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Twin Crossings Extra Content #4 – Vale of the Spider Eaters – Part 3

Twin Crossings cover v1Vale of the Spider Eaters – Part 3

Gopcheck’s face and hands were scratched and bleeding from running through the woods. This place was creepy—webs above in the forest canopy blocked much of the sun, and the undergrowth was thick. Suddenly, the frightened soldier stumbled onto a game path of some sort. He heard the sounds of combat ahead—a dozen of his mates were fending off a huge spider. Gopcheck steeled himself and crept up behind the arachnid. With a mighty stab, he thrust his sword into the creature, which stopped moving except for the twitching of it legs. He breathed a sigh of relief—he was safe with his friends, and it looked like they had managed to lead a few pack animals bearing supplies. Suddenly, the same whirlwind of debris stirred up as before, the mules and horses started braying. Before Gopcheck and the rest of his companions fled once more down the path, he could see one of the pack animals stiffen and stop moving as the mage had before.

This is the third post in the story of the Lost Battalion, a side quest in five parts that can be played as a stand-alone adventure, or may be used as additional content to Twin Crossings—a mercantile endeavor for 4th level characters, now available in the store and to subscribers of AdventureAWeek.com. You can find the first post here.

If you want all of the bonus content for Twin Crossings in one shot search for the tags “Lost Battalion” and “Burned Mill”, and you can find them all here on the AaWBlog!

 

C. Victors become the Prey (CR 5)

A spider eater tracking the now dead spiders drops down out of the canopy two rounds later. There is no surprise round.

Scaling the encounter: The loam on the forest floor is damp and soggy and is not stirred up by the spider eater’s hover ability except for parties of APL 5.

Spider Eater (3.5) hp 42

Spider Eater (Pathfinder) hp 52

Development: The path through the woods leads to the pools and caves beyond.

cave backgroundD. The Lair (CR 5)

Read the following:

The trees open up onto a clearing, at the center of which stands a large hot spring, steam rising from the surface. Across the pool a canyon wall rises up to the far slope of the mountains surrounding the vale, you have penetrated to the farthest depths of the hidden valley. A cave mouth is visible in the canyon wall, obscured by a huge mass of webs.

It is clear that a significant body of men perished while making their way to the cave. Discarded arms and armor (well rusted and of no value) are strewn about, recognizable as the trappings of the mage’s lost battalion if the PCs are already on its trail, or granting a second DC 20 Knowledge (arcana) or Knowledge (history) check to reveal the history of the battalion and the mage.

An ogre spider hunts the salt worms within the cave.

The cavern is 80 feet wide by 120 feet long with an 80 foot ceiling. Drifts of a white mineral pile up in the corners of the cavern, and around the bases of stalagmites throughout the cavern floor. Webs (DC 16, hp 7) are heavy in these areas, but sparse in the rest of the cavern.
spider artRead the following to begin the creature’s ambush:

A boulder on one of the cavern walls slip and start to fall. Wait—it is no boulder, but a spider the size of an elephant!

Monstrous Spider, Huge (3.5) hp 52

Ogre Spider (Pathfinder) hp 52

Development Defeating the spiders allows the PCs to explore the cavern more fully, discovering that the white mineral piled around the rock formation is loose salt. They also discover an escape tunnel leading out of the caves.
Next Time: Did Gopcheck escape the vale? Or does his story remain untold until adventures penetrate the depths of the hidden valley? 

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Twin Crossings Extra Content #3 – Vale of the Spider Eaters – Part 2

VALE OF THE SPIDER EATERS – PART 2

Gopcheck’s daydream was shattered as a tremendous gust of wind and a noise like the beating of wings overwhelmed his senses. The wind picked up dirt and dust, choking and almost blinding him. Through the haze he could just make out the form of the Mage Midya. As the wizard completed casting a spell, a shadowed monstrosity appeared above and behind the mage, who suddenly sprouted a huge stinger from her chest. The mage’s spell went wide, and Gopcheck could hear the sounds of the tunnel collapsing behind him. He looked to see if he could help his commander, but though there seemed to be life in the mage’s eyes, she had stopped moving. The screams around him intensified as huge shapes drifted through the haze, coming ever closer. Gopcheck took the only reasonable course of action—he fled!

cave-6

This is the second post in the story of the Lost Battalion, a side quest in five parts that can be played as a stand-alone adventure, or may be used as additional content to Twin Crossingsa mercantile endeavor for 4th level characters, now available in the store and to subscribers of AdventureAWeek.com. You can find the first post here.

If you want all of the bonus content for Twin Crossings in one search for the tags “Lost Battalion” and “Burned Mill“, and you can find them all here on the AaWBlog!

 

A. Tunnel Exit
After exiting the tunnel into the vale read the following:

The far side of the tunnel suffered a cave-in at some point as well, but erosion and time have once again opened an exit. Pausing at a ledge, you look out over a web-encrusted forest canopy. The temperature in the vale is significantly warmer than the surrounding mountains—the air is humid and saline. Wide trails lead down into the valley where a series of pools can be seen a few miles away in a break in the canopy. Cave entrances dot the canyon walls above the pools.

Once on the far side of the original tunnel the tattered remnants of half a dozen lost battalion uniforms lie buried in some disturbed rubble. Any PC that succeeds on a DC 17 Knowledge (arcana) check recognizes desiccated bodies mixed amongst the human bones—the skeletal structures of three spider eaters. Examining the remains of a skeleton wearing mage’s garb reveals that the deceased creature’s ribcage was shattered, likely from within. Though aged, scorch marks on the cave entrance and rubble are identifiable as magical damage.

A DC 15 Search/Perception check reveals a scroll tube containing a scroll of remove paralysis (3.5) or delay poison (Pathfinder).

Midya Merocheck and her followers tunneled right into a nest of spider eaters. A brief firefight ensued and a misdirected spell brought down the tunnel behind them (erosion and time eventually cleared this end of the tunnel in the same fashion as on the far side). The mage then succumbed to the venom of the spider eaters and without her arcane support, the survivors fled. Impregnated with a spider eater egg, the mage perished when the hatchling exploded from her chest some weeks later. A DC 15 Knowledge (arcana) or Knowledge (history) check gives the likely identity of the mage, and her troops. A DC 12 Knowledge (nobility) check indicates that it is likely any survivors from this battle retreated to a more defensible position—a series of caves in the mountainside on the far side of the vale is a likely spot (a few hours march away).

Horse-PatternIf the PCs leave their horses here unattended, they will be attacked by the spider eaters after the party has gone. Roll 1d6 per half dozen animals—these creatures escape and may be tracked and rescued with a DC 9 Survival check on the adventurers’ return. Up to two slain horses are implanted with spider eater eggs (discernible with a DC 15 Heal check).

Treasure
Spider eater eggs are worth 2,000 gp on the open market. See the Pathfinder stat block for information on how to remove spider eater eggs.

 

B. Grisly Remains (CR 4)
Read the following:

You move warily through the woods, on the look out for giant spiders. It comes as no surprise when you spot a large arachnid 40 feet away to the right of the path.

The remains of a large spider decomposes in the brush at the side of the trail. PCs determine it is dead with a DC 10 Heal check, although its sudden appearance may precipitate combat before the party is aware of its condition. On examining the corpse, the adventurers discover it is just a husk—most of the meat has been consumed. PCs who exceed the Healcheck by 5 or more note that the devouring of the vermin occurred from within as if something exploded up out of the corpse. A DC 15 Knowledge (arcana) identifies the likely culprit as a spider eater.

While the PCs examine the remains, a pair of spiders drops down from the canopy 30 feet above (Spot/Perception DC 22 to act in the surprise round).

Vale of the Spider Eaters

Scaling the Encounter For APL 5 parties add a third large monstrous spider to the encounter (3.5) or use the black widow statistics for both arachnids (Pathfinder).

(2) Monstrous Spiders, Large (3.5) hp 22 each

Giant Black Widow Spider (Pathfinder) hp 37

Giant Spider (Pathfinder) hp 16

 

Development: A second threat follows close on the heels of the first. Read the following:

The rustling of the leaves above becomes more violent…
Next Time: Gopcheck and his mates have no time for breath after killing some huge spiders—death from above still pursues them!

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Twin Crossings Extra Content #2 – The Vale of the Spider Eaters

Vale of the Spider Eaters

The Vale of the Spider Eaters

Gopcheck was glad to see the sun up ahead. Although he had traveled the tunnels of the mage many times, it was still disconcerting the way the magic of the wizard’s device chewed through stone and rock in the blink of an eye. It somehow did not seem quite honest to this miner from Bieltog, and he held his breath every time he entered one of the passages. Other than that, Gopchak was happy in the battalion—they were the best of the best, and surely when the cyclopes had finally been driven back, tales would be told and songs would be sung of how he and his mates had cleared the way. As he felt the sun on his forehead, he wondered what part he would play in those tales…

The skilled mage-engineer Midya Merochek was a hero of the Cyclopes Raids a century past and had led a battalion of special troops instrumental in winning the war of maneuver against the enemy. The mage had a solution for every terrain obstacle—her troops were known to bridge chasms and rivers in the blink of an eye, clear roads through forests at the pace of a man’s walk, and haul supplies far in excess of standard loads. The mage and the battalion were reported lost just as the final victory was at hand. This is the story of their final stand and the relics they leave behind for adventures to find decades later.

Note: If you are adding this encounter to Twin Crossings (currently available at AdventureAWeek.com in the store and as a web adventure/pdf download for subscribers) this encounter sequence takes place in The Knee at the neck of the Vladen Peninsula, and follows Encounter 5-E: Landslide on the outbound journey to Cherr’s Landing—it replaces Scene 6: The Salt Mine.

As indicated in the Development notes in 5-E, parties that elect to follow the tunnel through the mountain advance to the new Scene 6: The Vale of the Spider Eaters. PCs who stay the course to Cherr’s Landing advance to Scene 7: Two Trails to Take and earn one speed point. The adventurers will have another shot at the Vale on the way back from Cherr’s Landing (Encounter 12: Return to the Vale). You should allow the PCs to rest before venturing into the Vale.

If you want all of the bonus content for Twin Crossings in one shot search for the tags “Lost Battalion” and “Burned Mill”, and you can find them all here on the AaWBlog!

 

THE VALE OF THE SPIDER EATERS
Adventure Location:Vale of the Spider Eaters
Location: A hidden valley in the mountains of the Vladen Peninsula known as The Knee.
History: Midya Merochek discovered the inaccessible vale on an over-flight while scouting possible routes through the mountains. Intending establish a base of operations, the mage bore a tunnel through the stone. A rocky avalanche blocked both ends of the passage and while preparing to dig out, an attack by spider eaters drove slew the mage and drove the survivors deeper into the vale. In desperation, they attempted to us the wizard’s cache of magic to bore a second tunnel out of the valley, opening up the salt mines and releasing the worms that killed them.
Dangers: Giant spiders, spider eaters, salt mines, salt worms
Lighting: Dim lighting under the webs and forest canopy during the day.
Terrain: Wooded slopes and clearings covered in a layer of webs. A hot spring lies on the far side of the vale. Paths through the woods are 10 ft. wide before transitioning into undergrowth on either side. The canopy begins 30 ft. above the trail. Flying or climbing through the trees requires a DC 12 Reflex save each round to avoid the sticky webs (DC 12, hp 2).
Mood/Theme: The huge coverage of webs blocks Spot/Perception checks after 50 feet, and creates a mausoleum type atmosphere to the entire valley.

 

Next Time The spider eaters attack and drive Gopcheck and the shattered remnants of the lost battalion deeper into the vale!