Well met and well-traveled, friend. Introductions are certainly in order. I am Phileus J. Abbertale—explorer, naturalist, and scholar. Neophytes refer to me as a guide, but I personally find the term lacking, considering the breadth of knowledge I impart to those willing to listen. Indeed, the title Journey Facilitator best captures the range of services I provide to my clients. In my mind, formality conveys importance, and nothing is more critical than knowing and understanding your surroundings. Over the next few months, we will put my expertise to the test when I take you and your colleagues to select locales in Midgard. My travelogue predominately focuses on the natural wonders and monstrous beings awaiting adventurers who set foot in these perilous lands. Pay attention, brave travelers. The advice contained in these weathered pages may one day save your life.
Entry One—Fields of Doom
Our first excursion takes us onto the sprawling Rothenian Plain, which stretches across a vast swath of our world. First off, it is important to note the term “plain” describes the land’s geography rather than its biome. In this regard, plain refers to a flat, featureless landscape. Rothenian Grasslands would be the proper terminology, though the colloquial designation suffices for our purposes. In addition, almost the entirety of the Rothenian Plain can be further classified as a steppe, which is a cool, semi-arid environment where short grasses dominate the firm soil. The lack of dense vegetation and solid ground provide ideal stomping grounds for the Khazzaki riders and centaurs galloping across the level terrain. With no natural obstacles to impede the terrifying sound, the thundering hoofbeats reverberate far and wide, heralding their impending arrival.
Such impressive displays are hard to miss, causing many newcomers to wrongly underestimate the dangers lurking in the grasslands. In my youth, my naivety also led me toward the same conclusion, though I fortunately gathered my wits in time to survive the ordeal and salvage the terrible situation. While traveling along the outskirts of Dorograd, I happened upon a large, curious patch of grass with bluish flecks attached to the blades’ tips. The unusual coloration caused some consternation, yet being an inexperienced outdoorsman, I dismissed the oddity as a harmless anomaly. However, nature taught me a valuable lesson on that fateful day.
As I blissfully traipsed through the seemingly ordinary vegetation, each step disturbed the grasses underfoot, kicking the blue particles into the air. After walking twenty feet into the treacherous patch, garbled thoughts and disorientation filled my befuddled mind. The sudden uncertainty overcoming me triggered my instinctual response to immediately retreat. With every last bit of strength and coordination, I stumbled back from whence I came and collapsed to the ground. When the mental fog lifted, I relayed my experience to a local resident, who marveled at my experience. He told me very few live to tell the tale of an encounter with the dreaded syvgrass. (See my footnote on the bottom of this journal entry for details about this natural hazard.)
The latter portion of my journey through these lands proved more fruitful despite the inauspicious beginning. During this leg of my trek, I came across a ravenfolk doom croaker bellowing its dirges in an incomprehensible language. Although the words and their meaning eluded me, my fascination with prophecy and runic magic piqued my interest in the enigmatic creature. After a tenuous opening repartee with the insightful being, followed by the puzzling disappearance of several valuable personal effects, I earned the avian being’s respect during our conversations about the preceding subjects. After sharing the road together for several weeks, we parted company but not before he left me with a token of his appreciation for my wisdom and knowledge. His pronunciation of the object’s name twisted my tongue into frenetic knots. Therefore, I was content to call it a vision stone. (Its description appears in the footnote at the bottom of this journal entry.)
Of course, these are not the only dangers and boons awaiting adventurers trekking through the Rothenian Plain on their way to greater glory. As a final word of advice, always inspect the grass before allowing your mounts and livestock to graze upon it. May your paths remain safe and your company close at hand. Farewell until our next encounter.
Feared by hikers and riders alike, syvgrass is a rare yet terrifying menace slowly spreading across the Rothenian Plain. These toxic fungal spores settle atop vegetation, primarily grass, where they wait to germinate. Syvgrass releases its spores when disturbed by winds in excess of 25 miles per hour or after coming into contact with a creature or object. When this occurs, the spores instantly fill a 10-ft.-radius area centered on the point of contact. A living creature who inhales or ingests the syvgrass spores must succeed on a DC 16 Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, it takes 28 (8d6) psychic damage and is poisoned for 8 hours. On a successful save, the creature takes half damage and isn’t poisoned. If a creature’s saving throw is successful or the poisoned effect ends for it, the creature is immune to syvgrass for the next 24 hours. It takes a successful DC 15 Intelligence (Nature) check to identify syvgrass and its hazardous properties.
Wondrous item, uncommon
Intricate runes adorn the entire surface of a small, translucent agate. While touching it, you can use an action to receive momentary insight about events that might take place within the next minute. During that minute, you can use your reaction to gain advantage on one saving throw or impose disadvantage on one attack roll made against you. You must be able to see the creature attacking you to impose disadvantage on its attack roll. The vision stone can’t be used this way again until the next dawn.