3. The Church

Location #3 on the map of the town of Cross Tree is the church. I will list the pertinent information about the tower and its inhabitant. As previously mentioned, I will keep this as system neutral as possible. There won’t be any in-game stats provided. Instead, I will focus on what you would need to know, should your players opt to visit the church.

The Church

The church of Cross Tree burned to the ground under mysterious circumstances roughly 15 years ago. At the time, it was a largely unused structure, as it had been quite some time since the settlement had been home to any members of the clergy. The site sat vacant for nearly 5 years, until its current inhabitant came to town.

Leagis Kormou

Leagis Kormou is a 42 year-old human woman. She has olive skin and long, white hair that trails down nearly to her waist. While she has a stern brow and piercing green eyes, there is a sense of peace about the woman that is disarming to guests.

Leagis Kormou. Art by: Daniel Comerci – danielcomerci.com

It will immediately be clear to PCs that Leagis is not originally from this area. In my game she hails from a chain of islands far to the south, though select her place of origin based on what works for your campaign setting.

Leagis is a priestess of a nature deity. If your world lacks a divine being who happens to be focused on nature, any good-aligned god or goddess should suffice.

The cleric spent her youth traveling the world, possibly even clocking in some time as an adventurer. As the years passed, she found herself more focused on her religion and wanting to settle down. Cross Tree provided a logical place to put down roots. Nestled deep withing the forest, Leagis can commune with nature while also sharing her faith with her modest flock.

Arriving in town roughly 10 years ago, Leagis began restoring the old burned church structure on her own. As the days passed, other townsfolk would come to lend a hand. Often they would work together by day and then take part in her fellowship and break bread together in the evening. Some of the materials for the new church were brought from the ruined town to the northeast of town.

Whether Leagis possesses any magical abilities from her deity will be left to the GM’s discretion. It is certainly possible that she may have the ability to casts lower level spells. However, I would suggest drawing the line at allowing her to have the power to raise the dead or even heal very serious afflictions.

The priestess is very welcoming to outsiders and will certainly be curious about their travels. Having travelled extensively herself, Leagis may be able to share information with the party about areas far from Cross Tree.

1st Floor

The nave and sanctuary take up most of the 1st floor of the church. Both are decorated simply, in woodland colors. Both the pews and altar are fashioned from downed oaks found in the forest.

Close to the entrance are two storage closets. Tools are kept here for tending the graveyard, as well as decorations for different festivals throughout the year. Leagis also keeps a small office on the first floor.

2nd Floor

The 2nd floor of the church consists of Leagis’s residence. While not generally accessible to the public, she may invite the PCs up here for counsel or to discuss future plans.

Plot Hooks & Encounters

As previously mentioned, Leagis has travelled extensively. She should provide you a good tool for disseminating information to your PCs. It is also possible that she may have use for their help herself.

  • Parties stopping in Cross Tree along the way to somewhere else, may be provided information about their destination.
  • As a priestess of a nature deity, Leagis may enlist the help of the party to investigate some strange goings-on within the forest. Perhaps some strange malady is affecting local wildlife or a queer blight is killing off vegetation.
  • Leagis recently buried a traveler who died while staying at the Cross Tree Inn. The man’s only personal effects were a strange metallic device and a map to a location that would take two days to travel to from here. The cleric may enlist the party’s help in learning more about the map and the device.
  • From her traveling days, Leagis may be aware that there is rumored to be an ancient lost city hidden away within the depths of the forest.

Closing Notes

That will conclude another post about the town of Cross Tree. Until I write again, I thank you for reading and hope that you may find yourself enjoying a game soon. Cheers!

2. The Ruined Tower

Location #2 on the map of the Town of Cross Tree is the ruined tower. I will list the pertinent information about the tower and its inhabitant. As previously mentioned, I will keep this as system neutral as possible. There won’t be any in-game stats provided. Instead, I will focus on what you would need to know, should your players opt to visit the tower.

The Ruined Tower

The tower itself predates the town of Cross Tree by over 100 years and none of the locals, aside from possible Nicodemus (see below), have any recollection of who built it. Characters with any type of architectural knowledge will easily be able to identify that this structure is from another time.

In my own game, the tower represents one of the last standing traces of a previous civilization. Deep within the outlying forest, there are cave entrances that lead into still accessible areas of this ancient settlement. Swallowed up by the earth itself, a lost city waits to be rediscovered. I may explore some of these locations once the rest of Cross Tree has been covered.

If this doesn’t work for your game, the tower could have an entirely different background. The idea here is to simply give you some interesting locations for your players to visit, without you having to do a lot of work.

PCs exploring the area around the tower will find all manner of debris. Some of this is from the collapse of the upper floors of the tower. The rest consists of odds and ends brought here by the tower’s sole inhabitant.

Unless the party is purposely attempting to be stealthy, the double doors to the tower will swing open enough for a frail figure to emerge.


Nicodemus has lived in the ruined towed for nearly 5 years now. Prior to that he had been a frequent visitor to the area but none of the locals knew too much about him.

Nicodemus. Publisher’s Choice Quality Stock Art @ Rick Hershey / Fat Goblin Games. http://www.fatgoblingames.com

The general thinking of the townsfolk is that the tower is not safe for habitation and they are likely right. However, Nicodemus doesn’t interact a great deal with anyone from town. Every so often, Killian from the Cross Tree Inn will try to persuade Nicodemus to take up residence at the inn but up to this point these attempts have failed.

Play Nicodemus as a bit mad and a bit mysterious. He exists here as a device for you to feed information or plot hooks to your players. Outside of possibly Leagis (from area #3, the Church) Nicodemus is the only resident who you could really call “worldly”.

He knows a great deal about a great many things but should always be a bit cagey about what he reveals and how he reveals it. Whether Nicodemus actually has any magical abilities is largely up to the GM. Here are some possible angles for Nicodemus, to allow him to fit seamlessly into different styles of games.

  • Perhaps you make him a great mage, having him be the wise mentor who knew the party was fated to show up on his doorstep.
  • He could be a part-crazed soothsayer who constantly mutters to himself, while reading tea-leaves and tossing chicken bones to foretell the future. Whether charlatan or gifted fortune teller will be up to the party to decide.
  • Nicodemus could be an arcane dealer of sorts, prepared to sell different potions, charms, or wards to the party.
  • Possibly he plumbed the depths of a lost city in his prime, only to be left behind by his comrades. Having spent years as the prisoner of some unnamed horror, he is now quite mad.

Regardless of which route you take Nicodemus is a good natured sort. He will size up the party and if he believes they have good intentions, he will try to help them. That’s not to say that he will necessarily be forthcoming with his help or information. It’s certainly possible that he may speak in riddles or test the PCs in order to ascertain their intentions.

1st Floor

If the party is friendly from the offset, it is likely that Nicodemus will invite the party inside. The double doors open to a chaotic scene and the heavy scent of smoke and incense.

All manner of junk is piled up within the 1st floor of the tower and the old man has a campfire burning away right near the doorway. Any characters with reasonably high skills of perception are likely to notice a mouse (or other small mammal) skittering for cover as the party enters the room.

Despite the clutter and debris, Nicodemus seems to know his way around the mess and is always able to deftly find what he is looking for amongst the rubble, crates, and boxes. A pile of hay against the wall seems to serve as the old fellow’s bed.

There are drawings and what appear to be maps scrawled with charcoal on the walls. What they depict and whether Nicodemus will discuss them is largely up to the GM. Two desks are arranged on either side of the room. While they are cluttered, it does appear that they have been painstakingly laid out, allowing Nicodemus to focus on his studies.

A spiral staircase leads up to the 2nd floor.

2nd Floor

Every bit as cluttered as the first floor, the wall of this section of the tower has been breached on the northeast and southwest. This allows the weather in, along with the occasional bird or bat.

Arriving from the first floor, it will be immediately evident that the stairway going up to the higher reaches of the tower is completely blocked with rubble. Rubble is strewn about on the creaky wooden floor and PCs who are invited up to this level of the tower, should be made to feel that the floor could cave in at any time.

Plot Hooks & Encounters

A lot of what Nicodemus has to offer is going to depend on your game, the level of magic in your world, and what role you need him to play within your campaign.

  • Other townsfolk might direct the party to Nicodemus in order to identify some item they have found or to seek answers about some quest that they are on.
  • As with Karia from the Cross Tree Inn, Nicodemus may charge a young party with venturing out into the woods to secure certain components for him.
  • Perhaps he knows of some impending trouble threatening the area and identifies the party as being just the right group to tackle it.
  • Seeing a yearning for adventure in the party, Nicodemus might share with the party what he know about a lost city, deep within the forest.

Closing Notes

That will do it for this week’s entry from the town of Cross Tree. Until my next post, I hope you have great adventures!

1. The Cross Tree Inn

Location #1 on the map of the Town of Cross Tree is the Cross Tree Inn. I will list the pertinent information about the inn and the people who work there below. As previously mentioned, I’m trying to keep this as system neutral as possible. There won’t be any in-game stats for the inhabitants of the town. Instead, I will focus on their personalities and what you would need to know to run them as NPCs.

#1 The Cross Tree Inn

The inn is both the geographical and social center of the village. Especially during the evening, it is likely some of the other residents will be found in the common room, enjoying a meal or tankard of ale.

Killian Merric

The proprietor is a stout man named Killian Merric. At 50 years of age, Killian was raised in a large city but relocated to Cross Tree and inherited the Inn from his uncle Tobyn. That was 20 years ago and Killian has been running the place ever since.

Killian stands 6’2” tall and weighs roughly 280lbs. His dark hair, beard, and bushy eyebrows. are starting to give way to a good deal of gray. The large man dresses simply, wearing cotton breeches and a simple tunic, On most days he’ll also be wearing an apron, adorned with splashes and dashes of whatever happens to be on the menu that day.

Nearly always sporting a grin, the innkeeper is nothing if not hospitable. Killian will greet guests warmly and take an interest in their adventures. He knows a fair bit about the local area and is generally willing to share information with travelers, if he feels that they have good intentions. For information he may lack, Killian is certainly well acquainted with the citizens of Cross Tree and able to suggest someone else who may be able to help.

The innkeeper loves a good tune. Any customer who happens to break out in song or play an instrument while visiting the inn is likely to be rewarded with a complimentary meal. If it’s particularly good, it wouldn’t be unheard of for Killian to take off his apron and dance a little jig in the middle of the dining room.

Despite being a fairly large fellow, Killian has no practical combat experience.

Killian keeps a simple room for himself at the inn. While he has had various employees over the years, his niece Karia is currently his only employee.

Karia Merric

Karia Merric is a young woman of 25. After the passing of her mother, two years ago, she relocated to Cross Tree and has been helping her uncle Killian manage the inn.

A no-nonsense woman, Karia usually keeps her blonde hair pulled back and wears simple, woolen dresses.

While she adores her uncle, Karia was also interested in relocated to Cross Tree due to it being nestled in the wilderness. She has been studying herbalism for a number of years and her move has allowed her to pursue this passion. When not serving drinks or helping out at the inn, Karia spends her time collecting specimens in the forest and furthering her studies.

Like her uncle, Karia is quite friendly. However, her mind is often occupied, thinking about different tinctures and ointments. She may not be outwardly chatty, though if any travelers come by with obvious wounds or ailments, she will immediately offer to help. Depending on the rules system you are using, I would allow Karia to at least provide some basic healing to injured party members.

If any travelers happen to come through town and mention having a background in herbalism or another similar skill, Karia will be fascinated and try to gain as much knowledge from them as possible.

Food, Drink, & Lodging

You can assume that pricing for food, drink, and lodging will run on the lower end of what is typical in your game system. Killian is a wonderful cook and accommodating host but this is a modest operation.

Highlights of the inn’s menu include flapjacks with locally made maple syrup, a fabulous “restoring” stew, and roasted potato wedges.

Killian has 4 modest rooms for rent. Three of these have a single bed, while one has two. However, a simple sleeping cot can be added to any of the single rooms if it becomes necessary to house more guests. While he wouldn’t rent out his own 2nd floor room, on occasion Killian will allow cots in the common areas upstairs, to accommodate extra guests. Obviously, this would be offered at a reduced rate.

Legend of the Cross Tree

As the Cross Tree Inn is the first stop for weary travelers, Killian will often be asked about the name of the town. On such occasions, he will be more than happy to pull up a chair and share the tale.

Whether there is anything to this legend or whether it is a simple folktale is up to you. Go with what works for your game. However, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to drop in little bits to keep your players on edge. The inn is an old building, so there will certainly be strange creaks from the floorboards or the occasional cold draft.

*See location #2 once I have posted it

Plot Hooks & Encounters

If you already have plans for future adventures, it should be easy enough to drop in any plot hooks while the PCs are visiting the Cross Tree Inn. There is a message board in the common room and Killian, Karia, or any of the other townsfolk could be used to reach out to the party and ask for their assistance.

Left to their own, both Killian & Karia have a few tasks that they might approach a party of travelers for help with.

  • Killian might offer the party a fair price to go on a hunt for a day and try to bring back a stag or wild boar.
  • Karia might hire the party to help her locate certain herbs or mushrooms, only available in the deepest part of the forest.
  • It’s rare that the innkeeper the ability to make the trip to a city. If Killian gets to know the party well or they stop at the inn frequently, he may hire them to bring back certain spices or ingredients.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by. If you’re taking the time to read this, I hope you have a good week.

Good gaming!

Cross Tree – Starting Town

Every adventure needs a place to start. The maps in this post feature the town of Cross Tree, from a fantasy setting. Moving forward I plan to flesh the place out a bit. I will post a about what can be found within the town, its citizens, and the area at large.

For the time being I think I will try to keep much of what I post as system agnostic as possible. These days, I am most likely to be playing 5e Dungeons & Dragons but I’d like to put content out there that would be useful to just about everyone. I’d be curious to hear what fantasy system you’re playing.

Where possible, I’ll try to post stuff that would be equally useful for D&D, Pathfinder, WFRP, Savage Worlds, or whatever you may be into. Whether you put your players through their paces in the Forgotten Realms, Golarion, or some other campaign setting, I hope to make it easy enough to file off the numbers and make things as useful as I can.

In case anyone is curious, I created these using the Cities of Schley Symbol Set from Campaign Cartographer. I have included a version with just the title, one with labels, and also one with labels & a grid. Feel free to use these as you like for your own games or simply as inspiration for something more grand.

As of this writing, I have not had the time to explore the world of virtual table-top gaming. I know that it has become quite popular and that the pandemic has only increased its popularity. The thought occurred to me to do some investigating and include maps that would easily import into the popular VTT platforms. However, since part of my purpose in undertaking this endeavor was to interact with people, I decided against it.

If you are a VTT game master and you stumble onto something of mine that would be useful to you, if only it were scaled differently, had a different grid, or certain tweaks, please leave a comment. I can’t swear to it but I would certainly do my best to make an edit and get you what you need.