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Cities & Towns Adventure Locales 1

Cities & Towns Adventure Locales 1

The new Kobold Press hardcover book is on sale! Weighing in at a hefty 256 pages, Campaign Builder: Cities & Towns is a homebrewer’s dream.

It’s full of advice on how to design new settlements or expand on existing settlements. You’ll also find summaries of government types in fantasy settings along with rulers, NPCs, and cultists to poach for your game. Plus, more charts than you can shake a stick at to bring your worlds to life.

In addition to the book, check out Campaign Builder: Cities & Towns Map Folio. A dozen high quality maps await with ubiquitous adventure locales. These are big enough for minis, and you can draw on them with wet or dry erase markers.

Adventuring in the Map Folio

I love staring at a map and writing a story based on what inspires me. Here, we’re using the Town Square map from the Map Folio to craft a one shot. Follow along!

Adventure Hook

After reaching adulthood, bearfolk undergo a sacred journey called a vandra. The bearfolk must undertake this journey on their own, without help.

Dovika Tomtevan recently embarked on her vandra to the faraway town of Panretzby. As the culmination of her journey, Dovika plans to perform a combined opera/folk dance on the steps of the town square.

However, the local bearfolk laureate Karu Kutzikacz claims exclusive right to perform any and all “bearfolk arts” in Panretzby. This bearfolk thunderstomper (see Tome of Beasts 3) has contacted Dovika’s wealthy parents, threatening to harm her if she performs.

Using an intermediary, her parents hired the 6th-level PCs to protect Dovika. While the intermediary doesn’t ask the PCs to interact with Dovika or interfere with her journey, he does request that the PCs indirectly act on her behalf.

Getting There

Rather than a straight escort quest, try a short Warlock Lair as a diversion along the way. Remember, the PCs aren’t supposed to interfere. Some examples:

  • To avoid a centaur tribe, Dovika travels too close to an infernal forest where gnomes kidnap travelers and transform them into unnatural beasts. See “Run Like Hell” from Warlock Lairs: Into the Wild.
  • Dovika must cross a deep, wide river on her way. She plans to spend the night on a small island halfway across the river. While they’re in the neighborhood, a dwarven mercenary offers them 500 gp to return her boss’ body from a tomb on the island. See “The River Tomb” from Tome of Beasts 2 Lairs.
  • When Dovika skirts the coastline to avoid an impossibly ancient murder forest, the PCs spend the night in Wrackwater Cove. The town council offers them a bounty of pelts and shells if they can eliminate the spooks and specters from the local lighthouse. See “Incident at Wrackwater” from Tome of Beasts 3 Lairs.

The Town Square

To maximize her audience, Dovika arrives on a busy market day. She wants to perform on the steps of the civic building to the west of the square, but she is pragmatic enough to move her song and dance to a safer location, such as the fountain in the square’s center.

Many merchants buy and sell wares from the tents in the center of the square. Some wealthy merchants own shops that line the northern and southern sections of the town square. Here, the PCs can find a buyer for any goods acquired during recent adventures.

To the southwest, the building with the brown roof is a raucous tavern named the Wandering Mandolin. When the PCs arrive, someone is performing live music.

A successful DC 15 Wisdom (Insight) checks conclude that the stomping inside comes from Karu’s rowdy performance. As Karu has already cast enthrall and compulsion during today’s shows, so the bearstomper can’t use those spells against Dovika or the PCs.

To complete her vandra, Dovika must sing her operatics while dancing for 15 minutes. The fully grown bearfolk’s voice cracks while singing, and she struggles with the 5/4 time signature of her dance.

Karu’s Approach

When building encounters—especially boss fights—consider how monsters fight together. By devising a plan, you limit the likelihood that you’ll miss critical abilities during the big fight.

Five minutes into the performance, Karu exits the Wandering Mandolin with his three bandmates: Boris, Morris and Horace. Boris is a tall, lanky redheaded human thugwho plays the cowbell, while Morris is a short, stout dwarf thugwho beats a big drum with his mace. Horace is a hirsute halfling scoutarmed with a shortbow who plays the tin whistle and banjo.

Karu confronts Dovika from across the square, threatening bodily harm if she continues her unsanctioned performance. Dovika does everything she can to continue her song and dance.

When the PCs intercede, Karu directs his fury and minions toward them. Boris and Morris fight together to maximize their Pack Tactics ability. These thugs are fiercely loyal to Karu, fighting to their death or Karu’s, whichever comes first.

Horace skirts the edge of the town square, firing arrows at spellcasters or anyone who harms his boss or bandmates. The halfling isn’t looking to die today and tries to fade into the crowd if he starts his turn with 10 hp or less.

Just before battle, Karu casts mirror image. He casts it again if he starts his turn without illusory duplicates. In the first round, the thunderstomper casts hypnotic pattern if he can catch three or more PCs in its radius. Otherwise, he uses Thunder Stomp and directs his bite and War Flute attacks against PCs who are prone and within his reach. He uses Taunt against the last PC who hit him with an attack.

If Karu begins his turn with more than 20 hp but less than 40 hp, the thunderstomper enters Frenzy and fights to the death. If Karu begins his turn with less than 20 hp without having entered Frenzy, he disengages and flees.


Once Karu is defeated, Dovika finishes her song and dance, completing her coming of age ritual. She returns home to her tribe, while the PCs move to their next adventure.

About Benjamin Eastman

Benjamin L. Eastman was introduced to D&D by his four closest friends—who immediately betrayed his trust by sacrificing his first character to a demonic artifact. Undeterred, he’s played all manner of RPGs in the intervening years. In addition to writing Warlock Lairs and monsters for Kobold Press, he’s contributed to the Stargate RPG and Americana, and co-authored DMs Guild adventures including Baby Tarrasque. He is perhaps proudest of the bar brawl—his first published monster in the Creature Codex

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