Ask any local woodsman or merchant caravan where to find good hunting in the Margreve and you get the same sorts of answers: hushed denials, vague warnings, and heaps of omen-warding superstition. “The Margreve won’t forget those who spill blood,” and, “You don’t go taking from the forest unless you wanting Baba Yaga’s eye along with it,” they all say.
Such fears are well-founded. Too many people fail to come back from great hunts.
To succeed at hunting in the Margreve, you must observe the Old Ways. While the Old Ways vary by region, most Margreve denizens agree on a few things.
Before your hunt:
If appease Old Margreve be thy desire, spill thine blood with thine hunting blade at prey’s spoor first discryal. Let Old Margreve know thine honesty whether for survival, sport, or vengeance may be. Only after can thee hope to hunt unfettered within OId Margreve.
Once thine prey art caught, work quick to spill tis bludt beneath nears’t trees both vernal and eld. Let Old Margreve see thine fatal work and drink first from worthy kill. Only after can thee hope to leave unfettered of Old Margreve.
The Old Margreve is, at its core, a primal place. And no act is more primal that a contest of predator and prey. Hunting is as natural an aspect of the wild forest as spring’s new growth from autumn’s deadfall.
What the Margreve does not tolerate is defying or defiling the natural order. Destroy wantonly, violate the laws of nature, fey, and the balance of all things, or wreak havoc on flora and fauna within the forest’s borders at your own peril. The eldest forest does not suffer such transgression for long.
If you play using the status mechanic (see Midgard Worldbook), you might find that hunting within the Margreve can affect that score. Here are a few status-relevant hunting actions and the results you can expect to come from them.
|Ignobly hunted or killed an agent of the Margreve
|−1 to −4
|Didn’t make an offering before the hunt in accordance with the Old Ways
|Nobly hunted an unaligned beast whose CR met or exceeded the lowest CR or level of the hunting party
|Nobly hunted an aberration, monstrosity, or intelligent undead who threatens the balance of life and death
Note that the Margreve regards an act’s nobility or ignobility according to its own designs. Even best intentions might be read differently by the forest. What other actions might you expect the Margreve to have an opinion of?
The Margreve is the perfect setting for a good chase encounter, rife with opportunity for interaction with hazards, other creatures, and the forest itself.
Running such a chase lies beyond the scope of this article, though you can consult your core rulebook or find a number of excellent articles on the topic online (Quick Reference Chase Rules by Ronny at https://olddungeonmaster.com/ is very thorough).
However you get into it, this chase encounter complications table is tailored to the Margreve, replete with opportunities for pitfalls underfoot and predators in the shadows. Even if you don’t use it for a chase, it can still provide fodder for random encounters.
|You crash into a marshy pond, a patch of deadfall, or especially tangled undergrowth which acts as difficult terrain for the next 3d6 x 5 feet.
|You pass through a nexus of potent primal magic that tugs at your clothing, weapons, and belongings. Any wooden objects (but not living wood) that you are carrying warp and bend. Ranged weapons and ammunition that become warped are ruined, while attacks with warped melee weapons are made with disadvantage. A wooden item that grants an AC bonus no longer does so and instead reduces your movement by 5 feet until you drop or remove it.
|You trample into a myconid or alliumite (see Creature Codex) garden patch and must make a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned or blinded (GM’s choice) for the next minute. If you fail the saving throw by 5 or more, 1d6 hostile myconids or alliumites join in the chase. If you succeed by 5 or more, the creatures are friendly instead.
|The pursuit attracts the attention of a giant owl, hawk, or forest falcon (see Margreve Player’s Guide). The bird considers you for prey and enters the initiative order directly after your turn, harrying you until it is harmed or incapacitated. If the bird doesn’t use its action to attack you outright, its harrying behavior imposes disadvantage on the first attack, skill check, or saving throw of your next and subsequent turns.
|A spiny erina (see Tome of Beasts) suddenly emerges from a burrow in the path ahead. Make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw or take 7 (2d6) piercing damage and your moment speed is reduced by 10 feet until you (or someone else) spend 10 minutes removing the embedded spines.
|Your chase takes you through a short tunnel of rock, dense trees, or thick brush. Make a DC 12 Wisdom saving throw to avoid becoming frightened as you disturb an unexpected colony of bats. If you fail the check by 5 or more, a swarm of bats or 1d6 strossen bats (see Margreve Player’s Guide) actively chases you, entering the initiative order directly after your turn.
|The forest bursts into action, aligning branches, vines, and brush to disrupt your pursuit. Make three DC 11 Strength (Athletics) checks to navigate the impromptu gauntlet. For every failure, your Initiative is reduced by 5. If you fail twice or more, you are knocked prone.
|Another predator such as a panther (use lion statistics), a pack of wolves, or a grove bear (see Margreve Player’s Guide or Tome of Beasts 2) enters the fray, vying for supremacy, territory, or simply food.
|An unexpected sinkhole swallows the ground beneath your feet. Make a DC 13 Strength or Dexterity saving throw or take 2d6 fall damage as you fall into a 15-foot-deep pit. Climbing out of the pit requires a successful DC 11 Strength (Athletics) check.
|You enter a field of magical plants or flowers and must make a DC 19 Charisma saving throw with advantage. On a failure, you are charmed by the Margreve and feel compelled to help it. (GM decides how the Margreve wants to be helped. Alternatively, you might decide that the field is under the effect of a cultivated wort specific to a particular type of magical plant see Hedge Magic inTome of Heroeson how to use magic plants.)
|No complication. However, The Margreve takes notice. Your next check on this table is made with disadvantage.