This map is all about exploration and each hex should be about an hour of travel, and I allowed 8 hexes of movement per day. This might be a bit slow for some in which case just increase it to 12 hexes per day.
My notes for the points of interest are just hastily scribbeled, feel free to adapt and use as you see fit.
There mere was created in 615 when the armies of Phalorm (dwarves, elves, gnomes, humans, halflings) and the attacking Hordes of the wastes (Goblinoids) disturbed Iniarv, a lich that called the ocean to flood the area, killing goblins and humans alike. When the waters retreated it left a saltwater swamp.
- The Mere of dead men is a big saltwater swamp just south of Leilon. It is mainly inhabited by a tribe of Lizardfolk as well as various wildlife
- The water is generally only 5” to 1 foot deep, but in general, there are areas that are 3-5 feet deep
- The Reef of jaws stretch from the south of the mere, all the way up to Leilon and a large deep (20-25 feet) basin in the east
- The small islands in the swamp all have trees and dense jungle, especially the southern and eastern part of the mere
- The water is quite slow-moving and the mere has an unpleasant smell to it. It is mostly cold saltwater, the swamp is prone to heavy fog, especially the jagged swamp
- Boating possible but hazardous. Swamp filled with trees, vines, quicksand. Several ruined houses and remains of armies are scattered around the swamp
- Lizard and Giant Lizard
- Swarm of Insects
- Giant Toad
- Doppelgangers (posing as humans in ruined settlements, luring travellers to their doom)
- Constrictor Snake and Giant Constrictor Snake
Points of Interest
Reef of Jaws
- This part of the mere is the deepest, reaching up to 30 feet in places
- Several small packs (2-5) of Reef Shark (CR1/2) hunt in this part of the mere.
- There is a Giant Shark (CR5) that is trapped in the mere, it is usually at the south of the reef of jaws but can occasionally swim up past Leilon and East to a large and deep (20-25 feet) area
- For each hex the party moves through that is part of the Reef of Jaws, roll d20. and on a 17-19 it is 1d4+1 of Reef Shark or on a 20 it is the Giant Shark.
- The Giant Shark will ram the barge/boat, causing a DC 15 DEX (2 feet wide barge) check to avoid being knocked into the water. (3 feet barge = DC 12, 4 feet = DC 10)
- Climbing back onto the boat by yourself is a strength DC 10 check.
- Loot: A crate of fine wines 20 bottles. Crate worth approximately 200 GP. Can be sold to an Inn.
- A sunken ship is near the natural breakwater in the southern part of the Reef of Jaws.
- It looks quite decrepit, it has probably been there for at least a year.
- If they choose to explore it they find most of the cargo was grains which have spoiled long ago
- When the party starts moving the crates that draw the attention of several large octopuses
- This is the area of the mere where the water is flowing the slowest, creating an almost putrid odour. The water is up to 10 feet deep but very murky.
- The Jagged Swamp is covered in almost constant mist, which sometimes extends 1-2 hexes out from the main body of water.
- The main body of water is patrolled by a Giant Crocodile (CR5). If on a hex in or adjacent to the jagged swamp, roll D20. on 18-19, attack by 1d6 Crocodiles(CR 1/2), on 20 Giant Crocodile.
- A solitary Medusa has a lair on a larger island in the middle of the mere of dead men
- There are several trees with moss and hanging plants over the island as well as several large boulders
- The lair is a small cave, outside there are several stone statues of lizardmen, humans, and a dwarf, their faces have fearful and horrid expressions
- Killing the Medusa provides them with the medusa heart needed to cancel the ward spell at the High Tower of Thalivar.
- Remeber to scale medusa to fit APL better.
- A banshee (Leonora) has a quest to bring back family watch (gold, with an elaborate crocodile engraving set with two small rubies as the crocodiles eyes)
- The watch was taken from the grave of the Banshee about two weeks ago by an adventurer who ran North. Unbeknownst to her the watch was sold to Rheuben in Leilon for 60 gp
- Fishermen from Leilon have heard wailing and screaming in the area and aren’t going near it
- As you approach the farm, you suddenly feel a sudden chill, and you see a banshee appear before you. She has a ghostly, astral and partly transparent appearance, her face is that of a young human woman which is screaming in anguish: He stole it! He stole my family’s watch!
- The watch can be put on a dead adventurer, in the Cave (see below) or simply have found it’s way to Rheubens Vault of Wonders in Leilon
- A Green Hag (CR3) has stolen three children (although the Leilon Locals has wrongly put the blame of this on the lizardmen)
- The children are all alive but are being kept in a steel cage (secret basement of hut)
- You come across a small camp in a nice grassy clearing, there are 3 tents, a firepit in the middle, and a covered supply crate.
- Two of the tents each have two beds and not much else, a chest containing different common garments and some bits of food.
- The larger of the tent has a single bed, and a separate work area, containing a lightweight desk with a few books and several documents. There are several bags containing small labelled jars, some filled with swamp water, some containing brightly coloured moss or plants.
If the party search the documents: This appears to be a research expedition from Leilon Academy, they appear to be looking for a particular fungus that can cure paralysis and similar conditions
- The researchers were working on finding a cure for paralysis that would help disable the paralysis ward around the Tower of Thalivar
- The 3 members of the research team (plus two guards) are searching for a particular fungus that has spores that can cure magical sleep and paralysis.
- The party can track them from the Camp to the location 2 hours walk away, with a survival DC of 12 if they read the documents. 16 otherwise.
- The researches may be found dead, missing or captures by the lizardfolk.
- This 10-15 feet wide and 90 feet deep cave has been claimed by a Shambling Mound (CR5) That will protect it to the death
- The cave has two dead adventurers (human male, dwarven female) who appears to have been dead for around 10-20 years.
- On them, they find a map of the swamp, 113 gold, 60 silver and Goggles of night
- Small outpost containing 7 Lizardfolk (CR1/2) who will try and escape when 2 or fewer remain.
A handful of lizardmen have taken up guard over these old ruined buildings. They are trying to take control over a larger area of the swamp by expanding from their main base
- The area has several old walls, they are around 2 feet high and are in a state of turning to rubble
- There is a crudely made mud and stick hut built inside a set of three walls, this hut has 3 lizardmen sleeping.
- There is a fire and two reasonably (1-2 days) fresh human corpses inside another set of three walls.
- The main base for the Lizardfolk, there are 17 of them here + 9 children with two groups of 4 patrolling around the base
- The base is in some ancient ruins
- These Lizardfolk are peaceful and want to be left to themselves, while the lizardfolk at the outpost are more agressive and get into conflict with the humans to the north
- On getting close to the lair, the party comes across a sign (or maybe writings on a cliff/stone) with the text: “Beyond lies Voaraghamanthar, dragon of devouring darkness, supreme ruler of emptiness. Glaze into his black diamond eyes and awaken from your dreadful sleep”
- The black dragon (Ebondeath) roamed the swam for 300 years from 630 to 920 before becoming a dragonlich.
- From around 1150 another black dragon Voaraghamanthar (CR14) has lived in the swamp (secretly he has a twin brother Waervaerendor (CR14), together they pose as one dragon).
- Abandoned tower with a hidden crypt below