744 Red Leaf Vale – Regional Setting

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Give every person a blade and a helmet, for we shall defend our homeland from the orc invaders. Even if it costs us our lives and all we have built in this vale.

Vassal Lord Arthur Reati

In the eastern reaches of a grand empire lies a land so far removed from the capital and its quarrelsome rulers that they are left to fend for themselves against adversity. Red Leaf Vale, named thus after the colorful shades of the forest in autumn, is a small seaside county. It is a small region a stubborn traveler can cross in a day or two at most. Its main settlement, Red Leaf, is a large, walled town sur­rounded by farmlands, forests, and hills. It is quite close to a river delta and the sea but it is no port town; the sea in this region is so treacherous and deadly that no mar­iner dares sail the waters of these territories. Life in the vale is dull and often uneventful. However, a new threat has crept from the uncharted southern lands; something that may change the fates of all in Red Leaf Vale.

Sharp-Teeth Bagark

An orc clan, led by the cruel and despicable Sharp- Teeth Bagark, has taken advantage of the lack of defens­es in the vale and its roads and set up a palisade fort near the south border. From this lair, named Crooked Teeth, Bagark leads its small host of orcs, goblins, and worgs to take over the county. Their ultimate goal is to take Red Leaf and the smaller settlement Torren’s Square.

There was a bloody skirmish last week on the outskirts of Red Leaf. The city watch was decimated. Many brave peasants who took arms to defend their lands perished too. The orcs are loose on the vale now, looking for the first opportunity to infiltrate or storm any of the two set­tlements. The townsfolk are in dire need of help. A party of adventurers may become folk heroes if they help liber­ate Red Leaf Vale. It is a unique opportunity to rise from the shallows and into renown and glory.

Level 1-4 Region

  • Encounters. Roll 1d8 for a Road Encounter when the characters move from one area to another. Roll twice if the characters choose to travel during the night.
  • Roads. All paths are well-trodden but none are devel­oped. The empire’s influence does not reach this far.
  • Climate. The sea is often agitated and deadly to sail due to the strange storms that come from the Spiral Pen­insula, east of Red Leaf. Roll daily for climate (1d6): 1, clear and sunny. 2-4, outcast and rainy. 5-6 stormy.

Red Leaf

Once the seat of a proud king, Red Leaf is now but a part of a large, sprawling empire. The Vassal Lord Ar­thur Reati is the vale’s current ruler. He has pledged alle­giance to the emperor but the distance from the capital is such that the Vassal Lord has ample latitude reigning his territory. Arthur is, unfortunately, untrained in the art of war and, if the rumors are true, he is also a coward. He is at a loss about how to deal with the orcish menace.

Red Leaf has a population of under two thousand peo­ple. Most of them are farmers, miners, and laborers. Those brave enough to face the orc marauders in bloody combat have paid with their lives or are injured. An aura of despair threatens to take over the undefended town. A splinter faction of laborers and merchants consider the possibility of ousting Lord Vassal and opening the palisade gates to the orcs; thinking that negotiation with Sharp-Teeth Bagark cannot be any worse than trying to fight him. Alas, the town is on the brink of collapse, fu­eled by fear and cowardice. Sir Danley, the constable, still believes there is hope. He looks for mercenaries willing to risk it all for the townsfolk’s freedom.

 RUMORS d6 Details
1 Many believe that the Vassal Lord colluded with the orcs and willingly fails to defend the vale and the town properly.
2 People speak of a cursed tomb near Red Leaf. A place where the remains of the kings of yore, before the empire, were interred. Some believe that a grand treasure is buried therein but no one dares approach. Orcs have been spotted near the area.
3 A purple pillar of light can sometimes be seen in the Spiral Peninsula, especially during terrible storms.
4 Survivors from the skirmish outside Red Leaf say that the orc chieftain, Sharp-Teeth Bagark, wears a necklace of finger-bones.
5 Against all odds, some people say that Constable Ciranna in Torren’s Square is valiantly rallying up the townsfolk and peasants to fortify the town and oppose the orcs. Word is on the streets that she has summoned all mercenaries around to their side.
6 Rumor has it that the Southern Pass, the only road to Torren’s Square, has been taken over by orcs or bandits.

Crypt of Ashen Bones

A grim opening on the rocky hillside leads down to a tomb no one has delved into in generations. Little is known of it as all records from that time were burned when the empire reached Red Leaf Vale. A dynasty of warrior kings from that time was interred here. Their spirits, lingering for deliverance, seek a worthy soul to bestow their power onto; a way to inherit their prowess onto the world once more, even if it serves a new master.

Crooked Teeth

The orcs of Sharp-Teeth Bagark found an abandoned mining site near the south border and made it their lair. They have used stones, ores, and metal beams from the mine to fortify their position. Their improvised base shall be tough to storm in an open battle. However, the old mining tunnels reach far and some believe there is a way to infiltrate the orc lair through them. Bagark’s sister, Va­renna, has the only accurate map of these tunnels. She hides in the sewers of Red Lead, plotting against him.

The Southern Pass

The unpredictable weather in Red Leaf Vale causes the overflow of the river near the shore. This is why the only bridge is located so far away from Red Leaf. The South­ern Pass is a canyon and the only road that connects both settlements. A band of human and dwarf brigands took advantage of the orc invasion to take over the pass. They allow the orcs to pass unimpeded in exchange for safety; a delicate truce between the two criminal factions.

Oakhelm Forest

The small hamlet of fey creatures such as elves, satyrs, and faeries in the depths of Oakhelm Forest was attacked by orcs a week ago. The fey fled into the wild while the orcs made themselves at home. Gorlav, a lieutenant of Sharp-Teeth Bagark leads this group. They have abduct­ed travelers and merchants and set them to work cut­ting the trees around the hamlet. Gorlav plans to build a stronghold here and oppose Bagark. He would then be­come the new chieftain and control Red Leaf Vale.

Torren’s Square

A quarter of the size of Red Leaf but with twice the cour­age, Torren’s Square townsfolk date their ancestry to warring families of the olden kingdom before the em­pire. The small town is surrounded by a wooden pali­sade; several watchtowers with mounted crossbows dot the wooden wall. The town is particularly able to with­stand a long siege as the locals have perfected the har­vesting of edible mushrooms which they plant and har­vest in many underground basements within the town.

The Orcs. They tried to storm the apparently harm­less town only to be driven off back to the bridge and the Southern Pass. The group in Oakhelm Forest does not attack the town, hoping the locals shall get rid of Sharp- Teeth Bagark; this would strengthen the Gorlav’s group.

The Constable. The de facto leader is Constable Ci­ranna, a middle-aged woman known for her bravery and her accuracy with the bow. She is a no-nonsense official with a deep-rooted disdain for the Vassal Lords of Red Leaf Vale. In the current chaos of the orc invasion, how­ever, she sees an opportunity for personal growth. Con­stable Ciranna knows of Vassal Lord Arthur Reati’s utter failure to defend the territory against the invaders and plans to campaign to convince the populace that the Vas­sal Lord is either incompetent or an orc sympathizer.

Temple of the Iron Mask

North of Torren’s Square, there is a stone door in the rocky plateau. The door is inscribed with ancient runes that no scholar in the county can decipher. All they can agree on is that the runes speak of a Mask of Power; an ancient device that appears in old draconic legends. Un­beknown to all, the artifact lies hidden therein, its power may be a crucial piece in the battle to liberate the vale.

Portal of Ages

A gate at the very end of the Spiral Peninsula leads down a stone staircase that none has trodden in centuries. The strange underground compound therein contains an un­fathomable artifact that eludes the comprehension of even the most knowledgeable scholars. The Portal of Ages is both a terrible weapon and a gateway to the se­crets that lie beyond the veil of the Material Plane.

Sharp-Teeth Bagark ignores this exists, believing there is nothing of value near the storm-beaten shores. If the characters gain access to the Portal of Ages, it may prove instrumental in defeating the invading orc forces.

Road Encounters

Most locations in Red Leaf Vale can be reached within a day or two of travel. This may occur on the way:

  1. The characters stumble upon an orcish exploration party (4d6 orcs) at a distance of 6d6 x 10 feet.
  2. Four merchants (commoners) believe the heroes are brigands (DC 14 Persuasion to change their minds). On a fail of 5 or more, they fight.
  3. Six thugs emerge to rob the characters.
  4. A terrible storm breaks out. DC 16 Survival check to find shelter or lose a pack animal to a flash flood.
  5. Three orcs carrying a deer carcass journey toward Crooked Teeth. One has a broken arm.
  6. 2d6 orcs trail a rhino peppered with arrows.
  7. A satyr from Oakhelm Forest approaches the party and recounts how the orc raiders took over his hometown. He begs the characters for help.
  8. A pillar of light emerges from the center of the Spiral Peninsula during a rainy night.

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