Archive for July, 2010

A Question of Digestion

A Question of Digestion is a standalone encounter designed for five 7th to 9th-level adventurers. Tanglethorn Forest has been invaded by several hungry bulettes, which are devouring everything in sight and bringing a quick end to the forest’s wildlife. The players must track down the bulettes and put an end to their voracious appetite—all without becoming tonight’s main course.

Spanning countless miles and several countries, Tanglethorn Forest is home to a variety of diverse inhabitants—most of them lethal. The forest’s once inviting paths and groves have been overtaken by corrupt magic and malicious monsters, becoming a breeding ground for all manner of dangerous creatures—carnivorous frogs, drakes, and vicious apes, to name a few. Its dense foliage, fallen trees, and twisting trails provide both protection and a suitable hunting ground for the predators, which have become overabundant. The fragile balance of nature has been upset within Tanglethorn—the monsters are slowly choking the life out of the area, killing the forest and turning the verdant landmark into a grey and brittle wasteland.

Fighting back against the encroachment is a dedicated group of druids, wardens, and treants known as Nature’s Grace. Taking up residence deep within an isolated grove of Tanglethorn, they work to expel the excessive number of monsters from the forest, restoring the balance of nature and bringing life back to the surrounding wilderness. To this end, Nature’s Grace has started experimenting with several magical objects capable of driving off some of the lesser predators—enchanted forcefields, automatons, and controlling some of the sentient plantlife—but the forest’s denizens were not frightened by such things, and refused to flee.

Hoping to prey on the primal fears of the smaller animals, Nature’s Grace created a new magical object called a quakestone—an orb placed in the ground that gives off a subtle, continuous tremor similar to a hunting bulette. At first, the areas around the orbs were quickly vacated, the smaller monsters afraid of what they believed to be a hungry bulette in search of food. Unfortunately, the quakestone was so convincing that it lured several actual bulettes to the forest, and things are worse than ever. The bulettes have been devouring anything and everything in sight, including the quakestones themselves, and are quickly undoing all of the progress made by Nature’s Grace. If something isn’t done soon, Tanglethorn Forest will disappear forever—swallowed whole by its hungry inhabitants.

Download: PDF | PDF (no map)

Lost in the Darkmagic

This week’s adventure is a tribute to Sarah Darkmagic and her blog. Besides being a great contributor to the D&D community, she’s super nice and is always eager to help out other DMs, often aiming her posts at common problems for those new to the game. She also has the mad coding skills, and has set up a great adventure finder, a guide to WotC’s Monster Builder, and hosts free downloadable delves. Check out her site if you haven’t already, and follow her on twitter.

Her latest delve in a lumber mill was inspiring and seemed a perfect fit for her own adventure, so I hope she (and you) will enjoy it!

Lost in the Darkmagic is a standalone encounter designed for five 8th to 10th-level adventurers. The players must enter an abandoned lumber mill and defeat a weather-controlling sorceress and her entourage of mischievous gnomes.

A community built upon farming, logging, and horticulture, the town of Tyarc has always been reliant on the predictably present weather and sunlight—a perfect balance of rain and shine, ideal for tending crops, trees, and other plantlife. The residents sustain this lifestyle on the edge of Feylight forest, often venturing into its groves for seeds, companion plants, and lumber, doing their best to live in harmony with the creatures and greenery inside. With exports at an all-time high and their prized plants and lumber in such demand, additional craftsman and workers show up every day, hoping to take part in Tyarc’s bright future.

But lately, Tyarc has been seeing darker days. The clouds above the town have turned an unrelenting gray, refusing to pass. Day by day, the clouds become thicker and darker, squeezing any light out of the sky and shrouding the town and the surrounding area with a cold, black shadow. Controlling this unnatural weather is a sorceress known by Ceretha Darkmagic, a troublesome elf who has always been found within the tallest and oldest woods of Feylight forest. Recruiting a chorus of puckish gnomes to assist her magic, Ceretha has begun to choke the life out of Tyarc, letting the cold darkness suffocate their plants, food supply, and way of life.

In response, many of the townsfolk have left the area, unable to make a living and unwilling to confront the powerful sorceress. Others have taken it upon themselves to solve the problem, cutting huge swaths through the forest in their search for Ceretha, but Feylight works against the outsiders, and the forest and the gnomes easily turn back any intruders. Running out of options, the people of Tyarc have begun calling for heroes able to kill the Lady Darkmagic, bringing light to such dark times and letting the sun shine on Tyarc once more—while there are still people left to enjoy it.

Download: PDF | PDF (no map)

Adjusted Damage Output

I’ve adjusted some of the monster damage output from the most recent adventures, notably Matter Undermined. If you’ve downloaded it before now and plan to use it, make sure to grab it again now for the updated version.

Matter Undermined

For every encounter I make, I try to have a strange and fun gameplay hook that your players will find interesting – something to draw them into the moment. Usually it’s something simple like climbing on giants, gaining a special movement or terrain power, or controlling a giant golem, but I have a few stranger ones lurking around that should really wow your players. This is one of those ideas; I won’t ruin it here, but I promise it’s worth the download.

If you only read through one of my little adventures, make it this one! At least check out the Special Features part of it and read about the Mind Warp ability – it’s something I thought of a long time ago but had been waiting to fit into an encounter. I guarantee it will be something your players will find exciting and memorable, so try it out if you’re looking for something new!

Matter Undermined is a standalone encounter designed for five 19th to 21st-level adventurers. An ancient temple has been unearthed, releasing the power and influence of Ythilus, the elder brain from a destroyed illithid empire, which has corrupted the minds of nearby humanoids in an attempt to regain power. The players must descend into the temple and fight off the mindless thralls and kill the elder brain, all while maintaining their sanity.

It has long been said that the mines of Letharas are cursed. Started for the search and excavation of mineral and gold deposits, the diggers soon unearthed the remains of an enormous temple buried within the hills. After a considerable effort to open one of its doors, the temple revealed strange but pristine architecture in excellent shape; shimmering halls of purple stone and crystal, preserved against elements and creatures. A search for life found nothing but crystal-laden, ornate artifacts, untouched, as if the temple—and everything inside—were abandoned and sealed long before its decent.

Those who stayed in the temple for an extended period of time began to develop splitting headaches and left; others, unwilling to leave in the face of exploration and treasure, stayed, and were driven mad—wandering into the deep black of the lower floors, disappearing into the darkness forever. Sensing a dark presence, the excavators agreed upon sealing the temple once more. Although most of the adventurers and explorers decided to leave the artifacts and treasures behind, some of the greediest excavators filled their satchels and arms with the strange crystal artifacts, carrying them to the surface as the doors were closed behind them.

Within days, the artifacts corrupted the minds of their owners, filling their thoughts with whispers and beckoning them back to the temple. One by one, the former explorers left their homes and lives behind, carrying the artifacts to the temple, which had been broken open once again. Inside, deep within its darkest corridors, an ancient elder brain waits, the sole-survivor of an ancient illithid empire. Now, waiting in the depths of the temple, it uses its expansive psionic power to call and command those within its reach, using its newly-created thralls and slaves to dig into the temple’s underbelly in search of artifacts powerful enough to create a portal between this world and the far realm. If successful, the elder brain will be able to summon in powerful illithid to defend it, growing in power until the empire’s former glory is restored.

Download: PDF | PDF (no map)