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Hirsh-Dammung’s Units of Irregulars

CC3 Midgard Overland Map StyleHirschberg’s tradition of uniformed service runs deep. It is so ingrained that the locals boast that the bedclothes of its first soldier, Praeter Yohanis, are as stiff as his starch-pressed dress reds.

But even the elfmarked castellan of Castle Reln recognizes that a life of strict military discipline is not for everyone. The defense of the realm also depends on those who serve the city’s lawful authorities in civilian garb. Yohanis has been instrumental in establishing three units, his “irregulars” as he likes to call them, eager to apply their martial training outside the regular command structure.

Many adventurers see joining the irregulars as a gateway into Hirschberg society. This is especially true of non-elves and foreigners whose aim is ultimately to gain stewardship of a barony of their own. But natives also volunteer out of a sense of patriotism.

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The Magic of Reywald Libraries

A medieval scribal pattern book by Gregorius Bock, ca. 1510-1517 from Swabia, Germany.The inhabitants of Reywald have a thirst for learning and a love of books.

While Arcane College and Huxelheim Academy are best known for their impressive lending libraries, the city and surrounding region have many other private collections.

Visiting any of these libraries is a treat. At first, adventurers may find their rules and restrictions strange. In time, though, they will come to appreciate the variety of magic used to keep the collections intact.

Some common features:

  • Permanent magic mouths are placed strategically throughout the large libraries. If the magic mouths detect raised voices, they make a hushing sound, and if the offenders do not take notice, the mouths utter the command, “You are disturbing our patrons, so please be quiet.”
  • Some librarians invest in a wand of unseen servant, mainly so they can have assistance placing and retrieving items from the most hard-to-reach places. The appearance of seemingly floating books handled by unseen servants gives rise to the rumors that libraries are haunted places.
  • For those librarians who often are put upon tall ladders, many consider a ring of feather falling a worthwhile investment. At Arcane College, such a ring comes with the office of chief librarian. By tradition it is passed down to successors.
  • Bags of holding and handy haversacks are not permitted in Reywald libraries. The main entrance is warded to detect moderate conjuration and ring a small bell as a signal to the librarian on the desk. Such items must be checked in at the desk to allow the patron to proceed.
  • Genuine book donations are always welcome, but some people think the donation box is a great place to donate water-damaged books, books with broken spines, or stacks of pamphlets and leaflets kept in grandma’s attic. Lately, adventuring groups have started to leave a new type of discard. These are used magical manuals (such as manual of bodily health, manual of gainful exercise, manual of quickness of action, tome of clear thought, tome of leadership and influence, and tome of understanding). Once their magic is expended, they are simply bulky self-help manuals (usually poorly written and of dubious practical worth) of which the library already has plenty.

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Monster Mondays: Doom Fowl

MonsterMondaysThe full moon shines down on the ruined farm. Bodies lie scattered across the barnyard in pools of congealed black blood. The first sign is dry rattling cracks from all around you, and then hundreds of little avian skeletons emerge from the surrounding area and move toward you, empty eye sockets implacably staring.

Doom fowl are swarms of the animated skeletons of chickens, ducks, geese, and other common barnyard fowl. Never ones to waste resources, the gnomes of Neimheim developed a variant usage of animate dead to turn the dead flocks of raided farms into a source of horrible minions. The resulting swarms of undead fowl often incorporate nearby materials into their incomplete skeletons, a feature that the gnomes quickly realized allowed them to augment their creations.

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The Lovecraft Factor: Bridging the Gap Between Miskatonic and Midgard

A sketch of the fictional character Cthulhu, drawn by his creator, H. P. Lovecraft, May 11, 1934“Memories and possibilities are ever more hideous than realities.” —H.P. Lovecraft, “Herbert West–Reanimator”

Howard Phillips Lovecraft is considered by many to be the godfather of modern horror—and appropriately so, for his macabre influence can be seen far and wide while navigating the 21st century pop culture landscape. For me, Lovecraft was something of a gatekeeper to the widening world of weird literature at a time of my life when discovery was critical to my development as both a young storyteller and a fledgling game master.

Lovecraft is one of the preeminent writers of the classic “Weird Tales” era of pulp storytelling (and likely the most celebrated). And though his contemporary (and ofttime pen pal) Robert E. Howard would inevitably leave more of an impression on emerging game designers Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, Lovecraft’s grim legacy—much like the incessant Call of Cthulhu itself—is inescapable.

The Midgard Campaign Setting from Kobold Press features its own nebulous corner of Lovecraft country: Ginnungagap, the Yawning Void. And though little can be definitively said of it, let’s explore those “tenuous paths” in an effort to discover something of the creatures from that “distant and primordial realm” so elusively referenced by the Midgard scholars.

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Goblins of Midgard: The Firebrand, the Raider, and the Mercenary

Midgard With EagleWhen they aren’t picking lice out of each other’s scalp or roasting rats over an open fire, these three goblins of Midgard are carrying out acts of destruction and mayhem.

While few are accounted masterminds among their number, each has a reputation that extends outside their little tribe. Feel free to add them to your game as NPC adversaries.

Roasty Toasty, Female Goblin Rogue

Roasty is an arsonist in the employ of Radovar Streck, alchemist and member of the Zobeck City Council.

Whenever Streck has need of a little urban renewal work, either to keep the volunteer firefighters’ union busily happy or to frustrate the territorial ambitions of the Greymarks, he calls on Roasty.

For especially big jobs, Streck might provide Roasty with a powerful accelerant. But usually, the means of lighting a spark is left to Roasty’s imagination and her small squad.

She frequents the Wheatsheaf Tavern and the Ragpicker’s Guild in Lower Zobeck when she isn’t making deliveries for Streck’s peat and coal wagon. (Her nickname comes from this job, when she hollers from the wagon perch, “Get yer coal. Get yer peat. Get yer roasty toasty!”)

She’s easily recognizable as being the only goblin wearing a frilled cotton mobcap adorned with a rosette of red and gold, the Free City’s colors. She thinks of herself as a patriot, always speaking loudly of her devotion to the city. Of her arson projects, she is very discreet.

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