Armory: A dirt path winds its way up a low hill west of town to the single door of this square stone tower. The tower is 30 feet high, with battlements on its roof and arrow slits along its walls. The tower serves as Heldren’s armory and a place of refuge for the villagers in case the village is ever attacked. In times of peace, the tower is usually unoccupied.
Isker’s Smithy: Although he spends most of his time shoeing horses and repairing farm tools, Heldren’s blacksmith, Isker Euphram is a veteran of Taldor’s army, Isker served in Zimar and on the Qadiran border for years before retiring to Heldren. Isker has taken it upon himself to oversee the training of the village’s militia. He keeps a few weapons and some armor for sale in his shop. His daughter, the lovely Xanthippe, works as his apprentice. When not at her father’s forge, Xanthippe’s likely to be found at the Silver Stoat, holding court with her numerous suitors.
General Store: Heldren’s general store carries everything a villager needs, as well as most gear an adventurer requires. Heldren sits on the road to Zimar, so plenty of trade passes through the village. The store’s proprietor, Vivialla Steranus, takes advantage of this brisk trade to stock her shelves.
Town Hall: Rather grand for a village of this size, Heldren’s town hall boasts a clock tower overlooking the town square. Its clockworks were imported from Qadira some time ago, and are kept in working order by Orillus Davigen, who can usually be found up in the tower tinkering with the machinery. The clock tower’s bells ring every hour from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and can be used to sound the alarm if there’s a fire or to muster the militia in case of attack. The town council meets in the hall every week on Starday, though there’s usually little to discuss beyond minor disagreements between neighbors. The hall is big enough to host almost the entire populace for monthly village assemblies and large social gatherings, such as the annual Longnight dance. On the wall outside the front door hangs a notice board, where flyers are posted with local news, job openings, and goods for sale.
Willowbark Apothecary: A well-tended garden sits in front of this equally neat house, the home of Tessaraea Willowbark, Heldren’s resident apothecary. Tessaraea is a relatively new transplant to Heldren, having arrived in the village only 25 years ago after a failed adventuring career up north in the River Kingdoms. She is quiet and somber, and most of the villagers believe she suffered some great tragedy in her past, such as the loss of her one true love.
Barber: An artist with razors and scissors, Argus Goldtooth offers shaves, haircuts, and dentistry, as well as “leechery and other surgical proceedings.” Argus is a fair healer, though he’s prone to prescribing leeches (which fill several jars on high shelves in his shop) for most maladies, from stomachaches to broken bones. Argus also offers gold teeth to replace extracted ones, and is his own best customer—his easy smile reveals more gold teeth in his mouth than original ones.
The Silver Stoat: Heldren’s only tavern, the Silver Stoat, stands right on the town square across from the town hall. A fixture of village life, the tavern fills up with patrons in the evening as they gather to share gossip, hear news, and reward themselves for a hard day’s work. Anything that’s worth knowing in Heldren gets talked about here, and if asked where he got a particularly juicy bit of gossip or information, a villager will likely say, “I heard it from the Stoat.” Husband and wife Menander and Kale Garimos run the Silver Stoat as if it were their family kitchen—there’s always a seat at the table or a space by the hearth for a guest, or a warm bowl of Menander’s hearty stew for an empty belly. Menander works in the kitchen, cooking up his famous venison flank steak and numble pie. Kale tends bar, serving up the tavern’s signature brew, Three Devil Ale, which she brews in-house using. Heldren doesn’t get many visitors, so there is no true inn in the village, but travelers are welcome to a spot on the floor of the Stoat next to the fireplace for a night, as long as they’re up early and on their way.
Livery Stable: At the stable next door to the Silver Stoat, Sophia Imirras offers horses (and a single pony) for hire or sale, as well as stabling and grooming. Royal couriers on their way to or from Demgazi or Zimar often change horses here. Sophia also has two carts, a wagon, and a carriage for hire.
Town Square: The most notable feature of Heldren’s town square is the large statue of a beautiful woman right in the center of the town. Usually just called “the Lady,” the statue has been here for as long as anyone can remember, and no one knows who it actually represents. Some believe the Lady was the founder of Heldren or some ancient, forgotten Taldan noblewoman or even a mysterious fey forest goddess. Others have more sinister theories—an evil witch turned to stone for her wickedness or a magical statue through which the satrap of Qadira can spy on Taldor. On any given day, a few entrepreneurs selling goods or produce can be found on the square, and a market is held on the last Fireday of every month. Elder Natharen Safander also hosts the annual Harvest Feast in the town square, during which the people of Heldren erect a giant bonfire in the square and bedeck the Lady in garlands of flowers.
Ionnia Teppen’s House: The leader of Heldren’s village council, Ionnia Teppen, lives in this simple two-story house just off the town square. Ionnia’s family has had a place in Heldren’s politics for generations, and her membership on the town council was all but assured. She is by far the most influential member of the council, and most villagers consider her the de facto mayor of Heldren.
Temple of Erastil: Although Elder Natharen Safander is a cleric of Erastil, he tends to all of the village’s flock regardless of their faith. Though most of the villagers follow the teachings of Old Deadeye, the temple also contains shrines to Abadar, Gozreh, Pharasma and even Sarenrae. Natharen’s wife, Zaarida, is a Qadiran transplant and faithful worshiper of Sarenrae, and assists him during services and with the temple’s upkeep.
Carpenter: Heldren’s foremost woodworker is Tengezil Frimbocket, a gnome with a wild shock of electric blue hair. He decorates his creations with delicate and elaborate trim he calls “gingerbread,” a style that has proven quite popular among the well-to-do of Taldor’s southern cities.
Heldren Sawmill: Heldren’s sawmill stays busy day and night cutting timber harvested by the village’s woodcutters into planks for shipment to Zimar and other cities, and stacks of lumber are always heaped outside. Partners Alexius Demetri and Lycio Vallant oversee the sawmill’s operation, which makes them two of Heldren’s wealthiest residents. Their large house on the north side of town is easily Heldren’s largest private home, nicknamed “Sawmill Manor” by the town.
The Butcher of Jalrune: The name of this butcher shop refers to the supposed nickname of its proprietor, Perkin Tarimm, who claims to be a retired Zimar corsair. Customers are welcome to enjoy one of the pickled sows’ ears in the large jar on the counter while they wait for Perkin to prepare their cuts of meat.
Old Mother Theodora’s: Every village has its resident wise woman, and Heldren is no exception. No one in the village is sure just how ancient Old Mother Theodora (as everyone calls her) is, but she’s been around as long as anyone in town can remember. Old Mother Theodora is Heldren’s most skilled midwife, and she helped deliver just about everyone currently living in the village. She’s also a soothsayer and hedge witch, and villagers come to her to have their fortunes told or buy love potions or herbal remedies.
Entering the village from the south, you pass a saw mill similar to the one in Hendren on your right, across from a large cemetery.
A little up the street, you spot what looks like a carpenter's shop, a gnome -- again just like in Heldren! -- at work inside. Next to it is what looks like a small chapel devoted to Pharasma and then a burnt frame of a house and crumbling foundation.
On the other side of the street, you pass a barn, a thin trickle of smoke emerging from the chimney, and then as you enter the town square what you guess must be a tavern -- the sign showing a painted white weasel.
Along the west of the square is a small shop with a sign depicting a clearly unhappy clean-shaven dwarf, and then a smithy -- oddly in the same spot as Isker's Smithy in Heldren -- with a wooden shield hanging from the front door.
On the north end of the square is what appears to be a general store and the village's most prominent building, the town hall, complete with a clock tower overlooking the town square, its hands seemingly not moving from 10 after 12.
As Jervis, Riobart and Alard turn left, Nadya leads you east from the square to her home at the edge of town, where she bids you to enter.
She's greeted by two 5-year-old boys, twins she introduces as Orm and Mjoli, as well as an old woman named Kashka, who apparently looks after them when Nadya is gone.
Making sure there's warm food, she offers you her bed and the twins' to rest, though keeps the door to one room closed. "I must make sure the food is secure, and then I will return. Please, stay here for a time. Kashka can answer any questions you have until I get back."
School conjuration [cold]; Level druid 3, sorcerer/wizard 3, witch 3
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, M (a small stalagmite-shaped crystal)
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Effect 1 ice spear/4 levels
Saving Throw Reflex half and see below; Spell Resistance no
Favored by the spellcasters of Irrisen, this potent spell can disrupt spellcasters, topple enemies, and break even seemingly unstoppable charges.
One or more giant spears of ice lance up out of the ground. Each stalagmite-like icicle affects a 5-foot square and tapers to a height of 10 feet. You may cause a number of ice spears equal to one spear for every 4 caster levels you possess to burst from the ground. A creature that occupies a square from which a spear extends (or that is within 10 feet of the ground below) takes 2d6 points of piercing damage and 2d6 points of cold damage per square—creatures that take up more than 1 square can be hit by multiple spears if your caster level is high enough. The explosive growth can also trip foes.
When the spears erupt from the ground, they attempt a combat maneuver check to trip any targets that take damage from the spears, with a total bonus equal to your caster level plus your Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma modifier, whichever is highest. Each additional ice spear beyond the first that strikes a single foe grants a +10 bonus on this combat maneuver check. If the check is successful, the ice spears knock the foe prone. A successful Reflex save halves the damage and prevents the trip attempt.
If you cast this spell upon an area covered with ice or snow, such as a glacier, frozen lake, or snow-covered field, the spears strike with additional force. Saves against the effect take a –2 penalty, and the spell effect gains a +4 bonus on the combat maneuver check to trip foes.
Ice spears created by this spell remain after they do their damage. They melt as normal depending on the surrounding environment. They no longer damage foes in their square, but can provide cover. An ice spear has hardness 5 and 30 hit points.
Dancing Hut of Baba Yaga CR 17
N Huge construct
Init +12; Senses blindsight 120 ft.; Perception +8
Aura frightful presence (60 ft., DC 30)
DEFENSE AC 34, touch 20, flat-footed 22 (+12 Dex, +14 natural, –2 size)
hp 188 (27d10+40); fast healing 20
Saves Fort +9, Ref +21, Will +17
Defensive Abilities evasion, immortal structure; DR 15/adamantine; Immune construct traits, gaze attacks, visual effects and illusions, sight-based attacks; SR 28
OFFENSE Speed 60 ft.
Melee 2 claws +38 (2d6+13 plus grab), slam +38 (2d8+13 plus grab)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 15 ft.
Special Attacks constrict (2d6+19), fast swallowB3, swallow whole (see below), trample (2d8+19, DC 36)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 15th; concentration +22)
At will—dimensional anchor, freedom of movement,
irresistible dance (DC 25)
3/day—blink, dimension door, incendiary cloud (DC 25)
Str 37, Dex 34, Con —, Int —, Wis 27, Cha 25
Base Atk +27; CMB +42 (+46 grapple); CMD 64
Languages understands any (cannot speak)
SPECIAL ABILITIES Immortal Structure (Ex) Reducing the Dancing Hut to 0 hit points causes its legs to buckle, bringing the hut itself toppling to the ground. Such a defeat has no effect on the hut’s extradimensional interior or any creatures inside the hut. The hut remains immobile and unresponsive to its owner’s commands to move or use any of the special abilities described in its creature stat block for 24 hours, though the transportive abilities of the hut and its cauldron can still be employed. The hut cannot be reduced to fewer than 0 hit points, no matter what damage, circumstances, or environment it might be subjected to after its defeat. After 24 hours, the hut regains half its hit points (94 hp) and its fast healing ability reactivates. It may then use its special abilities to escape from nearly any situation in which it finds itself. The Dancing Hut can only be destroyed by the method detailed in the artifact’s destruction entry.
Swallow Whole (Ex) If the Dancing Hut successfully grapples a creature with its slam attack, the victim is scooped up by the hut’s front door and flung inside. The target appears within the extradimensional space inside the hut—the layout of which depends upon the hut’s physical location. Being inside the hut is not necessarily dangerous, unless one of Baba Yaga’s guardians or some other creature is
there. A swallowed creature can attempt to escape by breaking open the front door, a deceptively sturdy barrier with hardness 15 and 100 hit points that also benefits from the hut’s fast healing ability. The hut can expel swallowed creatures as a full-round action, flinging them from its open door. It must attempt a combat maneuver check against creatures that don’t wish to leave, with failure meaning the target is able to hold on to the pitching and warping interior. The hut may choose which creatures it wishes to expel and which to keep inside.
[dice=Nadya Perception (+2 vs. animals)]1d20+5[/dice]
[dice=Nadya handaxe (+2 vs. animals)]1d20+3[/dice]
[dice=Nadya light pick (+2 vs. animals)]1d20+3[/dice]
[dice=Nadya handaxe (+2 vs. animals)]1d20+5[/dice]
[dice=Nadya light pick (+2 vs. animals)]1d20+5[/dice]
[dice=Nadya comp. longbow(+2 vs. animals)]1d20+5[/dice]
Female human (Ulfen) ranger 3
CG Medium humanoid (human)
Init +2; Senses Perception +5
AC 15, touch 12, flat-footed 13 (+3 armor, +2 Dex)
hp 24 (3d10+3)
Fort +4, Ref +5, Will +0
Speed 30 ft.
Melee handaxe +3 (1d6+1/3) and light pick +3 (1d4/4) or
handaxe +5 (1d6+1/×3) or
light pick +5 (1d4+1/×4)
Ranged composite longbow +5 (1d8+1/×3)
Special Attacks favored enemy (animals +2)
During Combat Nadya tries to keep her distance in battle, firing
her bow at adversaries before they can close on her. When
faced with more dangerous foes, especially those attuned to
cold, Nadya hurls a flask of alchemist’s fire to hinder them.
Morale Nadya fights with conviction, but recognizes
overwhelming odds and surrenders when necessary. In the
face of truly uncompromising evil, she fights to the death.
Str 12, Dex 15, Con 13, Int 12, Wis 8, Cha 14
Base Atk +3; CMB +4; CMD 16
Feats Endurance, Point-Blank Shot, Skill Focus (Survival),
Two-Weapon Fighting, Weapon Finesse
Skills Acrobatics +5, Climb +5, Handle Animal +6, Heal +5, Knowledge (geography) +7, Knowledge (local) +4, Knowledge (nature) +7, Perception +5, Ride +6, Stealth +8, Survival +8
Languages Common, Skald
SQ favored terrain (cold +2), track +1, wild empathy +5
Combat Gear potion of cure moderate wounds, alchemist’s
fire (2); Other Gear mwk studded leather, composite
longbow (+1 Str) with 20 arrows, dagger, handaxe, light
pick, snowshoes of northern pursuit (see page 61), backpack,
bedroll, cold-weather outfit, flint and steel, hooded lantern,
oil (2), rations (10 days), tindertwigs (3), traveler’s outfit,
waterskin, winter blanket, 36 gp, 27 sp, 41 cp