Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Lands of Quasqueton (Country-As-Dungeon)

 This is an attempt to adapt the first floor of the  B1 In Search of the Unknown dungeon into an overland realm, in the style of a previous attempt. In so doing, I'm pretty sure I've totally ruined its initial purpose, as I'm pretty sure he mapping challenges for which B1 is famous have mostly been obliterated. Not only have many of the convoluted areas been unknotted, but the overland rules I'm entertaining with this format allow PCs to forge alternate routes in extremis. There are unmarked changes to the way the areas are laid out, even beyond the shift from dungeon to countryside.

This version promises an odd experience. The encounter table, which I attempted to jazz up, is a bit lackluster, and this ostensibly settled realm is notably quite depopulated. You will want your copy of B1 open if you study this adaption closely, as I tried to avoid duplicating work or restating tedious information. The cavern level of the dungeon was not adapted, but hopefully you can imagine how they might translate into a stirring underdark locale.

In this case, I imagine 1 overland Turn is equal to five days travel, and can get you through five squares, ten if you're sailing upriver or walking on ice, fifteen if you're sailing downriver. Every sixth turn, a party will need to rest for a few days. I've been thinking about long-term travel and how to make them more concrete. Perhaps a DM should force such long expeditions to include pack animals, porters, or vehicles and set a price for 3 months of supplies, using an equipment list like the one found in the Prairie Traveler to specify exactly what this equipment is.


The first dynasty of Quasqueton was established by the warrior king Rogahn the Fearless and the potent wizard Zelligar the Unknown. In the turbulent times that have since come to the riverine kingdom, it is said that they will one day return from their doomed campaign in distant lands, leading an army of gay soldiers in fine array, tooting horns and waving banners, fighting to banish trouble and evil on the roads and rivers.

Quasqueton is a land with cold, wet autumns and long, chilling winters. The rivers which feed trade near-fully freeze for 1d2+4 months of the year.


1. 1d6 orcs. The descendants of those enslaved in earlier dynasties, most orcs live as outlaws and are suspicious of strangers.

2. 1d2 giant centipedes. Largely harmless, but attack if you get too close, which is most likely to occur by accident if you pass by their burrow in winter.

3. 1d6 kobolds. Likely peddlers, farmhands, or cowpokes. Pant in the summer, roll around in winter.

4. 1d20 troglodytes. Last generation they migrated here as raiders. Now they are often mercenaries and guards marrying into local leadership. Not well adapted to the cold.

5. 1d4+1 giant rats

6. 1d2 x 10 berserkers. Most of their ranks are filled with disaffected local bachelors and widows or widowers who seek something to be a part of.

  • 0. Delta City Ruins. Once a bustling trade port flanked by high cliffs. Now no longer continuously occupied. Statues of various kings and potentates stand half-ruined in alcoves carved into the cliffs. Some are enchanted with Magic Mouths that make grandiose boasts. In the west cliff is a statue of Rogahn and in the east cliff is a statue of Zelligar. Behind each of these two is a hidden passage through the stone, coming out in valleys that serve as secret routes. Searching the city will yield the remains of four adventurers, as well as signs of previous campsites.
  • 1. The River Quasque. Allows travel at double speed if you have a boat or, in winter, a sled team or snow shoes. The tributary fed from area 31 is called the Rayon. When it splits at the Steel Cliffs (area 4), it is called the North and South Rayon. People in this part of the country are considered awkward and pretentious. The tributary fed from area 5 is called the Alet. People in this part of the country are considered pious and well-formed, and everybody loves them. The longest branch of the river, fed from 18, is called the Rimewater when it needs to be distinguished from other parts of the river. People in this part of the country are considered hardy and needlessly sinister.
  • 2. Kettle Town. Farms and fortified granaries around a town of grates and awnings. Civic reverence for the town's original residents, the hirelings of Rogan and Zelligar, is slowly morphing into a religion.
  • 3. Steel Cliffs West. The safe ascent on the western face is guarded by a camp of a dozen orc fisherfolk. In lean years, they dabble in piracy. Their captain, Sentia, wears shoddy brigandine, a braided beard, and an immaculate lion-faced Shield +1. Drinking and gaming is the group's only outlet..
  • 4. Steel Cliffs East. No easy ascent from anywhere but area 3. Standing unspoiled is a beautiful marble statue of a beckoning woman lifting up a scimitar.
  • 5. Alet Mountains. Ample valleys and foliage make traversing the range less arduous than it otherwise might be. Atop one of the more gradual slopes is the brutalist Tower of Zelligar. Within, untouched by the ages, is a massive mural depicting his military victories, a fine bed with his name engraved in it, some ewers and other minor treasures, and, hidden behind a screen in a chest with a poison needle trap, an ornate glass vial containing the tears of a Ghost, which serves as a potion of invisibility.
  • 6. Zelligar's Villa, now a ruin. Fallow vineyards surround it. Crab spiders infest the interior of the intact buildings, and hanging on a stand is a Bag of Devouring, which seems like rich purple fabric on the exterior but scratchy burlap on the inside.
  • 7. Alet Grove. A path from the Tower leads here, a beautiful and enchanted place where a unicorn wouldn't be out of place. The bottom of a still pool seems to be lined with coins and gems, but it is only an illusion. When disturbed, it disintegrates like ink in the water to reveal a pair of zombies in rusted-up ring armor wielding spears.
  • 8. Highland Outcropping. Studded with the tombs of later dynasties. One is notably more ancient in construction but much better preserved than others. Within, rather than a tomb, is an arcane workroom. Environmental storytelling reveals that this was built in secret by Zelligar IV the Secret-Fire, and is of a middle dynasty.
  • 9. Highland Fields. Dotted with gullies and the detritus of arcane rites which have been conducted here for generations, ending only twenty years ago. Home to such things as smoke that incapacitates with a full day of uncontrollable laughter, dickishly enchanted rings which are actually worthless, sites of human sacrifice, torn skins with arcane prophecies painted onto them, vats of weird goo, deep fire pits, busted-up coffins, occasional caches of honey and grain, and tins of incense. A clique of thirty strange, withered, blue-skinned people, the descendants of a lapsed priesthood, act as custodians here. Stats as goblins, typically encountered in groups of ten. They are led by Oltid, who wields a false magic wand (radiates magic) in combat, hoping it will cast some kind of spell.
  • 10. Dakel's Cove. A cave hidden in a cliff bank on the River Quasque. To access it, you need to swim under the brickwork of a section of the cliff, reinforced by a moss-covered brick wall which conceals a beach in a long overhang. Attentive PCs may notice that the bottom of the brick wall is held up by stone arches, giving access just a couple feet under the surface of the water. Within the cove are 60 barrels with boring contents, like barley, soap, and lard, as well as a 400 gp pearl which has rolled behind a barrel full of peas.
  • 11. Rime Plateau. Largely a collection of inaccessible and rocky vistas, with several waterfalls feeding into the river. Half-visible in one waterfall is a chain ladder rattling around. The force of the water makes climbing the ladder almost impossible, but during the winter months the falls freeze and the ladder comes to the front, due to dwarven constructions of its blah blah blah. Ascending leads to an old miner's camp, abandoned in one of the recent political crises. In addition to some gear useful to adventurers— rope, chains, iron spikes, there are piles of wooden beams, building mortar, stone blocks, and assorted hardware. The mine itself never went into operation, and it would be the investment of thousands of gold coins to get it running. However, it would reliably turn a profit in tin ore for years to come.
  • 12. The Unknown Library. A remote holdfast near a mouth of the river, accessed by a grand series of bridges and paths. Unfortunately, because the library was named for a latter-day imitator of Zelligar and not for its actual secrecy, the library was destroyed in a power struggle last century. Most of the tomes and scrolls have been destroyed, but hidden in a secret room only noted in the directory is a Silver bracelet worth 32 gp and a tell-all biography of Zelligar I's daughter, Boed the Apt. The kobolds from area 13 sometimes make the trek to visit this place. They use glowing bugs in jars for light and greatly value literature despite lacking the means to produce paper, vellum, or other appropriate sheets.
  • 13. Sidif. A dozen small kobold villages, only half of which are currently occupied. The rest, either home to peddlers who are not present or abandoned in the past generation, contain various mundane tools and implements, as well as about 9800 copper coins that would take a few days of ransacking to gather.
  • 14. The Drakewood. Dense and difficult to traverse, with needled ferns that cause a burning rash. It was by this routes that the troglodytes entered Quasqueton, and most troglodytes could give directions for safely traversing it. In the darkest part of the forest is a giant, hollowed out oak tree that once served as a hermitage, and within, on a small hanging rack, can be found two scrolls of cure light wounds engraved with illustrations of saints healing the sick. At the DM's discretion, the Drakewood can connect on its western edge to another realm.
  • 15. Village of Downing Fields, a rustic but inviting alpine spot. Festivals are common, the mayor is inviting, and raiders never seem to trouble them. Those who visit are unknowingly transported to area 16, confusing navigation.
  • 16. Village of Fielding Downs. As area 15, but the mayor has a hole in one eye that's constantly dripping some fuzzy fluid and no one acknowledges it.
  • 17. Meter Hill. Sister peak to the Rime Mountain Peak (area 19). Often coughs up ash and soot. In the side of a cliff is an impressive stone door that will never open, a mean-spirited trick of Rogahn II Half-Elven. Around the door are elven runes mocking those who attempt to open it as weaklings and babies. A carcass crawler lingers near the peak, half-submerged in the ash but unfortunately distinct to the eye.
  • 18. Rimewater Mouth. The river powers a pair of water wheels around which a small town has sprung. There is a large smithy there, but the stern smith who owns it is too old to work the forge, and all her sons have died or gone.
  • 19. Rime Mountain Peak. Some stubborn trees grow here. In a short cave a long shaft can be found that runs down, down, down to the caverns under Quasqueton. A block and tackle is fitted into the cavern ceiling directly above the hole with rusted nails. When more than 100 pounds of weight are put on the tackle, there is a chance the nails will snap and it will fall out of its fitting. About 300 feet down the shaft, the irregular walls are met with steep, crudely-cut spiral stairs that lead down, down, down.
  • 20. Lesser Mountains. A high redoubt on a remote hill is visible from a great distance, but traveling to it involves a spiraling, circuitous route that slows travel. Frustratingly, the interior is totally unfinished, and empty except for some bear scat, a small wooden box holding 140 gold coins, and a clay tablet amateurishly inscribed with a smiling face.
  • 21. Lamoe, called by outsiders the Troglodyte Moot. Raiders have settled the fertile lands overlooking Delta City, and begun to tend it, growing tomatoes suspected of being poisonous and potatoes believed to be venomous. Outsiders have a good chance of being hassled by the Ambo, a clan of nosy warriors. Their warriors number eight, and they are led by Uwlo, who wields an amber-chased +1 dino-head flail, and his one-eyed aunt, Aiphu One-Eye, who wields a two-handed whip. She has a false map that accurately shows areas 1 and 17-22 and incorrectly maps the rest of the land of Quasqueton.
  • 22. Overgrown Reserve. The thick woods here slow travel. Fungus and molds of every color of the rainbow infest the reserve, and the spores are unpleasant to breathe. 
  • 23. Woodrow. Series of woodcutting communities overlooked by Castle Rogahn's cliff along the south. A tunnel in the vault of a cliffside belltower leads up to the castle proper.
  • 24. Consort's Villa. Built abutting the cliff of area 25. Currently ransacked and in disrepair, although searching the compound can yield a silver mirror worth 360 gp, as well as a black widow spider hiding under a bed and ready to crawl out. If the party splits up to search the villa, one will probably still spot it emerging. In a central room, there is a small statuette of a local deity, and in its hand in a wooden box containing a golden ring of protection +1 with a heart-shaped ruby, as well as fragile piece of paper that says in crude hand "Melissa, God knows I have done nothing to deserve you. You are the one beautiful thing in this sinful world that brings me any joy and you give each of my days meaning. I am sorry I have no beautiful words to say these things. Will you marry me?" In a basement, behind some smashed up wine racks, is a tunnel into area 25.
  • 25. Castle Rogahn. Surrounded on all sides by steep drops, with a winding approach on the west side that has utter collapsed. A spartan and forlorn fortification raised by Rogahn, dwarfed in grandeur by later ages. It is operated to this day by jumped-up burgers and their servants, though they cannot find it in themselves to fully pretend they exercise any power. There are some treasures preserved here— an antique silver spider medallion on a chain, worth 200 gp, four centuries-old tapestries showing scenes from the early days of the Land of Quasqueton, and a 20'-long bed with an 'R" inscribed in it, allegedly belonging to Rogahn. They sure made heroes tall in those days. Connects by hidden tunnels to areas 23 and 24.
  • 26. Favor District. A series of small, planned settlements on rocky, uneven land. Abandoned as unsuitable living, but there are fallen nobles elsewhere in the the land who would seek to regain their estates here. Trophies of various sorts can still be found here, as well as a pillar engraved with martial triumphs over a dragon, a basilisk, orc tribes, and other foes. At the center of the district is a stone belltower, its insides rotting and home to a colony of Shriekers. Any convulsing or klaxon from the fungus causes the ancient bell to ring, causing a random encounter check. Fallen in the guts of the base of the tower are 80 silver coins.
  • 27. Two Thrones. Basalt flat, with two vaguely chair-shaped hills near the center.
  • 28. Chapel of Oduma. Thriving community of settled orcs around a large church to the chaotic, poorly-sketched deity Rennat. Established by a short-time ally of the Quasqueton dynasties before it was abandoned. The church seems to be in disrepair because construction on it was never completed. Near a sacrificial pit with a spooky pentagram is a leather pouch with 40 pieces of electrum.
  • 29. Erig's Rest. Sleepy rustic villages. The landmark of note is a cairn said to belong to a minor king.
  • 30. Erigwood. Ferny forest with many maple and oak trees. In the south of the region is an exposed limestone outcropping with a large cave, leading gradually down into the cavern roads of Quasqueton. 3280 silver coins are stacked neatly in 20 sacks of 164 coins each in a chamber near the entrance, retrieved from below and abandoned for unknown reasons.
  • 31. Rayon Mountains. Home to many strange springs, each of a different color and consistency. Analogue to B1's pool room. Exploring the valleys and crevices of the southern expanse reveals a hidden stair that leads to a mountain peak (area 32).
  • 32. Rayon Peak. Home to a family of dwarves, the Marevak Clan. Long-lived, they knew many rulers of the realm personally and act as conduits of history. What's more, they are skilled architects open to working for anyone who might seek to restore the workings of Quasqueton. For treasure, beyond several interesting blueprints on a drafting table, the patriarch of the clan wears a Ring of +1 protection, and they keep a healing potion (2 doses) in case of mishaps.
  • 33. Hinterland. The strong and loyal Etex people were sought after as recruits for Quasqueton's army, but those who remain here are agreeable and gentle. There's an old parade ground and barracks, where 60 gold coins can still be found in an old lockbox.
  • 34. Gangrel Swamp. Flooded land thick with small trees and shrubs, where bubbles of flammable gas arise frequently, making the use of open flames impossible. Home to many orcs living at an unhappy subsistence level, slowly making a circuit of the area. Near the center of the swamp is the orc outlaw Everard, whom they all respect for his wisdom and tenacity. His home in the trunk of an anomalous mangrove tree contains, among other things, a valise carrying fine clothes worth 100 gold coins.
  • 36. Noqa Mill. Disused mill with an oversized water wheel. The foundations of the mill are unstable, and there is a 2-in-6 chance per person entering that the floor and half the building suddenly sink, smashing through the ceiling of a cave to land in a deep cavern (area 50).
  • 37. Porterhouse Plains. Site of an ancient battle, serene. Searching the old site for a few days yields chain links, bones, a few rusted weapons, and a gold ring worth 40 gp
p.s. decided to add a literal back-of-the-envelope map of Quasqueton as a citizen of that land might draw it for some adventurers.


  1. I do really like this and it is a very good practice; I have a desire to do something like that.

    1. It's fun to wrap your head around! Would be interested in anything you come up with