Keep On The North Lands
The Lost River Fort is a small keep in a deadly wilderness. The keep serves as a last stop for caravans crossing over the Northern Pass that winds through the Frothing Mountains. It also serves as a base of operations for adventurers seeking glory and fortune in the wilds beyond. The taproom of Pies & Pints serves as a place for adventure seekers to rest up, trade info, and plan for their next adventure.
There are three rules that should be made clear.
1. The game will be ran with the three D&D 4E core rulebooks only.
2. Players must tell the GM where the party is headed well before the session. We all have lives outside of the game, including the GM. The time spent to prepare for a session is precious and finite.
3. The most important rule is that everyone takes on responsibility for making the game fun. This includes having respect for the game, the host, the other players, and the GM.
The game is all about the joy of exploring. It has no overarching plot – just a consistent, dangerous environment. PCs have to work together and pick their battles — there is nothing stopping them from strolling into areas that will wipe them out. If a region beyond the mountains is full of 10th level monsters, that’s that – they don’t suddenly become easier just because a bunch of 3rd level PCs manage to get over there. This is even true in a single dungeon where spots exist within that can be more difficult. Everybody rolls in the open (except for rolls that the rules specifically says the GM should make behind the screen). If the dice say you suck a critical, a critical you doth suck. Conversely, when the PCs win, they win on their own merits.
To get started a single hook is provided. The PCs have in their possession a single treasure map. This treasure map will be handed out at the start of the first session. The PCs you create should be motivated to uncover the supposed treasure this map offers, and should have an interest in exploring the area. The reason is up to you, be it a basic desire for money (treasure hunter, mercenary), or a more meaningful personal goal.
The adventure happens out in the wilds surrounding the keep. Not in the keep! The keep is where the PCs rest up and plan for their next adventure.
[Portions of this text was shamelessly stolen from Ryan Stoughtoun’s Out In The Wastes PDF and The Western Marches blog posting and comments found at http://arsludi.lamemage.com/index.php/94/west-marches-running-your-own/.]
The ruins of the extinct human empire of Nerath lay to the north from the keep. This mighty human empire once sprawled over the region, but fell centuries ago against hordes of monstrous invaders.
Farther north, and even farther back in time, lay the remains of the tiefling empire of Bael Turath and the dragonborn empire of Arkhosia, who fought themselves to mutual destruction.
The most recently abandoned sites, and those closest to the keep, are those of the dwarves who once held one of their fortress-cities in the mountains until overrun by orcs several decades ago.