Brinestump Marsh as Ultimate Wilderness Territory

Jade Regent

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My players have a very low tolerance for exploration so in the past, I've pretty much just picked out my encounters and turned those parts of quests into narrative play. "One day in the desert..." became a common lead in for large parts of Mummy's Mask.

So you can imagine how thrilled I was to see Ultimate Wilderness's new Discovery and Exploration section.

I am, in fact, so thrilled that I'm giving it a test drive for Brinestump Marsh (which we are starting in a few weeks as we wrap Mummy's Mask). So, here for your feedback and potential theft, is my adaptation.

First, some explicit rules teaks. Brinestump Marsh is only two miles wide at its widest so this is extremely small for a territory. Assuming a standard twelve-mile hex, Brinestump is on the order of less than 1% that size. So I'm making three rules tweaks up front.

  • First, I'm cutting the time period down from a whole day to a piece of a day. I'm not sure if I'll use four hours or one hour increments for skill checks.
  • Second, this area is for first level characters so I'm putting the CR at 1/2 so the territory DC is 15. This is mostly because I want the success rate to approach closer to half than a quarter.
  • Third, I'm saying anything with a structure a person can stand in counts as "unusually large". (The cavern doesn't count as finding it is only an entrance.)

PCs can start with a boost by using Gather Information in Sandpoint.

  • DC 10 - The south border is quite steep and might provide a useful overlook worth taking in if you wish to explore the swamp some. (Reveals a way point)
  • ​DC 12 - Old Magus the Witch of the Swamp can be found if you follow the right path. (Reveals a location)
  • DC 15 - If you want to know more about the swamp, Walthus considers himself something of a Warden of the Swamp. Tall claim for a small man (halfling, whatever). Easy enough to find, though: just take the first path and follow it to the cove. (Reveals a way point)

To make the spooky nature of the swamp evident (and remind myself to play up the atmosphere), each period spent exploring requires a DC 12 Will Save to make the skill check.

Brinestump Marsh Territory CR 1/2
Exploration Check Survival DC 15
Location discovery scores

    Old Megus's Shack - 1 (base score 3, unusually large -2)
    Licktoad Goblins - 3 (base score 6, unusually large -2, deliberately hidden +3, traveled to or from often -4)
    Shipwreck - 4 (base score 6, unusually large -2)
    Shipwreck - 4 (base score 6, unusually large -2)
    Brinestump Caverns - 6 (base score 6)

Simple Way Signs (1 discovery point)
Visit Overlook - A successful DC 10 Survival Check to find an advantageous overlook.
Discover the Witch's Walk - A successful DC 10 Survival Check to find the overgrown trailhead. Only useful for discovering the Witch's Shack (area J)

Moderate Way Signs (3 discovery points)
Warden's Shack - Clear the house and discover (and talk to) Walthus

Complex Way Signs (5 discovery points)
Discover (and interpret) the fan/map in the Licktoad Village. Can spend on each of the locations depicted (shipwrecks and cavern).​

Random Encounters
Frequency Every exploration period
Chance of Encounter 20%
Encounter Soggy River Monster

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