View Full Version : [Tavern] The Armoured Owlbear: comments plz!

2006-02-28, 11:28 PM
Boxed Text:
As you enter through the main gate of the goblin colony of Brazhago, you are met by the sight of hundreds of humanoids of all kinds. Though the village is mostly goblin, there are orcs, hobgoblins, gnolls, and kobolds, along with a smattering of other species. To one side, in a large common field, many tents and pavillions have been raised and appear to be serving as a great merchant bazaar. As you pass through, you see many different races selling all manner of goods and services. In the center of this moot is a huge stone walled pit with raised seating all around – clearly some kind of arena. Far off to the other side, you see what look like animal pens, and you can hear the baying of wolves and the honking of geese. Large patches of vegetables are being grown here, all tended by goblins. But what strikes you strangest about this place is the relative peace. Proceeding, in the center of the village is a long thatched-roof building with open sides, with owlbear skulls decorating the support beams. From within waft the varied scents of exotic foodstuffs and equally exotic clientele. You push your way through the crowds and find tables and a bar, staffed by a number of goblins. At the heart of the tavern is a huge firepit, over which an owlbear carcass is being slowly roasted on a spit.

2006-02-28, 11:29 PM
The tavern takes the form of a longhouse with open sides, approximately 100 feet long and 40 feet wide. The interior is simply a large open space with huge firepit in the center and a bar and kitchen running the length of one of the short sides. The floor has been strewn with straw by the goblin proprietors and there are rough-hewn tables of various sizes and stools scattered throughout the room, each seating 10-20 medium-sized humanoids – if you are going to eat at the Armoured Owlbear, you can’t be TOO picky about your dining companions. When the weather turns cold, owlbear hides are lowered over the sides of the building, which creates a warm, if slightly aromatic enclosure. At night the tavern is lit by rope torches on the walls and small tallow candles (made from rendered animal fats from the kitchen) placed on each table. Garbage is disposed of through one of four foul smelling holes in the ground near the exits. Rumours abound that the goblins have some kind of creature trapped in the mines and they feed it on the garbage from the Owlbear (see gather information checks). The menu of the Owlbear consists of food either grown in or hunted by the colony (see below). During the moots, the owlbear is unbelievably crowded and it can be impossible to get a table – and if you’re a human or demi-human, you’d better be careful – the guy next to you might hold the death sentence in twelve kingdoms...

http://img117.imageshack.us/img117/87/owlbear8oj.th.jpg (http://img117.imageshack.us/my.php?image=owlbear8oj.jpg)

In spite of the excellent, if simple, fare, the cooking is not the major draw of Brazhago and The Armoured Owlbear. Outside the tavern is a large open space, upon which are pitched a number of tents and pavilions. In general, there are roughly a dozen or so, but during the Owlbear Moot, which is held for a tenday every moon, there can be as many as fifty to sixty tents crowded into the commons. Many of the tents contain humanoid traders who pay the goblins of Brazhago for space to trade with the promise that they will be given certain assurances of fair play and trade. Many things can be traded in Brazhago, including (but not necessarily limited to) metal wares (weapons, armour, jewelry, general hardware), foodstuffs, pelts and hides, livestock (very rarely) and slaves (never human or demi-human – Brazhago does not wish to be attacked for trafficking in these peoples). However, the remainder will house spectators and potential contestants in the gladiatorial games sponsored by the colony. As in any village, major disputes are uncommon but not unknown and there are some instances of crimes both violent and petty. Disputes are either mediated by the current “lord” of Brazhago, a goblin by the name of Orzht, or the parties are allowed to fight in judicial combat. Orzht deals swiftly with criminals – most often, they are summarily executed, though many are sentenced to hard labour in the mines attached to Brazhago, others are allowed to face the colony’s judicial champion. It is notable that Brazhago’s judicial champion is an Ogre of prodigious size known as Iktoroüs. His is a well-paid position and he is a faithful servant of Orzht. The goblins of Brazhago normally run odds on such fights and rake in a tidy profit from the wagering.

http://img301.imageshack.us/img301/4210/brazhago2dx.th.jpg (http://img301.imageshack.us/my.php?image=brazhago2dx.jpg)

Map Key:
1 - the Armoured Owlbear
2 - the Fighting Pit
3 - the Moot Commons - Most Visitors to Brazhago camp here.
4 - the Animal Pens - these are used for sheep mostly
5 - the Fields - where the domestic crops of Brazhago are cultivated
6 - the Dire Wolf Pens - where the mounts for the goblins of Brazhago are kept
7 - the Front Gate and Palisade, guarded at all times by a patrol of 5 goblins and one nilbog. There is a 5% chance at any time that Iktoroüs will be manning (or ogreing) the wall. Hidden watchtowers on the two peaks of the mountain wall on either side are staffed around the clock by archers.
8 - the Entrance to the Brazhago Colony and Mines

2006-02-28, 11:29 PM
Background and History:

Approximately 15 Years ago, a small band of goblins settled in a small network of caves protected by an encirclement formed by two arms of the mountain. Here they could easily hide and defend themselves from larger humanoids who might subjugate them or humans and demi-humans who would exterminate them. Ensconced in their crude fortress, they have worked hard to establish a successful and lasting colony, which they have named Brazhago, or “stony rest.” Normally, goblin colonies are violent and despotic places, but this one is different, though only the goblins themselves know why. After two birthing seasons, the goblins began to notice that bizarre things began happening to the colony – there was something wrong with the new generation. Several of the new children seemed not only unaffected by traditional healing magic, but damaged by it. After almost killing many of the new children, they realized that only by harming the children could they heal them. It was being argued as to whether to destroy these strange children when the colony was raided by orcs. The goblins defended their home valiantly, but the orcs overpowered them and pushed into the caves, pillaging, raping and looting. But when they reached the nursery, inexplicably they dropped their weapons, unburdened themselves of their booty, turned calmly and left; stunned, the goblins did not pursue them. Suddenly the children were a good luck fetish – they were saved from destruction.

This continued for some time. Would-be attackers of the colony would find themselves turning over their weapons and treasure, then turning and vacating. As the children grew to adulthood and began taking part in hunting parties, the colony found that these parties would often return with more than they expected – jewels, gold, weapons, low-intelligence beasts following peacefully back to the caves. They realized that these strange children were somehow affecting the minds and behaviors of those around them, and so Orzht, their leader, set in motion a plan to take advantage of this fact. A kobold collective known as the Zhil was offered a handsome sum (as well as permanent residence) to help the goblins fortify their position, expand the caves into a proper stronghold, and start mining operations. What the kobolds found was shocking.

The caves that these goblins had been living in were not naturally formed. Though they had decayed and deteriorated severely, the Zhil determined that they had, in fact, been carved from the living rock by no mean skill in some immeasurably distant past. The huge common area had at one time been some kind of entrance hall, complete with vaulted ceilings, which the Zhil repaired and began to restore. Stones long thought to boulders, were found to be crumbled monumental statuary. As they continued to excavate, they realized that this had, in ages past, been a stronghold of some kind. They began to dig deeper into the mountain in hopes that they would find some great lode of treasure. So far, they have found nothing of the sort. However, they have expanded the colony’s quarters. The cave complex now boasts ten bedrooms for visiting guests of the colony, three large common areas, family quarters, and a number of interlocking passages and defensive fortifications – including watch posts carefully hidden in the rock around the mountain. The kobolds have also established a moderately successful mining operation, producing mostly iron and nickel, though small veins of lead, silver and quicksilver have been found. The goblins and kobolds began trading these metals with passing humanoids, and, with the strange help of the new children whom they had begun calling nilbogs, quickly developed for the colony a reputation among the local humanoid peoples as being a safe and fair place to do business.

Today, the population is upwards of 450 goblins with approximately 50 of these being nilbogs. Though the main part of the colony is located within the mountainside, the goblins of Brazhago have small farming plots outside the cave complex, as well as animal pens. The goblins raise dire wolves (as mounts), sheep, and geese. In addition, the colony’s geese make excellent burglar alarms, and are given free rein of the commons – and woe betide the visitor who murders a goose. The crops of Brazhago consist of mostly wheat and oats, tubers, some barley and a few score fruit trees. These domestic items are supplemented by foraging and hunting groups which periodically leave from the colony on hunting expeditions that frequently last as long as a fortnight, sometimes two. Local game is largely deer, some wild pig and the occasional owlbear, which the goblins of Brazhago consider a delicacy.

Since Orzht has established the monthly Owlbear Moot, Brazhago has become the center for humanoid activities in the area. Orcs, hobgoblins, the occasional ogre, and some more uncommon creatures can be found encamped outside the colony during the moots, and some have become semi-permanent residents. Visiting kobold groups and other light sensitive races are normally housed indoors. Bugbears and gnolls sometimes visit the colony, but their generally loutish behaviour frequently gets them into trouble. Recently, a few human barbarians have made their way into Brazhago for trading. This may be a signal of something profound, but many in the colony are still wary of allowing any humans or demi-humans in. Nevertheless, the moot is a truly cosmopolitan place for humanoids, guaranteed as they are by the presence of the nilbogs (and Iktoroüs the Ogre) that everyone gets a fair shake and that no one gets too far out of line.

2006-02-28, 11:29 PM
Knowledge (local): these values should be greatly decreased for members of the races that frequent the Armoured Owlbear and the Owlbear Moot. Local druids and barbarians might also have these values reduced by a lesser amount.

dc 5: there is a well-defended goblin colony near one of the nearby mountains
dc 10: This colony is frequented by many "savage" humanoids
dc 20: There is a trading post and large tavern here
dc 30: The tavern has the best roasted owlbear anyone in recent memory has ever tasted
dc 35: The lord of the colony hopes to make this a major settlement

Knowledge (arcana):

dc 30: The strange mind-altering effects localized around Brazhago and the Armoured Owlbear are the result of the presence of Nilbogs.
dc 40: As long as a milennia ago, there was a college of arcane spellcasters who made their home in the mountain where Brazhago is now located, and the residual power of their magic is what has caused the appearance of the Nilbogs
dc 40: These spellcasters vanished into the mountain never to be seen again

Gather Information:

dc 5: Try the owlbear, it's delicious!
dc 5: Come for the food, stay for the fights! There's money to be made in that pit!
dc 10: Rumour has it that the Kobolds have built hidden watchposts into the sides of the mountain and that Orzht and his goblins keep watch there
dc 10: There's something not right about some of these goblins, but no-one seems to be able to put their finger on it...
dc 10: The zhil keep basilisks in the mines below to protect it from interlopers!
dc 10: The goblins trapped a group of otyughs in the mines and now use them for garbage disposal! That's where that smelly hole in the Armoured Owlbear goes!
dc 20: The colony inside the mountain was there long before the goblins arrived! I heard from one of the Zhil that they found rooms already carved into the mountain!
dc 30: The Zhil found something strange in the mines below the colony - some kind of mysterious stone...

2006-02-28, 11:30 PM
Important NPCs

http://img139.imageshack.us/img139/6529/orzht6pq.th.jpg (http://img139.imageshack.us/my.php?image=orzht6pq.jpg)
ORZHT, Lord of Brazhago Goblin, Fighter 4/Expert 2

Orzht wants nothing more than for his colony to be left alone by the "civilized" humanoids of the world. In his mind, he is just another local lord looking to make the best for his fiefdom. He detests anything and anyone that would threaten his people and their safety.

http://img139.imageshack.us/img139/8400/iktoros5ek.th.jpg (http://img139.imageshack.us/my.php?image=iktoros5ek.jpg)
IKTOROÜS, Judicial Champion of Brazhago Ogre, Fighter 5

Iktoroüs is the incorruptable Judicial Champion of the colony. He regularly fights in the pit, not only for the law of Brazhago, but also for his own enjoyment. He is an affable, if intense, fellow and now that he has taken a wife from among the goblins of the colony, his loyalty to Orzht is absolute.

http://img153.imageshack.us/img153/2680/kalban1kx.th.jpg (http://img153.imageshack.us/my.php?image=kalban1kx.jpg)
KALBAN, Proprietor of the Armoured Owlbear, Former Dragon-Turtle Hunter Goblin Expert 3/Warrior 2

Kalban, who is massive for a goblin (he is thought to be half orc) and sporting bright orange skin covered in the complex ritual tattoos of a dragon-turtle harpoonist, is the cheerful proprietor of the Armoured Owlbear. He is a favourite among the guests, who all respect him not only for his size, but also for his former occupation. He is currently trying to get a group of hunters together to gather owlbear eggs so that he may attempt to domesticate them, thereby providing a more constant supply of owlbear for the tavern.

2006-02-28, 11:30 PM
Signature Items:


*usually the tavern will have one or two from each section – rarely more, except for special occasions. Lots of cash might get a special request considered – but don’t push your luck: these are very busy goblins. Coarse bread comes with most meals.

(cheap and easily maintained, but warm and nourishing)
Cabbage Soup, 1cp
Goose and carrot broth, 2cp
Venison and barley broth, 2cp
Owlbear and mushroom broth, 4cp

(thicker, more ingredients, and more filling)
Liver and giblet stew (usually goose), 5cp
Kidney and dumplings (usually goose), 7cp
Owlbear pie, 8cp

Mutton and herb sauce, 8cp
Wild Pork in apple sauce, 10cp
Goose and black sauce, 12cp
Owlbear with entrail and fruit sauce, 25cp (le spécialité de la maison – only in season, goes fast! Characters who are gourmands will find themselves hard pressed to remember a game preparation this tasty. Well worth the money!)

Apple tarts (each), 2cp
Bannocks and honey (each), 3cp
Owlbear pudding, 5cp (a fascinating dish, both sweet and savoury – essentially a blood pudding – but with fruit and molasses. Sounds gross, but it’s good, if something of an acquired taste.)

Ale, 4cp (dark and smoky)
Scrumpy, 4cp (dry and raw cider – many humans and demi-humans will find it unappealing.)
Oesbegach, 4cp (a goblin whiskey-type drink, distilled from barley mash, mulled with owlbear blood - again, not for the faint of heart.)

2006-02-28, 11:30 PM
Plot hooks:

http://img232.imageshack.us/img232/6496/venguristoopeaxe2jt.th.jpg (http://img232.imageshack.us/my.php?image=venguristoopeaxe2jt.jpg)
http://img214.imageshack.us/img214/9325/mountainfoot3hn.th.jpg (http://img214.imageshack.us/my.php?image=mountainfoot3hn.jpg)
(i don't know why the second image won't post...)

The local "civilized" lord is feeling threatened by the establishment of a thriving goblin colony rumoured to be fortified and full of "savage" humanoids. He has sent messengers to Orrius Mountainfoot and Ven-Guri Stoopedaxe, leaders of the Khalad-Araga, a veteran band of dwarven and gnomish tunnel fighters who specialize in removing unwanted goblinoids. However, the Khalad-Araga are known for being not only efficient but also expensive. In a last-ditch effort to investigate and/or dislodge the colony, the PCs are hired to go and find all they can about this new band of goblins and eliminate them if possible. PCs may find remnants of earlier teams en route and begin to wonder just how tough these goblins really are...

2006-03-14, 04:52 AM
Plot Hooks, Part II

http://img107.imageshack.us/img107/2150/groshnrar9oo.th.jpg (http://img107.imageshack.us/my.php?image=groshnrar9oo.jpg)

A group of strange looking orcs calling themselves the Uruk-Khro, led by a battered individual named Groshn Rar, have been spotted outside the colony of Brazhago, scrounging for food and generally disturbing the neighbors. One of their number, a female, has been captured by a group of orcish slavers who are currently at the Owlbear Moot with a number of slaves, among whom number an elf, an halfling and an human wizard. Orzht is unhappy about this fact, and even less happy about these new orcs who seem to be dead set on retrieving their comrade. They have attempted to breach the colony's defenses for the past two nights and Orzht thinks they may actually attack. The PCs must find out who these orcs are and what they want. Not to mention, why do they look so different from local orcs, why are they all wearing slave collars, and why do they speak a bizzarely debased form of ancient elven?

http://img212.imageshack.us/img212/2456/lothrim9zh.th.jpg (http://img212.imageshack.us/my.php?image=lothrim9zh.jpg)

A wizard with a strange accent and a missing finger is asking questions in the local town about this new goblin colony and the rumours of a new species of goblin. He offers PCs tidy sums of money in return for "alchemical specimens" from the colony - eyes, skins, organs, teeth. Furthermore, he has heard about a strange band of orcs. He wants them, alive if possible. Does he know what once sat inside the moutain? Is he trying to gain access to its secrets? Is he just a kooky wizard interesting goblinoid genetics as he claims, or is there something more sinister in the fact that he drops the "o" in "orc?

2006-03-14, 05:50 AM
The image that won't post in the message above probably isn't working because you've got a space in the closing bracket '[/IMG ]'

2006-03-14, 09:42 AM
yeah, you'd think that, but whether i type it in by hand or cut and paste that link, that space appears before that closing bracket. ???

2006-03-14, 10:25 AM

Testing, testing?

EDIT: Works okay for me.