13th Age: Fort Hope

In the same vein as Fort Strange and Watchtower Balleron, here we present for your enjoyment in your game a new location designed especially for 13th Age, Fort Hope.

Established as a joint venture of the Emperor and the Dwarf King as a way of blunting the influence of the Orc Warlord and the Diabloist in the region, these two powers have established a number of towers and fortresses to meet these forces with their own. Against small raiding bands and minor military incursions, Fort Hope is well equipped to handle themselves. Even a medium-sized army can be turned away by the facility’s jointly-trained dwarven fighters and imperial troops albeit costly. Should a demonic army and a full orc horde together march upon the region, however, Fort Hope will slow them down while messengers ride off to warn the larger army some distance away.

Nondrul Runemaker, the dwarven commander in charge of Fort Hope, knows his mission unofficially expends beyond the forces of the Orc Warlord and the Diabloist, but he keeps the troops out of the “little issues” the local people have. However, he does keep a board up in the courtyard area for the people to put up help wanted ads for those looking to hire adventurers. When sheep are torn to shreds or a person goes missing, Commander Runemaker will direct the petitioners to the adventurers’ board. While such adventures may not be requested by the Emperor or other icons, their agents will definitely hear about them and report the adventurers’ actions to those higher up. Current adventurer board postings include a request to help find missing sheep, someone asking for help locating their missing sibling’s corpse, and a reward to stop whatever is leaving dragon-sized filth every night in a massive pile on top of town’s crops.

Hardly a hotbed of magical items, the quartermaster at Fort Hope, Lieutenant Tinia Windflayer is willing to trade magic items of similar power. She believes that magic items in the hands of adventurers loyal to the Emperor will be put to better use than being in a warehouse waiting to be used. Her only requirement is that whatever item being gained by the joint forces must be, in her opinion, of a more obvious benefit to the military than the one she is relinquishing. She is certainly not about to give up a demon-wounding sword for a wand that causes laughter, for example. When she gets a lead on a powerful magic item, she will use her limited budget to hire adventurers to retrieve it for her.

The newest recruit at Fort Hope is Private Chester Tibbins. Chess, as everyone calls him, left the village he grew up in for the first time only last week when he left to serve at Fort Hope. With seven brothers and sisters, he knows he stands no chance to inherit the family farm. Dreaming of becoming a brave adventurer, his parents agreed to let him join the Empire’s forces as a way for him to get some training before striking out on his own. With less than a week’s worth of training, he is constantly pestering those going in and out of the fort’s gate with questions about the outside world. When not on duty, he will follow any adventurers around he can find with almost puppy-like admiration. His mother worries that something dreadful will happen to the youngest Tibbins family member and brings him food twice a week just to make sure he is still in one piece.

If you enjoyed this location and you want to see more like this for 13th Age, leave us a comment below. If you want to see places like this expanded upon greatly with more NPCs described, new magic items detailed, unique class options and spells that the people here know, and much more, definitely say so below. Your feedback helps us make more. While you are at it, check out our current 13th Age offerings in the JBE Shop.

Watchtower Balleron

You would be forgiven if you were not aware that the kingdom’s forced still operated out if Watchtower Balleron long after the hobgoblins took it over. Few in the kingdom did, including the hobgoblins. The lower level had a secret door to a staircase that led to the caves below. The Stone Breakers, the Queen’s elite dwarven commandos, listening (aided by magic) to the hobgoblins plans from below, slipping into the watchtower itself when vital to the mission, and stealing maps and committing various acts of sabotage.

Because of the kingdom’s internal politics, the kingdom could not strike openly against the hobgoblins so the reigning queen took steps to make sure they were ineffective. She let them operate out of Watchtower Balleron as a concession to the local Lord since he was taking bribes from the hobgoblins. However, the queen had her people to think about and detached a small force to serve as an information source. So frequently when the hobgoblins go out on raids, away from the lord’s lands, they mysteriously found the local guards prepared for an attack.

Since the queen cannot act openly against the aggressors, she hopes a group of adventurers show up and handle the problem for her. One of her advisors suggested holding a fighting competition to attract such persons but to do so they need enough advanced warning to advertise the competition so they can attract such seasoned adventurers. As things stand, they fear that only new adventurers will be present and answer the call and will likely die in the fight. She may not have much choice, however, as keeping up current operations costs more than the kingdom’s treasury can afford.

Even then, once the hobgoblins are dealt with, the lord that was backing the hobgoblins will be upset and may have against the royal court or he may run away. To catch the lord, the queen knows she’ll need the help of the adventurers to keep her hands out of it. She may have to have the Stone Breakers leave evidence of the lord’s collusion with hobgoblins and escape before the adventurers show up. But then again, they are elite troops, specializing in information gathering, stealth, and subterfuge over combat. Should the queen’s roll in all of this be made public, there could be considerable complications for her.

Watchtower Balleron

LE large fortification
Government military overlord
Population 1,300 (1,000 hobgoblins; 100 dwarves; 200 other)

Notable NPCs

Captain Teurik Deathaxe, military overlord (LE male hobgoblin fighter 5 [13A: 3rd level leader])
Lieutenant Ooknar Bloodvengence, lead raider (LE female hobgoblin ranger 3 [13A: 2nd level archer])
Iknix Flamecloak, priest of goblinoid god (NE male goblin cleric 2 [13A: 1st level caster])
Lieutenant Harnask Silverheart, leader of the Stone Breakers (LG male dwarf rogue 6 [13A: 3rd level spoiler])

Be sure to also check out Fort Strange and let us know if you want to see more locations like this.

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Fort Strange

Officially known as Fort Vanderwalten, many refer to it as Fort Strange because of the numbers of non-humans and less common demi-humans present here. When Kortrill Nightfeather was appointed captain of this frontier fort and military governor over the sparsely-populated region until a noble can be entrusted with this land, she took with her many other non-humans with her—both military and civilian alike. In her new position, she made sure that all under her care have been treated equally and prejudicial actions are prosecuted. It did not take long for word of her commendable action to spread and non-humans that want to live in peace to start flocking to live here. Today, Blacktooth Blacksmith and Glittering Foundry—owned by the orc Gathic Blacktooth and hobgoblin Miktar Deathblade, respectively—may be rivals but their rivalry plays out with them pushing the other to make better blades and other wares, instead of slaughtering each other’s families as many humans would expect of their their kind.

Fort Strange is home to many hagborn, catfolk, gnomes, everborn, tengu, lizardfolk, and even a few umbral kobolds. The majority of them came since Captain Nightfeather took command of the post. Previously, the region was inhabited mostly by humans and elves. Those that stayed when a tengu was appointed commander have been far more receptive of their new neighbors. A small yet vocal minority, however, have been voicing their opposition to so many “weird” creatures living among them. While the military-police force protecting this region have made it clear that voicing such concerns will be tolerated, that is the limit; any hostile actions against another law-abiding citizen will be met with swift justice. A number of attacks against non-humans has baffled investigators considering the military forces are not set up to handle such investigations and Lieutenant Gronk Bloodaxe is looking to hire adventurers to assist in this investigation.

The majority of the humans in this region are serfs, living in the work-farms adjacent to the fort. Their owners—mostly human—are not happy with the current regional government. Normally they hate each other and actively plot against one another, but they are united in their prejudice. If they could be turned against one another, their petitioning to speed up the appointment of a noble (preferably one of human ancestry) would fall apart.

Fort Strange

LG large town
Government military overlord
Population 3,500 (1,000 humans; 400 elves; 350 catfolk, 250 hagborn, 1,500 other)

Notable NPCs

Captain Kortrill Nightfeather, military governor (LG female tengu fighter 9 [13A: 4])
Lieutenant Gronk Bloodaxe, head of special operations (LN male orc fighter 4 [13A: 2])
Faixgrop, Crafter’s Guildmaster (LN female umbral kobold rogue 3 [13A: 2])
Darren Rimeheart, Farm owner and serf master (NE male human bard 6 [13A: 3])

If you want to see more locations like this detailed, please let us know in the comments below.

To find out more about the races mentioned here see the Book of Heroic Races collection for Pathfinder, Fifth Edition, and 13th Age here at the JBE Shop. You can also find out titles at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, the Open Gaming Store, and Paizo.

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