Rise of the Runelords
Turtleback Ferry remains independent in many ways, for its remote location ensures that official visits from Magnimar are few and far between. Turtleback Ferry’s current mayor is an aged cleric of Erastil named Maelin Shreed, a selfless soul who manages the village church as both a safe haven for travelers and a hospital wherein he tends the village’s sick. Turtleback Ferry also boasts a trading post (the Turtleback General Store), an inn (the Turtle’s Parlor), a tavern (Bottoms Up), and a smith (Irontooth’s Metal Goods). Most of the village’s other buildings are the homes of farmers, hunters, fishers, and trappers—and very few of them ever travel farther south than Ilsurian. To the people of Turtleback Ferry, the arrival of the PCs in the region would be big news, even during a time when the weather hadn’t been so ominous… or when word from Fort Rannick hadn’t been so sparse!
Visitors to Turtleback Ferry find the locals friendly enough, although many of them seem nervous and skittish, quick to lock their doors at night and often overreacting to the sound of dogs barking or other unexpected noises. This feeling is only partially due to the early arrival of the winter rains, and it shouldn’t take long for the PCs to figure out that Magnimar’s worries about Fort Rannick are anything but idle.
Questioning any of the villagers about the fort verifies that there’s been no contact from the Black Arrows for several weeks now. Normally, one or two of the rangers visits Turtleback Ferry every few days for supplies, news, or entertainment, but since the rains began in earnest several weeks ago, no one’s heard from the rangers at all. In addition, the wilds nearby (particularly Kreegwood) have grown more dangerous. Wild animals like bears, firepelt cougars, and boars are becoming increasingly common along the edges of these woodlands, and several of Turtleback’s hunters and trappers believe these predators are being forced from the depths of the woodlands by the increased activity of local monsters like ogres, trolls, and worse. Earlier in the week, a patrol headed north to try to make contact with Fort Rannick, but it never returned.
TURTLEBACK FERRY, REMOTE VARISIAN VILLAGE
Corruption –1; Crime –2; Economy +0; Law +1; Lore +0; Society –1; Qualities Insular, Strategic Location; Danger +0
Government autocracy (mayor)
Population 430 (391 humans, 22 gnomes, 17 halflings)
Maelin Shreed, mayor and priest (male Garundi cleric of
Base Value 550 gp; Purchase Limit 2,500 gp; Spellcasting 3rd
Minor Items 2d4; Medium Items 1d4; Major Items —
Life in Turtleback Ferry
The village of Turtleback Ferry isn’t at its best. The rains have come early, dampening the settlement’s already gloomy spirits—for something is off in the region. Livestock’s been going missing for months, and more recently the number of hunters and trappers who’ve gone missing has increased as well. In a village of only 430, every loss is felt keenly—none more so than the tragic sinking of the pleasure barge Paradise and the loss of nearly two dozen lives. That only half of those who were on board at the time were locals does little to ease the sting of the controversial barge’s loss.
Turtleback Ferry Locations
1 THE TURTLE’S PARLOR: With no Black Arrows in town of late, innkeeper CESTEN ORLANDI (male human expert) has been in a particularly foul mood as he watches his profits dwindle.
2 BOTTOMS UP: This tavern is owned by a garrulous halfling couple, YADS and BERTHANDY KESKER (halfling experts), and is patronized by hunters, fishermen, and trappers. The halflings loathed the Paradise, for it robbed them of much of their regular patronage.
3 CLAYBOTTOM FERRY: This ferry provides once-daily round-trip service to Pendaka on the far side of the lake, for the affordable cost of 2 cp per passenger.
4 IRONTOOTH’S METAL GOODS: Named for its no-nonsense proprietor and owner, IRONTOOTH JORVENI (male middle-aged human expert/commoner), this building is Turtleback Ferry’s only smithy. Irontooth left Isger after a hobgoblin hit him in the face with a club—he forged metallic false teeth to hide his ruined smile.
5 TURTLEBACK GENERAL STORE: Run by an old maid named WENDA LEENEE (middle-aged human commoner), the Turtleback General Store is functional but unimaginative in its wares.
6 CHURCH OF ERASTIL: This is the largest building in town—it serves as both Turtleback Ferry’s religious center and its town hall, and its pastor is both its spiritual and its political leader. Maelin offers free spellcasting services as long as they’re in town (although he’ll still appreciate tithes in Erastil’s name).
7 SKULL FERRY: This ferry provides as-needed service across the Skull River for 1 cp per trip. A large bell on the far side of the river allows the ferry to be called if travelers approach from the west.
8 TURTLEBACK SCHOOLHOUSE: This one-room schoolhouse is run by TILLIA HENKENSON (female expert), a prim but attractive woman who’s managed to work wonders over the past few years with Turtleback’s youth, having replaced an ill-tempered and old-fashioned teacher who drowned in the river under suspicious circumstances.
9 TURTLEBACK GRAVEYARD: The bodies buried here represent generations of farmers, hunters, and pioneers. The local children like to tell stories about the place, but the graveyard is remarkably free of haunts and spooks.