D&D Campaigns Revisited #7 – GAZ7: The Northern Reaches

Gazetteer #7 – The Northern Reaches

This is the seventh in the series of adventures around the Known World of Mystara where I am converting the setting to 5th Edition as we play based on the choices of the players. It ran from the 9th of August 2017 to the 4th of October 2017 for a total of five sessions.

I was hoping for a water based storyline with Ostland but was surprised with them starting in the Jarldoms over the two kingdoms.

Characters start out having a end of winter celebration where they are sent out on a quest to make the lands surrounding the area safer. Given options, they selected to take on kobolds as the easiest of the tasks being assigned, so they set out to explore a former gnome city now under the control of a contingent of kobolds. Lucky for them these guys were not evil, but once the party had been subdued by the vast numbers of kobolds living there, they were able to talk their way out and promised never to return.

The following year, the group was asked to defend the town from attacking trolls, which the did while loosing one of their number. Apparently the trolls were a little tougher than I thought they would be, but this was because the party had split their attacks and themselves and were almost solo’ing each troll.

Differences with trolls between editions is something worth noting, early editions allowed for any piece of a troll to grow into a full troll in its own right, and you tracked fire damage on a separate hit point track. Then it moved to regeneration became a set number of hit points it recovered every round of combat, and only the largest piece would regenerate. Then pathfinder took a different spin on it, when it took fire damage, it would not regenerate that round and no more separate hit point lists, all damage tracked as damage. The latest edition has made this part of D&D which is good as tracking a single resource for monsters is easier than tracking two or three. To kill a troll it must be hurt by fire once it is reduced to 0 hit points. A simple torch is enough.

Once they rested as heroes of the town, the following year they were sent out to gather information on patrols of Gnolls in the area. This proved to be entertaining as it was a roving band and they managed to survive a squad of gnolls who discovered them and attacked.

The last session for this group dealt with Trolls again and it was good to see them working as a group and how much easier it was to deal with the threat.

The setup

Six players, each having backgrounds that fitted into the setting or changing the setting slightly to allow for the backgrounds to work. They are all human vikings in service of the Lord of their choice and the story will evolve around their starting location.

The Northern Reaches (Ostland, Vestland and Sderfjord Jarldoms) in the Known World

Starting Location

Started in the Soderfjord Jarldoms, in the town of Snowvale in the jarldom of Nordcastel. They are in the service of the Jarl of Nordcastel and protectors of the realm.


  • Heldanic racial identity looking like Norsemen of mythology.
The Kingdoms of Ostland and Vestland and the Soderfjord Jarldoms

Notable changes to the setting:

  • Rune magic is all about sacrifice, using rules from the sourcebook, incorporating stuff from Unearthed Arcana and Kobold Games who both have Rune Magic.
  • Kobolds are not all evil monsters to be wiped out, gnolls do not seem to have any redeeming qualities as yet.
  • The descendants of the Kobold God still thrive in the former Gnome city in the side of Odharjokull mountain.
  • Stopped using Realm Works in this setting as it had become to unpredictable a resource to use as a scheduled outage could take the tool offline before the game started and I would be unable to get the program to load. Also as it never delivered player content editing it was too much time for me to keep it up to date and still prepare my other games.
  • No longer using hero lab as players have provided their own tools which they prefer using on ios and android.

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