Places: A forest mound

A forest moundThe adventurers come across an uncanny mound in the forest. It sits next to the barely-worn deer path. Its shape suggests an artificial origin, but it has no stones or other markers nearby. It sits on higher ground, overlooking a swamp or bog below. The bog occasionally bubbles or shivers.


  1. When viewed from one particular angle, the plants atop the mound appear to form letters of an ancient script. They spell out a warning. If you keep walking away from the mound at that particular angle, you eventually come to another mound.
  2. The mound is one of a series surrounding the large sunken bog. The mounds are spaced irregularly, and are somewhat jagged. If enough people walk around on the bog, it will awaken the sleeping dragon whose teeth form the mounds — and in whose throat the bog is. (And whose occasional hiccups or snores cause the bog to act the way it does.)
  3. The mound is surmounted by a wide variety of mushrooms. In fact, they grow in just the right variety to make Queen’s Draft, an elixir with strange properties. Who cultivated (cultivates?) the mushrooms, and why are the mushrooms still growing this way?
  4. A moss spirit makes it home within the mound, and will be annoyed by anyone walking atop it. However, it may be well disposed to gifts of animal manure, seeds or dead animal bodies.
  5. Masses of sinewy roots can be seen emerging from the base of the mound, beneath the underbrush and detritus; the roots immediately plunge into the nearby ground. When the right beat is played on a drum, the roots will lift the mound up and cause it to shamble in a sloppy, pachyderm-like way.
  6. A wight is imprisoned in the mound. The wight is quite hostile to travelers, but more hostile to the will-o-the-wisps that inhabit the swamp just beyond. Mushrooms near the mound all mark sites where a wisp has fallen in battle with the wight. The spirit of the mound will graciously welcome any help to defeat the swamp spirits.
  7. The mound is almost perfectly hemispherical. If you exert enough energy, you will able to dislodge it and set it rolling downhill into the swamp below. In fact, the mound is just the right size to block up the giant hole in the water near the middle of the swamp downhill.
  8. On nights when the constellation of the Winnowing Girl is overhead, a variety of multihued wisps emerge from the mound. They sing in ethereal tones, using ancient language to sing songs of praise to the constellations.
  9. When just the right words are spoken, the whole mound rises up, turret-like, and is revealed to form the roof of a small stone house. Within dwells the Bog Watcher. She is reticent to say why she watches the bog.
  10. When rain falls, it strangely doesn’t fall directly on the mound; instead, it seems to snake and twist until it falls next to, but never directly on top of, the mound. Yet the plants on the mound grow just as well as any around, perhaps even better. Why did the Spirit of the Mound offend the Spirit of the Rain?
  11. The mound was once the capital of the Empire of Ants, the largest insectile nation this forest has ever seen. They vanished for mysterious reasons several hundred years ago, however. You will need to shrink yourself to ant size if you wish to explore their abandoned metropolis.
  12. When the Kinglion flower ever grows, if it ever grows, this mound is the place it will need to set root. Those who wish the Kinglion to never grow again may wish to destroy the mound.
Inspired rather heavily by a recent visit to the amazing Quaking Bog.

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