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Strange Salve: Traversing the Raised Graveyard

raised graveyard mapAs dusk falls after the party continues north from battling the river beast, a heavy cloak of fog surrounds the PCs. The fog does not hinder them in any way, it just drifts along with them, an eerie but benign presence. A DC 23 Sense Motive check confirms any adventurer’s hunch that the fog is following them. If the party continues north (where the fog is least dense) they arrive at a raised graveyard and upon reaching the first clutter of bones, the fog rolls away to reveal a very large—clearly magical—moose.

A wispy voice from the moose utters, “I am your guide if you seek one; only those worthy can pass through the fog. I only take a small payment at the end of our tour.”

When the PCs ask specifics about the price the moose just snorts at them.

Zombie 3Parties that decline the creature’s offer cause it to walk off into the foggy graveyard, moving across the bone cluttered grounds and out of sight. Adventurers that move through the raised graveyard without the moose guiding them suffer a 20% chance every minute of 1d4+1 plague zombies rising up from the earth and after moving 20 feet into the area the fog becomes thicker, impeding sight as though a permanent obscuring mist covers the entirety of the raised graveyard.

At the end of the ordeal, outside of the fog, the party once more finds the moose standing there waiting for them.

A voice from around the strange beast bellows, “for treading on this land without permission I sentence you to death!” as the moose lowers its antlers and charges at you!

When the moose gets within melee range of the adventurers, the klavek fogwarden that has cunningly hid itself nearby this entire time reveals itself, activating its abilities and sticking close to the creature.

 

When the adventurers agree (without knowing the price) the moose waits for a moment before carefully leading the PCs across the graveyard, the mist ensconcing the four-legged beast but for the large part kept at bay by its presence. Accompanied by the creature removes any chance of the undead rising and prevents the mist from becoming thick enough to conceal anything.

At the end of the trek the moose snorts as a voice rumbles from nearby, “time for the payment: one small measly bit of life force. Who will offer it?”

The party can accept these terms by sacrificing one of themselves, an animal companion, a familiar, or an NPC they’ve brought along this far, but they must approach the moose and offer to take a permanent negative level willingly; after this happens the moose wanders off and the fog clears. PCs that refuse are charged by the moose, attacked by it and the hidden Klavek fogwarden [tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday! -TS]. At the end of the battle the fog disappears and only the risen graveyard looms behind the party, Enixam further to the north awaiting their arrival.

 

5E RULES

There is a 20% chance the PCs encounter four regular zombies and an ogre zombie when they travel through the raised graveyard alone.

 

[Submitted by Tim Snow!]

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Strange Salve: River Beast

River Beast - Gary DupuisRIVER BEAST     CR 7
XP 3,200
CN Huge magical beast (aquatic)
Init +5; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +10

DEFENSE
AC 20, touch 10, flat-footed 18 (+1 Dex, +1 dodge, +10 natural, -2 size)
hp 76 (9d10+27)
Fort +8, Ref +9, Will +5; +2 vs. spells and spell-like abilities
Defensive Abilities evasion; DR 5/magic

OFFENSE
Speed 10 ft., swim 60 ft.
Melee bite +13 (2d6+6), 2 claws +8 (1d8+3)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 15 ft.
Special Attacks brine breath (100-ft. line, 4d8 bludgeoning, Reflex DC 20 for half, usable every 1d4 rounds; see text), emerging charge +1d6, pounce
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 9th; concentration +11)
3/day—invisibility (self only, water only)

TACTICS
Before Combat A river beast uses invisibility to hide in the water, positioning itself for a devastating emerging charge.
During Combat When facing multiple opponents, a river beast downs one foe and grabs another before retreating, waiting to re-engage a smaller force of enemies.
Morale River beasts flee when reduced to 13 hp or less.

STATISTICS
Str 22, Dex 13, Con 15, Int 4, Wis 14, Cha 9
Base Atk +9; CMB +17; CMD 29 (can’t be tripped)
Feats Dodge, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Snatch, Toughness
Skills Perception +10, Stealth -7 (+13 invisible), Swim +21; Size Modifiers -8 Stealth
SQ amphibious

ECOLOGY
Environment water (Mohkba River)
Organization solitary or pair
Treasure standard

SPECIAL ABILITIES
Brine Breath (Su) The gullet of a river beast is a brew of digestive juices and water that most mistake as brine, despite the creature’s freshwater habitat. The creature can release a 100-ft. line breath weapon that deals 4d8 bludgeoning damage (Reflex DC 20 for half) as a standard action once every 1d4 rounds. A river beast automatically receives a free trip combat maneuver (that does not provoke attacks of opportunity) on any creature that fails the Reflex save to halve this damage.
Emerging Charge (Ex) A river beast can start a charge while in the water and end it on land, using its swim speed to determine the distance it can move onto land; at the end of any such charge, the river beast deals +1d6 precision damage with each attack. While in the water, a river beast can use Swim in place of Acrobatics.

 

The so-called “river beasts” only appeared in the Mohkba River this spring, and none are sure where the creatures come from. They use their supernatural talents to hide, near vessels and waiting for the right moment to make an emerging charge, slaughtering one or two sailors before using Snatch to grab one to drag down into the water as it retreats. If the ship manages to stay afloat, a river beast follows it along like wounded prey, repeating the maneuver until its had its fill.

 

5E Rules

RIVER BEAST
Huge magical beast, chaotic neutral
AC 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 59 (6d12+18)
Speed 20 ft., swim 60 ft.
STR 19 (+4), DEX 13 (+1), CON 16 (+3), INT 4 (-3), WIS 10 (+0), CHA 9 (-1)
Skills Perception +5, Stealth +5
Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons that aren’t adamantine
Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, passive Perception 15
Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)
Emerging Charge. If the river beast begins its turn in water, it can move in a straight line up to its swim speed to attack a target on the ground and deal +2d6 damage to any hits against that target until the end of its turn.

ACTIONS
Multiattack. The river beast makes two attacks: one with its bite and one with its claws.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d8+4) piercing damage.
Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d8+4) slashing damage
Brine Breath. (Recharge 5-6). The river beast exhales brine in a 100-foot line that is 5 feet wide. Each creature in that line must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw, taking 26 (8d6) bludgeoning damage and be knocked prone on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one (and not knocked prone).

[Developed with some helpful advice from Tom Foster and Mick Hand! -MM]

 

AdventureAWeek.com and the AaWBlog have been waiting to release some 5th Edition material for a while, but not everyone has! Take a look at Rich Howard’s numerous aquatic builds and observations, and if you’re not quite as keen to the new rule set, he’s got a great new segment on the Dungeon Master Block podcast with tips for how any player can get more out of their tabletop roleplaying game experience!

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Strange Salve: Crossing the Mohkba River

When Antonio Casta pays out the PCs for helping to collect taxes to repair the docks of Drak’kal he has one last offer for the party: taking a healing salve to the baroness of Enixam, the misbegotten sister settlement of Mohkba, the capital. For their troubles he offers the adventurers a princely sum of 2,500 gold pieces, 500 of which he pays out immediately (the remainder to be collected on delivery). Unfortunately a strange new river beast has thawed from the ice during this extremely warm spring, discouraging ships from traveling upstream, and the curative will expire in just three week’s time, so speed is of the essence. If the group is skeptical about the task or uninterested in traveling north, Lightning Stokva hears of the offer an hour after the party leaves Casta’s office and reveals to the PCs that his niece Issa briefly passed through Enixam on her way to the Three Sisters (and that surely if there are more clues to the origins of strange creature found in the collapsing slaughterhouse, they will be along the paths she took).

Crossing the Mohkba River
The journey to Enixam means not only a long trek north through the dangerous Klavekian grasslands, but crossing the Mohkba River as well. As ice plugs and spring snows melt, the waterway has taken on a fierce current and worse yet, a new type of aquatic creature has started to plague ships and travelers floating upon it. Taking the long way around Mohkba isn’t an option—as it is the PCs overland journey will get them to Enixam with two days to spare (at best!), so at one point or another they’ll have to cross the Serpent Tail River. Furthermore, sailing isn’t in the cards either; all the ships are booked and the few headed northward are tightly-knit groups unwilling to tolerate new passengers.

The waterway is normally quite wide (between 400 ft. and 800 ft.), and at these points the current requires DC 14 Swim checks to traverse. There are thinner portions that dot the landscape (between 150 ft. and 300 ft.) but here the water runs extremely fast and requires DC 18 Swim checks to cross. Regardless of where exactly the PCs are crossing the Mohkba River, one of the river beasts [tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday! -MM] attacks them as soon as two or more adventurers are in the water (light blue squares are difficult terrain and dark blue squares require Swim checks to move and fight in). A DC 20 Perception check spots the creature before it strikes.

 

5E Rules

Swimming in the wide, slow-running portions of the Mohkba River require DC 10 Strength (athletic) checks and the more rapid areas require DC 15 Strength (athletic) checks. Only PCs with a passive Perception of 15 or greater notice the hiding river beast without actively looking for it.