This is the background to my current D&D project, a West Marches cover band cover band cover band. The prep started as just an exercise to do something in the vein of 'bog-standard D&D,' but I've ended up prepping enough material that I might as well post it in case I don't get to run it before my interest turns to something else. In a nutshell, the premise is to take the Keep on the Borderlands, and add approximately two centuries of settlement, plagues, invasion, decrepitude, and revanchism.
The Eastern Principalities were once the edge of the Realm of Man, the Old Borderlands between Law and Chaos, but rugged explorers and bellicose adventurers slew the orcs and goblins and worse who plagued its forests and swamps, and founded new towns and castles to bring the land within the orbit of light and reason.
But now, as war and rebellion engulfs the Realm of Man, the return of Chaos to the Principality of the Keep again draws grim adventurers to seek fortune …
Continuing the description of the Old Borderlands, here's the next instalment of answers to Jeff Rients's famed 20 Questions. 13. Which way to the nearest tavern?
The Rimy Bear was named after the frozen bear corpse found in the building before it was rebuilt into a tavern. The bear’s skull is now the tavern’s sign. It’s barkeep and owner, Boyan, is rumoured to be an ex-adventurer, and most of Constable Ferro’s garrison drinks there when off-duty. A few private rooms upstairs are available, but most travellers sleep in the common room downstairs. Because the Bear cycles through regulars in the Constable’s command, it has a clannish feel, and newly arrived adventurers are required to perform the ritual of ‘swearing on the skull’ before being allowed to drink in peace.
The Weary Mule is the largest inn at the Manor, and is built outside the old manor walls but inside the outer stockade. It has stabling for horses and livestock, but all the accommodations are common rooms. It’s par…
Continuing the description of the Old Borderlands, here's the next instalment of answers to Jeff Rients's famed 20 Questions.
9. Is there a magic guild my wizard belongs to or that I can join in order to get more spells?
No sorcerer’s guild operates in the Old Borderlands. To some grey-faced and suspicious members of the church of Law, such an organization would be tantamount to a cult of Chaos.
To learn more spells or the like, you’d need to find someone to apprentice you, and that means either taking instruction from Sardo the Younger or tracking down hidden practitioners of the secret arts.
10. Where can I find an alchemist, sage or other expert NPC?
The closest thing to a magic guild is the Alchemist’s Guild, and the closest member of the Alchemist’s Guild is Master Fringuello, whose guild membership seems to lack some supporting documents. He does sell things he calls potions, though, and will pay a supply of certain components.Baron Liutward fancies himself a historian and …