Out on the edges of the Civilised World, lurks a rotten and stinking place, the Candlemarsh. It is a dark and mysterious place, swampy wetlands ringing a dank and overgrown bog-forest. Even from beyond the wetlands, you can see the tiny dancing lights of the swamp. Local legend tells you that Boggarts plant tiny candles in the swamp, why; no one can say for certain, though everyone is quick to offer their interpretation. People go missing near here every so often, but then again that happens in every frontier town. Perhaps a few times a year, bands of drunk and over-confident adventurers go in, and the lucky ones that come out return drenched in muck and pestilence, gibbering of haunting terrors and beasts. The locals know better than to go there; better to place a candle on the edges every now and again to placate whatever it is in the marshes that loves candles so much and hope it doesn't take you next.
No one knows the truth about the Trolls, and the slumbering God they worship.
The Hooks for Entering this Wretched Place
Rumours of Candlemarsh
Terrains of the Marsh
2 - Foetid Lake - Not all that deep really, but just a little too deep, and the mud sucks at your feet to drag you down. Best to go around it. Impassable without proper methods or suicidal tendencies.
3 - Muck Isles - A rare bit of solid land amongst the muds and mucks. Always has an encounter on/in it. Normal movement speed whilst actually on the isle.
4 - Scum-Brush - Most common in the inner Candlemarsh, this is an area where the brush grows a little lower, all gristley bushes and pathetic shrub-stands. 1/2 normal movement speed here.
5 - Grime Groves - A part of the Swamp that contains a Druid-grove, Mangrove trees grow here commonly. 1/2 normal movement speed here.
6 - Troll-forest - The deepest part of the Marsh, where the trolls wade through the murk, and build their grovelling hovels. 1/2 normal movement speed here, and double chance of encounters.
Locations within the CandlemarshThese are all marked on the map of the swamp. They are immediately obvious when their hex is entered, though you can enter their hex without entering the location.
1 - Fat-Renderers
These Trolls take the fat from the Meat Hangers and rendering it down in vats into wax-materials for the Candle-Makers. These Trolls are particularly chubby, even for Troll-kind, and they will tell you often and loudly that they have absolutely no idea why. Everyone knows, but its not worth the bother of bringing up. A few truly unlucky human-prizes have ended up in the vats without being "processed" first, not that the outcome is any different.
These Trolls hang the prey captured on hunts up in their vast abattoir-hall on rusty bog--iron hooks, drain the blood from them, skim off the fat, and butcher the meat roughly. No-one in Troll-home dares irritate a Meat-Hanger. For many reasons.
These Trolls are the most prestigious Trolls outside of the Troll King's inner circle and the Oni. It is they that fashion the wicks and waxes into the Candles that the Trolls distribute around the swamp. They are rarely allowed to risk themselves on hunts (which they don't grudge at all) and enjoy many other privileges of the Troll-King's favour. Of all Trolls, these are the few that actually like the Troll-King.
More a Grand Feast-Hall in the style of the Saxons, it is here that the Troll-King holds his "court", and endlessly debates with himself where the next place to raid should be, and how to deal with the Moth-King once and for all. There are many Trolls here at all times, and occasionally all the Trolls in Troll-Home will gather here to feast beneath the watchful eye of the Troll-King. These events inevitably end with the Troll-King butchering one of his enemies in public though. He thinks he's being terribly clever and cunning by disguising his intentions so, though most have figured out the ploy at this point.
Less of a conscious construction, and more of a happy accident. The Druids sent a bear imbued with much of their magic, twisted and augmented into a powerful spirit-host to slaughter the Trolls. However, it ended being caught in a sink-hole created by the magics of the Oni, and bound in place with foul spirit-contracts. A good portion of the Druid's power is still bound up in the bear, and can only be released by the bear's death at this point. As for the Trolls, the Troll-King has offered a great reward to which ever Troll can destroy the Bear in single-combat. Many have tried, all have failed, and the onlookers and observers find it all absolutely hilarious to watch. The reward remains unclaimed, and it grows with each failed hopeful.
The "temple" of the Trolls, where the Oni lurk, and conduct their Spirit-pacts and communions with the idle dreams of the God 'Neath the Marsh. Named so because their chief rite is to submerge themselves and drown themselves to the brink of death in the mud to experience the messages of their patron before being pulled free. It is near totally-covered in candles on the outside.
Use the generators here to discover what was once here, then ruin it systematically. Leave little left.
The guests and dwellers of the tower are probably all dead, or long gone. Perhaps some are left. They would probably disrupt the order of the Marsh, and that's a cool thing.
All that is left to discover is on this table, which requires a good hour of searching to roll on.
1 - A scrap of a spell, counts as being worth 10gp if used (and consumed) for spell research.
2 - A potion of recovery, somewhat gone off. Restores 2d4-2 HP when drunk.
3 - A ritual dagger, discoloured and twisted. Worthless.
4 - An enchanted arrow that prevents the target from talking on a hit. Wisdom save to negate.
5 - A wand, misshapen and malfunctioning. Shoots a bolt of d4 damage at a random target on use.
6 - A rope that snakes along at 2 inches per second (ie 5ft per round), can obey simple orders.
7 - Rotten plants in a shattered glass tube. Worthless.
8 - A mirror that only shows people lying about their identity.
9 - A vial of suspiciously smelling ooze. Deadly poisonous.
10 - An actual, honest to god, true, decent condition, magic item of the DM's choice.
The Stilt-born House of the Angler Hag
Home of Aunty Seepstitch. See later entry.
Terrors of the Marsh
These creatures are the closest thing you get to mundane animals in the Candlemarsh. They are basically non-hostile, and non-threatening except to total jerks and/or idiots. Assume 1HD for each.
The True Terrors
Makes your flesh go all soft and waxy, and all orifices constantly spill forth watery humours. At the end of each day you have Marsh-Plague, reduce your highest ability score by 1, determining randomly between tied scores. If you die because of the effects of the plague, you have a 5 in 6 chance of coming back within d6 minutes as a Bloat-Dead. If you die due to other causes while you have Marsh-Plague, the chances are only 2 in 6 to return.
There are many of them in the Marsh. At least a dozen, perhaps as many as forty. [The actual number is 10 + 5d6.] At any one time, there will be d3-1 hunting parties of 2d4 Trolls out seeking Flesh for feasting and fat for Candles out and about in the Marsh. Only rarely do they venture beyond the Marsh [1 in 8 chance]. In each hunting party, the lowest of the d4 results indicate Troll-Warriors, who wear layered leather armour and carry Bog-Iron Smashers. If encountered in Troll Home, 1 in 4 encountered will be warriors. d4 of the Village are the mysterious Oni of the Drowning Faith, the "religion" of the Trolls (in a very broad sense, its more like a ritualised version of leaving meat out for a lion in the hopes that it eats the meat, rather than you). The can call to insects and miasmas of the marsh to serve them for a time, and they carve potent charms from their own, regenerating bones. Their magic is highly transactional though, and they can rack up some seriously high debts... The Chieftan of the tribe is one mean mo' fo', he has two heads, four arms, and three legs. A true brute without a hint of empathy and half as tall again as the more mundane trolls, he has bullied his way to the top through violence and proclamations of the God 'Neath the Marsh's blessing upon him due to his prodigious size and gifts of limbs. The second head is somewhat subservient to the first, and seems to serve as much out of fear as the other trolls. He is in truth, part Hydra; somehow. If any of his limbs (though not including his heads) results in the growth of 2 replacement limbs growing out over the next few seconds.He courts disaster with his poor treatment of his people, but for now at least, disaster is yet afraid of him.
Subnote: Troll bites carry Troll-Blight, which causes cancerous growths around the bite-wound, but also bestows a measure of Troll-regeneration once the growths have matured sufficiently.
4 - The Candle Golem
5 - Flicker-Flame Moths
6 - Troll-Eater Crocodiles
7 - The Moth-King
8 - False-Herons
9 - Bloat-Dead
10 - Rosecoal
Other Inhabitants of the Marsh
An Angler Hag has taken root in the Candlemarsh, an powerful being clad in the guise of an old woman, only twisted and wretched. She is thick-set, swaddled in lovingly sewn granny-garments, but her hands end in wicked goblin-claws, her jaw is too large for her head, and her mouth is full of thin, near-transparent needle-teeth. Beneath her matriarch-cap hides her lure, an arch of flesh ending in a tiny, strangely hypnotic candle-flame. She is a huntress through and through, beware her lights.
At heart, she is a predator. She can pretend to be kind and cheerful, she can play the role of a welcoming host, but she is always watching with the eyes of a tiger, waiting for the moment for her strike to sneak up and under your guard. She plays at fine dining, but keeps relapsing to her natural, brutal ways often without even realising or remembering. She will be delicately slicing fine shreds of meat to boil up into a broth, and then in an instant be stabbing the meat with the fury of a maniac, before returning to delicate slices. She will caress on of her many 'pets' gently, motherly, before bringing it up to her mouth, gorging herself with fury in her eyes, and then return to the petting. Don't try to confront her about it, it will only get you killed.
She can brew all kinds of lovely Teas, which she frequently brews for her terrified Troll 'guests'. The one thing she loves more than the hunt are guests, to the point where she will even take in those she would normally have not qualms slaughtering for meat if they knock at her door.
In her 'larder' there are a pair of gagged, drugged, terrified druids; bound and caked in mud and muck.
Swimming through the air as if it were water, are the Hag's familiar Spirits, a pair of electric Eels. The can cast bite, with the same effect as Shocking Grasp, and if both grapple the same person, the energy they create immobilises the target as if by a Hold Person spell. She loves both of them dearly, and feeds them little morsels every now and again, and will not let any harm befall them.
Sometimes, she gives the local Bloat-Dead little flower-crowns to make them seem... more cheerful.
The Angler Hag Out and About
When in a Hex adjacent to the Hag's home, any encounter will instead be with the Angler Hag in an 2 in 6 chance. When in the Hex containing the Hag's home, any encounter will instead be with the Angler Hag in a 4 in 6 chance.
1 - She wrestles hand to hand with a Troll-Eater Crocodile, in a couple of turns she will tear its throat out with her teeth and then drag it back to her home to cut up and cook.
2 - She runs full tilt, cackling maniacally, as she chases after a pack of False-Herons, who flee screeching before her. She will tear out the tongues of the ones she catches.
3 - She stalks a group of Druids, they are unaware that one of them will end up in her pot. They will only notice when it is too late.
4 - She delicately pulls away scraps of fungus and moss and carefully lays them down on a tray. She will take them home to dry them.
5 - She has a Bloat-Dead pinned beneath her feet. She pulls out a huge, crude syringe and sucks out a great measure of pus from the Bloat-Dead, and tosses the empty husk away.
6 - She roughly guides a pair of obviously terrified trolls by the hands, telling them about the tea she will brew for them and how lucky they are they caught her when they did.
7 - She draws water from the swamp, reaches in and pulls out a wriggling writhing clutch of eels. She gulps them down one after the other.
8 - She is knelt on top of a squealing Stilt-Elk. With a wrench, she tears the antlers from its head, and leaves it there, bleeding.
Teas and Imbibements of the Angler Hag
Of course, these names are just names. Who knows what might actually end up in each of the recipes? The effects however, are predictable. The effects of each last for one day.
1 - Gristlewort Tea: This bitter, bitter tea inures you to the swamp air. You automatically pass any save to resist disease, but also automatically fail any save to disbelieve illusions as the tea numbs your mind.
2 - Cuttlemoss Tea: This flowery and fragrant tea causes your wounds seal much quicker than perhaps they should. Whenever you take damage from a mundane weapon, you take 1 damage less (to a minimum of 1). You also take one damage more from magical sources, as your flesh becomes a better conductor of eldritch energies.
3 - Thicket-bean Coffee: Surprisingly creamy, this brown-ish drink counts as a days worth of rations when drunk, though you do need to eat double the regular requirement of rations the following day.
4 - Bogberry Cordial: This sweet, cloying drink means that insects take no notice of you, though you also suffer a -1 modifier to your stealth saves.
5 - Gin and Trollic: Best not ask what goes into this thick, coppery drink. You regenerate 1 hit point each hour while this drink affects you. Trolls will know what you have down to earn this power, and will always attack you unless you have truly proved yourself a Troll-friend.
6 - THE THUNDERER: Make a constitution save versus poison when you imbibe this stormy-grey liquor. If you fail, your guts thunder within you, halving your constitution score for the day. If you pass, you contain the storm within, and can vomit a thunderclap once until the end of the day, as per a Thunderwave spell.
The Old Man of the Moss-Clumps
It is huge and hulking, rough-shapen from moss and mud. It is one of the many Geniis Loci of the swamp, and most certainly the most powerful and most often seen as well. It cares little for the politics and goings on of the swamp's inhabitants, and indeed if it can speak at all, it never has. It is content to wander the swamp, seemingly aimlessly, roaming and meandering. While it seems to never interact with anything that doesn't initiate some sort of violence upon it, it does have a curious disposition towards the Troll Fat-Candles, which it always snuffs out. Thus, it sometimes comes into conflict with the trolls, invariably ending with a few ground up Trolls and a little more ragged-round-the-edges Man of the Moss-Clumps. Probably the Troll-King will tire of it eventually, and order a great hunt to slay it. It will probably work too, though not without the loss of many Troll lives.
Encounters in the Marsh
1 - A clutch of Troll-Eater Crocodiles stares at you from the water. [2d4 crocodiles]
2 - A band of Druids tends to a wounded Mange-Minx. [d6 Druids of the Swamp]
3 - A scared troll curled up sobs to itself while surrounded by a swarm of otherwise indifferent Flicker-Flame Moths.
4 - A Troll smashes on the ground nearby, the Moth King circles lazily above.
5 - Creak-beast crashes out of the water and immolates a False-Heron instantly. The others run, Creak-beast chases after, flames licking from its mouth. [2d4 Stilt Herons]
6 - The ground gives way beneath the party's feet, slumping into a pool in which rests an outcrop of Rosecoal.
7 - A Troll skins the fat from a Stilt-Elk carcass while its companions keep watch over the other bodies they have caught. [2d4 Stilt-Elk corpses, 2d4 Trolls]
8 - False-Herons watch the waters and occasionally snatch up Filth-Eels. [d6 False-Herons, not initially aggressive]
9 - Druids sit in a circle in communion with a great Mud-Spirit in the crude form of a man, huge and hulking. [3d3 Druids of the Swamp]
10 - The water boils and steams up ahead, Rosecoal lurks in the steam, a blistering troll painfully drags itself free from the water.
11 - The Moth-King struggles with a troll far away, before finally tearing off the Troll's head, and flying off.
12 - A Troll hunting party chases a group of Stilt-Elk with spears. [2d4 Trolls, 3d6 Stilt-Elk]
13 - False-Herons chase a terrified troll through waist-high water. [2d4 False Herons]
14 - A band of Trolls plant Candles on the more sturdy outcrops of land and rock. [2d4 Trolls]
15 - Candle Golem paces around the swamp, lonely and insane.
16 - A group of Bloat-Dead erupt out the mud, screaming for meat. [d6d6 Bloat-Dead]
17 - A Maiden of mud, muck, and filth sits on a rock, wringing brown water from her reed-hair. She is a spirit of the Marsh, and has much to tell those who are polite, and offering appropriate gifts.
18 - Several leeches have attached themselves to vulnerable parts of the party. Removing them costs 1 hp, and is somewhat uncomfortable. While attached, leeches decrease the amount of healing from hit die by 1 hp per dice.
19 - A wandering ghost of a forlorn adventurer meanders through the murk, forever looking for its lost arm. It might know much about the trolls...
20 - A Troll makes an offering to the God 'Neath the Marsh, muck and filth flow up it and seeps into its flesh, bolstering its regeneration for a time. The Troll plans to enter the Fight-Pit.
21 - Creak-beast bursts through the reeds with a terrifying scream of flame.
22 - A band of Trolls chases after the Moth-King, who eventually launches into the sky and flees to the woods. [3d6 Trolls]
23 - A group of Troll-Eater Crocodiles tear at a pair of Trolls while any of their companions smash at them with claws and weapons. [2d4 Trolls, 2d4 Crocodiles]
24 - Candle-Golem smashes a Troll that is desperately trying to crawl away. It will not escape.
25 - Druids battle with a Band of Trolls, it could go either way. [2d4 Trolls, 3d6 Druids of the Swamp]
26 - Creak-Beast and Troll-Eater crocodiles struggle with each other, rolling hither and thither trying to tear each other apart [2d4 Troll-Eater Crocodiles]
27 - The Angler Hag lies in ambush here. She will kill one, devour it, then chase the others.
28 - The Old Man of the Moss-Clumps thumps its way through the murk. It stops to snuff a Troll-Candle, then wanders on.
29 - There is an old and rotten pallisade here. Within, there are the remains of old adventurers, gnawed by beasts of the swamp. There are a few Troll-Bone trophies here.
30 - The Troll-King and some of his closest courtiers are out on a Man-Hunt. Run.
The God 'Neath the Murk
1 - A Forest God, impure and corrupted by the muck and mucky thoughts of the Trolls. It is bloating on their horrid worship, and twisting into something else. The Rosecoal Spiders are manifestations of this corruption.
2 - A Great Old One, slumbering and dreaming beneath the waters. The Rosecoal Spiders are ancient, alien servitor machines that await the awakening of their ineffable master.
3 - The Spirit of the Old Wizard who lived here. They long sought the power of the spirits of the rotten places in a hope to discover what it is that made men rot. Eventually it found out, and the knowing of it ruined his mind. The Rosecoal Spiders are emanations of the Wizard's madness, whose spirit has now fused with the Spirit of the Swamp itself, which roils insanely in the spirit world.
4 - The Spirit of the First Druid who lived here, long before the others. It began its Naturlisation, but resisted, and became a Loam Lich. It has lain dormant from centuries now, and the Rosecoal Spiders are the first stirings of the Liches dreams of fire and stone.
5 - A Water God, whose form breaches into the Mortal World, forming this swamp. The Rosecoal Spiders are servants that keep the Water God subdued, for it wishes not to wander the Mortal Lands, but the distant and yet close ranges of Nevuah.
6 - A Mighty and Terrible Leviathan, buried for millenia beneath the Muck. The Rosecoal Spiders are parasites that fed from its ever-boiling blood.
7 - A GREEN God, overflowing with Phlegmatic Humours. It is dreaming of plants, creepers, vines; yet when these thoughts reach the mortal world, they are already feotid and rotting. Thus was born the Marsh. The Rosecoal Spiders are its cast off thoughts and emotions, cool on top, writhing beneath.
8 - Something else of your own creation.