I’ve finished illustrating the map of Cespius, complete with key locations and NPCs that might be encountered there. Feel free to use it in your own home Dungeons and Dragons campaigns.
Fifty years ago, Cespius was a ghost town and its environs were a desolate waste, scoured by a ravenous black dragon lairing in the crumbled keep that dominated the countryside. Just why Raspha Apocola, an elven paladin of Avandra, came to Cespius or how she slew the dragon depends on who is telling the tale but her suit of finely wrought black dragon scale armor is evidence that there is at least a grain truth to all the tales.
After slaying the dragon, Raspha began repairs on a section of the ruined keep and claimed it as her home. With the dragon vanquished and a powerful warden in the keep, farmers soon returned to the fertile countryside and the merchants and commerce followed soon after. A small town sprouted at the foot of the keep seemingly overnight, with much of the new construction paid for in dragon’s gold.
Today Cespius is a bustling farm town, famous for its fertile fields, quality ale, and benevolent ruler.
A small farming community, overlooked by a crumbling keep and surrounded by fields of wheat and barley.
Population: 450 in the town proper, with another 100 living on surrounding farms who consider Cespius their home.
Demographics: Mostly humans and Halflings with some elves and half-elves. Two dwarves run the celebrated local brewery. No eladrin or dragonborn have settled permanently.
Government: Raspha Apocola is widely considered the ruler of the town, but she shuns any title that would name her so. Still, she is responsible for organizing the town’s defenses and is often called upon to rule on local disputes.
Defense: The town’s most prominent defense is the Lady Raspha Apocola herself (see stat block). Kaleb Bolbeck is responsible for training the town militia and commands a local guard of 20 regular constables with an additional 100 irregulars available at need.
Inns and Taverns: Ballard’s Brewhouse is the famous brewery and the most popular meeting spot for locals and travelers alike; The Fortnight offers lodging and hearty meals to travelers.
Supplies and Equipment: Fedwick’s Outfitting is the local supplier of farming equipment and can provide some adventuring gear. Romanel’s Curious Curios has numerous minor magic items.
Religion: Shrine of Avandra; Temple of the Harvest (Pelor)
- The Crumbled Keep: Perched atop the low hill that rises north of town is a crumbled keep, its weathered stones pocked by some powerful caustic substance. One of the towers has been restored and is the residence of the Lady of the town, Raspha Apocola. When Raspha Apocola isn’t out adventuring or at Ballard’s Brewhouse, she can usually be found lounging in the restored section of the old crumbled keep. Regular NPCs: Raspha Apocola
- The Constable’s Barracks: A long low building runs along one side of the parade ground at the base of the hill to the north of town. Guards drill basic maneuvers with their pole arms, overseen by a grizzled old veteran who sporadically barks commands and reprimands. Kaleb Bolbeck commands the twenty regular constables who live in the barracks. He also oversees the training of 100 additional irregular volunteers.
- Ballard’s Brewhouse: The smell of hops and boiling wort hangs in the air around the two story brewery leaning over the river that winds through town. A stone hops drying kiln on one side of the building belches bitter smoke skyward. Bolder and Bradin Ballard run the local brewery. The two dwarf brothers left their ancestral home to bring their exquisite ales to the surface-dwellers. Bolder, the brew-master, is short of words and spends most of his time in back tending the casks of ale. Ballard holds down the front, keeping the taps and conversation flowing in the common room. Regular NPCs: Raspha Apocola (evenings), Bolder and Bradin Ballard, Kaleb Bolbec (evenings), Hogrin Hammerhand (evenings)
- The Fortnight: A rambling one story building, the Fortnight is the biggest inn in Cespius, and the most popular spot for a bit of good company outside of Ballard’s Brewhouse. Phaydra, the proprietor of the Fortnight, offers hearty meals (2sp) as well as ale from Ballard’s Brewhouse (1sp). A variety of rooms are available for anywhere from 5sp (communal bunk) to 2gp (luxury suite). Regular NPCs: Phaydra, Romanel (evenings), Cephlin (evenings)
- Fedwick’s Outfitting: A small warehouse on the north side of the market square bares a weathered sign, its peeling blue paint labels the building as Fedwick’s Outfitting. The smell of oil, leather and grain drifts through the darkened opening of a large sliding door. Fedwick is a retired half-elven farmer. His shop supplies the local farms with tools, equipment and seeds. He also has some mundane adventuring gear. Regular NPCs: Fedwick Farhaven
- Romanel’s Curious Curios: The tall crooked tower on the western edge of town seems poised to fall over at any moment. Despite it’s dangerous appearance, the building is obviously occupied. Romanel the old elven wizard lives in the upper floors of the tower and keeps a shop of exotic magical wonders and weapons on the ground level. The precarious appearance of his tower is more of an advertisement than anything. Magic stronger than any mortar keeps the tower from toppling. Romanel is a former adventuring companion of Raspha’s and remains fiercely loyal her. Regular NPCs: Romanel
- Shrine of Avandra: This small stone structure just off the main road into town houses an effigy of Avandra. The marble figure is wrapped in scraps of cloth and leather, left as offerings by travelers passing through town. A stone bowl at her feet burns incense and stubs of candles clutter the stone floor.
- Temple of the Harvest: One of the few stone buildings in town, the Temple of the Harvest rises on the eastern side of the market square, the golden sun of Pelor gleaming on its steeple. Offerings of grain and small casks of ale clutter an alter just inside the open doors. Cephlin, a cleric of Pelor, serves the population of Cespius by blessing crops and farm tools. The church stores the grain and ale offerings left by the pious farmers in a warehouse in case of a bad harvest year. He is also able to perform rituals for troubled adventurers. Regular NPCs: Cephlin
- Smithy: The sound of hammer on anvil rings in the air and the smell of fire and iron fills your nostrils. Farm tools, horseshoes and a few pieces of weaponry and armor hang from hooks or lean against the walls of the blazing forge. A powerful man pounds a red-hot ingot with practiced blows. Hogrin Hammerhand, the human blacksmith, does a fair trade repairing damaged farm equipment and shodding horses, but relishes the opportunity to show his craft with the rare commission for a fine suit of armor or a masterwork blade. Regular NPCs: Hogrin Hammerhand
- Market Square: The two main streets that cross Cespius meet in the middle of town and form a large square. On weekends, farmers set up stalls to vend their harvest and local craftsmen sell their goods. On Market days, many items that would not normally be available to PCs can be found in Cespius as many merchants bring their goods to town only on these days. Any of the regular NPCs might be found in the market square on a market day.