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Mapping Marstrich Moor, 1 mile per hex

by Mike Phillips

Because there can never be too much mapping, I've zoomed in on Marstrich Moor (an unofficial name for the tiny marsh across the hills, southeast from Elstrich, named in the Malpheggi Swamp mapping thread).

I've put together notes on the new sections, below.


As I've zoomed in, I'm not sure I've placed Elstrich particularly well. I've been going back and forth on whether to put it directly at the nook (which is compatible with the 8 mile per hex map), or whether to have it set back/off a little, as it is now. The latter suggests that the river has shifted a few times, and there would likely be a small camp at the water's edge now but the town itself would be relatively fixed to its historic location.

Lumber Camps

Woodhaven's primary export, as noted in the 2 2/3 miles per hex map of Malpheggi Swamp, is lumber. These (and other, unmarked) lumber camps are the backbone of the logging efforts in this region.

Abandoned Lumber Camp: Although once a productive lumber camp, an assault from humanoids living in the hills to the north drove the surviving loggers back to Woodhaven. It may be reopened if there is enough demand for lumber -- and guards for the camp can be found.

Birl Yard: This camp does some logging, but it is also the primary launching point for the log drivers who ship the logs downstream to Hellwych (log driving, or birling).

The North Camp: This is the northernmost of the three Woodhaven lumber camps. It was recently relocated further north, out of the hills.

Ruan's Lumber Camp: Ruan Carramack has run this southern camp for enough seasons that his name has become heavily associated with it. He has discouraged clear-cutting, which means the trees near camp are still excellent, and his loggers range further from camp in the normal course of logging to keep production up. Although occasionally troubled by humanoids from the swamp or the nearby hills, the camp's days are usually fairly uneventful.

Keeps and Towers

Hellwatch: This small garrison, rarely populated by more than 20 soldiers on light duty, keeps watch on the swamp. Although they would be the first line of defense for swamp dwellers becoming feisty, their primary purpose is to warn the two via signal fire and runner in case of a serious incursion.

[Moor Tower]: ... ghostly lights? mage tower? ruined keep? watch tower for Woodhaven? living quarters for an obscure sage?

Places of Interest

Dragon's Birth: This lake in the north of the swamp is held in local superstition as the breeding ground for the dragons known to be living in the swamp. While it may be nothing more than local fancy, more than a few lives have been lost to the enterprise of securing dragon's eggs. Although a number of adventurers have sought such treasures and returned to tell the tale, none of them ever came back bearing eggs...

Duskgrove: This heavily forested valley serves as a small, druidic grove for those who wish to commune with nature. Although they do not have a real settlement, a handful of elves, druids, and foresters have retired here for the seclusion, rustic appeal, and yet accessible trade through nearby Elstrich.

Elstrich Bog: This marsh, southeast of Elstrich, is remote enough to rarely attract more vicious inhabitants, and it provides an additional barrier against some of the humanoids who infest the nearby hills. Still, explorers are occasionally lost to natural dangers.

Lizardman Caves: Hidden with rocky crags, these caves are actually the remnants of a once-fine Malpheggi lizardman city. When disaster struck around 1700BC, this city, once near the edge of the swamp, was thrust upward out of the swamp and quickly abandoned. A few rockslides later from aftershocks, and the only mark left is a still-visible entrance where rocks piled up around the city gates. Should this ever see the light of day, it would likely add much to scholarly knowledge of that time period and culture -- assuming that other denizens haven't since stolen or destroyed what was buried with the city.

[Moor Ruins]: These ancient ruins, marked only by half-buried, moss-laden worn stones, predate the history known to Darokinian scholars. (Possibilities: a Nithian outpost once marking the border of the empire, a Taymoran outpost or settlement, an ancient Oltec or Azcan monument, a stronghold from humanoid hordes of Loark, or (if one incorporates the proposed Tiefling empire) one of the cities of Bael Turath.)

Overlook Palace: This ruined palace perches atop cliffs overlooking the Arbandrine as it drifts past. The history is not known to current scholars, but the construction appears to be human. In all likelihood, it was built as a combination garrison and estate by pre-Desolation nobility, and destroyed in that terrible time. Occasionally, daring bandits or humanoid tribes take up residence, using the vantage point to scout targets along the river.

The Rooky Wood: This heavy forest, nestled in the valleys between hills, has an abundance of ravens -- thus the name. It has occasionally served as a home for small families of elves or druids, but is currently unoccupied due to humanoid activity along the edges of the swamp. (This is just begging for an adventure: Light Thickens...)

[Sunken Ruins]: These ruins at the edge of the swamp may well be a lost human settlement, a once-great lizardman town, or any of a number of other possibilities.

The Woodhaven Conglomerate

Notable NPCs
Malcom Garuthos: (Woodhaven) Malcom is a logger, and the head of the Woodhaven Conglomerate. He founded the Conglomerate to protect himself and the other loggers in the region. Grey-haired and pushing 60, he is expected to retire soon but has made no moves to do so. Since there is no mayor or other formal leader of Woodhaven, Malcom's influence makes him the de facto town spokesman.

Mortimyr Garuthos: (Hellwych) Mortimyr is the only son of Malcom Garuthos, and he took up the life of a merchant. Now in his mid-30s, he has established a modest business in wood products. Given his affable nature, his success is often attributed more to his father's standing than his own business acumen, and some members of the Woodhaven Conglomerate are hoping that Malcom's position will not be passed to his son out of fear that Mortimyr will not be as strong in negotiations.

Ruan Carramack: (Ruan's Lumber Camp) Although he is usually found in the logging camp bearing his name, he periodically heads to Woodhaven to pick up supplies. A large, balding man with a great, bushy beard, his outgoing nature and devotion to the woods as a resource to be tended rather than exploited has led to a productive, nearly permanent camp which has not had to be relocated due to lack of trees to harvest. The rumor is that his desire to protect the trees while harvesting them derives from time spent with druids as a child, but he has never alluded to any such rearing.

Yevgenniy Kalinov: (Woodhaven) Yevgenniy is a part-time smith, part-time provisioner, and occasionally cooks for the lumberjacks of Woodhaven. He is quiet, rarely volunteers information, and rarely socializes. However, he has told the tale of leaving Karameikos after his family was murdered -- by goblins, according to him.

Bernard Woodridge: (Woodhaven) An elderly halfling, Bernard came to Woodhaven more than a decade ago to retire to a quiet, woodland area. He tends a small cottage on the outskirts of the camp, a building so pastoral it is almost out of place near the rougher and more temporary structures that make up Woodhaven proper. He enjoys a good drink (tea or otherwise), and, when not gardening, researches local folklore. If something is going on in the area of Marstrich Moor, he has probably heard of it -- and if it's connected to local history, he probably knows it. (Effectively, he is a sage specializing in the recent history of the moor and environs, with his sources being the local tales.)

Calum MacDavies: (Woodhaven) He is the father of the father-son pair operating the MacDavies and Son distillery. Periodically, he explores the moor while looking for the best peat to use in their whiskey efforts.

Angus MacDavies: (Woodhaven) Angus is the son of the father-son pair operating the MacDavies and Son distillery. He tends to the distillery, and he is usually the one who takes shipments of their product to Hellwych for trade.

Adventure Seeds

Hellwych: (From 2 2/3 miles per hex map) The party is hired to secure a large supply of wood for an Athenos shipbuilder, but the current and near future timber production is already promised. It's up to the party to negotiate to serve their builder's interests. This could well go political, as the builder claims he's constructing a luxury ship (could be a front, could be for real), while the Darokin navy may have serious need of the same wood for their own purposes (pirates off the coast? preparing for war?)...

Ruan's Lumber Camp: Ruan Carramack has returned to Woodhaven only two days after picking up supplies. He is seeking help, as his camp was attacked in his absence.

Woodhaven: (Modified from 2 2/3 miles per hex map) The MacDavies, a father-son team originally from Klantyre, set up a distillery at the edge of Woodhaven just over ten years ago. They've been selling 5-year whiskey, and have just bottled the first bottles of their 10-year whiskey. The father disappeared while gathering materials (a daring act, given the reputation of the Moor as haunted). The distraught son hires the party to find out what, exactly, happened...