Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Chaos Scar - Encounters

A note on levels:
This setup will likely result in the party encountering challenges either above or below their level. In other versions of D&D this would be less of an issue as the toughness of a creature could be more easily gauged - a kobold was a kobold, even if it was one of Tucker's. In 4e that kobold could be a 10th level challenge and you wouldn't be able to tell the difference on sight. So my recommendations would be as follows:

  • If the encounter would be more than a level or two lower go ahead and beef it up a bit, especially if it is a full adventure. Unless your 9th level party could use a laugh cleaning up Stick in the Mud or something.
  • If the encounter would be more than a level or two higher take the following into consideration:
    • What would you be nerfing? If you'd just be dropping the level of some humanoid opponents then just go ahead and do that.
    • If the opponents are signaled to be more dangerous, like dragons and such, leave them be and try to make it obvious they're outmatched.
    • When the PCs really get into trouble, probably the first time this happens, have Keljack bail them out. It could help make him more sympathetic later on.

Events and Encounters

If you want to roll for it, roll a 1d6; on a 1-3 it is an event, on a 4-6 it is an encounter. However pacing should be more of a factor for deciding things. If the party has already had several major events or encounters, just throw one of the "non-events" at them to keep them on their toes. Similarly, while a numbered list is provided for the encounters you should really just choose one that is based off a location they are close to or is of an appropriate challenge.

1 - Evil presence. Have a random member of the party make a Will saving throw. No matter the result, tell them they sense an evil presence watching them.
2 - Whispers of the Shard. Choose a random member of the party. Everyone else in the party hears a faint whisper to kill that party member in order to receive a great reward. There is no reward.
3 - Twisted wildlife. An animal with some twisted feature crosses their path, like a rabbit with no fur and transparent skin. It is harmless otherwise.
4 - Blight. The party walks through an area where all the plant life is dead and no animals can be seen or heard.
5 - Strange fruit. A nearby plant bears fruit that is moving. The fruit resembles something organic - embryos hanging from tress, eyeballs in a berry bush, etc. The fruit IS organic and bleeds if cut. It dies the moment it is picked. It has not benefits and is sickening (and just sick) if eaten.
6 - Non-euclidean river. The party encounters a river that is heading their direction. If they follow it, they end up back where they first encountered the river 1 mile later even though it had been going straight the entire time. They need to lose sight of the river in a perpendicular direction to escape the loop.
7 - Storm. The skies darken over 1 mile of movement and then a massive storm breaks out for the next 1d4 miles. Do the following skill challenge:

  • For each mile of stormy weather make a check. Each failure costs 1 extra mile of movement.
    • The road is muddy and slippery. Everyone makes a moderate Athletics check. If anyone fails someone else can make a hard Endurance check to pull them along. Any unresolved failures counts as a failure for this phase.
    • The skies darken and it becomes black as night save for lightning strikes. Moderate Nature or hard Perception/Insight.
    • It is cold and wet. Everyone makes a moderate Endurance check. If anyone fails someone else can make a hard Heal check to help them. Any unresolved failures counts as a failure for this phase.
    • Lightning strikes at a party member. Use DMG pg.42 for a limited attack. A hit counts as a failure.
8 - Wide river crossing. Each party member makes an moderate Athletics, Endurance or Nature check to cross or one party member can make a Hard check in a creative way to get them across (like building a raft or finding an easy ford.) Any failures result in the loss of 1 mile.
9 - Steep ridge. One of the ridges of the Scar jut up suddenly and stands in the party's way. Treat like a river for purposes of getting by it.
10 - Rain. It rains on the party for the next 1d20 miles. At the end of the day either one person can make a hard Nature or Heal check to cover for everyone, or everyone makes a moderate Endurance check. Failure results in one less Healing Surge the next morning.

First, when there is going to be an encounter, determine if the party is within two miles of any active adventure locations. If they are then you can usually use the first encounter from that adventure as a wandering monster group. If the adventure doesn't really lend itself to its residents wandering around then just choose another type of encounter.

If you'd like to roll for encounters, use this chart. It mostly references material in the various adventures for statistics. Other items use encounters from other adventures which I'll reference.
  1. Chance Encounter (1g)
  2. Eyes in the Forest (1h)
  3. A band of Fireclaw Kobolds (4 Kobold Dragonshields) are looking for someplace else to go. Their chieftain is weak and they don't think the clan will survive. They'll offer their services for food, shelter and four gold a week.
  4. The Hand of Torog, 4 Archer Cultists and 4 Evil Ritualists looking for someone to enslave. (Den of the Slavers)
  5. The Eyes in the Forest encounter from Elves of the Valley.
  6. 6 Lizardfolk Mire Scouts are attacking Lizardfolk Dreadtail. The Dreadtail is a cultist of Tiamatt who the Scouts are trying to chase off. (Battle of the Witchlight Hermitage for stats only. Dungeon 191.)
  7. Two Duregar Guards and two Duregar Scouts in search of victims. (The Hammer Falls)
  8. A goblin hex hurler, 4 goblin warriors and 4 goblin cutters on their way to a raid outside the Wall. They don't necessarily notice or care about the party. (Down the Goblin Hole)
  9. 4 Zombie Rotters, 2 Zombie Soldiers and 2 Gravehounds. Not necessarily from the adventure site - you never need a reason for zombies. (Dead by Dawn)
  10. A Hobgoblin Commander and 4 Hobgoblin Spear Soldiers are on their way back to Slaark's Crown. They aren't looking for a fight and if the party seems shifty enough might try to recruit them. (Slaark's Crown)
  11. A bound human rogue named Ames is being escorted by three Hobgoblin Deathwatchers from their lair to the Crossroads. He'll cry for help if he sees the party and promise a reward. He has nothing left. (The Crossroads)
  12. Bugs! Four Centipede Swarms are crawling forth from the old temple of Moradin to do gods know what. (The Crawling Fane)
  13. Erim Haverlam and his two sons are bound and being dragged along by 4 Kobold Quickblades and 4 Kobold Dragonshields. (Wayward Wyrmling)
  14. Death from above! 2 Goblin Bat Handlers riding Mutated Shadowhunter Bats swoop down on the party. (Glowstone Caverns)
  15. A Kenku Inciter, 5 Kenku Tribals and a Kenku Wing Mage are looking for someone to rob. The party may or may not seem like good pickings. They won't kill if they don't have to. (Stormcrow Tor)
  16. A Gnoll Huntmaster, a Gnoll Warfang and 2 Deathpledged Gnolls are leading two rust monsters to Vanguard Tower for sale. They don't want trouble. (Vanguard Tower)
  17. The encounter group from #8 in this list is fighting with the encounter group from #10. Slaark and Urgog do NOT get along.
  18. "The Penis is evil! The Penis shoots Seeds, and makes new Life to poison the Earth with a plague of men, as once it was. But the Gun shoots Death and purifies the Earth of the filth of Brutals. Go forth, and kill! Zardoz has spoken." (Head in the Clouds)
  19. 2 Slug Rabbits and 3 Tongue Wolves wander from their grove. (The Star Touched Grove, Dungeon 219)
  20. The Banites are collecting sacrifices. 1 Tainted Warpriest, 2 Tainted Scouts and 2 Warhounds are attacking a band of 4 Goblin Cutters. (Heart of the Scar & Down the Goblin Hole)

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