garments, torn and bloodied where a wild beast had fallen upon him in the wood. Mad with grief, Priya seized her daughter’s dead body and her son’s bloody clothes to take them the goddess’ mountain, to demand satisfaction. The goddess would answer to her, she would answer for abandoning her faithful servant Priya in her greatest need, leaving her desolate and alone. Delirious from hunger and exhaustion, Priya desposited her grisly burden upon Orual’s Dolmen, barely clinging to sanity in her grief and anger. As Priya started to pray, a raven circled down from the rocks, alighting on Fanya’s corpse. Appalled as the carrion bird began to feast, Priya leaped up in a blind rage and hurled herself at the raven, in heedless pursuit as it flapped wildly trying to escape. In her headlong rush, Priya scarcely noticed when the snow-shrouded scree atop Foxglove Falls gave way and she plummeted to her doom. But sometimes a mother’s grief and rage are stronger than death…

Thus is set into motion a terrible wrongness that brings terror to the villages and their forest home, as nature itself turns hungry, and that hunger threatens to consume not only the villages but to spread into the lands beyond, a hunger that could devour the PCs kingdom at its birth. A hunger that looks… like this…

Caw! Caw! Caw! (raven for "Frank Hessefort is an excellent artist!")

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