The world of Midgard is filled with wondrous locations, from the Ghostlight Forest in the west to the Dragoncoil Mountains in the east. Some of these extraordinary places present a challenge to those who adventure there, such as the Bleak Expanse with its vicious cold that hampers mundane tasks, or the warped magic in the Ruins of Thorn that play havoc with the flow of time.
This article presents a selection of these extraordinary locations as dynamic environments. Dynamic environments are similar to the fantastic terrain found in the 4th Edition Dungeon Master’s Guide and Dungeon Master’s Guide 2; however, the effects change over time depending on the actions the player characters take. It is not an encounter by itself; rather it is added to encounters to provide a more distinct challenge and should therefore be taken into account when planning encounters. The PCs gain the XP for the environment only when they have moved the track to stage 0.
Using Dynamic Environments
Dynamic environments use a modified set of the disease rules. Each stage has an effect on all the PCs experiencing the encounter—nonplayer characters and monsters are not typically affected since they have acclimatized to the region, but this is at the DM’s discretion. Each dynamic environment is intended for long-term use with the PCs spending days or weeks within the region. The effects of the environment are apparent as soon as the PCs enter the area. The disease track begins in the initial stage and is moved when the PCs fulfill the success or failure criteria. The environment is in effect until the PCs leave the location or overcome it, which is when the track reaches stage 0.
All the locations are taken from the Midgard Campaign Setting book. The book is not necessary to use this article, but further information on each location can be found on the page numbers listed with the entries.
Plains of Rhos Khurgan (Page 79)
These plains are littered with red mounds—burial sites of an ancient race. The dead heroes are honored by the libations of blood and wine over ancient barrows. The spirits of those that rest here were the most skilful and devoted soldiers. They hunger for demonstrations of combat expertise and see poor combat skill as offensive. Any ineffective combat skill is punished to hasten the journey to the afterlife of those without skill. Some examples of this punishment include nudged arms as weapons are swung and the obscuring of eyes as spells are let loose.
The Plains of Rhos Khurgan Level 3
Dynamic Terrain XP 150
Stage 4: PCs deal 10 less damage with each attack.
Stage 3: PCs deal 7 less damage with each attack.
Stage 2 (initial): PCs deal 5 less damage with each attack.
Stage 1: PCs deal 3 less damage with each attack.
Stage 0: The spirits will interfere no more.
Success: A player rolls a 19 or 20 on an attack roll.
Failure: A player rolls a 1 or 2 on an attack roll.
The Cursed Ley Lines of the Western Wastes (Page 160)
This area is stained with magical turmoil, which has warped the terrain into a supernatural wasteland. Magic is chaotic—as likely to fail completely as to be supercharged. Teleportation is erratic without ley lines as a guide. Adding to the danger of spellcasting, supernatural storms born of lingering violent magic can flay flesh from bone (see the Supernatural Weather table to randomly determine weather).
Cursed Ley Lines Level 8
Dynamic Terrain XP 350
Constant Penalty: The target square of any teleportation is 1d4–1 squares from the original target square in a random direction.
Stage 5: If a player rolls 16–20 on an arcane attack, they roll on the Augmented Magic table.
Stage 4: As stage 5 but replace 16–20 with 17–20.
Stage 3 (initial): As stage 5 but replace 16–20 with 18–20.
Stage 2: As stage 5 but replace 16–20 with 19–20.
Stage 1: As stage 5 but replace 16–20 with 20.
Stage 0: The ley lines function correctly.
Success: A player scores a critical hit with an arcane attack.
Failure: A player misses all targets with an arcane attack.
Table: Augmented Magic
|1||Teleport Flash: After the attack is resolved, the PC is teleported 1d10 squares in a random direction.|
|2||Misdirected Magic: The PC is included as a target for the spell.|
|3||Supernatural Weather: The player rolls on the supernatural weather table. The effect of the weather lasts until the end of the player’s next turn.|
|4||Boosted Magic: The spell deals maximum damage and the target fails the first saving throw from the spell if there is one.|
Table: Supernatural Weather
|1||Zombie Fog: Fog the color of a corpse’s rotting skin appears, and it smells just as bad. All creatures are granted total concealment. Creatures of undead origin regain 5 hit points.|
|1||Boneshard Sleet: All creatures take 1d6 damage as a torrent of sharp bone splinters whip around the encounter area. All creatures are granted partial concealment.|
|3||Gravity Quake: All creatures in the encounter area are raised 10 feet off the ground and then fall, taking 1d10 damage.|
|4||Magnetic Storm: Metal is hard to control in the currents of the magnetic storm. All creatures take a –2 penalty to attack powers that have the martial keyword.|