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A T

B A S I L I S K

F O R T

"At Basilisk Fort" is a Dragon Age adventure for 4 to 8 heroes of levels 1 to 2 (about six total levels). The adventure takes place in a small rural fort just outside the Korcari Wilds, and is set sometime before The Battle of Ostagar that opens the Dragon Age: Origins videogame. The Beginning Lothering is a village north of Ostagar, located on The West Road. The road itself acts as a wall for one side of the village; a high wooden wall, complete with watchtowers and a sturdy gate, protects the rest. A steady stream of travelers moves in and out of the village, bringing goods from all corners of Ferelden. Lothering's central square is a busy marketplace where just about any of the equipment listed in the Player's Guide can be bought or sold. In general, the village's residents are happy in these prosperous times. The heroes have just arrived in Lothering or are taking some time off between adventures. The first encounter can occur just about anywhere where there are a few other people such a an inn, a shop, an open-air market, in front of the Chantry, or the main street through town. Wherever the heroes are, their attention is drawn to a commotion in the crowd: A commotion rises somewhere behind you. Amid the bustle, you see a big man in dark armor shove a dwarf in a hooded cloak. The dwarf stumbles backward and falls in a heap on the ground. The man laughs loudly as the dwarf struggles to his feet. The dwarf brushes himself off and, noticing you, shuffles over and asks in a horse voice, "May I have a moment of your time?" If the heroes take issue with the big man's treatment of the dwarf, he is unrepentant. He thinks the dwarf is a con artist, and he says as much to the assembled crowd: "I'm supposed to believe that a ragged dwarf like him actually owns a keep? Even if he does, at the price he's asking for it, its nothing but a pie of rocks. Both you and this con man are wasting my time. Now how's about minding your own business for a change." The brutish fighter, Razmus, laughs at the heroes if they threaten or suggest he should apologize to the dwarf. If the heroes persist, he snorts in disgust and walks away. If prevented from leaving or assaulted, Razmus grabs his mace from his belt and attacks. The city watch arrives in 1d6 rounds after the fight breaks out and arrests everyone involved. Assuming no one is killed, Razmus and the heroes are thrown in jail (actually a set of cages on the outskirts of town) for the night, fined 10 silvers each, and then released at the next sunrise (an extra period of time - sunset to sunrise, or sunrise to sunset - is added for every 1 silver they are short on paying the fine). If the heroes kill Razmus, their adventuring days are most likely over for a while. Razmus is a low-ranking member of the Blackstone Irregulars mercenary group, and is staying at the inn with several fellow mercenaries. Unless Razmus is significantly out numbered, they will stay out of the fight.

The Proposal If the heroes have questions, he explains: Assuming the heroes avoid major trouble with Razmus, they may speak with the dwarf. If the heroes are abusive or say that they are uninterested, the dwarf moves on and the adventure is over. GMs may have to do some quick thinking to keep the heroes on task, but in my experience more often than not, players will happily jump onto an obvious plot hook like this. If the heroes are willing to listen the dwarf clears his throat and presents his proposal. "I am looking for a group looking to purchase the deed to a keep in the lands just beyond the great ramparts at Ostagar." If the heroes are interested, he continues: "I am a dwarf of simple means and, between you and me, a piss poor businessman [he hoists his flagon of ale to punctuate this]. Found me a nice woman in Denerim and I mean to settle into a humble life of baking bread in her father's shop. As such, I no longer need a keep and its trappings to bring me joy, but I could use some money for a dowry and a little nest egg. Therefore, I am offering the deed to my keep for the modest sum of 2,000 silver pieces. Now, mind you, I haven't visited the keep in many years, due to my poor health [he hoists his flagon of ale at this], " "Historically, Lothering was little more than a trading post serving the fortress of Ostagar to the south and the great city of Denerim in the northeast. Today, with Ostagar largely abandoned Lothering's trade focuses mostly on Redcliffe Village in the west, aye? But the trade roads between Denerim and Lothering still see some travelers; this keep lies just off that route, y'see... My grandfather and his father left Orzammar long before I was born to make their way as merchants on the surface, they had only modest luck as traders, but saw the opportunity to build a safe keep for traveling merchants piling the route between Denerim and Ostagar. Its a long and lonely road that runs near the edges of the Kocari Wilds. My grandfather bought the land from the human lord who claimed it, and built a keep where merchants could rest free of worrying that barbarians would come swooping down on them in their tents." If asked his name, the dwarf, whose real name is Boris, tells the heroes he goes by the name of Ferris. If the heroes question the authenticity if the deed, the dwarf assures them that it bears the seal of the king. If the heroes want to check out the keep before they buy the deed, the dwarf grudgingly agrees. He is willing to provide them with a map for a down payment for the deed. He wants 100 silvers, but settles for as little as 50 silvers. He does not have the map or the deed on his person, so he instructs the heroes to meet him in one hour at a tavern called the 'Widow O The Wild' and leaves. Asking around about the dwarf or his proposal provides little additional information from the assembled crowd. Any given local has a 1 in 6 chance of recognizing the dwarf from his description. Those that do tell the heroes they have seen the dwarf around town talking to other travelers, but they have no idea what business the dwarf had with them.

Ferris the Dwarf

The Meeting The 'Widow O The Wild' is a tavern located just south of the village's official limits, the tavern is a rowdy place frequented by passing mercenaries, caravan guards, and more than a few dwarves. A gray-bearded dwarf tends the bar; this dwarf with a patch over one eye and numerous tattoos is named Rathgar. Rathgar paces behind the bar, cleaning glasses and casting a wary eye over the fourteen or so customers at the half-dozen tables in the place. Rathgar's daughter, Hilde, and his son, Gunter, circulate among the tables, taking orders ("Bread, stew, or bread and stew.") and filing empty mugs from pitchers of ale. If the heroes arrive at the Widow early, the dwarf whom they know as Ferris is not present. The heroes can sit and wait for him, though anyone who chooses to wait is soon told by either Hilde or Gunter that only paying customers are welcome. The Widow offers all the beverages listed in the Player's Guide, but any group with an elf amongst them are charged twice the standard price. Heroes asking for information about a dwarf named Ferris are greeted by harsh stares and unfriendly remarks. The only potential source of information about "Ferris" is Rathgar's daughter, Hilde. Boris has been pestering her for months with unwanted offers of marriage, and she is weary of it. Hilde has complained to her father, but Rathgar has yet to do anything about Boris's unwanted advances. If the heroes ask Hilde about a dwarf named "Ferris," she will think for a moment and tell them that she knows no dwarf by that name. If the heroes furnish a description of the dwarf that includes mention of his raspy voice or his keep for sale, Hilde immediately recognizes the dwarf as Boris. "You would be speaking of my father's old friend, Boris. Don't worry, he'll be along with your map soon enough. Now stop asking questions where you shouldn't of

those that shouldn't be answering them. Keep your nose to the Stone and tend to your drinks." Hilde ignores any further questions about Boris, Ferris, or his business. If the heroes persist in questioning Hilde or become belligerent, the patrons at the surrounding tables come to her aid. There are (8+1d6) other patrons in the tavern and they respond to any trouble the heroes cause with violence. If the heroes are foolish enough to lay hands on Hilde all the patrons in the tavern - as well as Rathgar and Gunter - join in the fight. Unlike any trouble, which may have occurred in town with Razmus, the town watch will not break up any fights inside the Widow. Boris enters the Widow shortly before the meeting time and sits at a table near the bar, whether the heroes are already their or not. Boris waits for the heroes to come over to his table before inspecting their payment and handing over the map. He shows the deed to them if asked, but does not allow them to handle it until the deal is completed. If asked about other maps he may have sold, he does not deny this, but points out that there is only one deed and it is available tot he first buyer that wants it. He is evasive on other matters and responds to more pressing questions by asking if the heroes want the map or not. Boris's Business Boris has told the heroes the truth for the most part. The deed is real, although it dates to the days when Ferelden was occupied by Orlais and the current king may not honor it, and the keep does exist. However, Boris makes his living by selling maps to his keep. He sells several every few months and supports a fairly comfortable lifestyle. He sets a high price for the keep and solicits only poor, inexperienced adventurers, or young merchants with more silvers than sense, so that he can be assured of keeping the deed. If the heroes actually have the gold to buy the deed, Boris never shows up for

the meeting at the Widow. The patrons in the Widow react as above, but Hilde is very surprised when Boris does not arrive. Hilde has no idea where Boris might be found but promises to let the heroes know if she sees him. Two weeks pass before the need for money forces Boris to resume his business and he arranges to meet another group of adventurers at the Widow. If the heroes are still in town at this point, Hilde sends word of Boris's return. If confronted by the heroes, Boris will try to flee. IF his life is seriously threatened, Boris hands over the deed as agreed. The keep was built several decades ago on a land grant from the royal court of Orlais, whom ruled a conquered Ferelden at the time. Boris's great-grandfather and grandfather were its builders and original owners; Boris's father tried to manage the keep for a time but could not. Boris has never seen the keep and has no desire to, since none of those to whom he has sold the map have ever returned for the deed. Travel to the Keep The keep is located southeast of Lothering and just north of the Kocari Wilds. The journey from Lothering to Ostagar takes a day on foot if the heroes stick to the old Tevinter Highway, and the overland journey from their east to the keep takes another three days. Between Lothering and Ostagar there is a 1 in 6 chance of an encounter (1 in 3 during the night). Once east of Ostagar there is a 1 in 3 chance of encounters each day and night. The GM should roll the appropriate die and consult whichever table applies given the heroes location relative to Ostagar. Basilisk Fortress Built many years ago to protect traveling merchants, Basilisk Keep was just too far out on the frontier for anyone to worry about when the war freeing Ferelden from Orlais were fought. As a result, it was assaulted, overrun by Chasind Wilders, and abandoned. Recently, the armies of

Ferelden have driven back the Chasind tribes that occupied the Keep, but it still has that same old problemlocation, location, location. Unbeknownst to all of Thedas, the archdemon has recently begun to stir and the long dormant Darkspawn have begun to gather in the South. To a rising young hurlock alpha named Kurjan, Basilisk Keep is located in the perfect place. On the edge of civilization, it will provide him a perfect stepping-stone into power. With a small band of darkspawn at his beck and call, a few warped human allies, and his base of operation from which to strike at Ostagar's flanks, Kurjan is ready to rise to true power among the darkspawn horde. Should the heroes approach the keep during daylight, read or paraphrase the following to them: "From the top of this last small ridge, an amazing sight lies before you - the vast and nearly limitless expanse of the Korcari Wilds. The ancient forest gives way to a large and still lake, almost invisible beneath the reeds and other wetland plants, which cover it, like a field grain. At the foot of the ridge upon which you now stand, the ground is flat and dry for a good distance in any direction. The ruined foundations of a few buildings are visible, not yet reclaimed by the grasses and shrubs, which have begun the slow process of reclaiming the land. Rising from the wetlands is a large cone-shaped hill, surrounded on all sides by a great wooden wall about twice the height of a man. The hill is crowned by a squat stone tower, which is surrounded by its own inner wall." "Compared to the majesty of Ostagar, even half ruined, the keep you see now is a simple and modest affair. But, it is easy to see how in happier times this would have been a beautiful place for weary travelers to rest and the center of a pleasant village of frontier-folk."

Outside of Basilisk Keep lay the ruins of a barn, a wagon house and stable, and a blacksmith's forge. Not much more than the foundations and a collapsed wall or two remain visible, perceptive heroes may identify half-dozen stone stacks that were once chimneys, marking the spots where the houses of the villagers once stood. 1) Gatehouse The keep is connected to the mainland by a wooden bridge that spans the six-yard wide river moat, which is protected by a gatehouse and watchtower. The tower is some twenty feet tall, twelve feet across and ten feet 'deep.' Heavy wooden doors with steel bands bar the entryway, but in their current state of disrepair, they stand half open. A pair of genlock spearmen huddle inside the gates trying to avoid the noonday sun. A third genlock, armed with a short bow, keeps watch atop the gatehouse. 2) Old Tavern The bailey is dominated by this two-story building. Once upon a time, this inn was home to passing merchants seeking good ale and a warm bed. Today, the roof is mostly gone; the floor of the second story has largely rotted away. The darkspawn's human allies have converted the ground floor into a makeshift barracks, and 1d6 of them can be found here during the day. The rest have formed hunting parties and are scouting the wilds for meat... the darkspawn aren't picky eaters, and the barbarians have learned that if they aren't kept supplied with fresh game they may find other sources of food. 3-5) Bailey Houses These modest houses, now mostly ruined, but still standing, are empty. 6) Footbridge and Motte The artificial hill that the keep is built upon, known as a motte is steep and difficult to

climb. A Challenging Strength (Climbing) test is needed to move at half-movement up the slope. Archers in the gatehouse, along the walls, or in the keep get a +1 to attack rolls to hit any character attempting the climb as they scramble for position. Anyone who fails this test must make an Average Dexterity (Acrobatics) test or fall prone and slide two yards down the slope. In the center of the motte, a wooden footbridge one hundred feet in length and two yards wide makes approaching the keep far easier, no tests are required. In years past, this footbridge would have been trapped and in times of war, removed or burned, to protect the keep. It is half-rotten now and the traps have long since failed. Two hurlocks and a pair of blight wolves guard the gatehouse at the top of the ramp; three genlock archers patrol the Keeps walls. 7) The Keep This three-story tower is home to Kurjan, a hurlock alpha, his blight wolf "pet," and 1d3 genlocks.

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