Finally a little open world feeling! After countless role-playing sessions and urban-themed adventures, the heroes of my D&D campaign have now ventured out into the wilds of Pen Xantray. Well, at least a day’s journey away. But that was enough to keep them wanting more, so once they take care of Ko Rillan’s harpy problem, there will finally be proper travel adventures. Whenever that will be…
ashes to Ashes
After Nadia’s little trip to the Mielikki forest shrine and her icy fox hunt, the three adventurers spent a few more leisurely days in Sewanna, minding their respective affairs. Arianna tried to get a part-time job as a musician at the casino. Still tinkering with his robotic dog, Castiel finally disassembled it completely and decided to build a robotic snake instead to honor Loviatar. Nadia continued to take care of the elf girl’s druidic training in the Temple of the Nature Goddess.
A cockatrice is a species of basilisk that, like all members of its family, is capable of petrifying prey! So caution is advised. Source: From Software A few days and appointments with various townspeople later, they finally set out again for the refuge. Since there was no practical pirate ship on the way this time, but they still chose the water route, they had to rent three hippocamp mounts. The first thing they did when they arrived at the sanctuary was to seek out their new demon friend to claim the pact reward for their visit to Hell. However, he put them off until later, since his magically talented, devilish colleague was not present to teach them the desired new spells.
But he told that the whole action in hell had made huge waves! He had even been summoned to the court of the ruler of the upper reaches of Hell. So the ball had been a great success. Arianna now also made a pact with the demon and was given a small task (“Just bring me the cobblestones from Sewanna in which the current pirate princes left their handprints.”) Since there was nothing to get from the demon at the moment, we broke the three adventurers to the nearby salt desert. Here Castiel still had to fulfill a task for his goddess.
Loviatar had asked him, as the first real service to her, to give an enemy he despises a dignified funeral – that is, according to his wishes. The corresponding enemy was the shapeshifting Lamia of Kalarin, and her wish was, “Scatter my ashes in the desert.” In the absence of real sandy deserts in the island atoll, it just had to be the salt desert. What a lonely, white, salty and hostile place!
Castiel devoutly scattered the ashes of the Lamia with a small ritual and received a phylactery as a gift from his goddess of the dead, Loviatar, in which he can collect small drops of the life essence of his fallen enemies in order to exchange them for rewards in the realm of the dead. After that was done, the three adventurers made their way back.
Random Encounter on Pen Xantray
With this drawing, Castiel wanted to overcome the language barrier between the dust Mephit and himself. His master plan: join us and fight the centipedes with us! Source: Buffed During their two-day journey through the salt desert, the adventurers were attacked by a total of three groups of random opponents. More would not have been possible with my system – quite unfortunate! When traveling through wild, uninhabited territory, I roll once every twelve hours to see if the adventurers are attacked by random enemies (= Random Encounter) to be attacked. On a five or less on the d20, an attack occurs. For the many jungle areas on Pen Xantray I then have a list from which I can roll which opponents attack them.
However, since the salt flats are a habitat of their own, I will not use this list here. Instead, I simply chose one of the four types of monsters that live there. Since there were three attacks, they got to know almost the entire local fauna:
Cockatrice (a type of basilisk that looks like a cross between a chicken and a dragon) Dust Mephit (little elementals that kick up mighty sand) Giant centipedes and swarms of centipedes
These three monster types only have a challenge level of ½, making them pretty weak. So I rolled a d6 to determine the number of attacking monsters. Unfortunately for the adventurers, it was never less than five.
I made a map like this for each of the zones on Pen Xantray Island. This is a great way to track the player’s travel progress and I already have a plan in advance of where the interesting places are. Source: Buffed To make adventures in the open world more exciting, I made a separate zone map for each area of the large island of Pen Xantray. While the players have an island card at their disposal, the zone cards remain well hidden behind the game master’s screen.
Places of special interest are marked on them, the hiding places of planned opponents, treasures, events etc. With the help of these maps I can describe the areas in more detail and it depends entirely on the players whether they find certain things or not.
If you go to the places where I wrote something, you will find something there. On the other hand, if you wander past these areas, you will miss it. This system makes the adventure life a bit more realistic and has been very popular with my players in the past.