Freelance Factions: Burrowmoor and the Blackthorn Society

The halfling village of Burrowmoor is located on the southern shores of Willow Lake. It is home to a few dozen respectable families who live in modest dwellings dug into the lush hillsides. Although most of these folk prefer to live peaceful lives, tending their gardens, swapping stories, and indulging in smoke-leaf over mugs of mild spirits, they are fully aware of the dangers found throughout Willow Valley. A small militia can be mustered in times of trouble, however, when greater threats arise, it falls to the Blackthorn Society to defend the village and its environs.

Note: Willow Valley and the village of Burrowmoor are further detailed in the White Box Omnibus by Barrel Rider Games and are used here under license. Check out the White Box Omnibus and other great products from Barrel Rider Games at DriveThruRPG [AL] and RPGNow [AL]:

The Blackthorn Society

The Blackthorn Society is a loosely organized band of halfling woodsmen and former adventurers who roam the Burrowmoor wilderness, hunting down monsters, exploring old ruins, and driving off invaders. Blackthorns are responsible for alerting the village council to threats and for leading the village militia after it has been called up. They are respected (and slightly feared) throughout the community and can expect hospitality from any decent resident of Burrowmoor.

The Blackthorn Society standard is a wreath of thorns or thorny plants (such as roses). This standard is often displayed as a necklace or bracelet of natural thorns or even tattooed around the bicep or ankle (something many other halflings find a bit pretentious).
Blackthorns are most commonly encountered alone or in pairs. The most famous Blackthorns are Arless Finn, Beatrix Solace, Jimbo Ponds, Jax Mattson, and Billdor “Bill” Skinner.

Arless Finn

Finn is a wiry halfling with a topknot of thick graying hair. Although reserved and watchful among strangers, he is actually quite charming among friends. Finn is a master hunter and tracker who spent years adventuring throughout the Known Lands before returning to Burrowmoor. Finn has many friends and allies in the human town of Willowford and is often regarded as the leader of the Blackthorn Society. He is best known for directing the hit-and-run tactics of the Burrowmoor militia, routing the Ralsted (Red Stump) goblins during what came to be known as the Battle of Broken Hill.

Arless Finn (4th-level fighter): AC: 4 [15] (studded leather armor + shield + Dex); F4; hp 19; Attacks: short sword (1d6-1) or short bow (1d6-1) or dagger (1d6-1); Special: take 1/2 damage from larger humanoids, +2 to-hit with missile weapons, near invisibility when not engaged in combat, +4 on saving throws vs. magic, +2 on saving throws vs. death and poison, four (4) attacks per round vs. foes of one (1) HD or less; Move: 9; SV: 11; S 13, I 13, W 15, C 13, D 16, Ch 15; HDE/XP: 4/135; wooden shield decorated with Blackthorn wreath standard, knotwork silver bracelet (15 gp), five garnets (15 gp each), 5 gp, 12 sp, bedroll, oilcloth tarp (for shelter), backpack, waterskin, lantern, lantern oil, shovel, flint and steel, dried rations, scrimshaw pipe carved into shape of the three pouting “see/hear/speak-no-evil” goblins (55 gp), pouch of smoke-leaf.

Beatrix Solace

Beatrix is a beautiful young halfling with an adventurous spirit and a smile that melts hearts. She was born to a family of respectable gardeners, and her desire to associate with the Blackthorns raised more than a few eyebrows. Beatrix loves her family dearly and knows that her father in particular is proud of her and her accomplishments. Beatrix is a skilled archer who receives an additional +1 to-hit when using arrows she has crafted herself. She is a devout follower of the Lady of Roses and often wears a rose in her hair as a token of her faith.

Beatrix Solace (1st-level fighter): AC: 6 [13] (leather armor + Dex); F1; hp 4; Attacks: short bow (1d6-1) or dagger (1d6-1); Special: take 1/2 damage from larger humanoids, +2 to-hit with missile weapons, near invisibility when not engaged in combat, +4 on saving throws vs. magic, +2 on saving throws vs. death and poison; Move: 9; SV: 14; S 9, I 14, W 15, C 12, D 15, Ch 17; HDE/XP: 1/19; potion of healing, gold and silver cameo locket containing illustration of her parents (350 gp), rosewood holy symbol carved to resemble a rosebush (75 gp), 3 gp, 15 sp, 13 cp, bedroll, oilcloth tarp (for shelter), backpack, waterskin, torches, flint and steel, trail rations, holy water, gardening shears, freshly clipped rose with thorns (worn in hair).

Jimbo Ponds

Jimbo is an intelligent, middle-aged halfling who stays constantly on the move, seldom sleeps, and sometimes seems to be everywhere at once. He is a master storyteller who keeps extensive journals chronicling his adventures (some of which he has been known to embellish). Jimbo is an innovative thinker and a quick learner who made a name for himself as an expert dungeon delver, although his desire to travel down those dark and twisting labyrinths has waned over time. He has recently returned from a trip abroad to study ancient tomes of swordsmanship and wizardry, and many folk expect big things from Jimbo in the future.

Jimbo Ponds (2nd-level fighter): AC: 4 [15] (leather armor + shield + Dex); F2; hp 9; Attacks: short sword (1d6-1) or short bow (1d6-1) or dagger (1d6-1); Special: take 1/2 damage from larger humanoids, +2 to-hit with missile weapons, near invisibility when not engaged in combat, +4 on saving throws vs. magic, +2 on saving throws vs. death and poison, two (2) attacks per round vs. foes of one (1) HD or less; Move: 9; SV: 13; S 12, I 16, W 13, C 12, D 15, Ch 15; HDE/XP: 2/29; 13 gp, 32 sp, 5 cp, bedroll, tent, backpack, waterskin, lantern, lantern oil, flint and steel, trail rations, quills and ink, journal, brass spyglass for stargazing, scrimshaw pipe decorated with an idyllic image of a Burrowmoor hill-home and garden, pouch of smoke-leaf, tomes of swordsmanship and wizardry, left bracer wrapped with thorny vine.

Jax Mattson

Jax is a young halfling with a sharp mind and a keen wit. Jax served with distinction in the village militia before becoming a Blackthorn. He is a skilled mapmaker and historian whose renditions of the local ruins, dungeons, and wilderness are unsurpassed. Jax is fluent in several languages, including at least one “dead” language (of the Referee’s choice) that is no longer in use. The patriotic Jax is a fierce defender of the village of Burrowmoor and of halflings in general, so those who would speak ill of Little Folk should beware.

Jax Mattson (3rd-level fighter): AC: 4 [15] (studded leather armor + shield + Dex); F3; hp 13; Attacks: cudgel wrapped in thorny vine (1d6) or short bow (1d6-1) or dagger (1d6-1); Special: take 1/2 damage from larger humanoids, +2 to-hit with missile weapons, near invisibility when not engaged in combat, +4 on saving throws vs. magic, +2 on saving throws vs. death and poison, three (3) attacks per round vs. foes of one (1) HD or less; Move: 9; SV: 12; S 10, I 14, W 17, C 10, D 15, Ch 12; HDE/XP: 3/80; three sapphires (75 gp each), 17 gp, 22 sp, bedroll, tent, backpack, waterskin, torches, flint and steel, dried rations, rope, quills and ink, parchment for mapping, scroll tubes, compass, scrimshaw pipe engraved with patriotic phrases, pouch of smoke-leaf.

Bildor “Bill” Skinner

Bill is a gruff, stocky halfling with a scruffy beard and a perpetual scowl. Although he appears grumpy and fearsome to those who do not know him (especially children), he is actually kindhearted and enjoys a good laugh. Bill is sometimes mistaken for a dwarf and even dresses the part in dwarf-style armor and clothing. He gruffly deflects any questions about his heritage, but his friends know this is an “inside joke” that is shared by only a few. Bill enjoys fishing, but hates to swim and avoids boats whenever possible.

Bildor “Bill” Skinner (2nd-level fighter): AC: 5 [14] (chain mail); F2; hp 13; Attacks: 1d6+2 (battle axe + Str) or 1d6-1 (light crossbow) or 1d6 (dagger + Str); Special: take 1/2 damage from larger humanoids, +2 to-hit with missile weapons, near invisibility when not engaged in combat, +4 on saving throws vs. magic, +2 on saving throws vs. death and poison, two (2) attacks per round vs. foes of one (1) HD or less; Move: 9; SV: 13; S 15, I 12, W 13, C 16, D 12, Ch 13; HDE/XP: 38; dwarf-style helmet engraved with a wreath of thorns, bedroll, tent, backpack, waterskin, lantern, lantern oil, flint and steel, dried rations, pick and shovel, chalk stick (for marking tunnels), rope, wood and iron pipe carved to resemble an angry troll’s head, pouch of smoke-leaf, fishing line and lures.

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