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307 A Welcome Resting Place

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Background Lore

Old Janus’ farm is located half a mile east of the Great Western Road. The closest settlement is a large city two nights away from the farm. The farm’s two large buildings are visible from the road because of the relative lack of trees in the area. It is a beautiful part of the country with rolling hills, patches of bushes and flowers, temperate weather, and the appropriate conditions for farming and cattle.

Old Janus is a middle-aged man who grows weaker for his job each year. He is not without good fortune. His two adult children live with him. Tarkin is thirty years old, with a robust build and a strong lad for farm work. His daughter, Challa, is the best with cattle and preparing stored supplies for the winter. Old Janus’ wife died five years ago from a terrible fever during the winter.

The three of them live in a large two-story wooden house. The house is in pristine condition; Tarkin loves working around the house doing maintenance and changes to it. Next to the house, the stable is the largest construction. The stable is large enough to house five horses or similarly-sized animals. The only occupants now are two cows and Tarkin’s horse. Two smaller buildings surround the house, an elevated chicken coop and a tool shed behind the house. West of the house, large sections of land serve as plantations. It appears that most of the area is used for oats, quinoa, and barley. The farmed area is too large for Janus and his children to take care of. Janus employs four more people to work on the farms. These workers do not live here. They live in a nearby hamlet south of the farm. They come to the farm walking and it takes them half an hour to arrive. Janus pays them with produce and the occasional copper coin.

If a group of adventurers shows up at Janus’ farm, he greets them with a smile and welcomes them. He knows adventurers and travelers need rest but also look for work opportunities. And there is no such thing as too few hands working on the farm. Janus does not have any spare rooms to offer but any visitors can rest in the storage room (Area 6), or the stable (Area 11). He offers a place to stay and food for the visitors on the only condition that they help with whatever is needed on the farm. (See below)

Adventure Hooks

This resource describes a farmhouse in the wild. The house belongs to a middle-aged man called Old Janus and his two children. The purpose of such a location is to provide a place to rest and perhaps have a few odd jobs in between larger, more important adventures. Here are some light-hearted ideas or plot hooks that can occur while the adventurers visit Old Janus’ farm.

  • With winter around the corner. Old Janus needs a few extra hands for all the upcoming farm work. Old Janus offers the stable as a place to sleep for any volunteers and 4 copper coins per day of honest work. Available work includes harvesting oats and quinoa, cleaning the chicken coop and harvesting eggs, pressing apples for wine and cider, and milking cows.
  • Old Janus and his son Tarkin must visit the nearby town to sell some marmalade crates. He pays the adventurers to escort them there and back. One or two adventurers must also stay with his daughter Challa and guard the farm.
  • The old farmer explains that around this time of the year, a shady individual shows up with a band of thugs and request a few sacks of grain in exchange for not destroying the farm. They have complied for two years but they are tired of this. He offers the same reward plus a few silver coins if the adventurers get rid of the unsavory individuals.
  • Challa usually participates in the Flower Autumn Festival, which is due in a couple of days. The festival hosts a baking competition. Challa and a childhood friend always take part in it. Challa’s friend recently broke her arm working on the farm and cannot attend. Challa explains that she cannot participate alone and wants one of the adventurers to accompany her and help her win the baking competition.

Area Descriptions

1. Farm House Entrance

The porch and the main door are 5-feet from the ground. If asked, Janus explains that the snow in this area of the country could bury a house if you do not stop it. A rectangular flower pot next to the door is the only decoration. The flowers are similar to saffron but in a different color.

2. Waiting Room

A large couch and a night table are the only furniture in this room. The smell of food from the kitchen is palpable. A drawn picture of the whole family decorates the north wall. It features a younger Janus, a woman next to him in a large dress, and teenagers Tarkin and Challa.

3. Coat Closet

This room features two wardrobes and one small bookcase. The wardrobes are so stacked not a single more coat fits in them. Janus and his children are quite tolerant of cold weather, so, the coats stay here most of the time.

4. Strange Curios

A night table by the north wall features many miniature figurines and strange devices. Most of them are made of jade, turquoise, or some kind of quartz. The humanoid-shaped figurines are crude, as if made with a large knife or a chisel. If asked, Tarkin explains that a group of traveling performers passes by the farm once or twice a year and sell those curios. Janus’ wife used to buy one every year and Tarkin has kept on buying them since she died. According to the travelers, the small trinkets are talismans against different evils or curses. Tarkin does not believe in these superstitions.

5. Dining Room

A medium-sized wooden table with a white mantelpiece and six chairs dominates the room. It is in between a large chimney and a bookcase. The bookcase appears to hold a large collection of literary classics and farming books. To the north, a staircase goes up to the second level of the house. To the south, a staircase goes down to the cellar.

6. Storage Room

This room features a large number of wooden crates, barrels, containers, and a table. Most containers have food products that Tarkin and his father take regularly to nearby settlements to sell. Old Janus offers this room to any visitors. If there is not enough space here, then the stable is the next best choice.

7. Kitchen Pantry

Supplies for the house and kitchen are here. Usually, only Challa comes in or out of this room. Challa knots a lace string to the door’s latch every time she leaves the room. The knot is intricate enough that she believes only she can make it. The lace string can be removed without much effort but putting it back the way it was requires a successful DC 17 Dexterity check.

8. Kitchen

The kitchen is a simple affair. It features a wooden table and a large cauldron over a coal stove. The cauldron is large enough that with a special implement to make the inside flat, she can use it as an improvised oven too.

9.Tool Shed

The tool shed features a padlock on the door (see sidebar). Old Janus keeps a few barrels of fertilizer here. Farm tools and implements lie scattered over a wooden table. One of the objects is a shortsword. It is supposed to be here for emergencies. However, not even Tarkin is proficient with it, making farming tools more appropriate for self-defense.

10. Chicken Coop

The coop is 5-feet from the ground, as the main house. Inside, there is enough space to house around thirty chicken. A ten by ten feet fence keeps the chicken from roaming too far outside.

11. Stable

The large wooden structure is large but there is a lot of free space. Two cows and one horse are the only residents. If the stable is used to house visitors, then Tarkin drops a mound of hay from the silo above for makeshift beds.

12. Mill Room

This room features large sacks of grain and two wooden tables. There are two manual press mills on the tables. The mills work slow but it is the only way for the moment to make flour. Usually, the farmworkers use the manual mills when the time comes to make flour.

13. Hallway

Challa had an artist phase a few years ago and painted many landscape pictures. All of them decorate this hallway as it goes around the mill room. Most of them are oil paintings and the technical progression is apparent from picture to picture. None of them are of high quality, nor are they absolute thrash.

14. Tripwire Trap

Tarkin resets an alarm tripwire every night. The wire is 5-feet from the north door and activates if someone pulls open the door at night. Pulling the string causes a string of small bells to chime. The sound is loud enough to wake up Janus and his children. A passive Perception score of 16 or higher reveals the presence of the tripwire’s slight pull as a person is opening the door from outside.

15. Challa’s Bedroom

The room features a bed, a flower pot, a wooden chest, and a wardrobe. The flowers in the pot are of the same kind as those in the house entrance (Area 1). Challa’s chest contains an assortment of oil paints, blank canvases, and a book of baking recipes.

16. Tarkin’ Bedroom

The room features a bed, a wardrobe, and a wooden chest. Tarkin is out most of the day and only returns to sleep. The chest contains, a notebook with a register of all sales and deliveries from the past five years.

17. Old Janus’ Bedroom

The master bedroom is too big for Old Janus. It features a large bed, a bookcase, a wardrobe, a vanity, and even his two children’s old baby cribs. The bookcase only has fifteen books. Those are the books that Janus’ wife used to read when she lived. Now, Old Janus re-reads the same books over and over.

18. Root Cellar

A large dark chamber with plenty of wooden tables, shelves, and cases. All edibles in this area are prepared for long-term storage to last the winter. Dried meats, marmalades, conserve vegetables, and other long-lasting foods are here. Most of the supplies in the cellar are for Old Janus and his children’s consumption. But they usually have a little extra stuff for those in need if the winter is harsh.

19. Winery

The large fermentation vats dominate the view in the room. They are almost too large for the narrow chamber. A person has to move sideways to get to the eastern end of the room. A few empty barrels and a manual apple press hug the northeast corner. The wine and cider should be ready for sale in the spring.

20. Loom

A loom by the southeast corner lies abandoned. Old Janus’ wife used to work here and produce a variety of fabrics. Some of the best ones would yield good profits in the nearby markets. After her passing, neither Challa nor Tarkin took upon this labor and the loom has not been used since. The device does not currently work, some of its pieces have broken down after five years of abandonment.

General Features

These are the general features of Old Janus’ farm. It is located half a mile from the main road. The buildings are visible from afar thanks to the low concentration of trees.

Terrain. The area around the farm features rolling hills and grassy areas. Trees and bushes patch the scenery but the nearest forest is almost a day away.

Doors. All doors are made of hardwood. The house door and the shed door feature standard locks. A successful DC 14 Dexterity (Thieves Tools) check allows a character to bypass either lock. The rest of the doors in the property only have an iron latch but no other security measure.

Light. The fireplace and stove in Areas 5 and 8 provide bright light. Torches in sconces in Areas 18 and 19 provide dim-light. All other areas are dependent on the time of the day and weather conditions for light.

Smells and Sounds. The smell of almonds mixes with the smell of graying trees and rotting grass. Autumn is about to end. The first snow is due in a week or two. The sounds of wooly sheep as they move around grazing is relaxing at first but will prove bothersome after a couple of hours near the farmhouse.

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Published by Derek Von Zarovich
I am a D&D and GURPS player and DM since 2000. I enjoy reading fantasy and sci-fi books. Recently I started writing and creating my own content. I love to share what I write.

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