I was watching the trailer to the Rankin Bass version of the Hobbit and have been thinking about Rise Up Comus’ Under Hill, By Water. The cover , of course is by Evlyn Moreau, who is all kinds of awesome.
I have been toying with a project inspired by these ideas and images, along with assorted children’s book illustrations of animals all cozy in their beds under the roots of trees. I suppose Zilpha Keatley Snyder’s Below The Root Series was also an inspiration toward building a halfling centric adventure, although the notes in the Dungeon Fantasy Companion 3 about demi-human dungeons and abandoned halfling villages made me think about navigating the under tunnels of a shire.
Previously, my Brass Bell of Dunmoore crowd (we tried to meet today, but work got in the way) had run into a team of halfling ‘Kobold hunters’ who they were able to surmise as being on a road trip/ pub crawl.
The fine Shire of Wooster, or Worcestershire, as it is writ on maps, is Sheriffed by Malsom Reed, has two taverns; Amy’s Cozy Corner, a halfling sized establishment, and The Bell in the Bird, which caters to larger visitors. A nearby dwarven mine ensures a steady rate of bearded customers, and a not so distant bridge brings travelers by boat and mule cart. And with strangers come thieves, who the Sheriff hounds out of town with apologies to the robbed, but rarely any recompense.
Naturally it seems that the thefts occur in the Bird and the Bell, where Harkow Vert shakes his head at the propensity of the bigger folk to try and rob each other as he polishes the bar with an old cloth, but what is one to do if one wants to be a good neighbor? Start excluding the wayfarers bringing coin and hunger? These things will happen.
Now, most farmers will tend to their own nightsoil much in the same way that they compost the manure from their livestock, but large establishments, and the many homes built into the hill without benefit of large fields and minimal gardens need some kind of waste management services, and perhaps some discrete passages whereby the gongfarmers might remove the incidental byproducts of eating establishments…
And what has become my all -time favorite means of waste disposal in fantasy games, there have to be otyughs somewhere… Just ask Tim Shorts about his micro Adventure 102.
Now, the dwarves are agitated about something, and it may take some sorting out over by their minestead, which while barely productive (there is a merchant who would pay dearly for blue gemstones he is convinced can be found there…) leads deep beneath the earth to a waystation on a dwarven highway through the underdark between two major dwarf fortresses.
I have something for the next group of characters I can assemble when I have a night to play and my regular group can’t make it.
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