This has been a hectic week. I've been at work before the sun rises and long after it sets. But I am thinking about these sessions and this campaign setting.
I didn't describe one building, the one shop directly to the left of the fountain. It's a shed-like shop, a summer building for the general store to its north. It has heavy up-swinging shutters that open to large counter displays.
Presumably, the town was abandoned in the fall and the shop was shuttered. There are many knickknacks left over from the summer. Urns of summer wine are probably the thing that will attract the PCs, but also household items such as paintings, and small curios like necklaces and lockets. There are the odd socks and tights, soaps, and cleaning agents. And perhaps incense and candles.
Again, the idea is to point to a once vibrant town.
Since it was abandoned, it has been taken over by various critters, some of which have already been introduced. The characters have stuck to this one tiny area for several days. They don't realize the extent of the town but they feel comfortable where they are.
It seems that I have misplaced my notebook, so I have recreated the wandering monster list from memory. Before we get to the wandering monster list, there are two types of monsters that do not wander: the catfish in the fountain and the green whip snakes which are busy brumation, the cold-blooded version of hibernating.
The rules of engagement for the catfish are:
1. There is a 1 in 6 chance that they will be visible.
2. The catfish respond 1-3 rounds after a person enters the water if not immediately visible.
2a. They may be tricked into coming into range by dropping stuff in the water.
3. If they need to flee, there is a hole in the fountain.
The rules of engagement for the green whip snakes are:
1. There is a 1 in 6 chance they will be found in any house.
1a. They are everywhere, not finding them in one particular house doesn't mean they are absent, just undiscovered.
2. They are brumating, so they will not wake unless held by a warm person or a fire is lit in the house.
3. The snakes do damage by poison, not through biting. The poison causes muscle spasms, pain, and long-term shaking, all of which prevent using Thieves Skills and spell casting for hours. It is more annoying that anything else.
3a. If the players decide to milk the snake for poison, it requires a Dex or Wis save the first time. After that it simply requires a plan and care.
Now on to the main list:
1. Bandits, 3d4 appearing.
2. Sheep, 3d6 appearing.
3. Giant Ants, 2d6 appearing.
4. Ranger, 1 appearing.
5. Troll, 1 appearing.
6. Kobolds*, 3-6 appearing.
7. Mountain Goats, 2d4 appearing.
8. Mage*, 1 appearing.
9. Wild Horses, 1d4 appearing.
10. Wolves, 2d4 appearing.
Starred monsters are singular creatures.
The bandits hang out on the north side of town, this is a waypoint on their patrol range where it is generally safe to camp. Since there are no people here, they don't engage in looting and raiding activities here. They don't wander the town much as the trolls prey on men. None of them seem particularly skilled at combat, but they do have swords, bows, and light armor. They also don't have horses and have been warned about taking wild horses found in the as mounts or as pack animals.
The sheep and goats are more amusing than a threat. They are feral, so hunting them is easy but treating them like farm animals will end in disaster. The funnier the better. The goats can be dangerous if mishandled.
The giant ants have tunnels all around town. There is a 50-50 chance that characters encountering them will find a tunnel entrance near the encounter site. Inquisitive characters will find clues that indicate the ants arrived either after the town was abandoned or that the same time but not before, which means they were not the cause.
The Ranger is an associate of the bandits. He is more daring in his explorations of the town than they are. He will avoid combat, if possible. Every season, he picks a new house to live in. When encountered, the characters might find him in his home. There is a 1 in 6 chance of this.
There are several trolls hiding in the town, but only one is on patrol in the town at any one time. The troll will fight anyone he can for prestige and food, but like all trolls, he or she can be bought off. The Ranger pays rent, so they leave him and anyone with him alone. They also prey on horses, wolves sheep, and goats. If the characters offer them gold, the trolls will offer them housing. The trolls are brain-bustlingly dense. They will not accept animal carcasses as food, but if they are properly butchered, they will accept the meat and pelts as highly valued resources. It's like they don't know sheep are mutton. 8912
The Kobolds are of the Tribe of Minwan that hale from the Kobold's Folly
. The Kobold party numbers six, but they may be encountered in smaller groups. The tribe is oddly friendly so long as they don't witness anyone abusing the wild horses. They care for the horses and will happily eat people who harm them. They are willing to trade with the party, they would like daggers, knives, and hatchets. The Trolls avoid them like the plague. These kobolds are very furry like a pug dog and taste horrible. The trolls don't want to offer them the opportunity of renting space in their town.
The Mage is a singular person. He is mute yet can somehow cast spells. He has both clerical and arcane magic. He will heal characters in need. He can disappear and appear at random and often does.
The wild horses and wolves are just typical beasts. They are comfortable in the town, but if put to flight they try to exit the town. They are not troubled by human dwellings, sometimes appearing inside buildings or peeking in open windows and doors. Obviously, this trait makes the wolves very dangerous.
Introducing intelligent creatures into the town allows the characters a chance to dig for clues about the town. The troll, the kobolds, and the bandits will all be in agreement that the town has been abandoned for a long time. The trolls will term it as "forever" while the bandits and kobolds say, "many, many seasons". If trying to nail down a specific timeframe, it becomes obvious that the trolls and kobolds don't live very long so "forever", "many", and "seasons" may not mean much to them. The bandits don't recall a time that the town was inhabited and the individuals here aren't very knowledgeable. It seems that this is a newbie outing with only a few bandits having much experience at all.
The Ranger has the most information which he himself finds to be odd. He indicates the town always appears to have been abandoned within the last 1 to 2 years, but he has been visiting the site for a decade. His mother and father knew of the place, so he feels like there is magic at work.