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Bogs of Bane: Proving Quest

proving quest mapAfter saving the Bloodclaw tribal elders from the trap set by the mud monsters, the party are invited to camp with the human savages. One of their number, a young but very strong woman named Varssadd, is particularly impressed with the adventurers and is forthcoming with all she can tell the PCs about where they are: the Muddy Mangroves of the Vast Swamp. Rife with demons as it is, her companions remain reserved and are less than hospitable or kindly, pointing out the hazards of the bogs (such as demon roots traps and the blighted tree spirits haunt) as they travel the next day, but nothing else (and given that there are numerous poisonous plants and vermin throughout the area, it would be understandable for the party to take offense).

Late the next morning after another day of travel, the adventurers arrive at a settlement of the Bloodclaw tribe and meet the local leader, a middle-aged man covered in scars and fetishes of power: Haggrakka (CN Male human druid 9; Mud Shaman[NPC Codex]).

Emerging from the mists you can see thousands of sturdy mangroves growing together, formed into muddy islands of solid branches that hold simple structures of wood and dirt above the brackish waters of the bog. Planked bridges extend over the marsh, punctuated by glowing white torches that pierce the fog, though their baleful light only seems to make the world even darker.

Haggrakka is pleased that the PCs have saved the elders of the tribe (or at worst, the younger savages that went to save their kin) but just as impolite as most of Bloodclaws. After a terse initial meeting, Varssadd takes the druid aside and explains at length the importance of their role in the rescue, demanding that the party be given a chance to earn the trust of the demon-hunting tribe. Thinking it over, he nods sagely and agrees to anoint the adventurers as Bloodclaw so long as they succeed upon a proving quest.

proving quest caveWhile Varssadd and the elders were gone a number of bog troll raiders attacked the settlement; though Haggrakka managed to fend them off, it is only a matter of time before the monsters strike again and the old man wants the threat dealt with. PCs that make a DC 22 Diplomacy check or display a clear reverence for their surroundings are lent a decanter of endless water, which he assures them will be essential in defeating the creatures. The cave tribal hunters have tracked the creatures to is only a few miles walk through the swamp, and when the adventurers arrive all is quiet.

The entrance to the cavern indicated by the Bloodclaw hunters is even dirtier than its surroundings and no life or vegetation can be seen within a hundred feet of the passage, but otherwise it is quiet, almost dead. Despite the stillness, the tribesmen are confident your quarry are within the dark tunnel.

After curving into darkness the cavern opens up into an oval chamber 65 ft. across and 35 ft. wide. There’s no trace of life in here, but at the entrance the PCs get a DC 28 Perception check to notice 1d4+4 mudlords[B4] hiding as puddles in the muck! The creatures wait for the party to reach the center of the chamber before attacking, trying to split the adventurers apart and making as much noise as possible throughout the fight.

The pair of bog troll raiders [which appear in tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday! -MM] hear this commotion and prepare themselves as best they can, hiding out of sight in the end of the cave. When the PCs finally reach this area and pass by the “M”, the giants trigger a mudslide that traps the party in the final chamber for an all-out brawl. A DC 20 Perception check after the fight ends reveals the cache of goods the two monsters have collected, all of them encrusted with filth and clearly taken off of dead explorers.

 

5E Rules

A DC 16 Charisma (Persuasion) check convinces Haggrakka to share his decanter of endless water.

A DC 20 Wisdom (Perception) check notices two mud monsters waiting for the PCs arrival in the first chamber inside the cave.

Finding the ill-gotten gains of the bog troll raiders requires a DC 17 Intelligence (Search) check.

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