The Crown of Idbol Bark
This adventure is a draft: it is unfinished and that should be considered when reading it. Special attention should be paid to text marked DRAFT, EDIT, or TK.
The Crown of Idbol Bark is a tabletop role-playing adventure in which the party attempts to arrest an upstart "king", usually taking two to four hours to complete.
This adventure was written for use with the Brave Old World ruleset. An abridged version of those rules has been included. This adventure comes with suggested characters that the players could use as their adventurers. See the "Character Templates" section.
The independent town of Belcaer, in the rocky marshland of the Gloaming, is suffering the aggression of a nearby bandit camp, led by someone who goes by the name King Bark. Travelers are being mugged, and farmers are reporting missing livestock.
An official of the Chandlers Guild named Abeth Harbrook believes she has located where the "king" is hiding: Jacob's Folly, a limestone tower built and abandoned in the forgotten past.
She's posted a bulletin offering to pay anyone who captures the "king," and the party has come to her office in the town's Guildhouse, a large pine timber building.
Who is "King Bark", really?
This adventure is set in tragically funny fantasy world of Teraum, in the year 80pc, during the Reconstruction Era. Several decades after the apocalyptic disappearance of magic, humanity is forming itself into a new empire. And on the edges of the world, rumors that magic is returning have begun to spread.
There are other adventures set in Teraum, along with lots of other material! To view the entire library, visit https://emsenn.net/teraum/
DRAFT The Crown of Idbol Bark
NOTE: Don't read past this point unless you're planning to narrate this adventure. If you aren't sure what that means, read the "Abridged Rules" section at the end of this document.
Before beginning the session, your party should know:
- How much does each of them weigh, with and without equipment?
- Is anyone a high-ranking officer in the Chandlers Guild?
- Belcaer: A town of about four-hundred residents and two-hundred travelers, located on the trade road between two distant cities. It is built on a short mesa with a single road leading into it, and has recently been experiencing an economic boom. It is located in a region known as…
- The Gloaming: A vast region of fens and marshes, broken up by mesas and rock outcroppings. The region is sparsely populated and relatively lawless.
- Jacob's Folly: A four-storey limestone tower built about eight miles west of Belcaer. It's unknown when or why it was built - it is far from any road or notable landmark.
- Abeth Harbrook: The local ranking member of the Chandlers Guild, a large commercial organization with offices in many towns, villages, and cities across the human world.
- King Bark: A goblin who lives with his clan in Jacob's Folly.
DRAFT The Plot
DRAFT Scene One: Receiving the Quest
The party has a meeting with Abeth Harbrook, the local representative of the Chandlers Guild. Her office is located in the Guildhouse, a recently constructed pine timber building at the edge of Belcaer.
She will tell the party:
- In the early spring, travelers passing by began to be mugged.
- Later in spring, livestock began to disappear. Mostly horses.
- Early in summer, graffiti reading King Bark was here began appearing on barns and silos.
- Rumors are that the bandits responsible are living in Jacob's Folly, a tower eight miles west of Belcaer.
If the party risks questioning her further, Abeth may reveal that victims report the bandits as exceptionally tall individuals in long cloaks and masks. She didn't share this information at first because she doesn't give much credit to the rumors of farmers.
DRAFT Scene Two: Travel to the Tower
The tower is approximately eight miles away, and given the rocky and marshy terrain, would be hard to get to on horseback. It'll probably take three to five hours to travel to on foot.
How does the party get to Jacob's Folly?
If traveling at night or in inclement weather, the party risks getting lost, though knowledge of navigation would help.
If the party travels quietly (such as at night or in inclement weather,) as they approach the tower, they will remain undetected until reaching "Scene Three."
Otherwise, they will be met by a group of "bandits" on the road, who declare, in sqeaky rough voices, that declares they are in the territory of King Bark, and must surrender their money and supplies.
Each bandit is actually two goblins in a long cloak, one standing on the others shoulders and wearing a mask.
How does the party handle these "bandits"?
They're more inclined to run than fight to the death. If captured, they will happily give the party directions to Jacob's Folly, saying that King Bark would be happy for them to come bend the knee.
DRAFT Scene Three: The Tower Exterior
Because of the limestone outcroppings that break up the Gloaming, the tower is not visible until the party has nearly entered the acre-sized field in which it was constructed.
Jacob's Folly is a three-storey limestone tower, approximately twenty-five feet tall and ten feet across. The tower's entrance has been sealed with the same limestone bricks as the tower - but there are a couple of windows near the top, and five pine planks on each shoved into the mortar form a rough ladder up to the windows.
There are goblins working around the tower, digging toilets and tearing up grass and stuffing it in sacks. When a member of the party moves into the field, any goblins near them will quietly move toward the tower, informing others on the way.
Some goblins will remain outside the tower, hiding behind rock outcroppings in the field and throwing stones and debris at the party. If the party risks engaging with any of those goblins, goblins at the top of the tower will have time to start burning straw on the roof the tower, which they will drop on the party when they approach the bottom of the tower.
If approaching in the evening, the party risks being noticed by an owlbear mother that nests on the top of the tower, who will swoop down and harass them, making the goblins aware of them. The owlbear mother will attempt to carry any small (<120lb) adventurer into its nest, where two hungry owlbear hatchlings are waiting for them.
How does the party get into Jacob's Folly?
Placing more than 120lb on any single rung of the goblins' improvised ladder is risk, with every 20lb making it riskier. Depending on the result, a rung could loosen or break. The adventurer might gain a fear of heights, or could fall, and even break a bone.
An adventurer who gets to the roof of Jacob's Folly would be able to take those hatchlings and raise them, but unless the mother is killed, she will follow her hatchlings to the ends of the world and try and get them back.
DRAFT Scene Four: The Tower Interior
The inside of the tower is dark, stinky, and beginning to fill with acrid smoke.
When the party enters the room at the top of the tower, through the window on the third storey, they'll find an empty room with some sticks, dry piles of dung, buckets, and a large brass dish that's clearly been used for fires, and might still have straw burning in it. The goblins will retreat down underneath the trap door on the ground floor.
There are two other "floors" inside the tower, though they are empty except for more dirty straw and dung. There is a large, heavy wood door in the floor at the ground level.
Once the party has entered the tower, all the goblins are underneath this trap door, and have removed the ladder normally placed under it. To get to the floor below is a seven-foot drop.
Smoke rises through the trapdoor, filling the tower with thicker smoke that makes every risk riskier.
If the party is on the ground floor during the daytime, they will see light entering the room through cracks in the filled-in doorway. A strong character might risk knocking the mortar down, letting the smoke out of the tower.
Opening the trapdoor exposes the party to further harassment from the goblins, but provides an opportunity for dialog. The goblins will call the party cowards, and say that if they come down there, King Bark is going to get them.
How does the party get to King Bark?
DRAFT Scene Five: The Tower Basement
The room is circular, a bit wider in diameter than the tower above, and is full of farm tools and preserved foodstuff and grains.
Among the approximately two-dozen goblins in this room is one wearing a "crown" made of twisted-together silverware: Idbol Bark, leader of this group of goblins.
How does the party capture King Bark?
The goblins have no further means of retreat, so will fight until unable. King Bark has no exceptional combat skills, and no goblin is armed with anything more than farm and kitchen tools.
Once King Bark and his goblins have been captured, disbanded, or eliminated, the party should return to Belcaer and tell Abeth Harbrook what happened, and potentially turn over custody of King Bark and other goblins to her custody.
- How will Abeth Harbrook react to claims or evidence of goblins?
- Who has possession of the Crown of Idbol Bark? Each utensil in it was magic in some way, though they're inactive now. To the right person, or in the right future, it might be quite valuable.
DRAFT Character Templates
- A high-ranking investigator from the Chandlers Guild. Among other qualities, they're skilled at negotiation and knowledgeable about bureaucracy. They're
here because the Guild is upset with Abeth Harbrook for not solving
the problem already.
- How do they feel about Ms. Harbrook's performance?
- A local rancher. Among other qualities, they're skilled at navigating the region and knowledgeable about local flora and fauna. They're here
because King Bark's associates stole their favorite horse.
- What was their horse's name?
- An out-of-work academic.
They're here because they've heard of strange happenings in the region, and where there's mystery, there's money! Among other qualities, they're skilled at lying and knowledgeable about reading and writing.
- How can they exploit the mystery of King Brag's identity?
- A prepared story that a narrator can guide the party through. See "Abridged Rules".
- A member of the party, a character in the adventure that is controlled by a player. See "Abridged Rules".
- A small town in the Gloaming region. See the Belcaer Gazzetteer.
- Chandlers Guild
- A commercial organization which operates in advertising, apiculture, bookbinding, candlemaking, among other fields. See "Chandlers Guild" in Human Culture and Physiology.
- A region to the southeast of the Green Delta and west of the Unseen Sea. Sparsely populated, the region is covered in fens broken by rocky outcroppings. See Geography and Settlements of the Gloaming.
- Goblins are a race of humanoids that are beginning to reappear along the outskirts of populated areas, after vanishing 80 years ago during the Collapse. See "Goblins" in Magic Creatures of Teraum.
- Green Delta
- A densely-populated region to the northeast of the Gloaming. See Geography and Settlements of the Green Delta.
- One of the largest buildings in Belcaer, home to the offices of the Chandlers Guild, among others. See "The Guildhouse" in Belcaer Gazetteer.
- Harbook, Abeth
- The primary representative of the Chandlers Guild in the town of Belcaer, with an office in the Guildhouse. See "Abeth Harbrook" in the Belcaer Gazetteer.
- Jacob's Folly
- A limestone tower built long in the past, well outside the town of Belcaer. See "Jacob's Folly" in Geography and Settlements of the Gloaming.
- The player responsible for starting and guiding an adventure. See "Abridged Rules".
- The group of adventurers going through a story. See "Abridged Rules".
- Unseen Sea
- A vast desert of unknown size extending southwest from the Gloaming. See Geography and Settlements of the Unseen Sea.
DRAFT Abridged Rules
Brave Old World is a set of rules for telling a story by having a structured conversation. It requires a six-sided dice (two is easier), a sheet of paper, something to write with, and two to six players (four to six is better).
One player takes the role of narrator, who starts and guides the story, and the others take the roles of adventurers, characters in that story. The story and characters may be created by the players as a group, or sourced from pre-written Adventures.
Narrators can either make-up the premise for a story, or use a pre-written adventure. Adventurers can either make-up their identity, or use a template from an adventure. If things are being made-up, it's important tha
The narrator says where the adventurers are and what is happening around them. The adventurers say what it is they'd like to do. When an adventurer takes a risk, they roll two six-sided die (or one dice twice) and add the results.
- If they roll a 10 or more (10+), they succeed at what they attempted.
- If they roll a 7 through 9 (7-9), they partially succeed, accomplishing what they attempted but with a cost or consequence.
- If they roll a 6 or less (6-), they fail, and something is going to happen.
If the adventurer is knowledgeable about or skilled at what triggered the roll, they can add 1 (+1) to their result.
After an player rolls, the narrator says how the game world reacts to their result, and the conversation continues, with players then saying how their adventurer would respond to those reactions.
This continues until players run out of time or reach a good stopping point in the story.