A small tribe of lizardfolk inhabits a muddy island in the middle of a particularly swampy stretch of the Murque River, about two miles west of Candlemere.
GM Note: If claimed, the village can count as a “lair” which can be used as a defensive fallback, providing +1 to Stability.
Before the PCs encountered the lizardfolk who lived here, these reptilian people had a brutish reputation. Although sluggish in the winter when the lakes freeze over, the lizardfolk become quite active in the spring and summer, and they used to ferociously attack anyone entering their territory, particularly members of the so-called “civilized” races. But despite their reputation for violence during the warmer months, the lizardfolk were somewhat civilized. Although they did devour other intelligent creatures, this was a practical habit rather than a ritualistic custom or a craving due to a racial trait. “Meat is meat,” the lizardfolk said, and life in the swamp is too harsh to forego a perfectly good source of food because of some "civilized” taboo against the consumption of thinking creatures.
This particular tribe once worshiped the eerie witchlights that glow and dance above Candlemere’s central island, believing them to be the spirits of fallen lizardfolk heroes. The tribe’s former leader, Vesket, spoke to one of these spirits. He believed it to be a revered ancestor and held its advice in high esteem. In reality, this “spirit” was a will-o’-wisp drawn to the Candlemere who had discovered that urging the lizardfolk to greater violence provided it with a never-ending feast of fear and pain to feed upon.
Then, in 4711, the lizardfolk came across an injured boy named Billy and brought him back to the village thinking that if he lived, they would send him home, and if he died, they would eat him. However, the will-o-wisp found the boy’s fear delectable and ordered Vesket to keep the boy alive but torture him to “harden” his warriors.
This did not sit well with some of the villagers, and when the PCs came to rescue Billy, some of the villagers fought on their side. Vesket and the will-o-wisp were killed, and a new chief, Salazar, was appointed by the remaining villagers. Salazar made a peace agreement with the kingdom, promising not to kill sentient creatures (or even eat them if already dead) so long as his tribe could exchange gold and gems for meat from Stagfall. Furthermore, when the PCs explained what the floating lights at Candlemere actually are, the lizardfolk stopped their worship. They still revere their ancestors, but do not trust floating lights.
A low, muddy hummock protrudes from the middle of the widening river, surrounded by a palisade of outward-facing, sharpened wooden stakes. Inside, tendrils of smoke rise from a handful of mounds clustered around a single larger mound. A simple wooden gate on the eastern side of the hummock seems to be the only entrance to the fortified island. The gate appears to have been torched and then rebuilt. Though sturdy, signs of charring still etch the sides and rear of the structure.
Approximately 150 feet in diameter, the island sits only about 10 feet above the level of the surrounding waters. The palisade is 10 feet high, with a narrow walkway along the top. The mud mounds are the lizardfolk’s “huts”— each has a single entrance covered with a leather flap to keep warmth in and the weather out and a chimney hole at the top. Fifty feet of water separate the island from both the north and south riverbanks, and the palisade requires a DC 15 Climb check to scale or a DC 30 Escape Artist check to squeeze between two of the trunks.
The palisade’s wooden gate is about 8 feet high and barred on the inside, requiring a DC 25 Strength check to break through. There is also a walkway behind the palisade, which provides guards with partial cover.
N2. Family Huts
Each of these mounds holds a small lizardfolk family. Only about 4 feet high on the outside, the floors are sunken, making the total interior height about 8 feet. The huts are cozy and warm, with a central firepit, woven reed dividers, and simple furnishings.
A leather flap over the doorway to this low mound is tied shut with sinew thongs. A large stack of bones, each stripped of flesh and scarred by sharp teeth, lies stacked near the doorway. This mound served as the kennel for the tribe’s pet lizards—a pair of Narlmarch muggers, giant lizards native to the Narlmarches and the Hooktongue Slough to the west. The muggers were killed during the rescue, but the tribe has not replaced this building, perhaps they hold hope to get another pair.
N4. Braves’ Hut
The exterior of this mound is decorated with colorful geometric patterns painted in muds and clays of different shades. The bleached skulls of various swamp creatures hang from the walls by ropes made of twisted vines. As DC 20 Knowledge (local) or (religion) check recognizes the patterns painted on the hut as symbols of strength, virility, and skill in battle.
The braves of this tribe paint their scales with blue woad and their claws with red ocher. They wear leather armor and wield masterwork morningstars.
N5. Lizard King’s Hut
The village’s central mound stands fully fifteen feet high, dwarfing the surrounding huts. Bones of all shapes and sizes crown the dome, sticking out of the dried mud at erratic angles. The bones of sentient creatures have been removed and provided proper burial. Fresh marsh grass has been scattered around the mound’s perimeter, and two spears, hung with feathers and other fetishes and topped with the painted skulls of fanged lizards, flank the mound’s entrance. The bright green hide of some large swamp reptile serves as the hut’s entrance flap.
This large mound serves as the home of whoever is chieftain. Currently, that title belongs to Salazar. While impressive on the outside, the Lizard King’s hut is not much different from the others on the inside—the firepit, the reed dividers, and the crude furniture are all the same, although the floor is carpeted with fresh marsh grass and plush furs and the ceiling is 15 feet high. A 5-foot-diameter hole in the dirt floor drops 10 feet to a half-flooded, muddy tunnel that leads to the harem’s quarters (area N6).
A faint cloyingly sweet smell hangs in the air of the almost uncomfortably warm confines of this mound. A couple of red-tinted lanterns hang from the ceiling and brightly colored woven mats drape the walls and carpet the dirt floor. A small mound of coals glows in a firepit the center of the room.
This mound is the home of the chieftain’s private harem, his chosen mates, and everyone other than himself is forbidden to enter. The only entrance into the harem is via the tunnel from the chieftain’s hut (area H5); it has no exterior doorways.
N7. Spirit Hut
This mound has a deserted, run-down look to it. The mud is dried and cracked, and no smoke issues from its chimney hole. This used to be the hut where Vesket would have meetings with his “advisor” (the will-o-wisp) but it now is a place of quiet reflection where the lizardfolk can pray to their real ancestors.