Runequest Thursday #203 - Xaragang Troll Warren!

Clint Staples

If you have been reading about the Brightwater Company, you might know that they are currently "exploring" the Big Rubble, while on the run from some angry trolls - trolls from the Xaragang Clan, one of the main trollclans in the Big Rubble. The Company got in, did some damage, and left when things got tough. Today, I present the place they raidied.

Below you will find the site key to go with the map I provided for the Troll Warren - which I downloaded from the many available on Dyson Logos website (who also has a Patreon page) and modified to suit my purposes. There is also a Found Object table, because every good Runequest scenario needs one. And attached are pdfs of all the statblocks for the inhabitants of the Warren.

 

Xaragang House Warren

 

Inhabitants and History:

Once, this complex of tunnels and rough, low stone house-frames were independent dwellings of a single story. A Xaragang troll matron moved in about a century ago,  directing her trollkin and husbands to see that the separate houses were buried in a respectable covering of earth, refuse, stinking corpses of enemies, etc. such that only in a few spots does the area look like anything other than a refuse heap. Three generations of trolls have lived here since and it has only gotten “homier”. Currently, the household is led by the Gorakiki-Dragonfly priestess and dark troll matrol, Bitriol, along with her husbands, Rorgal and Drun. Several of their children, as well as lower class dark trolls, serve the matron and the cult. Bitriol also owns a dozen or so trollkin. The tougher of these, most of whom are also her offspring, have been trained as guards and Dragonfly Riders.

 

The Warren: Outside and Approach

The Xaragang Warren is located on north-eastern edge of Trolltown, in the Big Rubble. The east side of the Warren overlooks a low hillock of ruined structures, and open fields of mixed rubble and grassy hummocks stretching to the Wall. To the west, a “clear” patch of rocks and bricks gives an open view from the doorway of the Warren out for about 200 yards. The going in this open section is treacherous footing, readily navigated at a walk, but dangerous to ankles when moving quickly (If moving fast, DEX x3% each turn or fall prone, On a fumble, take 1d6 damage to one leg or another, armor does not apply). To the north, Temple Hill is readily visible about a thousand yards away. In good visibility, the troll shanties clustered around Opili’s Fort are readily visible.

 

From outside a low, wide cave mouth leads into deeper darkness. Viewed from above, 6 and 8 are open (in addition to the passage that joins them, often crammed with giant dragonflies awaiting feeding or flight. A successful Listen check will alert those approaching to intermittent droning noises (coming from the wings of the dragonflies, but the source of the noise may remain a mystery).  11 has a disguised trapdoor to the surface that can be found with a successful Spot.

 

Map Key:

  1. Main Entrance – The only entrance to the Xaragang Warren that is visible from the ground is the smelly descent to 1. The opening is broad and low (15 feet wide and only about 6 feet in height), but narrows within the first 10 feet, and turns to the left, dropping into a gully that is a mire and partially flooded with horrid, stinking “water” in wet weather. This entrance area is unpatrolled but often busy with the comings and goings of the inhabitants or visiting Xaragang trolls from nearby. The gully ends at a pair of crude steps, the second of which is the Threshold (Lesser Warded by Rorgal, when he is here).  The entrance is strewn with refuse and serves as the sleeping area for a number of guard trollkin (who will remain hidden and attack intruders from ambush after they pass into the Common Area). Beyond the rise of the two steps, the way tends downward once more, into a broad pit that serves as the Common Area. If the Ward alerts Rorgal, he, Bitriol, and the dark troll warrior initiates will arm themselves and cast protective spells, allowing the adolescent dragonflies in 2, as well as the trollkin in 1, to bear the brunt of the attack until they are ready to attack “en masse”.
  2. Common Area – This large area is walled in piled earth and refuse. Sloping walls become low ceiling at the edges, but in the center its vaulted height is such that even a great troll could not touch the packed refuse overhead. The ground is scattered with bones, as well as many dragonfly wing fragments and partial carapace castings. It is crawling with insects, most of which are too small to attract the attention of the man-sized adolescent dragonflies that also reside here. Too small to ride, they serve as pets, and beasts of burden, feeding on the larger bugs and beetles, and anything else that is not a troll. As they grow, they are encouraged into the chute at 3, and fed and trained while they are in 4 and 5, eventually being allowed out at 6. There are three adolescent dragonflies here at the moment. Roll twice for Found Objects.
  3. The Loft – Up a very tall step for a human (readily accessed by a troll however), from the Common Area, is the Loft. At first glance, the Loft appears to open into larger cave, ringed with many large dragonflies, all gazing at anyone climbing the step from 2. In fact, it is a collection of retrieved, trophy heads from fallen dragonflies that were raised by Bitriol, the priestess of Gorakiki who spends much of her time here, minding the adolescent dragonflies in 4. Her effects are all about, as well as her pet trollkin, Clack who has permanently grown a dragonfly head after a rune magic mishap (guard trollkin with a 1d8+1 Bite at 55%). There is a brazier, usually with some unknown meat sizzling away, a bed of assorted skins and rugs much befouled. If she is attacked, she will grab a head, instantly animate it and hurl it at a target (70% to hit). The head will bite automatically if the throw was a hit for 1d10+2 damage) remaining attached on a special, biting each turn, and adding 6 ENC to the target, until it is removed by spending a Major Action to do so. The heads have 10 HP each, and can be destroyed. Roll twice for Found Objects. Her pride and joy is hand fan made out of a perfect wing-casing and carved with troll-scrimshaw by Rorgal (ENC 5 object, functions as a light mace). There is a heavy curtain that separates the Loft from the Boarding School.
  4. The Boarding School – This passage passes over the gully mentioned in the description for 1. It is currently occupied by 4 adolescent dragonflies, eager to grow larger, housed here, wings droning incessantly. Several reasonably agile slave trollkin attend them, and there is at least one dead and partially eaten trollkin to be found, along with one Found Object. A small table and chair, often knocked about by the dragonflies’ movements, are sometimes used by the trollkin in charge to assert his dominance over the others.
  5. The Staircase – This sloppy staircase is covered in bits of cast-off carapace and wing casing. There is a crude but effective fence at the top, which prevents dragonflies from descending and hampers others from crossing to or from 5 (Rough terrain). A very large dragonfly head mostly blocks 5 from 6 (at the marked “door”), and must be rolled to one side to move through (Resists being moved with STR 15).
  6. Dragonfly Roost – 3 full-sized dragonflies reside in this area, along with their trollkin crew. When not exiting or landing in 6, the dragonflies reside in 8 peacefully enough unless they are hungry.
  7. Trollkin Huddle – Slave trollkin who tend the dragonflies in 6 and 8, live here, relatively safe from their charges because the bugs are too big to enter. The passage between 6 and 7 requires a SIZ 12 squeeze – Anything of SIZ 12 to 14 can fit in with a Squeeze roll on the Resistance Table.  Larger creatures cannot enter at all. Filthy and worthless scraps that might have meaning to the trollkin, are scattered about, as is one Found Object.
  8. The Deck – This is the area devoted to the pride and joy of the Warren, the mature dragonflies. These terribly fliers are the source of much of the strength of the Xaragangs in the Big Rubble and Bitriol will care for them well in combat. If they are attacked she will rush to their aid, sacrificing trollkin in order to heal them immediately. There are between 5 and 8 (1d4+4) dragonflies “on Deck” at any given time. If the dragonflies are attacked and injured, they will fly up, waiting to be recalled, or to pounce on a target that is distracted but attack from within. 8a is the small communal sleeping area given over to the guard trollkin dragonfly-riders, who live better than the slaves, and have a modicum of control over their mounts, even when not in the air.
  9. These steps are part of the original structure underlying the troll-warren, and though covered in filth, are sound and regular. To either side (the spots marked “x”) of the steps are a mummified priestess of Gorakiki dragonfly. Both have their heads permanently transformed into dragonfly heads. Though they are not undead, it is the hope of Bitriol that Gorakiki will teach her the rites to make them into actual mummies. 9a is a sinkhole that bottoms on a muddy sinkhole, itself connected to the Zola Fel, hundreds of yards away. Though there are no fish here, the trolls do use it as a source of drinking water. It is foul by human standards, with bits of once living thing floating in it, etc. For anyone brave, or disgusting enough, to sift through the filth in the sinkhole, roll for Found Object.
  10. The Vestibule of the Temple of Gorakiki Dragonfly – Two darklight braziers flank the double doors (once normal braziers, relics of the original structure, and covered front and back with brazen panes depicting wavy designs interspersed with boats, ships and crocodiles). The doors to 11 and 12 are bronze-faced, decorated similarly to the braziers and predate the trollish occupation by centuries.
  11. The Sanctum of the Temple – This squarish room has several piles of ovoids, pearlescent in color, each about the size of a large melon. These are giant dragonfly eggs. Each is 1d4+1 ENC, and contains a single larval giant dragonfly, awaiting the blessing of Gorakiki to hatch. On a large flattish slab of stone kneels a skeletal statue with the head of a Dragonfly and a necklace of human skulls. In one hand it holds a curved obsidian knife, in the other, a polished sphere of the same stone. The huge, many-faceted eyes of the figure glow green in the darklight. The figure will not animate, but the guardian spirit of the temple will attack the first to rob or desecrate the temple. Before the figure is the body of a lunar soldier, eviscerated, his organs splayed before the idol, the remains of a sacrifice and scrying ritual. Surrounding the figure, are the treasures of the Xaragang Trolls (below), as well as Amphorae containing 43Wheels, 1633L, settled into a small hillock of bolgs and clacks. The body has no money, but his fine Breastplate (SIZ 13), is intact but for the straps cut for the sacrifice, his belt holds the scabbard for a scimitar, but no blade, as well as a sheathed dagger with a fire agate pommelstone, worth 250L.
  12. This room is little used, and the doors have been magically Sealed by Rorgal, such that any non-troll must Overcome a STR 25 on the Resistance Table to force them open. Within is little of interest, but for a pair of rather fine chairs, now creaky and dirty from troll occupation, facing a set of haphazard rungs that lead up a rough-hewn passage through packed refuse to a trap door to the surface some 10 feet above. The trap door is disguised on the upper side by the simple expedient of nailing a rotting Sartarite round shield to it the outer surface. The trap door itself is sealed at the door to the room is sealed.
  13. This area has not been explored by the trolls who live in the rest of the Warren. The door has resisted all their efforts (including Rorgal’s Unseal 2 combined with attempts to smash it down. Similarly, tunneling around to come at the room another way has accomplished nothing. Of late, Bitriol has given up on it, having decided that Gorakiki will reveal it in time. The GM is encouraged to put whatever she wishes here: a passage to another area, a giant-age reliquary or nursery, an ancient temple to a forgotten god, a portal to the Blue Moon, etc. Barring that, the room’s existence can be ignored completely.

 

Found Objects (roll 1d20):

  1. A copper ring with a Countermagic 2 matrix, the level of countermagic gained is doubled when the wearer is underground.
  2. 1d4 Elf Arrows, that do +1d6 damage to undead.
  3. A Pouch of 2d10 flint arrowheads.  
  4. A belt buckle of carved bison horn, which grants +10% to the wearer’s Ride, so long as he is not riding a horse.
  5. A pearlescent ovoid dragonfly egg about the size of a large melon.  
  6. A sharpened dragonfly mandible, acts as a shortsword.
  7. A lead trade bar marked with “50” in Darktongue.
  8. A dragonewt throwing dart of obsidian, jade, and wyvern scale (30L).
  9. A gilded riding crop with the head of a bat.
  10. Half a sack of moldering grain.
  11. A rolled carpet tied with a silver cord. When unrolled, and the cord slipped through a slit woven into one end of the carpet, the whole carpet levitates, and can be led along by the holder of the cord. The carpet is rigid and will support 30 ENC in goods or a single person of up to SIZ 15.  
  12. The mummified head of a dragonfly. It cannot move about, but will snap its mandibles at anything within range (40% to hit, 1d10 damage).
  13.  A warhammer made from a single large bone with the head of a serpent as its striking surface
  14. A Lump of rock salt (1d4 ENC, value: 10L per ENC).
  15. A sealed pot of spicy, pickled immature dragonfly legs.
  16. A dented mug of tarnished silver. Any liquid poured into the mug is transformed into cool clean water.
  17.  A soft leather pouch containing 11 small gold coins, each stamped with the image of a longhaired maiden.
  18. A spearhead marked with the runes for Odayla the Hunter.
  19.  A leather pouch containing 3d6 chunks of amber. These might vary greatly in size and quality, to include the presence of embedded items like large preserved insects, and could be worth anywhere from 1 to 10 golden Wheel each.
  20. A dead fish, stinking terribly, but flopping slowly in the direction of water.