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This article contains tables to help a GM create side quests in the ancient forest of Margreve. These side quests involve recovering lost relics for a mysterious benefactor known as the Vagrant Sage.
You can tack a relic discovery onto whatever else a party is doing in the Margreve. Relics aren’t a whole adventure unto themselves, but a sort of “B plot” to spice up a slow moment in the main adventure.
During an adventure in the Margreve, place a relic on the other side of a skill check or encounter. Getting one doesn’t need to be complex, just interesting. In return, PCs get money and learn some history of the Margreve.
Starting the Hunt
To start, PCs must either stumble over a relic or meet the Vagrant Sage.
To find a relic, drop a common relic from the Recoverable Relic table (see below) into play by means of a convenient ability check, loot from an encounter, or an NPC reward for some minor service rendered.
Alternately, the PCs can meet the Vagrant Sage first.
The Vagrant Sage
The Vagrant Sage is an atypically solitary Folk of Leng (see Tome of Beasts 1). A self-proclaimed historian, the Vagrant Sage cares little for the pursuits of its kind when so much of the Margreve, the Crossroads, and House Stross remain to be recovered.
Though unwilling to divulge why he seeks these relics (a motive you can develop as you play), the Vagrant Sage pays fairly for relics according to their rarity. Use the Relic Payout table as a guide.
The Relic Payout table also suggests XP awards for turning in a relic and an appropriate DC as a guide for how challenging an encounter should be to find one.
|Relic Rarity||Sage’s Reward||XP||Acquiring Difficulty|
|Common||25 gp||100 xp||DC 13 or a trivial encounter|
|Uncommon||125 gp||500 xp||DC 15 or an easy encounter|
|Rare||500 gp||2,000 xp||DC 17 or a moderate encounter|
|Very Rare||1250 gp||5,000 xp||DC 19 or a hard encounter|
|Legendary||3000 gp||12,000 xp||DC 25 and/or a deadly encounter|
Relics are valuable but have no magical features (although making your own is encouraged). The following relics are arranged by rarity on the Recoverable Relics table. PCs can find them throughout the Margreve, wherever the GM wishes. There might even be multiples of a relic, though typically the greater the rarity, the more scarce the relic.
Refer to the Vagrant’s Musings table after a relic is turned in to the Vagrant Sage as a guide for what the NPC thinks or knows about it. A GM might also insert their own lore here, as a vehicle for storytelling or advancement of other plots.
|Tasseled Epaulet. A shoulder patch of golden tassels with green and blue detail, denoting membership in a once-prestigious knightly order.||Common|
|Derende’s Fist. An arm’s length branch with an angular L-curve in its middle and a tip that coils around itself in a fist-shaped knot.||Common|
|Repurposed Spearhead. This rusty spearhead still shows evidence that it was once a farm tool.||Common|
|Solar Burst Pendant. A tarnished pendant stylized like a sun bordered by silvered lances of starlight. Sockets for gems or crystals contain crusts of loamy dirt.||Uncommon|
|House Stross Insignia. This torn and faded officer’s patch still bears intact embroidery depicting three black wings arranged like a triskelion.||Uncommon|
|Scrimshaw Horn. Intricate depictions of battles, voyages, and snapshots of life cover this ivory horn from some large beast.||Uncommon|
|Broken Steering Lever. Grimy oil coats this ruptured brass lever assembly. Dwarven runes denote direction at equal points around an attached flywheel.||Rare|
|Hedge Mage’s Cookbook. This well-used, leatherbound journal is less a collection of recipes and more a series of fieldnotes on the Old Ways, the curiosities of the fey, and the intricacies of witchcraft and hedge magic.||Rare|
|Green Knight’s Favor. This moss-soft handkerchief is darkly stained as if it were pressed between fresh green leaves. Airing it out releases puffs of stale pollen.||Very Rare|
|Onyx Mirror. This flat, inky-black stone fits into an open palm. Light seems unwilling to grace its surface despite reflections showing readily across its plane.||Legendary|
|Relic||Vagrant Sage’s Lore|
|Tasseled Epaulet||“The Griffon Knights once kept station here, out of the many watchtowers erected under House Stross dominion. Now the order’s current iteration harbors behind the walls of Zobeck while their presence in the Margreve is swallowed by primal appetites.”|
|Derende’s Fist||“The fingers of Derende are curious trees, said to be living embodiments of a Margrevian spirit. How odd that this fist-shaped branch which, while containing none of the tree’s magical resiliency, appears to be more direct in intent than gesticulating varieties.”|
|Repurposed Spearhead||“A relic of the Zobeck Revolution. Curious that in the end, House Stross wasn’t conquered with magic treasures looted from dragon hoards but brought low by rabble and improvised weaponry.”|
|Solar Burst Pendant||“The Order of the Undying Sun has always been committed to thwarting corruption and the forces of shadow, but where were their oaths when House Stross ruled with silver-coated corruption? What are those oaths worth now?”|
|House Stross Insignia||“For 600 years, House Stross ruled with iron fists and silvered tongues. Their retainers and footmen enforced their will when coin couldn’t buy it. Now, that noble merchant house is little more than a footnote.”|
|Green Knight’s Favor||“A champion’s trifle, likely a favor passed from an aristocrat, royal person, or a Fey Lord or Lady. Does possessing such a trinket denote the honor and dignity a green knight is meant to embody? Or is it a beacon in the wood to bring its owner forward?”|
|Broken Steering Lever||“Ah yes, the fabled craftsdwarfship of Templeforge. Judging by the state of disrepair, it would appear that not even Volund’s blessings could keep the airship aloft that this part once belonged to.”|
|Hedge Mage’s Cookbook||“I wonder what arcane secrets reside within these pages. And I worry whether the owner of this little tome wants it back, what cost there may be in keeping it.”|
|Scrimshaw Horn||“Impressive! I’ve heard of a cavern, fed by plunging waters, where primal and prehistoric beasts still graze. Did this horn come from one of them I wonder? Or perhaps from a sea beast of the Middle Sea or the Nieder Straits? If so, who might have brought it here of all places?”|
|Onyx Mirror||“Have you heard tale of the Weft of Shadows? He was a master thief who purloined fey treasures from the Summer Lands centuries ago. Some speculate that the Weft of Shadows keeps in contact with his agents still, using mirrors crafted of pure shadow made solid.”|
Concluding the Side Quest
The relic hunt needs no explicit ending. It can stop any time. However, when you’re done, you can cap it off with the Vagrant Sage revealing the location of a rare and mighty magic item as a final reward for the opportunity to tell stories. Perhaps amassing these objects garners the attention of a Fey Lady or some other powerful and curious entity who wants them as well.
1 thought on “The Margreve Relic Hunt”
As always, this is pure gold! Keep it coming.