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A walk in the wood

After a long night, Malcolm Chaser goes out into the woods to speak with Lily alone. Lily reveals that she is upset that Chaser hasn’t spoken to her since they came to this valley, and when she needed him he chose the monster he saw as Adacius over her. As they go for a walk in the woods to reminisce, Lily tells Chaser that he should have chosen her to speak to the Hudbeklaaid warriors instead of Socrates. As he falls asleep in his tent, Lily strokes his hair and speaks softly to him, reminding him not to forget she is there for him.

The missing volume

In the morning, Tulasa goes into the Infinite Stacks to learn about Timmy Lupitz. While there, the Curator tells him that Krenzi or his demon took a crucial record from the library: the document compiling his mother Shaghira’s findings on the weakness of the Eater of Knowledge. He presses Tulasa to recover it quickly.

A Crusader’s eyes opened…

Upon waking, Chaser checks in with the leader of the Felkeziers, Jacobus. Jacobus reveals that his brush with the world of sorcery has unsettled him, and he wishes to learn from the Magisterial lorekeeper, Tulasa.

Chaser notices that Jacobus now has the dagger Adacius used during their confrontation in the Kirk, and Jacobus’s hand goes to its hilt while they are talking.

After taking his leave of Jacobus, Chaser finds Tulasa to tell him about the Lieutenant’s request to meet him, and Tulasa informs Chaser that Timmy Lupitz is dead, according to Chaser’s own account from the future. Chaser remembers that Adacius called the old man in the Stacks “Lupitz”, and Tulasa bolts when he realizes he must visit the Stacks again to find what he can about the old man.

After Tulasa departs, Lily reveals that she has found a Klav woman to possess so as to provide more visible help to her husband.

Cutting the gold

After his meeting with Armentad in the cottage, Duke addresses Renke Hinnemûs to warn him to tell no one of the gold that he has decided to share with Hinnemûs for the care of his family. When Renke says he can’t guarantee that no one else has heard of Niehege’s gold already, Duke tells him to spread the word that the gold has been confiscated under Magisterial authority and is no longer in play.

Renke tells Duke that it’s not safe for him to travel the Kl’au as an unarmed messenger while foreign armed forces occupying the land. Duke uses Maiven’s power to slice off a chunk of gold for the Klav and sends him away. Duke then orders his mercenaries to ready themselves to set out immediately for Heksepunt.

The Vaults under Deltoss

Returning to the Stacks, Tulasa finds what records he can about Krenzi Lupitz. He learns that the old man was a crusader who fought in the siege of Deltoss, who was captured as a war prisoner by forces carrying the Sultan’s banner, using ancient catacombs beneath the Sultan’s palatial estates. According to the Stacks, this was actually a covert Inquisitorial operation led by Adacius Fet, in which Krenzi and the other prisoners were subjected to novel and extreme interrogation methods which drove Krenzi to renounce his faith in Crucian. After that, the operation was cancelled.

Before Tulasa leaves, the Curator tells Tulasa that the scribes are idle and the Stacks are hungry for more lore that only their master can provide.

Chaser treats with Avga Akh, who agrees to send horsemen with the Inquisitor to scout out the Deenryk. Chaser readies his men and the Felkeziers to depart right away, and then hangs back tensely until Tulasa returns.

After conducting his research on Krenzi, Tulasa returns to tell Chaser about special project that broke the old man. They resolve to part ways, with Tulasa going North to find a lead on Lupitz at the Hinnemûs farmstead, while Chaser takes his search party Northwest toward the Deenskewâl. Jacobus decides to leave the remaining Felkeziers under Chaser’s command to go alone with Tulasa’s escort.

Encounter on Caer Hyvel

As the Baachus party escorts Tûk and Ghanna across the ridge called Caer Hyvel, Krenzi takes a shortcut to head them off, meeting them at an inconspicuous location. They decide that the place is good enough to make camp, and Tûk offers to go gather more firewood as he turns over his haul to them. The mercenaries build a fire as the dusk rapidly turns to bitter darkness, but Ghanna dismisses herself to follow Tûk, with Pinaka in hand. While Tûk is gone, Krenzi informs Duke that he saw the man dead just yesterday.

Ghanna follows Tûk’s snowtracks from at least a furlong behind, and notices them picking up pace—not meandering as if he were gathering firewood. She fires an arrow and uses Pinaka’s sight to spy out where Tûk went. Through the arrow’s perspective, she see’s Tûk reach a place in the forest where jagged, weathered stone markers stand between the trees, and Tûk’s body crumples into the snow. Out of the snow around him rise about thirty skeletons, clad in ancient armor and splintered spears, but as they stand in the moonlight the snow clothes them with the appearance of flesh and their ancient armaments look as new.

Ghanna opens her eyes and begins running back toward the camp. Duke realizes that Ghanna has been gone too long and calls his mercenaries to alert just before Ghanna returns to the circle of firelight, warning them that more than two dozen warriors are coming for them.

As Duke instructs the Baachus to pack up for an orderly retreat, Krenzi commands the Invader to take everyone to safety immediately.

The Warden and the Eater

Before nightfall, Tulasa and Jacobus ride side-by-side on the northbound path toward the Hinnemûs farm, with Kurik and Limnas riding close by. Tulasa asks Jacobus what he knows about Tulasa’s Magisterial mandate, and when Jacobus expresses a limited understanding of the mundane side of Tulasa’s operation, Tulasa reveals that he is at war with a demon known as the Eater of Knowledge.

Jacobus smiles at Tulasa and speaks in a different voice, “I am called by many names”. Kurik draws his horse to a halt to hang behind as Limnas draws her sword. Jacobus launches himself off his mount at Tulasa, but Tulasa leaps off the horse in time to escape. On Tulasa’s mount, Jacobus turns and rides down Tulasa, but Tulasa manages to dodge all but a glancing blow from a hoof as the horse goes over him.

Jacobus and Tulasa draw their swords, and Jacobus throws his into Limnas’s neck, felling her, while Tulasa leaps upon Jacobus, slashing the wrist of his weapon hand, hitting something harder than bone. Tulasa collides with Jacobus, knocking him from the horse and pinning him.

Jacobus laughs, goading Tulasa to surrender. When Tulasa refuses, Jacobus rips his skin off and Tulasa is thrown back by a massive golden coil that bursts forth. Out of the human skin comes a colossal golden serpent, crowned with horns, and bearing a mane like a lion. Tulasa leaps from the path into the frigid pools of the meandering Fuorjen rivulet.

Hyvel’s Fortress

The Invader snatches Ghanna and the Baachus crew by ones and twos, taking them through a screaming void to the ruins of Hyvel’s fortress some miles away at the top of the ridge. There they find Nolduske and Remke Hinnemûs, but Ghanna is missing. The Invader says he mistakenly dropped her at his Vault and disappears to fetch her.

While the mercenaries retch and recover from the shock of their first demonic exposure, Krenzi and Duke learn that Beppe Hinnemûs has pressed on to the standing stones at Heksepunt, in order to call upon Granaatmem for aid.

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  • Krenzi finds his demon’s stash of ancient Crucianite lore, as an offering to someone he calls “the Eater”.
  • Eywa departs after warning Duke not to enter the Deenryk without precautions.
  • Chaser prepares a message for the Hudbeklaaid war chief, and establishes fellowship with the Skaalruter hetman.
  • Tulasa spots a curious child asking questions about him.
  • Krenzi learns of the Hinnemûs family’s attempt to flee the Kl’au.
  • Duke and Ghanna capture Renke Hinnemûs, who wants to take Niehege’s gold for the care of his family.

Sarchannan’s Vault

After being crushed in the Infinite Stacks, Krenzi wakes in a frigid underground chamber filled with books and scrolls, seemingly gathered over a long period of time. Krenzi opens a scroll and finds a hymn about an apocalyptic battle, followed by a hymn about Gedyon taking up Crucian’s armaments to fight the Fiend.

The Invader returns, bringing a carafe of piping-hot coffee, a satchel of black lotus, a bundle of Skunkblum, and an old woman—Beppe Hinnemûs—all to heal Krenzi. Beppe calms down after taking a pull from Krenzi’s pipe, and the Invader fetches a roll of bandage that she uses to dress his wound. Once his needs are met, Krenzi orders the Invader to take Beppe back where he found her.

Krenzi questions the Invader about the contents of this vault, which appears to have once served as a Crucianite chapel. The Invader seems embarrassed and extremely reluctant to talk about his collection, but finally leaks that it is a stash he has been making for someone he calls “The Eater”.

Krenzi orders the Invader to take him elsewhere, and the Invader offers the cellar where he took Beppe Hinnemûs, or the old ruins on Caer Hyvel. Krenzi decides to go to the cellar so that he can give the old woman his thanks.

Goodbye to Eywa

After hearing that Eywa wishes to leave the Kl’au immediately, Duke asks his “brother” about Ourora. Eywa tells him he knows the Ourora he knew is lost, but the Ourora he has now reminds him of his beloved. They work out how they might establish contact again, if and when Duke ever leaves the Kl’au. But Eywa warns Duke that, should he follow Tûk to Heksepunt, he should not set foot in the Deenryk unless he leaves a part of himself behind.

Eywa becomes alert to a change in Ourora’s “breathing”, as if someone has approached the farm, and he flees into the corn. Duke orders members of the Baachus crew to stay sharp.

A Message to Sjef Hun Tegn

In Kl’austed, Chaser speaks to Jacobus Leonhart-Avadon about how to get a message to the war chief of the Hudbeklaaid warriors who departed for the Southfarthing, Sjef Hun Tegn. Jacobus warns him that she would only speak to Adacius himself, whom she calls “Eldgluggar Ofurst”, and may have Hudbeklaaid ancestry; she warned Jacobus not to allow his men to speak to her warriors if they valued their lives.

Chaser and Jacobus decide to pass Chaser off as the bastard son of Adacius, saying that he would speak on the old man’s behalf while Adacius is unavailable. Chaser orders Socrates to take the message into the Southfarthing, and flag down the Hudbeklaaid without speaking.

Socrates informs them that their horses were taken by the Skaalruters in the skirmish, after Chaser and Jacobus disappeared inside the burning Kirk.

A Watchful Child

Tulasa remains with Avga Akh and learns from the survivors of his armed escort—Kurik and Limnas—that Akh’s men gave them a chance to surrender. Tulasa appologizes to Akh for the misunderstanding and bloodletting.

While he is speaking to Akh, Tulasa sees a young Klav approach Kurik, and they two speak briefly before the boyd disappears into the crowd. Tulasa cuts off his conversation to ask Kurik about the encounter. Kurik tells him that the boy was just curious to see foreigners from the Magisterium in the Kl’au.

We Are Brothers Now

Chaser approaches Akh to speak with the Skaalruter hetman about the horses his riders took from Chaser’s Hounds. Lily uses Chaser’s arms to embrace Akh, but Chaser masters himself before kissing the hetman. At the peak of the confusion this stirs, Chaser greets Avga Akh as a brother, and they swear blood oaths of loyalty to each other. Akh releases some of the horses he took from the Hounds for Chaser’s needs.

As he walks away from the Skaalruters with Tulasa, Chaser asks for Tulasa’s help with something. They hear Elder Kristus and Thomas Begenhof calling out for Timmy Lupitz, and Chaser orders the Hounds (except Socrates) to search for the boy—but they fail to find him.

Flight to Caer Hyvel

Krenzi finds himself in the cellar of the Hinnemûs farmstead, which has been ransacked in a rapid packing effort. The family is outside loading up their mule after learning that their cellar is “connected” to an underground vault. Krenzi learns that they are leaving a note for the father Renke to meet them at Caer Hyvel after gathering his two older daughters and their husbands. Krenzi agrees to keep their secret, but says that he must stay in the Kl’au until he finds his grandson Timmy.

Krenzi follows the Fuorjen toward Kl’austed, and some time after sunrise he comes to Niehege’s farm, where he hears some disturbance. He hides in the wood beside the river as he watches mercenaries drag Renke Hinnemûs out of a thicket to Niehege’s property.

Questioning the Klav

Duke and Ghanna question Renke, and Renke reveals that he came here looking for Niehege’s gold. Armentad grows angry when Duke offers the Klav some of the gold, and warns him that others may know of the gold as well.

Ghanna begins untying Renke while asking him what he knows about Heksepunt and the necromancy there. Renke reveals that there was a fire on the mountain after the Burners took Jon, Matilda, and Timmy up there, but he assumed they were all dead.

Some Revelations

At daybreak, Tulasa goes into the Infinite Stacks seeking information about Timmy Lupitz. There he finds the records of a Magisterial inquest launched after Chaser returned from the Kl’au, including Chaser’s full report. It mentions Timmy as one of three Klavs whom the Felkezier’s caught carrying out heretical worship. It says that Timmy was taken with his parents to Hichtepunt, where they died, killed by the Necromancer (~two weeks ago). The Stacks hold no further records of Timmy Lupitz after that.

At daybreak, Krenzi asks the Invader to locate Timmy, the Invader can sense him moving in the Deenryk—the valley on the other side of the Deenskewâl, where no fire may be kindled.

After sending Socrates riding south with a letter for the Hudbeklaaid warriors, Malcolm Chaser retires.

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A recap of the events of our Sorcerer & Sword scenario.

In the Infinite Stacks…

Tulasa learns of an intruder in the domain, and attacks Krenzi. The Invader pounces on Tulasa in retaliation, injuring the Warden gravely. At the same time, Adacius takes advantage of the fray to take a bite out of Jacobus, gulping down the Inquisitor’s blood. The Stacks send a pile of books toppling over Krenzi, and the Invader takes Krenzi away using shadow travel.

At Eywa’s cottage…

Snow begins falling lightly over the corn field as the sun rises. The charcoal burner Tûk Stokken approaches Eywa’s farm, calling out for Niehege. Eywa greets Tûk and Tûk notices both Eywa’s and Ghanna’s telltales. Tûk has heard that the Burners brought the boy Timmy back to the Kl’au when they returned yesterday, and asks if Timmy returned to Niehege’s farm. When he learns that Timmy has not returned, he urges Niehege to come with him to Heksepunt, assuming Timmy went there to find his parents.

Ghanna wants to follow Tûk to Heksepunt, but Eywa warns that they ought to leave the Kl’au immediately before the Fraustgap becomes impassable, trapping them for the winter: No one has survived the mountain pass after Granaatmem’s Nacht (the Winter Solstice), which is rapidly approaching. Ghanna informs Duke and the Bacchus crew about her intention to go to Heksepunt, letting them know she does not completely trust Tûk.

Dumping a Demon in Adûnibad…

After Krenzi and the Invader depart, Adacius rises up smoldering, and his mouth and eyes erupt with golden flame as he speaks to Chaser. While Chaser bandages Jacobus, Adacius threatens to burn the Infinite Stacks if they do not let him out of this place. Tulasa opens a door displaying a rampant ciaccobo on it, and they take Adacius through it into a twilit city—Adûnibad. When Chaser realizes where they are—a city hostile to the Magisterium he serves—he turns back, leaving Adacius to prey upon the teeming millions.

Going back into the Stacks, Tulasa recounts the Tale of Appelmem and Granaatmem to the phantom scribes who inhabit the place, and they copy the tale into their records. Chaser asks Jacobus what Adacius promised the Luu and the Konur Villtar, and urges the Lieutennant to help him investigate the Necromancer’s movements and complete Adacius’s mission.

Tulasa searches for records about the conflict in the Kl’au, and finds a hagiographic chronicle of Adacius based on Chaser’s own testimony, in which Chaser described the key factions involved: Sjef Hun Tegn, Avga Akh, Beppe Hinnemûs, Pryster Jurryt, Timmy Lupitz, and others. Tulasa pores over the lore about Avga Akh’s destiny before leaving the Stacks.

In Kl’austed…

Long after dark, Tulasa, Chaser, and Jacobus exit the Stacks in the burned-out shell of the Kirk. There, they find that Avga Akh has slaughtered most of the Felkeziers—Adacius’s elite witch hunters—and surrounded those who surrendered in the Kirk’s graveyard. Seeking out the Skaalruter hetman, Tulasa invokes Akh’s fear of the Skaadkeninginne (“Shadow Queen”), and likens his own enemy the Eater of Knowledge to that ancient foe of the Skaalruters. Avga Akh frees the few remaining Felkeziers, along with Chaser’s Hounds and some survivors from Tulasa’s armed escort.

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Another session log for our game of Sorcerer & Sword.

On the Caer Hyvel…

Krenzi and the Invader are crossing the ridge of Caer Hyvel after their visit to Hichtepunt on the Deenskewâl. Having gathered a bundle of Skunkblum, the Invader is manic.

They hear a voice speaking, and spot the hunter Thomas Begenhof speaking to an unseen companion. Krenzi strikes Thomas with a stone, and impresses the hunter with his derangement.

They hear a cry, and find Timmy kneeling beside a body. Krenzi recognizes the corpse as a charcoal burner named Tûk Stokken, but there is a huge row of puncture wounds crossing Tûk’s neck and collar-region, as if he was bitten by a massive animal, and his body is descicated and emaciated.

Thomas notes the freshness of the kill and gathers up Timmy under his cloak to hurry away. He urges Krenzi to follow.

In Kl’austed…

While Chaser and Tulasa exit the Kirk with Jacobus after their clash with Adacius, they notice burns on their hands were they touched the Lord Inquisitor. Chaser tries to tell Jacobus that Adacius has gone mad, or worse.

Adacius, meanwhile, barricades himself inside the Kirk and begins kindling fires using old hymnals and broken benches. When they see smoke issuing from the Kirk, Tulasa and Jacobus rush toward the door to break it down while Chaser goes to one of the Skaalruters to get a handaxe. Once they gain entry, they see Adacius pouring spirits all over himself, warning them to stay back, so he can burn his sins away.

Tulasa gathers some hymnals and throws them outside while Jacobus tries to stop Adacius from hurting himself. Adacius hurls Jacobus aside and throws himself into burning brazier, engulfing himself in flame.

Tulasa draws his sword to end the spectacle, but Chaser throws his overcoat over Adacius to smother the blaze. Tulasa uses his sword to open the Infinite Stacks instead, dragging Adacius in while flames crawl up the walls of the Kirk and the wooden beams begin to strain.

Chaser struggles to persuade Jacobus that what they are doing is good, but the Lieutennant splutters in unreasoning shock after seeing Tulasa open a door in mid-air. Chaser drags Jacobus into the Stacks as well. As they enter, a curator of the Stacks appears to welcome his master, Tulasa.

At the Abandoned Farm…

Wind blows through the cornfield, making the leaves rustle in a way that sounds like a voice. The voice introduces itself as A Senhora de Ouro—the Golden Lady—and invites Ghanna to sing a hymn in her honor. When Ghanna declines, “the Golden Lady” reminds her that Ghanna and her companions came here as strangers and are currently under her protection.

Seeing this from the cottage, Duke approaches after asking his mercenary team to keep alert. “The Golden Lady” recognizes him, and calls forth her steward, Niehege Eywa. Eywa appears at the edge of the corn, looking like a younger version of Duke himself.

Invading the Infinite Stacks

Krenzi arrives in Kl’austed with Timmy and Thomas after nightfall, to find the Kirk burning. The Felkeziers and Avga Akh’s riders work alongside the Klavs to carry water from the Fuorjen to fight the fire.

The Invader takes Krenzi into the Infinite Stacks, whose door is hidden in the blaze. Krenzi comes out of the shadows to see Chaser speaking with Adacius. The curator takes Tulasa asside before he sees Krenzi.

Adacius apologizes to Chaser. When Adacius spots Krenzi, he confesses that the torture Krenzi endured was not as a prisoner of the Sultan of Deltoss, as he thought, but a secret Inquisition operation to test the limits of human pain and humilation. They pushed Krenzi too far, and he renounced his faith.

While Adacius speaks to Krenzi, Chaser takes Jacobus aside to steer the Lieutennant’s understanding of the situation. Jacobus has regained his composure, and he goes to Adacius to pray with him to fight off this fiendish mood. Adacius asks Jacobus to give him blood to drink or kill him, but Jacobus continues to kneel beside the Lord Inquisitor, praying more fervently.

Growing bored, the Invader begins pulling out books from a large stack beside him, making it unstable, alerting the Stacks to his presence…

Niehege’s Tale

On the edge of the cornfield, Duke Ahwe and Niehege Eywa take stock of each other and share stories about their past. Eywa tells how he lost his beloved Ourora while fighting side-by-side at the battle of Vale Verde—241 years ago. Heartbroken, he ventured into Deenryk to restore her. When he summoned her at last, she came in the form of miraculous corn seeds.

Duke asks about Eywa’s miracles, and Eywa confides that they were Ourora’s doing: Her maize and its syrup bring healing. They have traveled, putting down roots in one place after another, departing from each place when Ourora’s miracles begin drawing unwanted attention.

Eywa notices Silionna eavesdropping, and recognizes her. In a revery, she tells Duke that it was Eywa and not Duke that she has been remembering in her dreams. Eywa recounts how he was fleeing after an incident when he came across a village massacred by Inquisitors who were hunting for him. Among the charnel, he found Silionna, barely clinging to life. Ourora used her power to heal the girl, but left her in a coma. Eywa took her and left her under the care of a convent in Adûnibad, paying them handsomely for their discretion.

Duke and Ghanna suggest that Eywa pack up and flee the Kl’au, but Eywa says Ourora cannot release the seed corn while she is starving for her need. Eywa asks Duke and Ghanna to sing hymns to her with him, offering her worship. Ghanna scoffs, but Silionna bows low before the corn. Duke joins in the singing, planting Maiven in the earth before him and weaving in lyrics to sate her need as well.

As the sun begins to rise, snowflakes drift down from the steel grey sky.

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Use GM moves between sessions to generate grabby content for the table!


GM moves
A way to set up complex situations and ratchet up tension in role-playing, including complexity in tactical, strategic, as well as moral and dramatic terms.


My last game session was my best one in a few months! I am blessed with players I can count on for non-stop cleverness and creativity to keep things exciting. The campaign has been building toward something like this for a while, but why did it all come together for an effortless, dramatic impact?

One thing I think made a difference was the way I prepped for the game.

In my last Dungeon World campaign (2016–2018), I finally mastered the concept of Fronts and how to make them sing.

But my current campaign runs on Freebooters on the Frontier, a Dungeon World variant by Jason Lutes, which focuses on the hard-scrabble adventure that happens on the way to the dungeon more than epic exploits of the characters. Our game is Freebooters souped up with a lot of setting-specific stuff.

Two things about our game require a different kind of prep than my previous Dungeon World game.

  1. The FotF travel moves create a much more open-world sandbox for exploration and discovery; and
  2. The intense political intrigue that I would usually express in Fronts is offloaded to a separate domain game. Factions are run by actual players using Kevin Crawford’s domain rules from An Echo, Resounding.

I’m sure Jason Lutes was mindful that the content that is useful to prepare for Freebooters is somewhat different than what is useful to prep for Dungeon World. The Freebooters GM is encouraged to generate dangers and discoveries just-in-time using tables in the Perilous Wilds rulebook.

I’ve tried that, but those tables don’t really suit our setting. I love using randomly-sourced content as an inkblot for my prep, but I’ve found I’m not good at adapting the suggestions from PW to our world.

I stumbled across another method, one that worked amazingly, and it was shockingly close to my fingertips.

The idea is super simple: Using standard Dungeon World GM moves between sessions to generate a small “slush pile” of dangers, discoveries, and drama.

What you need


A method of creating “inkblots” that works for you and the established fiction. (This is where the PW tables didn’t quite work: We’ve played 49 sessions in this setting, and a lot of established details rule out classes of content generated by the PW tables.)

I listed some inkblot methods previously in Dungeon BINGO. What I used this time was B.J. West’s Story Forge deck.


Choose 1 GM move (and 1 input from your inkblot method, if you are using one—like drawing 1 card from the Story Forge deck).

Take that move and come up with a situation based on the move. What are some resources, problems, opportunities, or dangers near the freebooters’ current location that might manifest?

Use the GM move, combined with your optional inkblot, to generate an answer.

Important: Jot down whatever ideas come to mind. At this stage, it’s not important if the ideas are any good, just that you get your pen moving.

Then repeat: Pick another GM move, and generate another possible situation based on it.

And iterate: Take the ideas that came up, and notice patterns and connections. You’ll find that meaningful relationships suggest themselves, based on established details, questions you want to explore, and the NPCs, values, and goals that the players care about.

That’s it.

All that’s left is adding some minimal organization to what comes out of it. What I did was list all the NPCs generated or fleshed out in this exercise, and jot down their agendas (and stats, for 1 or 2 of them).

But you could just as easily organize the notes by location—then you have yourself a hex-crawl!


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