July 13, 2011

Farstead: Snakes

This is the list of Snake Notes for my Farstead campaign. These are various things the characters can discover during their explorations. They are meant to be mysterious and set a tone. Each time the characters discover one of these it will reinforce the notion that the land they are exploring was once the home of intelligent snake people. Even if your own campaign does not have a snake motif, most of these ideas can be converted to your own campaign. For instance, if your own world was once ruled by dragons, the Bone Dome can house dragon bones instead of snake bones. The intent here is to reinforce knowledge of the ancient world in your campaign.

Bone Dome
An oval building lies here. Within the large building (60’ in diameter), the bones of large snakes hang from the walls and ceiling. The ruins of several outbuildings can barely be seen nearby.

Bridge
A beautifully crafted bridge is here. The main supports are stout snakes and the along the edge a snake twines its way along the length. There are multiple carvings of snakes on the upper supports as well. The bridge is 100’ long and rises up 10’. The only odd thing is that the bridge is not over anything. There is no water and the ground below is completely flat.

Five Snakes
This stone statue of 4 snakes wrapping around each reaches 25’ in height. At the top the snake heads all look out in different directions (the cardinal directions of NESW). At noon the sun strikes the statue and light comes out of the snake heads and shines outward for a long distance.
It is possible the players will notice a beam of light at noontime.

Ghost Town
This arboreal village (up in trees) once housed 50 families of Zain-Kin. The village is completely abandoned and has been for some time. At the base of each tree the symbol of a black snake is carved into the bark. The symbols were carved and then filled with a black metal. The symbols can not be removed easily as the symbols slither around the tree when someone goes to touch them; the only way to remove the symbol is to kill the tree first. Those who make a Religion roll will know there are spirits lingering within the village, but at this time there is no way to gain access to the spirits.

Light Snake
A large slab of stone (10’ x 20’) is set atop 10’ high pillars at the corners. Throughout the stone are various holes. Light shines down through the holes and onto the shadow below the stone. The light forms an outline of a snake, which moves throughout the day. Eyes of the snake also move. On bright moonlit nights the effect is similar.

Moving Snake Wall
At first glance this stone wall on the side of a hill appears to have paintings of snakes on it. However, it can quickly be determined that the snakes move across the surface of the stone. They move off the right side of the stone and new snakes appear on the left side to pursue a random path across the stone. Touching the stone or painting reveals nothing but a stony texture as would be expected if it was simple stone.

Petrified Snake
The characters come across a very large snake, 300’ long, which is apparently a stone carving. Upon closer inspection it is revealed it is a petrified snake.

Ruined Town
This appears to be a town that once houses a moderate size population (about 500). The houses are low domes, but inside the house is dug down into the ground another 5’, with various rooms separated by walls but no roof. The town is filled with snake motifs. It appears as if the town was destroyed in a rage as statuary is knocked over, the well is filled in, etc. There are no small objects/supplies in the town, nor are there are any skeletons. It would seem the town was abandoned and/or thoroughly ransacked.
Nearby is Ruined Village.

Snake Art
Upon the side of a large rock is a beautiful “painting” of a wild landscape. Taking a closer look will reveal that the paint is actually tiny snake scales of different colors arranged to form the picture.

Snake Crypt
This large crypt (3 50’ round chambers) is full of niches (50 per chamber) and each niche contains the cast off skin of a large (5’) snake.

Snake Fissure
This is a fissure in the ground, which is roughly shaped like a snake. Vaporous gases escape from below. If a person inhales the gases for too long they will begin to randomly hallucinate. It is possible that some of these hallucinations will convey visions pertaining to a question a being may have about a particular problem they are facing.

Snake Garden
Stone snakes appear to slither straight up out of the ground. There are 25 of them and they are about 1’ high each. If the players dig down, 3” down the stone snakes are on a stone base that covers the stone snake area.

Snake Maze
From a hilltop the characters can make out an old maze. It is obvious that at one time this was a garden maze with the pathways set in snake designs. It appears as though it has been along time since it was last tended properly. It is currently unoccupied.

Snake Obelisk
An obelisk sits here with nothing else around it. The obelisk is 25’ high and has a relief of a snake curling around it to the top.
Once the proper ritual is enacted the Snake Obelisk will become activated and act as a portal between another activated Snake Obelisk.

Snake Observatory
This is a short, 2 story tower with a rounded dome top. The top is partially open to the sky and a high seat sits just below the opening. Throughout the second/top level there are carvings on the walls depicting celestial objects. Throughout the entire tower there are reliefs depicting snakes of all types, some even humanoid snakes.
While sitting on the top chair, a person loses a sense of where he is. To his senses he is sitting far above the earth (above a cloud cover) and is peering into the heavens themselves.

Snake Shadow
This is a set of strange sculptures that reach up into the sky; 8 tightly packed sculptures reaching a height of up to 20’. However, if the shadow that they cast is looked at, the shadows form one shadow of a large snake that moves across the nearby ground throughout the day.

Snake Skeletons
This is a large 5 room stone building. It looks as if it has been ransacked at several points in the past, though it still contains many oddities. Hanging on the walls in some sort of arrangement of display, are skeletons of snakes. However, all these snake skeletons are unique and unusual. There are two-headed snakes, snakes with two tails, snakes with large over-bites, snakes where the bones become larger as the spine continues, etc.

Snake Skulls
This 10’ cube building sits by itself in the middle of nowhere. It has no opening. A high Dungeoneering roll will reveal it was built with no opening and the roof was put on last. If a 2’ thick wall is breached the inside of the small building is crammed with snake skulls of varying sizes.

Snake Trails
This small area is remarkable in that it appears as if over 100 snakes of varying size recently moved through this area. Their telltale serpentine tracks can easily be spotted. These marks remain here throughout all conditions including weather which would normally remove such marks.

Snake Trees
There is a copse of trees (about 50 trees) in neat rows with very little undergrowth. The trees are unique due to the fact the tree trunks snake up in an unnatural manner (the trees each an average height of 15’).

Waving Statue
Here is a large (20’ high) statue of a snakeman; it has one arm lifted as if in greeting. This statue is in Hex 18 and in Hex 19 and if someone could see that far (which would require magic) it can be seen that they are waving to each other.
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