A swamp golem.

Swamp Renewal is a small, system-agnostic swamp crawl for your favourite fantasy TTRPG. You can download pay-what-you-want screen and print friendly PDFs from itch.io.

Numbered Works No. 5,
February 2022.

Welcome to the Forgotten Quag

Duckweed coats the surface of the water. The air is heavy. There is the relentless thrum of droning, chirping animal and insect sound, punctuated by calls, howls, hoots, and snarls. Trees and shrubbery vibrate with the combined energy of countless tiny creatures. Branches drip with moss, slime, vines, and snakes. Smells of wet earth, rot, swamp gas, and sweat.

A map of the Forgotten Quag.

The party is on a filthy, muck-encrusted peat barge, captained by Ervind Oblong, troll bargeman. They are travelling upriver from the south, approaching a cluster of islands. The barge appears to move under its own power, but is propelled from below by a submerged Stone Golem, slowly walking along the riverbed.

Grezell Berch, human wizard, has summoned the party to the swamp to protect his peat mine and tower construction site, and to search for saboteurs. Clearing the forest and draining the swamp is proceeding slower than expected.

Ervind Oblong, Troll Bargeman

Ervind Oblong, Troll Bargeman

  • Strong, slow, sly.
  • Does not trust the wizard but believes in his mission.
  • Secretly obsessed with tales of the submerged temple. Collects Swamp Relics, which are hoarded on 10. Oblong’s Island.
  • Wears a charm under his cloak that grants control of the Stone Golem.
  • Wants to be his own boss.

1. Swamp Port

2. Wizard’s Tower

Grezell Berch, Human Wizard

Grezell Berch, Human Wizard

  • Weak, nimble, clever.
  • Three spell slots.
  • Wears a necklace of four charms (clay, wood, wax, obsidian). The first three charms grant control of Golems. The purpose of the fourth charm is unknown.
  • Dressed in a muddy, faded, wizard’s robe and hat.
  • Wants to drain the swamp and extract its resources.
  • Claims he wants to establish a school for gifted young wizards.
  • Believes there is a submerged reptilian temple beneath the swamp (true).

3. Peat Mine


  • Very strong, very slow, very stupid. 12 feet tall.
  • Controlled by whoever possesses the appropriate charm.
  • Focused entirely on their appointed tasks. Obstacles will be picked up and tossed into the water. If threatened, will inflict damage by swatting, throwing and stomping.
  • Peat Golem: Plants sprout from head and shoulders. Worms and grubs burrow into the body, birds feed on them. Highly flammable. Will cross bridges but will not use stepping stones or enter the water.
  • Swamp Golem: Built from trees, vines, old bones and moss, slime. Odd, percussive sounds when moving: sticks snap, logs creak, bones knock and rattle, slime squelches.
  • Stone Golem: will not emerge from beneath the barge unless summoned.

4. Clearing Zone

5. Gas Farm

6. Forest

7. Druid’s hut

Verna, Lizardfolk Druid

Verna, Lizardfolk Druid

  • Frail, slow, smart.
  • Lifelong swamp resident.
  • Knows the secret of controlling Golems with charms.
  • Nonviolent, but at night she plants magic cedar seeds (a full size tree grows in seconds) and spore bombs (giant fungi instantly sprouts) to slow the clearing of the forest.
  • Wants to protect the swamp.
  • Seeks a rare healing herb she has spotted growing on the shoulder of the Peat Golem. May offer information, Enchanted Seeds and Spores, or Potions in return.

8. Shrine

9. Campsite

Guthrie, Elf Wanderer

Guthrie, Elf Wanderer

  • Strong, nimble, alert.
  • Seasonal swamp resident.
  • Weathered, wary. A missing finger. A chunk out of an ear.
  • Hates Grezell Berch, his Golems, and his whole operation.
  • Trusts Verna.
  • Bow and arrows, slingshot, small knife, sack, flint.
  • Is harvesting swamp gas (5. Gas Farm) and storing it in gourds. Gas-filled gourds make for excellent explosives.
  • Seeks wick material for swamp gas bombs, accomplices.

10. Oblong’s Island

Random Tables

Land Encounters

  1. Quicksand. If searched, a Swamp Relic is discovered.
  2. Giant carnivorous plants. One is attempting to eat a swamp goblin.
  3. A huge, lonely, shaggy swamp beast. Very smelly and sad.
  4. A snake with a human hand for a head. Eyes on fingertips.
  5. A vast spider web, with two giant spiders lurking.
  6. Two wild, hungry goats. One yells like a man, the other will eat your clothes.
  7. A net trap, covered in leaves, set by Guthrie. A gourd alarm knocks if the trap is triggered.
  8. Two trolls arguing over three catfish and a crab.
  9. Three giant butterflies. The patterns on their wings slowly shift. Feeding on enormous flowers. If anybody has sweet food they will eat it from your hand.
  10. An ogre relieving himself behind a tree. He is startled, defensive. Works for Grezell Berch but won’t reveal it.
  11. A steaming, enchanted pool. Anyone who lingers must be dragged away or will begin to melt like wax. A golden arrow rests at the bottom.
  12. A flat stone in a patch of sunlight, one metre in diameter, inscribed with a spiral. Curling up and sleeping on the stone for one hour restores health.

Water Encounters

  1. A ghoul attempts to drag you into the water.
  2. A giant turtle emerges underneath you.
  3. A black, shimmering, blue-eyed crocodile.
  4. Giant frog. Friendly, but might swallow you by mistake.
  5. Three Catfish.
  6. Whirlpool.
  7. Two bickering nixies.
  8. Will o’ the wisp.
  9. A carpet of eels.
  10. Two tiny goblins on a raft, trying to catch dragonflies.
  11. Roll on Swamp Relics table.
  12. Seven lost ducklings. You are now their adoptive parent.

Grezell’s Possessions

Kept inside his one-storey tower.

  1. A map to the source of the tower’s dragon scales.
  2. A silver spirit mirror.
  3. An ancient, locked spellbook.
  4. A doll-sized wax golem under a bell-jar.
  5. A grubby stone goblet.
  6. A lock of Ervind Oblong’s hair.
  7. A clay model of a tower. Removing the gem embedded within causes the hovering elements of Grezell’s tower to fall to earth.
  8. A spyglass granting dark vision.
  9. Goblin skull, arrow-pierced.
  10. An owlet in a cage of reeds.
  11. 347 gold coins in a chest.
  12. A mouse who was once a man.

Enchanted Seeds and Spores

Sprout instantly.

  1. Swamp Cedar.
  2. Great Oak.
  3. Big Witch’s Butter Spore Bomb.
  4. Bioluminescent Spore Bomb.
  5. Rope Vine.
  6. Big Old Man’s Beard.
  7. Emperor Fern.
  8. Climbing Pickleweed.
  9. Stinking Fig.
  10. Creeping Moss.
  11. Honey Fungus Spore Bomb.
  12. Giant Dove Orchid.

Verna’s Potions

Effects last for one hour.

  1. User is resistant to fire.
  2. User has no need to breathe, but cannot speak.
  3. Makes the user double in size.
  4. Gives the user a terrifying, booming voice.
  5. Turns the user into an albino boa constrictor.
  6. User’s gravity is reversed.
  7. Creates quicksand when poured on the ground.
  8. Makes the user very afraid.
  9. Turns the user into a bear.
  10. Turns the user into a gas.
  11. User’s bones become jellied.
  12. Shrinks the user to the size of a rat.

Swamp Relics

  1. A crocodile skull with one solid gold tooth.
  2. A curved, rusty short sword.
  3. A mask that is a crude caricature of a human face. Makes the wearer clumsy, unaware of their surroundings.
  4. A clay ocarina. Playing skilfully will calm (almost) any swamp creature.
  5. A trio of indecipherable tools, perhaps of goblin origin. Lumpy, wet.
  6. A map of the swamp, inscribed on a clay tablet.
  7. A green bottle with a Will o’ the Wisp trapped inside.
  8. An ornate bronze helmet. Armour +1 if worn.
  9. A necklace with a snake charm, carved from opal.
  10. The body of a tiny prehistoric fairy, encased in amber.
  11. A troll crown made from mud and reeds. Heavy.
  12. A large reptilian egg.

Water Foraging and Fishing

  1. Floating apples.
  2. Duck eggs.
  3. Chewy reeds.
  4. Catfish.
  5. Eel.
  6. Orange mud crab.
  7. Turtle.
  8. Patterned frog.
  9. Roll on Swamp Relics table.
  10. Crayfish.
  11. Sour algae.
  12. Milky fish eggs.

Land Foraging

  1. One giant red carrot.
  2. Handful of glow worms.
  3. Mysterious tuber, purple.
  4. Foot-long grubs.
  5. Blue crickets.
  6. Juicy moss.
  7. Giant swamp fungus.
  8. Big belly melon.
  9. Snails.
  10. Roll on Swamp Relics table.
  11. Soft fern.
  12. Brown orchid (mango flavour).

Atmospheric Effects

Roll whenever appropriate.

  1. Thunder storm.
  2. Thick fog.
  3. Sun shower.
  4. Golden haze.
  5. Heavy rain.
  6. Grey drizzle.
  7. Light mist.
  8. Awful damp.
  9. Unnerving stillness.
  10. Refreshing breeze.
  11. Oppressive heat.
  12. Rain of frogs.

Guthrie’s Tall Tales

They’re full of them.

  1. Their brother is a skeleton who serves a lich.
  2. Was born at sea on a ship captained by a ghost.
  3. Was born in a treehouse.
  4. Knew a man that got so sad he turned to water.
  5. Has never seen snow.
  6. Is an expert ice sculptor.
  7. When their mother died a rose sprouted from her chest.
  8. Owns a ruined keep that they won playing darts.
  9. Gave a finger to a witch to settle a debt.
  10. Lost a finger fighting a pack of wolves.
  11. Can skip a stone on the water 99 times on a good day.
  12. Knows one powerful spell but has forgotten a crucial word.


Damming and draining the swamp will take the wizard and his golems five days if their efforts go undisturbed. The entrance to a submerged reptilian temple, cased in obsidian, is revealed at the centre of the drained swamp. We’ll write that temple one day soon, but there are many existing dungeons and adventures that could fit the bill. Here’s a few free ones:

Tomb of the Serpent Kings
by Skerples

Buried Pyramid of the Undergod
by JD Thornton

The Sunken Temple of the Amphibian God
by Antígona404

A drained swamp is also likely to reveal sunken vessels, statues, lost relics, treasure, the bones of swamp beasts, and hundreds of dead fish and water creatures. If the party hands Verna and/or Guthrie over to Grezell Berch, they are paid handsomely in gold coin.

If the mining is halted and the swamp forest is restored, a Great Tree sprouts upon the site of the former peat mine. The glow and hum of life within the swamp is vibrant, overwhelming, almost unbearable. Grezell’s tower may be looted. Verna encourages the party to stay in the swamp. Guthrie continues on their path.

Traitorous PCs captured by the wizard or his accomplices are transported to 10. Oblong’s Island and tied or chained to the stilts of the house. A bad place to be if the dam is breached and the water rises.